Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving in NJ and the holiday weekend

We went to my parents place for Thanksgiving. It was just the 5 of us since Diana is in LA, and only dinner (well, lunch) for 4 since Carolina doesn't eat Thanksgiving food yet.

Miss Carolina wasn't really into sleeping in a bed that wasn't hers. She did nap, sort of. Then went to sleep around normal time, but after waking up twice inside of 5 hours, she decided she wanted to stay awake. So we took turns going to put the chupon back in her mouth and try to get her to fall asleep over the next hour to hour and a half. Sometime around 2am she fell asleep, for 5 hours. Phew... At least there was some decent sleep even if the three of us were totally tired the next day. But it was different, and a little better in some way, than the month before when we stayed over without Ismael over Halloween.

As Julia says, in a few months it'll be different. Not necessarily better, might be, but definitely different.

I'm completely expecting that when we get to Mexico for two weeks, it'll be different in ways I can't imagine now and then when we return it'll be different again.

At least, every month, it is different. Mostly for the better as far as I am concerned.

Today is her 6 month 'birthday'. Hooray!

Carolina has taken to sucking in her bottom lip. I think she feels the little teeth coming up. It's a little strange to see her like that since it really does change her face and she's not smiling or talking when she does it. She was pretty silent that way yesterday on the way back from Target. The entire bus ride.

Speaking of Target. We bought some diapers there. Not Target brand, I'm not ready to try store brands yet. But we bought a HUGE case of Pampers from Toys R Us, which I love (Pampers not TRU), and they smelled kind of funny. And when she peed in them they smelled almost like paint thinner or paint. It was the kind of smell that goes to the back of your throat and gives you a headache behind your eyes. Or at least did me. So I wrote to Pampers, they're looking into it. We may get our money back. I hope so, those huge boxes of diapers are kind of expensive even though they are cheaper per diaper.

In the meantime we've tried Luvs (not too much of a fan but willing to finish using the pack) and just bought Huggies without fragrance and organic cotton. I honestly was more interested in the lack of scent than anything else. Why baby diapers MUST come with some fragrance, I'm not sure. I know it's to mask the pee or poop smell, but the mix of "baby powder fresh" and pee or poop is actually headache-inducing. At least for me.

So we'll keep trying out different brands in case the Pampers saga doesn't end the way I hope.

And we're about to start introducing formula. SLOWLY...

A nighttime bottle has gone disastrously so far, but we'll keep at it. Sometimes. It's hard to hear her cry so heartily and earnestly and know that I could just feed her myself and she'd be fed and asleep inside of 6 minutes. So I need to get determined about it and just do it.

Ok, she's up again.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Held the bottle on her own, chats with herself after naps

Today, Carolina held her morning bottle all by herself and fed herself the entire 2 oz. Now for a nearly-6-mo-old that's not a lot of milk but she's not that keen on the bottle and it's also when she gets a little bowl of rice cereal.

Next step is to get her to take a bottle during the night (like when she was younger) and then move on to re-introduce formula, plus other cereals and some strained apples or carrots or something. This way she will no longer be breastfeeding sometime in the next 5-6 months. I'm a little sad at that thought now that we finally have a system between us that works so well. And I do enjoy, as much as I am exhausted, the late-night feedings. Some days much less enjoyment than others, of course ;) But that's for me to figure out with Carolina over the next months...

We are really proud of her, of course, with this bottle feeding this morning. The way you can only be as a parent, and in the same way we're proud of her when she does a good poop or burp or laughs or talks or smiles. It's the little things, which are quite big things. It's the signs of progress towards her moving through baby towards being a little girl.

I'm also glad she hasn't gotten sick yet. I still take her into the city a few times a week, and she may or may not nap if we're out for longer than 2 hours. (Just ask Jee about the adventure, or lack thereof, we had in Central Park in the rain last week.) With all that subway and bus exposure, I keep telling myself it's just a matter of time before she gets something from someone who doesn't know how to sneeze or cough in public and just lets it out everywhere. I swear some people...

Also, the past few weeks, I've noticed she talks to herself when she's just woken up from a nap. Or at night, if she's too awake to fall asleep right away (I leave her in the room), she will be in there having some grand conversation. And then at some point she usually just falls asleep. Sometimes she isn't quite ready and starts to cry, at which point I go in to put the chupon in her mouth and then she's almost immediately asleep. I'm careful about when I go back in, if I go back in at all. I don't want to start any bad habits that I'm not prepared to maintain :)

I think it's great that she can entertain herself so nicely.

She's also on the verge of figuring out how to sit up on her own and crawl. She has all the mechanics down for crawling, she just has to get the strength and coordination. But she's well on her way.

Even though she's mastered a very irritating whine, she's also started to laugh more. So as teething gets bad, she also gets more interesting. I guess it's a good balance so I don't lose my mind and she gets the attention she needs from me.

I should go start dinner, Ismael will be home soon...

Monday, November 23, 2009

And with teething, it all gets a bit weird

If you don't have a baby or yours isn't like mine, then you might think that I'm making this up... but I'm not.

She's sleeping both more and less (length of time). She's happier and more irritable. She's more whiney and more quiet. And she's making progress and behaving like when she was 2 months old.

So, she's figuring out how to sit up and crawl. Sort of. But she's whining and crying a LOT, and loudly, and what appears to be randomly. Her gums are KILLING HER today. I gave her tylenol, hylands AND orajel inside of 30 minutes because I was getting desperate. Her first nap was only an hour, I say only because it wasn't long enough for ME to relax (ha!) and that was after 30 minutes of screaming and crying and being generally unhappy and unable to relax.

She does, however, sleep for 5 hour stretches every other night and may nap for 2-3 hours during either her first or second nap of the day.

I am grateful, if not feeling a bit guilty, for TV. I plop her in front of it when all else fails for 10-15 minutes and she's quiet. It has to be something she likes, but thankfully she's got broad tastes. So far we know she likes some cooking shows, Spongebob Squarepants, Thomas the Tank Engine and The Penguins from Madagascar.

...and she's up again. *sigh* Here we go again!!

PS My friend, Julia (who is awesome), has just launched her Etsy shop: and has some really great hand-made earrings on there. Check it out!

20 minutes later...
Oh thank god, she pooped! It went on EVERYTHING. I guess part of the screaming was that she hadn't pooped in over 20 hours. I think it's time for us to go for a walk outside.

One more thought. We got a pack of Pampers Swaddlers Size 2. One of those huge boxes. They smelled weird and aren't soft like they normally are. I wrote to the company and they seem like they are going to actually take this seriously. In the meantime, since I get a headache from smelling her Pampers diaper, especially if she's peed, I've bought a pack of Luvs. They aren't as nice but they were a heck of a lot less, on sale. Let's see what happens.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Milestone: 5 hours of sleep and "Hi"

Last night she went to sleep a bit early (6pm) after a long, fun day with daddy. She even took TWO BOTTLES during the day. After 3 months away from bottles, it's been a daily struggle to get her first meal of the day out of a bottle, but we persevere!

As a reward to mommy for going out and leaving daddy in charge (at least that's how I've personalized it), I got to sleep for 5 hours straight -- twice! It was crazy. I woke up with a too-much-sleep headache. Seriously. But I could get used to this!

She said "Hi" to me at the end of her 2nd wakeup of the night (there were only 2) at about 3am. Clear as day "Hi". In a voice I'd not heard before. It was a little deeper than her usual "blah blah blah" voice. She said, and I swear "Yeah" on Friday. Again, clear as day. Both times, it was the only sound she made. Yeah was during the middle of the day. But she was quiet before and after both times. It was the only sound she made and damn it sounded like the real deal.

I'm not marking it down as her first words since I really don't know that she said them in the way that I think of someone actually talking. But I heard them.

I also apologized to her... "I'm really sorry, but I guess you had no choice but to say 'Yeah' and 'Hi'. Your mom is from Jersey, this is what she says. Well, at least it wasn't 'Ok' and 'Whatever'." Ha!

She's been, unusually, sleeping for over 1.5 hours this afternoon. Usually the first nap is longer but this morning it was a quick 30 minute nap. Then she's been asleep with the occasional cry out but not waking. Her teeth are breaking through again. I can see and feel them. She's been irritable.

For Carolina that means smiling a lot and then, what appears to be randomly, yelling out or being loud with "whiny voice". I can't blame her. So I take her out for walks as often as possible. Gives her something to pay attention to instead of her teeth. She's so much like me in that way. Maybe like most people...

You can easily distract me from something that bothers me by changing my scenery, especially if it's GOING somewhere else. Hooray for mini travel!

Final thought, I'm going to use the Maclaren this week. She's too little to possibly get her fingers in between the place where it could get amputated since I hold her all the time. I had this conversation with two different people yesterday. We still haven't gotten the kit from Maclaren, but I think we can manage without it until it arrives.

Onward and upward for the occasional stroller nap. Now, I just need to get some of the accessories, like the plastic cover for when it's super windy or rains. I don't think I'm going to get the "Comfort Pack" which is essentially 3 little pillows that attach to the back and two sides of the stroller. I'm thinking some well-placed, rolled-up blankets will do the trick, and reclining the back.

Other moms, let me know if it's worth the purchase or not.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Big day in the city and then teething pain all afternoon

After her morning nap, which was gratefully almost two hours long, I put her in the carseat stroller and we headed to SoHo to visit my ex coworkers. It was an hour long subway ride as usual and she was happy to be out. I wished I could have taken the new Maclaran we bought since it's lighter and smaller but it's part of the recall so I can't use it until we get our kit to fix it.

Anyway she met everyone and was pleasant. Silent for the most part. Just watching everyone. As she does. Then when it was about two hours since she woke up she got fussy since it was nap time.

I whisked her away from the office and on to the bustling street. Put the chupon in her mouth, covered it with a blanket, put her Sleep Sheep on ocean sound and walked towards the West Village. She was surprisingly asleep inside of 10 minutes. Slept the whole way to Murray's (LOVE Murray's cheese shop) and throughout the walk to the N line at 8th St/Bwy. Woke up just as I got us to the train platform.

She was all smiles. And then about 15 minutes later I realized she was hungry. Not starving. So I hoped she could wait until we got home. she did. Then ate and then threw up. That was my first clue the teething monster was back.

There are plenty of rational and irrational arguments online about the toxicity or merit of Hylands Teething Tablets and Tylenol. I'm using them both on a day like today when she is in more pain than she can handle. I have no threshhold for babies suffering pain that can be avoided. Older children, ok, but not babies. That's just my way.

But she was still really uncomfortable. Took 40 minutes to relax for her last nap of the day and was agitated during bathtime and just before bed. Really really agitated. I think she is either going to spit up later tonight or give me another super poop like last night.

Big poops and throw up are her signals to me that she is in teething SuperDrive.

She is sleeping now and Ismael is in NJ looking at an apartment.

Oh, non sequitir... Duane Reade's DeLish cookies look awesome on the box but are basically oversized (and overpriced) Chips Ahoy cookies. $2.50 for 8 cookies. I'll just get Chips Ahoy next time. Really I should make my own. I like my own cookies. Speaking of which I think it's time for brownies made with Ghirardelli chocolate. Yea...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

better sleeping? well, it's different again

She's still up every 2-3.5 hours but at least there are a few 3 hour stints in the mix again. I sense she's slowly creeping back towards getting to at least one 4-6 hour stretch in there again. I hope it's just not the day before we move or the day before we leave for mexico and then it's all trashed again.

Although, beggers can't be choosers and I guess if I'm being honest, I'd take one 4-6 hour stretch again even if it was the only one. It gives me hope :)

Yeah, I'm really really bad when I'm tired. As everyone who knows me is well aware. Other parents with babies that sleep similar amounts of time don't seem to be as bothered by it. Sorry, Carolina, your mom was an awesome sleeper before you were born and she just misses it. Man, I really was a 'marmota' [sloth] like Gaby said.

This morning, she drank 2oz from a bottle. After 3 days of protesting that she wouldn't take the bottle again, at all. My mom gave me the suggestion of making her first feed when she wakes up a bottle. And don't give her any boob until the next feeding. I did it for two days, and today she takes the bottle. She cried a LOT and didn't just take it the whole time. But she did. And I'm very proud of her, and impressed at how smart she is. Maybe I'm projecting, probably am, but it was like she worked out that I wasn't giving her what she wanted and cereal just wasn't cutting it in the morning. So she took the bottle.

I also, today, encouraged her to hold it herself. Well at least put her little hands on it. That seemed to help. It was an idea I got from her hand movements this morning and something Kimesha said to encourage her to get comfortable with a toy that made noise. Let her hold it instead of pushing it on her. Seems to make a difference. Thanks, Kimesha!

Also, I'm hell bent on getting her to take longer naps. I read some suggestions in a new book I just picked up called "The No Cry Sleep Solution". It's much more "labor intensive" than the crying option, but leaves me feeling less crappy as a mom. It's more in line with my style of being.

The new "new agey" pediatrician suggested it. So far the new pediatrician has two points of "hooray" in her court vs. the other pediatricians. One is this book, and two is that she didn't worry that Carolina didn't put on a whole pound between last month and this month. I was tired of the doctor quibbling over 2-3oz, and that she is in the bottom 10%. So was I. What'd he expect, that she be a bruiser? Never going to happen. She's pretty much one pound and one inch every month. She's smaller than the other babies in the neighborhood that are around her age but she's tracking consistently. And she's healthy. So I'm very grateful (and a bit proud, strangely).

So just now, it took me 20 minutes of shushing, rubbing her back, and finally finding the pacifier. (where the hell was it? in the kitchen. argh! I steamed it and forgot to bring it with me!) The pacifier was the missing link since 10 minutes of hard sucking on her thumb didn't cut it. But she fell asleep again. Phew... Not sure for how long, but if I can break this habit of getting up after only 45 minutes -- I think my little one will sleep longer during the night.

That's the theory.

I also like the book because it's helping me set more realistic expectation and ask myself questions that I hadn't really thought to ask of myself, instead of questions I ask myself about Carolina.

Also, finding out from Julia that Isaiah still isn't a completely through the night sleeper and he's over a year old made me realize that every book I read about "what most babies at age X are like" just isn't going to apply to my kid. Ok. I just needed to know that and accept it. It was presented like if you're kid isn't doing this, you should get him/her towards it. Since it's normal.

I got your normal right here, bub. [shaking my jersey girl fist in the air]

I can't wait until she's 6 months and we can take her swimming at the YMCA. There's one here in Long Island City and one in Hoboken. So if we move to Jersey, we can take her there. I hear from Jee that baby swim classes result in long naps since the babies are tuckered out. Awesome!!!

If we move to Bay Ridge, there isn't a YMCA pool nearby. Just in Bed Stuy I think.

Anyway, this Saturday we're going to take Carolina on the subway to Chambers St in Manhattan to visit a friend and see a small pottery show. And then pick out a Maclaren stroller and go home. All on the subway. This will keep her out past her nap time but I'm desperately hoping she will nap in the stroller.

She was great when I took her to Rockefeller Center yesterday to the Gap to return some things. It was a two hour jaunt. One hour there (damn 7 train wasn't stopping at our stop again) on the bus and then N train. Then quick to see Ismael in the store, and head home. At least the 7 train was stopping at our stop on the way in to Queens. Made it a faster trip home. She then went like butter down for a nap. She only fussed a little on the streets around Rock Center. I think it was just the amount of people she was seeing or something since she was in the Baby Bjorn facing outward. Otherwise, she was quietly observing people on the train and in the store and seemed relaxed.

If I had known all of this before I got pregnant, I probably would have delayed it much longer. But I kept myself ignorant. I'm glad I did.

This is hard work. Mostly because it is challenging a lot of what I have thought about myself and my abilities. I've never been very good with patience or self-confidence. I'm learning. Oh yes...