Thursday, March 31, 2011

May the Dork Be With You

Looky what showed up in the mail today!
Oh, be still my nerdy heart. I'm looking forward to a future that includes papier-mâché acklays.

Don't Panic!

I must have this.

Product Description

BABIES. Maybe you’re thinking of having one. There might even be one inside you right now, draining nutrients from your system via a tube growing from its midsection. Or maybe you’ve already got one around the house, somewhere, and you’re responsible for its continued survival. You’re saddled with a helpless being whom you’ve agreed to house and feed and love with all your heart for the rest of your life, more or less. Either way, you’re confused, you’re frightened, and 911 won’t take your calls anymore. But don’t despair! Let’s Panic About Babies! is here to hold your hand and answer some important, age-old baby-related questions, including:

- How can I be sure I’m pregnant? (Torso swells gradually until baby falls into underpants.)
- Did I just pee myself? (Yes.)
- What happens if I have sex during my pregnancy? (Your baby will be born with a full, lush beard.)
- How can I tell if I’ve chosen the wrong pediatrician? (He/she can’t pronounce “stethoscope.”)
- How do I make sure my baby loves me back? (Voodoo.)

From the moment they’re created until the day they steal our cars, our babies demand center stage in our lives. So join Alice and Eden as they tell you (and your lucky partner!) exactly what to think and feel and do, from morning sickness to baby’s first steps. They know everything!

Won't You Be My Neighbor?


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Roly Poly

A week of firsts...

We talk*! And eat our feet! (Multitasking, man...)
video

We roll over! And rage about it! (It was a fine idea at the time...)
video
And now we roll over in the middle of the night and sleep on our belly until morning. Which a few months ago would have scared the bejeezus out of me, but he's pretty mobile with the head and arms now, so I'm much less worried. I mean, I still go in and check on him several times per night, but there are no panic attacks over it. It's also translated into him sleeping a longer stretch after his 3AM feeding, so he essentially skips his usual 6AM feeding and pushes it back to an 8AM feeding (I used to do both before taking him to school). Yay for more sleep, for everyone!

* Sounds a lot like "da-da" although he's addressing his feet, so who knows....

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Boomerang

Aaaaand we're back.

We lasted 1.5 days away from home.

The boy would not sleep in a hotel room. I (more to the point: my milk supply) was too close and we couldn't make the room dark enough to get him to sleep. We fed him a bottle. And I nursed him. And nursed him some more. And walked circles around the mostly-dark room. And finally, after eleventy-thirtily-thousand attempts to put him to sleep in the pack-n-play, he went down. Like I hit him with an elephant tranq dart. Except...30 seconds later, the front desk CALLED OUR GODDAMMED ROOM to ask us if we got the memory foam pillows we requested. KB told them in his quietest voice, yes, and don't ever call back again or we'll get all stabby and it just took us an hour to get a screaming baby to sleep so you don't want to make us all stabby. And THEN we realized we hadn't eaten anything for hours, having arrived in Chicago just an hour or so before Jackson's bedtime (a miscalculation on our part, mostly due to failing to factor in the two 30-minute stops to nurse him on the way) and having spent that hour hopelessly taking him on a walk (he raged in the general direction of every passer-by, and they still were polite enough to smile and declare him cute -- Midwestern affect, y'all). So KB tiptoed out of the room to get some sandwiches, which upon arrival, stank to the heavens above of the rankest onion smell. Since we dared not turn a light on and wake the boy just 10 feet away, we ate in the dark. IN THE DARK. And sneaked around on tippytoes, hunched over, like the motherfucking Hamburglar. We resorted to playing Scrabble on our iPhones for a little while and went to bed at 9PM. It's a glamorous life. Especially when Jackson starting waking up and demanding nothing short of a milky happy meal every 1-2 hours ALL NIGHT LONG. His final wake-up time? 5:30AM. Duuuude. We made an on-the-spot decision to try and enjoy Friday and head home early.

We were fooled on the way there (Thursday), because Jackson slept like, uh, a baby. I had to wake him up to nurse. (And by the way, there's no better place to nurse than the front seat of your car in the parking lot of the convention center in downtown Gary, Indiana. Trust.) He didn't get an unusual amount of sleep, he just got it all at once; I don't think napping ruined his bedtime. I just think he likes his own bed, his routine at home, and perhaps also to not be in a car seat for 5 hours. As do we all.

We did get a chance to go to super-awesome Shedd Aquarium, or as I likened it on Friday -- Crazy Town, Population: All the World's Fieldtrip Students. Buses and buses full of them. Yikes. But it was fun anyway, and Jackson got to eyeball some big fishies.
And SHARKS!
And when we got home yesterday and put him to bed, he slept through the night like nothing had happened. The chap just wanted to be home. And so now we are. We had a lovely day at the local mall, people-watching and strolling. (It'll be a while before we attempt another vacation. Or else, it will be a cabin/suite with a second bedroom and no adjoining neighbors. No witnesses to the crying.)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Windy City

Tomorrow morning we're off like a prom dress, to Chicago for a long weekend. It's a celebration of our wedding anniversary and Jackson's 6-month half-birthday. Whuh?! When did I become the mama of a 6-month-old? (Six months ago today at 2:34AM, for those keeping track at home.)

I used to scoff at people who packed a gazillion things for their kids on trips and now I totally fucking get it. Jackson has his own suitcase. And some of his stuff is overflowing into my suitcase. Then there's the stroller. And the travel chair in case their high chair is rubbish. And we're thinking of bringing the full-size pack-n-play (that we've never used) just in case the crib either seems rickety or smells of the funk of forty thousand years. And then there's the breast pump, bottles, and other milk-related paraphernalia. Am I forgetting anything? A shit-ton of diapers, extra pajamas and sleepsacks, and blankets. Hopefully there will be enough room in the car for the baby.

I'm nervous about the car ride, and whether Jackson will mostly sleep, play nicely with his favorite toy in his lap, or scream his face off for 4 hours. He's usually pretty calm in the car, so I'm hoping as long as we stop midway and I feed him, he will be cool. I'm also nervous about putting him to bed in a hotel room. We just made enormous sleep strides with tortuous cry-it-out methods, but if he regresses at all we can't really let that fly in a hotel with other guests all around. I'm also worried about his runny nose, which just started this morning. Is he coming down with another cold? Are KB and I going to start sniffling soon? Gah. Hopefully I'll find time to enjoy our trip in between anxiety attacks.

Off we go!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Stinky Feets

Please excuse the twee Mommy voice.
video

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That Tingling Sensation Means It's Working

Last week we officially abandoned all hope for the kinder, gentler modifications of cry-it-out for nighttime sleep. They just weren't working. So, we turned the monitor volume waaaay down, decided on a middle-of-the-night feeding time that was acceptable (between 2-3AM or later), and went to bed. The first night he cried. A lot. We stealthily peeked in there periodically to make sure he hadn't poked himself in the eye with a wee little finger or jammed his foot into the crib rails or something, but otherwise did not enter his room until 2AM. The crying lasted for over an hour at one point. I quietly begged KB to just please go ahead and waterboard me, for I would gladly give up state secrets rather than listen to this anymore. Then I went in to feed him that night and he was curled up on his side, in the fetal position, rocking and crying. I wanted to die. The second night, he cried but put himself back to sleep after about half an hour. The third night we reverted again to the prolonged crying. I died a little more inside but kept on truckin'. And by the fourth night....it worked. He woke up a couple of times, rolled around and cried for just a few minutes, and put himself back to sleep. Just like that. And he's been doing it the past few nights, sleeping soundly for 8-hour stretches before his nighttime feeding. This means I am getting roughly 4-5 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Hoo-fucking-ray!

Oh, and the swaddle. Gone. He figured out how to stretch the Woombie out by linking his hands and pushing them waaaay out, so that the neck of the thing was all stretchy and allowed him to work his hands out of it. The effort he was putting into this endeavor, while admirable in its singular focus, was helping to keep him awake at night so we decided to just ditch the swaddle while we're crying-it-out anyway. And he's sleeping just dandy, thankyouverymuch, in his sleepsack. I still don't love that his little hands get cold, but when I go in for his nighttime feeding I tuck his paws in close to me and warm them up. It's our new "thing." (And for the record, Your Honors, I am keeping the nighttime feeding for as long as he wants; I like it, too, since it's our quiet time. Breastfeeding expert-types suggest that once-nightly feedings may last up to a year, after which you can night-wean in good conscience.)

So I am getting caught up on rest, starting to feel better, and turning a corner. I wonder if some of the congestion I can't seem to kick is A) due to the weather changes and/or B) due to hormones while breastfeeding (I remember being a mucous monster during pregnancy). Either way, I still have headaches and the remnants of a bronchitis cough, plus the snot, but it's under control now. And by that, I mean I don't feel like it's actively trying to destroy me. I might be able to start winning at the game of life again. I have more therapy tomorrow, and am making an appointment with the trainer for early next week. I can't really start the exercise routine with the trainer until after next week because...

...we're going to Chicago for a long weekend! It'll be our first family vacation, in good ol' Chi-town (one of my favorite places evah). We're hoping to get back into Alinea for a 12-course meal of AWESOME, but are waitlisted (somebody didn't call for the reservation until it was too late...so somebody made a backup reservation at some other fancypants restaurant just in case). My sister lives in the burbs and is coming into the city to babysit and hang out with us at Shedd Aquarium for the day. And if the weather holds up, some window shopping. Maybe some museums. Who knows? It all kind of depends on how this trip impacts our recent sleep victories. We can't let him cry his face off in a hotel room, but getting up every hour again is not an option. So, I guess we're prepared to turn around and come home if the first day and night is a fail, but here's hoping it's an epic WIN.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Nickel for My Thoughts

So, back-to-therapy session #1 was helpful. No tears. Surprisingly. Just goal-setting. I got her all caught up with the fascinating story that is my life (the cliff notes version) since we last met: changed jobs to work from home, started IVF cycles, failed, failed again, wanted to curl up in a ball and weep, almost went donor-egg-IVF, did the Hail Mary cycle that ultimately worked, KB's dad died the day of retrieval, got pregnant, stayed pregnant, got sick, stayed sick, work sucked, got round and waddly, gave birth, fell in love, tortured by colic, still in love, got 800 lbs of unwanted assvice, returned to work, work sucked, quit job, no love lost to The Man, nothing but love for my Boys. Whew.

Here are my goals, in exact, particular order:
  1. Deal with constant level of anxiety that manifests as physical stress (unhealthy, headaches, unable to work out) and depression. Get under control, hopefully without need of drugs.
  2. Create constructive ways to fend off unwanted assvice and repeated requests by elderly family members, who've declared their intentions to do things however the hell they want (and contrary to how I want), to babysit because, eh, it ain't happening. Also, learn how to communicate this effectively with KB and keep us on the same page (it's his family we're talking about, and although he agrees they will likely not respect our parenting choices because they either disagree or simply believe they know better, and that this is unacceptable, he feels bad. I do not. You either respect mah authoritah where my kid is concerned, or you don't watch my son without me around. The end, fin, thankyouverymuch, remember to tip your waiter.)
  3. Sort out whether I want to A) return to work at all (because if not, I'll pull Jackson out of daycare completely -- he's only there now while I sort my shit out), B) work part-time (and keep Jackson in daycare 3 days/week), or C) find another full-time job that might simply be a better fit (and keep him in daycare full-time). I have to balance my grew-up-poor-always-worry-about-money self with my grew-up-without-loving-parents-around-and-won't-make-that-mistake self. It doesn't have to all be extremes, but the constant high level of anxiety I'm feeling makes clarity difficult. I feel like working part-time would be the best possible solution, but I want to think it through carefully to be sure that staying home isn't an overlooked option, since it is available to me. I need to figure out the balance between wanting to be the best parent to Jackson and also being good to myself. I would like to rid myself of career ambition, if I can, and not worry about money and just focus on being the best wife and mommy I can be. It's a work in progress.
In the meantime, I'm just now starting to feel recovered from the plague that has been killing me slowly for the past 2 months. I can breathe out of both nostrils again! Oh, it's the little things that thrill me.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How I Love to Hate You

Therapy. I know I need it, yet I dread it. I leave every session feeling raw, like I've just ripped a bandaid off an almost-healed wound. But that's the mirage, you see -- it's not really that close to being healed. So, more therapy. I have work to do. Anxiety issues, control issues, post-pregnancy body image issues, identity issues, issues issues. Most of what I want to talk about with my last-of-a-dying-breed-talk-psychotherapist can probably be tossed into the garden-variety-parenting-stress bucket, but I am one of those people who showed up to the party a few drinks in already. Sometimes even the little things, maybe especially the little things, unravel me a bit. I haz coping ishews.

So far, being voluntarily unemployed isn't so bad, really. I took a nap yesterday (!) to make up for the sleep I am not getting at night, courtesy of one 15-pound overlord. Our sleep regression has reached a new high (or is it a low?) with nightly wakings every 1-2 hours for several nights in a row, punctuated by a normal night of sleep with 1 or 2 wakings (acceptable), then lather, rinse, repeat. Last night we began a modified Ferber method. Hate. But have to do it. We let him fuss and cry for a few minutes, checked on him, let it go a few more minutes, checked on him, and did this for close to an hour with 10 minute intervals. We had to repeat it twice last night before he went back to sleep. So, no one is sleeping. I sincerely hope it works itself out with minimal repetition really fucking soon because I don't know which is worse, getting up every 1-2 hours and ending up nursing a baby who demands it only because he knows I'll provide it, or listening to him cry off and on for an hour. Twice. Hate this cry-it-out shit, even though we're taking a very moderate approach. Still. Torture on every front.

On an utterly unrelated note, I am going to my neighbor's daughter's (got that?) bridal shower on Saturday. And (Ripley's!) believe it or not, I have never attended a bridal shower before. Never had one of my own, either. Not my thing. She has a registry, as pointed out on the shower invite, but it's all full of the marital property crap -- colanders, table settings, etc. Is this what she wants for her bridal shower gift, then? Should I go rogue and buy her something unique? I assume some jackhole will probably show up with furry handcuffs as a gag gift or something, although this is a Very Catholic Family, so perhaps not. But I would never. Not unless it could be done anonymously. At any rate, what say you, Bloggy Friends, re: bridal shower gifting? Other than the registry items, was there something you got or gave at a bridal shower that was capital-A-Awesome?

Friday, March 4, 2011

All Roads Lead to Rome

Early this morning, around 6AM, I crept into Jackson's room for his very-early-morning feeding and after he released his latch, satisfied and softly sighing, I rocked him in my arms for a little while before putting him back in his crib for the remainder of his "nighttime" sleep. I studied his face, his breathing, his fine blonde hair, the quiet noises he makes when he's dreaming. And I wept. I thought about so many things I've been through in my life, many of them awful and inexplicable, and how I've survived. I thought about the roads less traveled, the opportunities taken and passed upon, the sacrifices and the choices. They have all led me to him. To this beautiful, perfect, round cherub-faced boy. KB and I are lucky beyond measure. Just a few days ago, we were standing over Jackson's crib watching him kick his crib aquarium, having figured out how to turn it on and off with a foot or a fist, and laughing over what a clever boy he is. And KB turned to me and said, pointing at our son, "You did good."

And so today, I contemplate what is important, and I thank every atom of the universe for my family. To get to here, I would endure it all over again. For the first time in my life, I know where I belong.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Loose Ends

Three more days to go. I am trying to actively disengage from work (telling myself as often as is necessary: "____ is not my problem, I will no longer work here after Friday"). It's not my style to be lazy or lackadaisical, so it's proving to be a real learning experience for me to just let go.

Not-random aside: I've worked nonstop since I was 14 years old. I've always worked as much as was possible, even holding down two jobs in college to pay the bills and my own tuition. It started out as simply necessary, and became my modus operandi by the time I finished college and began working to save for grad school. And then there was grad school, and the postdoc, both are which are gauntlets in their own right. I immediately moved into a corporate position in the pharmaceutical industry (thus beginning my medical writing career) and was shifted upward through the ranks into management at breakneck speed. And then infertility kicked my ass like a tin can up and down the street. So I backed off, took another job working from home as a writer with no management responsibilities, and decided being a good worker bee would have to suffice. And then the baby came. And the job became harder-than-expected hard. And now I am three days away from being unemployed. As the kids say, FTW?

I've already had another potential job offer floated my way, which would be another full-time, work-from-home gig but with a smallish company I know a lot about (including a friend working there and another potentially taking a position there soon). This company has a strong reputation for treating its employees well and being flexible, so if I get a call about the job, I will seriously consider it. I just can't seem to fully wrap my head around the notion of staying at home and not working for a while. Does. not. compute.

Until then, I have my to-do list for Friday afternoon, and it looks like this:
  • Call and make an appointment for a haircut (it's been moooooonths)
  • Call and make an appointment for a pedicure (while my last paycheck is burning a hole in my pocket; my feet deserve to be treated like Sheen-esque goddesses minus the confusing Sanka brewing directions and the suitcase full of coke)
  • Call and make an appointment to meet with a personal trainer (KB bought a 12-session package as a Christmas gift but I have had zero time to use it, so I've gotta start sooner than later to whip this saggy postpartum ass back into fighting shape)
  • Call and make an appointment with my therapist (we haven't met in over a year and a half, but I feel like there's some work to do to get anxiety and stress dialed down under "11")
Ooh, and take some naps. That is high on the priority list as we are in the throes of a shitty, shitty sleep regression thingy right now. Like, up every hour after midnight for the past three or four nights, thing. Woe.

Back to pretending to give a shit for a little longer today. Three more days...