Send help

My in laws have been here since Thursday. 

Last night, my FIL used the N word* while we sat there watching drag races on TV. (OMG I spent my Saturday night watching people drive fast in 5 second intervals. I swear I have fewer brain cells today.) 

Then my MIL got so drunk that she went into our bedroom thinking it was the bathroom. We only have one bathroom and she’s been using it for days. Plus, this is not their first visit. Plus, the master bedroom and bathroom are nowhere near each other. 

My refrigerator is so full of beer that I could barely find space for a tiny bottle of breast milk. 

Save me. 

*Catch and I both let him know that we don’t talk that way in this house and it was not okay. 

Car Seats

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Has anyone else felt like they needed a PhD to figure out the world of car seats? This shit is CRAZY. I did not stress like this when we picked out Charlotte’s infant seat. We registered for the Britax B-Safe because it came highly recommended and I saw it EVERYWHERE. I did not sit and read blogs and reviews for hours and hours. (In hindsight, I can’t believe I didn’t sit and read blogs and reviews for hours and hours… I mean, that’s what we brought our tiny brand new baby home in. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!)

Anyway, holy hell, where does one even start in the world of convertible seats? Just when I think I’ve got my mind made up, I read something about how it’s not as comfortable as “x” for long car rides, so I start reading up on “x” only to find that it’s not great for tall babies, so I go back to the beginning.

I am either going to lose my f-ing mind, or Charlotte is just going to stay in her infant seat forever. But we don’t have forever. We have until she’s 32 inches (and she’s already almost 29 inches). Plus, that damn carrier is getting SO FREAKING HEAVY.

Also, we just got our tax returns and I’m thinking now would be a good time to spend a gazillion dollars on car seats before we spend the rest of the gazillion dollars on a new roof.

Los Angeles is the land of distracted drivers. I just want to make sure my girl is safe. This should not be so complicated.

I Get It Now

Charlotte is 7 months old today. Seven months.

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I am loving every second of this age. She is so much fun right now. Her personality and desire for a new level of independence are shining through, and it’s pretty magical to watch it all unfold.

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Suddenly, I get it. I get why people want a second child. Between the postpartum healing, hormones, breastfeeding struggles, sleep issues, etc., I really couldn’t fathom what part of this whole baby gig made people crazy enough to want to do it again. Suddenly, I see the light. I can look in the rear view mirror now and see that all of that misery feels so all-encompassing, but it’s temporary. Just a momentary blip on the radar.

Last night, I was rocking a sleepy, pajama-clad Charlotte in her glider as Catch read her some bedtime stories and I was flooded by a wave of this. THIS IS WHY WE DID IT. This is one of those wish-like pictures I had in my head throughout our IUIs and IVF and FET. I am so grateful for it that sometimes the gratitude is overwhelming.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve watched our little girl and wondered how on earth we got so lucky. She is the baby of my dreams, and she’s all ours. In seven short months, she has completely transformed our world. Our hard is harder, but our happy is so, so much happier.

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Balance Schmalance

You know what sucks? When you’re sitting at your desk planning your first business trip since having a baby (3 totally full freaking days! In stupid Arizona!) (Sorry, Arizona.) and your nanny texts you to tell you that your baby has a temperature over 101 degrees. This whole work/life balance thing just came slamming into me like a city bus.

a) I would like to leave right now and go home to snuggle my baby girl. She’s been feeling off the last few days and it appears that we may be well on our way to her first actual illness. She’s also teething, but her teething temps are usually just 99.5-100.

b) I can barely stand to be 4 miles from my daughter for 8 hours a day. How am I supposed to manage being in ARIZONA for 3 DAYS? (Again, I ask WHY ARIZONA?!)

Sigh.

So tell me, mamas. Who among us has pumped on a business trip? How did you store your milk in the hotel? Do you just ask for a fridge? And then how do you get your milk home on the plane? Do you have to check it or can you carry it on? How do you keep it cold?

This mama is not a happy camper. I only have 20-ish ounces in the freezer, so being gone for 3 full days means C is going to have mostly formula while I’m away. Not that I have any issue with her having formula (she has about 2-4 ounces daily), but I’m concerned that going from a bit of formula to MOSTLY formula is going to upset her tummy.

I have about a month to figure this out.

Bigger sigh.

(P.S. I’m sorry I was MIA and haven’t responded to all of your wonderful comments on my last post. I’m issuing IOUs. The last few days have been NUTS. Have much catching up to do.)

Make New Friends, but Keep the Old

Whoever said that probably didn’t have kids. Or my social circle. Or something.

Have I mentioned that none of our friends have kids? Not a single one. Actually, that’s not true. I have a friend who just moved to Northern California and she has a teenager. Does that count?

I’ve been feeling pretty lost since we had Charlotte. Our friends don’t invite us anywhere anymore, and let’s face it—even if they did, we’d have a hard time working around nap time or bedtime. And for the most part, people just don’t understand how important those things are unless they’re parents. It’s hard.

Before Charlotte was born, our friends were ALL OVER this whole baby thing. They were so excited for this baby girl. Now that the initial “OMG BABY” has worn off… well, it’s a bit lonely.

Part of that is on us. We don’t do a lot of the things we used to do. Catch was playing softball on 3 teams last year, but she didn’t play all summer because of the baby. Softball was always a good chance for us to connect with our friends because almost all of them play with her on one team or another. We were also sort of known to be the entertainers of our group. I love to cook, and a lot of our evenings with friends were spent in our back yard with good food and copious amounts of wine. It’s just not easy to make that happen these days. I can’t spend all day cooking and cleaning like I used to—plus, there’s that pesky bedtime issue.

I know we need to make more of an effort. Just yesterday I told Catch that I’d like to have 3 of our good friends over for brunch in a few weeks. Brunch feels manageable. It’s easier to screw with naps than it is to screw with bedtime. The thing is that I actually have to follow through with the idea.

Having a social life has been challenging. I don’t even think I realized how lonely I’ve been until I had lunch with ReciprocalLove and her ridiculously cute daughter a few weeks ago.

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Barefoot babies at the park. In February. Sorry, Canada.

It was a beautiful sunny day in L.A.—the kind of day that really makes you appreciate living in this region. We met for lunch and then took the girls for a nice walk in an outdoor area near a couple of museums.

I talk to adults all day long at work, but do you know how nice it was to have an adult conversation with another mom? Especially a mom with a baby the same age as mine (they are 4 days apart!) who is experiencing some of the same issues as us? It was like a breath of fresh air. I left them that afternoon feeling happier than I have felt in a long time.

It’s clear to me that I need to do more of that. It’s good for me, and it’s good for Charlotte to see her mom being happy and social… and it’s nice for her to have some babies to hang out with, too. She sure was fascinated by Gia! I feel a little guilty for depriving her of time with babies, now.

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Maybe if we spend more time around babies, Charlotte will learn that grabbing other babies faces is not nice. In the meantime, I’m really sorry, Gia.

As an introvert, this sort of thing does not come naturally to me at all. It would be so much easier if our existing friends would just suck it up and have some babies, already. I mean seriously, how hard is it? <—- SARCASM. SO MUCH SACRASM.

The Light at the End of the Tunnel – Night 4

As I’ve said, the Happy Sleeper method has you check in with your baby every 5 minutes if the baby is crying.  Guess how many checks we had to make last night?

ZERO.

Charlotte went down in her crib at about 10 minutes to 7. She talked and fussed for a couple of minutes and was sound asleep by 7.

She proceeded to sleep until 12:30 am. 5.5 hours straight. The early morning hours weren’t the greatest sleep–very choppy and somewhat restless, but all in all she slept for about 9 hours and I’d still call the night a huge success.

I can’t even begin to tell you how amazed and relieved I am by her progress in just 4 nights. It’s working. It’s really working.

One change I’m really appreciating these days is actually related to our nursing relationship. I was growing increasingly resentful of all of her nighttime nursing. It was a huge stressor for me. Breastfeeding was even turning into a battle between me and Catch because she attributed the sleepless nights to breastfeeding. She really wanted me to quit.

Now that we’ve seen Charlotte demonstrate several times that she can go reasonable intervals at night without needing to nurse, the weight is starting to lift. I am enjoying our middle of the night nursing because it’s a chance to connect with my baby–whereas before, I was CONSTANTLY connected to her at night and I felt stuck.

Another unexpected bonus is actually related to my milk supply. When I get to work, my first pump of the day usually yields an average of 3.5 ounces (it goes downhill from there). On Monday, I got 5.5 ounces (the most I have ever pumped). Tuesday was 4.5 and today was 4. All well above my average. Charlotte is still nursing at least twice before I leave for work in the morning, so I attribute the difference to all of this extra sleep I’ve been getting. It’s wonderful. I still hate pumping with a passion, but at least I have a bit more to show for it, which is nice.

I love it when a plan starts to come together.

Night 3

When I got home from work yesterday afternoon at 4:30, Charlotte had been asleep on Catch for an hour. She picked her head up as I walked past them to change my clothes, and her eyes were open just long enough to register that the other mama was home. She started to cry. I changed as quickly as I could and when I returned, she leaned into my arms and whined until she fell back to sleep. We cuddled silently on the couch together for an hour, her cheek pressed up against my chest and my face nuzzled into her wispy mohawk.

I shouldn’t have done it. I shouldn’t have let her sleep on me. Napping on mama doesn’t exactly translate to sleeping in the crib and it was way too late in the afternoon for her to be taking such a long nap. There were a million things to do around the house. Dishes to wash. Laundry to start. Dinner to prepare.

But I had my daughter in my arms, and the weight of her warm body against mine was telling me to order a pizza, plan on a later bedtime and sort out the rest later. So that’s what we did.

We paid for it. It was a rough night. Not as bad as the first night, but nowhere near as successful as the second night. We’re aiming for 11 hours of sleep at night and she only got 7.

She only napped for my mom for an hour (in the morning) yesterday. That’s why she was so exhausted. She really needed the sleep… but the timing was awful.

What would you have done? Wake the sleeping baby despite the lack of naps? Snuggle the sleeping baby despite the importance of bedtime consistency at this stage of sleep reform? I feel like it was a lose-lose situation… except the snuggling. That was a win.

Some Numbers

First off, Charlotte had her 6-month appointment at the doctor last week. For anyone who’s curious, she is presently 17 lbs, 12 ounces and 28″ tall.  Her height is still 98th percentile.  I just wanted there to be some record of that on the blog, but it’s not what I’m here to discuss today.

What I’m here to discuss is this:

Last night, Charlotte slept for 10.5 hours.

7 pm – 10:30 pm

10:45 pm – 3:30 am

3:45 am – 6 am

She cried for maybe 10 minutes combined all night. That’s less than she would cry when she was sleeping ON ME.

Granted, she was insanely exhausted by bedtime since she didn’t sleep the previous night and we could only get her down for one nap yesterday. We are sure that tonight isn’t going to be nearly as peaceful as last night was, but still… SHE SLEPT. The most she has ever slept in her lifeAt least we’ll be better rested going into night 3.

I don’t need to tell you how badly we needed last night. Catch and I took turns crying all day yesterday. I was so grouchy at my mom’s house when we went to watch the Super Bowl that I think she probably wished we would leave. We were so defeated. Thank you Charlotte for knowing when your moms absolutely cannot take anymore.

I also want to say to everyone who expressed concern for or opposition to our sleep training techniques that I appreciate where you’re coming from, but I ask that you respectfully keep those opinions quiet going forward.  We’re already walking this path–it’s not up for debate.  I need you to understand that this approach is not something we entered into lightly. We did plenty of research. We read the book. We talked to other people who have done the same thing. (Special thanks to the two of you in blog land who have held my hand the last few days. I am so crazy grateful for your commiseration and words of encouragement.) We even discussed it with Charlotte’s pediatrician.

Charlotte is not just your average bad sleeper who wakes up a few times a night. Her sleep problems were outrageous. In a 10-hour stretch, she was often awake 8-12 times… and that’s if she was sleeping ON me. If she wasn’t on me, we could easily be up with her most of the night.

Please also remember that this was not our first resort. I wanted DESPERATELY to cosleep with her. I would gladly have kept her in our bed right in between us and nursed her on demand, but she HATED sleeping in our bed. I have been sleeping on the couch with her on my chest off and on for MONTHS. My back is killing me, not to mention that the couch is not a safe place for her to be sleeping.

We also tried the no-sleep methods. We gave that two weeks, and at the end of 2 weeks we were getting even less sleep than we were to begin with, and she was totally dependent on my rocking/singing/hand on her chest.

I hate hearing my baby cry. I hate not scooping her up and snuggling her close to me. What kind of mother would I be if I didn’t hate that? (Hence yesterday’s post, when I was leaning just how much I hate it.) But you know what I hate more? That she isn’t getting enough sleep for her developmental needs… and that the sleep issues she’s having now could plague her through adulthood if we don’t teach her better habits.

This is not a traditional Ferber cry-it-out method. If she’s crying, she receives reassurance from us every 5 minutes like clockwork. She knows she isn’t alone. She knows mommies are there. She’s upset because she’s in a new place and it’s not where she wants to be–and frankly, who wouldn’t prefer to be cuddled up to mom? Of course she’s going to be angry and sad. But we have decided that she is old enough to learn how to make her crib a place where she wants to be and this is how we’ve chosen to teach her.

If my conception and breastfeeding journeys are evidence, I think I have more than demonstrated to this community how willing I am to walk to hell and back for my daughter. I have already exposed how vulnerable and inadequate I feel with relation to her sleep issues. Please try your hardest not to make me feel worse. No matter how well-meaning, to me, it feels like kicking me when I’m down.

If wishes were sleep

We just completed the first night of sleep training using methods in The Happy Sleeper. It basically means letting them cry, but doing 5 minute checks where you walk in, repeat a line that you’ve scripted, and then walk out. No touching, soothing, etc. 

Charlotte basically did not sleep last night. She was up crying/fussing/kicking ALL NIGHT. We compared notes this morning and we think she slept for about 3 stretches of 45-60 minutes and that’s it. 

I cried almost as much as she did. Partly because it was killing me to hear her cry, and partly out of frustration. 

Everyone I know who has tried this method has had a long-ish stretch of crying followed by a nice long stretch of sleep. Naturally, my baby would be the anomaly. 

I’m giving it two more nights. If I don’t see some improvement and reduction in crying, there’s no way I can continue this. I already feel like the worst mom ever. I can’t even believe she cried all night. She is totally exhausted today. She just needs to sleep. We all just need to sleep. I don’t understand why this is so hard for us.