Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Can We All Get Some Sleep Now, Please?

Warning: This is a detailed post about our efforts to break the swaddle habit and deal with teething (at the same time). It may bore you if you haven't been in this boat before. In fact, it may bore you even if you have!

There's something about Sunday nights at our house. We're all sad the weekend is over, and even though we have 60 Minutes and The Simpsons to look forward to, we just can't get over the gloomy feeling that Monday morning is around the corner. It's funny that I still feel this way even though I'm not expected at an office at 9:00 am anymore. Our daughter must be able to read our mood because every Sunday night she is super difficult to put to bed. She will generally loose her marbles for over an hour. By the end of the bedtime drama, I'm usually exhausted and annoyed. This past Sunday was no different.

The problem with this past Sunday was that she woke up at 12:30 am and didn't fall back asleep until 4:45 am. This was WAY beyond a wet diaper issue. I realized on 7-7-07 (her 7 month birthday) that she had her first tooth coming in. I realized on 7-15-07 how difficult having a tooth coming in can be. I am happy to give her drugs to relieve the pain associated with her teething, but am pretty paranoid about giving her too much or having her come to expect it.

I decided she also may be annoyed at being wrapped up in her fancy new swaddler for 11 hours straight (I would be). I began to wonder if we should try the "no swaddle experiment" and see how it goes. Too ambitious when dealing with teething? Perhaps.

She was a pleasure during the day on Monday and I decided we'd give the experiment a try that evening. I had watched her nap unswaddled during the day and realized how much she moved around. She started on her back, turned to her side and ended up on her stomach. Maybe she just needs that kind of freedom for her night sleep?

The babe lasted in her crib unswaddled until 11:00 pm. 3 hours isn't bad, right? She then proceeded to take up the majority of our king size bed as my husband and I struggled to not fall off our respective sides. Up again at 2:30 am and then 4:30 until 5:45 am. Was the experiment a success? Depends how you define success, but it was a BIG deal for her to be unswaddled for a whole evening.

The experiment continued Tuesday night. She woke at 10:00 pm after only 2 hours and ended up going to bed with me. Not good. I like to try and clock a few hours before having to give up my precious space. Awake again at 2:30 am and then 4:45 until 6:15 am. Really not good. If I wasn't about to leave on an 8 night trip, it would be time for some tough love which would involve this child staying in her crib longer.

Last night we did better. After falling asleep at 9:00 pm, she was back up crying at 12:30 am. Half an hour later I caved and fed her Infants' Tylenol. She was asleep by 1:30 am and back up at 5:30 am to eat. She then slept until 7:00 am. Now that seems like a brilliant evening compared to the last 3.

My husband and I are both exhausted and never thought we'd end up with a "family bed" situation. We are just not good at letting her cry it out and have a huge fear of her crying escalating to an uncontrollable level. She's so itchy she ends up scratching her head off if left alone while she's upset (even with the little baby scratch gloves).

We visited a pediatric dermatologist yesterday who confirmed she has atopic dermatitis (baby eczema). Babies with this condition do not sleep as well as other babies. That will have to be another post.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

To Change the Diaper or Not to Change?

I am now calling on the services of all you parents out there. Do you, or did you ever do the middle of the night diaper change? I am constantly experimenting with my daughter's sleeping situation (as it's so bad) trying to find just the right balance. I'm embarrassed to admit I recently purchased a new swaddler for my 7 month old as she had outgrown every option we own. I believe that's because you're not supposed to swaddle babies at this age. The babe is an itchy scratchy kinda gal and would scratch her head off if her hands weren't tied down. She just really needs the swaddle to fall asleep and after a very bad night and hours of internet research, I found a new swaddler that looked to meet my requirements.

The Snug and Tug is a very cool swaddler that holds babies up to 28" and 22 pounds. So, we're safe for now, although the length will get dicey soon enough. The problem with this awesome swaddler is that you have to COMPLETELY remove the baby to do any kind of diaper maintenance. So, when I wrap her up all snugly at bed time, I really would like her to stay that way until at least 7:00 am. I left her wrapped up every night for about a week before we had a big 'oll leaking situation when I removed her from the swaddler in the morning. This meant the sheets had to be washed and we most likely got some pee on the mattress. Not the end of the world. But the start of some diaper rash was another development associated with the all-night diaper wearing. We don't want that.

So this week I've been trying to take her out and change the diaper when she wakes to eat in the middle of the night (that's another issue altogether). This jostling appears to wake her up and make it difficult for me to get her back to sleep which has made for some unpleasant waking periods for my husband and I. Luckily I can nap in the morning, but I can't say the same thing for my poor hubby.

Last night we added some theatrics to the middle of the night waking period when the toilet managed to overflow after one of my bathroom trips. I swear I didn't do anything in there that would warrant an all out floor flood, but alas. The baby knew there was something exciting going on and stared at the door in anticipation (of what, I'm not sure). All this ended up costing a total of 2 hours of sleep (3:15 to 5:15 am). If I hadn't tried to maneuver a stealth diaper change, perhaps I wouldn't have been awake enough to go to the bathroom and flood it.

So, if you have any middle of the night diaper changing advice, please feel free to post your thoughts. I know it's a decision only I can make as her Mother, but I'm just not sure how many more nights of experimenting I'm willing to go through before we find a solution.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hot Summer Days

It's been about 100 kazillion degrees for days now and I've about had it. I believe officials recommend that babies and the elderly stay indoors when it gets to this point. So here we are, indoors. I'm starting to think I need more toys for my little lady. I'm also wishing we had some more floor space for her to roll around. What I really wish is that we could be relaxing at a lakeside cottage or ocean front condo. As Sheryl Crow sang in her 1996 album, "a change would do you good."

The summer is quickly passing by and I'm realizing this is a summer of missed weddings, baby showers and outdoor concerts. These are all completely acceptable sacrifices but have made for a pretty unbooked kinda summer. We have one trip planned to Canada to visit family and I'm counting the days until we depart (12). I will be getting on a plane for the first time since last October and my daughter will be getting on a plane for the first time ever (although I guess she was technically on a lot of planes while I was pregnant).

The places we flew as one unit include:
I used to love leaving Washington and the feeling of being somewhere different. I must admit that I'm missing that lifestyle and am having to remind myself that this stage won't last forever. But I also have to remember it will never be the way it was before either. No more care free trips and unplanned adventures.

I was considering going to New York for my friend' baby shower last Sunday but ended up deciding against it because I couldn't imagine being away from my daughter for 12 hours. Since she was born 7 months ago, I haven't been apart from her for longer than a 2 hour stretch (embarrassing, but true), so adding an additional 10 would have been way too challenging for me. As much as I want to be getting on planes and exploring new territory, I have to admit I am addicted to my baby. These days won't last forever and I certainly don't want to be looking back in the future and wishing I'd appreciated them more.

Friday, July 6, 2007

A few things

A few highlights of the week (in no particular order):

  • My prayers to the poo Gods were answered and after 6 days of no action down there, we had some serious action (of the carrot variety). I was one day away from having to take my baby to the doctor for who knows what kind of procedure. Apparently "solid" food can lead to baby constipation.

  • I found her missing sock in the dishwasher (the same dishwasher I walked into 2 weeks ago).

  • She tried to eat one of our two plants (must remember to not keep high chair next to plant). I actually had to do the mouth sweep to make sure I got all parts of the dusty leaf out of her mouth.

  • I officially have tendonitis in my wrist. Silly me for thinking it was carpal tunnel syndrome. The doctor said that in addition to wearing a brace all day I should ice it for 15 minutes, 3 times a day. As if that's going to happen! I can barely brush my teeth before noon!

  • My baby can sleep through Fourth of July fireworks that literally had our windows rattling (we're about 14 blocks from the White House). I have a new respect for our baby monitor which registered every pop, bang and boom.

  • I should not eat beans or lentils when breastfeeding (even if it's yummy Rajma made by my mother-in-law). No baby should have to fart that much.

Happy Weekend!

Picked Up

You need friends in this stay-at-home Mommy world. If I didn't have my Mommy buddies, I would have gone mad at this point. They make me feel normal and help me keep things in perspective. My pals remind me that I am not the first person to have a baby and go through all the ups and downs associated with child rearing. Even though it may feel like it some days, I am not alone.

We come from a variety of backgrounds and may not have been friends if we didn't have this one thing in common. Back in the real world, I did not automatically befriend folks just because they were in the same industry. There's just something special about knowing someone has recently gone through a similar life altering experience, and if they happen to live in your area, all the better.

I was at Trader Joe's to do some shopping yesterday and ended up speaking to a new Mom who was also carrying a baby in a Baby Bjorn. We hit it off as we chatted about the difficulties of public breastfeeding and smiled at each other in the aisles throughout our shopping experience. We said our good byes at the cash registers. She had already loaded her groceries and was fastening her son into his car seat when I made it to my car (parked across from hers). As I finished loading up the trunk, I looked up and there she was. She said she hoped she wasn't being to forward, but would I like to get together for lunch sometime? I said that would be great and gave her my contact info. I smiled as I drove home thinking about how good it felt to be asked out on a Mommy date by a stranger. I hadn't even showered!

I wonder if the same rules of dating apply to Mommy pick-ups? Is there a set time to wait before you send the first email or make that call? It's not like I'm desperate for things to do, but I'll be happy to add my shopping buddy to my circle, if she gets in touch that is.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Anniversary To Us

Two years ago today, my new husband and I flew to the Bahamas for our honeymoon. We were legally married in Ottawa in a simple ceremony on July 1st (Canada Day) and had a beautiful Hindu wedding on July 2nd. Our anniversary was this past Sunday and Monday and I must say we had a really great time. If you read my blog post regarding my first Mother's Day as a Mother, you may recall that I have a tendency to get worked up about special occasions. The moral of the post was that I'd have to lower my expectations as I can't always control my baby and demand she celebrate on my schedule.

So, I did my best to keep my anniversary expectations low. My husband and I pretty much agreed that we wouldn't worry about presents (other than cards, of course). His gift to me was sushi from our favorite restaurant, Sushi Taro. My gift to him was our favorite chocolate with vanilla butter cream cake from Cake Love. We had an awesomely blissful food fest at our place on Saturday night. Our daughter had even fallen asleep at a decent hour and allowed us to celebrate.

To continue the food frenzy, we headed out to brunch in Georgetown (our old 'hood) on Sunday. We dined at Filomena's brilliant buffet until we felt slightly ill and were amazed that our daughter continued her good behavior. She was easily entertained and pleasant for the whole experience and even fell asleep as we walked off the food at the waterfront.

All this may not sound that exciting, but for new parents who haven't gotten out much, this was a sweet anniversary marking the days we said "I do." I need to remember this lesson of low expectations. I was truly pleasantly surprised and it helped me realize that my little family can still have great times on "special days." I just can't always count on it.

Now if only we were getting on a plane to the Bahamas today. That sure would be special.