Sunday, February 22, 2015

Goodbye Crib

Saturday we went shopping for Jude's new bed. While we had a convertible crib, able to stage up from crib to toddler bed to full then twin, the conversion kits were crazy expensive for what they were. For example, the conversion kit from crib to toddler bed was literally two 12" pieces of wood. Cheapest we could find it available was for $80. For perspective a brand new toddler bed, containing not two but several pieces of wood would have cost us $60-70. What? Yeah, no. I'm not paying $10-20 more for less, that's ridiculous.

At first I was just going to get him a toddler bed, but then we considered how big he is already and realized: if we got him a toddler bed this year, next year we'd need to get him a full bed anyway. Why not just save the cost long term? So we went mattress store hunting and then took a journey around to see what we could get and who would give us the best deal. Ultimately we wound up getting him a twin size bed, which he can use for a long time with a Sealy mattress. I'm a little jealous -- it's REALLY comfortable!

Then we went and got him all the bedding he'd need, including multiple sets of sheets because, potty training isn't far off in the future and I'm sure having more than one set of sheets is going to come in handy. We went with a Batman theme, so Batman sheets/comforter/pillowcase, and his Grandma found a really cute Batman plush which Jude took to right away. He spent the entire shopping trip talking to it and hugging it while sitting in the cart. It was really precious.

So, last night was Jude's last night sleeping in his crib. It's actually a little sad to think about. When did my Little Duck get so big that he could climb out of his crib? He's like three feet tall, half my size! How?! It feels like just last week he was sleeping (barely) in a bassinet, now he's got his own bed. Like, an actual real bed. He'll probably sleep in this bed all through his childhood. He'll use it to make blanket forts. He'll hide beneath it during games of hide and seek. He and his friends will probably jump on it together much to our chagrin. Let's face it, the rocking chair is primarily their for my comfort now -- long gone all the nights of cozily nursing in the dark and then laying him gently to sleep in his crib.

This morning we dismantled his crib. This afternoon they delivered his new bed and we made it all up for him. Tonight will be his first night sleeping in a real bed (aside from when he co-slept with me as an infant). He's already shown us that he can climb in and out of it himself, so hopefully the transition goes smoothly. I expect there will be some additional sleep regression, but we've been dealing with that since he learned he could get up whenever he wanted, day or night. So hopefully it isn't any worse than that.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Coping With Houdini

We're still trying to cope with this new-found talent of the Little Duck's. Basically every day since his first escape I've found him asleep someplace other than his crib. A lot of people's advice has been to establish a firm bed time routine, for both nap time and bed time, so that he realizes "Okay, this is happening now, sleep happens next." But we've already been doing that his entire life. So... yeah... not really advice that does us any good unfortunately.

Another piece of advice was to establish a reward system for staying in bed, but since he's not yet talking there's no real way to convey this abstract idea to him. I mean he grasps language, if I give him simple instructions (up until now), he'll follow them pretty well but he's always been a good boy, so we've never had to explain "do the good thing not the bad thing and get a treat!" You know? That concept is completely foreign to him.

Persistence was the only solid advice I've been given really. Because persistence could work for any child, mine, yours, older, younger, speaking, not speaking. What I've done is simply refuse to let him escape for any length of time.

Nap time has pretty much gone the way of the dodo, even when he's visibly tired he will rarely actually go to sleep during the day when he knows he can instead run up and down the hall cackling like a madman. I've taken to just loitering outside of his door, waiting for him to open it. Then tsking him and plopping him back into his crib so that he learns to at least remain in the nursery for an hour of 'winding down' time, so that he realizes if he isn't going to sleep it's not going to be a fun toy party with Mom all afternoon.

That seems to be working somewhat. After his third escape attempt yesterday he finally remained in the nursery looking at books and playing with stuffed animals rather than trying to come out to play with us. So he managed to actually get about an hour of quiet time. Which is so important. Even if he refuses to actually nap, giving him a cool off period where he can just chill safe and happy prevents him from getting over-stimulated, I've found. Which makes bed time easier.

Case-in-point, last night was the easiest bed time routine all week. After a small snack while I read him a story, I sang him a lullaby and put him to bed where he went right to sleep! That hasn't gone so effortlessly since this whole 'climbing out of bed' thing started. Until this morning.

From about 8 moths onward, Jude has always gotten up in the morning at 8:00 AM sharp. No matter what time he got to sleep (earlier than usual, later than usual), he wakes up at 8:00 AM. This morning he got up at 5:00 AM and started running around. Ugh! Aaron took him back to the nursery, held him until he began to doze off, and put him back near-asleep but the moment he left the room Jude cried and followed. So I went in for a try and rocked him until he was totally asleep then put him back to bed, but he woke up when I put him down. Not ready to give up on him actually getting a decent amount of sleep, I stood with my hand on his back until he dozed off again but he got up and followed me the moment I left the room anyway!

We spent a whole hour trying to get him back to sleep without success. So I tsked him for coming out and took him back to bed where he did not go back to sleep but at least remained playing quietly for an hour without further complaint. After that Aaron stayed up to keep an eye on him so I could try to get some sleep, but Jude REALLY wanted my attention and kept coming in and ripping the covers off of me, trying to lift my head off the pillows with both hands, yelling at my face, and pulling up my eyelids with his tiny fingers to smile at me... rofl. Super cute, very precious, but man am I tired.

Aaron escorted him away to watch Sesame Street, but he kept running up and down the hall laughing so I didn't get much sleep. I managed to catch maybe an hour before Jude came running to me with the lid and straw to his new cup, insisting I'm the only person on Earth able to fix the problem. "Uh, where's the cup part buddy?" Oh, on the floor sitting on top of the big wet spot that had clearly been your juice.

I'm so tired my eyes actually hurt. It feels like it's almost dinner time but it's not even lunch time yet. Long day ahead!

Sunday, February 15, 2015


Yesterday afternoon Aaron and I were out in the living room watching Farscape while Jude took his nap in the nursery with the door closed. We watched a couple of episodes and had lunch. Afterward we went to wake up the baby together, like we do everyday. Only when we walked into the hallway, so did Jude. Jude had been in the our bed room! For how long? Who knows?! We never heard him get up. We had no reason to expect him to be up. He has never before gotten out of the crib by himself! Until that moment, the crib was a magical, inescapable baby sanctuary. Now there's no stopping him.

After a hearty Valentine's Day feast and completely losing track of time, we didn't wind up going to bed until 4:00AM (I blame the wine, personally). I held out hope that nap time had been a fluke, and that perhaps Jude wouldn't be able to escape again and maybe, just maybe I wouldn't be up in four hours because there was a toddler crawling all over me. I was over optimistic, haha. He can most definitely get out now whenever he wants to. At 8:00AM, bright and early, Aaron found him in the kitchen. Just standing there, sleepy-eyed.

I mean, the house is baby-proofed so there's no danger, and now that we know he can do it, we're pretty on top of the matter... but man, I'm going to miss nap time and sleeping in in the mornings.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Diaper Bag Essentials

A lot of people ask me what to put in their diaper bag. Most diaper bags are huge, so filling them with nothing but diapers and wipes seems excessive, and it would be. Unless you are going on a long road trip or your baby is sick or something, there should really only be a handful of diapers on hand in your diaper bag.  All of that extra space is for other necessities.

So, obviously I keep diapers, water wipes, and Desitin stocked at all times, but then I also keep things that make being out of the house with a baby a lot easier. Things like snacks (crackers, almonds, cookies, granola bars, etc. -- things that keep well), a handful of building blocks, a couple Little People, a coloring book and a few crayons, those foam alphabet cut-out things, a musical toy, and some flash cards. If we'll be out for a while, I'll also bring extra juice.

My little one is 2 years old now, so obviously some of what is in there would be silly for a newborn. But basically you want things that are age appropriate to snack on, drink, and play with to keep baby content while out and about in. Most public displays of unhappiness (aka tantrums) are the direct result of hunger, thirst, and boredom. I mean, think about it, how excited were you to sit in a shopping cart for 30+ minutes as a kid while your parent(s) mill about seemingly aimless? Probably not very.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a min first aid kit stocked as well. A few bandaids, some neosporin, alcohol wipes and so forth. It's not as likely to see use the first year, but after that your toddler is going to, well, toddle. There will be a lot of bumps and scrapes. Sometimes even if the boo-boo doesn't need a bandaid, sticking one on makes them feel better.

I would also strongly suggest an entire spare outfit! I cannot count the times this has been a life saver for us. Whether it be a poop explosion, spit-up, barfing due to car sickness, getting rained on, falling in mud, etc. Having that spare change of clothes is worth the room they take. To minimize bag-space the spare outfit I usually pack is pajamas (because things like jeans and sweaters take a lot more room). Just so they have something dry and warm to wear home. If it is cold out, I keep a pair of mitten and a hat in there too.

If you'll be out a while, or are perhaps headed to swim or play at a wading pool, you should also bring along your baby's sunscreen as it needs to be reapplied every few hours (and a lot more than that if you're getting wet).

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How Can You Not Know You Are/Were Pregnant?

I never knew not being able to tell that you were pregnant was a thing until it happened to me. I'm sure I had heard one or two stories about it in passing, years before it would ever become relevant to my life, but I probably never paid them any mind because the idea seemed so impossible to me. How could you not know you were pregnant? How could you not notice the morning sickness, the missed periods, the weight gain, the movement of your baby?

Having now lived through the experience myself, I can say with 100% certainty being oblivious to a pregnancy is a thing and it's not even a rare thing. There's a whole show about it and it's run multiple seasons it happens that frequently.

So how does something like this happen? Well, for starters not all women experience all symptoms of pregnancy. You can skip one or all of them, actually. If you're already a larger woman, you may even go full term without noting any weight gain because your overall shape hasn't changed. You may be one of those women who has always had irregular periods, so missing several months is nothing strange. You may ignore minor discomforts because you have no other symptoms and have been on birth control. You might have another diagnosed medical condition that has similar symptoms and attribute how you feel to that instead. There are a lot of ways this could happen.

It must be the flu.
For me it was a little stranger. I had about a week, early on in 2012 (looking back), where I thought I had the flu. That's it. That was my only indicator of a pregnancy. There were a few sporadic nights where I felt under the weather but I suffer from a chronic illness and this was nothing new. For example, I feel under the weather right now. I was taking birth control religiously to treat PMDD and getting regular periods (6-7 day duration, including 3-4 heavy days like usual), every month. So being pregnant had never even crossed my mind. I continued having normal periods throughout my pregnancy up until the last month.

I gained absolutely no weight until the third trimester. We assumed then that it was due to a lapse in exercise and our love of cheeseburgers, particularly because there were, again, no other signs of pregnancy... but then I had a light period as well and we decided to go ahead and test. Given the circumstances, I expected it would be negative and I'd have a cyst or something. It was positive.

These pictures were only taken a week apart!
At this point we assumed, since I had only just begun gaining weight, had only had a single irregular period, and hadn't felt any movement, that I must've been just a couple of months along. We scheduled a doctor appointment for the following week (earliest I could be seen). During this week I gained weight rapidly. So rapidly in fact that halfway through we had to go shopping because suddenly none of my clothes fit anymore. I went from 125 lb. to 140lb. in a matter of days becoming very obviously quite pregnant -- certainly more than a couple of months.

Our first physical exam estimated that I was 5 months pregnant. Our first ultrasound, days later, moved that forward to 7 months pregnant. Our meeting with the OB/GYN, just a few days after that, dictated my due date was the next month. Surprise!

I was worried about the health of the baby because there had been a complete lack of movement, but it turns out that was simply because I couldn't feel it. On the ultrasounds he was moving plenty. He was perfect, healthy. This lack of perceived 'kicking' was attributed to having an anterior placenta, meaning I was unable to feel him move until he was so big it'd be impossible not to. Then I could feel him moving constantly, which was very alien to me because I had no time to get used to his little movements beforehand. My midwife said that had I been larger to begin with, I may have never felt him move at all.

And this, my dear readers, is how you can go three trimesters without ever knowing you were pregnant in the first place. Not all women, even perfectly health ones, experience pregnancy symptoms. Some medical conditions mask pregnancy symptoms. It's natural and if you went a long time before detecting your pregnancy there's no shame in it. Plenty of women don't even learn of their pregnancies until going into labor. Just take care of yourself so if this were to happen, you'll all be okay. Get plenty to eat, drink enough water, make sure you get enough sleep, take your vitamins, wear sunscreen, etc.

If you suspect even remotely you may be pregnant, test! No matter how far-fetched it seems. It's better to know, even if you didn't find out right away. Can you imagine how scary it must be to go to the E.R. for abdominal pain thinking you're dying, only to find out you're in labor? I can imagine very few things scarier.

Related posts:
There is a Ninja
There is a Ninja II
Birth Story

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

An Apology

I apologize for a lack of text posts lately, but I've got my hands full! Between the terrible two's, which are more a thing than I thought, a lingering cold that every single one of us managed to catch, and mountains upon mountains of paperwork... well you see where I'm going.

I'll try to remedy this when I've got the time, I have had plenty of inspiration (picky eating, tantrum management, trips to the zoo, etc., etc.), just no time to settle down peacefully to write them out.

In the meanwhile, I've been able to keep up with tumblr at least (link bottom right somewhere abouts), where one can convey a whole myriad of things with a single .gif in about as much time as it takes to left-click.