John:

I'm actually writing this the night of 8-24-05. The kids are in bed, and I actually have some brain activity now. So the feeding problem flared up again tonight.  The new bottles don't leak, which is great! BUT the nipples are much, much slower than the old ones, which were already slower than the hospital ones. Also, they have an 'up' and a 'down', which we didn't notice at first. The hospital nipples pretty much flowed like Niagara Falls on a busy day, and they finished the whole bottle in maybe a few minutes at most. They are used to that kind of flow, and tonight, Daniel got so frustrated with the lack of flow that he started crying and fussing every few sucks. (Maya seems to do ok. She appears to have more sucking power; we think the cheeks provide some sort of mechanical advantage!) We took breaks, and kept retrying. He finally just started bawling and thrashing and gave up. I tried poking the hole so it was bigger, tried again, more crying and more thrashing. I tried and retried making the hole bigger again, until Anne noticed on her nipple (of the bottle!) in small nearly invisible print, it said 'Up'. I'm sure the package instructed on this, but can we read Russian? No! So I turned the nipple right side up, and he kept trying, but still just couldn't get enough flow, and by now he had no patience left. He freaked. I gave him some cereal, of which he took some, in between full blown crying freak outs. I decided we both had enough after half the bottle and a few spoons of cereal. Of course, he was irritable the rest of the night, and it took all of my will power to calmly rock him to sleep when all I could think was @#!##@ this just sucks, and I'm p.o.'d! We also hope he doesn't get hungry in the middle of the night now! Later tonight I tried putting the old nipples of the leaky bottle into the new bottles. Despite being from different brands, they seem to fit! I'll find out tomorrow! I can hear my mom's voice in my head like Obi-Wan Kenobi. 'Don't throw those old nipples away! Sayang! (Very wasteful!) You might find a use for them later!' Well, I feel hopeful for tomorrow! Oh, and squashing a few mosquitoes helped me feel better, too!

A few random thoughts on parenting so far: (This will not be news to any parents out there, but most of you with kids have seemed to enjoy hearing our parenting stories! Maybe it's a supportive shared experience like war veterans who served in the same war; or some sort of sadistic joy in knowing you're done with this and we're not?!)

Baby farts are just as loud as adult farts! Maybe louder, because they don't hold back! And it's really funny because they're physically so much smaller; how can that sound come out of such a small creature?  We had a pretty musical night when we switched to our own formula from the hospital's. Daniel, but not Maya, thinks it's really funny when he burps. Must be a guy thing. Babies can switch from laughing to crying and back within seconds! It's amazing! Sometimes they even laugh and cry at the same time, it's really weird to see! We never knew how much free time we had before, until we had these two babies. Everything is magnified now. If I have a few free minutes, it's just the most amazing thing!  Ok, I'm going to bed. Wish me luck tomorrow! Pray to the saint of bottle feeding!

Anne:

I'm writing this on the afternoon of 8-25, so I can update you on the above passage and tell you that the old nipples DID work on the new bottles, and therefore babies and parents are all very, very happy!  Also, that frustrated guy who wrote the last passage very calmly rocked Daniel to sleep after all that.  I came out from putting Maya to bed and found him standing in the middle of the living room, rocking Daniel back and forth with his eyes closed.  I said, "Are you in a trance?"  "No, I'm meditating."  Whatever happened, it seemed to have worked, and today has been a happier day.

Besides the excitement of now having nipples and bottles that make everyone happy (John's quotable quote of the day was, "There's nothing like a good nipple!"), our other excitement was actually taking the kids out for a short walk today.  We bundled them up and put them in the hip harnesses, and off we went.  We didn't go too far because it's still cold and muddy.  We also avoided the babushkas gathered selling vegetables on the corner because we are sure that this violates a "keeping a baby out of the cold" rule, even though we had them bundled up like nobody's business.  We were only out for about 20 minutes, but it seemed to do everyone good.

I also discovered the usefulness of the hip harnesses for getting things done around the apartment!  Daniel hung out and helped me to wash and dry baby pajamas, prepare formula, and heat up lunch!  He is fascinated by everything, so he had fun and I got some mundane chores done!

Hope you all are doing well--  we miss you!

Out for a walk with Anne and Daniel...

...and John and Maya!

Anne and Daniel wash PJ's...

...and hang them to dry!

Maya Coming Atcha'!

Raspberries!

Giggling with Dad

Photos from the Neighborhood:  Mud and Laundry...

...and Fall Flowers!