Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Small Story

Today Jack clapped for the first time and it was so very sweet. He was so proud of himself, and he kept doing it off and on all day. My heart is glowing, it was just so precious.

I decided at dinner I would feed him some minced beef spaghetti sauce. I gave him a couple tastes. He took some bites. Then promptly vomited all over himself. The gag reflex always wins.

And then he was all gross and he was crying. And then he started clapping. It was the cutest, most disgusting thing I'd seen in a long time. Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh or cry.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stir Crazy With Baby

I need to leave the house today. I just have to. So, I mean, yes, right now it's -14C out with windchill that feels like -26. But! In the afternoon it'll feel like -19, which is downright balmy in comparison.

And I haven't gotten out of here since Saturday. It's Wednesday. Jack is not showing signs of going stir-crazy, but I can't help but think he must be getting bored too. And even if he isn't, who cares?! The fresh air and a change of scenery are in order.

God, and this is coming from someone who used to be able to go four days without leaving the house pre-baby. But those days are gone. Staying in used to mean doing my full-time job and then settling into an evening of video games and TV.

Now I'm taking care of a baby, keeping track of his poops (Lots of those these days, for those who are desperately interested) and feeding him what I hope is a varied enough diet and trying to make the sleep happen.

I love the little guy. He's my Angel Puff. I've been calling him that, especially when he's wearing a sleep sack. But it gets tedious as we sit day after day in the living room and he plays with his toys. I stack blocks, he knocks them down. I read a book, he wants it read again. And then again. I put things in a container, he takes them out and puts them back in. This is fun for about 15 minutes before I need a break.

But taking him to, say, an Early Years Centre where there's tons of new toys he can touch, where he couldn't care less if I'm playing with him because they're super exciting on their own? Boom! My goal is to hit one up this afternoon, when that balmy -19 chill comes around. You know, if he naps for me.

He's napping now. This is great. I think I may have been putting him down too late before. He was just so jazzed over his new burgeoning mobility that I think I was missing his normal sleep cues and he was getting overtired and wired on a second wind. No more of that! Babies can be so counter-intuitive. Sometimes, against all good sense, the answer can be as simple as put them to bed earlier and let them fuss.

I already knew that because of all the reading up on this I'd done, and I still made that error. Screwing up with baby sleep is amazingly easy to do and seemingly simple to fix, except it's not because they're always changing and new developments throw wrenches into even the best sleep arrangements.

He stood, like, a hundred times yesterday. Under his own power. Just stood up briefly, and then plopped down, either on me or his little rump with a a giggle. This kept him up longer last night. Understandable, really. Probably be like if I learned how to fly today. I'd likely not be too keen on going to bed either. Hell, I have a hard enough time going to sleep under regular circumstances.

But I do think tiring out a baby is a great way to encourage sleep. I'll take him to the Early Years Centre after his afternoon nap, which please-please-please will be over by 3:00 and then I'll let him go nuts there for two hours. Hopefully that'll give him enough opportunity to use his little body and practice his spiffy new moves and will lead to sweet, sweet sleep.

That's my plan. Subject to change. Depends on the almighty nap. I had no appreciation for the militant nap scheduling some parents were all about before I had a baby of my own. Now? Kinda get it.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

9 Month Old Baby Sleep

Jack's naps are killing me.

Well, no. His LACK of naps are killing me. My son was sleeping beautifully. He'd go down for two naps, after about three hours of being awake and his daytime sleep would be between two to three hours. Perfect.

Well, lately he's not interested in napping so much. I find him sitting up in his crib crying, even after yawning and rubbing his eyes. It's like his body is rewired to move, move, move right now and there's nothing he can do about it.

The Dude is home today and sorted out the nap. So Jack is sleeping (Oh my GOD, yes) but he was still up for four and a half hours before it happened, so he got overtired. It's been like this all week and it's changed his personality. Not like in a weird way, but Jack is usually very pleasant and happy-go-lucky. This week he's been clingy and dissatisfied with everything.

It's actually kinda subtle. He wasn't full-out crying and throwing fits. He was just less able to focus on playing with his toys, more needy for me to entertain him and less able to cope with getting bumps and thumps when he toppled over. Those changes combined made him seem like a different baby and I realize now just how important those naps have been. Good sleep has allowed his personality to shine through and being tired masks it with a veil of grumpiness.

And I don't like it.

I read between eight and 10 months is a developmental leap that affects sleep. Crawling, cruising, standing and even walking sometimes start occurring and crazy shit is connecting in baby's brain. And some of it is pretty darn neat.

For example, Jack is doing all those things except walking (So grateful-- not ready!) but I can see cognitive changes like understanding the word no. He knows what that means. I've started using it. Specifically, there's the TV. It's moved as far away from his reach as we can manage right now, but Jack can still reach it and there's a cord. So when he starts touching that area, I say "No!" and I give him a stern face and shake my head no.

And it works about 4 times out of 5. It took awhile for it to sink in and at first I had to physically move him away after saying no. But now he's letting go of the TV on his own, for the most part. I have to keep on him about it because he likes to see if this time he'll be allowed to do it, but I'm encouraged that saying no results in him usually listening to me. It's something I can build on.

So it's not all crankiness around here. My little baby is becoming more and more like a wee person I can truly interact with, with is quite thrilling.

He's still napping right now. Life is good.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Baby Thwarts Plans

You can begin the day thinking you're going to do certain things. Today, for example, I had a doctor's appointment for Jack. Then I was going to drop off my forms for the daycare. Then I was going to go on a walk with a friend and her baby.

I went to the doctor's.

So much hinges on the whims and rhythms of your baby. Jack opted out of a nap this morning, and snoozed for a measly 10 minutes in the stroller en route the the appointment. And somehow that sustained him (In poor humour) until 2:00. We got home, no stops to the daycare, no walk, and he went straight to bed. A lunch of solids? No time. Chug a bottle and sleep, for the love of all that is holy! Otherwise all is lost.

And sleep he did. And I laid on the couch and contemplated a nap, myself. Jack woke up very wet, hungry and teething last night at 2:00 a.m. and it took an hour to settle him. I was exhausted. But no nap for me. I don't even know why.

I've been giving Jack Tylenol for the pain. I do it for naps and night time sleep. He gets a half ml for naps and a full dose of a ml and a half for nights. I don't go out of my way to find alternatives. It works, it's safe and that's it. I give him Camilia during waking hours, just to take the edge off.

A mom I know posted a recipe for teething biscuits and I knew that unless it came with Tylenol icing, I'd not be utilizing this remedy. I'm always so impressed when a mom of a baby finds the time and motivation to make things instead of just going out and buying something to make things easier. I'm completely not that person. I come by it honestly, too.

My own mom, although she breastfed for six months, didn't go out of her way much either. She blended a portion of her dinner and fed it to me when I was a baby. No baby food recipes, no shopping for it either. I'd be willing to bet there was no homeopathy or the like either. This is the sort of thing I wish I could ask her. I'm so curious about the minutiae of how she raised me, how she managed. There's got to be some wisdom and help in those answers and I'll never really know.

For the record, Jack is 19 pounds and in the 97th percentile for height. According to my aunt's scale over Christmas, we thought he was 21 pounds. This is actually excellent news because I weighed myself too and that means I'm not as overweight as I thought.

And Jack is pulling up and cruising around.
I think he's going to walk any day now.
Serves me right for wishing he'd hold off till daycare. Dun dun dun!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Home Daycare

I have had a hard week. The Dude has been working overtime since Monday and it's Thursday. He's not even home yet. I get occasional texts from him lamenting his situation. And I've been exhausted. I used to be able to rely on the Dude handling bath time, maybe being home for Jack's dinner or some play. Not this week. I've been going it alone and it's tiring.

Last week I visited a daycare. And I took it. I rather wish it had been a more thorough search, but this city is not set up for childcare options. There are wait lists a year long (some requiring big deposits), not enough infant spaces and a parent right behind you ready and waiting to take the spot you didn't want.

The lady I met was nice and she took a shine to Jack. He seemed happy with the other children and it's an easy drop-off from our house en route to the Dude's work. It was safe, clean and I was able to pop in last minute, which gave me confidence.

I did want a centre, though, not a home daycare. I grew up going to a centre and there was a lot of space and activities, with plenty of children around. But infant spaces are few and far between. There just wasn't an open spot for when I needed it in the centre so I had to look into home care instead.

But I do see advantages to home daycare. For example, Jack really likes older kids and is not interested in his fellow babies. He'll be the youngest child, so he might like that. At a centre, he'd be around only other infants.

Also, fewer kids at the home daycare means fewer chances of coming home with a bug. You can't avoid illness with daycares, but limited kids means lower chances of frequent colds.

But still... it's a little unnerving to me. Here's the thing: I was just on my way out to see a different daycare when I talked to the provider and she told me the space just got filled. Just like that. Another provider told me I'd have to wait till a week before I needed the space to tour it. What? It was sheer luck that this other space was suggested to me and I could go right then.

And there was another agency I looked into, but they don't do the daycare subsidy and frankly we need it. We'll be daycare poor without a subsidy and so daycares that offer it have to take priority over ones that don't. Such is life.

There are very pretty centres that I didn't even bother getting on the wait list for, only because they didn't have the subsidy and $1,400 to $1,500 a month for their space is more than our rent. It really sucks that no matter how much you love your baby and how bad you want the best for them, you're limited in your options by your financial situation.

But again, nice lady, safe and clean home, the menu sounded good, she was okay using our cloth diapers and she has a fenced-in backyard. The inspectors had recently come by, and ultimately I didn't get the no-feeling.

I'm planning on moving him to a centre when he becomes a toddler, though. There will be space for him then.

And don't get me started on how this makes me feel. Even after a tiring week of solo parenting, I'll still miss him and worry all day because it's new and different. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Too Cold Out For Baby

There once was a time I could put my baby down to sleep and he'd fall asleep. He'd stay asleep until about 5:00, where he'd want a bottle and then I'd give him one and then he'd fall back asleep until 6:30ish.

This evening and yesterday evening and the one before that I had a baby who screamed himself to sleep. Because reasons. Reasons I don't fully know.

Oh, I could guess.

He was sick and then had a growth spurt and got into the habit of being picked up when he woke and then rocked in a glider with a bottle. How cozy. And no more of that because health is restored and that's not going to be a regular feature of life now because that ain't how you sooth yourself to sleep. But maybe he's still adjusting to that sad reality.

I can relate, though, to be honest. I've always been a crummy sleeper and when you find a sleep crutch, you become very resistant to sleeping without. But infancy is a good time to get with the program.

Another possibility is separation anxiety. He's become noticeably more attached to us these days and at night he may just not want to let us go anymore. I have less sympathy for that. Isn't that awful? But no, seriously, I can't be soft and stay in the room with him all night, loving him to sleep. He'll just wake up, I won't be there and then WAAAAHHH!

It's hard to listen to, it really is. Took him 30 minutes to calm down tonight.

And he's waking in the night, desperately in want of a bottle. I think it's thirst. The air is dry down there, despite the humidifier. He had a nosebleed last night. He's not taking in much, and he croaks when he cries, so that's an additional culprit.

And I feel like there's little I can do to fix this. Oh, I am a believer in sleep training. I've done it before and I'll do it again. I did it tonight. But shit. It's very taxing and I feel alone. I know I'm not; parents around the globe deal with this stuff. But I still feel isolated with this problem.

Also, I haven't left the house since Saturday and it's Wednesday. Prior to that it had been five days since leaving the house. At first it was being sick with a sick baby that kept me in. Now it's the damn polar vortex or whatever they're calling it. Take a baby out in a windchill of -30 with icy sidewalks? Well, that sounds right terrible.

I'm getting stir crazy. I do know I have to tour a daycare on Friday. That's a whole different post, though. Daycare. Good grief.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I'm sick too

It's day nine of Jack's first cold and I have succumbed so hard to the inevitable health decline you experience from seven straight nights of close interactions with someone who's sick and clinging to you. Up and down, plenty of that. And now I'm coughing and sneezing and waking up with the sensation a baby elephant is residing in my lungs.

This loss of sleep has been kicking my ass, but the Dude is on holiday until tomorrow and for the past three days he's been doing the lion's share during the day. My being up at night is to give him the battery recharge he needs to handle that. So, it's worth it. But damn.

I went to a walk-in clinic today (And thus left the house for the first time in five days) and experienced the profound boredom that waiting in a room with unwell people brings. Thank god for smart phones. It was over two hours of sitting there rubbing knees with strangers. The Kobo app and Candy Crush made it bearable.

And I was given a steroid nasal spray. I really hopes it does something because, yeah. Tomorrow is the last day I'll have my husband here to take the reins. Then it's back to me.

Jack is pulling himself up onto his feet and now cruises along the furniture. There is no stopping this kid. I'm wondering how it'll be taking him to meet-ups now. He won't be held and he's too damn heavy (21 pounds!) to do that anyway. I'll probably have to just follow him around.

I'm up and I'm doin' stuff!
It's exciting to see him do new things, which is pretty much all the time. He's waving, babbling constantly, able to lower himself back to the ground, and nothing makes him happier than destroying a block tower. Or Big Bird. He loves his stuffed Big Bird.

I'm having a hard time finishing this... I'm just really tired. Was this post cohesive? Well, I hope so.

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