Tuesday, June 30, 2009

We’ve been slacking on the blog but Ben’s sleeping schedule or lack thereof has made for some unmotivated parents. So unmotivated that Matt didn’t even go to soccer on Sunday which is SHOCKING (when we dated Matt would leave Hoboken NJ at 4am to drive home to Maryland in time to make his morning soccer games). Ben must be going thru some kind of growth spurt because he is fussy as all heck and wants to eat all the time (he is truly our kid) which means every hour or two hours throughout the night. Matt and I have been trading shifts during the night but we are both pretty exhausted. Thank god for Baubie who watched him for a few hours on Sunday so both of us could nap.

It got so bad last night that at 4:44am Matt turned to me and said, I’m fine with one, lets not have any more kids.

It’s funny, a few weeks ago my friend Tom called and left me a voicemail saying he was home with the Beast and to call him back. I couldn’t believe he would refer to his son Ben (or Original Ben as Tom calls him since he beat our Ben out of the gate by a few weeks – our Ben is referred to as Subsequent Ben or Ben version 2) as a beast. Now beast is one of the tamer things I call our Ben. Beast, Demon child, and Satan are just a few of the endearments I utter as I am rocking him for 30 minutes trying to cajole him to sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I love Ben, its just that at 2:30 sometimes I don’t like him very much.

Ben has found his hands, in a big way. He is constantly trying to gauge out his eyes or grab at the bottle. He’s even found his thumb to suck for a brief moment, though he much prefers his pacifier. Once his pacifier is in his mouth, good luck getting it out. The kid has Superglue like strength where you feel as if you might just lift his whole body up via his pacifier because it’s suctioned in there so good.

During out blogging lapse, Ben went to the pediatrician for his two week check up. Everything is looking good. He has regained his weight to his birth weight and now weighs around 9lbs 4oz. They took some blood from his heel which he did NOT like one bit. Did one of his mouth open, silent cries where his body is crying but no sound comes out. So very sad. In other big news, his umbilical cord finally fell out this week after having it cauterized by the pediatrician. It was pretty gross. I just can’t fathom how people save it or do things with it. Sentimental, I am not, it went right into the Diaper Genie along with a poopy diaper.

Now that the umbilical cord is gone we can give Ben more baths. I am starting to get the hang of giving Ben baths but haven’t quite mastered holding a wet baby in order to wash his backside. He’s a very slippery worm. He’s surprisingly calm during the bath process, I expected meltdowns but he’s pretty mellow. However he did get me back by peeing in his drying blanket after the bath. That’ll show mommy. I hope Maxy doesn’t learn that trick.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What they say and What they really mean

Over the past two weeks, I've gotten pretty good at figuring out what Big Ben needs and wants when he his crying. But I've also recently discovered that there is a whole other non-spoken language uttered by friends and family when it comes to their needs and wants.

For example:

If it is 2am, Big Ben is crying, and my wife nudges me and tiredly says, "You want me to take this one?" she really means, "Hey get up slacker and go feed and/or change our kid. I had him all day."

Any sentence that starts with the words "Your son" means that the rest of the sentence will be bad news.

Contrarily, any sentence that starts with words "Our son" as in "You'll never guess what our son did today" is pretty much going to be good news - usually to my wife's credit somehow.

Loud crying followed by snorting, followed by head thrashing against chest means "feed me now dad or mom!"

As much as I'm dying to take credit for it, I know that any smiles that Ben offers at this point is due to gas - specifically the release of gas. On the other hand, I have to admit that also makes me smile.

Anytime a friend or family member asks "are you getting any sleep" they really are thinking "I know they aren't getting any sleep because I wasn't at this stage - I just want to hear another person say it out loud so I can laugh inside - sucker"

When grandma calls and asks how we're doing it really is just filler until she feels enough words have been spoken and she can safely ask to come over and play/hold Ben.

And these are just a few that I've learned so far. I welcome all of your thoughts and suggestions to help me build out my "what is not being said" vocabulary. Please provide them in the comment section below.

Oh wait - I have one more:

When my wife says "For the love of God put down that f@&%n computer and stop blogging" well, she really means that...good night!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Me and My DEN Family

Written by Big Ben

Today I got to meet my DEN Family and boy did they spoil me! First of all Uncle Brad walks in the room and I went from crying to ahhhh 'that's the spot' immediately - it's like I was always an angel and never ever anything else... ever. Uncle Justin said so. I totally had these guys snowed.

The crew also brought dinner for my mom and dad which they munched on while I was gulping down my own formula. Of course I was the only one to poop and burp after my dinner - I have no shame - hey I'm only two weeks old.

If that wasn't enough my DEN family brought my parents and me the best gifts! They were so creative and appropriate. Dad's still laughing at the Buttpaste - yeah that's right I said buttpaste - made you laugh too right? I was told I'm not allowed to eat it like the paste my dad ate in school. But that, my friends, is for a different posting. I also scored the coolest socks, gift cards, clothes, binkies, burp cloths, tylenol and rattle. And my mom and dad also got tylenol, dinner from Austin Grill, and earplugs - dad has those in right now because mom's snoring.

Oh yeah you should know that when the ladies came in and it was time to make poppa proud. Ahhh yeah (bow now chicka dow now). I got primo snuggle time with Aunties Jen,Shannon and Jannita and, let me tell you, I was the MAN. I even copped my first feel. I was smooth too. I pretended to yawn and went for the boob - you know the move. Dad told me that's how I came to be but I'm not sure what that means.

All of my cool stuff plus more cool pix are in the cooliris collage to the right and below - just scroll to the right. You can also click on the picture link under the recommended link section on the right.

Thanks again DEN Family you guys are the bestest!

Mom and Dad told me that you can come back for a sleep over too - I'll even share my dad's earplugs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My First Father's Day

Wow kind of weird to say, but kind of cool too! Even though I didn't get to sleep in (Big Ben was up at 3, 4 and 5 am), I did get to play a full 90 minutes of soccer, get great gifts and cards from my wife and family, eat a burger and dog for dinner and celebrate with my parents and in-laws over ice cream cake. Really...does it get any better than that?

This weekend was also great because Big Ben got to meet his Uncles Dave and Rusty as well as his Aunt Debbie. And he hung with his Uncle Andy and Aunt Wendy in the hospital so he's already making the rounds!

For those who have requested more pix - you got 'em! We added more to the ever expanding Flickr file - see CoolIris app to the lower right-hand. We've also added a direct link to the Flickr page over on the right-hand side under the recommended links. This link will always default to the newest pictures first.

To download any of the images simply follow these steps:
  1. Click on any image.
  2. In the upper right-hand corner of the image you will see a tiny box, click on this box
  3. This will take you to the Flickr page and image
  4. Right-click on the image and choose Save Image As
  5. Rename the file (it will originally be a bunch of letters and numbers)
  6. Save it on your computer (desktop, my docs, etc)
  7. Once it is on your computer you can print the picture.
There you go Zeidie - instructions as promised :)

Other lessons learned this week. One - Never, ever, and I mean ever, change formulas mid-stream. Boy was that a mistake. Two - tell your wife you love her often - I still need to be better with this one - baby (not the two week one...the 30 something one) if you're reading this - I love you.

Next week is a big week for Big Ben because he gets to meet his DEN family. We are looking forward to this.

Ok one more thing - I think this may be my favorite image of the weekend:

Keep coming back to share in this crazy adventure we call family. As always your comments, thoughts and love are most appreciated!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thank God for Baubie, Zeidie, and the Grandparents

It’s Saturday morning at 6:50 and we haven’t posted in days. I feel like I went to school without doing my homework or something. As I type, Ben is in his port-a-crib deciding whether he wants to fuss or not and the dog is outside sleeping (probably thinking “man this is the only place I don’t get woken by that loud new toy my parents brought home about a week ago”).

About a half an hour ago I really impressed the heck out of myself by managing to simultaneously burp Ben and give Maxy a belly rub at the same time. It’s not so easy, believe me. But I am getting used to this one arm world where I have to complete normal everyday activities with Ben in arm. I am sure things will get easier once the upgrade parts for Ben (the non wobbly neck feature) come about. Kid is like a damn bobblehead.

We learned a very important baby lesson this week. Under no circumstances should one ever change a baby’s formula. We had gotten free samples of Similac, Enfamil, etc in the mail and had finished up the Similiac so we started using the Enfamil. That’s when demon child reared his ugly head for about 24 hours. Apparently it doesn’t agree with him and he made that KNOWN. Thank god Baubie (my mom) pointed out that his crankiness started along with the new formula. Needless to say we booked it to Babies R Us and bought the Similac immediately so demon is now angel again. Or as much of an angel as an almost two week old baby can be. Last night he slept in three hour sets which was great. I think it was because of my pleas to him yesterday afternoon.

Matt was taking me out for a Birthday Mulligan (a golf term meaning do over I believe because my birthday was hijacked by cranky kid the day before – see Enfamil issue) for Sushi and cocktails ( WHOO HOOO AFTER NINE MONTHS OF ABSTAINING).

This week Ben got to meet his Baubie (Yiddish for Grandmother) and Zeide (Yiddish for Grandfather) since my parents drove down from Boston. He won them over immediately just like he did his Grandma and Grandpa who are here in Columbia MD. Our little hot water bottle man has spent significant time in the crook or on the chest of all his grandparents. And the grandfathers pay special attention to Maxy to make sure he’s getting his quota of love and belly rubs. Both our furry and non furry kid are very lucky to have such great grandparents and I am sure that Matt and I will be taking full advantage of their willingness to watch over our little monsters.

I think Ben found his hands over the last few days and its like wrestling an octopus to try and give him his bottle without him either getting his hand in the way, or using his hands to claw out his own eyes. Plus he’s like The Incredible Hulk bursting his way out of his swaddles. As much as I think I’ve got him wrapped up, a few hours later there is a hand poking out. Future magician/escape artist in the making… maybe.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

One Week In....

(Mom's Point of View)
Ben has obviously heard me talking smack about him over the last few days where he provided us with a few nights of all night entertainment in the form of his refusal to go to sleep unless it was on our chests. Matt and I took turns at the fun game of ‘calm the demon’ and ‘be the mattress for Ben’, with one parent in our room and the other one passed out gratefully in the guest bed room. Well Ben heard our pleas and for the last two nights has been the true example of ‘fat babies sleep better.’ Last night he begrudgingly went down at 10:40 in his Ben Burrito outfit (see Flickr for a really cute Burrito Pix that Matt uploaded this morn), and then didn’t wake up until 3 for his feeding. In an effort to feed the beast we started increasing how much formula we’ve been giving him and this milk coma thing seems to be working in our favor. The night before he only woke us up twice. GO BEN GO. Though I am sure he’s just messing with us, trying to throw us off our game.

I can’t believe it’s been a week since Ben was born. In one way it seems like it’s been a long time but on the other hand I can’t believe it’s been only a week since we’ve had him, given how he’s taken over our lives (I mean that in a good way, mostly, okay at 3am not so good but when he’s passed out on you and you are at peace good way.). It’s been fun to observe all his little baby quirks. Like his piglet snorts and his head bounces on your chest when he wants food NOW. Or his little “Boston Pop’s’ move where all of a sudden his little hands throw themselves up in the air on their own, like he’s conducting the 1812 Overture with gusto. Or just those bizarre faces that he makes at you when you talk to him or start making up songs to sing to him (he especially liked the Burps and Farts song I serenaded him with the other day). He also seems to be fond of my ‘put a plug or a cork in it little man’ song that I sing to him as he starts fussing when I change his diaper as I plop the pacifier in his mouth.

The one constant over the last week has been Matt and my constant gratitude for our friends and family. We could not ask for a better network for us or for Ben. Our friends have been far better friends than we ever were when they became parents. I apologize for that. I SO DIDN’T UNDERSTAND UNTIL NOW. Thank god we have had everyone to turn to with our questions, with our concerns (can you vibrate your kid in the bouncy seat too much), and for just letting us babble on about how cute our kid is. Everyone’s generosity is just too much. We really appreciate it!

Life Imitating Art

(Dad's Point of View)

There is a famous landmark in Brussels. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin.

How does this apply to our storyline thus far?

Well yesterday dad learned a valuable lesson - don"t forget to put on the pee pee tee pee while changing Big Ben"s diapers.

I turned my head for one second to get a wipe and all of a sudden I had my own little peeing fountain going off in the house. And I couldn't do anything but sit back in amazement and marvel at the height and volume produced by my little guy - I'm talking ceiling height!

Now, and forever more, that thing is getting covered.

More pix, as always, are posted in the slide show to the right (just not of Big Ben performing his work of art)

Note: I'm playing with a new image browser called CoolIris. To scroll through the images please hold your left mouse button down (you'll see the white hand close) and then move your mouse left and right. Click once on an image to expand the picture. Click on the little square in the upper right-hand part of image to go to Flickr page.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Getting Back on Track.

I know, I know we missed a post yesterday. I actually didn't open up my computer yesterday but I can tell you that it was pretty much the same routine: Cry (during night), sleep (during day), poop, eat, repeat.

However, I can tell you that we are loving the bouncy chair. Thank you so much Auntie-Aimee! This is the miracle chair. It puts Big Ben to sleep. An hour in the chair yesterday seemed to help him sleep through the night last night! Or maybe we just got lucky.

Either way - we had a much less frazzled night last night. One of the things we did do, with trepidation, was wake Big Ben for an evening eating session. And even though we love when he's sleeping, I can honestly say, we love watching him wake up better.

Watch to the end to see why he's his father's child.

Don't forget to fill out the Big Ben's Playlist Survey. Four questions to help me build out Big Ben's audio and literary library. You can find a link to the survey in the previous post below or on the right-hand side of your screen under Help us Create Big Ben's Playlist.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

We're Home!

We got home around 2pm yesterday afternoon and, all of a sudden, it was real.

My parents came over with dinner, pizza, and Max. If Max was interested in his new brother you could have fooled me. But that's ok he hung with Daddy, at least when he wasn't trying to grab a piece of pizza from Grandma and Grandpa.

Ben woke up this morning in a brand new environment and started his first day at home. I learned that Ben is a big fan of sleeping on mom or dad's chest and not such a big fan of sleeping in his Pack-N-Play.

A special shout out to Debbie Blackburn for her advice to stick a pinky finger in Ben's mouth when he starts fussing. This has saved our sanity as well as well as our marriage ;)

So Lori and I tag-teamed Ben duty last night and in between late night feedings, changings, and pleadings to sleep, Ben and I watched a lot of YouTube videos on my iTouch - he's a big fan of D*in a Box (Does that make me a bad dad?)

When it came time to switch off sleeping shifts Lori and I would hand baby over and head to another room for a quick cat nap. Now I could be delirious, but I think there was one moment where I think we actually slapped each other five to tag out.

Who knows what tonight will bring - but at least we have four nights under our belt and I'm told that there is light at the end of the tunnel - or 10 days (24o hours) from now (which will be 2 weeks since Ben came into our lives).

Now for the Parent 2.0 piece. I've been putting together Big Ben's play and book lists. I have already created one list but would love to tap into your thoughts to help me make it even bigger and better.

So I've created a SURVEY (click here) using PollDaddy.com (a free website that let's you embedd surveys, polls, and ratings into your blogs, wikis, and websites).

Note you can also access this link on the left-hand side of the screen under Big Ben's Playlist (go ahead move your mouse over there and take a gander)

I'm dying to see your responses - there is no wrong answer!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Thank God It's Friday!

This week has been a whirlwind of firsts (going to rent a breast pump so powerful it can "Tune in Tokyo"- thank you for that term Jannita) and a tidal-wave of emotions (changing Ben after his circumcision yesterday - I literally felt my heart break).

However, (insert weather cliche here) today we finally get to go home! The hospital and its staff have been super - we really couldn't have asked for a better experience.

But, I think, we're both ready to have the bedroom door stay closed for longer than 10 minutes. Plus we both really miss Max! Too bad this hospital isn't dog-friendly :)

Besides all of that, and I don't want to brag here, but I think we're ready. You see yesterday I received the #1 Dad cookie from my parents during their visit and you know they don't just hand those things out.

Now notes from Mamma Bear (aka Lori):
I wanted to steal a little space on the blog that has overtaken my husband's waking moments when he's not taking care of Ben and me. This has been a week like no other. I have to say the c-section experience was not as bad as I thought. It was very surreal to go through it but I have to say the scardy cat part of me was quite happy to be fileted rather than go through undetermined hours of labor.

Matt has been awesome with Ben. Believe it or not I have yet to change a diaper while in the hospital as he and the nurses have changed every one. I am not so silly as to think I can get away with this forever but I sure as hell am going to play the 'c-section card' as long as I can to continue this full service. And these diapers have been gross. I have never seen Matt so horrified yet willing to do it. This from the man I need to beg to do carry the laundry for me.

I have also been pleasantly surprised at how un-type A I have been. I actually feel relaxed with this whole new mom thing. And thats while off the Percoset! I even had one nurse fooled that I wasn't a first time mom. Me... relaxed about something?? I am sure this will change once I get home.

A few more thoughts
  1. I never thought I could care less about how many people I flash in a day. If this hospital were New Orleans I'd have bags of beads by now.
  2. And on the same note. I never thought I'd have to try to hard to get a man (young as he is) interested in my breasts. Come on little man!
  3. Mesh underwear. Moms you know what I mean. Enough said.
  4. I find many of my nicknames for Maxy (Boo, Boo Bear, Poopy Head) all work for Ben as well.
  5. Yes I have checked my blackberry while Ben slept on me. And no I don't feel guilty.
  6. I never thought I would place so much importance on passing gas. Matt and Ben had no problems showing off this ability while I struggled to do so in order to eat solid foods. Finally victory. Fun for me, not so much for others in the room.
  7. I know all moms say this but seriously isn't Ben one of the cutest kids you've ever seen?
My little Ben Burrito (he is swaddled so well) is starting to squirm so I'll sign off for now.

That ends the note from Lori it also reminds me to lock my computer next time I leave the room (just kidding my love!)

We have really enjoyed everyone's support, visits, comments, phone calls and letters. So much so I've incorporated your comments into a word cloud and posted it below.

I used TagCrowd.com to create the word cloud because Wordle.net seemed to be giving me some issues. But both sites are free and Wordle has a more options for background and color.

In case you are curious, a Word Cloud is a graphic representation of the words you enter into the program. Therefore, the more often a word is used, the bigger it appears on the screen.

Both programs are super easy to use. In fact, all you have to do is drag, drop and submit. I plan to print the graphic below, frame it and place it in Ben's room. Now your words will continue to spread cheer for a very long time!

We'll continue to add pix of Ben, family and friends. They'll populate to the left as well as live in that URL I posted a few days ago.

And of course we'll continue to continue this blog - only this time from the comfort of home as a complete family, Mom, Dad, Ben and Max.
created at TagCrowd.com

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Top 10 Things We've Learned from Big Ben

10. The cry that sounds like a cat in heat is a warm up for something much louder and sustained - get thee to Dad's lap ASAP.

9. The night time is the right time...for no one to sleep

8. You have 10 seconds to wipe his butt or well, remember that cat?

7. We like Ben Folds and Cold Play

6. The little man is as stubborn as his father (but, surprisingly, doesn't like boobs as much)

5. Ben likes the bounce

4. There is nothing better than a full belly of warm milk

3. We both now know how to change a diaper

2. His cries make my heart ache - I'll do anything to make them stop

1. Do not, under any circumstances, interrupt nap time for a "family moment' (unless you dig the fore mentioned cat sounds)

We also learned that we have a huge support network and lots of loving friends. Thank you all for your support and great comments (both on Facebook and here on this Blog). We've been reading them to Big Ben each day! Many have made us laugh or snort Big Ben style (Craig, Jen, Mike - to name a few). And, in true 21st Century style, I'm coallating the comments to make a Wordle to frame for Ben when he comes home.

Thank you again for sharing this adventure with us!

Sleep is Overated.

Ok, so here we are the morning of the second day of Big Ben's life. Can anyone tell me when they added more hours to the clock because man was that one heck of a long night!

But I think Ben's look says it all this morning :)
And don't you think this picture is calling out for a caption? We'd love to see your thoughts in the comments below.

I'm going to go with "You want to do what now?"

And can you blame the guy? He's been pricked, prodded, and poked so far. He has also been up ALOT figuring things out since entering this world. In fact last night we experienced a lot of firsts. First sneezes, first farts (dad was kind of proud of those), first burp, and the first of many, many snorts - so much so that there was a sleep deprived moment when we thought we were holding a swaddled piglet and not a baby boy.

Overall it has a been a fantastic 24 hours. Even though I think we've slept a cumulative 3 hrs since yesterday at 5am, it has been neat to figure out Ben and watch Ben figure us out.

Lori has been a trooper. For being split like a cantelope only 12 hours ago, she is recovering awesomely. In fact, as I write this post, she's up and walking aroung...checking her Blackberry.

As for me, Lori calls me the baby whisperer since I seem to have figured out the quickest way, a mixture of rocking and bouncing, to soothe Big Ben. A technique I've almost perfected, guaranteed to go from cry to snuggle in less than a minute.

And speaking of keeping track of things, we've been keeping track of the top quotes uttered since leaving for the hospital. I submit them to you for your enjoyment :)
  • "Ouch I have a mosquito bite on my knuckle and it itches...no wait I think its a papercut and it really stings." "Um babe...you're about to have much more than a papercut soon!"
    Conversation between Lori and Matt Monday night before leaving for the hospital Tuesday morning.
  • "Oh my God...we're really going to be parents"
    Uttered in car on way to hospital
  • "It still doesn't feel real yet"
    Spoken by Lori as she was wheeled into OR
  • "I think we've given birth to a half pig half boy"
    Uttered some time this morning between 2-3am
I've posted and, will continue to add pix on Flikr. I've tagged them as "BenjaminEliMonjan" here is a link http://tinyurl.com/BenjaminEli

Mom and baby have now nodded off to sleep so I think I'll shut down and enjoy the temporary quiet...oh wait someone just snorted.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Mezoff-Monjans 2.0

We are on the cusp of expanding our family once again.

The first time we expanded we brought home Max from his foster home. But Max is different for a couple reasons. First, he has four legs and is furry. Second Lori didn't have to give birth to him which, I have to admit, would've been pretty strange.

Never the less, if you know Lori and I than you know how much Max is a part of our lives. You'll also know that we consider him our first child.

But I digress. We're moments away from being first-time parents of a two-legged being. And when I say cusp, we're talking hours. Yep - we are moving forward with a planned c-section tomorrow at 7:30 am. For those keeping score at home or or laying down large amounts of money in baby pools this is great inside information for you to have.

Baby Ben, aka Big Ben is on track to be 9 lbs 8 ozs and that my friends is big - scary big - big like I fully expect Ben to pop out and say - "wipe my butt b$%ch" - big.

But having said that both Lori and I are a mixture of excited, nervous, a little scared, and a whole lot of giddy. It will be the first of, I'm sure, many sleepless nights to come.

That's not to say we haven't been prepping. In the span of a few months we've (read: Lori) made huge changes to the house, landscaped like no other (read:Matt), and updated the Ben binder countless times - do I even need to say who is all about the binder here?

We've also practiced for this day. Boy have we. I mean we've gone to classes every Saturday and Sunday in May. And yesterday it was all about putting Garner Montgomery (Lori's Cabbage Patch Kid) in and out of Big Ben's car seat. Apparently this was mandatory after I accidentally popped the head off of our baby mannequin during infant CPR class. Who knew those things could fly so far?

I also was in charge of putting together the Pack-n-Play, which let me tell you is a misnomer. That thing was hard as heck to put together. Pack-n-play my you-know-what, I don't think I'm ever going to take it apart. I've just renamed it "Play." Forget that packing stuff.

So here we are 12 hours before we get to meet Ben for the first time. 12 hours before sleepless nights, 12 hours before we'll be trying to decipher what this cry means or that face means, 12 hours before we start to utter phrases like "did you just get peed on," or, "is that poop on your shirt?"

But we have our plan, we have our binder, we have our list and I'm just super excited for Ben to change all of that tomorrow!

Stay tuned for more news on Ben and the Mezoff-Monjan family as they embark on their next phase of an oh-so-interesting journey.