Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Am I training him, or is he training me?

Sooooo..... lately Little M has been sitting and playing on the floor, with a tiny smattering of trying to crawl thrown in there for good measure. When I sit on the floor with him, he sometimes gets it into his head that my knee looks really tasty.

When he leans over to start sucking on it, I usually laugh and shriek pretty loud, because I'm really ticklish there. So today, he was just sitting on the floor playing and we were laughing, so I laughed the loud shrieky laugh just to see what he'd do, and Little M then leans over and starts sucking on my knee! So cute. And weird.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Baby Pageants

OK, so I've seen the "Toddlers and Tiaras" show on whatever channel it was, and I too laughed at the mom who said, "We'll stop doing it when she wants to stop" to then show the little girl going, "I don't want to do it anymore!" When they went right on getting her ready and she appeared on stage, was anyone really surprised?

Well, I know my Little M is adorable, and I just wanted to see what they're like in person rather than on TV, so we'll see.

I am sure Little M will be a perfect little angel until we get to where something would be the most mortifyingly effective, then he'll have a diaper blowout or something equally disgusting. Well, fun will be had by all, then.

Oh, well, I will have Big M bring the video camera, maybe we can make some money from the embarrassment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Food Trials

We've finally moved up from the Stage 1 foods to the Stage 2 foods of the Gerber line. I was buying mostly from their Organic foods, but I may stop doing that, they're twice as much, and I'm not convinced that they are twice as good for him.

Stage 2 offers a slightly coarser texture (so closer to real versions of the foods, but a difference not necessarily discernable to the human eye) and a lot more variety. We had bananas in Stage 1. We had pears in Stage 1. Stage 2 has Bananas with Pears and Oranges! Very exciting. I can hardly contain myself.

What this means to me, as a mom, is that I'm still not done with the Food Testing Trials. So for every new exciting Fruit Medley thing, I have to see if more than one of the ingredients is new to Little M, and if so, I have to find ANOTHER fruit dish that contains only ONE new ingredient and test the ingredients of the fruit medley one by one making sure I don't hit one that causes an allergic reaction in Little M. By the time I finally get to offer him the Fruit Medley, he'll probably be so sick of all of the fruits it contains. I know I would be.

But it's a necessary evil so as to not cause him tummy distress, or to cause mommy and daddy to be running to the emergency room one night when we accidentally gave him that Banana Grape Plum dessert that had TWO new fruits in it and one of them makes him cough funny!

So to try to keep track, and make light of the situation a little, I did come up with a list of all the fruits we have tried, or that we actually have in the house after my big fruit-buying trip to Giant today, and as we try the new fruits they'll go on the acceptable list and we can be ever so slightly more adventurous the next meal.

This is one of those things that my child will never appreciate that I did for him, until he has a child of his own. That's OK, though, because I still get to go in his room at night and watch him sleep, and that's been more than enough reward for me for any of the things I do for him.

Long-Term Visitor

OK, we have a visitor coming on July 10th. It's my husband's sister's husband's sister's daughter. We'll call her Dee. Dee is about 20, I want to say, and going to college. On her summer break this year she'll be interning for a small newspaper in the southern part of the large metropolitan area to our east. Her internship will be about 43 miles away from us.

We're happy to have her, I'm really looking forward to having her, actually, because if nothing else it'll force us to keep the house clean for the six weeks she'll be here. And we also have to do some moving and cleaning that we just hadn't gotten to in a LONG time.

But I'm not sure there's a lot for a 20 year old to do here in slightly more populated small town America. But if she wants to go hang out with any friends she makes, that's fine, but we need to set up some ground rule beforehand so she doesn't feel like she can't do anything, and we don't feel like we should be reporting things back to her mother. Maybe I'll see if some of the older kids in the neighborhood will be around to keep her out of trouble.

I think Little M will love having another female to flirt with all the time. I think he gets tired on only Mommy. The cats will just adore her. A human that isn't ALL ABOUT THE BABY ALL THE TIME! They'll be so happy they won't know what to do!

Oh well, I hope Dee has a great trip here and really enjoyes her stay.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To TV or not to TV, that is the question...

OK, so I know of some mommies who are anti-TV when it comes to their babies, so the child gets no exposure whatsoever. Which is fine for them.

But in our household, we are very pro-TV as a form of relaxation, entertainment, white noise while I'm doing dishes, etc. Sometimes I have even caught myself watching on TV a movie that we OWN THE DVD OF, just because it's on. And I can even tell which scenes were edited for TV, so yes, we, as a household, probably watch too much.

But we're not monsters. We are attempting to put our child on a different path. We found a learning system that we like, the Your Baby Can Read DVDs (thank you much, Grampy and Nana), and we let him watch one other program from PBS Sprout, called the Pajanimals.

We chose the Pajanimals because we were children reared on the Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock, and the Pajanimals are another Jim Henson production that is focused on the preschooler and getting them to go to sleep, and we are very pro-sleep in this house.

The YBCR DVDs are supposed to teach Little M patterns in words, and although he is not showing signs of reading just yet, he is mesmerized by the kids on the show, and even whips his head around to the TV when the theme music starts.

However, from a young age Little M has shown a fondness for watching the TV, even when his shows are not on. Even when NO shows are on. There have been many times I have been trying to breastfeed and he's got his head bent around to he can see the TV screen, even though the TV is off.

But there is good news...his interest in the cats has overtaken the interest in the black screen of the TV. Well, it's not good news for the cats, because he's also close to crawling, so they'll have to redouble their efforts to avoid his chubby little hands, otherwise they're looking at lots of bald spots.

So while we don't park Little M in front of the TV for hours, we do let him spend about 1/2 hour, twice a day, learning to read, and watching puppets sing about going to sleep. And that is how we're answering the question.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Breastfeeding vs. Bottlefeeding the debate rages on...

Here's a little background on the Breastfeeding VS Bottle feeding for those of you not familiar:

When looking into options for feeding a baby (especially before solid foods are introduced) you can feed the baby formula (which will always be by bottle, since breasts do not make formula), or you can feed the baby breast milk (which can be either by breastfeeding or by pumping and using bottles). When someone says they are exclusively breastfeeding, that can mean they are feeding the baby ONLY breast milk, or it can mean they are feeding the baby only breast milk and it only comes straight from the breast. (I always want to say straight from the cow, but that's just a flashback to girl scout camp from LONG ago)

So we have been exclusively breastfeeding (straight from the cow, if you will) for many months now, and ran into a little snag. Since the mastitis hasn't gotten any better, my doctor put me on an antibiotic (for what he thinks is a bacterial infection) and wanted me to pump and give Little M the bottle.

Getting Little M to take a bottle is just a monumental task, and neither I nor Big M are up to it, so I'm just hoping that the antibiotic will kick in and make feeding Little M less painful than it has been. So I'll freely admit that I'm too lazy to pump and store and wash bottles and sterilize everything, but mostly it's that I'm too lazy to fight with my child when I know that if I just pop the boob in his mouth, he'll stop crying about it!

So yes, I'm coddling my child, but I don't feel badly about it, it was for the purpose of letting me heal, and if the antibiotic is making that happen (and I think it is) then I think it's not going to cause my son to start robbing banks or other criminal tendencies.

So we put away the pump, and just make sure the breasts are in the vicinity of the baby when he wants to eat, and we're good to go. Hopefully we'll both be cured of any problems before too long and this will all be a bad memory.

Friday, June 19, 2009

My poor, poor husband...

***heavily sarcastic ranting on*** how he has it bad. He goes to work all week (well, 4 days) and has the long weekend to recover, and I have the nerve to ask him to help out more with the baby! Who do I think I am????

Well, I'll tell you who I am. I am an overstressed mother of an eight-month-old who is now teething and trying to learn to crawl, which makes for not very much sleep at night. I'm also PMS-ing like crazy, so rational thought is not always high on the list. But I have worked out the numbers.

He does help out with the baby on the three weekend mornings he's home (that's Friday, Saturday and Sunday), by taking the baby after I've breastfed him around 7am. He then feeds and changes him as needed until I get up around 10 or 11. So that's 3 hours times 3 days a week, which is 9 hours out of ONE HUNDRED AND SIXTY EIGHT hours in a week. That's 5.35% of the week. Even if I say 11 and give him credit for the extra hour, that's still only 7.14%.

I did tell him that unless he starts making an effort to make the weekends closer to 50/50, I'm not even going to be thinking about going back to work. Because there is no way I can work 40 hours a week, then be picking up the slack for the other 128 hours (oh, wait, minus his 12, so 116 hours) without help.

So when someone complains about not having gotten any sleep last night to the one person in the house who hasn't gotten sleep in three nights (and whose first sleep in a week before that was 4 days ago), it pretty much goes in one ear and out the other.

The VERY least he could do is turn on the baby monitor and at least listen for Little M when he's upstairs and I'm busy pumping milk for the baby to drink. Or he could turn on the monitor and listen for the baby when he gets up and goes downstairs at early o'clock in the morning so that I can sleep in till late o'clock.

Waiting for me to get up and bring the baby down to force him to spend time with his son doesn't even really count as far as I'm concerned, because I shouldn't have to force him, he should want to be able to spend time with his son.

OK, while we're on complaining, why is it that the very same baby who sits there only wanting to eat 1/3 of the dinner (of baby food) that I've nuked and none of the dessert (1/2 container of banana baby food) will scarf it all down AND an additional 1/2 container of peaches when Mommy is feeding him. Mommy must have the magical quality needed to feed the baby. I believe in the non-magical world it is called "patience".

All right, that's enough off my chest for now.
***heavily sarcastic ranting off***

You may all now feel tremendously sorry for the man who had the misfortune to marry the mess that is me.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Waiting Game...

OK, so it's almost 10pm, Little M is freshly fed and crying his little heart out to get me to hold and rock him all night long, but I have to keep reminding myself that one day his wife will thank me that she didn't have to put up with a thirty year old man that still wants his mommy to rock him to sleep.

Maybe it's not THAT drastic, but still, the other boys at sleepaway camp would make fun if I was there rocking him every night, right? So I'm just doing this for him. And after about 10 minutes (which in crying time feels like TWO HOURS!) he's asleep. For two minutes of actual time. And the symphony begins again.

I'm not sure why it's gotten this bad. He used to be able to fall asleep feeding, and sleep just fine all night long. Yes, sometimes he'd wake up to be fed, but nothing like this every hour thing that's been happening the last two nights.

Have I really angered the Baby Sleep Gods this much? Please let me now repent and tell me what the penance will be, oh those who control my sleep by association.

Or is this it? Having to listen to my child cry for what feels like hours???? Because that's clearly working on me, I promise to NEVER again brag about my child sleeping for 12 hours.

If it ever happens again.

Please let it happen again!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Never mess with the Gods of Baby Sleep...

I should have known that the Gods of Baby Sleep do not take kindly to bragging about how long the baby slept.

Just like you never taunt the traffic Gods by bragging about how fast you were able to make any trip, they'll kick your butt the next time you're on the road.

And so for my punishment, I had to feed Little M at 10pm last night, but then we were good the rest of the night. However, for my punishment tonight, Little M will not go back down now after the 10 o'clock feeding. He just keeps crying with that "Mum-mum-mum-mum" sound that's just so sad. You'd think I was starving the poor child instead of just having spent 40 minutes of quite frankly PAINFUL breastfeeding because we just can't shake this infection.

And I know part of it is just that he's now old enough that he's figured out that if he cries enough, he can get what he wants, which is me holding and rocking him all night long. But I know that's not good for him, and he needs to know that he can put himself back to sleep.

So we are at an impasse. I can't go to bed with my poor child wailing, and he can't seem to get himself to sleep this time, even though his tummy is full and his diaper is dry. (And he's exhausted, he didn't open his eyes at ALL during the 40 minutes.)

Well, we've now exhausted the batteries in this baby monitor, I'm off to get the other one off the charger. Here's hopeing you're all having easier nights with the Baby Sleep Gods on your side.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Day in the Life of FormerGeekGirl and Little M

Another mommy asked what a typical day was like for some of us with older babies (Little M will be 8 months next week), so I decided to post that here:

7am: Little M usually wants to have his early morning breastfeeding at this point. I usually have him either go back to sleep for an hour, or he just plays in his crib.

8-8:30am: We get up, get Little M dressed and wander downstairs for breakfast, usually some cereal and fruit for him. Then playtime or "Your Baby Can Read" video for 30 minutes of getting things done around the house. Sometimes he naps, sometimes he doesn't.

11am: Second breakfast (or pre-lunch) breastfeeding. More playing or we run errands and he flirts with anyone who catches his eye.

1:30pm: Lunch, these days it's 1/3 jar of meat, and 1/3 each of two vegetables. He has also been taking another 1/2 container of fruit, so we're switching to the 2nd Foods since they have more in a package.

3-3:30pm: Second lunch (or pre-dinner) breastfeeding. Since Big M gets home just before lunch, he gets to play with Daddy some of the time between lunch and bedtime, which lets Mommy get some more things done around the house.

5pm: Dinner, pretty much the same as lunch.

5:30- 6pm: If he hasn't already watched YBCR, we do that, otherwise I try to keep him entertained until I see the eye-rubbing, which means yawning is not far behind so I hustle him upstairs for the bath.

Bathtime: Bathtime is the one ritual that doesn't change on the schedule, we always try to be home in time to do this.

  • First I put him in his crib with the special Pooh toy that he only gets before the bath. Then I go run the bath. When I come back in to get him I put him on the changing table to take off his clothes, and which point he starts to get really worked up because he knows that I'm going to tickle him until he squeals.
  • Once he's all excited, I give him a bath, then wrap him up in the towel and back to the changing table. I put on the diaper, get the water out of his ears with the baby Q-tip, put some Aquaphor on his cheeks and nose (and anything else that feels dry), brush his hair, and give him a massage with baby oil or lotion (For some reason this always makes me think of The Adams Family, where Wednesday and Pugsley are trying to sell lemonade and the Girl Scout asks if it's made with real lemons, then tries to make them buy a box of her cookies. Wednesday asks, "Are they made from real Girls Scouts?", so I always tell Little M that the baby oil is made from real babies. I know, it's silly, but I laugh every night.)
  • Then it's pajama time (usually a sleep sac). I take him to the glider for the last feeding before bed, and he usually falls asleep feeding, but some nights I just leave him playing quietly in the crib and he's out by around 7pm.

7pm - 7am: Little M actually slept this whole time for the first time EVER last night. I was in heaven (see the last entry for how this was accomplished!) But before then I was just listening to the baby monitor and getting up with him whenever I heard the "I'm really serious!" cry. Sometimes every two or three hours, during a growth spurt every hour. But tonight we're into hour three already and I'm hoping for a repeat performance of the 12 hours.

That's a typical day, if we have things to do or places to be we take baby food with us. The only day that really throws a monkey wrench into the schedule is Sunday, when church is from 10:15am to 12pm. We may end up going to the earlier service, but we'll see.

My despondent fuzzy "child" is getting a little better

Little A is our little girl kitty. She's been the baby of the family ever since we brought her home with her sister, and she's been feeling a bit displaced ever since Little M came home. Her sister passed away at the end of March 2008, about a month after we found out we were pregnant with Little M.

The dynamics of the kitty heirarchy in the house changed a bit, but we were actually surprised to see that our Alpha Girl was still represented in spirit, as each cat seemed to take over some of her traits.

Little A took over the leadership role, as well as her usual diplomatic duties (she naps with everyone and makes sure there is no fighting in the group without some making up afterward. She also makes sure to include the staff (Big M and me) in the nap schedule, but since Little M came home, we've both had to beg off on our naptime lap provider roles. So Little A has been napping alone some of the time.

She mopes on whatever floor Little M is NOT on, and stays there sleeping until she can try to claim the affection that is rightly hers.

It used to be that we chased her down to lavish attention on her, and now she waits until the baby is in bed before she races to an unoccupied lap to soak up the loving.

Ever since Little M began to work on the crawling, she does little drive-by surveillance missions of the baby, getting just close enough to check him out, but not close enough that he could reach out and touch her. If I pick her up, I usually take her to the baby to let him pet her, but lately he is ignoring my request to pet her gently and is just coming up with a fistful of fur. We're going to have to work on the "gently" concept.

Big M uses Little M as a punishment for Tubby Tabby, the youngest cat. If he does something wrong, Big M will pick him up and make him endure the not-so-gentle petting technique that we're working on. Yet another fistful of fur to pick off of Little M before it ends up in the mouth.

The most adorable thing to come out of all this baby/feline interaction is that Little M is just enthralled by the cats. He's even hears us making the clicking noise to call the cats, and whenever he wants to see the cats, he makes his own little version of the noise. What a smart kid! Not a single cat falls for it, but he keeps trying!

My friend KD is a genius!!!!!!!!!

So it was my friend, KD, who bucked current baby-raising wisdom and decided to put the bumpers back in the crib. She reasoned that her baby, TRex, is past the age where he might stop breathing, so the risk of SIDS is minimal. And poor TRex kept waking up in the middle of the night after he'd hit his head on the crib.

Since I too had been seeing red spots on Little M's forehead (ouch!) when I went in to get him in the middle of the night, I thought I might try putting back in the cute Winnie the Pooh bumpers that came with the bed set and see how we got on. Of course I was still planning on using the motion detector monitor JUST IN CASE Little M had issues.

I heard maybe 10 seconds of baby crying noises the ENTIRE night, the motion detector never went off, and Little M slept for 12 (Yes, that's TWELVE) hours!!!!!!!!!!!

So thanks to the brilliant KD, I am now a bumper convert! Well, after the baby is 4 months old and the risk of SIDS has passed, that is. I'm not a complete lunatic...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Child Lost in the Great Skin Lotto

Poor Little M. He has me for a mom, with my blue eyes, and pale, freckled, never tans, only burns kind of skin. Then he has Big M for a dad, who is blue-eyed and 75% Irish, so no hope there.

So for the first almost 6 months we were having to try to put him in the sun for 30 minutes a day (without sunscreen!) to make sure he got enough Vitamin D since I was breastfeeding exclusively.

Now that he's eating solids (and getting his Vitamin D in the baby cereals) I am going to have to slather on the sunscreen and keep a hat and sunglasses (he's stuck with the blue eyes too, which are super sensitive to the light) on him for the rest of his natural life so he won't burn that precious baby skin!

At least the pool is indoors for swim class!

Seriously, though, skin cancer runs in my family, so I want to give Little M the best chance I can to get through childhood without any serious sunburns and if that means he wears enough sunscreen that I have to trowel it on, then so be it. I want him soft and pale as long as possible!