Monday, August 11, 2014

Only once

I realized yesterday that I've been blessed with a difficult sleeper. I mean, I've known Bubba is a tricky fellow to keep asleep, but I hadn't thought about how lucky I am that he is the way he is. 

I'm entertaining myself with my iPhone right now after giving up on slumber. The birds have just started chirping outside, and there's a faint glow coming through the curtains, but the sun isn't up just yet. Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter are some of the few things I can do in the dark with one hand while my other arm cradles my sleeping son.

Last night he went to bed in his bassinet around 2230. I brushed my teeth, flossed, and was catching zzz's myself about an hour later. But I've been mostly awake since his 1am nursing. He usually gets squirmy and calls out to eat, nurses in a semi-conscious state for about 10 minutes, and is back to bed. I'm impressed how he can swallow a full meal without really waking up. 

I wish I could stay drowsy like he is, but I'm too alert by the time he finishes. I actually did fall back asleep around 0325, but he woke us up again at 0345, so I'm not sure that counts ; p

As the dawn approaches, he gets more and more restless. By 4 or 5 am I have to pick him up and take him into bed with me so that he might sleep till 7 (when he finally poops). He fidgets and squirms and I'm scared he'll roll face down into the bedding, so I stay vigilant. 

You know what though? This little guy is 4 months old already. I know "he'll always be my baby" and all, and I know toddlers and children can be sweet and snuggly too, but this first year of infancy and true babyhood is A THIRD OF THE WAY OVER. And this is time we're never getting back. Might we have other kids? Maybe. Maybe not. Even if we do, this period with him--my first born little boy--is running water. 

Those poor moms with babies who sleep through the night: they miss half the experience! Bubba has already grown into an "easier" baby. For the first 10 weeks or so, he had to be held all. the. time. And he wanted to nurse every 45 to 90 minutes. 

People said I was spoiling him. People said he cried because he was held too much. People warned that he was "using" me as a "human pacifier."

I'm glad I trusted my gut and disregarded that rubbish. 

Here we are just a few months down the road and he may go 3 hours sometimes between feedings. He can watch contentedly from his swing or play mat while we make or eat dinner or fold laundry . . . for a little while at least. I wish I knew the high-need intensity of those first few weeks was a passing phase; I wouldn't have stressed as much. 

The best parenting advice I've been given was from my coworker who has a single, grown son. I was nearly full-term and talking about how much maternity leave to take. 

"Liz, they're only little once."

I've remembered her words every time I've gotten up in the night, every time he won't sleep without the boob within an inch of his face. What would I have done if he had been an easier baby and, say, taken naps in his swing? Filed paperwork? Washed more dishes? All good projects, but does anything compare to this?

Nope. I'm thankful my child is vocal enough to keep his mother's priorities straight. 

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Instagram win

Funny what can happen in a year.

I was scrolling through some old tweets and saw this pity-party note from 2013:

 referring to this night with Bruce the kitty cat:

 . . . not knowing that wee little Bubba the Blastocyst was just getting started.

I suppose retrospect is 20/20, huh?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My hunger games

I'm doing an experiment right now and it's driving me a little crazy. 

Baby has had problems with gas pains for a long time--since he was just a few weeks old. Also, almost all of his stools are runny, mucousy green. Different references tell me different things. Some say green stools can be normal; others say it can be a sign of an irritated gut. 

His doctor isn't too concerned since he is growing wildly (95th percentile for his weight and age). You only have to glance at this chunky monkey to know he is not malnourished. But my pediatrician is not the one having to hold him when he's writhing in pain every other day. Fart, little buddy, please just fart. Oh and he tries so hard I swear he's gonna blow a gasket. He sounds like a weightlifter in the mornings. 

Bubba's temperament is quite sweet. I don't think this is real colic--like the babies that mysteriously cry inconsolably for hours on end. So I've been wondering if there's an allergen in my diet that's getting into the breast milk. 

Suspecting this, I cut out virtually all dairy products weeks ago with some but not much improvement. I wasn't very thorough in eliminating "hidden" dairy; you know, there's whey protein in almost every thing!

Hoping we could do better, I've started an elimination diet. It means sticking with only the most hypoallergenic/easily digestible foods to see if symptoms improve. I've heard this part can take weeks; some offending proteins can hang in your system for a long time. If things do get better, I'll periodically eat new foods one at a time to see if I can zero in on a culprit. The usual suspects are dairy, wheat, corn, citrus, nuts, seafood, and soy: Basically everything I like to eat. 

I need to figure this out. I'm worried I won't be able to pump enough milk when I return to work next week and may have to supplement with formula. Most all formulas are dairy or soy based : (

In the meantime, I've been living on chicken, rice, sweet potatoes, and pears for five days now. I made macaroni and cheese the other day for Ryan and wanted so badly to lick my fingers after squeezing that fluorescent orange gooey goodness into the pot. And then we had to shop at Sam's Club today for dry goods . . . 

Oooooh. It's gonna be a long two weeks. I'm already dreaming about food. For real. Preggo cravings have NOTHING on post partum/breastfeeding cravings. Nothing. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

First night

. . . in the new house! I feel like a queen. 

Pictures of this guy's room later. I came home from an afternoon on the west side  to find his nursery all set up. Daddy must have spent the better part of his day doing it. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Two Months

So, we've kept a newborn alive for a whopping two months! Yay us!

This little guy is changing so rapidly. Whenever I think there is finally a pattern to his habits, something changes. We have virtually no routine. Some days he decides that bedtime is 2000. Other nights it's not until 2300. For one blessed week he would take a 4-5 hour stretch of sleep at night. Then he stopped and returned to his 2-3 hour intervals for night nursing.  At least he does seem to have his days and nights straight. He may eat frequently, but he usually stays in drowsy-mode during the night hours. 

He is a man of contradictions. When he was just hatched, it was a struggle to feed him because he was so drowsy. For the first few days we had to really stimulate him to stay awake and nurse: we tickled his toes, swabbed him with cool wet wipes, etc. Now he eats. All. The. Time.  Except for a long nap, he usually nurses every 45-90 minutes. Sunday afternoon he went almost 3 hours--mostly awake--between feedings and I was astonished. Overall, he's gaining weight like a champ, so mama is happy. He's already outgrown a bagful of newborn clothes. 

Meanwhile, I am learning to breastfeed everywhere--on a nature trail, Target, parking lots, restaurants, in the shower--because at some point (maybe 3 weeks?) I realized that if I didn't loosen up my nursing preferences, we would be stuck 24/7 in the bedroom rocker chair. And I would go a little crazy (or more so than I've already become). 

He was originally a hard sleeper. He would sleep fast in the baby swing despite the dog barking or the dishwasher being loaded. Now he's very peculiar about sleep. 'Seems that humans are the only acceptable cribs these days. If the timing is right, he'll fall asleep in his car seat. If the timing is wrong ( i.e. if he's awake and alert), no car ride is short enough : (

He hated having his diaper changed for the first few weeks--'screamed bloody murder. But lately he hasn't minded them at all. He's totally distracted looking at the ceiling lights and around the room. I wonder if his vision is expanding and perhaps that's helped. 'Good thing, because we go through diapers like it's nobody's business. I'm so relieved the ordeal isn't tortuous like it once was.  

I'm also thankful that he tolerates showers and baths well, even when water occasionally gets in his face. I want to bathe him after any social or family event. He inevitably gets passed around and around the room, and he always comes back to me smelling like funky old lady perfume.  

My favorite new tricks of his are the smiles and baby talk. He smiled in his sleep within the first 24 hours of being born. But it wasn't until week 5 or 6 that he clearly smiled in response to a person while awake. The baby talk started about the same time. It's amazing to see such a little guy do such a personal thing. I mean, so much of baby care is centered around the basic body functions. But to hear him purposefully make variable sounds and keep eye contact in response to other persons is sooo sweet. He clearly wants to be part of the conversation! And he sounds like a dolphin btw. 

I'm hoping his next achievement will be making peace with the ergo baby carrier. I don't mind carrying him all the time, but I'd love to have two hands free.  

Month three, here we come . . . 

Saturday, May 31, 2014

If you give a mouse a cookie . . .

I'm sitting in the future nursery with Bubba stretched out sleeping on my lap. Most of our furniture is still stuffed away in the garage, but an arm chair and an ottoman have made their way into this room. The baby and I spent many an April afternoon in the backyard. The heat and mosquitoes have since chased us indoors, and I tend to retreat back here when I need to take this little boy away from nail guns, shop vacs, and paint fumes. 

When we bought this house three months ago we planned on replacing its aluminum wiring with copper. That's been done. However, a gazillion other projects have somehow been undertaken since then and prohibit our move-in. It's super frustrating to watch my maternity leave time dwindle away and still be in my in-laws guest room surrounded by boxes. On the other hand, Ryan and his dad have made some great improvements to this house, and not having to work around furniture and home decor really helped. 

Our living room came with 70's era faux wood paneling. Needing to access the wiring behind the walls was a great excuse to rip out the paneling altogether and replace it with Sheetrock. 

( originally as we bought it)

( in progress: stripped the paneling )

(our good friend Anthony and Ryan's dad installing the new walls)

Since this is Florida, we decided to put ceiling fans in all rooms. You'll never regret having a fan! But one month later, guess what happens? Lowes puts their entire stock of Hunter fans on sale.  Grrrr . . . 

Practically the whole house interior has been re-painted, and new baseboards are being put down today. We originally planned only to refinish the living room where the paneling was replaced, but then we realized that the trim and colors would clash where the hallways and foyer intersected. So what the heck, we're giving new baseboards and paint to the hallway too. 

('Ever read the children's book "If you give a mouse a cookie?"  It sums up the pace of this project perfectly. )

What we don't have the $$ to do now is redo the kitchen. Which is fine with me. It's a little worn (I.e. the previous owner's little ankle-biter chewed some corners down), none of the appliances match (white, chrome, yellow, and black--we've got them all!) and dated in appearance, but it's very large, functional, and the cabinetry is real wood -- no pressboard. 

(the kitchen as it came originally)

I'm so excited about the size of this room! Still, I'd like to spruce it up some. I'll be peeling down that funky wallpaper border. My electrician-father-in-law installed recessed lighting. And Ryan put up some wide faux wood blinds, which I really like. (So much so, we put up new blinds in the living room, dining room, and man room too.) They really dress up a window better than those skinny tin-type blinds. 

Actually, there's new recessed lighting throughout the house now (another one of those now-is-the-opportunity-while-we're-rewiring things). Part of me misses picking out stylized light fixtures, but I think the ceiling fans and recessed lights will be better and more practical in the long run. This way I won't get tired of or limited by a particular design (remember that orange chandelier in mom & dad's dining room that seemed to come and go over the years?)

Anyway, more pictures to come. I know it'll look great when it's done. Meanwhile, my awareness of having married into the best in-laws-evah continues to solidify. 

Friday, May 30, 2014

Mobile blogging for the single handed?

It's too bad that when you have the most goings-on (and things you wish to remember) there is the least time to record it. Little Bubba here is changing so fast, but rarely is he out of my arms, so not much typing or blogging has been happening. Whenever I do have two free hands, I'm trying to eat, shower, do laundry, or put away dishes--in that order.

Don't get me wrong. He's a good baby. He just likes people (i.e. being held) and motion. Typical newborn, right? But, most unfortunately, he hates both of my baby carriers, so no idyllic baby wearing for us. 

Anyway, thanks to my iPhone, I spend a lot of time online while he sleep-nurses or naps in my arms. I just discovered the mobile Blogger app, so here's my test sample of a post typed entirely by my left thumb.