He Likes It

I think Cooper likes it here. Here are things that Cooper enjoys:

1. His baby swing. It repeats 'Hush Little Baby,' 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,' and 'Frere Jacques' over and over and over and over again. Sometimes I hear it in my mind even when it's not playing. Oh the joys of sleep deprivation!

2. The sound of Daddy's voice. Cooper likes the tone of male voices. He's instantly calm when Jakob speaks to him. Cooper is officially the only person who has the patience to shut up and let Jakob speak his mind.

3. His 'Binky'. Like an idiot, I thought I'd prevent Cooper from using a pacifier. I didn't want to introduce any 'nipple confusion' since I was breastfeeding and I didn't want him to get any ortho-related issues. WHATEVER! I gave him the plug. He loved the plug. The plug works. End of story.

4. His hands. Which is why we must cover them in socks.

I know it looks redonkulous, but Cooper is a menace to himself! If his hands are not covered, he claws at his face, pokes his eyes (which led to a goopy infection requiring special eyedrops. YICK!) and sucks violently on his knuckles. We bought cute little mittens for him to wear, but he yanks them right off in a mad rage. The socks, due to their length and elastic top, offer the perfect glove, even if they do look silly.

His Indian name is 'Socks on Hands.'

For more new photos of Cooper, click here to visit Flickr.

Um, could you be any cuter? Huh?

Do you hate couples who take endless pictures of their newborn doing nothing but lying around being adorable? Well if so, you should really visit another blog.

Sure I'm biased. After all, he did pop out of me. But ain't he a handsome little man? Lock up yer daughters! This one's a heartbreaker!

For more new pix of Coop, click here to visit Flickr.

13 Days Later...

You've been in my life for 13 days and I can barely remember what things were like before you got here. You've transformed everything. It's amazing.

You only cry when you really need to be changed or fed. Otherwise, you'd rather not rock the boat. You're very much like your father in that respect. You love chewing on your knuckles and fingers. You like when I sing, "Rainbow Connection," when you're about to fall asleep and "Day O" when you've just woken up. When we read the book, "Count the Animals," you tend to fart when we get to the raccoons.

You loved meeting your Aunt Karen & Uncle Andrew. I think they dug you, too. Actually, most people who meet you fall instantly in love.

But no one is more smitten with you than your father. When you are with your dad, you are content. When the two of you look at each other, there seems to be a special understanding. It's the most beautiful thing I've ever witnessed.

I never thought I'd love something that's so stinky. You are my beautiful, beautiful boy.

For more photos of Cooper, click here to visit Flickr.

Happy Father's Day

My father is the one who gave me the name for this blog. When I was an infant, I would flop and flail about like a wet noodle. He made a comic strip based on events from my childhood and called it 'Nikki Noodles.' It ran in the local paper when I was a kid. My dad has always made me feel like a superstar.

I remember being a little girl at an amusement park with my father. We went on a ride that spun around really fast. My legs were dangling from the ride's cart as we flew in circles. I was wearing flip-flops and I was scared they'd fly right off my feet. The carney controlling the ride asked everybody, "DO YOU WANNA GO FASTER?" Everyone yelled, "YEAH!" Except me. I was terrified. I screeched, "NO! SLOW DOWN! IT'S TOO FAST!!! I'M GOING TO LOSE MY SHOES!!!" My dad reached down and grabbed the flip-flops off my feet just in the nick of time. He then held me close and said, "It's ok. It's fun! Just scream and laugh!" Despite all the stress, yuck and crazy carnival rides in my life, my dad can always make me feel better. When my dad smiles, all my worries melt away.

He's my favorite artist. His work is pure. He's never pretentious. He makes art that he enjoys. He's done everything from paintings to cartoons to paper mache.

His latest passion is welded junk art. He takes trash and turns it into objects of humor and beauty. It's spectacular.
(To view more pictures of Joe Charbonneau's art, click here to visit Flickr. )

And now, he's a grandfather!

I can't wait for Cooper to meet his Grampa Joe. I know the two of them will get along famously. My dad will sing to Cooper, teach him how to draw and take him to the beach. Maybe he'll even take him to his first amusement park where he'll ride his first scary ride and learn to scream and laugh.

I love you, Dad. Happy Father's Day.

(For more new photos of Cooper K., click here to visit Flickr.)

A play-by-play rundown from the Dad...

After forty weeks of belly growin', my wife and I were belly achin' about when our little child would grace us with its presence. Even though he was due on June 9th, the high blood pressure/inducing scare of early May had left us on high alert for a month, so it started to feel like the baby was late and getting impossibly bigger by the second. So, on this past Friday (the due date), we went to our doctor's appointment knowing that if the option to induce was provided, we would leap into it that very day. A low level of amniotic fluid made that option more of a necessity.

We took the short drive down to St. Joseph's hospital to begin inducing labor. Over the next 24 hours, my wife embarked on "the hardest thing she's ever done." Thankfully, we had a dream team of nurses. First, there was The Greeter, Mary. She settled Nicole in with her cheerful and humorous demeanor, making us feel right at home.

Next came the Night Nurse, Danielle from Alabama. Nicole's labor started at 10 pm, with her contractions coming fast and furious, a minute long and a minute apart. Her water broke at 2:22 am, setting off a frenzy of contractions that Nicole fought valiantly for the next few hours. Danielle was there for all of this, and thank goodness because she eventually was able to use her powers of southern persuasion to make Nicole realize that there was no shame in her taking the epidural, because she really needed to conserve her strength for the pushing to come. At about 6 am, she took the epidural.

For some perspective, before the epidural, Nicole was 3 1/2 cm dilated after struggling all night for 2 of those centimeters, and in immense pain. After the epidural, she zonked out and was asleep for the next 2 1/2 hours. When she awoke, she found herself close to 9 cm dilated and ready to start pushing whenever the baby was ready. (Needless to say, Nicole's now thinking about becoming a national spokesperson for epidurals.)

And that brought us to the Closer, Susan. She was like that Maura Tierney character on ER, when she was Head Nurse. You know, the kind of nurse that all of the other nurses look up to, the kind that could easily be a doctor if she wanted to. Susan was all business, but at the same time so encouraging. The Closer made Nicole believe that she was the superwoman that she really is. 15 hours of labor culminated in less than an hour of pushing. In fact, Nicole had brought the baby to the precipice of birth, only to wait fifteen more minutes for the doctor to arrive, so the baby could be delivered.

Finally, at 12:43 pm on Saturday, June 10th, Nicole gave birth to our son, Cooper Kingsley White. Weighing in at 7 lbs 9 oz and measuring 20 3/4 inches long, Cooper was the culmination of the most anticipated 40 week stretch of our lives, and he did not disappoint.

Now on to the most anticipated 18 year stretch of our lives... and beyond.

For more photos, click here.

Soon. T'will be soon.

My mother-in-law sent me this photo with a note to 'hang in there.'

I'm so ready to birth this baby.

I'm thinking the grand event will happen this weekend. I have a doctor's appointment tomorrow to check my bloodpressure and amniotic fluid and discuss inducing.

I'll be having my youngin' at this hispital: Providence St. Joseph's Medical Center. Their website offers a virtual tour of the labor & delivery pavillion, as well as an 'Online Baby Nursery' where you can check out the new arrivals. Our baby will be posted to the site 1-2 days after it springs forth into the world.

Thank you to everyone who has been checking in on me and looking after me. I have a sneaky suspicion that this may be my last post for a bit as I transition from el preggo grande to el mamma grandious.

Sunday In The Park With Jakob

Being so very pregnant during a heat wave can make one...what's the word I'm lookin' for? Cranky...grumpy...BITCHY! That's it! Bitchy! I'd been griping for most of the weekend. I needed an activity to make me laugh.

To cheer me up, Jakob took me to the park to blow bubbles. Here he is enjoying a smooth, mid-afternoon bubble pipe.

I like plain, circular bubble wands the best. They get the most bubble bang for your buck. Now they sell battery operated bubble blowers at the super market. Are people so lazy that they can't blow bubbles anymore? Really? You're telling me that they'd rather push a button and get a bunch of instant bubbles? Not me. I like old fashioned bubbles. Breath is what makes them live!

I dig this photo. Doesn't it look like I'm wearing the bubble as a monocle?

After the bubbles, we played a couple games of Skipbo and then we had Mac & Chee for lunch.

If you get married and have a family, I recommend doing it with your best friend.

For more bubble photos, click here to visit Flickr.

It's been hotter than a mutha lovah in the San Fernando Valley. Originally I had thought, "Oh, goody! I'll be done with this pregnancy before the real summer heat gets here." No such luck, kiddo.

Today's trip to the doctor's office was disappointing. They say my blood pressure is creeping up again and that my cervix is showing NO signs of progress compared to last week. COME ON, CERVIX! We've always been friends before. Why be stubborn when I need you most? (Insert haunting echo of the classic Firehouse ballad…"I need you nowwwwwww…More than words can say, I need you nowwwwww.")

Since it's a mere 7 days before my due date, I have a follow-up appointment on Tuesday (6/6/06…freaky!) when they'll check me again and perhaps talk about setting up a date to induce.

Induce. I kinda hate that word. For me, all I hear is a taunting subtext that says, "Your body is a slow poke."

I've been looking into some natural ways to get the ball rolling (out of my uterus and into the world) and here are a few options I've read about:

Supposedly, a salad containing romaine lettuce, watercress, red cabbage, walnuts, gorgonzola cheese & balsamic vinegar is supposed to bring about contractions. I tried this already. Nothing happened and I was still hungry.

Some folks swear that if you pig out on Mexican, Cajun or Indian food than you'll go into labor within 24 hours. The drawback here is that you may end up with intense heartburn and gas as you head to the hospital. Will the nurses still provide me with loving care if I'm a fart machine?

Ewwwwwwww. Really? Let's save this as a last resort.

Massage therapists suggest rubbing the feet and ankles to inspire labor. I guess there are pressure points in the feet that are linked to your pelvic region. Jakob has been giving me ample foot rubs, but this is a good reason for me to henceforth request them nightly.

5. DO IT!
This is THE most popular method to bring about the birth of a baby. Sex releases a hormone called oxytocin, which causes the uterus to contract. Additionally, semen contains a substance known as prostaglandins, which will help soften the cervix. I guess I'd better go shave my legs.

If anyone out there has other suggestions, please send them my way.