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!


Melissa said...

Yay for the naps! What a great answer to prayer. :o)
...seconds?? I'm so jealous! Do you soothe him to almost sleep before you do it or do you just walk upstairs, swaddle him, and walk away? (That's the answer I haven't found in the book I've been reading.)
I am so glad things are starting to turn a corner...both for him and for you. Sometimes what we give up is nothing compared to what we gain.:o)
Praying for a great weekend!

Mari said...

I had to deal with the crying thing from my boy too. It's sooo hard to listen to the crying but he improved also. Glad the nursing is going well and yeah for Al getting up so you can sleep. My hubby did that on the weekend too and it never gave me any problems with milk supply.

Elle Charlie said...

Yay for naps indeed - sounds like a lot is going on in your household and my gosh that must be hard to manage with a newborn! Be gentle with yourself - you're doing the best you can and your situation is hard - you've got so many people depending on you! That's stressful when you're sleep deprived :)

Lily's Mama said...

First of all, how on earth did you reduce the controlled pre-nap crying to just 30 seconds? Inquiring minds want to know! (And copy!) Also, hooray for having a husband who's willing to get up in the middle of the night and help feed the baby. That's SO wonderful! And I'm sure other people have suggested this, but I didn't see you mention it, so I will: why not a pacifier? If you're not a fan of those, how about just until he CAN find his hands? If it will give you some peace of mind, it may be worth it ;) Congrats on your cute little new bundle - though the beginning is hard (I'm in month 4 of #2...and still getting NO sleep at night), just remember how quickly the first one grew up!

My Lil Family