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Contamination contained. We set up a perimeter. No babies will be escaping from this facility. Now our evil plans can begin mwahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa!
Since rolling has quickly turned into scooting in circles and the occasional attempt to push up on his knees we decided it was time to get started on the baby-proofing. Of course, just like EVERYTHING ELSE about parenthood, you can only be prepared for half of it. The things you thought you absolutely had to have (ahem BUMBO SEAT) were totally unnecessary and you end up running through the street at 11:00 pm throwing money at anyone who promises to get you the stuff you neeeeeeeed.
The real victims of the baby proofing are our pets. The stupid evil cat can’t figure out how to get through the gate (hint: YOU JUST WALK THROUGH IT YOU’RE A CAT). The dog can no longer run to the front door and greet every single visitor we have OMG TRAGIC. And the stupid nice cat has already decided she’d prefer if I opened it FOR her so she sits and meows. Odds are we’re going to have at least one poop on the floor incident before we reach acceptance. Although since the gate is between the couch and the bathroom, I wouldn’t rule E out of that race. Kidding honey!
No, not Baby Evan’s anxiety. Mine. I almost lost my marbles the other day at the thought of leaving Evan in someone else’s care for twenty minutes. How could a stranger possibly nurture my precious snowflake in my absence? I mean, he could get hungry and start crying and his mommy won’t be there to hold him! I bet that’s the first thing everyone says in therapy: “My mother wasn’t there that one time I cried.” Besides, I don’t know these people. Maybe they secretly hate babies and would pinch him as soon as my back was turned. Are they qualified? What if they’re drug dealers? Or child molesters? I mean, that’s not usually who works in a church nursery but YOU NEVER KNOW.
I wasn’t expecting this to be a problem. I know in theory that the focus of attachment parenting is making you feel, well, attached to your child. One of the articles I read described it as feeling like part of you was missing when you weren’t with the baby. But c’mon, it’s not like I’m a super over protective mom type. I’m the opposite of overprotective and cautious. I’m the kind of person who says stuff like “God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” without a hint of irony. So what’s my problem with letting someone else watch the baby shove inappropriate things in his mouth?
My problem is no one else HAS ever watched him. We don’t have any family nearby to “practice” babysitting to see how Baby Evan handles being in the care of someone other than his parents. When I was about 16, I babysat for the neighbor’s infant. Who cried. THE. WHOLE. TIME. I told them never to call me again and swore I’d never have children (yeah, I said a lot of things when I was 16). I don’t want to traumatize someone that way. But is it just going to get worse if I don’t? My fear is I’m going to be the mom at the first day of kindergarten who can’t walk out the door without prying her kid off her leg with a crowbar. Maybe I’ll just practice on my parents when they come to visit. They have to love me and Baby Evan anyway.
The good parts.
How in the world has the human race survived this long? I mean, you barely recover from giving birth soon enough to deal with sleep deprivation and sore nipples and just when the baby starts getting all cute and mobile and human-like, TEETHING STARTS. You want to prevent teen pregnancy? SEND ‘EM THIS WAY. I guarantee an hour with my baby and any teen’s knees with slam together so hard they’ll be limping for a month. I have no job, no pressing responsibilities (beyond keeping my child alive), no other kids to care for, no neighbors close enough to disturb if the baby screams and I am almost at the end of my rope. I cannot imagine what dealing with a teething baby would be like in a mud hut or a covered wagon or an 800 square foot apartment. If you have teeth, go kiss your mama right now.
By the time E got home from work yesterday I was lying on the floor of the nursery begging the baby to take a nap. I know E was secretly thinking “Geez woman pull yourself together, he’s not that bad” – until Baby started screaming his head off because someone smiled at him the wrong way or said his mama was funny looking. I wouldn’t blame E if he suddenly had to start “working late” so he would miss the afternoon meltdown. I would totally kill him, but I wouldn’t BLAME him.
The real problem is the child cannot make up his mind. Cutting just one tiny tooth has thrown any semblance of a schedule out the window. Two nights ago I was totally ready to throw in the co-sleeping towel because Baby Evan thrashed and tossed and nursed ALL NIGHT and I can’t deal with a cranky baby during the day without at least five hours of sleep. But then last night he slept from 9pm – 2am, nursed, and then went back to sleep until 5:30 am, still and quiet as a mouse. Unfortunately, GETTING him to sleep was a nightmare. I don’t think it counts as cry-it-out if E is holding him and rocking him and shushing him in the nursery…but the baby cried himself to sleep anyway. During the day he’s just as unpredictable. One minute Baby Evan wants to nurse non-stop and the next he thrashed and screams if I put him anywhere near a boob. I was not expecting engorgement to be a problem anymore but yeah, it is, AGAIN. One second he’s playing in his exersaucer happily and the next he’s screaming bloody murder. One minute the teether toy is his favorite thing ever until he sees me holding the remote and then he wants THAT RIGHT NOW INHISMOUTH GUMGUMGUMDROOOOOOOOL.
I wish there was a definitive answer as to how long teething lasts. It would really help me deal with this if I knew “OK, he’s horrible now but I only have two more weeks (or months) to go”. But the internet has very little to say on the subject, except that he has 20 teeth to get through and that the molars can be worse. WORSE. My heart actually stopped beating for a second.
So that crazy hippie baby store I CANNOT SHUT UP ABOUT was used as the site for a local tv bit about a new totally unnecessary parenting advice service. This woman had a baby and read a bunch of baby books and somehow managed to turn that into a money making business where people pay her to summarize those books and watch Harvey Karp’s video with them. Because your life is so incredibly busy that you can’t just order the books on Amazon or YouTube the Happiest Baby on the Block clip. OR maybe YOU CAN JUST READ MY BLOG. I’m just saying. I’ll even let you pay me if it makes you feel like I’m more qualified. I have very reasonable rates.
Anyways, you can see the inside of the store I CANNOT SHUT UP ABOUT in the video clip. Oh, and also, MY BEBEH. And me. Plus my friend Merin and her baby too. (We’re in the last 15 seconds.) Merin was there for a real reason (a tummy time class with her adorable daughter) but I was just trying to whore my baby out for the camera. And it totally worked.
The clip is on the local news station’s website and won’t post here so you’ll have to use this link. Hopefully they don’t take it down in a couple hours!
P.S. They cut the part of the video out where you saw the male host wearing pants covered in sailboats. They also cut the conversation he had with his co-host earlier in the show where she said “If I bought my husband those pants, I don’t think he would wear them” and the male host said “That’s because HE’S STRAIGHT”.
When we first moved to Connecticut, we found a rental house through the Navy Housing office. It was tiny and uninsulated and impossible to heat and we totally loved it. It was owned by a cool old guy named Fred whose family has owned the land for 250+ years and had planted dwarf apples trees on a dozen or so acres. Our house directly faced the orchard. I spent the whole first year in the house perfecting my apple pie and working weekends in the red barn where Fred ran a pick-your-own-apples business. It was an amazing experience and I met a ton of interesting people. One those people was Miss Happy, Fred’s girlfriend (I use the term for lack of a better one, both Fred and Happy are in their 60’s) who is the most fascinating person ever. She has a degree in piano from Julliard. She used to work for a publishing company in NYC that sent her all over Europe to discover talented new writers. And now she owns a vineyard here in Connecticut. This weekend was their annual Harvest Wine & Food Festival which we’ve never attended before but will definitely not miss in the future! They had a dozen food vendors, live music, all the wine you could want (Thanks for the bottle, Happy!) and tons of people chilling in the grass having a great time.
Our house is old and full of character, hardwood floors, big windows and high ceilings. Unfortunately, now our house is also full of baby crap, and I don’t mean in the diapers. One of the things that had not yet been moved/covered/replaced/changed to accommodate the baby was our beautiful, shiny hardwood floors. We had them refinished early in my pregnancy and figured that was probably good enough. I’d just sweep up the dog hair and run the Swiffer over them once a day. They don’t get that dirty. I mean, they’re not spotless but they’ll be fine. THEY WERE NOT FINE. The amount of dog hair that drifts across the room on any given day is ridiculous, not to mention the cat hair and the dirt all of us track in. I had been putting the baby down on a blanket or a towel but now that he can roll those aren’t really big enough. “You know what we need?” I said to E, “We need a really big thick towel that covers the whole middle of the floor and has a sticky back so it doesn’t slide everywhere.” “Let’s go buy a rug,” said E.
And so we did.
It was $25 at Target (75% off!) which was just too good to pass up. We also got one for the nursery for $12 so now I’m not tempted to put Baby Evan down in the crib for play time. I think he really likes his new rug…
…even though it confused him a little at first. It’s much better for scooting than the slippery floor. It is NOT, however, thick enough to prevent crying if the baby accidentally falls on his face because you thought he was sitting up on his own but he’s really not. Not that anyone here would ever do that. And by anyone I mean me. Maybe we should have gotten something a little bigger, since His Rolliness cannot be contained.
I got my first blog topic request – which is super timely as I am facing a total lack of interesting things to say this week. Finally getting all the junk off my kitchen counters is just not that inspiring. So today I’m going to talk about sleep for Shannon in PA. She has a 4 month old and is currently obsessed with sleep. This happens a lot when you have a new baby – you wonder if you have the only child in the whole world who (fill in the blank – doesn’t sleep, nurses 10 hours a day, poops neon green, farts like a fat man at a German food festival)(The answer is no). I know Shannon is hoping I will tell her the answer to all her infant sleep problems is just a few weeks away. So here you go: Shannon, I promise you that in six more weeks your baby will be sleeping 13 hours a night. Ok, now stop reading Shannon. Stop and go look at pictures of unicorns or something. Now that Shannon’s gone, I’ll tell the rest of you how Baby Evan’s sleep schedule works.
Since he was born, Baby Evan has slept on almost every surface imaginable…except for in his crib. When we first brought him home he slept exclusively in his vibrating seat or his swing (both by Fisher Price in case you’re keeping track of what products I recommend). After a while we started putting him down in the cradle my father-in-law built so he would get used to sleeping on a flat surface. Around 6 weeks E and I stopped sleeping in shifts on the couch and moved the baby upstairs to our bedroom where he now sleeps in a co-sleeper. Naps are still usually in the swing or in the infant carrier after a ride in the car. But when he’s really tired during the day, he’ll sleep almost anywhere, including that one time he slept on a table, especially if he falls asleep while nursing.
There is a LOT of advice out there on how to get your newborn or infant to sleep. Cry it out (abbreviated CIO on mommy message boards) is one of the most common methods, popularized by Dr. Ferber (hence using it is called Ferberizing your baby – which sounds more like turning your baby into a creepy talking doll with a beak than a sleep training method to me but whatevs)(I’m feeling very linky today)(And also full of parentheses). Dr. Ferber is a fancy doctor of sleep in Boston or something. I don’t own his book so I don’t know exactly how it works but I’m told it involves letting the baby cry for gradually longer amount of time until he eventually learns not to cry at all. Now, no offence to people who have used this method, but it sounds to me like using CIO is just teaching your baby that you don’t care if he’s crying. I also doubt my ability to ignore Baby Evan’s cries for long enough for this to be effective – I think my record is 20 seconds before I ran out of the bathroom with my pants unbuttoned to comfort him. And how is listening to a baby crying supposed to help ME get any extra sleep anyways?
What I’m trying to say is we haven’t done any real sleep training. We’ve sort of mashed together several different schools of thought to figure out what works best for us, but it’s pretty much Dr. Sears attachment parenting with a couple of Dr. Karp’s five S’s thrown in. But this only works for us because we have a pretty easy going baby and I don’t have a job – if you’re a working mom with a high maintenance baby I recommend not reading this since it will only make you want to punch me in the face.
At five months our schedule looks like this: 8 pm Baby Evan gets a bath in the sink, mostly to get as much dog hair off him as possible. After the bath he gets his last meal of the night, somewhere between 8:15 and 8:45 depending on when his previous snack was. All his meals still come directly from the boob so we get a little cuddle time in too. Usually around 8:30 we go upstairs and rock in the glider while I read him a book (last night was Make Way for Ducklings, the night before we did There’s A Monster At The End Of This Book and That’s Not My Reindeer).
After the books I wrap him up in a swaddle (THIS IS THE SECRET TO SLEEP. SWADDLE. SERIOUSLY, DO IT. We had to buy a bigger size a month ago and he breaks his arms out of it around midnight but it keeps him asleep through his 10pm and 11pm REM cycles, which means I avoid at least one extra feeding. I’m probably the only person whose baby is still swaddled at 5 months but I have no intentions of quitting). Once he’s all wrapped up I turn off the lights in the nursery and sing Baby Evan a song while I rock him to sleep. It usually takes one time through “The Book Of Love” (my baby loves Peter Gabriel) and about thirty seconds of shushing before he’s totally out. By now it’s somewhere between 8:45 and 9:00 pm. I put him in the co-sleeper in our bedroom, turn on the monitor and then go back downstairs for some baby-free time until I go to bed at 10.
When Baby Evan wakes up around 2:30 am for a snack I roll him into bed with me where he stays until he wakes up for breakfast. Mornings are the most unpredictable – some days he needs to be fed again at 4 and goes back to sleep, sometimes he makes it until 6:30, but he’s usually up for the day before 7. I’d say this nighttime schedule has been the same for about a month now, with no signs of changing in the foreseeable future. I’m totally ok with the current bed-sharing situation and cannot imagine trying to breastfeed in the middle of the night if I insisted on going into the nursery every time. I’m usually sound asleep again before he’s even done and almost never remember bringing him to bed at all. E is also ok with it since it means he never has to handle any night feedings. (His current work schedule is crap and involves him being gone for bedtime but when he was home he did that whole nighttime routine himself EVERY NIGHT so no accusations of slacking off on his part.) Once Baby Evan outgrows his co-sleeper we’re going to have to rearrange a little bit – maybe use the crib, maybe just go to full-time co-sleeping, maybe try to end the middle-of-the-night feedings. We’ll just wait and see how it goes, since the only certain thing when it comes to babies is EVERYTHING CHANGES. As soon as you have a routine or a schedule or a plan, it changes.
If you’ve made it this far and you are NOT Shannon, I am really impressed. If you are Shannon, go buy a swaddle and good luck with everything. And thanks for the request!
*This is the made up song I sing when the baby won’t calm down. It goes “sleepy baby go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep. Sleepy baby go to sleep so mom can get some rest” and it works almost every time. I think it’s the ultra-soothing hypnotic tone of voice I sing it in that helps – although maybe he’s just impressed into silence by my musical genius.