Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Oh Gosh, I don't even know where to begin. These last two months have been such a crazy ride and you're the one in charge which is pretty scary since you still don't have control over your arms and legs yet. There was nothing that could have prepared me for being a parent. I had so many expectations for you and for me and I've really had to let all those go. Which isn't such a bad thing. I got so many mixed messages from dear well-intentioned friends, family, and books. I don't think people realize that no matter how gracious they are in their suggestions and recommendations, to a new mama, it just sounds like criticism. I was told that my anxiety was what was making you fidgety during your night feeds. The last thing anyone should tell a new mama is that her anxiety is what's making her baby behave a certain way! I hadn't realized that I even felt anxious but you can bet, once I read that email that I was a complete wreck when I would go into your room at night and no amount of calming breathing exercises or images of sandy beaches and palm fronds was going to make it better. Despite my hyperventilating you ended up moving out of that phase all on your own and now your night feeds are a breeze. You wake up just enough to know it's food time and then slip right back into your baby slumber.
Around week 6 you started to get more fussy especially around the evening hours and when your Papa volunteered to watch you for an hour so I could go to the gym you spent the entire time screaming and nothing he did would calm you. We figured it was because you needed an earlier bedtime because up until that point we were putting you in bed between 9-11. Now you go to bed somewhere between 6-8. I know that's a pretty big window but it all depends on how your days been. Some days are wonderful, perfect baby days with hardly any crying and fussing, those days are the days when your naps are long and frequent. Other days you turn into the most wretched wretch, screaming and carrying on. On several occasions I've expected you to spew pee soup while your head spins as you crawl across the ceiling.
I've spent the better part of four weeks trying to get you on a schedule during the day and you have no idea how hard you've been fighting it. You've been such a trooper, patiently putting up with all our crazy antics trying to figure you out and sometimes it works, just like magic and other times you just scream, most likely out of frustration because we just aren't getting it. We're trying, little bean! We're trying so hard. I've given up putting you on a formal schedule and both of us seem to be doing much better for it. We'll give it a shot in another month or two.
Around week 8 we discovered that you need a LOT of sleep and less awake time, a lot less than the books say. Sometimes you'll need another nap after only being awake for a half an hour and that's okay. Because when we do make sure you get your sleep you are the most charming baby, you laugh and smile, and talk up a storm, especially on your changing table. But when you don't get that sleep you turn into a screaming, writhing, wretch and it takes a serious amount of soothing, done in the most specific way to calm you down. You absolutely love to be swaddled and in the past couple weeks it's the only way you'll get more than 20 minutes of sleep. However, with your Herculean strength it's getting harder and harder to keep those little arms down by your sides. Most often then not when I go to get you from a nap those arm are FREE waving above your head and you always look so proud of yourself. You're our little Houdini!
It's amazing how much you've grown and changed. You've started smiling at us which is so worth those stitches Mama got. You chuckle and squeal with absolute glee when you get your diaper changed. Your movements are getting more controlled and your eyes will follow me around the room as I go to your dresser to get your clothes for the day. You've certainly become much more aware of your surroundings and because of this we've had to black out your windows otherwise you'd never sleep a wink. If I place my finger on the palm of your hand your little fingers will curl around it and the strength you have is AMAZING. I'm surprised you haven't crushed the bones in my hand.
A lot of people have asked if you're sleeping through the night yet. I now know, as a parent, that I will never ask another parent this question no matter how old their child is because no matter the age if the answer isn't yes, you feel like you've failed somehow. I know the time will come when you'll sleep through the night but right now, you just don't have it in you and I'm so used to those little mid-night visits I know I'll miss them when they've gone. When it's just the two of us curled up in the glider and you snuggle into the crook of my arm when you're done eating and start doing that whistling snore. Those moments are so precious and I try so hard to appreciate them, to pull myself out of my exhaustion for just a minute and smell your little baby head and kiss your nebulous hairs and whisper how much your Papa and Mama love you, would do anything for you! Those are the moments that make all the shit, spit up, and screaming, SO worth it.
...in my short and humble experience.
When we were preparing for the arrival of the bean, there was an infinite amount of suggestions for must-haves that I collected from friends, families, blogs, and online reviews. So I put together a list of sorts and then proceeded to register and purchase some of these essential items. Now, over 8 weeks in, I have found that some of these items just don't work for me like:
1. The Wretched, Horrid, No Good Boppy! I can't tell you how many people swore by this thing, that if I had to take a single item to a desert island with me it would be this. Well, I'm here to say that I loathe and despise it. It doesn't fit well around my body AT ALL. More often then not Cohen manages to slip between the curve of the Boppy and my body so he's folded up in this weird valley about 6 inches lower than he should be. I'm constantly washing the slip covers which would be fine if I had several million dollars to keep a stack of clean fresh ones lying around. There have been days when I've had to use a burp cloth for a cover because all of the REAL covers are dirty. Lastly, and most importantly, it has become as squishy and misshapen as a marshmallow, all firmness and shape have all but vanished and no amount of time spent in the dryer with tennis balls is going to bring it back. I still use the darn thing but I don't enjoy it AT ALL.
2. Huggies Diapers and Wipes. We bought a HUGE tub of wipes, sensitive wipes, for when we brought Cohen home from the hospital and within 24 hours he had a bleeding rash on his bum and because we're new parents WITHOUT A CLUE it took us almost a week to figure out it was the wipes. We inadvertently discovered it on a day trip when we were using the ULTRA CHEAP-O no-name wipes we bought at the grocery store and VOILA! No more bleeding bum! The diapers leaked and left these weird silicone-type beads all over his man parts so we nixed the Huggies and we've been more than happy with Pampers. YAHOO!
3. BabyHawk Carrier. I so wanted this to be awesome but although it may LOOK really cool, it's not very functional for several very significant reasons. The straps are impossibly long, like drag on the bathroom floor long, and I'm not really excited about wrapping straps that have just slid across a public lavatory floor around my baby AND body. Their website says you can use it as early as newborn, which we proudly did during a trip to the mall, and I was idly window shopping when I noticed I was getting some weird looks and I look down to find Cohen, who was fast asleep, falling out the side. His body was more than HALF WAY out of the carrier, his head flopping like a cooked noodle. I thought it was because I wasn't tying it tight enough but no matter how I snugly I configured the straps after walking for about 15 minutes it would loosen up and start to sag so I would end up having to hoist him up and carry him anyway, which is not the most ideal feature of a baby carrier that advertises it's wonderful HANDS FREE design.
4. I never purchased a diaper bag. I thought I could just use what I had lying around. Except it turns out I have a suitcase and a handbag, nothing in the middle, so we've been using Kris' relic Jansport backpack which is as old as the hills and looks it. I don't really mind that it's the most unattractive tote on the face of the earth but the overall design of a backpack is so NOT conducive for using it as a diaper bag because everything ends up just getting piled on top of everything else, there isn't any form of organization, no compartments for bottles, no changing pad, just a mishmash of clothes, mixed with diapers, mixed with wipes, etc. I've been on the lookout for something decent and affordable and haven't found anything yet but I have high hopes.
5. Johnson and Johnson Bedtime Bath Soap & Lotion. I love the way this stuff smells, it wonderful and soothing and makes me want to gobble Cohen up, except that it irritates his skin beyond belief. He gets a bath every other night because we live in the DRIEST state ever and we don't want to rob his teeny baby body of all it's moisture. We started using the Bedtime Bath and Lotion right out of the gate and almost immediately Cohen developed this hive-lookin' rash all over his face and once we stopped using it everything has been fine, he still has dry skin (we're STILL working on getting that resolved) but at least it doesn't look like leprosy anymore.