Tuesday, December 13, 2011

OMG, we have a REAL baby!

I don't know if this happens to all new moms, but lately the fact that we have a real live baby, and yes we are really living this life, hits me like cold water to the face.  He does all of these famous baby things, like sitting up, shaking rattles, smiling and babbling, grabbing my face, hugging/kissing, etc.  He's starting to show preferences and opinion.  Sometimes he doesn't want to play in his jumper, he'd rather roll around on the floor.  And sometimes he wants be held and bounced.  Sometimes he is thrilled to be kissed on, and other times he just wants that object 6 inches out of reach and could care less about me. 

All of these things make him more and more of a real person to me.  Our relationship is awakening by leaps and bounds this month.  As Gail put it, my heart is "tied to his."  I miss him when he goes down for the night and it will be hours before I see him again (I don't miss him much during his 30 minute daytime naps...).  I love seeing him hold a toy close to his face, analyzing and calculating.  Then just a second later, wave his arms wildly and suddenly topple sideways. 

Despite the many times he's given me hope of his naps lengthening, he still takes only 30 minute naps for the most part.  He usually wakes up smiling, so I am assuming he's getting enough rest.  So it may be til he's 12-18 months til he starts taking long ones.  I'm finally beginning to accept it and realize that the occasional 2 hour nap does not indicate the breaking of a new normal.  Sheesh.

Nighttime sleep is mostly good.  We have improvements to make, and we've started using that darned ol' sleep training to get there.  After cereal, a bath, and one last feeding, he is either zonked and I can put him in his crib immediately or I rock him for a few minutes first.  We shoot for between 7:00 and 7:30 bedtime.  He goes down really easy, and life would be a dream, but 45 minutes later he winds up.  Ryan would go in there and burp him and calm him down for a second, and then we'd let him cry himself back to sleep.  It is tortuous.  The first night was an hour and a half, with Ryan going in there periodically to turn him over, rewrap him, and give him back his pacifier.  The second night we were encouraged when he cried only 45 minutes.  The third night, he cried for 6 minutes.  Fourth night, for 2 minutes.  We thought we were home free on the 5th night, but he cried for an hour and a half again.  We realized I had forgotten to give him his acid reflux medicine, so we got him up and let him stay up so we could wait the allotted amount of time and then feed him one more time and put him back to sleep.  That was last week.

This week I'm working on being  ALOT more consistent.  I'm taking Weissbluth's advice finally (he has always been right for us, I don't know why I try to experiment a bunch before realizing this again and again).  After 4 months, babies can start adjusting their sleep rhythms to a clock schedule (before 4 months, its best just to watch and respond to their drowsy signals--but have a set bedtime always!)  The past 3 days, Declan wakes between 6:15 and 7:30 (I'm bad, I should be waking him up at 7!), he takes his first nap at 9-9:30am, then 11-11:30am, 1:30-2:00pm, then 4-4:30pm.  And of course bedtime is 7-7:30.  Sometimes I'm tempted to put him down early if he's being a grump, or keep him up if he seems more wakeful, but I am curious to see how a fairly rigid schedule works for him since we've never tried it very consistently so I'm standing firm!  Hopefully between that and the sleep training, he'll stay down after bedtime until his feeding around 2:30am.  And okay, a small part of me still hopes his naps will suddenly grow longer with routine...

I've changed up his feeding routine, too.  I was totally over-zealous with the solid foods thing.  He keeps them down so well and enjoys the cereal so much (plus the whole novelty of it) that I jumped ahead and gave him 2 feedings a day as cereal when you're supposed to start out with one.  I justified it because we started solids kinda late -- at almost 5 months.  I didn't really tie it together because it was gradual - his feedings grew shorter and fussier, but oddly, he wanted to eat more often (I still don't really understand that).  So last week I stopped giving him his mid-morning cereal and just kept the evening feeding.  Within a day, his nursing sessions were more prolonged and relaxed.  His "I'm hungry" and "I'm full" signals are not ambiguous anymore since instead of fussing 30 seconds into the feeding, he will nurse good and then stop, smile, and if I offer him more he will either do so or push away.  So I'm super happy with that.

He's still dealing with the reflux.  Last week I reached 4 weeks of dairy elimination and took him off of the Prevacid to see if things had improved.  After being off of the medicine for a day, the symptoms came rushing back and it was clear that dairy was not the culprit.  I am changing pediatricians, so maybe we'll get some fresh ideas and a GI specialist referral.  Our other pediatrician is an excellent and qualified doctor, it's just that he makes me feel stupid.  He's kinda snippy.  When I felt the Zantac was not working for us, I asked him about what I should do.  He just said, "Take him off of it."  And I was like... well, what about the reflux?  I felt like I was having to drag information out of him.  Anyway, I've always kind of thought that, and that last experience was just enough to make me think we might do better with another doctor.

Doing better all the time, for the most part.  Gotta go make some supper.  Another day gone, but it was a productive one (c:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Listmakers Anonymous

I love the challenge of getting things done every day.  It's fun to me to have a list and accomplish things.  Multiply the thrill when I figure out a new system that theoretically helps me accomplish EVERYTHING by doing a little part daily.  I was sooo excited about getting a new whiteboard and working out my master plan on it, broken down into tasks for each weekday.  It hangs on the wall on the way out of our bedroom, so I face it several times a day and it gives me new motivation.

On the outside, it may just look like I want to have a spotless house.  But if I had a spotless house I would be so bored!  Don't get me wrong, I don't need more to do.  I rarely never get everything done on my list.  It's that constant drive to find a better and more efficient way to do things.  I think about it laying in bed at night: "this takes too long to do, how can I get it done faster?"

I know I'm not alone.  You may be like me if you enjoy making lists, hoard office supplies, over-challenge yourself on housework, or want to spend your Saturday mornings with the windows open, cleaning every room top to bottom, uninterrupted!  You love the feeling of checking something off the list.  Maybe you break down tasks on the lists to be more specific just so you can cross more things off.  Then, at the end of a long day, you enjoy how exhausted you feel as you bask in the improvements you've made.

In the spirit of list making, I wanted to start one of "Streamlining Processes" that helps get stuff done!  I'd love to hear your ideas and add to this list.

• When folding and putting away laundry, I only fold/hang clothes and towels and match socks.  Diaper rags, undies, and pjs just get thrown in a drawer. There's something therapeutic about throwing a handful of underwear in the drawer, but it did take a while to get there.  Sometimes I still want to fold them, but I've learned to embrace the chaos in organized places (c:

• Whenever I go from one room to another, I try to find something close at hand that belongs in the room that I'm going to.  That way I can just put it away later when I'm working in that room.

• I work on one room or set of rooms each week of the month.  With Declan, using every second counts.  When he's asleep I try to work, but when he's awake and playing on his own I do housework.  Having a system and predetermined area I'm going to work on keeps me from fiddling around trying to decide what I need to do.  Then everything gets a good scrubbing on a regular basis (c:

•  Theoretically, I like to keep the sink empty.  Stack your dirty ones on the counter, please.  It makes it so much easier to start cleaning the kitchen.  When the dishes start piling in the sink, I hate having to empty it before starting, what a drag!  Better yet, wash your dish and stick it in the dishwasher (in a perfect world - although I know Laura does this (c: )

My apartment is usually in some sort of mess.  It's small, but there's always something that needs to be cleaned.  I don't think it's ever been tidy all at once, but at least everything gets attention every now and then.  To tell you the truth, I like it like that.  I'm still always looking for a better process, though!  What are yours?