Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

Trixie and I were chatting via messenger, as we do many nights a week, and she tells me that she is almost done with the post and is going to send it to me.  I ask her what it is about and when she tells me, I start shaking my head.  I don't know if it is funnier that she has done what she has done or that I could totally see myself doing the same thing.  It will be interesting to hear your take on this story...

We have two baby monitors. You might assume, based on that fact, that our house is large, or that our two children each have their own bedrooms. Oh, silly, silly reader. You would be so very wrong. Our house is a tiny bungalow, not more than 1250 square feet. The bedroom that my two kids share is mere inches from our own. If anything were to happen in their bedroom, I believe that we could hear it from every part of our house. And yet, two monitors. It is hard, I was just saying to Mommy C, to explain how these things happen.

But it’s not, really. This is how it happens. First, you have your first baby, and of COURSE you need a baby monitor. Doesn’t matter if you live in a one room shack, you get a baby monitor because the baby people have convinced you that there is a certain set of things you MUST HAVE BEFORE YOU HAVE A BABY IN YOUR HOUSE. When you are pregnant with your first born, you are so worried about being a parent that you listen to everyone, especially when it comes to what to register for for the baby shower. Oh, the baby people are smart. Registering for a baby shower is much worse than registering for your wedding shower. I remember. I remember thinking, oh, this will be easy. I’ve registered for things before. I’ve walked the aisles of a store with one of those cool-o shopping guns. Fun, fun, fun.

But no, not fun. Stress. With wedding shower stuff, it really, at the end of the day, doesn’t matter which martini shaker you get. But with baby shower stuff, the baby people pound it in to you that what you get your baby matters very much indeed. Sure, you could get X version, which is inexpensive and simple. But, boy, if you REALLY loved your future baby, you would get this expensive, complicated doo-hicky. Or this one. Or that one. They’re not all that specific about which one is really right, just to drive you that little bit of extra crazy. So you pace the aisles with your lists of items, trying to make sure that you have everything that you need to make you a better parent. [Editor's note: As I read this I picture some baby product exec, looking something like Mr. Burns, heckling parents-to-be.]

And one of those items is a baby monitor. A fairly simple concept - a device with a receiving end that you place in the nursery, and a broadcasting end that you have with you. But just as sure as the fact that babies can sense when you’ve decided to relax with a glass of wine, the baby people have come up with a zillion different kinds of baby monitors for you to try to wade through. There are monitors that listen, monitors that check breathing, video monitors, two-way monitors, monitors that hook up to your tv, monitors with one channel, monitors with 100 channels. Trying to figure this out, I felt like someone from a third world country might feel standing in front of the toothpaste aisle at the Safeway. Overwhelmed? Um, yes.

So I did what everyone else does: I asked around. I spoke with my neighbor, a wonderful mommy with children slightly older than mine. She got a particular audio monitor and liked it, so I got that too. And it works just fine. Except (1) it gives off a lot of white noise all of the time; and (2) it has two channels, and one of them very clearly picks up my neighbor’s kids’ room. We took the other channel, and agreed on the honor system to not listen in on the other channel unless asked. Still, I try not to have any really big fights with my husband in the kids’ room just in case. I move us to the other bedroom three inches away, where I’m sure NO one can hear us. Totally.

But then, my Monkey got a little older, and sometimes, he would make noises that were hard to discern. You know how that goes. You are sitting happily in the living room, having that aforementioned glass of wine. Suddenly a noise. You pause the TV. What was that? Is he ok? Is that a “I’m stuck between the slats of my crib” cry? Or a “I’m testing my parents for fun” cry? Do we go in? Do we let him work it out? Follow that with endless debate, a few sharp words, a rushed decision to go in and “peek,” and finish it up with extended crying because he spied you peeking and is now pissed that you haven’t picked him up. Great.


Around the 7,000,000,001th time that happened, I began to crave a video monitor. This lousy audio monitor is so limited! I complained. We soon will have two kids! I rationalized. Finally, my husband caved, and we decided to get one. Which one to get? By baby No. 2, you are somewhat immune to the baby people. We asked neighbor mommy which one they had, and got that one. Yay! A video monitor. I can see what the noises are. I can tell when blankie has fallen and a rescue is required. I can watch in endless fascination as he puts himself to sleep. I can, naturally, also switch over to the other channel and watch the neighbor kids. Yikes. Again, a meeting of the minds, and again, a commitment not to walk naked through the kids’ rooms. Which, ok, I probably shouldn’t be doing anyway, but a good reminder is always welcome.

However, video monitor has some drawbacks, largest among them is the very loud feedback noise it makes about every 5 minutes. Very annoying. Now the white noise of audio monitor seems downright soothing. For a while, we had one monitor watching over Monkey in his room, and one watching over LambChop in the bassinet in our room. Yes, you read that right. We had a monitor In. Our. Own. Room. So we could hear her in the living room, duh. Don’t judge, you know it’s not enough just to hear the big cries. You have to hear ALL of the noises, so you can analyze them endlessly. Really, now that I think about it, the video monitor destroys the one night time game my husband and I really like to play (ok, the OTHER night time game....) : “what’s that sound?”

Anyway, now they are in the same room, and rather than get rid of one monitor, which would likely have been the sane thing to do, we now have BOTH monitors in their room. The audio monitor, so that we can listen to the white noise and any sounds they make, and the video monitor (with the sound turned off to avoid the annoying feedback), so we can check the video as a supplement to the “what’s that sound” game. You see how that makes perfect sense, right? Right?
*sigh* I would feel like a complete lunatic at this point, but I just found out that my neighbor mommy has gotten a THIRD monitor for her (similarly sized) house. It is an audio monitor with many channels, some of which make no sounds at all. Hmmmm....maybe I should check that monitor out too....
-Trixie

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bringing Date Night Back...

Last Thursday we wanted a sitter so that Hubby and I could go to the Blazers game.  Simple enough, right?  Wrong! Where does one find a sitter?  I am not going to trust just anyone and since I didn't know anyone that babysat, I was stuck.  I posted this question on my personal Facebook page and I got two main responses.  Use a kid from the neighborhood/church or check with your mom's group.  Hubby and I decided that we weren't going to leave S with a teenager, no matter how qualified, while S was in his evening screaming phase (because even I don't like doing it alone).  Another mom though? What a fantastic idea!  I can't believe I didn't think of it myself.  All of you experienced moms (that is anyone that has a child a day older than mine) probably knew about this already, but for those of you who are new moms too, let me explain. 

The general idea is that you and another mom swap child care.  You go out on a date with your hubby this weekend while your mommy friend watches your kid and then next week you will watch her kid while she goes on a date with her husband.  Simple.  Now in order for this plan to work a few things have to happen.

1. You have to have mommy friends.  So if you are not in a new mom group or play group yet, go out and find one.  Your local hospital should be a great resource.  There are also MOMS groups all over the country and I have heard good things about them.

2. Once you have these mommy friends, you need to chat up the other moms and find one that seems to think the same way you do.  Look at how they interact with their babies, other people's babies, you get the idea.   For me, I want the mom that is actively engaged with her kid(s) and those around them.  However, you might have other requirements and observing the other moms is a great way to know whether you should trust them with your kid.
3. You found a mom to swap with?  Great, now you need to decide ahead of time if you are going to trade evenings or be more specific and trade hour for hour.  Hour for hour was suggested by the doula that runs our group.  This should avoid hurt feelings if you sit for someone for 4 hours and you only are gone for 2. 

4. Set up your nights and bring the date night back to your marriage! 

Easy enough right?  Once you get that down, you can step it up a notch (although even I don't fully understand how to run this).  Your whole play group could create a pool of babysitting hours.  This way if you watch someone's kid for 3 hours and the night you need them, they can't do it, someone else from the group can watch your kids and earn some date night time.  Personally, this seems like an organization nightmare, but according to our group leader, lots of other groups do it this way. (If you are one of these groups, please explain this process further because I am not sure how you keep track of all the hours. Thanks!) 

So now I am giving you all a job...you must find a friend to swap with, set up your dates to swap, go out on your date night, and come back and tell me how it went. 

As far as my date night?  It went really well.  Our friends that have 3 boys watched S and apparently he took a hiatus from the screaming (thank goodness!).  We brought S to their house since it was easier for them that way.  My girlfriend had an appointment that she had to go to so her husband watched S and their three boys for part of the night.  I guess he was a little bit worried about that because he had a friend come over and help him (although I have seen him with the boys and now with S and he is one heck of dad). They haven't set the date for me to watch their boys yet, but I am looking forward to it.  

-Mommy C

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lactation Goodness...Part 2

(Lactation Goodness...Part 1 can be found here.)

Let me begin by saying that this week was bad.  It was so bad that rehashing it through this post will probably bring tears to my eyes.  So please, bear with me as I explain to you my journey to breastfeeding hell and (thankfully) back again...yes I said back again! 

Where to start? Where to start? I guess let me start with my mom's group that was before my appointment with the postpartum clinic.  Everything was going great. I was chatting with friends, S was cooing cutely at the women on either side of us,  we were getting ready for a presentation on Baby Boot Camp, and life...was...good.  But then, things changed.  It was time to feed S.  I took a deep breath and started to nurse.  Two sucks and he pulled off.  Try again.  A few more sucks and he pulls off again.  Try again.  Now he won't even try to suck because he is pissed.  So I switch sides and my eyes fill up with tears (must...fight...the...tears).  At first he seems happy, but then...oh crap...he pulls off again.  You have to understand that while I am going through all of this, everyone is listening intently to a presentation all about Baby Boot Camp and so I am trying so, so hard not to draw any attention to myself and S.  So, I look to the mom to my right and say, "I am so tired of this, he...just...won't...latch".  She gives me a "I am so sorry, I wish I could help you" half smile and I feel slightly less alone in this struggle with S. I try again...and again...and again...and by now I am so close to sobbing that trying again seems stupid and so I get up and start to walk out of the room, but then the doula that runs my group sees me and I can't help but start to sob.  She immediately gets up (despite her current issue with vertigo) and walks out with me to the hallway.  God bless her because she lets me tell her everything, she gets me more tissues, and then she validates everyone of my fears regarding this whole dang thing.  I know that she said other stuff...probably even gave me some reasons for why S was pulling off, but I was out of it that I didn't hear much of it.  All I knew was that I felt heard, validated, and positive that I could survive the few short hours till I met with Nancy.

So fast forward a few hours to my appointment.  As I predicted, I started telling Nancy all about the latch issues, the fussiness, S's screaming, my tears and she just listened.  I told her that the last consultant thought it was because I wasn't using the nipple shield, but that it didn't matter if I used it or not...S still fought me.  She listened as I broke down, telling her that I felt like I was failing as a mom because I couldn't provide for my son.  She wanted me to try feeding S in front of her and as soon as we started S pulled off (as if on cue) and she proclaimed...IT IS A SUPPLY ISSUE, as if she had seen this a million times (which she probably has given her expertise).  She tells me that he doesn't like that the flow is slow and so he is fighting me.  To take it one step further, she proved that it was a supply issue by having me continue to feed him the best I could and then weighing him again....he had only taken in 2 ounces...2 ounces is not enough! I can't feed my son on just 2 ounces!  WTF??? I have a freezer full of milk to suggest that I do not have a supply issue at all.  She says supply levels can change for a variety of reasons.  At this point my anxiety goes into full swing because I just want to be the best mom I can be and my poor son is starving because I am not producing enough milk.  I never, in a million years thought that I was not actually producing enough milk.  The guilt that I had been feeling quadrupled at that point...and I think I just went blank for a few minutes while I digested the information.  I was not providing for my son.  I was the reason he was not gaining enough weight.  To put the nail in the guilt coffin she tells me that infants will happily starve to death so we don't know they are hungry till it is too late sometimes.  Ugh!!! Starve??? I don't want to think about my son starving for the last few weeks, that...is...too much to bear.

So what do you do when you don't have enough milk?  Well Nancy tells me that it is time to go back to the basics.  I am to nurse and let S do "his personal best" for about 30 minutes and then supplement if needed.  Then I am to pump after each time (except in the middle of the night) to make sure that my breasts are empty and signaling that more milk should be made.  She says I need to do this for 72 hours and come back and see her on Friday.  72 hours...I can do this, right?

The rest of Monday is okay.  I am no longer surprised that S is frustrated with me, but I am able to get him to latch for 15-20 minutes or so each time.  I supplement with one of my bazillion bags of milk, I pump, and I am okay.

Tuesday starts off okay.  S seems to get enough to eat from the first feeding, but the second feeding goes horribly.  He barely latches and I know he didn't get much milk from me.  I give him a bottle, put him down for a nap and then pump.  Only nothing really comes out...maybe a tablespoon? Can you believe this crap?  Ms. Ihaveafreezerfullofmilk barely pumps a tablespoon when S barely fed.  I think it is this point that I start to loose it.  I know that anxiety will kill anyone's supply so I try some deep breathing, but nothing is working.  I am in full anxiety attack mode.  It is at this point that I decide to call my psychiatrist.  Yes, I have a psychiatrist.  I suffer from ADD and depression, as well as periodic issues with generalized anxiety.  So no, anxiety attacks are not new to me and I knew that the only way for me to get rid of them at this point is with professional help.  Fortunately, my psychiatrist is available on Wednesday...THANK GOD.  At some point during the day I headed to the local nature foods store to pick up some Fenugreek.  I decide I am going to throw everything I've got at this issue so I am upping my water intake, calorie intake, taking Fenugreek, and eating more oats. 

Wednesday---my supply seems to be dwindling with each feeding.  I thought the pumping was supposed to make things better, but it seems to be getting worse.  I can't believe it is getting worse!  So, I go to my psychiatrists appointment and after much discussion we settle on a medication to use as a short-term solution since we are both pretty sure that this is a short term problem.  If I can kill the anxiety, my milk supply should get better.  If my milk supply gets better, my anxiety should go away.

The rest of Wednesday shows no change.  In fact, I began to think that I was seeing the last of my supply and that my days of breastfeeding were numbered. But Thursday I wake up and have a successful feeding and then another successful feeding, and then S goes down for a nap.  I am feeling great at this point...things are really starting to improve.  I even tweeted that I had milk.  :) Then S woke up and I tried to feed him.  He reverted back to the pulling off and refusing to latch.  I begged with him, I pleaded with him, I knew I had milk...why wouldn't he just latch a little bit to get the flow going???? I eventually gave up, gave him a bottle, and pumped.  I learned that I can also take Blessed Thistle to help with supply so we after that feeding we head to Whole Foods to pick some up.  Unfortunately, my next feeding at 2 went no better and then just when I thought things couldn't get worse...yup, they got worse.  At 4ish he didn't want to even come near my breast. Every time I laid him down to nurse he started to scream.  Again, I pleaded with him, I begged him, I even try to bargain with him...nothing seemed to work.  So I gave him a bottle and then after he drank an ounce or two, I tried again.  Eventually he latched, but he didn't seem happy about it.  Fortunately that was the last feeding I was doing with him for the night since hubby and I were going out and S was staying with friends.

So we brought S over to our friends, headed to the Blazer game, and I began to relax a little.  We got a beer, some food, and things were great.  (This may seem like TMI, but bear with me...) I decided to go to the restroom before we headed to our seats and while I was there, I was greeted by an old friend...yup I got my first period since getting pregnant.  Fun times!  I am not just telling you this because I was unprepared for this event and was thanking my lucky stars that I had quarters in my purse.  I am telling you this because as soon as I finished being flustered about being unprepared for this moment, my wheels start spinning.  Didn't I hear somewhere that your milk supply can diminish a little before you get your first period? Could this be what has happening all week?

That night I did some googling and sure enough, kellymom.com says that many women notice a TEMPORARY decrease in supply the week leading up to your period.  The site even references an article about Menstruation and Breastfeeding that says your milk supply may not be the only thing that changes.  The taste of your milk can change too...could this be why S wouldn't even try to nurse earlier that day?  At that point I couldn't wait till my appointment with Nancy the next day to see if my new theory was correct.

As if on cue, things immediately began to improve.  S successfully fed, with minimal pulling off, for all the feedings leading up to my appointment with Nancy.  When we got to the appointment I shared with Nancy my new theory.  She immediately confirmed what I had read.  Hallelujah!  She said it is one of those things that she doesn't think about right away because it isn't a typical scenario (and you don't really know that is what is going on until after), but that this was a good reminder for her.  In fact, she was going to bring it up to the other lactation consultants at their next meeting. 

So everything is perfect again, right?  Well not exactly.  I still need to stay on top of my anxiety, although things have been a lot better.  I am still working to get my supply back up to what it was before all of this.  She said that my late afternoon/evening supply may never fully return and I may have to supplement with milk I pump in the morning.  She also told me that I will probably need to work to keep my supply each time I am about to get my period, but that it may not be as bad next time.  She recommended that I visit a naturopath because they have a lot more options for alternative treatments (like acupuncture) and herbal supplements (beyond the fenugreek and blessed thistle).  She mentioned that there is a website that helps people with breastfeeding issues and I thought she was going to mention kellymom.com, but instead she introduced me to MOBI Motherhood International.  The site is a resource for women with chronic low milk supply. 

So there you have it.  This was probably the most emotionally exhausting and physically draining weeks I have had in a long time.  I can't imagine what I would be saying about this week if I hadn't had the support from Nancy and the Postpartum Care Clinic at St. Vincent's Hospital in Portland.  I thank them from the bottom of my heart.


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If you are reading this and are having issues with your breastfeeding, please, please, please go get help from a lactation consultant.  They may not be able to fix every breastfeeding issue, but they can help you fix most of them.  If your insurance doesn't cover it, it is worth the cost to pay out of pocket.  If they can help you solve your issue now, they will save you hundreds of dollars that you would have had to spend on formula. 

Resources:

KellyMom.com: Breastfeeding and Parenting


MOBI Motherhood International

La Leche League

Breastfeeding Essentials

Friday, April 23, 2010

Favorite Moment Friday

This has been a tough week...a really tough week, one that has been filled with a lot of tears on my part and a lot of bottles on S's part.  The worst part is that I don't think we are over the hump yet (I guess only time will tell), but in the spirit of trying to remember the good things, here we go.

I have been seeing a lot more of the sun lately and during a recent shopping trip, I purchased a waterproof outdoor blanket...this one in fact:    (JJ Cole Outdoor Blanket, bought at Segal's)

Prior to this purchase, our outdoor adventures consisted of lots of walks (where S would consistently fall asleep in his stroller) or a single picnic (that included a walk first where he fell asleep).   The picnic was okay, but we had to drag a big ole blanket with us and it only did an okay job at keeping us dry.  Now, S and I can sit outside and play without fear! In fact, last Friday (after I had already posted Fav.Moment Friday) it was warm and sunny so I decided we would set up the blanket and play out front until my hubby arrived home from work. S loved it!  He played with some of the new toys I had gotten him (including the skwish --he loves the skwish).  Our neighbor even came by with her daughter (who is one month older than S) and sat with us.   It was a nice sign of what is to come.  I look forward to the days when I can sit out front and chat with a neighbor or two as we watch our kids play together...but until then, I will gladly take many, many days of sitting on this blanket playing with his toys, just the two of us.

S had his first "babysitter" experience (not counting hubby's parents) so that hubby and I could go to the Blazers game last night (ugh, what a bad, bad game).  I put babysitter in quotes because our friends watched him for us (post about this to come).  Our friends are awesome!  They have three boys of their own and I knew that if I was going to leave him with someone and not completely worry the entire time I was gone, they were the ones I wanted to leave him with.  If I wasn't already confident enough, when we got there and I took S out of the carrier, Mr. Friend immediately took him from me and held him as if it was second nature (yeah I realize I shouldn't be surprised since he has 3 kids and all, but there is something about the way someone holds your child that really can exude confidence).  At any rate, I only worried a little bit (mostly that he would cry a lot) and despite the horrible Blazer loss, hubby and I enjoyed our time out.

I guess that is it for this week....not to say that we didn't have other great moments, but nothing "new".  S still loves to coo a ton and make different noises that make me giggle.  He loves when I make silly noises and will giggle at them if I do it over and over.  He is getting a ton stronger and spending more time pushing up when he is on his tummy.   Despite the "crappiness" that was this week, he was the light that got me through it.  He was the one thing each day that made me smile over and over.

What was your favorite moment from the week?? 

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Since I don't post everyday, I thought I would let you know what is coming soon.  Tomorrow I will have Part 2 of my Lactation Goodness post.  As you have read above, this was a crappy week and my milk supply was at the center of its crappiness.  I will share with you what happened at my lactation appointment on Monday, what I have been doing all week to make things better and its impact on my body, and I will let you know what happened at my lactation follow-up appointment today.  Also, as I mentioned above, I am working on a post about sharing baby care with friends...we are bringing date night back to all the new parents in my moms group!  Although it is not a new idea, it is one that I had not thought of until someone mentioned it to me via my personal Facebook page.  So if you are dieing to bring back date night in your house, make sure you come back and read about how my moms group is doing it!

TTFN
Mommy C

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

She is back!!! I am so excited to have Trixie back writing for me. If you missed her previous posts, you can check them out here or here. You can also learn more about her here. For those of you looking for the second part of Lactation Goodness...it will be here Saturday. 

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The other morning I went in to wake up the Monkey (he’s 2 1/2). I said, “Good Morning, Monkey,” and he said, “Mommy, I’m wondering, when I grow up, can I be Spiderman?” I said yes, naturally.

This actually has nothing to do with anything, it’s just incredibly cute. And, it makes me think of some friends of mine that are my advance team on all things that little boys love, who had told me that the Spiderman phase was coming. And, thinking about them brings me to my point: I think that the whole Working Mommy versus Stay at Home Mommy thing is just a media invention. Like rain hysteria in L.A., where a few dark clouds here can send the entire “Weather Watch 2010" team out to interview people about their thoughts on rain -

                Interviewer (wearing casual clothes, because that’s what one wears in the rain, a gigantic rain coat,
                  and a baseball cap): Sir, what do you think of this rain?

                 Manonthestreet: well, it’s wet.

I have a career that I am incredibly happy with, and a mortgage that I am less happy with, and always knew that I would be taking maternity leave for my children, and then returning to that career. I didn’t really know any SAHMs. When I was pregnant with Monkey, I read articles that talked about the Mommy Wars and wondered if it was true. To be honest, I sort of assumed that it was true. I assumed that SAHMs would judge my decision to be a working mom. I assumed that I would not understand the decision to stay at home full time. I assumed that the divide between us would be great and strong.

Well, like many of my pre-Mommy beliefs, I was seriously wrong. The truth, to me, couldn’t be farther from that. When Monkey was about two months old, I discovered my local MOMs club group. There are many different varieties of these groups across the country, but I’m sure you get the gist - they all generally are set up to have playdates with a group of similarly aged kids once a week. My next door neighbor, an awesome woman and mommy, was a member, and invited me into her group. I knew that the group was made up of mostly SAHMs, and I worried if they would accept me on a temporary basis.

I had nothing to worry about. This group of ladies was, and continues to be, the most awesome, loving, kind, considerate group of mommies of which I have ever had the privilege to call myself a part. They never once blinked at my maternity leave status. They were interested in my job, asked questions about it, but mostly cared about me. They patiently answered every one of my zillions of questions about everything from drooling to sleep to baby food. They commiserated about “bad mommy” moments, laughed about silly babies, and cared about Monkey as if he were their own. No comments about the evils of daycare, no comparisons regarding parenting decisions, nothing. And when the time came for me to go back to work, they listened to my angst about it without judgment, and supported my decision without derision.

For my part, I learned what an enormous amount of work SAHMs take on on a daily basis, and how tough their job is. I think I help by giving them the arguments they need should anyone question who works the hardest - Ladies, tell your husbands and anyone who asks, that it’s you. I have worked, I have stayed at home, I have worked in an office while a mom. Hands down, the hardest, most exhausting job was full-time mommy. No contest. My hardest day at the office is a cakewalk compared to the average day home alone with 2 kids (actually, it was harder with one kid, but that’s another story). At work, I can stare into space occasionally if I want. I can eat lunch when I want to. And I. Can. Pee. In. Private. Oh, the glory. I go many times, just for the sheer joy of it. If anyone ever needs someone to back them up in the “who is more tired” war, I will help for free.

So, media, you can go to hell with your made-up “mommy versus mommy” crap. The truth is, a mommy never “tosses the first stone,” even if she doesn’t live in a glass house, because she is too busy hurling it at herself. We are vastly more supportive of each other, and our choices, than anyone gives us credit for. And thank goodness for that.

Oh, and last night, my son said to me as I put him to bed, “Mommy, I love the way you love me.” That’s enough for me.

-Trixie

Monday, April 19, 2010

Post It Note Tuesday!

Lactation Goodness... [Part 1]

Woman gets pregnant.  Woman has baby. Woman feeds baby with her milk. It should be easy right?  Ha! Getting pregnant with and then growing S was not necessarily what I would consider easy, but surely breastfeeding would go easily right?  I mean I took the class, I read several books, I talked with other moms about it, easy peasy.  Ha! Okay, so I had heard of women saying it was hard and many of them didn't breastfeed for long because of it, but the books and the instructor had me convinced that the women that quit breastfeeding just didn't try hard enough or didn't have the right help (I was SO judgmental...shame on me!).  I now know that the right help at the right time is the key to success (for almost all women).  Here is my story.

In the beginning, S didn't latch correctly and it hurt like hell AND my milk took forever to come in and S lost too much weight.  But we survived thanks to one clinic: St. Vincent's Postpartum Care and Breastfeeding Clinic and one fabulous lactation consultant, Nancy.   When we arrived at this clinic not only was I close to tears, but so was my amazing husband.  Our first night home sucked and I hadn't slept in about 36 hours.  I had no idea what I was doing wrong so I didn't know what to even ask of Nancy.  Thankfully, it didn't matter.
 
She knew exactly what to ask, what to look for, and what to say to make me not feel like a complete failure.  She armed me with new tools to fill S's belly until my milk came in (and yes, it included some formula- don't judge).  We returned 2 days later feeling so much better...not only did S seem happier (by then he was a pro at going between breast and bottle), but my milk had come in!  She taught me how to pump, when to pump, and what to do with the milk.  We were now to "top S off" with my pumped milk instead of formula and I felt great.  We met with her one more time to make sure S was gaining weight, but then we graduated...so I thought.

Fast forward three months to three weeks ago.  Three weeks ago S started spitting up and the pediatrician's on-call nurse recommended that I increase the frequency of the feedings and decrease the length of each feeding (less in his belly to spit up I guess).  Then the fussiness started, every night about 40 minutes after we put S down, he would start screaming.  We thought it was gas, but as time went on I began to think something might actually be wrong. Then he started getting fussier during the day and, at almost every feeding, pulling off the breast after every 2-3 sucks and I finally called the pediatrician again.  We got an appointment and the doctor ruled out any physical reason he was crying (no ear infection or acid reflux), but then I asked about his weight.  Was he gaining the right amount? Too much? Too little? Seriously, too little? Doc said he was "borderline" ...only 18 ounces in 6 weeks.  Then I did some research...actually Trixie went to Kellymom.com for me and we learned that babies are supposed to gain 5-8 ounces a week.  That mean he was supposed to gain at least 30 ounces in 6 weeks....wow, S was not gaining enough at all! So what did I think to do?  I called the Breastfeeding clinic.

I couldn't get in with Nancy before the weekend so I met with another nice lactation consultant.  She theorized that S was probably getting the right quantity of milk, but not enough of the nice, fatty hind milk.  Makes sense to me, I can totally try feeding him longer since he hadn't been spitting up anymore.  But what about the latch issues?  Well I happened to mention that we used to use a nipple shield and immediately the woman suggested that we start using it again.  Honestly, I didn't think that would solve it, but I was willing to try.

And try I did...but it didn't seem to matter. Sometimes it would make him stop fussing and latch and sometimes it didn't matter at all...in fact, sometimes he latched better without it.  We were scheduled to see yet another consultant on Tuesday, but yesterday I decided (after a particularly frustrating feeding) to call and see if Nancy was available.  If anyone can make me feel better and get this problem resolved, I know that Nancy can.

Thankfully the reception could here my tears frustration through the phone and not only got me an appointment with Nancy, she got me one for today!  So later today I will go and meet with her.  I will tell her what has happened, I will show her the video I took of S fighting me and my nipple (yes, I am that desperate), and we will see what she has to say.  So stay tuned folks....

Mommy C

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Flying with baby...

We flew down to the Sacramento last weekend and that meant Baby S got to fly the very first time.  As far as flights go, this was a good place to start since it is only an hour and a half each way. 

Do you remember Trixie saying that she likes a good plan?  I like plans too.  I also like lists.  I think it runs through in the family.  Can it be genetic? I digress.  So leaving for a trip? We get to have a list (or two or three) and a plan!  So there were a few things that I wanted to make sure of as we planned for the flight.  First, I wanted to be fully prepared for anything on the plane.  I had extra diapers, wipes, blankets, pacifiers, and clothes (for S and myself...always have an extra shirt for yourself).  Second, I wanted these things to be organized so that getting through security wouldn't frustrate everyone around me.  Third, I had a plan to feed S when we got through security and then again when we got on the plane.  Finally, Hubby and I had a plan that I would sit up against the window so that I would have a little bit more privacy as I nursed S. 

So how did that all work out?  Well I packed well and we got through security like pros.   Then we second guessed our plan...I should never second guess my plan.  Because the new plan failed. He was doing so well that hubby and I decided to delay it some so we could eat.  Then we delayed it more because he was sleeping.  Then it was 10 minutes before we were to board and if he could just make it till take off life would be good....enter Baby S screaming and all the passengers wishing they were on a different flight.  I wanted to shout at them and tell them that I just needed to feed him when we got on the plane and he would be fine.  Why did I care about all these people so much? I am never going to see them again.  I hate that I cared what they thought.

We finally got on board and after some struggling to get him and I covered appropriately while he was squirming and crying, I started to feed S.  By the time we were in the air he was asleep...and I took a deep breath.  Oh, but then...he woke up and fussed. I think his ears hurt him because it was a different kind of fuss so I nurse him again to get them to equalize.  He eventually fell asleep and we repeated this cycle 3-4 times before we actually landed.

So the way down wasn't a complete failure, but it wasn't great either.  I was tired, sweaty, and uncomfortable.  Then to make things a little worse, when we got there, Hubby turned to me and said, "that wasn't so bad."  My response? Ha ha...I honestly don't remember what I said, but I know that I couldn't believe that his perspective was so different then mine.  Then again, he will never know what it is like to have a baby on your boob for over an hour.  Men.

The good news is that we learned our lesson and did things better on the way back.  We still made it through security like pros, but this time I fed S right afterward.  Then when we eased our way onto the plane (tears free), nursed through take off, slept a little, and then he even smiled and played a little bit!  To be fair, the other lesson I learned was that the timing of the flight also matters.  The first flight? It was at 5pm.  The second flight? It was at 2pm.  HUGE DIFFERENCE!

So to quote my husband, in the end, "that wasn't so bad".  In fact, instead of driving to California next month, we are going to fly again.  If you haven't flown with your little one yet, learn from my mistakes.  If you have flown and have tips for me for next time...please share!

Toodles,
Mommy C

Friday, April 16, 2010

Favorite Moments Friday

It wasn't till this morning that I realized that I never posted my favorite moments from last week.  How did this happen? I had it all written and everything.  Well it was because my husband, Baby S and I hopped onto a plane and went to California for the weekend and I was a wee bit distracted.  I had a plan and well, that plan failed.  So here are the couple things from last week:


Baby S gets to fly on a plane for the very first time at 3 months old!  So that will be my favorite memory (not moment because in the moment I will be freaking out about remembering everything, feeding Baby S on the take off and landing, and not annoying the people near us).

This week Baby S started actually playing with the stuffed monkey that hangs on  his car seat.   This is the monkey that he has completely ignored up until this week.  He actually prefers to have it next to him so he can grab at it.  It is very cute to see him interact with the monkey. 

Now on to this week:

Baby S survived his first two flights!  I will post more about our trip in the next couple of days.  Overall it went okay, good enough that hubby has convinced me that we should fly back to California next month instead of drive. He also got to meet much of our Folsom Family (our close group of friends from when we lived there).  Hopefully he will get to meet more of our friends when we go down in a month for the wedding.

On Monday, while we were at mom's group, he stayed sitting on his own for a whole 5 seconds!  I was holding his hands and let go of one of them and then he let go of the other and he stayed upright!  It seemed like there were a bunch of babies doing things for the first time that day...must have been the right 'energy' that day.

Baby S rolled from his front to his back on his own! (at 14 weeks and 5 days)  I am so proud of him!  The coolest thing was that we were doing tummy time in front of the mirror for the first time and so I was video taping it!  I am so glad that I was able to share it with hubby.

What are your favorite moments from this week?

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So I am thinking I should change the name of this weekly post.  You see, not all the things I want to remember from this week are "favorite moments"...some are just awful, like the fact that Baby S has been crying a ton for the last few weeks and I couldn't figure out why really so we went to the pediatrician and it turns out he hasn't gained enough weight since his last appointment...the poor kid is hungry!  Ugh, I felt like such a bad mommy, but who would think your child is hungry 25 minutes after the last feeding?  Fortunately, the doctor said it is just a borderline issue so we should be able to resolve it with extra feedings.  So this isn't a favorite moment, but one that I might want to remember (so that I can remember not to do it again) .  Any suggestions about what I should call it?  I do not need to do it on Fridays either so if another day works with a cute name...I might just switch. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The things we give up....

When we decided to have children we knew there would be things we would give up...lots of things in fact.  This post is by no means a whiny tale of a mom who wants her life back...I love my new life.  I am just torn...but we will get to that in a minute.

First I want to focus on what we have given up. We have given up big things like my income and little things like space in our living room which is now filled with baby stuff.  We have given up tough things like sleep and easy things like watching tv whenever.  We have given up important stuff like date night and frivolous stuff like hanging out in bars.  All of these things are not that a problem for me...in fact I cherish them because in exchange I have an amazing baby and a great husband that has turned into a great father. 

But here is my dilemma.  I need to lose weight and I need to exercise.  Both make me feel better and obviously the more exercise I get, the easier it will be to lose the weight.  But both my Weight Watchers meetings and Baby Boot Camp take place smack dab in the middle of Baby S's morning nap.  A nap that he used to take while I was doing those things or after we got home, but he has stopped being able to nap when there are lots of people around and waiting for the nap just results in a whole lot of crying screaming on his part. If he happens to make it through the morning without the nap and without the crying, he has a tough time going down for a nap in the afternoon and then barely sleeps.  This, of couse, then results in one really exhausted and crying screaming kid.  So what do I do?  Clearly Baby S's needs supersede mine, but if me being healthier and happier from the exercise and weight loss makes me a better mom, doesn't that benefit Baby S?  The answer is yes, of course, but I need to find another way to get to that result.  I might need to go to a different Weight Watchers meeting, which would be fine I guess.  I might also need to start exercising on my own, which is the real tough part because I am not very motivating...at least nothing like the instructors and fellow moms at boot camp. 

So I know the decision that I have to make and considering how well Baby S is sleeping this week when I have stayed home, it really isn't a decision at all.  I am just going to pout for a little while and then figure out a way to get my butt into gear to go for a run when he wakes up....

Mommy C

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday's [non] Weigh-In @WW

So I blew it this week.  I fell so far off the wagon it really isn't that funny, but I am choosing to laugh at myself and move on.  We went down to California for a wedding shower and it was just too hard to stay on program.  In the past this would have been really hard and I would not bounce back easily.  So this time I am not going to beat myself over it, but this is way harder to do than I thought it was going to be.  I decided that if I was going to go back on the wagon, then I needed to do it all the way so I have created a plan and we will see if it works next Tuesday.  Here is the plan:

1. Do not weigh in today.  (Why? I know I gained weight, why have it in writing so that I can dwell on it.)
2. Go to my WW meeting. (This will help me refocus and stay on track. In the past I wouldn't have gone and then I would have a really hard time going back next week.)
3. TRACK!  (Yup, despite my weeks of success without tracking, I think it is time to start tracking again.  It is just way too easy for me to cheat otherwise.)
4. Run/Walk everyday.  (Baby Boot Camp is going really well, but I am noticing that Baby S is needing to nap during that time.  So I am going to try it a couple of more times, but if Baby S isn't napping okay when I go, I will stay home.  HOWEVER, that doesn't mean I don't have to exercise...in fact it means I have to push myself even more because doing it on my own is hard! So my current goal is to run/walk 2 miles at least every day and eventually get my average moving speed over 5.0 for the total distance.)

So the plan is pretty basic, but it is what has worked in the past. Come back next Tuesday and see how I did!

So here is the breakdown:
Goal: 50 pounds
Week: 8
Loss this week: Didn't weight in

Total Loss: 9.2 pounds(as of last week)

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As you may already know, I am a BABIES Ambassador because I am so excited about the movie!! The BABIES folks are hosting a sweepstakes and you can enter it by clicking below. Check it out!


Monday, April 12, 2010

Dear Baby Boy Clothing Designers...

Dear Baby Boy Clothing Designers,

I do not know what your obsession is with adding words and animals/cars/trains/etc to EVERY piece of baby boy clothing, but I would like to request that you please stop.  Seriously.  It makes shopping insanely difficult for things like pictures, weddings, and holidays.  Seriously.  I went to get an outfit or two for our 3 month pictures and Easter and it was nearly impossible.  Not sure what I mean?  Stroll through a Carters sometime.  Personally, I couldn't find a single nice Easter outfit from them in the 3 month size. Seriously. Maybe you should talk to the designers at Baby Gap because they had the most options, the problem is that they want to charge a small fortune for an outfit.  Seriously.
 
At first I thought it was just me being a plain Jane, but then I had a conversation at our last play date and the other moms feel the same way.  Seriously. How can so many moms feels this way and nothing is changed?  I suppose it is because moms keep buying it since not clothing your child isn't really an option and most moms can't afford to cloth their children entirely from Baby Gap.  But seriously, step away from the animal/car/train/etc patches and just let the clothing be.  Because seriously the clothes that you design would look tremendous just they way they are without them added.  Seriously. 


Still not buying that clothes would look better without all the added "stuff"?  Try reading this letter without the words "seriously"...it is far less annoying and gets the point across just fine, because with the words 'seriously' I am just an annoying car plastered to some 3 month old baby boy's shirt. 

Sincerely,

Mommy C

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thursdays with Trixie

Trixie is back again and if I have anything to say about it, she will be here every Thursday...hence the name of today's post.  If you missed her first post last Thursday, I highly recommend checking it out.  

I preface this post with a request:  If you have gone through a similar situation, please leave a comment and tell us about it.  I think it would help to know that other moms out there know what she is going through.  

Thank you. 
Mommy C

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I hate pumping. I hate it with my entire being. I hate the way that it makes me look like a cow in full production. Never has breastfeeding been so ugly as pumping makes it look. I hate the utilitarian coldness of the cups, and the cupholder holes in my pumping bra. I hate how pumping reminds me that I am a working mommy who has “callously dumped her children in daycare.” The pump judges me for that decision. I’m pretty sure that if you listen closely to the pump’s machinery, you too can hear it sneer with each suck: “fuck a-you, fuck a-you, fuck a-you.” The taunting is a nice companion to a mommy’s never-ending self-criticism. We never do enough, do we? We don’t nurse enough, we don’t entertain enough, we don’t comfort enough, we don’t help enough. Or, maybe we do too much. I’m amazed at how much I second guess myself about decisions for the kids. One thing I like about working is that at work, I know what I’m doing. I don’t second guess. I don’t torture myself after making a decision about whether it was the right one. People actually come to me for advice.

But back to pumping. I also hate the amount of work it entails. Breastfeeding is so elegant, so easy (I laugh, of course. Breastfeeding is not easy for many, and takes a while for most to master. But reality messes with my point). Pumping involves containers, and space in the fridge, and getting it back and forth from the office to home to the daycare. I have to concentrate to get the milk to come down. I have to clean the parts several times daily. Bottom line: I have to think about it. When I nurse LambChop, I just throw her on the boob, and all is right with the world. It is beautiful, it is calming, it is just us. It is her holding my hand, and smiling up at me like a little imp. It is happiness. Compare that with pumping: a note (and a lock, lucky me) on my door telling the world my business, the contraptions, the setting up, the uncomfortable pulling, and the “fuck a-you, fuck a-you.” So, I hate pumping.

That is, until yesterday. Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor. I have a medical something that has been gracious enough to go away and not bother me while I was making and having Monkey, and nursing him for a year, and while I was making and having LambChop. But it’s back, at least mildly, and that means that I have to take medicine that LambChop can’t take. Forever. I always knew that I would have to take this medicine eventually, I just hoped that it would wait until Lamby was a year old and in the process of weaning anyway. I’d be happy to take it then, I told myself, and if He happened to be listening, God. But that’s not my path, apparently. LambChop is about 7 months old now; my guess is that she’ll have to be fully weaned so that I can start the meds by the time she is 8 months old. That’s a full 4 months before I wanted to stop.

Now, I can hear you, and everyone, and my husband, and me, frankly, tell me: But, you nursed for the first 7 months, that’s the important part. That’s the crucial time. But she’s eating solids now, she’s older. She’ll be fine. Well, of course she’ll be fine. She’s my daughter, and we, my friends, are tough cookies. But that really doesn’t stop me from feeling like I’ve just let her down completely. My body has betrayed me, but that’s nothing compared to how it has betrayed her. She likes the nursing, she likes my milk. I comfort her with it, I nurture her with it, and it is all that she knows. When she goes to daycare, my milk follows her, and reminds her of me when I’m not there. This realization has changed the way I think about pumping - the pumping is not me being less of a mother, but me being more - me making sure that my baby girl has my love inside of her wherever she roams. Now, when I pump, I hear something different in the machine’s sucking. I hear: “it’s the love, it’s the love, it’s the love.” It’s love pouring into those containers; but now, I can’t give her that love. I have to give her formula (and this is so not meant to be a judgment on those who choose to give formula. I have been a mommy too long to question these sorts of decisions by other mommies; besides, we’re tough enough on ourselves without others piling on). But, compared to formula, the pump feels downright cozy.

I’m left with lots of self-doubt and questions to make myself crazy. Will she ever forgive me for weaning her early? Forget pumping - how will I handle it when she wants to nurse right before bedtime, and I have to tell her no? When she opens her mouth and leans toward my breast, needing her Mommy in the way she needs only Mommy? How can I explain needing to put my body first when the mommy code is that we go last? How do I send my love with her to daycare so that she knows I think about her every minute that I am gone? I have no idea. But I do know this: I miss pumping already.

-Trixie

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Tuesday's Weigh-in @ WW

I don't know if I have confessed this to you yet or not, but I haven't counted points in weeks.  At first it was just that it was a bad week food wise with family in town so I just decided that I wouldn't worry about my weight loss that week.  In other words, the goal became- don't gain weight instead of lose weight. But then a strange thing happened....I LOST WEIGHT.  So then the next week I didn't count points and I lost weight again.  Then I just decided that I would keep "not counting points" until it stopped working (in other words- I gained weight).  Well that hasn't happened yet.  It wasn't a lot of weight, but I lost none the less.  So now I am beginning to think that I could have really good weight loss if I just kept track of everything.  I think there is a fear that I know am over my point totals each day and I don't want to see that on the computer.  But if I want to be serious about this, I better get tracking (ok, yes I realize this is a stupid play on words, but it made me chuckle).  Only problem? I am heading to California to visit friends and I will have little control over where we eat.  So, I am going to do the best I can, track what I can, and see what happens. My hope is to lose over 1.3 pounds because that would get me to my first mini-goal. 

So here is the breakdown:
Goal: 50 pounds
Week: 7
Loss this week: .6 pounds

Total Loss: 9.2 pounds

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Is your blog carbon neutral?

Did you know that a blog with 15,000 visitors a month has a yearly carbon dioxide emissions of around 8lbs? I had no idea until I received an email from Christin on the "Make it Green" team about their latest initiative. They have partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation and will be planting trees in the Plumas National Forest in Northern California in order to help neutralize the carbon footprint of blogs.  Cool right? 

Now I don't have 15,000 visitors a month (yet?), but as a recycling, hybrid driving, cloth diapering momma, I would hate to know that somehow my blogging has increased my carbon footprint.  So I checked the "Make it Green" team out by visiting their website.  I learned that they were a German team that began the "Make it Green" campaign in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  They say by planting one tree, it can offset my blog's carbon emissions for 50 years!!

(graphic taken from Make it Green's website where you can learn more about how this all works)

So how do I get them to plant a tree for me?  Easy peasy! I just write a blog about their initiative, include the button (see below) and email them what I wrote.  They didn't ask me to recruit you to do it too, but I think it would be great if you would.  Please take a minute and check them out, then if you want to make a difference in our world with one simple post..."Make it Green"!  Then if you want to make me feel really good, come back and let me know that you did it too. Thanks!


Friday, April 02, 2010

Favorite Moments Friday

Today is a special day so I am going to put a twist on Favorite Moments Friday.  What is so special about today you ask?
 
Baby S is 3 months today!

I can't believe it has been three months!  It has gone by so quickly, yet I know there were days in the last three months that I thought would never end.  I feel like Baby S is so grown up now, he laughs in response to my husband and I, tracks us as we walk around the room, looks at the person that is talking (even if it is a stranger), and has begun to notice (and play with) the little animals hanging from his bouncy seat, car seat, and play gym.  He is not the only person that has changed though...I feel completely transformed into a mom.  I haven't missed teaching for one second!  I have learned new skills like:
  1. "Calm your baby jiggle and shuffle"
  2. Talking to Baby S about almost every move I make (despite the feeling like I might be losing it since I am in essence talking to myself)
  3. Driving with one hand on the steering wheel and one hand reached over to the back seat and into Baby S's mouth in order to calm him as we drive home (granted it is usually because I have pushed our outing just a wee bit too long and now he is either over tired or really hungry)
  4. I can tell (much of the time) when Baby S is getting to be hungry, tired, or over stimulated, and can usually get him what he needs before a major meltdown 
  5. I can change a diaper like a rock star (and when my husband isn't home, will often try to sing like one too).
  6. I can drive or sleep without constantly worrying that something will happen to Baby S while I doing those things.
  7. I can nurse, watch tv/surf the internet, and carry on a conversation (or yell at the dogs) all at the same time. 
What are some of the things you have learned to do now that you are a mom? 


I do have a few favorite moments from this week as well.  Here we go:

  1. We went on our first picnic last Saturday.  We first took a short walk through Washington Park in Portland and then found a nice spot on a grassy knoll with a great view of Mount St. Helens to set up our picnic.  Baby S got to wear his cool sun hat and touch grass for the very first time!
  2. On Wednesday we hosted the first of our Play Group dates.  It was a lot of fun and it tuckered poor Baby S out.  He fell asleep around 3 and at shortly after 5, my husband and I decided that I better wake him up if he was going to fall back asleep at 7:30.  Well I went in, turned off the sound machine, opened the blinds and then slowly undid his swaddle...the whole time he was sound asleep.  Finally he began to stretch and he peeked at me with just one eye...and then he grinned. Ugh...I just about melted right then and there!

There is another reason why today is special.  Today is my puppy's birthday!  Clyde turns 2 today so I figured I would take a quick moment and show how much he has grown!  The first picture is when he was just 8 weeks old.  We had to wait just two more weeks to get him, but we wanted our other dog, Lola, to have a chance to meet him.  The second picture I just took today (Clyde on the left, Lola on the right). 

Happy Birthday Clyde! 

    Thursday, April 01, 2010

    4:30 am: where all good plans go to die [Guest Post]

    Without further ado, I present to you my sister, "Trixie".

    It’s always good to have a Plan. So, for example, when your beautiful, lovely, awesome 6 month old wakes up in the middle of the night at a time when she is plainly not hungry, waking you from a peculiar dream about buttons, you know what to do. The six month old in question, my second-born, LambChop, is actually a pretty good sleeper. After diving into solid foods recently, she has started sleeping really through the night, which is to say, from about 7:30 pm to about 6:30 am. I know that just the mere fact of typing this point out will create such bad karma for me that the whole family will soon come down with the plague, but there it is. In any event, the Lamber is a good sleeper; she takes after her father. More on that later.

    So, as I had reasoned out The Plan during daylight hours: since she had made it through the night numerous times successfully, if she woke up it was likely something she could make it through on her own. We would be Hard-Ass Ferbers, and would wait 10 minutes the first time she woke up. Then, I would send my husband in to her room in increasing increments to pat her back and soothe her (not me so as to not arouse any hunger pangs), and she would quickly be back to sleep on her own. We would not pick her up. We would not go in more frequently. We would be loving Guides to Sleep. Easy-peasy. I felt smug with my Plan, and Lamb Chop appeased me by not waking up for the first few nights of its implementation. Good girl.

    Last night, though, it all went to shit. About 4:30 am, I hear the cry. Now, as Mommy C has told you, I sleep with earplugs because otherwise every time LC or her 2 1/2 year old brother, Monkey, roll over, I wake up with the splashed-water-on-the-face alarm that comes with your Mommy badge. But this cry makes it through the sound barrier, and I’m awake. I grab the video monitor, which I love, even though we live in a tiny house and I can hear her from her room without it, and I squint to see what has bothered my Lamby. My husband, Egg, is still snoring away (earplugs help with that too). I can only surmise that his snoring acts like some kind of white noise machine for him, allowing him to sleep peacefully while bombs drop on the house.

    Anyway, I watch LC for about a minute to see if she calms down. No luck, she’s in full crying mode. Egg’s snoring reminds me that he should endure this too, so I turn up the monitor and put it right next to his ear. Nothing. Remarkable. They should test this. I poke him. Finally, he wakes up. Then, this happens:

    Me: She’s crying.
    Egg: Okay.....
    Me (with confidence): we’re waiting ten minutes to go get her.
    Egg: And you woke me because?
    Me (exasperated): you need to know when the ten minutes is.
    LC: WAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!

    At this point, time slows to an unbelievable crawl. I check my watch. Damn, only a minute and a half have gone by. Finally, excruciatingly, we work our way up to 9 minutes. Close enough. I poke Egg again.

    Me: Time to go in.
    Egg: ZZZZZZZZZ.... Whaaa?
    Me: Time to go in. Now listen, you need to make sure her blankie is nearby. And pat her back. Don’t pick her up. But do check her to see if she feels hot, like a fever. Or cold. Maybe she’s too cold. What if she’s gone poopy? I’m not sure about that. Come back and tell me if that’s true. Check to see if she’s spit up too. But don’t be in there too long. Ok?
    Egg: ZZZZZZZZZ.... Wha???? (As a side note, I’m convinced that half the reason my children sleep through the night is that I can’t get their father awake enough to get them in time before they give up and go to sleep on their own. This is actually a valuable resource, and I’m willing to rent him out.)
    Me: (pokes Egg, repeats everything).

    Egg then stands up and starts to walk toward the door. I am, at this point, repeating my instructions for a third time. In between my sentences, you can just insert your own grunts as Egg’s responses.

    Me: .... Also, do you want the monitor so you can see? No, ok. I’ll watch from here. Oh, wait. I think she’s starting to soothe herself. Wait. No. Now she’s crying again. No, no, go back. No - wait, stop. I think she’s ok. No. No. Umm... I don’t know. Go. Maybe. What do you think?
    Egg (at this point, completely ignoring me and walking to LC’s room): CRASH
    Me: oh, and I put the bouncer in front of her stupid door so that the cats don’t push it open.
    Egg: you think?

    So, I watch as Egg skillfully checks LambChop, and pats her back for a little. No dice. Still crying. He comes back into the room as I pepper him with questions. Poopy? No. Fever? No. Cold? No. Ideas? ZZZZZZZZZ...

    Great. He fell asleep already. She’s still crying though, so I sit there in the dark, watching her cry, for another 5 minutes. Oh, hell. I can’t stand this. Egg clearly did it wrong. I’m going in. I know, this is in complete violation of The Plan. But who thinks clearly at 4:45 am? I’d ask Egg what he thought, but he’s asleep. So I go in, totally blind, by the way, from watching the video monitor in the dark, and I. Pick. Her. Up. Yup. Screw you, Plan. You haven’t heard Lamby cry. I give her two of those teething tablets (don’t judge), bounce her for a little, ignore the fact that she is on full open-mouth-give-me-that-boob alert, and put her back down, officially crying louder than when I came in. Great. I’m an Expert at this. I should rent me out.

    But then, miracle of miracles, by the time I get back to our bed, she’s down to just whining. And in two more minutes, she’s out like a light. Ah... 5:00 am. Monkey, asleep. LambChop, asleep. Egg, asleep. Mommy.... wide awake. And thinking about the Plan for the day. ‘Cause that’s how I roll.

    -Trixie