I should have done this weeks ago

Our grocery cart/high chair cover came weeks ago, and I FINALLY tried it out at the store with Jack the other day.  He did great.  I still have to work on getting it in place quickly and with one hand.  For this outing, I put the car seat in the cart, got the cover on, moved Jack into the seat, and then piled groceries on top of the car seat.

Plenty adorable, right?  It got so much better.  I turned back to the cart after picking up milk, and found this:

Poor sad baby chicken.  Not quite 9 months old and already completely done with grocery shopping.

I thought I’d have more time!

Nursing Jack, wonderful in itself, has been especially great because it’s time I’ve been able to read.  Even if only for 5-10 minutes, I get to read multiple times a day.  Lately…not so much.  I’m still nursing him as much as ever, but he rarely settles down and just eats anymore.  Instead, he does gymnastics.  Or parkour.  Sometimes he ends up practically upside down.  I need both hands, making it pretty difficult to read.  He does it almost every time, even before bed and in the middle of the night, and especially before naps, and once he settles into sleep, I’m getting him into the crib pretty quickly.  I am NOT complaining about him napping in the crib instead of on me – that is WONDERFUL and HELPFUL and I use that time to get work done so I don’t have to work as late at night.  Occasionally (okay, all the time), I wish I were holding him for a nap instead because he’s so cuddly and warm and sweet, but really, he sleeps longer in the crib, and we all need that.  A napping baby is a charming, adorable, and funny baby who sleeps better at night.

What was my point?

Right.

So I lost my nursing/reading time to acrobatics, and I have to use napping time for work (like, ahem, right now).  I try to read in bed at night, but that’s not working, either.  For the last five nights in a row I’ve done that thing where you’re reading and then you wonder why you can’t see your book anymore and you realize your eyes are closed and when you open them the words on the page don’t look at all familiar so you go back a page or two and try again but then, whoops, you can’t see the book anymore and who flipped ahead to that page and oh, crap, I’m just going to go to sleep.

The babiest baby to ever baby

Jack hit peak baby today in the grocery store.  He was wearing a romper (one piece, short sleeves, short pants), no shoes or socks, so his baby thighs and baby feet were visible in the car seat (which was in the grocery cart).  He was looking around the aisles, kicking his feet, fingers in his mouth, babbling “ba ba ba ba ba” at everyone and no one.  It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen (or heard).

I regret to inform you that I did not get video, so you’ll have to take my word for it.  Peak baby.

Eleven minutes is not a nap!

After a long break, we have officially restarted nap training.  Sleep training.  Crib training?  I mean I’m working on getting Jack to nap in the crib.  We were working on it months ago, but I gave it up when the teething started in earnest and nighttime sleep was being disrupted.  For however many months that’s been (maybe two?), Jack has been napping semi-well, but exclusively while being held (mostly by me) or in the car seat (stroller and car).  The advantage of the car seat is that I can usually bring the car seat in from outside without waking Jack up, and he can sleep in it, in the house, and let me do other things.  But wouldn’t it be nice if he would just sleep in the crib?  I’m starting (restarting) now for a couple of reasons:

  1. He’s going to grow out of the car seat.  I’ve been talking about it for months, and he hasn’t done it yet, but it’s inevitable, and I feel like it’ll be soon. We’ll have to replace the infant car seat, which can be carried around, with a convertible car seat, which is one of those that will last for years but which doesn’t leave the car.  What if (WHEN) he falls asleep in the car in the new car seat?  I will have to unbuckle him, carry him inside, and put him down without waking him up.  So far, he hasn’t proven to be that sound of a sleeper.  Same for sitting in the stroller without the car seat.  So he needs to learn to nap in the crib.
  2. Teething’s not over, of course, but his second top tooth has broken through and we have a pretty good routine at bedtime.  He sleeps pretty well in the crib, mostly through the night, so I’m not too worried that these attempts to nap in the crib during the day will screw that up.

I just want the flexibility.  We’re at home at naptime?  Sleep in the crib!  We’re on a walk and he gets sleepy?  Sleep in the stroller!  We’re in the car?  Sleep in the car!  And if he’ll really nap in the crib, I can get work done during the day.  Probably not the full four hours, but it means I won’t have to stay up as late EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

The worst thing about this is the crying, of course.  I’ve tried all kinds of things, read all kinds of books, and I really don’t know how to make this work without any crying.  Thankfully, today, new attempt #1, he only cried for a couple of minutes.  Then he tossed and turned but quietly, and he was sleeping 6 minutes later.  Of course, as I type this, I can see (and hear) him kicking the back of the crib, but I’m pretty sure he’s still sleeping.  Weird kid.  He wiggled around a ton during those first few minutes, so I can’t see his face in the monitor anymore.

Shoot, I think I jinxed it.  He’s definitely awake.  Eleven minutes isn’t enough!

Update: Attempt #2 is going well so far.  He stayed asleep when I put him in the crib, and he’s been asleep for 14 minutes.

Busy lazy life

I feel like I had a crazy busy day today, like I rushed from thing to thing, but that is a completely ridiculous feeling to have, especially about today.  I’m not knocking the stay at home mom life in any way.  But really – today’s the day that felt crazy?  See for yourself.

7am-ish to about 9: Jack woke up.  John changed him, I fed him, we played a bit, and John took Jack so I could shower and eat breakfast.

9:10ish: I fed Jack off and on until he fell asleep.

9:45 to 11:15am: Jack napped in my lap.  I napped a bit, too.

11:15 to noon: I played with Jack, changed him, got some cute videos while I gathered up a blanket and some toys.

Noon to 1pm-ish: Jack and I sat outside on a blanket in the shade.  I fed him, he played, two of the neighbors came over to chat.

1pm-ish to 2pm-ish: I made lunch for me and John (scrambled eggs and toast), tried to feed Jack a tiny bite of scrambled eggs (he gagged), ate them myself, and fed him some baby food he actually likes.

2:30pm-ish to 4:30: We went for a long walk with Helen and Nora.  Jack napped from about 3 to 3:45.

4:30 to 4:50: Fastest grocery trip ever.

5pm-ish to 6:30pm:  I fed and changed Jack, we made and ate dinner, fed Jack some baby food, and played a little.

6:30pm to 7pm: Bathtime!

7pm to 7:35pm: Bedtime!

Highlights: I napped, played, went for a walk, and ate.  No appointments, no major errands, no timelines or deadlines, no meetings, and yet it didn’t feel as relaxing as it looks on paper.  I need a do-over.  That’s a relaxing day, damn it.

Origin story

Jack sleeps on his back, of course, and when he starts to get a little restless, he lifts both legs in the air and then drops them hard back on the mattress.  It doesn’t wake him up, but god damn if it doesn’t shake the whole house.  The first few times it happened, we went looking for what heavy thing had fallen over.  But then it happened again, and then again.  (He rarely does it just once when he’s stirring.)  So we checked the monitor and sure enough, our mini-earthquakes were being caused by the baby.

Every night, people.

His superpowers are developing.

Let’s all go to the movies

We took the baby to the movies!  As our neighbor said, we’re those people.  In our defense, we did our best to minimize disruption, and we succeeded.

Backing up: we’ve seen every Marvel movie in the theater (except Ant-Man and the Wasp), and we want to keep it that way.  Captain Marvel came out (and the next Avengers comes out soon), but we’ve got this not-quite-6-month-old, and we’re not ready for a babysitter.  But we figured that the movie had been out for a couple of weeks, and maybe if we went to the earliest showing, there wouldn’t be many people, so we could sit away from everyone, and we’d try to time it so I could feed him and then he’d nap…and people, that’s exactly what happened.  Turns out the earliest showing on a Saturday morning was 9:45. Who knew they showed movies that early?  There were only ten people (including the three of us) in a normal-size theater, so there weren’t many people to be bothered, and Jack performed exactly as planned.  He sat quietly for half an hour, then I fed him, and then he slept in my arms through the end of the credits.  The noise didn’t bother him, and being scrunched up between the seat’s arms just made him more cuddly and cozy.  It was great, and I don’t think we’re ever going to try it again.  There’s just no way we’d get that lucky.

I have a plan for how we might see the Avengers movie (which is rumored to be THREE HOURS LONG), but it involves a babysitter, and I’m just not sure I’ll be ready for that.  Gotta prepare myself!

In non-theater news, we watched two movies at home recently that were surprisingly good (both on Netflix).  The Edge of Seventeen is about a teenager going through a really rough time. Hailee Steinfeld really sells it.  I don’t want to like her, but she’s very good.  (She was fantastic in True Grit a few years ago, too.)  And Juanita (a Netflix original) with Alfre Woodard was fun.  Maybe not good, but we enjoyed it, and I’ll watch anything Alfre Woodard is in.  She makes the movie.

All us new moms look alike

You’re out with a stroller?  You must be that one person I don’t really know who just had a baby!  When I’m out for a walk with Jack and I meet someone else out and about in whatever neighborhood I’m in, there’s a 75% chance they’re going to ask me if I’m so-and-so from down the street who just had a baby.  Not ONCE have I been their so-and-so from down the street who just had a baby.  I’ve had that conversation with a LOT of people in at least three different neighborhoods.

Today’s version:

I’m walking down the sidewalk minding my own business.

“He might bark, but I promise he’s friendly.”

Um, what?  Oh, that poodle who looks like he has a mohawk is in the front yard.  “Thanks!”

The man heads to the dog, and I stop at the end of his sidewalk and ask if I can say hello to the dog.  Because dogs.  He says of course, and I start petting the very friendly, very nice dog.

“Is your husband Matt?”

Um, what?  “No….”

“Because his wife walks around here a lot and they have a two-month-old.”

“No, I’m Susannah, my husband is John, and he,” pointing at the stroller, “is nearly 6 months old.”

What I don’t get is how he only remembers the husband’s name when it seems it’s the wife he’s met on her walks, but whatever.  His name is Tom, the dog’s name is Bogey (as in Humphrey), they’re both nice, and if I don’t write his name down, I’m not going to remember.  Yesterday, I ran into a woman I’d met on a walk months ago and messed up her name.  I remembered her kids’ names, but I guessed Grace for her.  Nope.  She’s Nancy.  But she didn’t remember mine, so we’re even.

Inner workings

Example of how my brain is working right now:

One of the milestones for baby development for a couple of months ago is the ability to track an object as small as a raisin across the baby’s field of vision.

How do you know the baby is tracking the raisin?  If you’re holding it, the baby could just be tracking your hand, which is (probably) much larger than the raisin.

Maybe if you hung the raisin on some string and dangled it in front of the baby…

[Picturing using a needle and thread and piercing the raisin so you can dangle it] Who would go to that trouble?

Why not just use a necklace with some kind of pendant?

Oh.  Maybe that’s what they mean, but they can’t say use a pendant because they come in all sizes and they’re using raisin as a point of comparison. Duh.

No, because how hard would it be to say “baby should be able to track an object, like a pendant on a chain, as small as a raisin”?  

Be clearer, baby books!

Do I have any intention of dangling a pendant (or a raisin) in front of Jack?  No.  Does that matter to my brain?  No.  Is this really any different from how my brain worked pre-Jack?  No.

Just call me Dharma

I’m a science person, right?  Not a holistic medicine person.  I don’t believe that apple cider vinegar can cure everything from blisters to cancer, and of COURSE we’re vaccinating Jack.  I don’t plan to change my mind about any of that, but I AM willing to try just about anything to make sure I can continue to feed Jack.

A couple of weeks ago, maybe three now, Jack started to behave strangely while nursing, and without going into all the details (because I’m tired and that takes too long), I’ve asked for help, and two other moms, his doctor, and two lactation nurses (one of whom witnessed him nurse) all think I have low milk supply.  Jack is still gaining weight, so no one is seriously concerned about him, but I’m not ready to give up on being his sole source of food.

Solution #1: pump constantly.  Sharon (the visiting lactation nurse who looks and sounds like John’s Aunt Toni – it’s eerie) suggested pumping after every feeding for 24-48 hours.  I haven’t managed EVERY feeding (sometimes I let him nap if he falls asleep eating), but I’ve been pumping a lot and not seeing a lot of improvement.  We’re coming up on 96 hours, and MAYBE making some progress.  We’ve replaced the bedtime feeding with a bottle because that late in the day I’m producing practically nothing and both Jack and I are very not happy about it.  Anyway, the pumping is supposed to be telling my body that the baby needs more so, damn it, produce more.  We’ll see.

Solution #2 is the one I want to talk about.  After suggesting pumping all the time, Sharon asked, “Have you tried any herbs?”  Part one of the answer: I haven’t tried ANYthing because I didn’t know what the problem was.  Part two of the answer: um, what?  What kind of herbs?  Like, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme?  Or, like, herbs?  What is happening here?

Apparently, some herbs are galactagogues, meaning they’ll help produce milk, like fenugreek, alfalfa, and, I kid you not, something called blessed thistle.  I feel hippy-dippier just typing that.  So Sharon suggested I try those herbs, in addition to the constant pumping, either in pill form or in Mother’s Milk Tea.  (I can’t believe this is a real thing.)  I like tea, so I ordered some of that, and it arrived today.  I was worried about the fenugreek (I really don’t like licorice), but the tea tastes pretty much like a basic chamomile (I don’t drink much herbal tea, so give me a break here if I’m totally off base), and I can deal with that.  Of course, I have to deal with it 3-5 cups a day for it to be effective.

The tea has been in the house for 90 minutes, and I’ve had two cups already.  I’ll get at least three in tonight.

THIS HAD BETTER WORK.

Everything is blurry

There must be a trick to transferring a sleeping baby from your arms to the crib, but the internet won’t tell me what it is.  I get a lot of “put the baby down sleepy but not asleep so he can learn to put himself to sleep”, but 1) he still falls asleep nursing, so that’s harder than it seems, and 2) he screams when he hits the mattress whether he’s sleepy or sleeping, so drowsy disappears fast.

He does sleep at night, so it’s not like we can’t get him to sleep in the crib at all, but bedtime is the most stressful time of day for me.  The last two nights (three? too tired to remember), it was John who was able to put him down quietly, so we’re going to keep going with that and hope it works.  Of course, that limits bedtime and will eventually get us into trouble.  Eventually being in two weekends, when John is out of town.

Fun times ahead.

This will be…interesting

Tomorrow morning we head for PA for Christmas.  This will the first time we’ve driven more than half an hour with Jack, the first time we’ve spent a night somewhere other than home with Jack (not counting the hospital), and the first time he’ll be around more than five people at once.

I’m not terribly worried about the drive.  He’ll probably sleep much of it (although I most likely just jinxed it).  And the people – he’ll be fine.  It’s the nights away from home that have me a little worried.  No, I’m not worried.  I’m resigned to the likelihood that we won’t get any sleep.  He’ll be in a new place, in an unfamiliar crib (or something), new noises (including another baby), so he’s likely to have trouble settling down, and since he’ll be in our room, I think I’m likely to have trouble settling down.

Maybe he and I can tire each other out during the days enough to sleep like logs at night.  That’s actually pretty likely.  🙂    And maybe, just maybe, the experience of sleeping somewhere other than home will make sleeping at home that much more attractive to him and he’ll go down for naps easier.

I can dream.

No one warned me that could happen

I anticipated smelly poopy diapers  (and the smellier ones still to come) and diaper blowouts and getting peed on.  I anticipated (to a certain extent) having days where I can’t make it into the shower and everything I’m wearing is something I wore the day before and then slept in AND has spit-up on it.  I did NOT anticipate the baby spitting up on me WHILE NURSING and then getting squirmy-yelly-mad when I insist on a 20-second break to mop us both up.  Ew, baby.  I know you ate that once, but it’s not better the second time around.

(See what I did there, Mom and Dad?  His first word isn’t destined to be “gross”.)