May 31, 2004

Dorothy Tour '04 - the Final Chapter

Sorry it's taken so long for me to finish our trip diary! We did an awful lot of stuff when we were in California.

The first thing we did when we got to Mom and Dad's house was to take a nap! All three of us were pretty tired. We woke to the sounds of little girls talking in the living room - our nieces, Katie and Emma, had arrived (oh, yeah, and their parents - my brother, Jeff, and his wife, Christina). Katie and Emma were very excited to meet Dorothy for the first time. They both hung over her, watching every facial expression and action. They both also got to have turns holding her. Emma, at 4 and three-quarters, still needed a little help to hold the baby securely, but Katie (8) cuddled her like she'd been doing it for years. They both really enjoyed helping to change her diapers. (Katie's job was to hold her hands so she didn't try to roll off the table, while Emma opened and held the new diaper so it would be ready when the old one was off). They were also very interested in her bed.

The next day was Thursday, which meant that the girls were visiting again for most of the day. In the mid-morning, Mom and I set off with Dorothy to the retirement community where my grandmother and great-aunt live, while Tom helped the girls with their computer game. Mom took Grandma to a doctor's appointment, while Dorothy and I got to spend some time with Great-Aunt Ellen. At lunchtime, Dad and Tom arrived with the girls and Christina, and we all had lunch together in the community lunchroom. Grandma's vision is mostly gone, so she wasn't really able to see Dorothy, but she still enjoyed holding her and talking to her a lot.

On Friday, we relaxed in the morning (at last!), and then headed out in the afternoon to my aunt's place in Nicklaus (about 2 hours away from my parents' house). There we saw my cousin Tyson with his wife Teena and new baby Kent (a couple of weeks younger than Dorothy), as well as several other relatives from that branch of the family. Jeff joined us with the girls for a big family dinner (quite late, since he got lost getting there!), and then we all got back on the road, heading towards my other grandparents' house. We stopped for the night after a couple more hours on the road. Dorothy did quite well on these car trips, especially if whoever was sitting next to her would keep a finger in her mouth for her to suck on.

On Saturday, we arrived in Yreka to see Dorothy's great-aunt Barbara and great-uncle Don, and her other great-grandparents. We especially wanted her to meet this great-grandmother, the only one of the Dorothys that she is named after who is still alive. (The other two are Tom's paternal grandmother, and my "other grandmother" - my "other mother" Cynthia's mother). Because of my grandparents' health, we couldn't stay terribly long at any one time with them. But we visited for a while on Saturday afternoon, and then went to dinner with Barbara, Don, and their son Darren. Unfortunately, it was getting past Dorothy's bedtime, and she had had about enough of this driving around and staying up stuff! She fussed and cried, and I ended up spending most of dinner walking around the parking lot with her in the sling to calm her, and doing some crying myself.

Since Dorothy had been getting a bit overtired, we decided to take it easy in the early morning on Sunday (Mother's Day). She had a wonderful Mother's Day present for me, though - she slept for six hours on Saturday night! So I was much better in the morning, and the three of us had a very nice Mother's Day breakfast together. Afterwards, we met up again with Mom and Jeff and the girls, to take Grandma to the wildflower show in Yreka, while Dad stayed with Grandpa. (For some reason, neither of them was interested in looking at the wildflowers).

Grandma wasn't at her best during the show, but she did look at the flowers for a while and recognized us all. The girls had a great time, though, and Emma learned to read some new words, including "Scarlet Fritillary." The girls' favorite plant was the "Skunk Bush," though!

When we went back to Grandma and Grandpa's house, they were doing much better, and both of them got a chance to hold Dorothy. Grandpa especially just settled her into his arms like she was about the thousandth baby that he had held (which she probably was - he delivered many many babies in town during his years of practice as a country doctor).

After the visit, we got back on the road to go home (convoying with Jeff and the girls). Normally a five or six hour drive, it took us almost nine hours. We had to stop regularly to feed Dorothy, eat ourselves, have bathroom breaks and/or diaper breaks for the kids, etc. Dorothy was getting pretty fussy after the first four or five hours - we joked that she was getting "saddle sores" from her car seat. As it got towards evening, we had more and more nursing stops. We started just pulling off the road in the middle of the orchards and parking under a tree while I nursed her. But at one of these stops, she had to have her diaper changed, and it was quite an accomplishment. It was really too cold to take her out of the car, so I managed to balance her on a pillow on my lap in the front seat (with a changing pad draped up my front and tucked under my chin like a napkin). Tom handed the diaper and wipes in through the window as I changed her, but I forbade any picture taking. :-) Fortunately for me, she didn't decide to do one of her projectile poops right then. ;-)

Monday was another lazy day, thank goodness. Christina came over with the girls in the morning, and they all got in some more Dorothy-holding time. Christina also helped us learn some new positions for Dorothy in the sling, one of which was comfortable enough that she and Tom both fell asleep. We also got packed up for the long flight home.

We got on the road in plenty of time to get to the airport on Tuesday, and it turned out to be a good thing. As we pulled in and got out of the car, I realized that I had left my purse, with all my ID, at Mom and Dad's house. Since there was stil an hour before boarding, they decided to rush home and try to get it back to me before we took off. In the mean time, Tom and I took Dorothy to the gate (I had to go through extra security screening because I didn't have any ID), and we kept in touch by cell phone. When they got back to the airport with my purse, Tom went out to get it (since my ticket was marked for extra security procedures), but we realized that we had forgotten even to say goodbye or let my parents give Dorothy a last goodbye kiss! Poor Mom and Dad - but they got lots of Dorothy time during the trip, and they'll be visiting us in June.

Dorothy had a rougher time on the long flight direct from San Francisco to Boston. She was really tired of the car seat, and spent a lot of time in our laps. At one point, we had to change her on the tray tables, since the bathrooms didn't all have changing tables. (We later learned which one did, but only after the first diaper change). We were mostly able to comfort her quickly when she started to cry, up until the descent. The descent into Boston is really long - about 45 minutes. We had brought a bottle of my milk to feed her during the descent, so the swallowing would help pop her ears, but she got full before the descent was finished, and cried incessantly for the last half hour or so. Poor little girl - it was also past her bedtime again, and she was terribly uncomfortable. But she finally fell asleep in the car on the way home. We had a great trip, but we were all very glad to be back home!

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:43 PM | Comments (0)

The 4 Day Poop

Until this morning (Monday, 5/31), Dorothy had not pooped since before noon on Thursday (5/27). Suddenly going a few days without pooping is not uncommon in babies, especially those that are breastfed. It was still disconcerting for us, despite knowing it was OK.

Well, this morning, she finally pooped. Of course, when a 100-year storm hits a city, they probably say something stronger than "it rained." Although in many ways the pooping wasn't at all as bad as the poop explosion, it was certainly extraordinary. Dorothy also managed to have a breach of the containment vessel (i.e., diaper), so she wound up getting an unscheduled bath this morning as well. We all hope she's feeling better after such an ordeal, but to be honest, it's not clear how much the lack of pooping was bothering her. We gotta train this girl to talk so she can tell us these things. ;-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:09 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2004

Week 12 photos

You'll never guess what we've posted to the photo gallery.

Yes, that's right! More photos of Dorothy! How did you guess?

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

May 29, 2004

Sickos All

The last couple of weeks, since we returned from Dorothy Tour '04, have seen all three of us sick. First Elizabeth got a cold near the end of the California trip. Then I came down with the same thing a few days after we returned. The cold at first wasn't so bad -- mostly just a tickle in the back of the throat and some attendant coughing. But it was keeping me from sleeping well. My sleep schedule got completely out of whack; at times, I'd simply not feel sleepy, despite having been up for a while. I started feeling better about a week ago, but then got a serious case of the sniffles. I think I've been taking longer to recover because I haven't been sleeping as much as I should be.

Well, eventually Dorothy came down with the cold too. Or at least, we're assuming she got our cold. Her symptoms have been a little different. She's mostly gotten extremely congested. It's sounded like the nasal passage behind her nose (the nasal pharynx?) gets completely full of fluids. The noises she makes when trying to breathe are horrible, although Dorothy herself doesn't seem too upset. It's mostly just meant that she doesn't sleep for as long as she was sleeping before. It's probably been upsetting us more than her.

In the last couple of days, her congestion has been limited to the night time. So she's all fine for daycare, then comes home to us and gets congested and has difficulty sleeping. :-) But even that's been getting better, so hopefully she'll be over the cold soon. (Hopefully I will be, too.)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

May 22, 2004

Week 11 photos

The latest batch of photos, going from May 14th to the 22nd, are now up online. Dorothy has discovered how to get her hand to her mouth, and the cats enjoy snuggling with us plus Dorothy.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2004

1st day of Daycare!

Yesterday (Monday 5/17) was Dorothy's first full day of day care. She's going 3 days per week to the Rama Kidstop. We've been very impressed with Rama ever since we first went to see it back in late March, and decided that Dorothy would go there. 3 days per week in daycare will give me time to work uninterrupted from home. The other 2 days, I'll be in charge of Dorothy, all by myself. The thought is currently a bit scary, but we'll see how I do once Elizabeth goes back to work (which will happen soon!).

We took Dorothy in around 8am on Monday. A few of the (up to 6) other babies were there already. Elizabeth had a hard time letting go of her baby. She was a bit emotional when we got back home, but then she napped for over an hour since Dorothy had been fussy all day Sunday and hadn't given us much sleep Sunday night. After about 2 or 3 hours, Elizabeth couldn't stand it any more and had to call to see how Dorothy was doing. Everything, of course, was fine. She'd slept through their morning walk (the kids go out twice per day, weather permitting). We stopped by to see her around 1pm, on our way out to shop for a crib. She was still doing fine. I was glad to see her, but was also happy to be able to get stuff done without having to deal with a baby that might fuss at any moment. Elizabeth was a bit emotional from time to time throughout the day, but overall handled her first day without her baby quite well.

We picked her up around 5:45, after having an early dinner at Conrad's (they have the best steak tips we've ever tasted!). By the end of the meal, I was getting antsy to go see Dorothy and pick her up, so I probably rushed Elizabeth out of the restuarant a bit. When we got there, she was doing just fine. She'd enjoyed some time in the bouncy chair. The ladies who work in her room told us all about how she'd done during the day (mostly fine). All in all, things turned out fine, and Dorothy seemed to enjoy her first big day at daycare. We'll see how things go tomorrow, her second day!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2004

Dorothy Tour, Part 2

The day after we got to Tom's parents' house, they had an open house (open baby?) for all the relatives and friends who wanted to see Dorothy (plus anyone who might have been interested in seeing Tom and me, but we were clearly a second-rate attraction).

Tons of people came over: Dorothy's great-grandma Flo and her twin sister Evelyn, Tom's brother Keith, several of his aunts, uncles, and cousins, four of his friends from Urbana-Champaign, two babies, and a dog. So many people got to hold Dorothy that I didn't always even know where she was. She did very well, though, with only minor fussiness.

The rest of the visit with Tom's parents was relatively relaxed. We spent a day hanging around the house, and an afternoon visiting another of Tom's aunts and going out to dinner with Tom E. and Uncle Keith. Dorothy had a little trouble with the noisy restaurant and the late hour, so I ended up taking her outside in the sling for a walk while the others waited for the check and finished up. We had dessert at Krispy Kreme, and headed home to repack for the next leg, from Chicago to San Francisco. (I'd learned my lesson after the first trip - the essential baby stuff like burp cloths and her bed goes on top, especially anything you might have to find in the dark). (During the trip, she slept in a little "Snuggle Nest" designed to go between the pillows in a regular bed, so she doesn't sink into the mattress or get covered up by blankets. It's nice for travelling, since her bed always feels familiar to her).

Dorothy did about as well on her second flight as she had on her first. She fussed a bit more during the descent, but was basically good-natured - just a few isolated complaints. We didn't even have to change her diaper. This time we knew to look for the stroller as we got off the plane, so getting through the airport and picking up the baggage went much more smoothly. My parents met us at the airport. They had planned a quick stop at Babies 'R' Us to pick up a present for my cousin's new baby (2 weeks younger than Dorothy), which turned into driving in circles for quite a while trying to find the store, then spending quite a while looking at stuff before picking out some outfits and a toy. A long stop at the drive-thru, and we were finally home and more or less ready for the next stage of the trip.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 10:37 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2004

Waking up hard

Dorothy and I are home alone for an extended period today while Elizabeth goes to dance practice and a lesson. Dorothy's been very calm, and has actually slept most of the time, allowing me to get some work done on the computer.

Just before 4:30pm, though, she woke up, and started crying almost immediately. Elizabeth has commented numerous times that Dorothy wakes up "hard" -- i.e., she goes from asleep to awake and fussing very quickly. Elizabeth accuses Dorothy of picking this trait up from her father, an assertion I won't comment upon. :-)

I took Dorothy down to check her diaper. A quick peek suggested it didn't need to be changed right away. She was really crying, so I let her suck on a finger to help calm her down before I went to heat up the bottle of expressed milk. Within 30 seconds, she'd made a major addition to the contents of her diaper. So I avoided a big mess by waiting just a tiny bit before changing her. I started to change her, but she was making a huge fuss.

I went and started a bottle warming up, but Dorothy was inconsolable. She even had tears running down her cheek, which really tore up Daddy. :-( I was trying to calm her while also warming the bottle up enough for her to take. As soon as it was close to ready, I gave it her to and BOOM -- instant quiet, happy baby. After this experience, I certainly can appreciate the advantage of having the milk "always on" in one's breasts. Thankfully we don't have to heat up a bottle in the middle of the night...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 06:38 PM | Comments (1)

May 14, 2004

Dorothy Tour photos, part 2

The second (and final) batch of photos from the Dorothy Tour 2004 are now online. Get 'em while they're hot!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2004

Picture update

I've put pictures of the Chicago part of Dorothy's Tour 2004 online. Enjoy!

And in related news, today (5/13) was the second day in her life where Dorothy did not get photographed at all. :-O Perhaps she's now getting old and we'll never take a picture of her again. Or maybe the camera battery was re-charging and we were just too busy recuperating from the trip....

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:27 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2004

Dorothy on tour, Part 1

We're back from Dorothy's first cross-country tour! (Sorry, no commemorative T-shirts yet). Pictures should be up soon....

On Saturday, May 1, Dorothy made her first plane flight, from Boston to Chicago. She did very well, sleeping for much of the flight. I fed her during the ascent and descent so that the swallowing would pop her ears, and she pretty much didn't cry during the flight. Tom and I each had an opportunity to change a diaper in a tiny airplane lavatory, an experience we both probably could have done without (unfortunately, it was not to be our last such experience, or even the most cramped diaper change of the trip).

We were astonished at how much our luggage volume increased with the addition of one tiny person. We checked two big suitcases, one of which was completely filled with Dorothy's things, and one of which had clothes for the three of us. We then carried on a small backpack with our stuff, our big backpack-style diaper bag, a camera/camcorder bag, and Dorothy in her car seat. In addition, we gate-checked the stroller that goes with the car seat.

When we got to Chicago, we headed for baggage claim to get our stuff. Halfway there, we were paged back to the gate - they had brought the stroller to us there. (In Boston, they had told us that we would pick it up at baggage claim). Since I had Dorothy comfortably in her Maya Wrap for walking through the airport, we ended up using the stroller as a luggage cart for all the other carryon items.

Tom's good friend Tom Egan (the best man from our wedding, and my stand-in when I couldn't go to our baby shower) picked us up in Chicago, and we had lunch together. After seeing how much time Dorothy spends sucking on our fingers, he gave her a new nickname: "Small-Mouth Bass." This rapidly mutated into "Guppy," and we used both throughout the trip.

Tom E. took us to visit with his parents for a while, and then we headed out to Beecher, IL, to stay with Grandma Chris and Grandpa Tom. By the time we got there, poor Dorothy was exhausted, but with so many new places, people, and experiences, she couldn't bring herself to go to sleep. She finally settled down when I put her in the sling again, and was able to sleep by pressing her face into my chest so she couldn't see anything unfamiliar. I ate dinner that night one-handed, holding her in the sling and bouncing on an exercise ball.

To be continued...

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 09:50 PM | Comments (0)