Monday, January 30, 2012


...please make it stop. 

Or at least let him get all his teeth at one time so we don't have to go through this over and over again.

Last Sunday, Jackson had a blow-out diaper in church. I stood up to bounce him during a prayer an a friend's husband had to come up to me and whisper, "diarrhea". Great. Not only are we both covered but I look like a completely incompetent parent for not even noticing! He has proceeded to have very messy diapers for the last week, soaking through both of our outfits, running down his leg and onto the floor (oh Lincoln would LOVE to get a lick of that) and requiring immediate immersion in a bath. It's a good thing I am way more comfortable with giving him baths now or this would be a very stressful process!  

I have suspected that he has been teething for weeks now and this has added to my suspicions. All symptoms can be explained away on their own but when put together hopefully mean he is getting his first pearly white!  If not, then he won't have anything to show for all the tears, screaming and pain he is going through. And then I just have a fussy baby with no excuse to give the babysitter or strangers in public who are giving me the stink eye for bringing a fussy baby into the store (well, today he was finally quiet and I was returning something at Farm Fresh before doing my shopping and the employee managed to pop not one but two huge balloons right near us...our trip ended before it even began, leaving me with no food for my babysitter tomorrow).  

Our life here at 14 weeks is characterized by: 
Heavy drooling (like 4 bibs in an hour)
Gnawing on things (he won't take a frozen anything but he will take his hands...until they blister, poor guy)
Loose stools (gross)
Coughing/gagging from so much drool (then I look like that mom who brings a sick kid out in public...I promise it's not a cold, he just can't swallow)
Not sleeping (sad for us...he was doing 8 hours somewhat consistently)
Fussing while eating (this is just a bummer for me; I really enjoy our time together and hate when he seems so frustrated and uncomfortable)
Acting like he is in pain (this is the worst. All I want to do is make it stop). 

But amidst the copious amounts of bodily fluids, tears and pain, he has moments like this one below where he is his usual smiling self and I just melt.  I realize that even though my left bicep is too tired to function anymore, I can still find a little more strength to hold and comfort him while he's teething.  I happened to talk to my nurse today and she said, "poor you", and I said, "No, poor Jackson".  I'll find a way to deal with his crying, my lack of sleep and general fatigue from taking care of him but he is the one who hurts.  I am starting to understand what it is like to be a parent and want to do anything to make your baby stop hurting.  I wish I could take the pain away from him, but until then, I am welcoming suggestions for making it through this time!

Monday, January 23, 2012

3 month birthday!

Time flies when you are having fun! Jackson turned 3 months on January 22nd and he just keeps getting cuter. Here are some pictures from our three month photo shoot.  
 It's hard to get him to sit up, all he wants to do is wiggle!
 He still loves those hands and has become a thumb sucker (not evidenced by this picture where he still wants to shove both hands into his mouth)
 Just chillin...this picture was taken after a HUGE blow out diaper at church. Jackson and I both got dirty with that one.
And, it wouldn't be a three month picture without a little, or a lot, of drool. His favorite pass-time...well, besides smiling and even a little laughing too!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Life as a dad, the many names of Jackson, and thoughts on baptism

Dad here, wanted to put in a word of two about what life is like as the father of a 3 month old.  It's amazing the difference a few weeks can make and incredible how much difference a smile can make.
After a long day or night at the hospital, a smiling baby is a welcome relief and makes it seem like not much else matters.  No longer does our little man stare through us, but actually seems to be engaging with eye contact which is really cool and makes him fun to hang out with!  He's been sleeping so well recently too which makes me wonder how we made it through the first few weeks when he was up and fussin' throughout the night.

who wouldn't want to come home to this?

Dad on a walk with his two boys.

Here's a few of the nicknames Jackson has earned over the past few months:

Vladamir Pootin' - in honor of Jackson's prolific diaper output and his love of the Prime Minister of Russia

Yackson- the Spanish pronunciation of his name

Lincoln-  let's be honest, our dog and baby have similar presidential names therefore sometimes it's easy to get them confused

Lord Fussikins-   during periods of extreme fussiness, Jackson assumes the role of an English king, though one who is as yet unable to express his demands and cries as a result.

Lil' J-   he is little and his name starts with the letter J.

Harry Pooter- not necessarily original, but applicable nonetheless

the babbuns-   this is one for any nerdy Lord of the Rings fans, Jackson's hobbit name, similar to Bilbo Baggins

Mr. Toots- this one is obvious

Agent Smiles- this is Jackson's secret spy name, our little boy disguises his crime-solving ability beneath the clever disguise of a smiling, helpless baby.
Agent Smiles- hot on a case.

While I'm posting, I wanted to also write a few brief words about Lil' J's recent baptism as I got a number of questions, especially from friends at work, about baptisms in general:

Baptism doesn't have anything to do with "being saved" or "becoming a Christian," nor is it merely a "religious" exercise nor does it make Jackson a "good person."
  Every day that I'm a father, I realize more how little control we as parents have over Jackson's life or what he will believe.  We can't even guess when our dog will throw up on the carpet next, let alone what tomorrow holds.  Jackson is a gift and it is amazing to have the chance and job to love and raise him as best we can, through all the ups and downs that will come our way.  Baptism to us is an outward sign of our intention to teach Jackson what we believe to be true and a sign of our church community to support us in that endeavor.

Being a Christian is not about being a good person.  It's not about hypocrisy and judgement and guilt as it has been made out to be over hundreds of years by Christians and non-Christians alike.  It's precisely the opposite.  We all think of ourselves as "good people."  Even on our best day though, you or I couldn't be a "good person" in God's eyes, but that is not the point- Christianity is not a religion of guilt and shame.  Instead it is one of grace.  What if there's not that much of a difference between this sweet baby boy that I'm holding in my arms and the "bad people" that show up on the news?  The reality to me is that every single one of us has made ourselves into gods, little idols.  We've taken good things such as money, looks, sex, kids, vacations, jobs, homes, stuff, friends, and made them into idols.  I'm not talking good idols like American Idol.  I'm talking things we worship and serve on a daily basis.  What if we were made to love and worship our creator instead of ourselves and all these things we've created?   What if there is a real God that we've all turned away from?  Wouldn't that be terrifying?  But what if this God doesn't come to us in anger and shame even though that's exactly what we deserve?  What if God loves us just as we are- insecure, foolish, childish, selfish little balls of stress that worship and serve ourselves and our desires?  That's where the grace comes in.  Not judgement, not Christian hypocrisy, but grace.  God loving his people enough that he would take all the junk and evil that forms a wall between us and him- that he would take that upon his own shoulders and be nailed to a tree 2000 years ago.  What if that's more than just a story?  What if there is a King and what if it's not you or me?  What if God meets us right where we are at because we are otherwise absolutely powerless to come to him?  So no, baptism doesn't make Jackson any more special to God, nor does it make him a "good person" or make us "good parents."  But at the same time, it's not something we take lightly or just do out of routine.  I'm sure we'll make all kinds of mistakes as parents, but we feel so fortunate to have this smiling, healthy baby boy as a part of our lives and are thankful that friends and family we able to share our little boy's baptism this past weekend!
the babbuns enjoying laying on the couch with Dad and watching Lord of the Rings!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jackson's baptism and my return to work

On Sunday, we had the joy of having Jackson baptized at our church in Norfolk, Trinity Presbyterian Church.  We are so blessed to call him our son and continually pray for God's guidance as we learn how to parent him.  We pray that he will become a strong man of God and we are so grateful for all of you who have prayed for him (and us!) and continue to do so.  

 Carter is reading the charge to us as parents that we acknowledge that Jackson is in need of a saviour and we will raise him in the grace and knowledge of the saviour we know, and the charge to the church to support Jackson as he grows.  Check out pastor Jack's face...he loves kids :)

 Getting baptized

 Our family (Jackson 12 weeks and still the king of spit-up!)

 The grandparents made it for the baptism (Pop pop and grandmom McKay, granddad and grandmother Beth Byrne). We also got a late Christmas present from great grandpa and great nana McKay, a children's Bible with special notes from both of them (Nana's is in Japanese, how special!) 

 Jackson LOVES Itsy Bitsy Spider and has started to mimic hand motions for that song! 

     On another note, I go back to work part-time tomorrow and have very mixed emotions about it. I am incredibly excited to go back to work because I really do love my job.  Working 20 hours should be a perfect amount of time to allow me to stay current, excited and not get worn down with a full 40 hours of patient care which would leave me yearning for Friday some weeks.  I'll be doing normal treatments, sports performance evals (runners, swimmers) and dry needling, making each and every day very different, which is what I enjoy about being a PT.  I'll have two 10 hour days which end at 7pm, a time that was exhausting when I first started, became more exhausting when I was pregnant and I think will just leave me missing Jackson now.  As he starts to have a more regular bed time at 7/8pm, I might not get a chance to see him until our middle of the night feeding and sometimes it's hard to be excited about a baby at 2am :)
     We have a babysitter from church/ODU coming to the house to stay with Jackson, which is an answer to prayer. She is amazing and I know she will take great care of our precious little boy. We had her over for dinner the other week and I proceeded to give her a full tour of every nook and cranny in the house, told her ALL about Jackson and went through the Babysitter Binder I prepared. As crazy as it all seems, giving her all the information has allowed me to have a great sense of peace about leaving him tomorrow.  Recently, people have been telling me that I am so relaxed, easygoing, etc both in my roles as "Heather" and "Mom", which many of you (myself included) may say is crazy! I am queen of to-do lists, maximizing time, cleaning and organizing. However, since getting married to Jonathan we have begun to rub off on each other in a very good way, allowing me to slow down, rest and enjoy more of life.  I think this phase of life with Jackson is a way to allow me to surrender some control, relax a little and enjoy where God has me, as part-time healer and part-time-stay-at-home-mom (I don't think there is such thing as a 'part-time mom' just a 'part-time-stay-at-home-mom'.) It is my wish that by working and parenting I will be able to do both with energy and joy.  I hope I can fully concentrate on work tomorrow knowing that Jackson is in good hands with Liz and that I am no less of a mother for wanting to work a little during the week.  

 Some precious cuddle time with Jackson in his new sling

 Changing time with daddy

 He loves being naked on his changing table (hopefully this stops at an appropriate point in his life!) Sometimes I bring him upstairs just to play and see him smile even if his diaper is clean. We adore his smile

Getting in 'tummy time' however we can while he is still smiling