Saturday, August 11, 2012

Working on the Night Moves....

I don't know why, but every time I think of the phrase night wean, the song Night Moves pops into my head. Anyway, we're working on night weaning, and it's going shockingly well. I almost can't believe how well it's going.

Here's how we're doing it. Lately the Little Guy has had some bad nights of sleep, which result in him wanting to nurse all night long. I just can't deal with it. So a few nights ago, I picked him up and said, "No more milkies. Milkies during the day, not at night." So we laid down in bed and snuggled. At first, he whined a little and made the sign for milk, but he fell asleep faster than I was expecting. He woke up once or twice and asked for it again, whined a little when I said no, but fell asleep cuddling pretty quickly.

The next day, I coached him. As we got closer to bedtime, I said, "Remember, no milkies at night, only milkies during the day. Understand?" And he would give me a great big nod. I didn't really believe that he understood, and that night, when he woke up and asked, I said, "No, remember? No milkies at night, we can snuggle, but no milkies." And we laid down and snuggled up and he fell asleep no problem.

That's pretty much how the last couple of night have been. It's been four nights of not nursing at night. Last night, he fell asleep in minutes and didn't ask for milk until the morning.

Since it's going so well, I have to assume he was already ready for this and it just took me having had enough to get the ball rolling.

Between this and more frequent use of the potty, my Little Guy is turning into quite the big boy! I'm happy and sad about that.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Worst Blogger Ever

So my summer has been too much fun. How much much fun that I can't be bothered to take time to blog about my doings.

Here's the rundown. Went to the frog pond, Little Guy fell in. Worst moment of my life. He, of course, was fine. I, however, was traumatized.

I spend lots of time on play-dates, with my sister and her kids, taking walks. I've even been able to go to Zumba and boot camp classes. Those things combined with my new diet, and I've lost ten pounds.

All in all, it's been a fantastic summer. I'm looking forward to savoring every last second of the last month of summer.

Maybe I'll make time to blog, but I can't make any promises.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Failing at Everything

Do you ever get that feeling that nothing you do is ever good enough? Nothing is right, and you are a complete failure at everything? Like the opposite of King Midas...everything I touch turns to shit.

Ever since we've been home from vacation, my dear sweet little one has been a raging brat at bedtime. Now, he's never been a good sleeper, something I've never tried to hide. But we were getting into a routine, and he slept great all vacation.

When we got back, I started a new routine where I would nurse him until he was really sleepy, then lay him down in his crib and hold his hand until he fell asleep. For a week or two, it worked beautifully. The plan was to lay him down a little more awake each night, and then gradually withdraw my presence so that he would start to fall asleep on his own.

It is so far from working, it's not even funny.

Now he won't nurse to sleep. He pops off after a minute, asks to be laid in his crib, then about three minutes later asks to nurse again. At that point, my options are to say yes and nurse and then repeat the process for the next hour. Or say no, have him have a hysterical fit, and eventually either cave and nurse him to sleep or have my husband come in and be the tough guy.

Both options suck in my opinion. After having some hope that we were making progress, I now feel worse about this kid's sleep than I ever have before.

So much so that after he finally got to sleep tonight, I had my own crying fit.

I know I haven't been super consistent with his sleep routine, but that's because every time I start to get into a pattern, he changes the way he reacts to it and it becomes pointless.

Frankly at the moment, I'm too tired to give one little rat's ass what anyone thinks about me or my parenting. Attachment, cry-it-out, somewhere in the middle, I don't care...someone just tell me how to get this kid to sleep.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Continuing Saga of Poorly Timed Poop

Today was a great day. We visited with neighbors in the early afternoon, then went to a birthday party for a pair of sisters. My little guy had such a good time jumping in the bouncy house, playing with their toys, running around with the kids that I could barely get him to slow down to eat some cake.

On top of all that, the weather was beautiful. And, like most New Englanders, I'm constantly obsessed with the weather.

We had so much fun that we didn't realize how close it was to bedtime. Since the little guy didn't have a bath last night, I really wanted him to have one tonight (do you see where this is going?). So I did the heavy lifting in the bath--scrubbing the day's dirt and sweat off, washing his hair--then left my husband in charge so I could fluff the diapers up in the dryer since they were stiff from hanging out in the sun.

Well, I barely got two steps out of the bathroom when hubby calls out to me with panic in his voice. Yes, that's right, this marks our third poop in the tub. We scooped him out and tried to get him to sit on the potty, but he wasn't having it. So hubby wrapped him in in a towel and took him out into the living room while I got rid of the now-ruined toys and sanitized the tub.

As the tub was refilling, hubby sat the little one on the potty, and we smiled and talked to him about pooping on the potty....and sure enough, he did it!

So it seemed like it was going to be a literally crappy end to an otherwise fantastic day, but then we ended with a pretty awesome milestone.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Perils of the Digital Age

Yesterday I took my son to the park for a play-date with a friend and her son. It was a gorgeous day, low seventies and ample sunshine. The boys played on the playground, we took a walk around the aviary, then had a picnic lunch.

In between all of that, the coffee-slugging mamas had to use the restroom. But my child was getting hungry and crabby, so as a distraction while I used the bathroom, I gave him my cell phone to play with. As I rounded the corner walking away from him, I saw him toss it on the ground. I thought to myself, let me just pee real quick, and then I'll grab it.

Do you think I remembered to do that?

The next time I even thought about my phone was when we were packing to go home. Of course, my friend had already left so I couldn't enlist her help to either help me look for it or stay with the boys while I frantically retraced all our steps.

So I drove down to the entrance booth (it's a big park) and asked if anyone had turned it in...nope. So I drove back up to the playground area and looked where he dropped it...nope. Long story short, I looked everywhere we'd been even though I knew where it had gotten lost. I asked the parents on the playground if they'd found a cell phone laying around...nope.

I'm still hoping it got turned in before the park closed yesterday. But since I don't have a home phone, I have to wait until my mom comes over so I can call from her phone.

At first, my only thought was about the inconvenience of being without a phone for a bit. But then I realized I have hundreds of pictures of my son, my nephews, my niece and plenty of friends on there. So not only am I missing all my pictures, but who know who has my phone. What if some sicko is looking at pictures of my little guy...worse, pictures of me nursing my little guy? Not to mention all the names, addresses and phone number of friends and family that are in there.

I'm still hopeful that I'll call today and they'll have it, but if not, I guess it's a new phone for me. Next time, I'll save all my pictures somehow.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cloth Diapers and the Law of Poorly Timed Poop

If there is one universal truth that all cloth diapering mamas know, it's that your child will always poop on the maiden voyage of any new diaper. In the past year and a half, this has happened literally every time I've put my boy in a new diaper.

Tonight, I learned the rule of the poorly timed poop extends to all new (or newish) diapering situations.

I've never been one to use fitted diapers. I had a couple hand-me-down fitteds from my sister and I bought one (a popular brand that I can't quite recall at the moment). But they never seemed to fit my little guy right and I just couldn't get the hang of them. But there was a really good deal on a few weeks ago, so I bought a couple. They fit okay, and tonight I decided I was going to try one out for nighttime use.

Now I've only been back to using cloth at night for a month or two. We had horrible leak issues for the longest time, then I just got lazy and got in the routine of using sposies at night. So tonight I took one of these marvelously soft bamboo fitted diapers, laid an extra bamboo/cotton insert in it, added the extra insert that came with the diaper, lined the whole thing with fleece for that stay dry feeling and wrapped the whole thing in a Bummi's Super Brite cover.

This was a lovingly and carefully constructed diaper. And it was a bit of an experiment as I really wanted to know how long it would hold up before getting soaked.

What does that mean? Why, of course, my darling son pooped about five minutes after I put it on.

It could have been worse, right? He could have pooped before I put it on.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Magic of Motherhood

You know the saying, "I was a perfect parent, and then I had kids"? It's so true. When I was just an Auntie and not a Mama, I had my game down. My nephews and niece were like my own little fan club; I could do no wrong in their eyes. At the same time, I wasn't one of those aunts who feeds the kids nothing but cake and ice cream and lets them rule the roost. I did my best to uphold my sister's values and rules when I babysat...maybe with just a little extra leeway.

When I had my son, it's not that I thought it would be easy, but I thought I'd be better at it.

It was such a slap in the face when, at about two weeks into motherhood, I realized that I was fumbling through everything. As a person who was always good with kids, the fact that I was struggling so much with my own child was hurtful. The worst part was that I had no one that I could look at and say, "Stop hurting me!" I mean, it wasn't the baby's fault; it wasn't my husband's fault (though he took the brunt of my frustration).

Was it my own fault?

Wasn't I supposed to be the one person who could calm my baby better than anyone? Wasn't I supposed to be the one person who knew instinctively what my baby needed? Wasn't I nursing and using cloth diapers? Wasn't I putting everything of myself into this kid?

And somehow, my mere presence wasn't enough. He cried, I nursed. He cried, I changed a diaper. He cried, I swaddled.

He cried, he cried, he cried.

The fact is, some kids cry more than others. Whether you call it colic, a high needs baby, or spirited, the fact is, sometimes babies cry. But it is painful when you feel like you don't know how to sooth your own child. The other fact is we're not magical. We really want to believe that the bond between mother and child will be there instantly, but sometimes it's not. And that's so hard to admit. You feel deficient saying that...I feel deficient saying it, and this all happened a year and a half ago!

So I want all the soon-to-be moms out there to know, motherhood is wonderful, special, surreal, but magical? No. It's hard work, it's labor intensive, it's long nights, sore nipples, poopy diapers, showerless days. And that's where the bond happens. In the midst of constantly putting yourself second to a tiny dictator, somehow, you start to feel it and your baby responds to you feeling it. And it gets easier...slowly, but surely, it gets a little easier.

And then your baby smiles a goofy, gummy grin right at you...and that's magical!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Milestones Galore!

So tonight, my big boy peed on the potty for the very first time. Oh my...where did my baby go?

The look on his face when he realized what he was doing was priceless. He looked so proud of himself and so surprised. Like he was thinking, "This is what I do on this crazy chair? Weird." But I could tell he was very pleased with himself.

I gave him an M&M as a reward then he got to play in the tub for as long as he wanted...which, I'm sure, felt amazing on such a hot day!

Every time I turn around lately, my boy is doing something new and different. So far, this has been my favorite stage. He still needs me and loves to cuddle and nurse, but he's also so adventurous and curious about everything. It's the best of both worlds...a baby on the cusp of being a big boy.

Is there a magic button to slow time down?

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Nursing Strikes, Allergies, Vacations, Oh My!

The good news...I little one's hiatus from nursing turned out to just be a nursing strike.  I really thought he was done because of how easily he was going to sleep and comforting himself without nursing.  But one day over vacation, he asked to nurse before a nap.  I didn't believe him, but he latched right on like he had never done anything differently.

He's been nursing so much that today I said to my husband, "Why was I sad that he was done?"  And he said, "Be careful what you wish for."

So nursing is back to normal, which is good because this past week he was covered in hives...head to toe at one point.  Nursing was one of the few ways I felt like I could comfort him when he was so itchy he couldn't sleep at night.

The doctor suspects he is allergic to the antibiotic he was on for a recent ear infection, and after some Internet research, I think that's probably an accurate diagnosis.  The hives started on our last day of vacation with a couple of small red dots on his face.  I thought they were bug bites, but when I got home, he was getting redder and more splotchy by the second.  His ears were bright red and swollen when I called the on-call doctor.

I gave him off-brand Benadryl until we could see our regular doctor the next day.  I kept giving him the Benadryl about every six hours for his comfort, and I alternated it with homeopathic allergy medicine that definitely seemed to help.  He had the hives from Wednesday until Saturday.  On Sunday (today), they were finally completely gone.  I'm so happy my baby is back to normal!

Thankfully the hives didn't start until the last day of vacation, and we had a blast the whole time we were away. The little guy was a breeze on the flights, and once I gave up on using cloth diapers while we were away (a guest bathroom toilet and antibiotic diarrhea don't mix...gross!), I relaxed and we had so much fun.

So that's been the story of my last week and a half!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Is this really the end?

Last week my son decided he didn't want to nurse to sleep for his nap.  This was surprising and a little hurtful.  I was completely confused at how my dedicated little nursling could suddenly do something so out of character.  But the following day, he refused to unlatch for the entire length of his nap, so I shrugged it off.

However, in the days since, our nursing relationship has taken a sudden and dramatic shift.  And this is none too pleasing to this little mama.

For the first couple of days, he still nursed overnight, but a couple nights ago, he refused to nurse to sleep and then when he woke up at 2 am, he refused to nurse again.  He didn't seem to know what to do with himself, and frankly, I felt the same way.  For the past 19 months, our go-to move has been breastfeeding.  He cries, I nurse.  He's teething, I nurse.  He has a cold, I nurse.  Whatever the ailment or trouble was, nursing was a surefire fix.  But suddenly, he rejected it.

And the breastfeeding relationship is so intimate that it's really hard to not feel like he's rejecting me.  In fact, it's impossible to feel any other way.  Around midday yesterday, I started to feel engorged, so I pumped a measly half an ounce.  I gave him that milk in a sippy cup with dinner.  He guzzled it right down.  So when my husband did the bath and PJs routine as he always does, I pumped again.  This time I got two ounces.  Again, he guzzled most of it and only left a little in the cup.  So today, I pumped in the morning, at midday and in the evening with the intention of giving him a nighttime cup of milk.  But he rejected it.

I've met every milestone of his with a smile.  I couldn't have been happier to see him start crawling, then walking and talking.  Every big boy move of his has seemed amazing to me.  I love to watch him learn new things and explore the world, and he does it all with this look of pride and amazement on his face.

But this is a milestone I'm not happy to see.

Sure, there's a chance that this is just a nursing strike.  He has been stuffy, and he's definitely cutting his molars.  But there's something about his steadfast refusal to drink my milk, both from the breast and from a cup that feels very final to me.  I'm going to continue to pump and hope that he changes his mind.  But if this the end of this part of our life together, I wish I had known.

I'd have held him closer the last time we nursed.  I'd have inhaled his sweet milk breath one last time.  I'd have kissed his little hands and tickled his toes like we used to do.  I'd have memorized every little sensation and look, and as cheesy as it sounds, I'd have cherished it more than I did.  As it is, I can't quite remember when the last time was.  Was it that nap?  Or sometime overnight since then?  I honestly don't know.

There's so much that's indescribable in our time together as a nursing pair, so much that I'm not ready to let go of.  And I'm so surprised that he is ready to let go of it.  I feel blindsided and sad and confused.  How will I comfort him now?  What will I do when he has a bad dream or falls and hurts himself?  Holding him and rocking him was never enough.  He always needed milk to help him feel better.  Will it be enough now?

I feel like I have to learn the ropes all over again.  I feel like I did in those newborn days when he cried endlessly and I didn't know how to help him.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Why Mommy Friends Matter

So it's been awhile...I thought about posting the obligatory "I'm sorry I neglected the blog; I'll be better" post, but I'm gonna skip it and not make promises I can't keep.


The little guy is getting bigger (slowly, but surely), and in his zest for toddlerhood, he has decided that naps are for chumps--at least naps in the house. He's perfectly willing to sleep in the car or in the stroller or nursing on my lap but in our bed or in his crib, not so much.

Between his general lifelong hatred of sleep and my work schedule, this has been a hectic and stressful semester, so when we got an invitation to a St. Paddy's day party, we quickly lined up a babysitter and were looking forward to an evening out.

So when that babysitter came down with a stomach bug and had to cancel, I was super bummed and resigned myself to moping around the house all day, fighting the little guy to sleep, and eventually falling exhausted onto the couch.

When I got the opportunity to take a walk down the street to hang out with my sister, her kids, two other friends and their kids, it seemed like a golden opportunity to get out.

I didn't spend the day bitching about the baby, my life or my husband. In fact, I probably talked to the kids more than the grown-ups...although maybe that's because the grown-ups were quite outnumbered. All the same, it felt good to get out, let my son play with some friends and get some fresh air.

So when he didn't nap again today, I didn't turn into a ball of rage and frustration. I shrugged my shoulders and started counting the hours to sunset. He fell asleep minutes before the sun went down...thank god for that.


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