Archive for September, 2012

Hunger Games

Josie slept for 9 hours straight last night; she nursed and then slept another 3 hours. Today, there was no crying at any of the nap times. There was even a nap that went longer than an hour.

I don’t have words to express my shock and disbelief.

My body doesn’t remember how to fall asleep, so I can’t say that I feel more rested. But holy shit. [Sorry, I know this is a family blog; I guess I do have words to express myself. Eight months, and the longest stretch she’s ever had was 5 hours, and that was last week.]

I have her all to myself tomorrow afternoon, so let’s all hope for a copycat night tonight and day of naps tomorrow.

The long awaited Moment of FoG (Funny or Gross):
One day a few weeks ago, it was super hot here. We were at home, and I was topless to avoid heat stroke (no A/C in Portland). Josie was manic form being overtired. While nursing, she suddenly stopped and switched boobs. And then switched back. And again. I was in such shock that I didn’t stop her or say anything. After a bit, I was getting kind of scared because she was wild, so I called in a shaky voice out to K, “Uh, Honey!?” She works with moms, but she said she’d never heard of this… habit?… before. Since then, if the unsuckled boob is at all accessible, Josie totally goes for it. Even when she’s sober. Is it a taste thing? Like a swirl at the frozen yogurt shop? I hope I did not just ruin her chances of getting into college by posting this to the world web.

We Are Family

This is the first time I’ve blogged with headphones on. The screaming does bad, bad things to me, and since K had to leave for work, I am sitting in the farthest corner of the house from the crib and listening to They Might Be Giants. Every once in a while, I will pause and listen to hear if the wails have lessened to crabby babble or whining. This is a mid-nap cry fest. I think I made a mistake; my nerves are still raw from starting this process all over again (third time a charm?) and should have taken Josie out after her 28-minute nap.

We came back from our mega Midwest tour last Sunday (more on that in a minute), and we began working with the sleep coach in earnest this past Thursday. The first night, she cried for almost 3 hours when first put down to sleep. But by last night she cried for only a half hour and stayed in the crib all night (besides one nurse & change around 2 a.m.). I need to reemphasize that: ALL night! This girl of ours is amazing.

I, on the other hand, am a bit messy. After only one day of training, I was curled in a ball on our bed, crying for hours straight, and thinking all kinds of horrible things, like how Josie and K would be better off without me. When I finally came out of that anxiety hell, K reminded me that over 8 months of severe sleep deprivation can make a mommy mad, which is totally how I felt. Mad with a capital Insane.

The sleep coach wants us to start with night training and worry about naps later, but that doesn’t make sense to us or seem to work for Josie. We decided to let her cry it out when she wakes up in the night and if naps are too short. There can be a lot of unpleasant crying, and it’s much more manageable when K and I are together. That’s why I’m sitting here like bombs are falling all around my house, and Josie is still upstairs screaming her sweet little innocent she-didn’t-ask-to-be-born lungs out.

So, on to the travel report. (Hey, I guess this scream time frees me up to blog more. Way to look for the positive, Self!) We flew to Chicago first. I was sohoho nervous about the flight. I was afraid of the screaming and the looks. But besides needing the baby ImageHeimlich, Josie did really well. We were referred to baby-led feeding a while ago, and we’d been letting Josie handle all the food she eats. We thought the article we read said that the food should be bigger than her fist, and that she would just gnaw on the part that sticks out the top of her grip.

[Nap update: I’ve been freaking out that she’s been up there for over an hour now. I remembered that I am allowed to go comfort her, pat her butt, etc. as long as I don’t pick her up. So, I ran, I mean, I walked very calmly upstairs and tried to comfort her. She would not roll over. For K, she usually rolls on her side with her blanky in her arms and lets her pat her butt till she calms down or falls asleep. For me? No. She stiffens so I could not roll her and throws her arms up to be taken out. She turns up the scream so her face is beet red. So I’m back here, worse for the “comforting.”]

Josie chomped right down on the apple slice we gave her, breaking off a sizable chunk with her little bottom teeth and proceeded to choke. Thank god 1) K knows what to do in that situation and 2) I was in the lavatory, far from the trauma. I got back to our row right after the incident, and K was definitely ready for a sob. Josie was fine.

We rented a big Queen Victoria boat of a car and drove to K’s grandparents’ place outside of Chicago. Josie did some pretty decent sleeping while we were there, and she stepped up her solid food eating since there was a nifty highchair. She also got to enjoy carpeting for the first time. She kept petting it and moving her fingers through it. I realized then that if we had carpeting instead of hardwood floors, she would learn to crawl so fast. Josie met a lot of new family members on this leg of the trip, and she was definitely overwhelmed. People were disappointed that she would not go to them or even sit on their laps. I had huge guilt; here we were, at her great-grandparents’ for the first time, and she cried when they so much as touched her. The next part of the trip was short but sweet. We drove a couple of hours to the Quad Cities, Iowa, where half of my people are from. Josie slept for an hour in the car, which made it… nice! We went to see my mom’s brother and his partner, whom I haven’t seen since my grandma died 7 years ago and whom K had never met. They were so clearly happy to see us and didn’t need to hold Josie immediately. That made things so much more relaxed for Josie and for us. We were only in Iowa for a day, but Josie did some great sleeping there, and we got to see my cousin, his wife, and their youngest. What a treat. The next leg took us to Madison, WI (yes, that’s the third and last state of this 12-day jaunt). That is where K’s immediate family and old family friends live. Josie didn’t do so well with sleep there. But she did get to meet her week-old first cousin, who she got a big kick out of.

[Scream update: I’ve gone up twice now. I remember one nap when K had to take her out of the crib to change a poop; she stayed up after that. I ran up to see if maybe there was poop, but no such luck. I promised K I wouldn’t take her out of the crib, but she doesn’t get back for another 2 hours! My shoulders are now fused with my earlobes.]

The second-to-last day of our trip was a mini trip to a wedding near Milwaukee. K’s cousin was getting married in a church in the morning and having a reception at a park in the afternoon. Well, Josie didn’t take her morning nap (surprise!), so we decided to forgo the church and catch up with everyone at the reception. So, not only did Josie never take that nap, she didn’t sleep in the car and that was a long drive. She did fine at the party itself, and we somehow made it to Milwaukee that evening. We found a pizza place in a seedy part of town that made gluten-free and dairy-free pizza. Then we passed out in a hotel room. The flights home the next day were difficult. Josie didn’t sleep (should I bother writing that any more?), and I had a run-in with an evil man. The flight to Chicago featured a changing table in the back lavatory. As we boarded our first flight home, the flight attendant said it was in the front one this time. I quickly scanned the nearby seats for two empties so we could be close to the front. I saw two and we headed in with our million bags and whatnot. The old man in the aisle seat just looked at me and wouldn’t move at first. So, I said, “Can we please sit there?” He continued to stare me down but stood up. We needed to get in the seats and unpack our snacks from the carry-on that would eventually be stowed in the overhead compartment. This needed to be done with Josie and five other carry-on type items all juggled together. K stepped into another row with Josie while I scooted past the guy and started the organizing. I tried to smile and say graciously, “I’m sorry, but we have to sit close to the front since that’s where the changing table is.” He just glared his terrible icy blue old man glare and said, “No comment!” At that, I looked up at K and yelled, “Oh, we need to find somewhere else… now!” While I was pushing back past him, I noticed the man sitting in the row behind smiling a pleasant smile, and so I loudly praised him for looking like a nice gentleman who could teach other men how to be nice. I probably confused the hell out of this poor soul. When I caught up to K and Josie at a row farther back, my eyes were filled and I yelled, “What an a**hole!” It’s not like me to curse audibly in mixed and compact company, but I had lost it. And that was on Xanax, mind you.

One thing I think our big trip did for us was coalesce us as a little family in a way that walking around our neighborhood and seeing some friends hadn’t before. We were a nuclear family among extended families. We had to face new challenges together. Josie grew (literally) and, as a unit, we got a little bigger in our britches.

Now, if we can all just get some sleep.

[I promise a moment of FoG next time!]

(Disclaimer: No men were harmed in the making of this blog.)

The Family

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