Archive for September, 2013

Two Months of Love and Some Pre and Post Natal Gems

28 September 2013
Reading Dr. Seuss' Hop on Pop with Maeve this week

Reading Dr. Seuss’ Hop on Pop with Maeve this week

All is going very well.  I am loving being with Maeve and Joe.  In particular, I love watching the way she moves her fingers, the moments when she looks in my eyes and, as the days pass, seeing the expression in her features and body becoming more clear, articulate.  I love the way she migrates around (surprisingly far and fast)  just by the wending of her limbs,  head and neck.

I love how utterly self possessed she is – she is sure – and I marvel, sometimes shudder, at how completely vulnerable she is.  Her presence seems to have flipped a switch in me around ways I have limited myself in the past.  I have more resolve to achieve my goals than before.  The days fly by.  I can’t believe it’s already been two months.

Here are three great parenting resources have come on my radar in the last couple of weeks:

Sample illustration from The Female Pelvis

Illustration from The Female Pelvis by Blandine Calais-Germain

My best friend Shinehah sent me a book called The Female Pelvis: Anatomy & Exercises – which gives incredibly clear, simple information (in words and diagrams -including the one at at the top of this post) about the organs in the female pelvis and what happens in the pelvis with pregnancy and birth.  I really appreciate having a clearer picture of all the parts and how they fit together and change through pregnancy and delivery.  Seems to me really great information for any female to have.  The Female Pelvis was written by Blandine Calais-Germain and published by Eastland Press(more…)

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Baby Maeve at Eight Weeks: Trips, Tummy Time, and More

24 September 2013
All aboard! Maeve's first trips on the NY/NJ subway systems

All aboard! Maeve’s first trips on the NY/NJ subway systems

I am continuing my weekly dadblog series, with posts roughly every Tuesday whether there’s really news to report or not. Mostly it’s about posting the latest photos of Maeve to share with friends and family.

Maeve is still sleeping a lot. It may be her favorite activity these days.

Maeve is still sleeping a lot. It may be her favorite activity these days.

As usual, she had been spending time growing, sleeping, eliminating, crying, staring.  (more…)

Visiting the Audubon Ballroom’s Malcolm X Memorial

21 September 2013
Malcolm X, Maeve and me. Life size statue of Malcolm X at the Shabazz Center at the Audubon Ballroom - the site where Malcolm X was assassinated.

Malcolm X, Maeve and me. Life size statue of Malcolm X at the Shabazz Center at the Audubon Ballroom – the site where Malcolm X was assassinated.

Yesterday, Carrie and I took Maeve across (actually under) the Hudson River for the first time. We visited New York City, specifically the Audubon Ballroom and attended the Bronx River Alliance’s annual Upstream Soiree event – at the Bronx Zoo. The Audubon Ballroom is the site where Malcolm X was shot and killed on February 21st 1965. It’s now the site of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center.

This post will be sort of travelog – telling the dadblog experience of travelling in the city, and a few thoughts on Malcolm X, whom I am big fan of. I chose (about 20 years ago) the style of my glasses based on Malcolm’s. Read my earlier blog post about Malcolm X here.

Getting going - Carrie, Maeve and stroller - ready for our first trip into the big city.

Getting going – Carrie, Maeve and stroller – ready for our first trip into the big city.

The day began at our place in Jersey City. (more…)

Maeve at Seven Weeks, Time Passing Quickly

18 September 2013
One more Maeve close-up

In the last few days Maeve’s face seems more expressive, distinctly more articulate than even just last week

Tomorrow is seven weeks since Maeve’s arrival.  It feels like time is passing so quickly. I think its because becoming a parent just overtakes you in a way that not much else in life does.

Last night I dreamt that I was crying the way Maeve cries when she is really upset and in my mind I heard that what I was saying in baby talk was the word Mom, just Mom over and over. Maybe I was remembering how purely I felt when I was Maeve’s age – being around her is reminding me.  Its sad that many people in our culture are around infants as little as they are. It says a lot about our society.

I got connected with a holistic parents group in the last couple of days and feel a great sense of relief.  There are lots of other people who are cloth diapering and not vaccinating their young ones. Turns out I was going to a new moms support group that was just too mainstream.  I don’t think of myself as super alternative (always hoping/wishing I guess that my values aren’t the exception) but keep running into the fact that I am, even in a dense urban place like Jersey City.

She’s still pretty unpredictable. No discernable schedule. I get worried when she sleeps for long stretches during the day and worried/overwhelmed on other days when she doesn’t take a nap of any length.

When she is deeply asleep I get worried because her breathing is so shallow and her body gets so limp.

I think about writing about becoming a parent often but have a hard time getting myself to do it – partly because time seems to be flying by and I want to just be in the experience. From everything I hear, I’m going to be so busy for the couple of decades I won’t have a chance to read this again.

Makers: Documentary on Women’s Movement

18 September 2013

This week my husband Joe and I saw the excellent new PBS documentary on women’s liberation called Makers – was really interesting to think on my experience as a female growing up in the 70s and 80s and as a young woman in the 90s. It also got us talking about what sort of world our daughter is growing up into.

One of the interesting things about the documentary is seeing TV commercials I grew up watching. These ads showed me role models, though I wasn’t even conscious of it. These images were all around me – the water I swam in. I didn’t notice, but the images seeped in – so deep so early.

Given when I was born (1969), I got the message that the Women’s Movement was something that happened – that was complete. That women and men were now equal. When in reality this wasn’t true. This conflict between what I was told and what I experienced was very confusing. On top of that, there was the expectation that women are somehow magically going to do everything: have a career and be a housewife and be a mom and have a husband.

The documentary Makers is in three 1-hour parts. Right now they’re all on YouTube. Part 1 is above. Go here for part 2 and part 3. Makers covers from the 1950s through pretty much the present day. I recommend it highly.

Baby Maeve at Seven Weeks: Growth, Gaze

17 September 2013
Maeve asleep on her dad's chest, this morning.

Maeve asleep on her dad’s chest, this morning.

Maeve turned 7 weeks old today – Tuesday September 16th. This is my weekly dadblog entry – including plenty of photos, but not all that much news.

Maeve about to express herself

Maeve about to express herself

Again she’s been spending most of her time asleep and breastfeeding. She poops and pees a lot, mostly in her diaper, sometimes in the adult toilet. My wife Carrie reports that Maeve has smiled twice briefly so far… though I didn’t see it (or photograph it) yet! Maybe I need to scowl less around my daughter, no?

She’s been kind of up and down last week. A few days she slept and hung out fairly quietly all day… then a few days she barely slept at all, with intermittent bursts of wailing inconsolably… generally in the early evening.  (more…)

Baby Maeve at 6 Weeks: First Bottle and More

10 September 2013
Maeve this week - sometimes pretty focused!

Maeve this week – sometimes pretty focused!

Another week under her belt (though she’s actually not wearing belts yet), Maeve is now six weeks old. She was born July 30th 2013, and I’ve been doing weekly dad-blog posts to share her with family on the West Coast, and the world at large.

A photo to show that the weather is cooling off and we do actually dress Maeve up sometimes.

A photo to show that the weather is cooling off and we do actually dress Maeve up sometimes.

Again, no earth-shattering developments this week, but plenty of photos and a few updates to post. Maeve has been mainly breast-feeding, pooping, peeing.  (more…)

Appreciations on Joe’s 50th Birthday

2 September 2013
As a way to commemorate this milestone birthday of 50 years my love, I asked your family and a few of your close friends to write messages of appreciation for you.  They wrote some pretty great, thoughtful messages which are included here:
From your nephew Miles Gastil:

Happy Birthday Uncle Joe!

I hope you have an amazing birthday. You deserve it! I am so happy you now have a family to call your own. I know you will be as good as a father as you are an uncle. You have been a wonderful influence in my life and I look forward to becoming closer with your growing immediate family. You’re an amazing artist who constantly inspires me to draw. I look at your sketches and paintings and see them as a goal for me to someday achieve that kind of beauty in my drawings. I also enjoy playing chess with you and look forward to more games, and helping you teaching your kid how to play someday. Happy Birthday Uncle Joe.

Love you guys! Miles

From your nephew Garrett Gastil:

Happy 50th Birthday Uncle Joe!

You have always been one of the most fun people to be around. When I was a kid, I remember that I would always be excited to see you because you would pick me up and throw me around your body.

(more…)

Newborn Maeve at Five Weeks: One-Month Check-Up, My Birthday and More

1 September 2013
Happy parents Carrie and Joe with our 5-week-old daughter Maeve

Happy parents Carrie and Joe with our 5-week-old daughter Maeve. We don’t have a lot of photos of the three of us together… this one was taken by Carrie’s brother Bob earlier today.

It’s been a relatively uneventful week for baby Maeve, born July 30th 2013, about to turn five weeks old as I post this. Yesterday, my wife Carrie posted some of her thoughts at one month. I am going to post briefly with plenty of photos and a few thoughts. I’ve been posting weekly updates on my our daughter’s progress, find earlier ones here.

Maeve sure looks cute when she's sleeping and moving around

Maeve sure looks cute when she’s sleeping and moving around

(more…)