Sebastian bit me

Earlier this week Bash seemed different…less smiley and definitely too quiet. Something was up with him. Then yesterday, he would have random crying outbursts, and I realized he was having bad teething pain. When I looked in his mouth I could see a tooth about to poke out!!! Tommy didn’t believe me of course. (Not sure what it is with the guy never believing the girl. It happens in paranormal movies all of the time. The guy is skeptical and he ends up dying first.)

20160510_101721I gave Bash extra cuddles that day and as many teethers as I could find. Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly actually, he seems to favor the cheapest ones we own. It’s a set of 3 teethers with water inside that can be made cold in the fridge. They are the Bright Starts brand. We found ours at Target but they also have them on Amazon and all of the big chain stores I’m sure. The only downside is that I often forget to bring them with me when we are out, so wearing a teething necklace has been a big help. Then Bash can chew the necklace as I carry him rather than my shirt or the straps of his carrier.

This morning, Bash was much happier when he woke up, though still a bit quiet. After story time at the library I started to feed him when the little douche bit me! I’m sure many of you are familiar with the “Charlie bit me” clip on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPDYj3IMkRI). It literally happened like that. Too bad it was my boob and not my finger. And for the record, new baby teeth are razor sharp. Sharper than adult teeth which have been dulled by all of the delicious food we eat. I removed Bash from the boob and said, “No! Biting hurts Mommy.” We then went to get some groceries. He seemed calm but alert and a bit playful. I caught him watching me on multiple occasions, and honestly I saw a new look on his face. It seemed as if he finally understood something. Bash is almost 6 months so maybe some new things are clicking in his brain from a growth spurt. Anyway, we had a good time bonding and shopping for snacks for Mommy.

When we got home I reoffered the feeding and there was no biting! At this point either the teething pain had gone or Bash was hungry enough to just suck and not mess around. In any case, he drank his fill and then fell asleep for a long nap. I even caught a bit of a snooze as well!

How my husband saved my first Mother’s Day

IMG_20160508_185231

I love holidays. I always have. Probably because gifts are often involved and lots of good food that I normally would not get to eat. I build things up so much in my head that I usually get upset when things don’t go my way.

My first Mother’s Day was sure to be a disappointment. I wanted an awesome gift from my “son,” a magazine worthy picture of him and I, breakfast in bed, the apartment to be magically spotless, a massage, sleep, and to look the way I did before I had a baby. In all honesty, I had the opportunity to have each and every one of those things except for looking the way I did before the baby (that would take too much work and I don’t care enough to put in the money or effort). Tommy was willing to make it all possible, and yet I was a crab. I’m not sure why. Part of it must be hormones, another part is my unfortunate perfectionist personality. I also think I wanted Tommy to just know that I wanted these things. But instead my morning was ruined because he asked me what I wanted. I know it makes no sense. I guess sometimes I just want to be surprised, and if people ask what I want then a) it’s not a surprise and b) I feel guilty for accepting anything.

Some of the things that went “wrong”:

  • I had Tommy help me stamp the baby’s foot onto paper to make flowers for his two grannies. And I made a spare one for me. Well one of them didn’t come out so well so I took that one. It looked pretty sad so I didn’t bother to decorate it the way I did for my Mom. No present for me.
  • I didn’t get surprised with breakfast in bed or flowers. I didn’t even get to sleep in until 7 am.
  • My day was filled with chores: diaper laundry, regular laundry, mopping and vacuuming
  • My family was extremely last minute about deciding where and when we would eat for dinner.

Some of the things that went right:

  • While I was in the shower, Tommy kept saying he “enhanced” my set of baby footprints. It sounded worrisome, but when I looked he wrote a very sweet note and added stems and grass. It became my favorite picture out of the three!20160509_093836
  •  Tommy did ask me if I wanted special food for breakfast and offered to let me sleep while he watched the baby. I was too mad because he asked so I said “no.” My fault, not his.
  • Tommy helped me do the chores and the place ended up spotless. He hung the diapers properly (in a way that preserves the elastics…Sounds crazy but if you are a cloth diaper lover I’m sure you understand), took over the vacuuming, and even cleaned the bathroom. All without complaining.
  • He was a sport about hanging out with my family, and he even stayed up late playing games with my sister and I, which made things way more fun.

I learned two things from yesterday. First, I need to stop being such an ungrateful brat. Nothing was wrong about yesterday except for me. My Mom was happy, my family was having a great time playing with the baby, and my son was showering us all with smiles. Second, I have an awesome husband who somehow manages to put up with my crap.

Tommy, thank you for dealing with my crazy mood swings and for making me feel special on my first Mother’s Day and every day. I love you!

20160509_072606

Babyproofing: My favorite couch went away

IMG_20160422_092940 (2)
Before

Mary made me get rid of my favorite couch – my futon couch made of solid wood. It folded down awesome for sleeping guests. It was awesome.

But the slats and sliding mechanism didn’t seem the most baby safe. And I can’t argue with that logic. So it had to go.

Ultimately, we ended up replacing it with a new couch that seems somewhat safer. Probably. I miss my old couch.

After
After

Our Smoking Neighbor

IMG_20160501_105638

One evening while Sebastian was sleeping in the bedroom, Mary went in and smelled smoke. She freaked out. She was so mad. She told me we had to move immediately. This is because she had read this pamphlet (from the CDC) about secondhand smoke that stated:

No amount of secondhand smoke is safe. Even when you can’t smell it, cigarette smoke can still harm your child.

Opening a window or using a fan does not protect children.

I had recently installed a window fan to intake fresh air from the outside, so unfortunately, it also started intaking the cigarette smoke from our smoking neighbor (who smokes once a week or so). She was hopping mad and demanded we move immediately. So I reversed the fan flow (to exhaust) and emailed our pediatrician.

The pediatrician basically said: so long as you are closing windows, using fans to blow in fresh air, and staying away from neighbors who smoke, it’s fine.

This was a much more moderate stance than the CDC pamphlet, which is pretty hardline. Since Mary trusts our pediatrician, I think I have successfully deferred moving from our awesome rent-controlled apartment for another half year. Whew.

My takeaways:

  1. Most window fans can either intake our exhaust. Use exhaust for where the baby is sleeping to not bring in outside smoke.
  2. If the smoking source is occasional (once a week in our case), remote (not in our apartment, somewhere in our complex), and we can shut the window / blow air out, it’s fine.

Sleep Training basically worked

20160420_090234

Last time I posted about sleep training, I said we basically gave it up. Actually, after a few days, we modified it just a bit with great success.

The modification is this: Follow the sleep training, but if the baby sounds scared or distressed, go in and soothe immediately.

Sebastian has two types of cries:

  1. Fussing, frustrated “Why can’t I sleep” cry.
  2. Scared, distressed, in-pain cry.

If it’s the first type, we follow the sleep training, and allow him to try, checking on him in intervals. If it’s the second type, we go in to soothe him immediately. This is pretty successful, and he falls asleep pretty well (usually within 10 minutes).

I will say – Mary often doesn’t use sleep training, and opts to lay next to him and boob him to sleep. Since I don’t have that tool, I resort to sleep training, and it works for me.

I (almost) miss being pregnant

I have a friend who is 36 weeks along. She started experiencing nausea again and asked if it was a sign of impending labor.

I told her that it could be her body starting to get rid of any excess waste before the baby comes, or she could have just eaten something funny. So many things can make a pregnant woman throw up. What I didn’t tell her was that her question made me…jealous?

Not sure if jealous is the right word. But I actually miss being that pregnant. It seemed as if the entire world new and cared about me. Strangers wanted to share in my joy. The anticipation was annoying at times, but mostly exciting.

As soon as my son was born, the attention immediately shifted from me to him. Granted, that’s how things should be, but it was (and still is) hard to accept sometimes. I carried and pushed this kid out, yet I am expected to care for him 24/7 and recover at the same time while everyone else just gives me unwanted advice and gets to do the fun things with him.

I miss not knowing how he would look or what his personality would be like.

I miss still having the freedom to go out without worrying if I left enough pumped milk at home.

That being said, I also remember wishing that it would be the day after I gave birth. Labor would be over and I would finally get to hold my baby in my arms.

20160411_180247

It’s been 5 months, and although my son is an attention hog, my husband’s side of the family often comments on his big eyes, which the baby gets from me. So in a way, I still get attention right?

I honestly don’t quite know how the baby will look or act as he is constantly packing on the pounds and revealing new aspects of his personality. Every week it’s like being with a new kid.

While I still worry about the pumped milk, I’m also getting sad as the 6 month mark gets closer. We will be starting him on solids then. Although breast milk will still be the majority of his diet, in a month it will slowly decrease. We struggled with breastfeeding the first month, and now that we are able to do it I think I get just as much comfort and joy from it as the baby does.

I guess this means I want to have another baby, though maybe I should wait until I’ve gotten one full night of sleep first!

My “office”

So my sister decided to send me a picture from her new job…

2016-04-13

Man I got so mad. At first I was going to reply, “Oh shut up.” Then, I decided to take a picture of my own…

20160413_101039
My office. I win! ;)

Although I am currently wearing old pjs (the oversized, unattractive kind that are only comfy because they are worn to the point of developing holes) , smelly because I haven’t showered, eating a leftover sandwich at 10 am for “lunch” since I won’t have time to later, and writing this post to do something remotely adult with myself, I am, as my husband pointed out in the group text “living the life.”

I have a happy and healthy baby sleeping next to me. When he wakes up soon and interrupts whatever activity I just barely started, I know he will give me the biggest smile. That makes the sleep deprivation, backaches, messy apartment, and smelly coffee breath totally worth it. Every single time.

20160413_103944
I got the smile!

Our Cry-it-Out sleep training lasted one day

IMG_20160403_130830

A few weeks ago, our pediatrician suggested sleep training. Mary immediately got two books (The Sleepeasy Solution and The No-Cry Sleep Solution) and devoured them. And after two weeks of nagging, I finally also read The Sleepeasy Solution.

So on Sunday we began sleep training using the method detailed in The Sleepeasy Solution. This book is basically the same method as the Ferber Method, part of a family of sleep training methods called Cry-it-Out, a.k.a. the extinction method. The gist of it:

  1. Put your baby onto bed awake, say good night, and leave the room. Ignore any crying or fussing.
  2. After 5 minutes, go back in and check on him. Don’t touch him, but reassure him verbally.
  3. After 10 minutes, go back in and check on him again.
  4. After 15 minutes, go back in and check on him again.
  5. Repeat Step 4 until he is asleep. This may take hours.

The theory goes: falling asleep is a learned skill, and the baby needs to learn how to do it on his own – without parental assistance.

We tried it on Sunday for Nap 1, Nap 2, and Bedtime. Here’s how they went:

  1. Nap 1: Baby lays there not complaining for the first 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I check on him. Soon thereafter, he starts crying. Then after 3 more minutes, he falls asleep. Total time until sleep: 8 minutes.
  2. Nap 2: Baby lays there and starts complaining after a few minutes. After 5 minutes, I check on him. He starts crying, and then continues crying for 7 more minutes. Total time until sleep: 12 minutes.
  3. Bedtime: Baby starts crying immediately. After 5 minutes, I check on him. He keeps crying. After 10 more minutes,  I check on him again. He keeps crying. At this point Mary capitulates and goes in to soothe him.

So there you go. We lasted all of a single day before Mary declared defeat. The main sticking point for her: there is a difference between the baby’s fussing cry and scared cry, and the baby was starting to give the scared cry.

The good news is that the next day (today), the baby fell asleep during his naps without any intervention or regimen. Maybe my training did do some good.

Frustrating the baby

20160327_171056
Just out of reach

Sebastian can’t really move, so his toys are often out of his reach. I used to watch him, and when this happened, I’d grab the toy and give it to him immediately.

But recently, since watching Mary interact with him, I’ve stopped doing this. Mary will encourage Sebastian to struggle to get the toy for himself. Sebastian stretches out with every muscle in his tiny body. He will kick the mat in an ineffectual manner but move a centimeter at a time. And when he finally does get the toy, it looks like he’s very satisfied with himself.

And then he will forget the toy.

(Just to be clear: there’s a limit to the baby’s frustration (dependent on age), and at some point, like if he starts wailing, Mary and I still just give him the toy.)

Mary calls this process: teaching the baby to manage frustration. And also: how rewarding it is to work for something and eventually get it.

I’m all about character education, and I think that all actual achievement follows from character. I am very impressed with my wife for finding opportunities for character education within the mundane and everyday.

Given her expertise, I am sure she will raise a baby better adjusted than me. Either that or he will be really neurotic.

 

The babysitter log

download_20160327_184427

Mary and Tommy received an invitation to a wedding on March 5th, and they asked me at least two months in advance if I was free to babysit. The wedding was over 50 miles away and they planned to be away from 1 PM to 1 AM. That was the longest time that they would be away from the baby, but my family and I have gotten comfortable with the babysitting routine. I love spending time with my nephew, but this night turned out to be a true test of my patience and skill.

12:45pm
My dad and I arrived at Mary and Tommy’s place. Mary reviewed how to use cloth diapers, told us there was extra milk in the freezer, and set out some books and toys. I’m sure Mary and Tommy were happy to get some time for themselves but were probably nervous to leave us in charge.

2:00pm
The baby was ready for his first nap. I had to walk around with him to calm him down and get him snuggled, then I laid him down on his mat and covered him with his blankie. My dad took this opportunity to leave because he usually goes to church on Saturday nights. He would be back around 7pm. That left me 5 hours alone with baby.

2:30pm
I heard the baby start fidgeting, and after 10 minutes, he was very awake and active. I changed his diaper, fed him, burped him, then did tummy time. We read a few board books, and I carried him all throughout the house and talked to him. I love to shower his fat cheeks with kisses and hopefully he likes it, too. I was the perfect auntie.

5:00pm
I definitely lost track of time. The baby and I were having so much fun playing and he didn’t show any signs of being sleepy. Mary had told me a hundred times that he needed to nap approximately every two hours, but the baby was fine! Or so I thought.

6:00pm
The baby was getting a bit fussy. He didn’t want to eat, he didn’t want a pacifier, and I checked repeatedly that his diaper was clean. Oh yeah, the baby needs to nap! Duh! So I turned off some lights and put the baby down. He finally fell asleep, and I took advantage of this break to raid the refrigerator. I finished off the carton of Rocky Road ice cream and sat down on the couch.

6:10pm
The baby woke up! Oh no! I tried saying “Shhhhh” gently and putting my hand on him so he knew he was safe. It didn’t work. He was awake and making noises. Did he need food? But he just ate before his nap! I let him stay lying down, then tried walking around with him to get him sleepy. Nothing worked.

7:00pm
My dad brought sandwiches for dinner and he ate while I held the baby. I told him how the baby only got 10 minutes of sleep, and he was being so fussy. My dad took a turn with the baby while I ate my sandwich. He talked to the baby and tried to reason with him: “Listen here, you have to get some rest, ok?”

8:00pm
After another hour of fussiness, I was able to put the baby down on his mat in the bedroom. My dad and I were already exhausted.

8:30pm
Baby started crying. I picked the baby up to walk with him, but he screamed even louder. So I put him back down and he was still crying. My dad told me to put the baby in his rocker chair and bring him in the living room. My dad rocked the baby and let him cry. We knew he was so tired that he couldn’t sleep. I was very frustrated and thought, “What kind of person needs sleep and is too tired to sleep so he stays up and cries?” Babies are so irrational.

9:00pm
The baby fell asleep in his rocker. He sometimes woke up and started crying, but he fell asleep several minutes after his outbursts.

11:00pm
Mary and Tommy came home early. Praise the Lord! The baby was asleep like a mischievous little man. My mom asked how babysitting went, and I replied with “Never am I ever babysitting him again!”

I now know that I need to enforce the baby’s sleep schedule and have him ready for naptime even before that time comes. There is no point getting frustrated with a baby because it won’t help the situation and could make things worse. I still love to see the baby and spend time with him, and I tease him about that night when he was a little terror baby.

Two days later, there were no more hard feelings:

download_20160327_184331