And not in a bad way!
First, I’ve got a guest post, “What I’d Wear Wednesday: Blue” over at Growing a Life. Check it out, and check out the WIWW archives for more great columns. Also, if you’re expecting or know someone who is (like Damselfly herself!), point them towards her Bustin’ Out Babies list.
Second, I took out Maia’s playsilks for the first time yesterday. Here she is enjoying the blue one:
Motherhood is so unpredictable, and rewarding, and frustrating. If I could go back to my pregnant self and tell her one thing, it’d be to talk to my husband more about our parenting style. Oh, we talked about it vaguely: “”You’ll help me out, right?” “Of course! I want to be involved in our daughter’s life.” But that doesn’t even brush the surface of the number of parenting decisions we have to make each day.
The biggest one we should have talked about: “cry it out” or not? I say not. I say that an infant has no concept of how to manipulate people; if she’s crying and we pick her up and soothe her, we’re fulfilling her basic, primal need for love and social interaction. Sure, this results in me carrying her around the house a lot, but to me, it’s a hell of a lot better than listening to her cry. I can’t even fathom how I could decide “I’m tired of taking care of my baby” and go put the baby in another room, close the door, and go about my daily life without her. It’s just not who I am. Yes, there have been times when she’s been crying so long and loud that all I want is for her to shut the hell up and go to sleep, but I also feel like, as her mother, it’s my responsibility to at least let her know that she’s being heard, and I’m not going to abandon her just because she’s upset. I know it works for some people, and that’s fine, that’s their thing. I know not everyone can handle listening to a baby cry. I know it can pierce your brain and make you think of doing things that you’d never actually do. And I know that in an apartment, where there’s not a lot of space and you can’t really have a quiet area to “escape” to for a break from the crying, it can be even worse. But this is something we should have talked about and hashed out a lot more, because it’s lead to some resentment on both of our parts.
Another big thing to talk about: co-sleeping. I’m okay with Maia not being in bed with us all night; it wasn’t something that I’d planned on doing anyhow, and when Chris and I discussed how having her in the bed was impacting our sleep (which was already impacted enough with the sheer fact that we have a newborn), I was alright with compromising and putting her in the bassinet for most of the night. I still am. And I still pull her into bed whenever she wakes up for the first time after 5am, so when I wake up for the day, she’s right there. I like to sleep with a comforter on no matter what the temperature is, and I like my comforter all the way up around my neck, so it can be a little scary for me because I worry about accidentally covering her with it. But honestly, waking up and having her right there is so, so perfect. I wonder what we’re going to do when she outgrows the bassinet (and at the rate she’s growing, it’s going to be sooner than expected). I hate the idea of her sleeping in another room. Maybe I’ll live in the nursery until she is sleeping through the night or only waking for one nighttime feeding.
Which leads me to a third thing: nighttime feedings. On weeks when Chris is off work, since we’re all in the same room together, I just feed her while sitting up next to him, but I feel kind of funny if she goes into loud suck mode because it could be disturbing his sleep. There’s been at least one time where he’s gotten up out of bed and went into the nursery to sleep because she was just too damned slurpy. Now, I’ve also pumped a few times and stored some milk in the freezer, but how on earth anyone feeds their baby that way is beyond me. By the time the milk has warmed to the proper temperature (even if it’s just been in the fridge), Maia’s so wound up about the fact that she isn’t being fed that there is no way she’ll take the bottle. I have to put her on my breast, let her calm down, then de-latch her and give her the bottle. And frankly, if she’s already nursing, I don’t really see a reason to de-latch, but then the milk in the bottle is being wasted (everything I’ve read suggests NOT reheating milk more than twice). But when I leave her with family to be watched, I have to leave a bottle; are they supposed to randomly heat it and try to feed her? She feeds on-demand.
Then there are the little decisions: how often to bathe her? who bathes her? how often to change her onesie? should she be wearing long sleeves or short? what about pants? socks? how full do we let the baby laundry get before we do it? do you powder her rump every time you change her or just randomly? should we hold her over our shoulder or in front of our chests? when she falls asleep being carried, do we set her in the swing, on the couch, in the crib, in the bassinet, or just continue to hold her? do we swaddle her? do we put a blanket over her? do we turn on the music on the swing? will she stay calm enough for me to do some dishes if I put her in her bouncy chair? should I turn on the music and lights display on the bouncy chair right away, or save it for when she gets a little fussy in the hopes that it’ll calm her down?
Gahhh. Ten thousand questions, and you can never have one set answer to them, you have to adapt on the spot. It’s exhausting!
Oh shit, the first sign of pending mobility:
This is a skill she likes to demonstrate at every opportunity! Too funny.
She totally loves the bath. She’s getting better about not throwing a fit as soon as we take her out, too!
I so love having a little girl. I get to dress her up whenever I want! For a little while, she was wearing little knee-high white socks and some pink shoes… I didn’t get a picture of it though. Maybe I should get her dressed in it again another time, before she outgrows the dress. Hmm.
Anyhow! Last Friday was our first Easter dinner, with Chris’ mother’s side of the family — sort of. More like his aunt-by-marriage’s side, which meant a ton of people we didn’t know, and maybe ten that we did. Ten may sound like a decent amount, but when you consider that there were THIRTY PEOPLE there, it’s not really. And with that many people, Maia was pretty overwhelmed. She definitely had a rough time for the first few hours we were there and I felt horrible; she was crying, didn’t want anyone but me or Chris holding her, screaming whenever someone would get in her face and try to make her happy (what is with that, btw? if you were upset and scared, would you REALLY want a stranger getting in your space, making faces and being loud?). After dinner — which of course I spent in a separate room with her, nursing, and no one thought to bring me my dinner plate, which just sat at the end of the table getting cold (and someone stole my bread off it!) — she calmed down a bit. And in fact, she let other people hold her! One lady that I’m not particularly fond of, the mother of those two boys from Thanksgiving, actually held Maia for a long while, bouncing and walking around the house with her. It was surprising, but awesome.
When we went to leave, Maia was actually good when we set her in her carseat. Usually she’s pissy in the carseat but happy once we get into the car. People crowded around and cooed at her, and she let them see her BIG, dimpled smile.
So then when we got into the car… she was okay, wide-awake though. She stayed awake, watching the shadows play over the roof of the car, looking out of the back window at the streetlights. Of course, this couldn’t last; I was waiting on her to fall asleep, but she decided to start crying instead. I tried a few different things to shush her, but no dice. Eventually we had to pull off the highway so I could feed her. Why she was hungry again after having just been nursed before we left the party is beyond me, but whatever, it worked out.
So Sunday, we were heading to Easter with Chris’ father’s side of the family. The house was literally 15 minutes down the highway. Again, Maia was fed before being put in her carseat, and she was happy; again, she started wailing when we got on the highway, where we encountered massive traffic. Stop-and-go driving does not make my baby very happy. Eventually Chris put his fingertip in her mouth and she suckled on it long enough for us to get to the house, which was kinda nice.
This gathering was MUCH smaller — there were 10 people altogether. One of Chris’ cousins, who has been a nanny before, totally loved Maia and took her out of our hands for most of the night. This was great… I actually got to eat a warm dinner! AT A TABLE!
But guess what happened when we left? Yep, the baby started to scream again as we encountered traffic … on the highway… at 10pm on a Sunday night. If we managed to go 10mph, it was a triumph. Seriously? We’re 15 minutes down the road on a normal day. I managed to quiet her down a little with a rattle, but mostly I just tried to hold her hand as Chris pulled off the highway and zoomed down back streets.
I’m not liking this whole “happy in the carseat, pissed in the car” thing. Especially with the prospect of our trip out to Connecticut in another two weeks!
If Maia had a rocket booster attached to her rump and was prepping for lift-off, this is how she’d look:
Maia’s 61cm (24 inches!) “long”…. but you could say she’s 2 ft tall in this vid:
I’m bummed that today’s midwife appointment was the last. I’ve really, really enjoyed working with them and it feels so weird that these women who have been such an integral part of the most amazing thing in my life are now “gone”. Georgia said we should stop by anytime we’re in the area, and although we’re pretty much never out that way, we very well might make a trip to their office some time on a boring day anyhow!
Maia’s up to 12lb 5oz and 61cm long. This puts her around the 80th percentile for weight, and 95th for length. She’s gained 24oz in the past 25 days. This means that she is growing like a weed… or a sunflower. Yeah, I think I like sunflower better.
She was fussy when Georgia first took her and laid her down to weigh and measure her, but that was expected. She calmed down as the examination continued, but by the time the baby had been checked out and I was getting examined (fucking pap smear, cold metal speculum, ughhh), Maia was happily cooing and talking to all of us. She’s so damned adorable.
Georgia asked when we’re going to be back for our second baby… haha. God help us all, I hope it’s not for a few years yet. I think Chris and I are both comfortable with the thought of having another baby arrive when Maia’s around three years old or so at the earliest.
At the end of the appointment we took a picture of Maia with Georgia. One day we can show it to her and say “this is the woman who helped us out all through the pregnancy and heard your heartbeat with us for the first time. You used to kick her microphone and once you even had hiccups while we were listening that made me laugh so hard she had to move the mic away.”
Sigh. I miss our midwives already.
I love the mornings right now. Maia is a talkative little monster during them, and I can usually get her to smile at me a few times while we play around with one another. “Playing” at this point is really not much more than me waving a rattle or toy in front of her and watching her follow it with her eyes, or me tickling the breath out of her and smothering her with kisses, but I still love it. She makes the funniest faces and talks back at me, making these sort of uncontrolled shouts or coos. It’s adorable.
I can’t get that scary moment on Friday night when she stopped breathing out of my head, though. And yesterday, she vomited twice, once seeming to choke on it. I took a little online Infant Reflux Screening Quiz, and if I’m being honest with myself I answered yes to several of the questions — more than I expected to. I tend to be the kind of person who ignores/downplays symptoms of illness. We see the midwife for our last appointment tomorrow, and our family doctor on Tuesday, so I’ll be able to get two opinions and possibly a prescription if needed. I hate the thought of this being an issue with Maia, I’d rather say it’s colic or gas or something, and I really hate the idea of giving her some sort of prescription medicine, but if she’s genuinely got reflux, then it needs to be treated, and I’m on board with that. I just don’t want to be one of those moms who relies on modern medicine for any little thing that seems to go wrong with her child, but I also don’t want to deny symptoms that include my daughter NOT BREATHING.
Also, can I just say… I am totally geeking out about existere’s twins. I can’t wait for the results of her scan to find out their genders. It’s kind of silly, it’s like I am thinking of these kids as Maia’s e-cousins!