Monday, September 27, 2010

Five months of Avery

Our Little Elf turned five months old on Friday!  Avery's fifth month was all about her starting to interact with her world.  Her biggest accomplishments were learning how to reach for toys and put them in her mouth, learning to roll over from her tummy to back and practicing sitting up.  She now sits propped up on her arms like a little tripod, though she normally topples over after only a minute or two.
She is such a happy little spirit and is always smiling and laughing.  She has found her voice too, and likes to coo and make noises, especially if she's unhappy about something.
She still does not particularly like her carseat, but I can finally make short trips without worrying that she will end up screaming her head off.  She is still suspicious of her stroller, but I can tell she's getting more interested in looking around.  She is definitely napping better, taking 3 or 4 good 30-60 minute naps each day, though she still sometimes fights me on it!

Night time is still our biggest challenge.  Avery sleeps just fine, it's ME who is suffering.  She wakes about 5 times on average each night.  Meaning sometimes she wakes only a couple times, but sometimes she wakes far MORE than five times.  She never cries, she just wakes and yawns and kicks and squirms, and if I don't respond right away (I usually try to wait and see if she'll go back to sleep on her own hahahahahaha-no) she goes "eh?  uh?" and so it goes.

I am getting to the point where I am giving up hoping it is a phase that will end and starting to think about what we're going to do about it.  A couple months ago I was really loving sleeping with her because she would go 3-4 hours and I didn't have to physically get up with her.  I felt like I was getting more sleep than I would have if she'd been in her crib.  But when she wakes every hour or two, I find I can't really fall asleep between wakings and thus I lay awake most of the night.  Even if I do fall asleep, being awakened so frequently takes its toll.

I am beginning to wonder if it's just being in our bed that is exacerbating her night waking.  I am scared to try something different that might result in me getting even LESS sleep than I get now because I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of ... losing it?  I don't even know what "it" is or what that means, but I actually feel like weeping at the thought of sleeping for the whole night and that's just sad.

I truly like having her with me at night for a whole variety of reasons and I would be sad to end it.  I wish we could get past this.  Maybe it will end up being worse than what we are doing now, but I'm to the point where we are going to try putting her in her crib ahhhhhhh wish us luck.
Avery's sixth month is going to be a big adventure for her because a week from today we are traveling to the mainland for a month.  We are going to see her Yaya and Hubba, and visit some other family as we make our way across the country to Florida for my sister's wedding!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lazy Parenting

I would say my current parenting philosophy is "the path of least resistance".  Also known as "do whatever works right now and adjust as needed".  Speaking of assvice, probably the only good piece of parenting advice Adam has gotten from his "bros" at work is this: you can't force your kid to sleep or go to the bathroom.  Once you accept this little bit of truth, you save yourself a lot of grief in trying to force the baby on a nap & sleep schedule (or to potty train, but we're not there yet thank goodness).  So... when Avery won't go to sleep at night and I'm awake walking her around to get all her wiggles out, I just keep telling myself it's ok, she'll sleep eventually, I can't force her to sleep, I just have to accept that she's awake and needs to walk around for a little while before settling down.  It doesn't stop me from feeling exasperated about it, but it does help to put it in perspective.

Similarly, when we have a day like yesterday when she just does not want to nap, I can give myself a break.  I don't bother spending hours attempting to get her to nap.  I give it the old college try, and if she's still bright-eyed with her head swiveling around like a little gopher out of his hole, I just bring her back downstairs to play for a while.  Yes, she was extra-fussy yesterday and it was really wearing me down by 4:00 when she had only napped for 30 minutes despite having been offered three opportunities to nap.  Did I want her to nap?  God, yes.  Did she need to nap?  Most definitely.  But I can't force her to sleep!  All I can do is offer the opportunity and create the right conditions.

It's days like yesterday that make me wish I was doing something else other than parenting full time.  How nice it would have been to sit quietly at my desk at work and focus on something for a few hours, and not be bothered by a whining infant who keeps arching her back and kicking away from me in an apparent suicidal swan dive.  I would have enjoyed wandering down the hall to have a conversation about something worldly and important. 

But, it's also days like yesterday that I'm so glad I'm here with Avery.  When she is extra fussy and demanding, I know she truly needs me more.  As exhausting as it is to parent her when she is in a mood like that, I'm simultaneously glad it's me and not a nanny or day care, where she might not have gotten the constant attention she was demanding.

Besides, most of the time I get this:

I've rambled and gotten myself on a tangent. I'm not sure what my point is anymore. I guess what I want to say is, it's like that Zen parable about the man about to be eaten by the tiger...

A man walking across a field encounters a tiger. He fled, the tiger chasing after him. Coming to a cliff, he caught hold of a wild vine and swung himself over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Terrified, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger had come, waiting to eat him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little began to gnaw away at the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine in one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. How sweet it tasted!

Yeah. It's like that.

Monday, September 20, 2010


After it taking all of thirty seconds to put the baby down for her morning nap, I was all prepared to come downstairs and write a post about how much she is changing and getting better about all sorts of things (napping included), but no sooner did I sit down to write when she woke up again!  A ten minute nap does not a happy baby make, but she is not having any of the sleeping.  Grrrr.  Mommy needs her 30-60 minutes in the morning to herself! 

Still, change is definitely my refrain for this year!   Over the past few weeks, Avery has (mostly) become a different baby all over again.  For example, we are making progress on the stroller-riding.  She will sit for the entire loop around our neighborhood - about a mile.  She seems to enjoy it enough that I'm planning to finally get a real stroller that she can sit up in and look around.  The much-hated carseat is still about the same, though.

She is getting to be so grabby, too!  Nothing is safe from her baby hands.  Hair, skin, chunks of apple, beer bottles - anything that comes within her grasp is fair game.  She is especially interested in anything mom or dad are manipulating, like silverware and plates, even when those are laden with hot food.  She is also fairly proficient at rolling from her tummy to her back, although she will stay on her tummy for longer stretches now too.  Sometimes it seems she forgets how to roll over and will flail and screech until someone "rescues" her.

We went to the other side of the island to have lunch at some friends' house on Saturday and Avery did great.  She even survived when we hit a traffic jam on the way home and she had to sit in her careseat for about an hour!  I was totally exhausted from trying to entertain her and stave off the big fat tears that kept welling up in her eyes, but we made it home without any hysterical crying.

Adam worked yesterday so Avery and I went downtown to the mall so I could check out the new Ergo carrier and see if I want to get one.  She survived that trip too, though we made it home just in time!  I was nervous because that was the farthest I had driven with her by myself (i.e., without someone in the back seat to distract her when she gets frustrated and starts in on her frantic wailing).

Adam is working a lot this week - seven out of the next eight days.  Then he's off a few days and then it's about time for me to head home for the month of October!  I'm excited and also scared about traveling so far with the baby.  We just found out that Adam is going to be getting off the watch floor and going to a job with a lot more responsibilities.  So... he won't have to work nights anymore, but he will probably be working more long hours overall.  I told him I was just going to stay at home when I go in October, since I'm not going to see him for the next two years.  I was only half kidding. 

Seriously, I will lose my mind if he is working 12 hour days Monday thru Friday and then going in on the weekends too.  There is only so much time alone with an infant one can tolerate before the crazy sets in.  Despite him having to work nights and 12 hour shifts, the watch schedule has been pretty good in that there are never more than a few days before he gets a day off.  Which means just when I'm feeling particularly frazzled, he is home for a day or two and I get a recharge. 

Well, baby is getting very upset rolling around on her play mat so I'll hit publish!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sleep: lack thereof

Avery has never been a champion sleeper.  Her very first night in the hospital she would not be put down in the bassinet.  She would wake up as soon as I lay her down on her back and start thrashing her arms and legs or gagging (which babies do the first couple days).  So I spent that first night holding her and not sleeping.  Who knew that would be a harbinger of things to come!  I started sleeping with her in my bed mainly because she would wake up the minute I put her down.  But if I snuggled her up close to me, she would usually sleep ok and I would get to lay down too.  I have been waiting for her night waking to show signs of improvement, but it's actually gotten worse.  She went from waking every 3-4 hours to waking every 1-2 hours and now we're in a phase where she wants to nurse constantly at night and if I try to move away from her she will start rooting around for the boob again.  It's like she wants to stay latched all night!  I have gotten used to sleeping with her, even while she is nursing, to some extent.  I certainly don't feel like I've been up all night.  I don't feel desperate for sleep.  But I do admit it is wearing on me to have her nursing so much at night.  I keep hoping it is a phase that will pass... but of course I know then she will start teething or sitting up and it will all unravel again.  

I attended a La Leche League meeting yesterday morning.  Avery was clearly enthralled with all the other babies and toddlers, and I enjoyed socializing with other moms.  Aside from my one friend with a baby here, and the internet, that was the first time I'd spent time with other mommies.  I definitely need to seek out more connections.  I was looking forward to the meeting as a chance to ask what to do with a baby who wants to nurse ALL. NIGHT. LONG.  LLL supports extended breastfeeding and sleeping with your baby, so I knew I would not get the conventional answer to get her out of our bed and do some form of sleep training (i.e., letting her "cry it out", which I refuse to do).  It made me feel a lot better when I asked the question and was told it is totally, totally normal for exclusively breast fed babies to want to nurse a lot at this age, and that it does get better.

Adam gets a lot of advice (assvice?) from his coworkers, who all love to brag about how well their babies sleep, and tell him we need to get Avery out of our bed and that at some point we will have to let her cry it out or she will never learn to sleep on her own (oh really. never?). 

I tend to look to evolution as explanation for human behavior, and it makes sense that babies are designed to wake frequently and to sleep near their mommies.  If you look at other primates, or even other more traditional cultures, you can see it is quite normal and common.  That is not to say it makes it EASY per se.  Although how easy or hard it is must depend a lot on your perception of the situation.  If I focus on the negatives, I start to feel very prickly about the whole thing, even to the point where I've considered stopping breastfeeding!  But if I view sleeping with Avery and nursing all night as a normal need she has right now, and focus on how much I enjoy snuggling with her and waking up with her, then I feel better about it.  I am even able to relax and SLEEP better/more instead of laying there seething all night.

In her book No Cry Sleep Solution, Elizabeth Pantley recommends repeatedly unlatching the baby right before she's asleep as a remedy for all night nursing.  The baby will root around, but if you keep doing it, she says they will eventually just go to sleep.  I tried it last night and got up to 8 times before I decided to give up and drift off to sleep with the baby still latched.  Perhaps in a few more weeks the situation will seem more pressing and dire to me as the sleep deprivation accumulates and I will find the fortitude to keep unlatching 15 or 20 times until she falls asleep?

In other baby news - and just to underscore the point that change is the only constant - Avery actually fell asleep in her car seat yesterday.  I could not believe it, but she probably slept for about 30 minutes in there.  AND, she fell asleep on Adam, which is unprecedented since her early newborn days.  I was joking that I must have brought the wrong baby home from the LLL meeting!

Also, the last few days Avery has been randomly bursting into hysterical laughter at... well, we're not sure what, but it's really funny to her all of a sudden!  It's quite cute.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Cute recent pics & rolling over

Avery rolled over on her own from tummy to back for the first time on September 3!  By a lucky set of circumstances, Adam has a whole week and a half off of work and he was able to see her roll over for the first time!  We're just hanging around enjoying the family time, admiring the baby and remarking to each other all day long, "look how cute she is!" and "isn't she cute?!".
Her favorite toy Sophie la Girafe.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Baby's first trip to the Honolulu Aquarium

The Honolulu Aquarium is pretty small.  It only took us about 30 minutes to go through the whole thing.  But it was a nice diversion nonetheless.  Avery was interested in the fish tanks and especially liked the jellyfish that were in a dark tank illuminated by blacklight.

There were two monk seals which were fun to see.  They are protected (endangered) here in Hawaii and when one comes up on the beach they rope off a big area so no one bothers it.

Kind of hard to see but this guy was doing a headstand in the pool!  Too funny.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Baby Wildcat

I can't believe football season is here again.  Go Wildcats!  (And Aggies, but we need to get an A&M onesie!)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Spotted at Whole Foods

For some reason I kind of want to try this...

Wednesday, September 01, 2010