Friday, October 31, 2008

12 Weeks - Just When You Thought it Was Safe to Put Your Bra Back On

Twelve week growth spurt - BOOM - smack on target! Been feeding the boy every hour and a half in the day hours and about every three hours at night. Man, he's like clockwork. Next time I'm toying with the idea of giving up breastfeeding I'm going to KNOW we're headed into a growth spurt.

Also, he's entered the "Mama no can turn her back on me!" thing too, which I remember from Bean. I'm not allowed to leave his sight when he's awake except in his immediate post-feed moments, and must remain facing him, preferably smiling, unless I am prepared to listen to broken-hearted weeping. It's kinda funny, actually, but also frustrating for him and me.

But whoooooooo dawgies when I do look at him and smile! He just RADIATES. It's adorable and so heartwarming. He loves his Mama. And she loves him back, too.

Been trying today to get him off to sleep without being attached to me. He's doing pretty well, actually. A lot better than I thought it'd go this first day of trying. A minute ago I unlatched him just as he was nodding off and rocked him briefly until he was sleeping. Then I put him in his crib. He woke up and cried for a minute or two and then went back to sleep. SCORE! I hope we'll see that happen more and more often.

That's all for now. I have a million things to do today and maybe an hour to get them all done!

Monday, October 27, 2008

11 weeks 4 days - First Coldish Thing

Our little man has his first cold. It started yesterday - I knew he wasn't quite right just by the way he was acting. He was easily upset and extra tired, and not as smiley as usual - really just not as into interacting with anyone, even me, as he normally is, just like most people are when they don't feel 100%.

He slept quite a bit off and on all day (in fact except for a few short wakeful and upset times he slept pretty much all day long, when I think about it) but in broken little amounts. He sneezed a LOT when he was awake and by nightfall he had a runny nose and a rectal temp of 99.6° F. (Which isn't bad at all, considering that a rectal temp can be as much as 1° higher than an oral temp - it really doesn't even qualify as a fever.)

He had a decent night's sleep last night, only getting up at 1 AM and almost 4 AM and then only briefly at 6 AM (just now). He's asleep again now. He's eating, but not quite as much or as hungrily as he normally does, as far as I can tell. The times I've held him to feed him since bedtime last night he's felt cool to the touch and seems content enough so I think he'll be fine. I'll just try to keep him restful and well-fed today and we'll see how it goes.

(He's still the cutest boy EVER.)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

11 weeks today!

Oh this boy of mine!

He's still giving me fits over naptime and bedtime. Absolute fits. I've tried everything and still he fights me. So, I guess it's time to just accept that who he is right now and try to work around it. He need help getting to sleep. Period.

Well, okay then.

When he's awake though, wow! What a happy little guy he is, and what huge smiles he gives me (he gives Bean and Daddy smiles too, but the smiles he saves for Mama are always the biggest and longest. I'm just stating the facts here!) He will stop at virtually nothing within his power to catch my eye and grin the HUGEST, SWEETEST grins at me, and hold me there in his sweet little cheeky spell. He reminds me of Arthur, Alice. Arthurs smiles were always SO infectious when he was a tiny baby - I remember reading your diary and being sortof jealous that he smiled so big for you. And now I get to see similar smiles on Matthew! He just lights up the room with them and kicks those little legs and chuckles and guffaws. Sweetest. Thing. Ever.

He is also SO SO SOOOOOOOOOO strong. Several times since this past weekend I've gone in to get him out of his crib after a nap and he's turned himself over from front to back. And tummy time is like a one-man wrestling match now, as he immediately curls up on one side and flails with the upper leg to get himself over. He picks his head WAY up off the ground, too, and turns it side to side and up to search for our faces if we're above him. He, like Bean, displays no interest in toys or objects yet - he is alllll about the faces of the people who love him.

I weighed Matthew yesterday on my bathroom scales (I weighed me with him and then without him and subtracted ME) and he is darn near 13 lbs. now. Yes! Seriously. He may even BE 13 pounds, but I can't tell for sure because the scales only measure up to the half-pound, so I'm having to extrapolate a bit. But 13 pounds! And quickly getting longer, too. His 3-6 mos clothes are already fitting him and the sleeves are starting to get short.

He's still doing well on just MY MILK, too. I feel so proud of us for getting this far with no formula! And he is a huge challenge to nurse most of the time, too, because he's so active and alert and ROUGH with me. I am glad he's getting the milk and glad I'm able to provide plenty for him, but I'm not fully ENJOYING the nursing because it often feels like a battle rather than a very snuggly time lately. I wonder if he will ever settle down and enjoy the closeness? I mean, he DOES enjoy the sucking - he demands it for sleep right now... he refuses a pacifier or bottle from me - but will it ever just be a nice, cozy thing again vs. this pulling, tugging, looking around, popping on and off thing? I don't think Bean started that until she was 5 months old and then we were pretty much done nursing anyway.

Sometimes I think maybe I just don't LIKE nursing as much as other mothers seem to. I mean, I DO enjoy giving him the best. I do. I just don't always LOVE the actual physical parts of the process - I get tired of being sucked on sometimes. It just gets to be annoying, that feeling of sucksucksucksucksuck and then with the wrestling added in, ugh. I hope this is just a phase.

Oops, my little smiley face is up again. Off to see what position he's worked himself into this time!

Monday, October 13, 2008

9 Weeks, 4 Days - Not Working, Actually

So, the wheels came off the controlled crying thing over the weekend. I am thinking maybe P is too young for this, mostly because he shows no signs of readiness for self-soothing. He can't keep his pacifier in his mouth, nor can he retrieve it when it (inevitably) falls out and messes up his little snooze. He also, try as hard as he may, hasn't mastered getting those fingers in his mouth yet. Maybe when he can do that, things will get easier in terms of his naps.

I won't even go into the weekend except to say that Al and I feel differently about "sleep training" for infants and that results in a lot of discord and stress for both of us, and of course confusion for Matthew. I felt like I was going absolutely BONKERS all weekend long. Now I will admit that probably for another month or so I'm going to feel like I'm going BONKERS no matter what we do, because this age is just a BONKERS age, but this weekend was really seriously madness-inducing.

Today I'm just going back to trying to get through the day finding a calm, peaceful way to get Matthew enough sleep to compliment and aid his nights' rest. The nights, thankfully, are going fine. I read at a parenting site that babies P's age need about 15.5 hours of sleep per day, and with his nice LONG nighttime sleeps, he's managing about 12 to 13 hours there. So daytime sleep, I assume, can add up to 3.5 hours plus or minus and he's not suffering a major deficit. I can easily, well, pretty easily, get him to take a 45 minute nap every 2 hours or so right now, and with 4 of those throughout the day there shouldn't be cause to worry. It's not ideal, probably, because perhaps four 45 minute naps aren't as restful or restorative as 2 or 3 longer naps, but the only way to get a longer nap right now is to allow a LOT of crying before hand and LANDOMERCY I just don't think that's healthy for him and I KNOW it would eventually land me in the looney bin. So (Melissa!) for now, I suppose I'll accept the naps I get out of him even if they aren't optimal length. Time is definitely on my side here as he'll become more and more skilled with his pacifier and/or fingers shortly, and his sleep cycles will continue to lengthen. By 5 months or so, Bean was a champion napper. There was a day or two of controlled crying with her, but it was later than this attempt with Matthew and worked VERY quickly. (I still twitched and hated Al while it was going on, though. But I got over both pretty quickly.)

All of this could, of course, change. I'm just not in a very "courage of my convictions" place right now. I think the only will being "broken" here lately is mine, quite frankly. (Not that I think anyone's will needs breaking now or ever, mind you.)

Matthew is holding his head up very well now when he's on his belly or sitting upright or close to upright on my lap or being held against my shoulder. I actually saw him attempting and almost getting his arms in on the action today as he lay on his belly on the floor. He was trying to get a GOOOD LOOONG look at Bean, who was in front of and above him on the sofa, flopping around. More and more he will go to great lengths to watch her and just today even worked hard to get her attention by cooing and smiling in her direction for several long minutes. I do believe he's figured out that she's another little person and someone with whom he needs to engage and be in league. I see many more laughs and fun in their very near future and I'm excited to watch how this little realization of his will unfold in their relationship.

I had Matthew in the tub taking a bath yesterday and Bean was "helping." She has mentioned that she wanted to get in the tub before when we've been bathing him and this time she asked me, point blank, might she get in. It was later in the day and close to the time she normally puts on her pajamas anyway, so I let her. The water was only about an inch deep in most of the tub, but she didn't care. She climbed in and sat down next to P. He immediately started kicking away and then he just looked up at her for the longest time and across his face spread the biggest, happiest smile. She wasn't looking, unfortunately, or I know she'd have been absolutely tickled to see how happy he was to have her there next to him. It was so sweet and a little moving, even.

He's a strong little kicker, too, and very much more physical and wiggly than Bean was at this age. He's trying pretty hard already to roll from his back to either side, although I haven't seen him attempt to go from front to side or back yet.

With all of the work he's doing during his waking hours trying to get his fingers into his mouth, I don't see him batting at or reaching for objects. He MAY be reaching out for my face occasionally when I'm holding him in my lap after nursing, but then again it could just be more attempts to get his hand to his mouth. He DOES make very lengthy and intentional eye contact now and he'll smile, coo, frown, attempt a laugh (it sounds like a little choking chortle right now) or say one of his "words" like AAAoooo, Aaah, Gooo, or Oooo. He is most likely to have these exchanges with me right now, probably because he's with me more than anyone else, but he initiated a chat or two with Al over the weekend, too.

Still growing! He's mostly wearing 3-6 months clothes and pajamas now. The 0-3 mos size of everything JUUUUUUUUUUUUUUuuuust fit him, rather snugly and sometimes they're a little short in the legs or arms. The 3-6 mos size is very roomie on him but he's quickly filling those up well. I've just realized today I need to call to reschedule his 2 mos check-up because the office called weeks ago to tell me the appointment I'd originally gotten fell at a time his doctor wouldn't be in the office. I promptly forgot all about that phonecall and never rescheduled the appointment, so now I may have to wait awhile before he gets weighed officially again, but I plan to do my non-scientific weight check (me on my scales with him and then without him) today or tomorrow. I'm guessing he's well over 12 pounds by now, maybe even 13. We shall see.

Bean is whimpering away about how I never do ANYTHING with her (eyeroll) so I suppose I should go address her issues in a mature, responsible fashion instead of just saying, "Yeah, right, I don't do anything with you!" She is really trying to hone her manipulation skills lately, which isn't surprising, but that doesn't make her crocodile tears and "You don't love mes" any easier to handle inside myself.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Nine Weeks and Working Together

My little Peabody-boy is already nine weeks old, though to be honest there are MANY MANY times that I would leave that "already" out and say, perhaps, "finally" as this stage of babyhood is just HARD on me (as those around me have certainly gathered by now) and definitely not my favorite time. There, I said it.

I am so so sooooooo lamenting that I didn't document these early months with Bean as there are so many things I only remember vaguely about how it went with her and I wonder often, "How long until Matthew can...?" If I'd written about Bean at this stage, I'd at least have her progress as a point of reference. But alas, I was so overwhelmed then that I just wanted to hide myself away and definitely wanted no record of what I was going through. Silly me. Now I'm blasting my troubles and weaknesses all over the internet. Weird.

So one of the things I wonder about Bean is this. When? When EXACTLY did that child find her precious fingers to suck and put us all, including herself, out of our misery? Because I sit and I watch this little boy work and work and WORK to get his hand up to his mouth for 15 minutes at a time and I can SEE how badly, how desperately, he wants to suck on that fist or those fingers but so far he's just not there. He whacks himself in the forehead or the eye or the cheekbone (which I suppose isn't too bad -- at least he's getting close!) over and over again. It's cute, if a little sad/frustrating to witness. I try to help guide his arm sometimes but mostly that just makes him mad and he takes that little armie away and grimaces, "I want to do it all by myself!"

Life has been pretty tense around here lately, to be honest. With a baby who has needed to be in my arms at all times, I've not been able to do anything for the rest of the family, and as tired as I am I've also been angry and defensive and emotional. It hasn't been a healthy household for Bean (mostly, because she doesn't "get it") or P or the rest of us, and I really started to realize that SOME of the hard and fast rules I'd established before P was born were really causing some serious problems for the people who didn't have any part of establishing them. And we're a family, you know, all for one and one for all. So I've chosen to adjust my own thinking and go against some of the things I really WANT to believe in and mostly DO believe in, in order to get this family's life back to at least a state of semi-peace and semi-happiness.

I also needed to find a way to help Al see that P is getting enough to eat from me, so that he would be able to look past that and see what else might be going on.

Thus P and I have been working together to try to get some pattern established in his days (his nights are patterned enough for now) so that he would be less tired and I would have more time to spend caring for Bean and giving her some much-needed attention and structure.

Starting on Wednesday, I've been allowing P to cry in a very very controlled way before his naps. I HATE IT. But it IS working and he IS getting better naps and my family IS starting to look and feel a little bit less like a war zone. In the three days we've been working on this, he's gone from crying for 50 minutes (at only 5 - 10 minute intervals with me picking him up to soothe him in between) to crying for 30 seconds, yes I said seconds, before he falls asleep for his naps. (That 30 second one was this morning, just now, and he's sleeping peacefully now.) I've also gone back to letting him sleep on his tummy (I tried that once a couple weeks ago and he liked it, but when I tried it again, he didn't.) Even with only that small amount of crying done in those tiny increments and even though it's had the desired effect for all of us, I still feel terrible for doing it, in my heart of hearts. I mean, if it were JUST P and me, and no one else at all needed anything from me, I would have done anything in my power to avoid letting him cry one tiny little sob.

But, as my husband and sister gently reminded me, it's NOT just me, or Peanut. It's all of us.

And that's that.

And Al sorta, I think, proved the "plenty of milk for baby" thing to himself on Tuesday night by getting up with P in the night both times and bottle feeding him expressed milk (I got up one of those times and pumped, plus I pumped right before I went to bed). Throughout the night, P drank about 6 ounces or less of expressed milk and I was able to pump twice that. Al is going to get up with P and bottle feed him tonight and possibly tomorrow night, too. I didn't ask him to, he wants to, and as long as I don't see it interfering with my supply, I say Go For It. I really don't mind getting up and nursing at all. It's easy and convenient and more gentle and quiet than day nursing, but Al doesn't see the boy all day and he's usually in bed by the time Al gets home at night, so it feels like the right thing to have them get those quiet times together when Al can manage it without being completely useless the next day. Plus, he WANTS to help me get more sleep, and I appreciate that. Maybe we will also try, while P is still needing two overnight feedings, taking one feeding per night each.

The nursing's going well. I seem to have plenty of milk and I've had enough time to pump the past week so I'm building up our frozen supply again. P is a very squirmy, jerky, pulling little feeder, which is different to Bean who was placid and fell asleep all the time. I don't know if it's just his nature or if he's dissatisfied in some way with the experience, but he eats well and fully and is growing by leaps and bounds and doesn't seem to have any tummy troubles or anything, so I guess I won't worry about all that hurky jurkiness for now. I'll ask his pediatrician, MAYBE, although for Pete's sake I'm afraid to say anything about anything now lest we be sent off for more unnecessary TESTS. Criminy.

I need to write about P's developmental stuff but this will have to do for now because I have CHORES to do while he sleeps. He is a busy, busy boy and I love him!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

8 Weeks and Better

Thanks again for all the advice. And concern. And encouragement.

As of Tuesday, I gave up on crib naps. I figure he's doing well in his crib at night (which I know is actually quite good for this age) so the day will come when he's happy there for naps, too. It just takes time. I did modify the crib a little to make it seem smaller for him, in case he's feeling too exposed or swallowed up in all that space.

So during the days, I'm content to just wear him in the Snugli and get on with our days that way. The benefits far outweigh any fears I'll "spoil" him (can't spoil a baby this age anyway). He's close to me - which is good for breastfeeding in SO many physiological AND emotional/psychological ways. He's portable, which makes life easier for Bean and me and Peabody, too, really. And my back, amazingly, has felt fine these past days, probably because I've surrendered myself mentally to this, accepted that perfection (defined as a baby who takes his naps in his crib) isn't as important as keeping my baby happy and well-rested and my Bean cheerful and entertained and properly loved on and cared for. I don't have to be anyone else's definition of perfect - I just have to do what works for us (as many of you said) and this is what works for now. That relieves emotional tension, which in turn makes me feel more relaxed physically, which helps my back not get so hurty and tired out.

I'd read on either or that if I wore Peabody during the day so he had a peaceful day, felt safe and cozy and attached to me, he'd also settle better at night. And lo and behold, last night he nursed much better than he has been in the evening and went to bed without a hitch at 7:45. AND, he dropped one overnight feeding, too. He was asleep from bedtime to 1 AM and then 1:30 AM to 5 AM and then he slept again until 6:30 AM. Normally he'd have gotten up at 4 AM, as well. Could be a fluke, but it made me feel like my efforts Tuesday & Wednesday to wear him and feed him totally on demand (which meant I fed him a lot while I was out in the morning, at the doctors office, in the preschool parking lot, etc.) were rewarded in some way.

The doctor appointment was my last offical visit for this pregnancy. She pronounced me back to normal save the obvious suppression of estrogen from breastfeeding which creates a few issues for an old broad like me, but nothing that isn't easily remedied. My scar is healing nicely. I'm going to miss Dr. Howey. She'd be a great friend if she weren't my gynecologist. I can't see myself having a close friendship with someone who has to examine the hinterlands once a year. So I'll miss her.

My Lil Family