Finding calm in the chaos

Finding calm in the chaos

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Nanny Diaries

I hired our nanny two months ago.
I thought she was the perfect fit for our family.
Two days into the job, Sam loves her.
Two days into the job, she realizes I won't pay her under the table.
Now, I have no nanny.

back to work blues

I started back to work on Thursday. It was nice to see all of my coworkers and get back into my professional life...something I feel I'm pretty good at. I cleaned off my desk, I caught up on journal articles, and updated my computer.

And...I missed my baby.

Friday, I went to work all day. I created new chart templates, revised my schedule, and did a lot more reading.

And...I missed my baby.

Tuesday, I'm seeing patients. A ton of them. All of them have been waiting 8 weeks or more to get into our clinic. Good thing I'll be keeping busy.

And...I'll probably miss my baby still.

sleep training

We started sleep training with Sam two weeks ago.

I researched a variety of methods and this is the one I felt the most comfortable with. Pantley is up front, telling parents that her method doesn't produce overnight results and may take weeks to work. It's true. I've talked to a few parents who have tried this method and don't like it because it's "too gentle".

Fortunately, for us, Sam is already a pretty good sleeper, so he just needed a little push to become a better sleeper.

Our sleep plan looks like this:

  • We moved bedtime up earlier so he could get more sleep, even though initially, we got less interrupted sleep as parents.
  • We have a strict bedtime routine: Bath, books, boob/bottle, bundle (swaddled), and bed. Every night. No matter what.
  • I get up to nurse him the first time he wakes up, usually around 1-2am.

After 2 weeks, he is going down very easily and we're putting him down drowsy, but awake. So, we've decided to take the next step.

  • Joe is going to put him back to sleep if he gets up after his first feeding, but before 5am.

We tried it last night, both of us getting up together. I nursed him briefly and then handed him over to Joe while Sam was still wide awake. Twenty minutes later, we were all back in our own beds...and slept in until 7am!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

weekly wisdom

A wise mom once told me: "You both celebrate and mourn each milestone." Weeks ago, I couldn't wait for Sam to interact more, notice the world around him, and become more playful. Now that he is...well, I sort of wish he weren't.
  • He used to sleep through Mass, so we try to going during nap time. Now, he is too busy smiling at people and making friends to sleep. But, he's still crabby and sleep-deprived. This Sunday, he smile-frowned-cried-smile-coo-frowned all in the matter of 10 seconds. Ah, bipolar baby.
  • He has always loved to be held. Now, he loves being held, but has to wiggle, stand, and jump. My arms are getting a workout!

  • Nursing used to be the center of his world. Now, he tries to look around...and takes the boob with him. Less than comfortable, let me tell you!

  • Used to love his playmat. Now, can't stand being on his back because he is missing seeing what's going on around him. I can't wait till he can sit up on his own..., but then, I'll probably have something new to mourn then.

Sam loves his Grandma

Uncle Jeffrey and Grandma Dori made the long drive down to IF to visit Sam before school started. We were glad to see them! Grandparenthood transforms people. Dori is so protective of other people's privacy; I don't think she has even spent any time in our bedroom at all. However, the first morning after they arrived, Dori was outside our bedroom in her pajamas, wondering if Sam was up yet. Since he was cuddling in bed with us, his previously-private Grandma climbed into bed, under the covers, with him for some morning playtime before breakfast.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation (part 3)

Welcome to the third and final installment of our summer vacation. After leaving LA, Sam and I went on to visit the Gemmers at their new home at Miracle Ranch. In spite of the oppressive heat, we had a great time. How could you not have a great time with Deanna, her cute Daisy, and such a fun environment? (Oh, Darin was fun, too, but sorry, not the main reason for my visit...but I still like you, bud!).

Deanna is such a great photographer, I neglected to take pictures most of my time there, but I got a few. It's great to have a friend that I shared college days with, wedding preparation days with, and now we can share our moms-of-young children days together. We had lazy mom days together, scheduling activities around our children's naps and dreaming about days when they are old enough to go to day camp and we can have some child-free friend time. But, for now, we were happy to fulfill our motherly duties of feeding/nursing, laundry, diaper changing, playing, and napping together. Sam fell in love with Daisy's old playmat and we took some of the toys back with us (thanks, Daisy!)

We squeezed in a visit with Deanna's sister, Michelle, and my Seattle-mom, Mercy. Here is Macey (Michelle's youngest) holding Sam.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and we were sad to say good-bye to everyone. We did so many fun things:
ate ice cream on hot, hot days
walked around camp
watched the Olympics (staying up late has taken on a whole new meaning)
made some cards
took pictures of our cute kiddos
played Guitar Hero (a little too difficult for this sleep deprived mom)
and got lots of good friend time in.
On my way out of town, I met with Tony & Laurel for lunch. Sam thought Laurel was so cozy, he napped with her in the middle of that loud restaurant!

Our flight home was long, especially with a tired, cranky baby who wanted to nurse the whole time, capped off with the perfect ending of the airline losing our luggage. Never have I been so glad to see my husband, get a reassuring hug, and share boy-rearing duties! It was a good trip, but I was glad to be back home as well.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

There were ten in the bed...

...and the little one said, "Roll over, roll over!"


You know the song, but check it out: Sam's rolling over! So glad I got to see this "first". It makes me a little sad to know I'm going back to work in a little over a week and will probably miss other "firsts".

What I did on my summer vacation (part two)

Team Eddy arrived late Friday, so waking up Saturday was like Christmas morning. I couldn't wait for Noah to wake up (and his parents, too, I guess) so we could start having fun. Sam and his Uncle Kevin browsed through a catalog while Noah and Uncle Joe played with his new cars.

Later that morning, we headed to Sabrina's house in Newport Beach. Beautiful view and just a few blocks from the beach. We all played too hard and got sunburned...except the kiddos. Why are we so good at slathering them up with sunscreen but neglecting ourselves? Joe, Kevin, and Steven did some body surfing, which is apparently harder than it looks (as Joe's aching body attested the next day).

That afternoon, we took a trip around Balboa Island and Noah even got to drive the boat. Sam decided he was hungry, nursed, and promptly fell asleep, so he missed seeing a sea lion and a crazy kayaker who outpaced our boat.

Here's a group shot off of Sabrina's dock.

Noah enjoyed feeding the family of ducks that made daily rounds for bread. I tried to tell Noah they loved the whole-wheat "quackers" he was feeding them, but he just looked at me and said, "No, Ninang...they're crackers." Puns are lost on two year olds, I guess.
Sam got his first ride in an umbrella stroller that Uncle John and Joe put together. Noah also used the stroller (his pregnant mother was thankful she didn't have to carry him).

Sunday, Joe and I braved LA traffic and went to Santa Barbara to meet up with Phil, who recently became a Californian (job transfer).Monday, we all realized we'd played too hard and took it easy. We took turns napping, watching movies, and enjoying Aunt Rose's huge bath tub. Noah experienced bubble bath for the first time and made a beard "like Uncle Joe's" for both him and his Lala.

Sadly, our trip ended all too soon. We flew in the wee hours of morning to Salt Lake City, where we left Joe and Sam and I continued onto Seattle for the next leg of our vacation. More about that later...

Monday, August 18, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation (part one)

Joe, Sam, and I left the cogs in LeAnne's good care and set out on our vacation for the summer. We flew to LA, where my godmother, Aunt Rose and her family (Uncle John, Sabrina, and well as Sabrina's boyfriend, Steven) live. Mom joined us that evening. Let me tell you about these awesome people: they are the best hosts ever! Joe and I had our own suite, including travel crib for Sam and a cute little outfit for him as a welcome present; they drove us around in LA traffic and even loaned us a car for a day trip; and tons of yummy food and good visiting all week! Plus, Mom, Aunt Rose, and Uncle John offered to babysit Sam on Friday so that Joe and I could celebrate our 5th anniversary with a day at Disneyland.

So, Friday morning, we stocked up on some formula so my fat baby wouldn't starve and Joe and I headed out for our first full day sans Sam. I packed my breast pump so I could keep up my supply and also, not suffer from too much engorgement throughout the day. Disneyland has an awesome nursing/pumping station with friendly staff, so pumping was very comfortable.

Our date lasted a full 8 hours and it was wonderful to be "kids again" together. We rode rides with childlike glee and ate fun treats like ice cream, cotton candy, and frozen lemonade (kids don't diet, right?). We even took in a few shows, watching a jazz group and a bluegrass group, while eating yet more ice cream.

However, a few things reminded us that we were still parents after all:
1. We couldn't stop talking about our baby.

2. At each ride, we closely examined the multiple varieties of strollers parked near the gates. Strollers of every shape, form, and color. We took pictures on our cell phones and then compared and analyzed the pros and cons of each while waiting in line.

3. Joe wanted to check out Toon Town for a future trip with Sam and we began to tenatively plan to return in a couple of years.

4. We couldn't stop talking about our baby.

After a day full of fun with my husband, I sat down to pump one last time and was overwhelmed with a wave of missing my baby. Suddenly, I needed to get home to him and couldn't get there fast enough. When we got back to Aunt Rose's house, he was happily being held by his Lala and his capable babysitters had taken pictures of him all day so I could see what he'd been up to without me. He had a fun day of shopping, a bath, and lots of cuddle time...and didn't mind the formula (although his mother certainly minded the yucky formula-poop diapers).

More about our vacation to come...

muffin top

Sam's got a muffin top...that's what happens when you weigh 16 pounds at the young age of 3 months. Yep...he's our chunky monkey.
But, couldn't you just spend all day blowing raspberries on that belly?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

weekly wisdom

Always gate-check your carseat. I did this last time I flew, but this time, I decided it was more convenient to bag-check it so I wouldn't have to lug the seat through the airport. Let me tell you what's not-so-convenient: when the airline reroutes your luggage (including your carseat) to another city because there's not enough room on the plane. Yep...and then you are stuck trying to explain to the 25-year-old guy at baggage claim why your baby can't ride in the loaner carseat he's trying to give you because the baby needs to be REAR-FACING and, no, you can't just turn that booster seat around and make it work.

So, again, always gate-check your carseat.

3 months old

Sam, you are growing up so fast! Over the last month, you've:
gained better head control...slept 5 hours in a row...started to smile and coo...become a social butterfly (all the nurses at my office love you!)...attended journal club...tasted formula...spent a full day away from your parents...gone on your second plane ride...still hate tummy time...LOVE to eat...started to like bathtime...found your hands and spend minutes looking at them...try to suck your fingers...can sit with a lot of support for a little while...are mesmerized by your playmat toys...and have giggled twice.
I can't wait to see what the next month brings!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

on hiatus

Hello gentle readers,
Just letting you know that this blog will be on hiatus for the next week. Why? We're going on vacation.

First stop: Salt Lake City tonight and onto the greater LA area tomorrow to visit my godmother. Mom and Amy are meeting us there and we're going to paint the town...well, as much as you can with a 2 year old, 2 month old, and a pregnant-with-twins sister.

Next stop: Seattle for a few days at Deanna's!

Then, home again, to get back to the rigors of preparing to go to work.

Monday, August 04, 2008

weekly wisdom

As a new mom, my life is filled with angst as I worry about how what I'm doing now will screw up...I mean...affect Sam for life.

Am I babying him too much?
Am I pushing him too hard?
Will rocking or nursing him to sleep lead to a life filled with disordered sleep?
On the other hand, will crying it out make it impossible for him to trust, leading to a life filled with failed relationships or a life of deviant behavior???
What's a mother to do??

And, so, I must take a step back and realize what a wise woman once told me: Relax. By the time they go to kindergarten, everyone is potty trained, everyone is weaned, and everyone sleeps in their own bed.

So, because it feels the best, I have become an attachment parent (although prior to pregnancy, I swore I never would be one). I pick him up whenever he cries, I nurse him on demand, and I hold him during his naps during the day time.

However, because God's given us an easy going child, I am pleased with progress in certain areas (although, I cannot take any credit for them):
1. Sam sleeps almost through the night at the age of 2 1/2 months old. He wakes up once usually...on a bad night he wakes up twice.
2. He naps for one nap in his crib in the morning (albeit only for 30-45 minutes); and he falls asleep for this nap WITHOUT being nursed.
3. He's a smiley, happy kid who stops crying as soon as he is picked up and held.

Of course, if later in life he should happen to develop an unnatural obsession with boobs, continue to balk at tummy time, or need to be rocked to sleep when he's in college....well, I'm not taking credit for those things either.

the death march

It started innocently enough. The weather was supposed to be cooling down and Joe proposed that we take an easy day hike through the Chester wetlands...a mile or two hike over flat ground; we could take the dogs and Joe could scout out some places for duck hunting. So, we loaded up the dogs and I put the boy in a front pack and we set off on our hike.
The first part of our hike was perfect. There was a nice breeze. Schatzi hiked off leash, pointing birds, bugs, and one deer that she spooked. Doc hiked on a long lead and jumped in the water every chance we got. The bugs weren't too annoying and Sam was content to look at our scenery until he fell asleep. Joe even practiced fetching duck dummies with Doc. Unfortunately, Doc would swim out to them but neglect to bring them back.
Then, things took a turn for the worst:
1. We realized we were on a road that wasn't on the map.
2. I started getting tired and cranky...there was no place in the shade to nurse Sam, so I nursed him while we hiked.
3. It started getting hotter...MUCH hotter.
4. The grasshopper population density increased; we were now being bombarded with grasshoppers, which made neither Sam nor me very happy.
5. At the end, the dogs started limping because the sand was so hot. I started to worry when Doc laid down and cried when we made him get up and get going.
In the end, I felt like we were on a death march: no shade, marching along to who knows where carrying my 14 1/2 pound baby, and urging my dogs to get up off the side of the road. Our easy hike turned into a 5mile, 3 1/2 hour ordeal in the hot sun. Later, I told Joe that if it had been just the two of us, I would have been hot and cranky, but none the worse for wear. But, because I was worried about our three charges (especially our crying, limping dogs), I was a wreck. I was ready to cry by the time we saw our car parked at the trailhead!
Fortunately, alls well that ends well. Doc and Schatzi cooled down once we got them in the airconditioning and show no injuries today. Joe and I are a little achy and sore today, but after loading up on water when we got home, we both felt better. And, Sam slept through the entire ordeal, so as far as he is concerned, we just had a fun little hike yesterday.