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During my blogging maternity leave, my friend Sara wrote a beautiful post about her emotions when she fell down the stairs holding her son. The response to that post was overwhelming; it was just so good. So, I offered her up a space to write down her thoughts on motherhood every now and again.
Oh baby, I hate to go
Last night I had one of those nightmares that paralyzes you with fear. I dreamed that I was at home with my son when a group of zombies or ghosts (they did not identify themselves in said dream) arrived to take one of us. “No” I cried. “He is too little,” I sobbed, “he can’t be with out his mama”. I woke up drenched in a combination of sweat and tears. I padded into the soft blue nursery and turned on his little night light. I watched him sleep. I thought about waking him up just so I could hold him in my arms but settled for resting my palm on the small of his back and feeling his body rise and fall. I touched his hand, felt his little feet and smoothed his hair before convincing myself to go back to sleep.
The next morning I recounted the dream to my husband. He listened with as much interest as anyone can show in someone else’s dream and got quiet for a second. “Um,” he paused, “Do you think this could have anything to do with your trip next month?”. I knew it did. My part time job was sending me to San Francisco for 4 days against my will and I vehemently did not want to go. After 9 months, I was still breast feeding so being away from my son for any extended period of time required too much planning to be done with any real frequency. I had spent a night at a hotel for a good friends wedding and a day at a spa with my college roommates but neither had been further than a 20 minute drive from my baby. I knew that mothers did this sort of thing all the time and I needed to find some perspective, but there was no available perspective looming on my horizon.
The free-market economy has shown that people, in general, are pretty freaked out about becoming parents. You can find books telling you how to be pregnant, how to get through the first year, how to sleep train, how to teach your baby to sign and how to make your own baby food. A book called “How to Leave Your Baby and Get On a Plane” may exist, but I have yet to find it. In theory, I know how to leave my baby. I know how to prepare his meals, schedule his naps and lay out his clothes. I know how to pack my own bags, print out my boarding pass and segregate all my liquids into a plastic bag. I know how to leave lists, how to check in from the road and how to walk out the door. I know how to do these things, I just don’t want to.
The truth is, it’s not the things I can explain that worry me. It’s the things that can’t. You can tell someone that he likes to hold your hand when he gets rocked to sleep but how do you show them exactly how he prefers to lace his little fingers with your own? You can tell them what his favorite lullaby is, but how do you explain how to trail off at the final verse and hum softly in his ear as you put him in his crib. I can leave instructions on how to take care for him but I can’t leave a list of how to love him.
In my head I know that he will be just fine while I am away. In fact, I think some would argue that the separation might be good for us. But in my heart I am paralyzed with fear. I am afraid that he will get sick while I am gone. I am afraid that he will stand on his own for the first time or take his first steps and I will not be there to see it. I am afraid that he will get hurt. I am afraid he will get sad and I am afraid that at some point he is going to want his mama and not understand why she is gone. Mostly, I am afraid that he will be fine. That he will enjoy the time with his Dad and with his Mimi and not realize I am away at all. I am afraid that in those four seemly endless days, my little boy, my life, will realize that a world with out mama exists and that even with out a book, he can navigate it just fine.
How could you leave this little face?
I’ve been very fortunate in my blogging career to meet some fabulous fellow bloggers in person. Even more fortunate, most of them have become really wonderful friends. I love that they all come from different walks of life; they are mothers, artists, fashionistas, city gals, country gals, and everything in between. What I love most about these women is our differences. The things that bind us are incredible, but the things that make them most unique and the things that are different from my own life makes them so interesting.
About a month ago, I had the opportunity to meet another blogger. Jenna of That Wife fame was on the East coast to photograph a wedding, and was sweet enough to come to my neck of the woods. I consider her to be one of the blogging Big Guys, so I was always kind of impressed she enjoyed emailing back and forth with me. When she mentioned she was going to be close by and asked if we could meet, I knew we had to make it happen.
Jenna was everything like I thought she would be. Bubbly, friendly, and SO excited to get her hands on Owen. She scooped him up in the biggest bear hug I had ever seen and covered him with kisses. “I love him!” she exclaimed, and I couldn’t help but share he enthusiasm. Sadly, she didn’t have her son — affectionately know in the blog world as That 1 — with her, or I would have done exactly the same thing.
We come from different words, she and I. I’m generalizing here, but she’s a LDS farm girl with an eye for photography and the most beautiful skin I have ever seen in person. Seriously, it’s like an airbrushed makeup ad. We have different views on politics, religion, birth and who knows what else.
We bonded anyway. Over our children. Over blogging. Over ice-cold fruit smoothies.
I know I added another friend to my life the minute I met her. And I feel really fortunate about that.
There are times when I’m ready to stop blogging. When I think These Little Moments filled a special part of my life, but has run its course.
But then I come across the Jenna’s of the world and I think, maybe I’ll do this is a little bit longer.
A little chunky leg-ness to start your weekend!
My mom told me I should update my blog. I should also vacuum the house, take a shower and do some laundry, but hey, mom said.
So…an update? Well, things around here have been a bit messy.
It started in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I was feeding O as usual, but when I sat him up to burp, he projectile vomited across my bed all Exorcist-like. Projectile. Across the bed. It was dark, and yet I still saw the ocean of breast milk shoot across my sheets. We all got up and as I put new sheets on the bed, O hung out in dad’s arms looking all happy and content.
And very awake for 4 a.m.
Did you know Friends airs at 4:30 in the morning? I didn’t either. Now we know.
So that was that. And all was good until Tuesday night, when I felt the familiar pain of a clogged milk duct — my third — coming on. Basically, the duct becomes clogged by dry milk somewhere in the breast, and it takes lots and lots of warm compressing, massage and milk expression to make it go away. And in the meantime, the duct becomes hard and painful, causing the rest of the breast to become inflamed, tender and engorged.
Oh, what fun it is!
Like I said, this was the third time I had one in as many weeks, so I’m well versed in getting rid of them. But it takes HOURS to get rid of them. In my experience, after all the work I do, it’s usually O who finally unclogs it with his little barracuda suck. And when that happens, milk shoots out like a fountain, sometimes onto him. Or forming a puddle on my sheets.
I used to wash my sheets once a week or so. I’m lucky if I get two days out of a clean set now!
Although, if we’re being honest, if there’s some sort of puddle in the very early morning hours, I’m more than likely to just throw a burp cloth over it and deal with it in the morning. You’d be surprised how low your standards can go after having a baby.
I finally contacted a lactation consultant about this annoying problem and she gave me some tips on how to avoid future clogged ducts. She also said that I most likely have a over-supply of milk (16-pound baby, anyone?), which is a blessing that I can provide for him, but also a curse for my poor backed up boob.
Which brings us to yesterday. Yesterday, O contracted his first cold, and there is nothing more heartbreaking than watching your baby struggle to breathe through his tiny, stuffed up nose. Babies this young don’t know how to mouth-breathe yet, so each breath is harder than the next. There’s not much we can do — cuddles, saline drops in the nose…and the dreaded bulb snot sucker.
He HATES the snot sucker. So much, that he’s actually started punching it when I come near him. Some mothers have recommended a new kind of aspirator to me called the Nosefrida, which apparently works wonders. Only, you have to suck the snot out through a tube WITH YOUR MOUTH. The reviews I’ve read swear no snot actually comes near your mouth, but I can imagine the process is still pretty gross. However, if he’s still this stuffy tomorrow, I’m probably going to buy one.
And if I do, you KNOW I’ll tell you about it.
All that snot is also running down his little throat, so he’s constantly spitting up. There’s not a clean shoulder to be found in this house and all my shirts smell fabulous. I see blogs of trendy little moms all decked out in fancy outfits posing with their infants and I can’t help but wonder, is there some new breed of child that are born to only posh women? Babies who wouldn’t dare to spit up on Mommy’s designer duds? Because I wasn’t aware I could get on the waiting list for one of those.
Last night, my kid spit up into my underwear.
No, I don’t know how he did it, but I had to change my undies in the middle of the night, because that was one thing I wasn’t going to cover with a burp cloth.
– Thank you all so much for your sleep suggestions. I decided to RELAX about the whole thing and let him just do his thing. You’re right, he’s only 10 weeks old and it’s not like he’ll be sleeping in the swing when he’s four. (I mean, I hope not.) He has no interest in the pacifier, and I have to admit, when you were all suggesting swaddling I was all, yeah, NO.
Owen started busting out of his swaddle at about three weeks old and wanted nothing to do with it. NOTHING. Even if he was wrapped tightly, he would grunt and struggle until he freed his arms, so it was a big old waste.
Then, I read your comments and thought, what the hell. I’ll try it again. So I nursed him, turned on the sound machine, swaddled him TIGHT and put him in the crib.
He slept for three hours.
THREE HOURS IN THE CRIB.
And it wasn’t a fluke, because he did it again last night, and is currently going on hour two tonight as I write this. He certainly doesn’t sleep as long in the crib as he does in the swing, but he’s asleep. IN the crib. After that first stretch he wakes up around 11-ish to nurse and then I do put him in the swing to get a long stretch (as much for his well-being as for my sanity), but I would say this is progress.
(Even though I keep tip-toeing in to make sure he’s breathing because I just can’t believe it.)
So thank you, all mighty mommy geniuses.
– We were in the garden center at Lowe’s today snatching up some drastically reduced (60 percent off!) patio furniture and there were birds everywhere. Birds. Flying around in Lowe’s. Crapping on the patio furniture.
Am I the only one who thinks this is weird and actually pretty gross? It’s not an arboretum or the rare birds display at the Bronx Zoo…it’s Lowe’s. I guess they get in through the loading docks or something, but all big stores have loading docks. I’ve never seen birds flying around Kohl’s or the grocery store. I spent a good portion of the time there peering suspiciously at the ceiling to make sure one didn’t poop on Owen’s head as he hung out in the Baby Bjorn.
– When I asked you all for lunch suggestions a few months ago you gave me such good ideas. So I need your help again. Six o’clock or so is the witching hour and that means fuss, fuss, fussing (the baby, not me), (OK, sometimes me too); so I need make-ahead dinner ideas. Meals I can prepare when the baby is sleeping during the day and just pop in the oven (or onto the stove top, whatever) at dinner time. We eat just about everything and yes, I have a Crockpot, although I don’t want to use it every day.
– If I was a single gal and could pick a TV character to date, it would be Jim from The Office. The way he loves Pam is just too freaking sweet.
For the non-moms reading, I apologize for isolating you in this post, but I wanted some mom opinions and what better place to reach out to a bunch at one time? (Also, as a side note, I know I haven’t been posting much and when I do it’s all baby this, baby that. I’ve said before that I don’t market These Little Moments as anything other than my life, and well, this is my life now. I will still write about random topics, but I think it’s fair to expect a heavy dose of motherhood to be thrown in there too!)
Owen is nine weeks old (how did THAT happen?) and had finally settled into some semblance of a sleeping routine. By “routine”, I mean he goes down around 8:30 p.m-ish., sleeps for 5-6 hours, and is up twice, every 2.5 hours or so after that to breastfeed (about 2:15 a.m., then 5:30 a.m.), at which point he comes in bed with us where we all doze until about 7 or 8-ish. I’m thrilled he’s doing so well, as for his age, that’s technically considered “sleeping through the night”, and I can only imagine the stretches of sleep with get longer as he continues to grow. (He’s already 14 pounds, the chunker!)
Mmmm, chunky legs.
However, he will NOT sleep in is crib. Not for naps, not for bed. Instead, he sleeps in his swing. Before anyone feels the need to start shouting about how this is bad for his spine, I will say that I’ve discussed it with my pediatrician, and she says that it’s perfectly safe and will not damage his spine at all. She is of the mindset that as long as he’s sleeping, it’s good, and he will naturally transition into his crib when he’s ready.
The thing is, I’d like to get him used to sleeping in the crib, even if it’s just for naps right now, because I’ve read that motion sleep doesn’t put babies into the deepest sleep they need. I just don’t know how to do it. I’ve tried to get him nice and drowsy and put him in the crib in a darkened room with white noise, hoping he will self-soothe and drift off, but it doesn’t work.
Instead, he SCREAMS.
The only time he’s slept in there is around that 2:30 a.m. wake-up, where he’ll sleep in there for a few hours only if he’s out cold after nursing. Which, ok, fine, but he’s not learning to go to sleep in there, he’s just being placed in while already asleep.
Today during his morning nap I decided to just try it and see if he would go down. I knew there would be crying, so I prepared myself and allowed one hour to try it. If he cried, he cried, but after that one-hour mark if he didn’t settle, I would take him out, soothe him, and let him sleep in the swing.
He napped in the swing today. And I felt horrible and guilty for letting him cry on and off for an hour beforehand.
Well, how about I get around to my question(s), eh?
How do I get him to transition into the crib? Should I continue to let him sleep there until he’s no longer interested, or start trying to get him to do it on my own? Is nine weeks too early to worry about this?
Has anyone been in this situation?
– He was sleeping in a bassinet in the early weeks, but not great (he would usually end up in bed with me). He has since outgrown the bassinet. (See chunker, above.)
– We do have a bedtime routine that he enjoys (bath, book, boob, bed).
– Other than the trial today, I’ve never really let him “cry it out”. I’m not really sure it’s something I want to do, but I’m open to hearing advice from mother who have had success (or failures!) with it.
Thank you in advance to any and all that can offer advice!