Growing a Critter

We’re growing him on the outside now

Marathon weekend October 31, 2007

Filed under: family,gear,running — crittermama @ 11:23 am

Sunday was the Marine Corps Marathon, and I’m proud to announce that Dave had a personal record (PR) of 3 hours and 40 minutes! It was his 4th MCM, and his second as a coach for our running club’s First Time Marathon program. His group also did very well, and we’re really proud of them. For me, it was VERY motivational to spectate at this year’s MCM – the Critter wore a t-shirt that said, “Daddy’s Running Partner.”

I kept telling everyone that he’d have a new one next year that said “Mama’s Running Partner.” I want to be one of the coaches/pace group leaders for the First Time Marathon program next year, and Dave is willing to step back his running so that I can do it. Whoo hoo! Now I’ve just got to get back in shape! (And we’ve got to get the BOB Revolution jogging stroller so that we no longer have to take turns running.)

We all got up around 4:45 AM to head down to the club’s hotel ballroom, where we got ready and chatted with friends from the FTM program. Here is Dave’s 9:20 pace group.

20 group

The Critter and I and several friends started our spectating at about 1.3 miles into the course, right outside the hotel. Perfect! It was a chilly day, with strong breezes. I’m really glad that I brought so much to cover up the Critter, or he would have been COLD. We saw the wheelchair race go by…

wheelchair race

…including a two-person team that I think was Team Hoyt.
Team Hoyt?

I didn’t get a picture of what must have been the bravest person in the field: a woman doing the race on two crutches and legs that appeared to wobble back and forth very dramatically. She came along behind the wheelchairs, and I saw her again on Key Bridge, keeping up a good rhythm as quickly as she could. Just amazing.

We walked across the Key Bridge (including a stroller carry over a barrier that I think will never be erased from my mind) and saw Dave pass by for the second time.

Go Dave Go!

As the runners made their way up MacArthur Blvd and down Canal, we headed for the Whitehurst Freeway. It was very cool to be up there, looking down on the Potomac, but a bit stressful as there was less room for spectating strollers! After seeing Dave again around the 9 mile mark, the Critter and I parted ways with our friends and headed for Crystal City, where we would have a little downtime before seeing Dave again. Thankfully, we had JUST enough time to do a couple of diaper changes and a couple of feeding sessions before Dave came by around Mile 22. He looked good, and was on track for a great finish. He said later that it really helped to see us there.

We got caught up in Metro backups heading back to the hotel – waiting for an elevator at Rosslyn took forever. But there was no sense in getting all stressed about it, so we were both fine. Dave actually made it back to the hotel before we did! He had a shower and got a massage, and looked great. Congratulations, Dave!

Triumphant Dad and Critter

In other news, I started back to work 2-3 days/week last week and it’s going well so far. Part time work is great! We just got into day care and we’ll start the first week of December. Any advice on how to introduce the Critter to the day care experience? Right now we’ve just started a neighborhood cooperative babysitting group, where we each provide care 2 afternoons/week and get “free time” 2 afternoons/week. Yesterday was the first time that neither Dave nor I was with the Critter for about 2 hours. He screamed for a while, and our friends managed remarkably well, as their own babies were there also. I think all of them cried simultaneously for a while – it was bound to happen!

Today is Halloween, and I’ve got to get to work if I’m going to finish our costumes in time. No, we’re not trick-or-treating (we’ll probably go to the grocery store instead – much more pressing of a need!), but if you’ve got a new baby, you’ve GOT to dress him up, right?!? Pictures soon!


Milestones, of sorts October 22, 2007

Filed under: family,friends,holidays — crittermama @ 7:46 pm

The boy is now two months old, and still growing strong – well, WE’RE getting stronger, since we’re the ones lifting and holding him all the time. His 2-month checkup is Tuesday, and I full expect him to weigh in in the 99th percentile. At eight weeks, he was already FOURTEEN pounds. So I’m betting that he’s at least 15 pounds tomorrow.

The critter had his first visit to a pumpkin patch this weekend, with our friends the Rhodys. We have an annual “date” with them a few weeks before Halloween, picking pumpkins, enjoying the festival, and watching the young ones grow. Evie showed that she has a bit of a collector in her, as she would spot a choice pumpkin, pick it up, and add it to the growing collection in the wagon.

By the end of our visit to the patch, I swear she had about 15 in the wagon! I’m glad I wasn’t the one to tell her she could only choose one.

Dave and I were masters of the camera during this excursion, and took about a hundred pictures. Of course we had to get a family portrait amongst the pumpkins…


…and we had to get some pictures of the critter by himself. He still can’t fully hold his head up and certainly can’t sit up by himself, so we propped him up and started snapping away. And he began sliding… and sliding… and looking more and more grumpy, until this happened.

And it’s my favorite picture of the day! Hee.

More pictures soon – including pictures of him dressed as a girl and as a communist. And no, neither of those are his Halloween costumes.


8 weeks old! October 17, 2007

Filed under: body weirdness,development — crittermama @ 8:25 am

The Critter has hit the 8 week mark and is still doing well. We’ve had appointments with a pediatric GI specialist and our regular pediatrician, and both say that his blood-in-the-stool problems have pretty much abated. So I’m due to stay away from dairy and soy at least until the follow up with the GI specialist in early December. If it makes him happier, I’m very happy to do it.

I know I report this every time, but he really is HUGE. When he was weighed last Thursday, he came in at FOURTEEN pounds. He’s gaining about a pound a week. His cousin the Mooselet is 16 pounds, but he’s nearly six months old! A friend down the street calls the Critter the “neighborhood buddha baby.” He’s outgrown all of his 3 month clothes and is solidly in his 6 month clothes.

Here’s a picture that I love for several reasons:


First, he’s smiling. Yay! We spend a lot of time practicing that particular skill. Love it!
Second, he’s wearing a gorgeous t-shirt that his Aunt Melisa picked out.
Third, you can see the multiple chins this little guy has.

But mostly, it’s because he’s smiling. Hooray!


I blame my iPod – a return to running October 12, 2007

Filed under: body weirdness,running — crittermama @ 8:32 am

On Thursday, autumn finally arrived. I was looking forward to my solo time even more so than normal, given the weather. Since Dave is home on Thursdays, and takes a break from running that day, it’s a perfect day for me to go for a walk by myself – no stroller! I can go around the lake, which has a gravel path not well-suited for your basic stroller, and enjoy a little time to myself. I took my iPod with me, as I usually do, and set it to “shuffle.”

Roughly 17 minutes into the walk, one of my running songs came on: Alec Eiffel by the Pixies. I had to fight my reflex response to start running. But I only fought it for a few seconds – I gave in and picked up the pace. It was great! I ran for five minutes, walked for 10 and then ran another 6 minutes. I checked my running log (yes, nerd, I have a running log) and the last time I actually ran was back in late March/early April. SIX months ago! I felt a charge running through me that I hadn’t felt in a long time. For the rest of the day, I felt awake in a way that I remembered from pre-pregnancy. On Thursday, I didn’t run fast, and I felt slow and heavy, but man, was it good to be back out there.


Greenin’ it up for the Critter October 9, 2007

Filed under: development,home training,profession — crittermama @ 8:47 pm

Y’all are all aware that I’m Ms. Conservation and many of you have probably been subject to one rant or another about how we can make the world better by using less, recycling, caring for wildlife and being conscious about the impacts of our behaviors and shopping habits. So here’s a little post about a few of the things that we’re trying to do to so that the Critter will have a nice planet to have his own kids in.

Picture first, then the rest of the post is below…


First – and I’ve talked about this before – we pained the nursery with paint that has no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – that’s what causes that lovely “new paint smell.” VOCs may be passed along to a growing baby in the womb, and can be found in breastmilk. There’s a great section in Sandra Steingraber’s book “Having Faith” about all of the chemicals and compounds that may be passed along in breastfeeding – and how breastfed babies really are the top of the food chain, not adults.

Second, we reckoned that we’d be doing a lot of laundry with the little one, so we replaced our old-and-busted washer & dryer with new, energy-efficient front loaders. Of course, there’s no such thing as an energy efficient dryer, but it’s better than the old one.

Third – and this is the one that I’ll write most about in this post – we decided to cloth diaper the boy. I had always heard the basics of the cloth vs. disposable debate and believed the conclusion that it all kind of evened out in the end: that disposables were a huge component of landfills, but that washing cloth diapers took up lots of resources in washing and sanitizing. So I have to hand it to my youngest sister, and mom of the Mooselet, for getting me started. She is cloth diapering (or CDing, according to the lingo) in rural Alaska, in part because of landfill considerations (I think they can see their local landfill/trash heap from their house) but also because she is one thrifty mother. Seriously – if anyone ever needed some fast cash when we were growing up, you knew she had it. You just had to grovel to her to get your hands on it!

Anyway, in the long run, it does work out that CDing is cheaper than using disposables. [Side note: I almost typed “regular diapers” rather than “disposables” there – it’s amazing how ingraned it is that we should all be using disposables!] There are various online calculators that give a comparison of what you would spend over the “lifetime” of diapering your child – 2-3 years! It’s pretty striking.

We’re using two kinds of cloth diapers now – and they are VERY different from the old-fashioned pins and plastic covers that our mothers had to deal with (assuming that few fathers changed diapers back then if they could help it – I know mine didn’t!). One kind is called FuzziBunz, which we bought from a friend. We’re using size small now, but I think the Critter is going to grow out of them before too much longer. We’ve got 9 of these and they’re very trim for a cloth diaper. These are great to take along in the diaper bag.

We have about 15 bumGenius! diapers, and look forward to using these for a loooooong time. They’re one size, and will grow along with the Critter. So the money we spent on them will last as long as he’s in diapers. These are a bit bulkier, but they’re really great for overnights. The downside is that once he learns how to use his hands, he might be able to rip the velcro tabs off and run around naked as a jaybird. I fully expect this.

“But what about the poo?” you may ask. It all comes out in the wash. We’ve got a bag lining our diaper pail (just a trash can with a lid) that also goes in the wash along with all the diapers. For breastfed babies, it’s not a big deal to wash the poo. Once he starts on solids, though, we will likely get a sprayer attachment for the potty that helps to get big stuff off. In the washer, the diapers get a pre-soak and an extra rinse on top of the regular load, and just a bit of detergent. Too much clogs up the absorbent layer, and that’s not good for diapers. And everything goes in the dryer. Piece of cake.

Unfortunately, there aren’t any stores around our home where you can walk in and buy all of this stuff. Babies R Us certainly doesn’t have it. It’s very much a niche/online market right now. We’ve used and have been very happy with them. I’m hoping some some enterprising person in our area will see how many people are interested in CDing and will start an actual store. Fingers crossed!

That’s my testimonial/encomium for cloth diapering – hope you enjoyed it!