The first bath was easy. The nurse gently sponged her off and I stood beside the sink, one half awestruck and one half terrified, making me one whole dad. For the second bath, we had Susan’s sister to guide us along. It was short and efficient and I completely forgot to take notes. Which brings us to bath number three…bath number three was a massacre. The water was everywhere, Bonnie was screaming, we were running this way and that like two sleep-deprived chickens whose coop had just caught fire, and then–because I tried to carry her all the way from the changing table in the nursery to the bath tub on the kitchen floor, just as clothed as God made her–Bonnie peed all over me. By the time we started that infamous bath, my cupped hands were full and my shirt was soaked, and I couldn’t help but wonder how two college educated people like ourselves could end up living like this.
It took us a month to get the hang of it, and then she started to actually enjoy bath time. By then Susan had an extensive checklist of wash cloths and duck towels and creams and soaps and I had a fool proof method for getting the water temperature just right. (You make it one degree too hot and then throw in an ice cube.) Also, our daughter had learned to splash, causing us each time to break into spontaneous renditions of “Splish Splash (I Was Taking a Bath),” which made us not mind so much that we were getting covered in water.
It all seemed like good preparation for Bonnie’s first sacrament. This time, however, it wasn’t going to be sour milk we were cleaning off our baby, but rather the most ancient of meals gone bad: Original Sin.
Because Susan has seen plenty of baptisms, her thoughts were mainly occupied with people–the friends and family who had come from near and far–and with making sure they were all welcomed and got to see the baby and were going to be fed. As always, while she worried about what actually mattered, I kept my head permanently lodged in the clouds.
As we approached the baptismal font, I thought of all the parishioners who dipped their fingers each Sunday in these waters to make the sign of the cross on their foreheads, recalling their own baptisms. As we came a little closer, I saw the cleansing waters of the Jordan, the humble Lamb approaching John the Baptist with Bonnie swaddled in his arms. Susan meanwhile had an eye on the Godparents, making sure they were in position, another eye on our niece Katie who was standing dangerously close to the three-foot tall candle and, somehow, a third mama-eye on me holding Bonnie in her slick baptismal gown.
The deacon raised the pitcher of holy water and I moved our daughter over the font toward her own personal parting of the Red Sea. Then her eyes grew wide as the water poured over her forehead and I realized, for the 20,000th time, that “Hey, we have a daughter. This is our baby. Here is our little human, perfectly made.”
And then my next thought: “Oh, please Lord, in your infinite mercy, don’t let her poop in the water.”
Our sweet girl turned 2 months old 16 days ago. Maybe next month I’ll get more timely with this blogging business. Suffice it to say, it’s been a busy second month of life for Miss Bonnie. Some of her “firsts” from this month include:
Other, non-blogged about (but still important!) firsts were her first trip to a convenience store (she responded with wide eyes), first trip to Dillons, first time running errands with just Dad (Mom was unreasonably worried), first time sleeping through the night (and sticking with it!), and sadly, her first shots. She got her first shots at her 2 month appointment and was all smiles through the whole appointment. The nurse came in and explained everything to us, and they gave her the liquid one first which she happily gobbled up. Right before she got her first shots she got her first Tylenol, which she also happily gobbled. I have a feeling our Bonnie is not a picky eater. Anyway, after the liquid came the needles and they did the shots in both legs at the same time while we held her arms. It was remarkable how quickly she went from our cooing, smiling, curious girl to red-faced, horrified, sad-eyed, screaming Bonnie. My heart! Luckily they let me stay in the room and nurse her right then and there, so we were completely forgiven in 5 minutes. By the time we got to the car she was asleep, and she stayed asleep for the next several hours before waking up and eating and snuggling with me some more. Her bestie Wade had had a bad reaction to his shots the month before, so we watched her like a hawk and took her temperature excessively and made sure to give her extra snuggles all weekend. She was a tiny bit fussy that night, but by the next morning she was back to being our happy girl again. Phew! Glad that milestone is behind us.
Bonnie the Giant – At her 2 month appointment she weighed 11 lbs 9 oz and is 23 inches long. She’s in the 52nd percentile for head size and weight, but is in the 73rd percentile in height. Clearly, since her parents are giants. Once I verified with Steven that 73rd percentile meant tall and not small (percentiles always confuse me) I decided we needed to buy a volleyball net pronto, because she is clearly destined to be a middle blocker. I would have one now, except for the fact that we don’t really know where we’ll be living in 6 months, so it might be a teensy bit too early to buy a volleyball net. Oh, and y’know, she can’t really hold her head up just yet, but that’s a minor detail.
Bathing Beauty – Also this month she started loving bath time, so her lazy parents gave in and started giving her baths more often. In the past week she learned how to splash, which makes bath time a fully interactive experience. We’re still hauling out the baby tub and using it on the kitchen floor, but if the splashing continues, we may have to finally give her a bath in the bathroom.
Big Kid Sitter – Lately Bonnie has been enjoying sitting up whenever she’s awake, which is great fun for us. On Saturday she sat with me and watched football and I told her all about what was happening and she promptly fell asleep. I would’ve felt bad, except she did the same thing on Sunday when Steven tried to read to her about the Saints. I guess we’ll work on shared interests for month 3.
Favorite Place – Bonnie’s favorite place these days is her changing table. Weird, but true. We still have her Welcome, Nino! sign up and she loves to play with the edges of it and feel the raised letters. We also have the Nino cut-out there and she likes making eyes at him and moving it back and forth. Sometimes when she’s fussy and nothing else will work, I put her on the changing table and she quiets right down and will play happily. But then, when I try to get my computer and do work while she’s playing, she’ll kick at me and get upset until I move it. We’ve also tried moving the sign and Nino to the floor so that we can leave her there and go and do something else, but it’s somehow different, because she’ll just cry until you put her and the sign back on the table. I don’t get it. How does she know? Sneaky genius baby.
Conversational Wizard – Bonnie has been starting to make more noises and talking to us in the evenings. Her favorite game is to stick out her tongue. She has this great full body smile when she focuses on your face. She’ll make eye contact and then smile and cock her head to one side and scrunch up her body and stick out her tongue. Cutest thing ever. Steven discovered that if you stick your tongue out, she’ll do it back, and they can go back and forth like that for several turns before she loses interest. So if you see us in public making crazy faces, don’t worry. We’re just sharing deep thoughts with Bonnie.
Working Girls – I started back to work part-time after Labor Day, and Bonnie has been coming into the office with me one morning a week. She’s started taking a really long nap in the morning, so it’s working out really well. She hangs out on my desk in her car seat, and my co-workers get to stop by for some sweet Bonnie smiles in between answering emails. Seems to me she should come with me every day, but I suppose that would get boring for her eventually. I start back full-time in October, which is coming up way too fast for my comfort. I don’t know how Steven does it only seeing her on evenings and weekends and lunch breaks. Feels like we’re in for a rough adjustment.
Bottle update – I think we’ve finally made some headway with Bonnie and the bottle. We tried a new bottle + warm milk + Steven standing and finally got her to take it without (much) screaming. Since then we’ve slowly been reducing the variables and can now get her to take milk from any bottle, from Steven, while sitting, as long as it’s room temperature. I emailed our day care lady to ask if that was okay, and she said that kids drink warm milk until they’re 10 months old, so maybe we won’t get kicked out of day care after all. Phew. Many thanks for all your prayers!
Transitions – Since bottle feeding has been improving so much, I’ve been able to get a good pumping schedule going too. It’s been going so well that we needed to clean out the freezer to make more room for milk. This meant finally throwing away our leftover wedding cake and wedding cookies. It was far overdue, and pretty gross, but Bonnie and Steven were still sad about it. Though not sad enough to taste it.
Two Months In and Still Crazy – Going back to work part-time has been a little overwhelming and stressful. It’s been a rough transition back to thinking about things other than Bonnie and her needs, and I think I’m feeling a little guilty about it, because I’ve started to get super paranoid about all of Bonnie’s activities. For a couple of weeks she had stopped taking naps, so I was worried that she wouldn’t sleep during the day. Then this week, she went back to taking long naps and sleeping really well at night, so I got worried that she was sleeping too much. (I know – I am the most ungrateful, crazy Mom ever). Last week, she had a completely dry diaper after 9 hours of sleep, so back to the internet I went. Two days ago she spit up most of her bottle and then the next day had a seriously messy diaper but no fever so I was convinced she had rotavirus (which I just learned about at her immunizations). Am I getting crazier now that I have enough sleep to process all the things I could be worrying about? Or is it just a never ending struggle to keep the crazy at bay?
It’s good to remember how many problems we’ve actually solved in the last 11 weeks with Bonnie. From swaddling to diaper changes, to sleeping through the night, to pumping and bottle feeding and happy bath time. I was swaddling Bonnie this morning and suddenly remembered sobbing in the middle of the night on the living room floor while Bonnie screamed and thrashed about and refused to stay swaddled for longer than 10 seconds. Those hard moments pass so quickly and then you get this wonderful, sweet, funny, smiling baby. Someone please remind me of that the next time I’m up late stressing.
Saturday, September 5th was a big day. Not only was it the start of the 2015 College Football season, but it was Bonnie’s first football game and first trip to Bill Snyder Family Stadium. I was very stressed about the crowd and the heat and the noise and the nursing and the diaper changes, but she did great, of course. Nursing in public is still not my favorite thing, but it was much easier with the nursing cover, and thankfully we timed it right so that we only had to do it once and no one in our (very family friendly) section complained. I don’t know why I always assume that someone will complain. I think it’s because of that episode of Gilmore Girls when Luke freaks out about the Mom nursing in the diner. If someone as reasonable as Luke Danes doesn’t like nursing in public, then surely the rest of humanity is offended by it too. Me = crazy lady. Also, I much prefer being anonymous in public and blending into the crowd, which is extremely hard to do with a baby. So it’s all a new adventure, but I’m working on growing my thicker Mom skin. Slowly but surely.
Steven wore her in the carrier and Bonnie agreed to wear her ear gear for the loudest part of the game, even though it was ghastly hot. She sat with me for awhile and enjoyed looking around at all the people and being outside. She was a little fussy off and on, but made it through the whole game, and thankfully wasn’t the only crying baby in our section. Mom tip: It’s much easier to take a fussy baby to a loud event, because so much of the crying is drowned out by cheering and music and noise. (Good to think about when choosing a restaurant.) In that respect, it’s more stressful for me to take her to church than to a football game. Again, the whole anonymity factor. When a baby cries in church, you’re going to get some attention.
Taking Bonnie to her first football game was a big milestone for me. K-State football has been a huge part of my family since I was in the third grade, and I couldn’t wait to share it with her. I’ve loved sharing it with Steven, and watching him grow more connected and emotionally involved in the team. For the past 5 years, Steven’s Mom has had season tickets too, and it’s been so much fun to share football season with her. When Snyder came out of retirement in 2008, he said that he was doing it to “calm the waters of the K-State family.” But to me, it felt like he was speaking to our family. Mom got her cancer diagnosis in 2006, a few months after Snyder retired. The three long Prince years coincided with our last years with her, and after we lost her in June of 2008, Prince football seemed even bleaker than before. So when Coach announced at the end of that season that he was coming back, it felt like a special gift for our struggling family. We couldn’t get Mom back, but at least we could have Snyder.
Mom was so supportive of my early football obsession. When I first started watching games in the 90’s, she’d go to Dillons every Sunday morning and buy me the Wichita Eagle so that I could read all the coverage of the game and cut out the pictures to tape on my wall. I started with one picture in 1994, and by the time I moved out in 2004, I had covered three walls with clippings. She never complained about me gunking up the walls with newsprint and tape and sticky tack. I think she liked it as much as I did. Mom and Dad were at K-State during the late 60’s and early 70’s, so K-State football wasn’t really on their radar before I suggested we start watching. In those years you couldn’t give tickets away. We would all watch the games together as a family, and when it would get close, she would get so stressed out that she’d have to do dishes and listen from the other room. Like a horror movie, she couldn’t bear to watch it unfold, but would come out looking relieved after another close victory. Though 2011 was my favorite K-State football season, I always thought it was a small blessing that Mom didn’t have to sit through all those games decided by 7 points or less. She would’ve spent every Saturday that Fall hiding in the kitchen.
The first game I remember attending was in Stillwater, the KSU/OSU game in 1995. It’s been a family tradition for as long as I can remember to get together for the KSU/OSU game, so when it came time to plan our wedding, it only seemed natural to plan it around the K-State/OSU football game. When I was still trying to decide where to go to college, I settled on K-State because of football, more than anything else. It’s an odd way to choose a school, but I’m so thankful for that lifeline. It was exactly where I was supposed to be, even though those four years where the worst four years for the program since before Snyder arrived.
I’ve had a lot of favorite players in the last 21 years, but there is no player I loved more than Michael Bishop. He was pure magic, and the most exciting football player I’ve ever watched. He was there for the highest highs in Snyder 1.0 and brought us within one quarter of a national championship game. Even if we had made it to that national championship game in 1998, it would have been hard to watch K-State football with the same passion after he left. He was the pinnacle, and the tragedy of that Big 12 Championship game just made me love him even more. When I was working in the Dean’s office, I got to approve his diploma, and it was one of those moments where I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I felt it again when I heard that he would be inducted into the Ring of Honor at Bonnie’s first football game.
That 1998 season taught me so many things that I still think about today. It taught me that life isn’t fair. It taught me to never take things for granted. It taught me that no lead is safe. It taught me the highs and lows of caring deeply about something out of your control. It taught me loyalty. It taught me to hate OU and Texas A&M. But it also taught me that it doesn’t matter where you start. If you keep your head down and work hard, eventually God will connect you with the right people to make your dreams come true. Michael Bishop started his career at Blinn Community College and came one quarter away from winning the Heisman trophy.
So as I teach Bonnie about Snyder ball and pass protection and the zone read, hopefully I can also teach her those things I learned in 1998 and 2012 and all the years in between. Because it’s important to care, and care deeply. That’s what the K-State Family is all about.
Another weekend, another road trip – My bestie Hailey had twin boys a month and a day before Bonnie was born. Going through pregnancy with your best friend is super fun. Having babies that are a month apart is super fun. Living 5 hours away from your best friend is not super fun. Especially when they have babies and you can’t see them until they’re 10 weeks old because you’re too pregnant and then your baby is too little. So even though we had just been to Garden City the week before, I couldn’t stand to wait another week to meet Eli and Wade and finally get some best friend time.
Another great thing about having babies at the same time as your best friend is that you don’t have to bring any of your baby accessories when you go to visit. Especially if your best friend has twins. Hailey set up a changing table for us in our bathroom, and a bassinet for Bonnie right by our bed. Their living room is basically a Babies R Us outlet, so all we had to bring were diapers for the car and some clothes. It was luxurious.
Considering we had three babies under three months old, there could have been a great deal of crying all around. Luckily, the babies were on their best behavior so their parents had a great time catching up. We ate food and fed babies, watched college football preview shows and talked about babies, learned the Nae Nae and took pictures of babies. The kiddos were so good that we braved the Saturday night dinner crowd and took the boys to their first Mexican restaurant. We were quite a scene. On Sunday, we left the babies with the Dads and ran off to do some shopping. At Babies R Us. For pump accessories. My, how things have changed.
Another great thing about visiting friends with babies is that they don’t mind a bit when your baby has a massive blowout all over their furniture/throw pillows/bathroom sink/hallway. Steven was tracking down errant poop for at least an hour, but I blissfully missed all of it, because it happened while I was in the shower. Bonnie is so thoughtful. Hailey quickly threw everything in the washer (including Steven’s sock, which had somehow ended up in the carnage) and so we had clean, stink-free clothes by the time we got on the road. Seriously, best friends ever.
It was so nice to get out of town and have a weekend with friends. I was sad to leave and Hailey and I agreed that it would’ve been much more fun if we could spend our maternity leaves together. Maternity leave is great, and I am oh so heartbroken about it ending, but it does get lonely. Mad props to the many Stay at Home Mamas out there. It’s a lonely gig being the only adult in the house.
Name game – Hailey got me a necklace for my birthday with Bonnie’s name on it. Real talk – it totally made me cry. What is it about having something with your kid’s name on it? I definitely didn’t see it coming but every time I put it on – complete waterworks.
Bonnie’s first bottle – We finally started the great bottle transition this week and so far it is not going well. Could you say a prayer for us? I’m in full-on stressed out Mama mode about it, to the point where I’m convinced that she’ll be kicked out of day care because she won’t eat and will make everyone else miserable. It’s all crazy thoughts up in here. It doesn’t help that I went to the internet for advice and the first article I read was by a lactation consultant who had to quit her job because her baby wouldn’t take a bottle. Seriously, the internet is terrible and I will never learn. So say a prayer that we find the right thing on our own, because I feel under siege with advice and suggestions about bottles, nipples, temperatures, stinky t-shirts, being in the house, being out of the house, letting Dad feed, letting Mom feed, feeding half and half, adding sugar, adding formula, changing the hold, changing the room, changing the lighting, changing the baby and of course, above all, BE CONSISTENT (how?!) and START 6 WEEKS AGO. So unhelpful. So stressed. Need divine intervention to calm the heck down.
Tiny Tyrant – Adding to the pressure and the stress (or maybe because of the pressure and stress?) Bonnie stopped taking her usual 2-3 hour morning and afternoon nap last week. Hence, the extreme lateness of this blog post. For the first part of the week she would take a 20 minute nap, fuss for 2 hours and then finally fall asleep in my arms, 20 minutes before she was scheduled to eat again. Argh. By Thursday we got back up to a 1 hour nap, 3 times a day, with extreme fussiness in the evenings. I don’t mind the extra snuggles, especially because I start back to work with Bonnie part-time tomorrow. However, I’m supposed to be working those part-time hours from home, with Bonnie, so I was really counting on those nice long naps. The big positive of course, is that she has slept through the night consistently for the past 10 days, so I’m not hurting for sleep. She’s even started taking an extra long nap after her first feeding in the morning, so maybe I’ll just get my 4 hours a day in from 6-10 every morning? I suppose there are worse schedules.
Miles of Smiles – The benefit to all this extra awake time has been lots and lots of smiles. My favorite smiles are first thing in the morning when she’s fussing in her bed to eat. She’ll fuss and I’ll pop my head over the side of her bassinet and her whole face lights up when she recognizes me. It’s the perfect way to start the day. She has such a funny smile – she’s always sticking out her tongue and giving me these big crinkly eyes. It’s like she’s telling her first joke, or making her first silly face. I like to think that she’s just trying to make me laugh too. Such a giver, that one. She also loves being on her changing table and will smile and coo and even start to give just the faintest sign of a chuckle or a laugh when she’s really alert. I can’t wait to hear what her laugh sounds like. So many things still to discover about our sweet girl!
You Married It – In the past couple of years, whenever Steven and I get into an argument about our character defects, we’ve started telling the other person, “Yeah, well, you married it!” Case in point: my obsession with college football. As some of you know, we dropped our cable subscription in April to save some money so that we could spoil Bonnie properly. So far, I haven’t missed it, and when we’re somewhere with access to cable, I can rarely find something worth watching. It’s been a very easy sacrifice… until now. The College Football season started on Thursday, and I’ve been jonesin’ for ESPN something fierce. To ease the separation anxiety, Steven took me out for a college football date night on the first night of the season. We went to Powercat and ate tons of food and watched 6 games at once and I was in heaven. Since then, I’ve been pouting loudly (and obnoxiously) about missing Game Day and late night Pac 12 games until Steven gives in and tries to order it for me and I stop him because it’s too expensive. Bonnie may be the tiny tyrant in the house, but so far this Mama has been driving everyone crazy with her ESPN withdrawal. Pray for us footballers, now and at the hour of our death, amen.
But still, he had to expect it, right? It’s not like it’s a new personality trait. After all, he did marry it.