8.24.2010

MomMe and the No Good Very Off Horrible Mommy Day

And so it begins.

When I arrived home from work yesterday, I looked my babe over as I kissed him within an inch of his short life.

Dada actually noticed it first. "Is that a bruise on his forehead?" And it was.

The day before, he had bonked his head against the tile. Twice. Front and back. Just when we thought we were past this stage, 'cause, you know, he learned how to "bend in the middle".

Then, I was in the livingroom talking to his Dad when we both heard the inhale and the breathless crying. He was standing by a kitchen chair and best we can figure, he bounced up and down and hit his jaw on the chair.

Then, Cheerios for dinner as I kissed him and apologized profusely for not watching closer.

Then, bath water so hot his bum turned red.

Needless to day, by the time I went crawled into bed, my Mom-ego was pretty freakin bruised and battered.

~Nichole

8.19.2010

We Are What We Are (Even If We Didn't Mean To Be)

After our son’s 9 month pediatric visit, I was a mess.

We had talked about feeding (don’t let him graze, he should be getting more iron), we talked about sleeping (he should be sleeping on his own and not waking for bottles), we talked about weaning from breast milk after he turns a year old (whole cow’s milk is best, but if you’d like to try almond or soy or another alternative, we can work with that).

About the sleeping, she said “I’ll give you some literature” she said. I've learned this doc’s not one to battle with parents over their choices. She briefly outlines her take and leaves it at that. It’s an indirect way of respecting that parents will do what they think is best. I like her approach. Still, reading through the “literature” with the bold headings of Nighttime Crier and Nighttime Feeder put me on the defensive.

Thinking about this for days, posting about it on FB, milling over the fact that I never intended to have a baby in my room, much less to co-sleep, and that I am panic-stricken over mental images of preschoolers piled in our bed, arms and legs akimbo, and us tired parents relegated to sleeping on the floor (after all, the only bed bigger than a king is. . . two kings?). These things tumbled for days, messing with my mother-certainty, interjecting mother-doubt that I’ve not been accustomed to.

I looked through the slips the grandparents keep of times and amounts he eats and sleeps while at their house. Patterns began to emerge and I said to M “this kid has a schedule. We just need to make sure we’re not feeding him all the time at our house and stretch his feedings out by a couple of hours. Otherwise he has a schedule.” Also? He’s a great baby. He doesn’t cry at shots (or hemoglobin tests), he sits quietly on my lap, he’s content to play and hang out without having to be entertained. He carries whole apples around and munches on them. He’s so much fun to be around.

Even so, I argued with my husband that perhaps we should let him “cry it out”. M calmly said “That won’t work. I’ve tried it during the day and he gets so upset that he poops his pants.” “He does!?” “Yes.”

The Friday night after the ped visit was particularly rough. When the baby woke up crying, I brought him to our bed. Only, he didn’t want to be held, didn’t want to be comforted, didn’t want a bottle. So, I placed him back in his crib thinking what he wanted was to be away from the clutches of his mother’s arms. His cry became frenzied, frustrated and panicky. I lay him back down, telling M perhaps we should let him cry it out. M said “I can’t let him cry like that” and hopped up to get him. Still, the babe could not settle. This was not our baby. We did what we do during such times: we broke out the Motrin. Within minutes, he was back asleep, and M was whispering over the sleeping body in our bed “We can’t let him cry like that!”

The following Saturday was another disastrous night. He wouldn’t even go to bed, despite adhering to our pre-bedtime routines and times. That night, M finally relented and took the baby to bed with him at 10:30. It was another rough night.

Then, on Sunday morning, a tired fussiness overwhelmed the babe, but alas he would not nap! So, I went and laid him down next to me in my bed until he slept, and when I transferred him to his crib, he woke up, realized where he was and started crying. I thought “here it is, my chance to try crying it out. M’s not home. Let’s just try this little experiment.” I tried to calm him down, give him his blankie, laid him back down. I left the room. He went from zero to hysterical in 10 seconds flat. He has his “tired” cry, his “hurt” cry, his “frustrated” cry. . . but this “panicked-my-whole-world-just-fell-apart-whyareyoudoingthistome” cry? There was a desperation in it that is unsettling. And wrong.

Even so, I tried to stay strong and tried to wait it out for a few minutes. I stood in the hall and tried to pray, but I could hear he was hysterical. I went back in, tried to soothe him, laid him down, gave him his blankie, stroked his back, said “shhh shhh shhh”. A couple of times, he tried to calm down, tried to go to sleep. But he was too upset and broke again into crying. He sounded broken hearted.

During a calm moment, I again walked away from the room. Cue hysterical crying, clinging to the crib rails, clumsy, fumbling walking on the mattress. I quickly consulted my two go-to books. What to Expect The First Year told me what I was hearing was a little “protest” crying and that I should go in every 5 to 10 minutes, but maybe every 5 minutes for a “sensitive” baby, but he’d eventually get tired enough and stop. Touchpoints (by Brazelton) said there’s no reason to ever let a baby cry it out; all it teaches them is that you won’t be there as they cry until they wear themselves out. That clinched it.

I ran to the room, snatched up my baby, kissed his wet, sobbing face repeatedly and promised over and over to never do that again. His just-changed diaper was soaked. His head was sweaty and hot. Though tired, he was way past the point of napping. As we readied for church, every time we walked back into that dim room for an outfit or a comb, he cried.

On Tuesday, I lunched with a girlfriend and fellow mommy. She shared with me her sleep experiences and recent “cry it out” experience with her 15 month old. I respected what she had to say. And knew it was something I just couldn’t try to do again anytime soon. She gets that we're pretty laid back, respected my position, didn't try to make me see things her way, and suggested I look at what Dr. Sears has to say about co-sleeping.

I took her advice, and here’s what I found. He says, among other things, “Your infant trusts that you, his parents, will continually be available during the night, as you are during the day. Sharing sleep in our culture also requires that you trust youdr intuition about parenting your individual baby instead of unquestionably accepting the norms of American society. Accepting and respecting your baby's needs can help you recognize that you are not spoiling your baby or letting him manipulate you when you welcome him into your bed.” This is US! I almost cried with relief.

Long story short: we’re (unintentional) co-sleepers. End of story (for now).

~Nichole

8.17.2010

PPP, The First

First postpartum period.

On one hand:
~Ugh. I so wasn't ready for this!

On the other, at least it isn't too awful, or bloaty or crampy.

On one hand:
~I was really hoping to go another 3 or so months before having to deal with. . . all this.

On the other, it'll be nice to be able to track my cycles again.

On one hand:
~Man, I really hate this monthly visitation. M isn't too fond of it either.

On the other, at least we know my body's working properly!

On one hand:
~This'll make my beach vacation next month interesting.

On the other, at least I had supplies on hand.

Here we go. . . .

~Nichole

8.10.2010

The Sweetest Things

burblings of dadadadadada and eee eee eee
soft baby kisses
that little face
smiling eyes
busy legs
pointing arms and fingers
two tiny bottom teeth
kicking, standing feet
kissable cheeks
splashing hands
hand that reach for me and grasp at my legs and clothing and necklaces
downy ears that feel like Christmas against my lips
such concentration
such determination
a whole person
there you are
a revelation of your very own

~Nichole

"May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world." -Ray Bradbury