Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sleeping Seperate....

What a weird feeling.

As everyone probably already knows, I have been defying the leading research on SIDS safety and sleeping curled up with my child.
On the couch.
The most dangerous place.

Mostly I don't give a shit but I feel I should just put that out there first.

Anyhoo... It's really been a luxurious and memorable bonding experience that brings a tear to my eye just thinking about. There is such a difference between
  • snapping to at the sudden rapid catastrophic failure of your child to maintain REM sleep, where you bolt to their bedside, nurse/burp/rock them, groggily stumble them to their bed, and collapse back on your pillow while simultaneously mumbling "I don't know how many more times I can do that" and "gotta fall back asleep gotta fall back asleep gotta fall back asleep before they wake up again" (if they fell back asleep).... AND
  • semi consciously sensing a snuggly creature squirming at your chest, finding her milkies and nursing for all of two minutes before drifting back to sleep without so much as a peep.
 We do the latter and it's wonderful! She nurses probably three times in the course or a night, and that's if we stay cuddled until 9am. Sometimes she cries, sure. Sometimes she makes a fuss and doesn't fall asleep right away, absolutely. But the overall pie chart is heavenly Angel Lizzie with only a few infinitesimal one-point-Weight-Watchers pieces of Demon Lizzie pie that don't even count. (MMMmmmm Pie.....)

On top of that, she is the poster child for "Morning Person". I don't know where she gets it from because I lack the gene that allows me to come out of bitch mode before at least 2 cups of coffee, a bathroom break and about an hour of uninterrupted personal time. Stephen, bless his soul, is not a morning person by a minor technical disqualification: he only rises after noon. (Defining his morning personality is like dividing by zero; it's undefined.) Lizzie on the other hand (having either received 2 recessive genes by the both of us or a rather large dose of radiation in utero), is 100% Gerber-baby commercial-worthy perfection as soon as those beautiful baby lashes part ways and her ever inquisitive baby blues take in the new day. Can you believe it?

When she finally decides her beauty rest is complete, she wriggles and scrunches and grunts for about 5 minutes, farts like a man a few times, blinks her eyes while smacking her lips, lets out a wide exaggerated yawn and smiles at me. The look on her face is priceless...

"Good morning, Mommy :) I think that after my morning milk and some fresh britches, we should marvel at how precious I am and then go outside and make daisy-chain necklaces whilst singing with the birds and enjoying the glorious sunshine. Isn't this morning the grandest morning of all time. I love you."

Or some sappy crap like that. I swear. That Milk Monster's attitude in the morning is all puppies and kitties and rainbows and I look you in the eye when I tell you that SOMETIMES I wonder if she is genetically related to me in any way.

Now if STEPHEN came all sideways at me with that poop first thing in the morning, I would belittle him until he regretted being born, possibly cause bodily injury to him and glare incessantly at him until all 12 ounces of my coffee went coursing into my bloodstream. But LIZZIE wakes up all dreamy eyed and optimistic and I melt like cheap makeup in the sun. When she smiles, I want to lick her face off she is so delicious. Somehow I get a contact high from her and my whole creaky cranky body defrosts into warm gooey pile of good-morning-to-you-too. Her grins from ear to ear somehow exert a gravitational pull on my facial muscles and I too grin ear to ear; resistance is futile.

Waking up with Lizzie on the couch is the single redeeming event of my current stint in motherhood. It is the instant my mind clicks over to a new day. Yesterday's stress falls away. My confidence is refilled. I believe I can retain my hold on reality and sanity another day. Let's do this!

 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases,
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning; 
great is thy faithfulness
Lamentations 3:22-23

I do not care that people wag their fingers and shake their heads and judge me. "You are setting her up for failure. She will never sleep on her own." I am sure cavemen sat around the campfire late at night and snatched Neanderthal babies from their Mommy's boobies and grunted "no no dat baby sleep over dere where saber tooth tiger can get to her easier yet we can teach her to sleep on her own and not bother my 8 hours of sleep so I can function at the office tomorrow"

Call me selfish or naive but I need her sweet morning face just as much as she needs the milk I make for her. It's how she is stealing little bits of my heart every day so that she can tug on their strings in future and save herself from being annihilated when she does wrong. I love how, even knowing that, I look her squarely in the face and allow her precious baby roots to dig deeper and deeper holds on my heart. My angel, how could I not!?

That's why it makes me so sad that she is learning to sleep separate from me. I have not yet tired of her needing me for survival. Her cries sometimes, but not her dependence on me. I'm sure I would feel different if she was a clingy 2 year old or an inconsolable colicky monster, but the every day need for Mommy clearly denotes my place in the universe. To lose one of these demands on me, well, I'm taking it hard. I'm just not ready :(

Falling asleep on her own at nap time?
Preciously glorious rite of passage from one milestone to the next.
Praise Jesus.

Falling asleep by herself in the pack n play at night night time?
Gut-wrenching, nerve-racking, sorrowful first exercise in letting my baby have the room to grow into the future well-adjusted woman she will become.


Last night she went in the damn thing and did not wake for her 2am nursing. I was up of course. That's pretty much the extent of my personal time. I steal it begrudgingly from my sleep time. But back to Lizzie... I waited and paced and wondered if I should dare disrupt her slumber. By 3am, I was completely exhausted and knew 6am would come quickly and brutally. I couldn't figure out how to optimize the series of tasks I had to perform: wake her, feed her, diaper, sleep. Feed her before diaper so she wouldn't scream herself completely awake? Or diaper first so I didn't have to wake her up when she finished eating and drifted off? It was impossible to chose yet I had to have a game plan prior to acting. Ack!

Suddenly my left side of my brain slapped the right side of my brain:
Left: Just leave her there!
Right: But I'm so tired :(
Left: I know. Leave her there. Go lay down. Sleep.
Right: Wait, I'm sorry, say again?
Left: She sleeps here. You on the couch. Everyone wins.
Right: But what if she needs me?!
Left: She'll cry for you.
Right: What if I don't hear her?!
Left: Oh, you'll hear her.
Right: What if she gets lonely?!
Left: Wait, what.... you mean YOU get lonely?
Right: Well yeah... but still....
Left: Let it go. She is ready to sleep on her own at night now.

I just stood there, speechless. My baby, only two months old, sleeping by herself? At night? Without me?

I hung my head with sorrow. I crawled onto the couch and set the sleep timer on the TV. Nothing on the boob tube. I can't relax because I can't hear her, for God's sake. What if my helpless immobile bundle of joy is, at this very moment, wide awake in horror, wondering where she is and why I abandoned her. What if somehow she rolls over or squishes her face into the side padding and can't catch her breath. What if the ceilng fan breaks away from the sheet-rock and hurtles a blade across the room and into the pack n play, smacking her in the forehead (HEY! Stranger things have happened! In this house, even!).

The left side of my brain reassured the right side:
"Everything will be OK. This is healthy. Separation is good for her and better for you. She has to learn."

...and then the right side of my brain round house kicked the left side in the FACE and kneed him in the balls... "Shut up..."

I leapt from the couch with a quivering lip and moist eyes. Literally. Exhaustion and coming down from a massive caffeine high will take you to an emotional place.

Momma's coming Sweetheart!
One diaper change pit stop later and I was snuggled with my Milk Monster on the sofa. She was noisily nursing and I was soaking in her intoxicating baby aroma."Good job Honey. Mama is so proud of you; sleeping like a big girl in your pack n play, but I'm not running you out of my bed just yet. Unless you really want to leave...."
(She didn't say anything back so I took that as a "I wanna cuddle with you too, Mommy!")

She can grow up tomorrow....
or the next day...

One month pictures!

I'm going to post all my fav pictures from our Olan Mills session.

Be prepared for the cutest baby on the planet, nay, the universe :)











Saturday, September 26, 2009

2 Week Pictures!

Just a few pictures from when my sister came down and had them done with her and Lizzie. I will post the ones of Lizzie by herself.

OMG isn't she delicious!


Lizzie talking to Daddy (24 Sept 2009)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Stephen's New Truck!


Another First...

Every morning it seems like Lizzie eats and eats and eats and eventually falls asleep in my arms from sheer exhaustion of....well, eating... It's usually somewhere around 11:30-ish. One of two things can then happen:
  1. FREEZE! She is asleep. I'm tired. Is this a coincidence? I think not. Kick back the recliner and blissfully yet guiltily pass out.  Awake when she stirs. Try not to move. See if she is really "up" for the afternoon..... OR
  2. Begin a series of little white lies that begins with "I'm not trying to simultaneously bounce you while heaving my fat post postpartum body up and out of the recliner" and ends with "Even though it may feel like I have dumped you into the carrier/swing/pack n play, I in fact have not, and you are still snuggled comfortably in my arms as usual". In between are a bunch of "We're walking across the room, but not really" and "Mmmm doesn't that binky taste like boobie."
Both of these have their advantages and disadvantages but neither would get me any gold stars in any Mommy and Me classes. Both set me up by failure by resulting in either:
  1.  Waking up at 3pm and wondering how it is possible that another WHOLE DAY went by without dishes or laundry or vacuuming or anything getting done. Stephen gets home. He looks around but doesn't say anything. He takes Lizzie. I go upstairs and cry in the shower about being a bad housewife... OR
  2. My fake pass of Lizzie from my arms to the carrier/swing/pack n play ALMOST works but the second her abandoned-baby pressure switch is activated on her back, her eyes pop open like a bad horror movie ending where you think the villain is dead but alas, he is not, and there will probably be a sequel. Then she cries and I pick her up and quench my welling frustration and try again. And again. And again. Eventually I pack her in her carrier and head upstairs to cry in the shower about being a bad Mommy.
If you are sitting there thinking WTF, how on earth is a 8 week old INFANT controlling your life and breaking you down harder and faster than boot camp, or possibly being a POW!?! Show that little shit who's boss! ... then you are a man or a woman having never ejected another human being from your va-jj. 

If on the other hand, you are smiling to yourself and saying "wow, I totally forgot about that part and holy shit what did I do to get through it but I guess my highly developed Mommy brain protectively blocked that shit out and Thank God I survived" ... then you are a Mommy :)

And if you are grunting at the screen and feverishly pointing back and forth between the monitor and the carrier/swing/pack n play with a wild look in your eye... then you must be in the trenches with me. WELCOME! We serve fresh coffee and only food that you can eat with one hand, without utensils, that tastes just as good lukewarm as it does hot/cold. Things that can get you killed here are wearing make-up or washing your greasy hair (it makes the others jealous), moving any part of your body in any way that threatens to wake a precious sleeping baby (including accidental sneezes or tripping on your breast pump cord) and spinning tall tales about how your neighbor/sister/imaginary friend used a pacifier/Barney video/Long Island Iced tea to put their baby to sleep and it worked like a charm! (Disclaimer: nothing works for every baby and guess what... if we are already to this frazzled point, we have already tried everything instinctual and anecdotal or google-able and it hasn't worked so please don't waste a precious second we have when it could be put to better use like sleeping or showering or cursing our uterus for so easily allowing us to be in this situation.)

Now, I am not intending on spoiling my child. She won't be the blubbering whiny kid that gets on everyone's nerves or the screaming red-faced brat you want to punch in Wal-Mart. But studies are showing that the first 3-4 months of a baby's life are all about learning trust and they don't have the capacity to be spoiled. They have no social ability to "manipulate" you. They are barely learning the principle of cause and effect. I know this to be true because, when excited, Lizzie flails her little arms everywhere and hits herself in the face and cries. And then does it again. And again. Until I can stop laughing for a second and hold her arms down to her sides until she calms down. Clearly she is oblivious to the basic tenants of elementary physics.

So until she is older and can self soothe better, I'm not going to let her "cry it out". I don't believe in that. It feels wrong in my gut. I will just keep at it and be there for her as many times as she needs or in whatever way possible so that she can learn to trust the world. And whenever it gets to be too much, I really try to remember that I wanted to stay home and not everyone can stay home and I should appreciate this gift to our family. So far it has worked, mostly, to look at things this way.

So today I put her in the pack n play and started her music and vibration and wound up her bears mobile (she LOVES that thing, and if you excitedly say "you want your bears? there's your bears!" a few times in the most excited and astonished voice you can muster short of orgasm then she will squeal with delight and then ReadySetGooooo! You have exactly 3 minutes to wash a few dishes or take a piss or shove a sandwich down your gullet. And when personal time it so precious, three whole undivided minutes seems like a long time. But it isn't.

So today when, after the 3 minute mark, she was still sputtering whimpers yet not shaking the windows, I resisted the urge to even turn around and look at her. The bears stopped. The music winded down. The vibration timer ended. All movement and sound ceased to exist. I just sat there. Quietly.

After a few more minutes, I realized she had either FALLEN ASLEEP, by God, or she had somehow entrained herself in the blanket and suffocated to death. I guess I should get up, slowly, and check. I brought my camera because if I didn't have to do CPR then I had to record this moment for posterity.

You see that?!? You can't tell very well in the picture, but she is still breathing.
So she didn't smother herself SIDS-style. She was perfectly fine. And asleep. Asleep? Yes, asleep. A-S-L-E-E-P.

As in... I put her in awake and when I came back, she was in this position.

Put herself.
To sleep.

I was doubtful at first, I have to admit. I kept checking on her, waiting for her to wake up and yell Boo! and laugh at me for being so gullible. But she just laid there and snoozed. Chest rose and fell. Tiny little baby nose making cute snoring noises. Harmony in the universe. A few tense muscles relaxed in my body for the first time since Little Miss Milk Monster came to share this residence with us.

I tip toed to the bathroom and peed and came back to check, still asleep.
I made myself another cup of coffee and had a sip, still asleep.
I checked my email, still asleep.
I picked up all the dog toys and baby paraphernalia, still asleep.
I put the dishes in the dishwasher, and she woke up screaming at the top of her lungs.


But she had slept, unaided, for almost an HOUR! Seriously. 
This is monumental. It could usher in a whole new era. A time when Mommy can maybe tackle a whole project from beginning to completion. Clean a whole room at a time. Eat a hot meal. Shower. The possibilities are endless!

We will just have to see what happens tomorrow.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Four of Lizzie's "One Million Faces"


When did she get so big?!?!

Where did my little newborn go? The dreamy squeaky uncoordinated blob of flesh that didn't fit in her nightgowns properly and assumed whatever shape you put her in? She is getting to be such a big girl now.

She kicks back in her car seat and takes power naps...

She smiles and talks to her bear mobile...

She occupies so much more of her changing pad now. Her chubby little body is so unbelievably adorable :)


She has almost outgrown her pack n play changing table attachment.

And instead of waking up screaming and demanding food right away, she yawns and stretches like me and we both welcome the morning together. She is such a lovely morning person (unlike me) and waking up next to her is a great way to start your day.


My sweet angel is growing up!

Lizzie enables Daddy...

I love how Lizzie fits into our life.

Mommy gets to stay home and "enjoy" baby all day. I'm not sure if the key word is ENJOY (because sometimes I say this word through tightly clenched teeth) or ALL (because good God who can coo and smile and make silly faces for 12 hours straight!). She compliments so many parts of our lives, but not all aspects. She has a quirky ability to destroy all efforts I have to clean/organize/sanitize/pee by myself.

Stephen on the other hand....

finds that she fits right in :)

Having Lizzie around gets him more naps! And how can I say no to playing video games when he volunteers to hold her on his chest so (gratefully) I can return to my dishes or laundry or making him a sandwich (thanks honey!).

I'm so lucky!

We both love her little stubborn butt.
At the end of the day, after all the crying and the feeding and the rocking and the poop scrubbing and the spit up everywhere, we always get to end the day with a warm bath and a lavender baby lotion massage and voila!

Baby deliciousness!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tummy Time Woes

As much as Lizzie LOVES to sleep on her tummy, you would think she would LOVE tummy time. However, she does not.

She doesn't scream or throw a tantrum. She will stay there for a few minutes, look around, check out her toys/the mirror/Mommy's hairy legs/ Chewie's hairy tumbleweeds blowing by. She seems quite bored with "being still" on her belly. She hasn't rolled over yet and isn't close to crawling, but I think she knows there's more to this position than neck exercises.

And then she starts squirming around. Fidgety. She starts to whine. Four or five minutes have passed by and she starts to push off with her feet. She wants to move. To crawl. To be mobile. But she is swimming in a sea of air and making no progress. Scary. Mommy says "I don't think so Munchkin. Take your time crawling."


More squirming and noises and grunts and protests. Pick me up or something. I feel like I can move around but I can't! How frustrating! Mommy can't do anything because she needs tummy time. I would like to see her keep her head strong and go 15 - 20 minutes. But that is never in the cards for us. I give up early usually. She just looks so pathetic when she surrenders...

Lizzie 27        Tummy-Time 0
Maybe tomorrow....

Houston, we have HANDS!

One morning when I woke up,
I discovered I had hands...

I found that these hands of mine were quite tasty.
They make quite a delicious snack!

Shortly afterward, I found I had arms attached to my hands.
They are quite tasty too!

 I could eat my arms all day long!
Sometimes I nibble on them TOO MUCH!

My very first hickey!
I'm quite a strong sucker :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Binky, Nuk, Paci...

I must take a deep breath before I start to type...

The goddammed pacifier.
What. The. Fuck.
Seriously, for the love of God, keep it in your fucking mouth.
I'm totally tripping out right now.

I am, at this very moment, staring incredulously at a nub of latex. Do I just not get it? Is it that complicated? Is my background in higher mathematics and physics simply not expansive enough to grasp the intricate theory of pacification by false nipple? Why doesn't it stay in her damn mouth?!?

Let's start with the name: Pacifier. This is derived from the root word "pacify" which is Latin for "to shut you the fuck up", with an implied "for more than five seconds". That's in laymen terms. Merriam Webster first defines pacify as "to allay the anger or agitation of". Oh my God, really?! Because from where I am sitting, it looks like quite the opposite. All the damn thing does is piss Lizzie off more than she was to begin with. The other definition is " to restore to a tranquil state". HA! My ass! When I think of tranquil, I envision aromatherapy candles and soft Enya music. Ocean waves or soft chanting. There's nothing tranquil about her tiny little body all scrunched up and her hot angry face frozen into a silent scream. Fuck me running.

And what exactly is the advantage for me? What baby calamity does it solve and/or make better. It should some how make my parenting life easier. Now I was under the assumption that it would help Lizzie soothe herself instead of me soothing her. So instead of running to her every cry and patting her back or rocking her, I'm running to her every cry and sticking the blasted thing back in her mouth. What does this circumvent? How am I coming out ahead? I'm doing the same amount of work!

There's a deceiving picture of a placated baby on the cardboard insert it came with. It's supposed to appease her as advertised. Which it does for about, oh I don't know, four sucks. And then I watch her spit the thing out. Like, on purpose. Pushes her little newborn tongue against it and arcs it out of her mouth and convienently wedges it under some part of her body. It is not only out of her mouth, it's digging into her neck or grinding the back of her skull. Which truly infuriates this child even more. Super yay.

When it is gone, all of a sudden her world has dropped out from under neath her. She doesn't know where the binky is. Or who took it. But by God that piece of shit thief will pay because Lizzie is a woman scorned. Her anger is instantaneous and audible. Is this baby dementia? Is she playing hard to get with the Nuk? I just don't get it. The heart ache. The water works. It's your own damn fault!

And don't say "try a different bink". Really. Because I have procured every version. We have newborn Nuks and Playtex Binkies. We have silicone and latex. This one reduces colic, that one is orthodontically recommended. Pink ones. Fat ones. Expensive ones. Ones that resemble mother's breast. Ones that promote healthy mouth development. They all claim to soothe the baby and cure cancer and solve the Middle East crisis. The veritable who's who of today's most advanced fake nipples on a ring. They all fall out. Or get spit out. Whatever.

Truly, it makes me wonder if maybe a shot of whiskey or a roll of quarters to the face might work better. Not to the baby of course. To me. To numb out the pure insanity of continually replacing a clearly refused spit-out nuk. Which is actually embarrassing when you think about it. When a toddler throws their toy from the high chair and you get it and he throws it back down and you get it again and he chucks it again and you retrieve it a third time and he laughs and down it goes again and you pick it up and HEY! WTF! Stop throwing it down or I won't get it again! Yeah.... Congratulations... A newborn fooled me. I'm her monkey, always retrieving her pacifier. Pure insanity.

I wish there was a way to rig something to her sweet little face that would prevent the thing from popping out. Sometimes I can get her still enough that I can loosely tuck a receiving blanket around the nuk and give her a cute little pink ninja mask. This only works if she isn't thrashing like Linda Blair and is reclining in her car seat or the swing. Shitty thing is, she has to be supervised for me to do this, lest she some how find a way to choke herself to death and I spend the rest of my eternity as a baby killer. Like this woman. Or this douchetard. When I discussed my desire to have such an invention as this with Stephen, (something to keep the pacifier securely in her mouth against her best efforts to eject it) he raised an eyebrow and suggested "You mean like a ball gag?".....

Yes, Honey...

Like a ball gag...

Like a sex toy for your mouth.

Only, for our precious newborn daughter.

God love him >.<

I vaguely remember that at some point in her life, Lizzie will gain the hand eye coordination and fine motor skills required to retrieve her own binky from wherever it falls and pop it back in. Maybe then it will seem like a more worth while piece of baby equipment. It will actually live up to it's name. She will put the damn thing back in her own mouth. She will cause herself to experience great tranquility and therefore cause silence to gratefully descend upon the earth. Nations will cheer. World strife will be no more. Lions will lay with lambs and the Jews and Muslims will be BFF's. And maybe I will finally get some fucking sleep. For the love of God...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Moby Wrap FTW

Love Love Love Love Love the Moby Wrap.

It is so comfy and easy to wear. And it is 100 times less bulky than any other carrier we have. No buckles or straps. I can even nurse hands free.
I'm sorry, did you catch that?!?
Hands. Free.
.:. heaven .:.

It's a really light jersey material and you wrap it around you like Obi Wan Kenobi and literally slide in your precious cargo.
And the best part? It's like Lizzie's kryptonite. She stands no chance in it. She coos and smiles and talks a bit and then passes clean the fuck out. 
Kid tested. Mom approved

Tues Wed Thurs in pictures...

Pretty boring week...
Took Rhiannon and the kiddoes to the airport :(
We will miss them but we are doing Body For Life when she gets back so it's a nice little vacation before we boot camp ourselves!
Mommy's 6 week postpartum appointment!
It went well. Everything if back to it's original size and placement. Gotta go back in 2 weeks and finish up the "Gimmie something to delay being impregnated again so soon" part of it. 
Stephen came from work to be with me and keep Lizzie under control. However, I gave him horribly painful threats of death and dismemberment by rusty spoon if he could not keep his inappropriate curiosity under control. This is the same man that spent the entire time at my father's funeral glued to the director's side, discussing the little known intricacies of the funeral business and giggling over past bloopers. Seriously. Nothing really wrong with that, just a little weird and maybe indicative of not knowing time and place. 
So I swore him to compliance that he wouldn't ask some off color question or make some non-PC joke about any aspect of this particular appointment.
The Pap Smear. 
He did really well. I have to give him props. I saw him steal a glance a few times and I could taste his little mind thoughts about speculum shenanigans and over sized Q-Tips. Yet he remained silent and didn't even steal one of his classic "Holy Shit look at that" devil grins. Thank God for small miracles...
Family TV time: Project Runway!
Make it work!
(and yes, she was actually watching the TV)

... and then it's beddie bye time.
I LOVE this Kiddapotumus. When Lizzie gets in it, she goes into zombie mode and then passes out.