daycare nightmare

I wrote this on Wednesday and wasn’t sure if I wanted to post it. I’ve found alternate care after I wrote this, and everything is better now. I kind of want to forget it ever happened. I want to erase it from my history, from my memory. But whether or not I put it here, it happened. And, I guess I want to remember it because next time my gut tells me something is wrong, I want to remember to trust myself and my mommy instincts and hopefully avoid making this kind of mistake again.

Monday was my first day back at work. I was lucky… I got 4 months at home with my sweet son.

We found an in-home daycare that I thought would be lovely. My mother used to run an in-home daycare, and those babies were like our own. We loved them and snuggled them and played with them. They always felt so loved. We still keep in touch with some of them… they’re in college now. I thought that’s what it would be like for my son.

But it wasn’t.

The first day, I dropped him off with high hopes. I was sad, but felt okay. The daycare is licensed and the lady said that all of the children that were there had been in her care since they were 3 months old. She has three 4 year olds and a 2 year old. I should have known better that it was too many kids at too wide of an age range.

When I picked him up, he was listless. Limp. Dull eyes. He didn’t even recognize me. He was strapped into a bouncy chair with his arms by his sides and his pacifier in his mouth. He wasn’t even sucking the pacifier. He had no toys. I asked about how he napped and she raved about how he never cried and he took a two hour nap. Behind her, one of the 4 year olds kept saying “he cried and cried and cried and cried and cried…” I know 4 year olds exaggerate, but I have a feeling someone was outright lying to me, and it wasn’t the child. I know my baby. I could see how swollen his face was. He’d been crying for hours.

She said he’d had one diaper blowout, but that it’s normal for breastfed babies. I told her he never has them at home unless he’s in the bouncy chair. She immediately got defensive and said that he can’t be on the floor like at home because of the other children. It’s a safety hazard. So I asked… she let it slip that he’d been strapped into the bouncy seat, with no toys, no way to move, for FIVE HOURS out of the eight that he was with her. FIVE. HOURS. Motionless. Strapped to a chair. No toys.

I asked why he didn’t have toys, and she said she thought he wasn’t old enough yet. What the fuck? He loves putting things in his mouth! He loves toys! I was so heartbroken but I have to work.

So I brought him back Tuesday, even though every part of my mommy instinct was screaming no. I thought maybe I was overreacting. I asked a bunch of mommy friends and they all thought five hours was excessive. So I told the daycare lady that it was unacceptable. That he needed tummy time. That being in the bouncy seat for that long was absolutely unacceptable and if she couldn’t properly care for the number of children in her home, we would look elsewhere for care. She said that he would play in the playpen, then. She assured me everything would be fine.

When I went to pick him up, she went on and on about how he had a “weird” diaper. How he had one weird diaper at the end of the day. I thought maybe I’d eaten something that gave him an upset tummy. She said he’d had a bunch of poops, but that she’d changed every one promptly, but the last one was “weird”. I think she was setting me up for what I’d find later, trying to blame it on something other than her negligence. She said he hadn’t cried again, and that he’d taken two short naps. She lied.

You know how when you sob and sob and sob for hours, you can’t stop for a while? You hiccup for a while? It kind of jerks your body? When I went to pick him up, he was doing that. I know my baby, and I know the only two times he’s done it before were when he was colicky and cried for about five hours in a row. So he must have been screaming for hours yesterday. He kept sobbing in his sleep all night long, waking himself up with the sobs. God my heart is breaking thinking about it.

When I changed his diaper before his bath, he cried a cry that I’ve never heard before. His voice was so sore and hoarse, and he cried when I touched his bottom. After his bath, I saw why. His entire bottom and down the side of one leg was red and raw. He’d obviously been in the bouncy seat and had a blowout. That’s the only reason he’d have it down one leg. And he’d been sitting in it for hours. He’s never had diaper rash in his entire life. One day in that woman’s house and his bottom and leg are raw. He must have been sitting in his own shit, screaming, strapped to a chair, for hours. Oh my god. Oh my god.

I talked to my husband. We told the daycare lady that I’m just “not ready” to leave him with anyone, and cancelled her services. Got a refund for the rest of the time we paid her for. I’m home with baby right now, and we’re checking out a center near my work later today. I visited yesterday and the babies were all happy. Playing on tummies, chewing on toys, just so happy. It made my heart break for my son. My poor, sweet, silly, funny, goofy, snuggly little boy. How could someone neglect him so badly?

My heart is so broken right now I don’t know what to do.

daycare

Today was G’s first day at daycare. When I picked him up, I could tell he hadn’t slept at all and he’d cried for a long time. The daycare lady accidentally let slip that he’d been strapped into the bouncy seat for around 5-6 hours today. HOURS. Strapped to a chair, immobile for HOURS. He didn’t have ANY toys. There weren’t any toys anywhere around that were age appropriate, so I know he hadn’t been playing with any. I asked why he hadn’t been able to play on the floor, and she made excuses about the other kids she’s watching. She watches three 4 year olds, a 2 year old and G. I get that she has other kids, and I don’t expect my kid to be held constantly, but he can play on the floor with minimal supervision. He likes to roll up in a little ball like a roly poly and grab his feet. He likes to play on his tummy and chew on his burp cloths. She didn’t have any age-appropriate toys. One of the kids said that he cried and cried all day long.

I understand that he’ll cry. I understand he might not nap well. But to be strapped to a chair for 2/3 of the day? That’s excessive. And she lied to me about a few things. Little things, but I know that I was right not to trust her. I’m trying to separate my mommy feelings from the reality of the situation. I’m sad, but I think I’m being realistic in my expectations and they’re still not being met.

I think she’s stretched herself too thin, with 3 preschoolers and a toddler. I’m looking for alternative care again. I was hoping in-home daycare was a good fit, but now I’m thinking G will probably be better off if we put him in a childcare center where he will be around kids his own age. There will be developmentally appropriate playtime. He’ll have toys that aren’t choking hazards. And he’ll have tummy time.

I’m so sad for my little baby.

heaven help me

Today’s my first day back at work. G’s first day at daycare. I left him at her house and cried on the way home. The only place work has for me to pump milk is a bathroom, the one that the men of the building have designated as “the place for shitting” because it has a lockable door. It always stinks of shit. But because I’m a contractor, and not an employee, I can’t do anything about it.

The daycare lady asked me if G prefers the swing or the bouncer. Neither. He hates them both. She has a playpen set up for him in the middle of a busy, bright room. He’ll never sleep again.

I feel like I’m breaking. How do moms do this?

Sleep Training, part 1

I don’t remember when I first googled about baby sleep. Possibly when G was just a couple days old, and I was awake and exhausted in the middle of the night, feeding him for the 20th time that day and wondering if the person who coined the phrase “sleep like a baby” had ever actually met a real baby. I have the Happiest Baby on the Block dvd, and I remember watching it in the middle of the night with my husband, just sobbing because apparently Dr. Karp is either a dirty liar or some kind of wizard and for some reason, my 2/4/6/8/10 week old baby would not stop screaming when I swaddled, shushed and jiggled him. I kept thinking “If I can just make it through that 4th trimester that he talks about… if I can just make it to 12 weeks, then my baby will start sleeping and we’ll all live happily ever after.”

Well, that obviously didn’t happen.

The first time I really remember looking into why my baby seemed more like a demon child than the sweet bouncing baby boy I was supposed to have gotten was probably around 8-10 weeks when I figured out that he was probably supposed to be sleeping more than 8-10 hours a day. What I found was Troublesome Tots’ Newborn Sleep Survival Guide. Even reading this, I didn’t quite catch on that he wouldn’t just fall asleep anymore. I actually had to parent him to sleep, and teach him how to fall and stay asleep. I read the guidelines saying he should only be awake for 45 minutes at a time, but for some reason, I didn’t think it applied. After all, he was usually awake for 2 hours between his catnaps. If he was tired, he’d sleep, right?

Well, no. Not really. Turns out those catnaps were the product of a chronically overtired baby. He basically “crashed” every 2 hours. I wish I’d known then what I know now. My baby might have been much happier, much sooner.

It wasn’t until I found the My Baby Sleep Guide site that I realized that I was still doing things wrong. And it wasn’t until I read her Newborn Sleep Guide that I realized I had already kind of messed up, and I needed to start some sort of sleep training to help my poor overtired baby learn how to sleep. What I found helped the most was the 4 S Wind Down Ritual made popular by the Baby Whisperer, which I started implementing immediately while I waited for the Baby Whisperer books to arrive in hopes that her method really would solve all my problems.

So my first introduction to the world of sleep training was the Baby Whisperer method, via the My Baby Sleep Guide website. I immediately started looking for G’s “sleep cues” after he was awake for only an hour, started trying to separate feeding from sleeping (in other words, tried to stop feeding to sleep so that he would learn better ways of falling asleep that didn’t include me waking up to feed him every 45 minutes) and implemented a bedtime routine.

To be continued…

18 weeks

Good god, how did the time pass so quickly? Have I really not updated in a month?

G has been changing like crazy. Every day is something new. My husband was noticing things that he doesn’t do anymore… He doesn’t smack his lips when he’s hungry anymore. He used to smack them together and that was kind of my cue to feed him. He doesn’t bobblehead toward your shoulder when he’s hungry anymore either. Now I pretty much just offer every three hours or so. Sometimes I miscalculate and … he bites me. No teeth, but damn it’s f’ing painful. Shit. And he no longer bobs his head around when you’re carrying him. He has such good neck control.

We went to a consignment sale recently and got a few things for the next 6 months or so. We got a new vibrating chair for the kitchen, where he sits while we eat. It’s much nicer than the old one (which I now keep in the bathroom so I can poop without someone in my lap). We also got a bunch of 9 month and 12 month clothes. We got a high chair that we haven’t put out yet. I think we’ll likely start baby-led weaning around 6 months old. Some of the babies I know who were born around the same time as G are already starting solids – mashed banana, pureed peaches, stuff like that. I’m pretty sure we’re going to start him on avocado and scrambled eggs and basically anything he can get in his own mouth and gum around. No purees, unless I send them to daycare in a few months.

Speaking of, he starts daycare next Monday. I’m equal parts excited (I might not be working yet, but even if I’m not, I’ll drop him off and come home and sleeeeeeep since we have to pay the lady anyway!) and nervous (I honestly don’t trust her to take care of him the way I want him to be cared for.) I’m worried she’ll sabotage my breastfeeding relationship with him by not pacing his feeds or by demanding I bring more milk than he needs, or that she’ll expect him to hold his own bottle. I’m worried she won’t help him nap, since he needs a quiet place for that and she’s watching a few other kids. I’m worried she’ll just try to stick a pacifier in his mouth over and over again until he’s addicted to it, since she said we should not let him suck his fingers (sorry lady, but the kid likes sucking his fingers and I’m not about to take away his ability to comfort himself to sleep in the middle of the night). I’m worried she won’t take his milk/soy protein intolerance seriously or that she’ll give him food without our permission (she keeps talking about buying formula and snacks for him since she’s on a subsidized food program for her daycare kids). I’m worried about so much stupid stuff.

I’m sure he’ll be fine… but I just don’t really trust this lady to do things the way I want them done. I don’t think she gets that yes, she’s a professional childminder, but I am the mom here and parenting decisions are mine, not hers. I think I might try looking for another place just in case G doesn’t do well there or we end up clashing.

What else?

* G has started mimicking! He did it for the first time the other day, when my husband clicked his tongue at him (like when you’re making the tick tock noise of a clock or whatever?) and G did it back! And then kept just clicking back and forth at each other. Now G will just randomly do it sometimes. It’s adorable.

* We found out that his feet are ticklish. :)

* He’s already starting to get too long for his 9 month sleepers. They still fit, but they’re starting to tug at the crotch and squish his toes a bit. I estimate he has another 2-3 weeks before they’re too short for him. My little string bean.

* He can now get his pacifier out of his mouth on his own, but hasn’t quite figured out how to get it back in. He pops it out, and tries to put it in but always gets it sideways instead.

* He chews his Sophie toy all the time. One of the best investments we’ve made. We also got him a Nuby teething ring that he loves. He especially likes the fabric bits… loves putting fabric in his mouth to chew and pull on and suck on. Weirdo.

* He likes when I fake sneeze. I will loudly say “Kaaa CHOO!” and he smiles and wiggles around. It’s hilarious.

* 4 month sleep regression has hit. Otherwise known as the 4 month wakeful. He’s suddenly so interested in everything going on around him that he barely eats. He went from sleeping all night long (8ish hours in a row) to waking up every 1-2 hours some nights. It’s awful. And when he eats, he no longer eats for 10+ minutes, draining a side. He eats for 4 minutes, hitting me the whole time because he’s impatient for a letdown, and as soon as he’s not absolutely starving anymore, he’ll pop off to look at things. Sometimes he will pop off to look at stuff, then turn around and pop back on, then pop back off to look, over and over. It’s annoying.

* He’s back to sleeping exclusively in the crib. I figured that he wouldn’t be sleeping in a swing at daycare, so having him take short crappy naps in the swing was doing us both a disservice. Now he will usually go down for a nap about an hour after he wakes up in the morning, and sleep for 1.5 hours or so. Then a shorter nap around lunchtime, and another longer one in the afternoon. He’s doing better at soothing himself when he wakes up, too… because

We’re officially sleep training. I have something like 7 different “how to teach your baby to sleep” books in my house. It’s ridiculous, too, because they all badmouth each other. The No-Cry Sleep Solution talks about how awful it is, psychologically damaging and callous, the suggestions put forth by those “cry it out guys” (she means Weissbluth and Ferber) while Weissbluth talks about how a certain “no cry sleep solution book” (note, he doesn’t capitalize the title so he’s just talking about no cry sleep solution books in general, I guess) makes awful suggestions that border on child abuse and a certain baby whisperer suggests crudely waking your child from a calm, deep sleep to force feed him in the middle of the night. Meanwhile, the Baby Whisperer suggests dream feeds can help babies sleep more soundly, for longer periods of time, but leaving a baby to cry alone even for a short period of time will break their trust in you as a caregiver and you’ll do incredible damage to your relationship. There’s so much cattiness it’s incredible.

Anyway. I’m using a combination of the Baby Whisperer (BW) methods and the Weissbluth (Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child or HSHHC) extinction method. The BW was annoying to read because she goes full-on British with the “luv”s all over the place and stupid anecdotes that I honestly did not have time to read. But her methods worked to get G to sleep. He doesn’t stay asleep with her methods, though, so I started reading HSHHC. I think HSHHC might have to wait until G is a bit older for me to go full force, but I no longer go into his room as soon as I hear him fuss. I give him some time to sort himself out, just in case, even against the BW recommendations, and it’s working. I never let him scream himself sick or anything, but I do let him cry for a few minutes alone if he needs to… and he has never acted like I broke trust with him.

Things are getting better. I’ll write a better post about it soon. I have time now, because he naps.

* He’s back to rolling from back-to-side but not back-to-tummy yet. He has a new habit of always pulling his little legs up. He’s starting to grab at his feet, too. I was wondering when that would finally happen! It seemed he always wanted to lay flat, and then all of a sudden one day he pulled his legs up and now he’s always curled up like a little pill bug.

* G is also using more of his voice. He started “voice practice” during our sleep routine to keep himself awake. When we reached the “sitting” part of the BW’s 4 S winddown, he usually cries and cries, but sometimes he’ll calm himself down and then, to prevent himself fro falling asleep, will start hooting. Ooh, ooh, oooh, oh, hoh, hoohh, etc. Well, at first the sounds were all breathy and sweet. Now? He puts his voice into it. He’ll growl and yell and shriek and crow. It’s both hilarious and annoying.

* He drools like crazy lately. He’s not teething, as far as I can tell, but he puts everything in his mouth and drools all over it. He will drip drool when he’s having tummy time and his fingers are always wet because he constantly puts them in his mouth. It’s gross.

I finally love him all the time. I know that should be a given, but for a long time it wasn’t that way. I had a hard time loving him when I was so exhausted I wanted to die or when G woke up early from a nap and wouldn’t be comforted, despite my trying and trying to comfort him. One day, I was so exhausted and frustrated that when he wouldn’t stop screaming, I screamed too. Now, that did break his trust in me and I had to work to repair it for the next few hours. It was awful, and I was ashamed of myself until another mom told me she’d done the same thing multiple times with her babies. One evening when he wouldn’t sleep and wouldn’t stop screaming, I had to give him to my husband and leave the house and I screamed so hard in the car that I wet myself a little and my voice was hoarse for days. Last Monday, I was so tired that I was actually, legitimately suicidal and my husband slept on the nursery floor that night so I could get some sleep, since he usually sleeps through the baby crying otherwise and it was always up to me to take care of him.

I wish I had unlimited resources, so that I could pay for a baby nurse to help during the night so I could be well rested and be the best mommy possible. I feel like if I’d been getting good sleep for the past four months, I would have bonded with him better and would have been a better mommy. I wonder if everyone goes through this, but no one talks about it. For a long time, there was a measure of regret for having had a kid in the first place. Even now, it’s staggering sometimes to think about how everything has changed forever. I will be a mom for the rest of my life.

But the past several days, we’ve both been sleeping better. And we’ve been having fun together. And I feel like I love him and maybe even like him, if not all the time, at least most of the time. And when I’m in a better frame of mind, I know I’m a good mommy. Even when I’m tired. Even though I screamed. Even on days when I can’t do much more than make sure he’s fed and clean and he has to entertain himself most of the day because I’m just too tired to play. I’m still a good mommy and I still love him.

14 weeks

Wow, 14 weeks tomorrow. I just typed that out and I still can’t believe it. We have a time frame for me returning to work… looking like it’ll be when G is around 19 weeks old, just over 4 months. I’m so grateful to my husband for allowing me to have this much time. I think the standard is around 12 weeks, and I can’t say enough how NOT ready I’d have been. I might still not be ready at 19 weeks, but we just don’t have the savings to keep me out of work for much longer.

This week, I’ve started trying to get G to sleep in places other than his crib again. I know that when he starts daycare, they’ll have him sleeping on his back, so I don’t want him totally reliant on the dark quiet room on his tummy to sleep. So I broke the swaddles back out and he’s started taking naps swaddled and in the swing again. I have to say, it’s easy and nice and I’m really enjoying it. His reflux acts up a lot when he’s sleeping on his back, and I can hear it bothering him, but he falls asleep easily and stays asleep longer during the day. Still having long stretches on his tummy at night, too. Best of both worlds.

Except…

He scoots so much at night. I had no idea how mobile a non-crawling, non-creeping baby could be. I have no idea how he moves so much, but he can start at one end of the crib and be at the other end within an hour. And he’s started turning, too. So he starts at one end of the crib, long-ways, and then turns so his head is right up against the crib rails… and then he bashes it on the rails and wakes up, and bashes it again and again because by now he’s awake and freaking out and bobbing his head all over the place. It happens multiple times a night now. I have no idea how to make it stop. I could put up bumpers, but … hello suffocation, right? I rolled up a towel and stuck it under the crib sheet (making a sort of speed bump buffer) last night to keep him away from the sides of the crib, but that’s probably a suffocation risk too. I have no idea how to keep my baby both asleep and alive.

In other news:

* We got a laugh on video! We were at the doctor’s office for a weight check. He was undressed and we were waiting for the doctor, so I started kissing and tickling his tummy and he started laughing! Husband was quick with the camera phone, and we managed to get the sweetest laugh on video.

* G is now 13lbs .5oz. Still smaller than I’d like… only 25th percentile for his age. But the doctor was happy with his weight gain, so I guess I’ll take it. I really wish he’d gain more, though.

* G is 25 inches long! I think he’s actually longer, because it looked like the nurse didn’t stretch him out all the way. But still 25 inches is huge! My little string bean.

* He’s starting to do this thing where when he’s sitting on my lap, he’ll dig his heels in and arch his back and wiggle himself out of my grip. He does it when he’s sitting in his bouncy chair and swing, too. It’s super annoying.

* I never thought I’d say this, but breastfeeding has gotten so easy. I love it. I love getting to spend some one-on-one time with my little guy in the middle of family visits or outings, I love holding his tiny body next to me, I love how he pats my skin with his teeny hands, I love how he opens and closes his mouth like a little fishy when he knows he’s about to be fed. We’ve finally gotten rid of the thrush and things are just easy and good. Now if he could only gain some control over his body so I could ditch the nursing pillow!

* When I go to get him after he wakes up, I slowly turn on lights and turn off his white noise, then I start talking softly to him so he doesn’t startle. Then I roll him over to his back so he can see me, and it’s that moment… I live for that moment. When he sees my face and I can see him register in his mind “Oh, it’s MOMMY!” and his face just lights up and he smiles with his whole body. I love that moment. I can’t wait until he’s old enough to answer me when I ask him if he had a good sleep and what he dreamed about.

* I don’t know if he’s doing this purposefully or not, but when I pat his mouth with my hand, sometimes he’ll make noises so we end up doing the sort of “wha wha wha” noise with it. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s adorable.

* He has tiny baby snores when he sleeps. I love them.

* Oh man, he’s started drooling like crazy too! He will put his fingers in his mouth and they get all covered with drool. I am totally okay with baby pee, poop, barf, even the boogers. But for some reason, watching drool drip slowly down his arm while he makes drool bubbles with his mouth and sucks on his fingers just activates my gag reflex.

* One thing we LOVE doing with him is taking him in the bathroom and turning the light on and off. Weird, right? But it’s a small bright room with a mirror, so we can watch his expression. When the light goes on, he closes his eyes a bit and brings his eyebrows down like he’s a little peeved. Then when we turn it off, he opens his eyes up reeeeaaaaallllly wide and puts his eyebrows up like he’s surprised. It’s likely a function of him trying to see better in the bright/dark but it’s hilarious just the same.

 

And finally… we should both officially be completely clear of milk and soy protein. I’ve noticed in the last week that he’s not having green diapers anymore, but they’re still yellowish brown and very mucousy and stinky. I hope they start being more like the exclusively breastfed non-stinky diapers I was promised. Hoping he starts gaining more weight, too. And I really really hope he outgrows this by around 6 months, so I can start having cheese again. I have a Mexican food craving like whoa.

13 weeks

HE LAUGHED!! Today, on his 13 week birthday, I got his first laugh out of him! Oh my gosh, it was the cutest thing. I wish I had recorded it, but I had no idea it was going to happen.

I was changing his diaper (he loves diaper changes, I have no idea why) and spent some time babbling back and forth with him, then I started blowing raspberries on his tummy, and giving kisses and making noises. Finally, I started giving his tummy kisses and tickling with my fingers, and I got the sweetest giggle! Twice! Oh my gosh, it was wonderful. I can’t wait for it to happen again.

I tried and tried to make him laugh again, but I guess it took a lot out of him because after his diaper change, he got very sleepy and wouldn’t even smile anymore. He’s taking a nap right now, which means bedtime is going to be a late one today.

Speaking of bedtime, G has figured out what I’m up to now when I bring him to his room, turn the white noise machine on and cradle him in my arms. He has started to associate these things with being put to sleep, which he has started fighting like a fucking wolverine, scratching and kicking and screaming. I can barely hold him anymore, without him screaming and thrashing around. Like, when I’m done feeding him and I need to burp him, as soon as I put him over my shoulder, he starts thrashing and screaming. Or if I try to sit with him in the chair in his room. Or go to his room at all. Or walk up the stairs with him. Basically no matter what I try to do, he just starts screaming and scratching me and thrashing around.

I have no idea what to do with him.

I don’t want him to have horrible associations with being cradled, and I don’t want him to associate all that screaming and stress with trying to go to sleep. Why can’t he just relax? I don’t know how to help him. Meanwhile, I get so angry and frustrated when he acts like this. It’s really hard to be sweet and understanding when he’s clawing at me and losing his fucking mind screaming for no reason five or six times a day when he needs a nap.

Anyway.

He’s 3 months old tomorrow. Can you believe it? How did the time pass so quickly? I have a feeling I’ll be saying that for the rest of my life. I’m still so tired that I’m having a hard time enjoying him much. I’m worried I’ll wake up tomorrow and he’ll be in college and I’ll wonder where all that time went and miss this baby so much.

What’s new?

* He’s outgrowing his 6 month footie pajamas. I had to go out the other day to buy 9 month ones. They’re huge on him, but the 6 month ones are short in the crotch and squish his little toes up. I can’t believe he’s so tall.

* We went to the babywearing meeting. I checked a meitai out of the lending library, but I don’t like it. The straps are really thick canvas material, and they’re difficult to tie. They’re also not very comfortable on his legs. I’m hoping for a better one next month… it kind of sucked this time because we were at the end of the line, so all the good carriers were gone by the time I got there.

* I’m thinking more and more of starting an exercise program. I can’t afford to go to a gym right now, but I can probably do bodyweight stuff at home on my own. If I’d just do it, that is.

* He likes to put his washcloth in his mouth and suck on it. Is it weird/gross that I let my kid drink his bathwater? It’s not like it’s dirty bathwater… I mean, it’s not drinking water clean or anything, but it’s not soapy or anything.

* We went out and bought more pacifiers. He changes which one he likes all the time. Right now he really likes the Tommee Tippee ones. Figures he’d like the expensive ones.

* He’s started varying the pitch of his voice. He’ll start out really low and then go high and then low again, in the same noise. It’s a new thing he’s doing. :)

* We’ve been playing peek-a-boo with his blankets. He doesn’t quite get the peek part, but he likes having the wind blow on his face.

I’m so tired today. I think I need to go to bed a bit early. G doesn’t really let me relax much lately, between his short crap naps and his weird screaming fits. I hope I get some energy back soon… I desperately want to enjoy this time with him because I know soon I’ll miss his little baby self. I don’t think I’ve ever loved another person so much.

12 weeks

We’re officially out of the “newborn” stage and into “infancy”. I heard it was supposed to get easier at 12 weeks, like magically we’d wake up and  things would be easier. They’re not. G had a tummy bug that started a couple days ago. He spent all of Monday just crying and crying and crying. I could tell it was a pain cry, but didn’t know why. He was a little more “spitty” than usual, but he would still eat like normal. Didn’t want to sleep or play or do anything other than cry and be held over my shoulder while I walked around and around the house.

Tuesday I figured out why. In the wee hours of the morning, I ended up getting quite sick. If I’d thought crying and screaming my head off would help, I’d probably have done it too. The tummy pain was pretty intense. I spent most of Tuesday just feeling cruddy. I had my husband come home early so he could take care of G because I couldn’t. I was too weak and nauseated. I ended up taking half a dramamine, and that really helped a ton. G and I both had a good night’s sleep last night, so I’m hoping we’re on the mend. Our tummies, anyway. I’m pretty sure we both have a cold now.

Putting him to sleep has been easier, at least. He sleeps quite well at night lately. I’m worried about what they call the “4 month sleep regression” though. Supposedly when that hits, he’ll go back to being a crappy sleeper. Last night, he slept 7.5 hours in a row! IN A ROW! I actually woke him up myself to feed him. Then I put him back down and he slept another 3 hours. I think he likes his crib okay, and the tummy sleeping is working out well. So far the angelcare monitor is working – I can see that he’s breathing at night because there’s a little pendulum thing on my monitor, and as soon as I pick him up to feed him and there’s no movement for a few seconds, it goes off so I know it’s not a false negative. And he seems to be able to settle himself sometimes. Not every time, but sometimes when he wakes up in the middle of a nap, he’ll find his fingers and settle himself back to sleep without my help. We’re both getting more rest this way. I spent the first few nights sleeping on the floor next to his crib, just in case. I’m glad I did, because I was able to see that his room gets REALLY cold in the middle of the night if the door is closed and that the air is really dry, too. So now I make sure the heat is on and the door is open to let warm air in, and I put a humidifier in there.

What else is new?

* He likes to pat his own hair while he sleeps. One hand will find its way to his mouth and sometimes he sucks his fingers, and the other hand goes up to his hair and he will pat his head with it. It’s the cutest thing.

* He sleeps with his little butt up in the air sometimes, with his little knees curled under him. Adorable.

* I think we both have our second cold of the season, and G has an appointment tomorrow because he has eye crusties and some irritation to his eye that won’t go away.

* I had a dream the other day that I was trying to memorize the way his tiny fingers feel against my lips when I kiss them. So I woke up and kissed them and tried to memorize the feeling. I wish so much, SO MUCH, that I’d been better able to enjoy the really early days. I don’t have enough pictures or enough memories of the first few days with him. I was just so exhausted.

* I woke him up from a nap last night to put him to bed. I know, I know, it was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. He fell asleep in my arms at around 6pm, and then just slept and slept and slept. He missed bedtime entirely, and I should have just let him sleep but he needed a diaper change and needed to eat and everything. So I thought it would be a good idea to gently wake him, so we could do our bedtime routine. Big. Mistake. He cried for two hours, before finally falling asleep again. Next time? Don’t wake a sleeping baby!

* I don’t remember if I wrote about this yet, but he’s definitely grabbing at his toys. He can now get hold of his Oball without assistance when it’s dangling from the play gym. He also has a toy Sophie and he likes to get it in his mouth.

* Oh man! And he’s rolling halfway over! When he’s on his back, he knows how to kick himself onto his side. He doesn’t do it often. Then again, he’s not on his back much. Between naps, eating and being held upright for 20 minutes every time he eats, he just doesn’t have much time to play alone. I don’t know if that’s a good thing… wish his reflux would calm down so he could play independently without barfing all over the place.

* Our favorite games right now are just to make funny noises with our lips and tongue and give tons of kisses. We also play “back and forth” where I lay him on his back and swivel his legs from side to side to try to teach him to roll. We also do a good bit of “kicking our farts out”. He loves kicking his legs, and it’s helpful to get out trapped gas.

* We’re still waiting for a real laugh. Sometimes he’ll smile so big and make a little squeaky inhaling noise. Like a baby dinosaur noise. But it’s not quite a laugh yet.

* We’re going to a babywearing meeting on the 17th. I’m a little nervous about it. I want to learn how to use the Ergobaby properly, and make sure I’m not damaging his hips with the way I put him in it, but it’ll be weird to be in a place with so many other moms and babies. What if he gets hungry? Will I be expected to nurse in public? I don’t know if I can do that yet… we’re still pretty reliant on pillows to prop him up and I don’t have any nursing tops so I basically have to get topless to feed him.

* As far as feeding him goes, the MSPI is not stopping us at all! I discovered that Duncan Hines makes safe brownie mix! So I can have chocolate again! It turns out “cocoa processed with alkali” is dairy free! And delicious. And my husband is becoming quite an inventive cook. He made us spaghetti and meatballs, and made a delicious chicken noodle soup last night to help settle my stomach. If I was more ambitious, I might post his recipes to help other MSPI moms. But let’s be honest. I’ll probably never get around to it.

* I worry a lot that I don’t have time to write this. G is sleeping right now, and I should be napping too. I’m still pretty worn out from being sick. So I bought a Line a Day memory book. It’s kind of like a diary, but it’s just one line for every day. So I can just write something that happened that day that I want to remember. Certainly I have 2 minutes a day to write in it. Hopefully it’ll help my memory when G is older and I’ve forgotten his baby days.

* I love this baby more every day. Every moment. Even when he’s screaming his angry fool head off. I never knew I could feel this way about a person. He’s my little love. They say that when you have a baby, it’s like your heart is walking around outside your body, but honestly? I could more easily live without my heart than without G.

One of my favorite things is how he gets milk drunk when we’re nursing, and he pats me with his tiny baby hands. And then he uses his arm to cover his eyes, like he just can’t even.

11 weeks

Having a baby is hard.

Not the actual birthing. I mean, that’s hard too, but in a whole different way. That’s hard in the way that physical pain that you can’t avoid is hard… you get through it because you have to. What else is there to do? But the actual having of the baby, the keeping, the raising… that’s hard. Like, really hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. I think maybe the hardest part for me is the lack of emotional support, the lack of gratitude. My husband is wonderful. He works hard, he keeps the house clean and cooks almost every day… but I still do 99% of the baby related stuff. And I don’t mind doing that. I love being able to feed him. I love being a part of bath time. I don’t even mind changing all the diapers.

But I wish I had some acknowledgement from him that it’s difficult.

I haven’t slept more than 2-3 hours in a row in months. I’m perpetually exhausted. I know you read that and you think “Yeah, I’ve been tired too” but this isn’t just being tired. This is so tired that my body feels like it’s shutting down some days. And I have to keep going anyway because I have no other option. When I tell my husband “I’m tired” he just says “Me too”. It makes me want to hit him in the mouth. He’s tired? He doesn’t even know what tired is.

We had a huge argument the other day. We almost never argue. I basically told him that I need more emotional support and acknowledgement of my feelings, instead of him “stealing” them. I feel like when I say “I’m tired” or “I’m overwhelmed” and he just says “Me too” then I’m put in a position of having to comfort him. Like I’m babysitting his emotions, and I have to hide my own. It’s a shitty feeling. I hope we can get through this. I’m sure we will, but damn. Having a baby is putting a strain on everything. It’s way harder than I ever could have imagined.

New things G’s doing?

Well, he’s a tummy sleeper now. “WHAT??” you ask? Do I want my baby to die of SIDS?? Of course not. But, you know, the statistical probability of SIDS in a full-term, healthy infant who sleeps in a safe sleep environment and who was born to non-smoking parents is pretty damn small. I think he had a higher probability of having a few different genetic abnormalities, and we weren’t worried about those at all after we got the testing done that gave us the odds. And guess what? He’s been napping on his tummy for almost a week now and we went from having 25 minute crap naps where I had to rub his head constantly to get him to stay asleep to 1.5-2hr naps where he puts himself to sleep and settles himself if he wakes up too early. It’s so lovely.

I haven’t started him sleeping on his tummy at night yet, mostly because… well, I AM worried about accidental suffocation. Not really SIDS, but he sometimes likes to lay face down or with his face turned a little too close to the mattress for my comfort. So I keep an eye on his breathing during naps, but at night, I need extra reassurance. So I ordered an angelcare monitor. It’s arriving this week, and we’ll see if we can turn his crappy 3-4 hour night sleeps into nice 6 hour sleeps instead.

What else:

* I’ve started trying to do the eat-wake-sleep routine with him, but I’m not sure it’s going to work, since he needs to eat more often than that routine would really allow. He hasn’t been sleeping well at night, and I think it’s because he doesn’t get enough calories during the day. So we might be a little too early for any sort of schedule setting just yet.

* Husband finally heard him laughing in his sleep! There are still no awake laughs, and we’re competing to see who can elicit his first one. You should see the funny faces we make at him, trying to get him to laugh. I personally think the winner will be the ceiling fan. The kid loves staring and smiling at that thing.

* I don’t remember if I ever mentioned this, but it’s something I do almost every time G gets upset. I blow on his face. A little harder if he’s really worked himself into a fit, just to startle him out of it, then then I continue gently while brushing his hair back with my hand. It seems to distract him enough that he will take a pacifier and realize that I’ve removed him from whatever situation was causing the screaming so he can fucking stop already.

* He’s in 6 month footed sleepers. 6 MONTH GUYS. And he’s already outgrown some brands! Carters are basically the only ones that fit him… tall skinny baby. My little Stretch.

* He’s routinely clasping his hands in front of his face and has started putting everything he gets his little fingers around in his mouth. I love putting something in his hands, and watching it go straight for his mouth.

* He definitely tries to grab things. He’ll seemingly voluntarily open and close his hands when he feels them against something, instead of me having to wind his fingers around it every time. He’s still not great at batting directly at things on purpose though!

* I got gentian violet in hopes that it will put an end to our thrush problem. I’m not sure if it’s worked yet, but it’s funny to see my little boy’s mouth and lips all purple.

* Sometimes when I hold him against my shoulder and we dance around the house, I imagine what it will be like when he’s bigger than I am and I dance with him at his wedding. And then I tear up for no real reason.

* He keeps farting in his sleep and waking himself up. Or sneezing/coughing and farting at the same time. Cracks me up every time.

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