Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Starting A Long Day

Today's another one of those days where I know it's just going to be much too long. I love our son and the time we spend together is the most precious thing in the world. That said, sleep is also pretty precious and it is in short supply this morning.

To start us off, I got to bed late (well after 11:00). Jude woke up in his crib at 4:00, so I decided to go in and try rocking him back to sleep rather than bringing him into bed with us. As a person with narcolepsy, anything less than ten hours makes life exceptionally difficult. Time slept basically equates to half the time slept; four hours is effectively two hours, six hours is effectively three hours, and so on. After an hour of him falling asleep, me putting him down, and him waking right back up again; I decided I may as well change his diaper and try again.

Right as I'm about to close up his nice new dry diaper, he pees. Since the diaper is yet to be closed, he pees on himself. The surprise of suddenly being wet and the following outfit change wakes him up completely. There's now no hope of rocking him back to sleep and putting him in his crib.

I decide to try bringing him to bed with us, where he can nurse on his own time and pass back out, but he wants no part in this and just sort of nurses, rolls over, and starts complaining. I try switching sides, because sometimes it's that simple, but this doesn't placate him either. With no options left, I take him out into the living room to start the day.

There is still a very minute hope of a little sleep if I plop him in his swing and lay on the sofa where he can see my face. We've both managed to fall asleep and get a good nap this way in the past. It's to no avail today though. He screams at me in protest the instant I put him down. No amount of gentle convincing can convince him to stay there.

In fact, I soon come to find he'll not let me put him down anywhere. Effectively making  me unable to even make myself breakfast and I eat instant oatmeal every day. All he wants to do this morning is be carried around. Not even a warm up to that today. Oh boy.

He must be going through some developmental stages or something. Perhaps creeping, or sitting himself up! Hopefully he hasn't begun teething already, or isn't coming down with something.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

An Unexpected Nap

Something kind of amazing happened this morning.

Jude insisted we get up after his 5:00AM diaper change. That's not the amazing thing, trust me. There's nothing amazing about being awake before the Sun. I don't care what sort of hippie you are. Groggily I took him out into the living room and plopped him into his swing with his Galaxy Frog that my good friend Lena bought for him when he was just a newborn. With stars cast all over the ceiling he was entertained enough for me to go grab some juice.

He was still entertained by the time I came back so I thought, "You know what? I'm just going to lay on the sofa where he can see my face from his swing and rest my eyes..." An HOUR later I woke up and found that he had fallen asleep in his swing all on his own. So I rolled over and got another 30 minutes, until Intruder woke him up yelling at me to feed her.

Jude hasn't fallen asleep on his own when fully awake before. It was a very nice surprise. Normally he needs a little rocking and/or nursing to push him over into Dreamland, though he has fallen asleep while very sleepy on his own before; those times are few and far between and typically at night. So this is just me having a little celebration. Huzzah!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Five Months!

Time to begin the Jedi training.

Surviving Pregnancy

When I was pregnant I did a lot of research and received a lot of advice from friends who had been 'there' before. Some of the stuff is really insightful, and not too common knowledge, so I thought I would pay-it-forward by sharing.

Early Signs 
(your first trimester)

Sore and/or Tender Breasts
Warmth! Warmth! Warmth! Run a common rag under water as hot as you can stand, ring it out thoroughly and apply it to your aching ladies. Alternatively you can use a hot water bottle or a heating pad.

Morning Sickness
Ginger will save your life. Candied, crystallized, freshly ground into your tea, baked into cookies or breads -- any way you can take it. I swear by ginger!

Should the inevitable happen, drinking a glass of coconut water will have you well on your way to feeling better. It contains oodles of potassium (way more than bananas, though those are good to keep handy too). Potassium also keeps cramps at bay, which you'll appreciate once you start gaining pregnancy weight and your muscles want to complain about it.

Excessive Hunger
Eat. That's really the only way to solve this one. Sorry!

As above, the only sure way I know of to cure cravings is to give into them. You will probably crave similar things often though, so once you figure that out, just keep those sorts of food stocked so when you wake up at 2am wanting halva, it's only a walk to the kitchen away.

Food Avoidance
Also as above, the only way to solve this one is to learn what foods trigger your gag reflex and avoid them at all costs. Sometimes the mere smell of these foods will have you queasy.

The Midterm
(welcome to your second trimester)

Drink lots of water! Make sure you are getting all the vitamins you and baby need. If push comes to shove you can take some Tylenol (regular strength).

Get as much rest as physically possible. If this means several daytime naps and a full night's rest, so be it! You're creating a human, you're totally entitled.

Hot Flashes
Grab a piece of paper out of your printer and fold it into the shape of a fan. Keep this on hand at all times. Alternatively a small water bottle to mist yourself with, if you don't mind being a little damp.

(it's almost over, I promise)

Back Pain
Luckily the same thing you used on your poor boobs can also be used on your poor back! Gentle massage also helps, though it's kind of awkward to get a back massage while laying on your side.

Swollen Feet
Elevation helps, but as soon as you put your feet back down they'll start swelling again. Get a pair of mens socks, fold the part that goes around the ankle down over the part that goes around your foot, so that it creates a pocket of fabric. Put your foot into the sock where it goes and then in the pocket of fabric created by folding the sock, insert an ice pack! Now you can walk around or even sleep while easing the discomfort of your poor edema feet.

Pelvic/Hip Pain
Sleep with a pillow between your knees. By now you can't sleep on your back anyway; not only is it bad for baby, it's just uncomfortable. You don't need to buy specialty pillows that cost tons of money for this, or even body pillows which tend to be kind of costly. Just go to any store and pick yourself up a pillow for a king sized bed. This way you can tuck it both between your knees and under your tummy! This is as close to comfortable as you're going to get for a while.

Tums. You can't take Pepto anymore but you can take as many Tums as needed. If it isn't enough relief talk to your doctor about Prilosec. Mine let me continue taking two pills per day for the duration of my pregnancy as it doesn't cross the placental barrier.

Let's face it, that's the story of your life right now. Drink lots of water, make sure you're eating well and getting enough sleep and failing all of that, Tylenol! You can't take Advil in your third trimester.

You'll notice there are a lot more symptoms than their are solutions, that's because some things simply don't have reliable solutions. Especially while pregnant. But if you've got any tips or tricks to help cope with creating a human inside of your body, let me know -- I'll add them to the list.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Little Bundle of...

You always hear of babies being referred to as a Little Bundle of Joy. What they never say (out loud) is that your baby can be a bundle of... well, a lot of things. And whatever they're a bundle of can change in a matter of mere seconds! Once they're old enough they can, and will, cycle through emotions faster than Charlie Sheen.

 Such as but not limited to:




While joy is undoubtedly a fan favorite, there is something remarkably cute about an angry baby. They have very few methods of communicating their rage (or anything) at first, so they just scowl and growl at you like a ferocious puppy. An instant later they're smiling and laughing again. Winning!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sleeping on Baby's Schedule

I put Jude to sleep in his crib last night at 7:00PM. Much to my chagrin I had just barely managed to finish eating my dinner at 8:00PM when he woke up. I went back into the nursery, nursed him in the glider until he fell back asleep, then put him back in his crib.

He woke up and fussed for a few minutes two times during the night but cried neither time and fell back to sleep all by himself and proceeded to sleep until 3:00AM. Six whole hours! Then he came and joined me in bed until 6:00AM. With a shikibuton in the nursery we probably could have slept until 7:00 or 8:00, but complaining forced us out into the living room so we didn't wake Aaron.

Just goes to show you, co-sleeping or letting your baby sleep in his swing (or wherever the hell he will stay asleep during those early months so long as it's safe) will not spoil him irrevocably. You cannot spoil an infant so young. They have no sense of object permanence yet. That's why they cry when you leave the room, because if they cannot see it, it no longer exists. Whatever works so that they get the rest they need and you get the rest you need -- just go with it!

Before having a baby I was convinced they HAD to sleep in a bassinet or they would implode or dingos would come for them in the night, or something else equally horrifying and tragic. Turns out? Not so true. While it is ideal that your little bundle of joy will come home from the hospital and go to sleep in a bassinet for longer than thirty minutes at a time, usually that is not the case. They spend 9 months living inside of you, going through the trauma of birth and then being shoved into what equates to a really expensive basket is of course not going to fly with them very well.

I don't think I slept for longer than an hour per 24 hours for the entire first 4 weeks of my son's life because of this misconception that if my baby was not in his bassinet to sleep I was doing something terribly wrong and he would suffer for it. We were both pretty unhappy. Sleep deprivation will do that to you. Once I realized this wasn't the case, both of us were not only leaps and bounds happier, we were healthier.

My epiphany was thus: A wolf does not create a ring of rocks in her cave for her pups to sleep in so that she doesn't kill them in her sleep.

I'd let him go ahead and fall asleep beside me in bed, where he had the comfort of my warmth and heartbeat and he'd sleep through the night at a month old no issue. Once he was older, to introduce him to sleeping on his own, I would nurse him in the glider or while pacing the house and then put him in his reclining swing to sleep. This way Aaron and I could enjoy some alone time and he would fall back asleep thanks to the gentle rocking of his swing if he stirred. He'd wake up hungry in 3 or 4 hours then join me in bed for the remainder of the night.

Neither "habit" has ruined our baby from sleeping on his own. Neither "habit" has ever put him in harm's way. So long as you do your research, are careful, and don't sleep like a epileptic drunk person your baby should be fine in bed with you. If you do sleep like an epileptic drunk person there are things available to help you with that, so you can still get a full night's rest and your baby won't die. That's a win:win and a much more positive experience than cry-it-out Sleep Training. You train pets, not people.

Monday, March 4, 2013


Jude loves to gnaw on my jewelry. Unfortunately most of my jewelry is not only too delicate to be tugged and chewed on but also dangerous to be tugged and chewed on. At four months he's also yet oblivious to the word no. So the idea of jewelry for adults that is meant to be chewed on by babies was really appealing to me. Something passable as fashion that's also more appealing to Jude than my real jewelry. This is how I discovered Chewbeads.

Blurry image because of all the fun.
Chewbeads are soft, chewy beaded jewelry available in a variety of colors and styles for mom to wear and for baby to chew on or play with. A clever way to always have a toy on hand. The necklaces have a quick-release clasp in case baby yanks too hard (it'll come off rather than snap) and the bracelets are on stretch cord. Since they're all dishwasher safe, cleaning them is a cinch.

I ordered a bracelet in ivory, as that's what Jude tries to gnaw on most, and so far he seems to enjoy it. I'm still wearing my silver bracelet but he doesn't even pay it attention anymore. He prefers to grab at the Chewbeads, manipulate them with his fingers, and of course shove them in his mouth. I imagine they'll be even handier once he starts teething. The only downside is the price, they're a little expensive but if you order from Amazon, or anywhere else you can have them shipped for free, totally worth it.