Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A touch of the crazy.

I feel like I'm going a bit mad. Maybe this is something I should be talking to my health visitor about (did I mention the NHS sends medical professionals to your HOME during the postpartum weeks over here?), but why not discuss it with the blogsophere, right? I'm pretty sure I know the source of the problem anyway.

I made the conscious decision to stop writing about a week before the boy was born. Like I explained before, it was an attempt to savor -- rather than document -- the moment. Well, three blogs and a mere three pages scrawled in my journal later, I'm pretty sure not writing was a bad decision.

My brain is backlogged.

I've got lots on my mind and no outlet.

I've got pictures to post, people to thank, and stories to share.

I lie awake making lists and worrying, but I can't get anything done.

Basically, I've got a touch of the crazy.

Sleeping has not been my forte lately, but it's not because the boy has been keeping me up. He's actually a pretty decent sleeper. I've just been unable to fall asleep, despite my attempts at self-hypnosis and various relaxation CDs.

Today I'm making an earnest attempt to revert to the journal. I think if I can just pour my crazy onto the paper, I'll feel more like myself. In the mean time, if I've ignored your messages, ignored your phone calls, or inadvertently hurt your feelings, I am really, really sorry.

But enough of that ... how about instead of more moping, I post a few pictures of some sweet moments over the past month?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Surprise visitor and baby belly.

I love surprises, but I normally prefer being the one to plan and execute -- not the receiver (see me in action when I flew home without anyone's knowledge!). Every so often, my friends get together and pull one over on me. Last summer, my college roommate flew in from Austin for my birthday -- just a week before my wedding -- to treat me to a spa day. And, yes, she flew BACK to Louisville less than a week later to be my Matron of Honor.

I got another fantastic surprise one Sunday morning after the baby arrived, when Tyra knocked on my bedroom door . She'd been telling for weeks how bummed she was that should couldn't come visit me and the new baby. I don't know if she's a good liar, or if it's just easy to trick me over text message, but I believed her.

Need a spot of baby belly to brighten your day?
It was perfect timing, as I was deep in the baby blues and really missing my friends. She was only here for a couple of days, but it was enough time to take us out for some great meals, sing bawdy sea shanties to the boy, rub his baby belly, and catch up on Downton Abbey. Come to think of it, she may have actually flown 4000 miles across the ocean for the sole purpose of previewing Season 3...

Surprise! I've come to hold the baby, while you take a nap.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Whiskey Monster, the Dish Fairy, and video of my boy.

It's quiet in the Kaelin/Caldwell household this week. Our wee boy (you have to say "wee" if you are in Scotland) was born on the 16th of September, and we've had non-stop house-guests since he was 5 days old. It's been fantastic.

My mom was the first to arrive, and I was a weepy mess greeting her as she got off the train. She slept on an air mattress in our one-bedroom flat for two weeks, all the while cooking us dinners and taking the 6am shift of baby-holding during those early days when he refused to sleep anywhere but someone's arms (can you blame him?).

All familial units have now returned to their respective homes. We've had three nights without backup, and we have survived somehow. No one has consumed any of our whisky, so that's good. But also, no one has done the dishes ... it turns out the whisky monster and the dish fairy were one and the same. I am so grateful for the family help and the fact that both D and I have nothing to do except be together and take care of the boy (oh, and plot another international move, find a job, battle American health insurance companies, find a place to live, buy a car ... mmmm ... makes those 3am feedings seem easy).

Our boy is one month old and is steadily gaining a pound a week, the little piggy. He's outgrown his newborn clothes and started rolling over at three weeks and three days old. I'm trying really hard not to be one of those mums who constantly brags about her child (it's genetic, though, as I'm sure you know, if you've ever sat by my mum in a pub), but apparently rolling over isn't expected until the child is at least four months old. He's a genius! Or rather, he's very strong. I used to think intelligence was better than strength, but in looking at projected college tuition fees for the year 2030, I think I'm going to encourage this strength/agility prodigy. Athletic scholarships are much bigger than academic ones.

Here is video proof of his first feat of strength:

Friday, October 12, 2012

Nick Keir's new CD

If you're anywhere near the Edinburgh area tonight, you should go to Nick Keir's CD Release Show tonight.

Details first, then I'll get sentimental:

"The Edge of Night" CD Launch 
Friday, October 12
The Bongo Club
Moray House, 37 Holyrood Road, EH8 8BA
7:30 pm (doors at 7)
Support from Dick Lee and Fraser Fifield.
Tickets: £10

Link to Facebook Event

Okay, probably the entire reason David and I ended up moving to Edinburgh for a year, we owe to Nick. I didn't even know anyone in Scotland had heard of me, but esteemed Scottish musician Nick Keir, through a bizarre series of events, heard my song "Ballad of Motorcycle Joe," and recorded his own version. We exchanged a few business emails about publishing organizations and such, when Nick offered some great advice and suggestions on touring in the UK. Then I booked a tour and finally met Nick in October of 2008. This artist I'd never even met before not only had given me the confidence to book shows abroad, but he gave me and my tourmates the keys to his Edinburgh flat while he went and stayed with his mother for several days. Scottish hospitality is Southern hospitality times three.

I've been a huge fan of Nick's since we first met. He manages to balance a distinctly Scottish folk sound and storytelling with contemporary Americana ease. He's an unbelievable performer -- confident and deservedly so -- with excellent guitar skills and an ability to engage every audience I've ever seen him woo. His songs about Edinburgh make me love this city even more.

When my son was ten days old, he went to his first concert: Nick Keir at the Leith Folk Club. It was a perfect first live music event, and I'll never forgot dancing in the back of the room to "Slow French Waltz" (a song off Nick's new album) with David and the wee boy. I admit to being a bit weepy during that one, but, hey, who can resist a waltz? (You can hear the tune here.)

Anyway, you should go to Nick's show tonight and hear him for yourself. He's managed to finish this CD and plan the launch party (and several other shows) all the while undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer; he's in between treatments right now. How's that for dedication?

If you can't make tonight's show, I'm guessing you can pick up his new album at Coda Music in town. You can order it online here. And if you're nowhere near Scotland, but are now intrigued by this man and his music -- he's on iTunes, Spotify, and all the other usual channels.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Baby passport photo shoot.

I am trapped. No, I'm not trapped by motherhood or anything metaphorical. I am literally trapped inside the country because my child does not have a passport. This means I cannot flee or seek asylum elsewhere or take advantage of any cheap airfares to the French Riviera -- at least not for 7-10 business days until the wee boy's US passport arrives in the mail.

When I was a nanny in NYC many moons ago, I remember the newborn having to get passport photos less than a week after birth. Her mother was on maternity leave and figured she'd use that time to take a trip to Paris. I thought it was genius, as newborns are much more portable than toddlers, but the tricky part seemed to be actually getting a regulation passport photo.

Years later, I took my own five-day-old to the photographer for his own passport photo shoot. He was totally passed out, and once we woke him, he was a squirmy little pig. We managed to get one photo that we think will work (fingers crossed, everyone ... we need one last trip to Amsterdam!), but we thought you'd enjoy some of the rejects.

Baby passport photo shoot.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Dumb pregnancy advice made useful.

I wrote a blog called "Obnoxious things people said to me while pregnant," but never hit "publish" because it seemed more angry than funny at the time. I'll wait for better timing with that one, when I can look on those things with enough distance to laugh rather than roll my eyes. For today's blog, however, let's discuss the most annoying thing people said: sleep while you can!

Yes, even you probably said it to me, my good friend.

Reasons that is dumb advice:

1. You who said it, have you ever been pregnant? Have you forgotten? I'm actually able to sleep more than 45 minutes without having to pee now. I'm not saying I've enjoyed a fabulous night's sleep since the baby arrived, but I've definitely slept more deeply and for a longer stretch of time than when I was pregnant.

Cute baby photo of the day.
2. Newborns sleep, like, a million hours a day. We aren't yet masters of sleeping while the baby sleeps, mostly because he's not a big fan of his crib just yet, and we live in fear of smothering him. But we'll get there. And tag-teaming with a great partner, not to mention a grandmother who came to live with us temporarily (it takes a village, remember?), has allowed at least one of us to get a nap. We don't know what day it is, and we haven't returned a phone call in two weeks, but life is definitely not miserable. Besides, the no-sleep high is the best high of all.

3. You can't bank sleep, so there's not much point to sleeping while you can.

I'm thinking that the "Ha ha ha, sleep while you can, sucker!" advice could actually be made useful with a mild adjustment: don't take it literally. Rather than actually sleeping while you can, take it as a modern Carpe Diem or YOLO or Gather Ye Rosebuds, etc. You know, it means to enjoy every peaceful, quiet moment because life is going to change. That's pretty good advice. Although, to be fair, that's good advice to anyone -- future parent or not.

Another similar piece of advice that would actually be useful? Rather than "sleep while you can," how about: train yourself to fall asleep quickly. I find the hippie Hypnobirthing techniques that were useless during delivery were actually really useful to help me fall asleep during pregnancy. If I remember to do the relaxation techniques as soon as the baby falls asleep, I'm actually able to sleep while he sleeps. But if I'm awake worrying or making lists, then I only actually drift into dreamland just as the baby is waking up. So, yeah, better advice? Get a meditation CD or self-hypnosis app -- anything to help you fall asleep in 5 minutes rather than 30.

Okay that's my rant for the day.