By the teeth

Tooth #3 broke through the gums sometime yesterday. If you’re counting, that’s three teeth in a week and a half. I’m no expert, but this does seem to be a somewhat accelerated timeline – which is what the doctor told us to expect from a late teether. We noticed that tooth #1 had popped through on Monday January 18th, and #2 on the bottom was definitely out by Monday January 25th, and then yesterday, La spotted #3 on the top coming in. Since the top two and bottom two usually come in pairs, I’d bet #4 will be here soon too.

I can only imagine how fucking awful it is to be Ansel right now. After 10 blissful months of gummy happiness, he suddenly has three sharp, calciferous nubs crashing through his gums. That has got to change SO much of your world. He has maintained his affable nature beautifully through this. With one small exception . . .

It would appear that my nipples have become the target of his entirely justified teething rage. On Wednesday night I was home by myself putting A to bed. For a while now, he’s resisted laying belly to belly on his side using the boppy, which was our go-to nursing position, particularly at night for bedtime. He wiggles and writhes and I just kind of let him figure out what’s going to be comfortable, which is often some version of sitting up and straddling my leg, or laying on his back with his head turned to nurse. He was in this process of getting comfortable when he bit down. And I yelped. And he cried.

It was kind of awful. I figured though, that because he’d pulled off and gotten scared of my yelp, it might be enough to keep him from doing it again. But no, he ended up biting me a total of 4 times (3 on the right and 1 on the left) – each time, I pulled him off and told him ‘no’ and he cried the saddest cry. He seemed to only want to nurse on one side, and the more upset he got about being told ‘no’, the more the sobbing seemed to lead to biting. It was rough.

Last night, L was home and I was nursing him to sleep again. Things were going a bit easier and I was feeling confident but, nope, another bite down on the right. Then I switched sides and he got me on the left. Again, I pulled him off and calmly said, ‘no biting Mama.’ and again, he looked at me and cried in deep despair. After the second time, L came into the room and picked him up and calmed him. Once he was calm, we tried again. He bit only once more, and she again held him and calmed him before we asked if he wanted milk and put him back to nurse. I’m hoping that this tag team approach will work.

He hasn’t bit me at all during other nursing sessions (middle of the night, morning, or home from work) so I’m wondering if it’s somehow connected to going to bed in a different way.

I’m definitely soliciting ideas from anyone who’s dealt with this. I know he’s not doing it intentionally, and I definitely don’t think either of us are ready to end our nursing relationship. But also, between pumping 4 times a day and the biting, my nipples are hurting pretty bad today.

In sleep news, things are . . .ok. Both Wednesday and Thursday were average nights, with wake-ups at 12-1, 2-3 and 5-6. But, since he’s getting a mouthful of teeth all at once, I still call this a success. I’m withholding judgement about anything until the teething settles a little more. He has, however, taken 2 hour naps on his own in his crib or pack and play everyday this week. So, I do believe that some corner has been turned on the sleep path.

Finally, I have to tell you about the most awesome date L and I went on last week. Our good friend (and A’s fairy godmother) is moving to MN soon, and she is trying to soak up all the best people and fun before she leaves. She really wanted to book a karaoke room, so we found one in a sushi restaurant. But, it was only available from 3-6pm.

While this is a weird time on a Saturday to go on a date, it actually worked out so perfectly! It was easier to find a sitter, we were able to put A to sleep ourselves, and we went to bed at our preferred early hour. AND we sang so many show tunes, madonna songs, and early 80’s hits!

12631305_10153341033797196_2877520109321028934_n.jpg

 

Like a baby

Well, here I am with an update about sleeping. Just like everyone else. At least we are in it together, right team?

On Sunday evening, we put A down like usual at 7:30ish. He didn’t wake up at all until 12:45am, which was already a win (since he often needs 1-2 brief resettling assurances before we go to bed.) At the 12:45am wake up I nursed and rocked him and put him back to bed. He didn’t wake again until 6am, at which point I put him in bed with us and we all slept until 7:30am.

That’s two 5 hour chunks, y’all. I woke up feeling like this:

the-sound-of-music-1920x1080.jpg

I could not, for the life of me, determine what we might have done differently. But I was so happy.

 

On Monday night, I put him down closer to 8pm, thanks to some general delays and solo parenting for the night. He woke at 9 and 10pm needing to be resettled. He woke at 1:00am and I nursed and rocked him, put him down only to have him wake immediately, rocked him some more. He then woke at 2:30 and I made L get up and settle him. Then he woke again at 3:45 and I rocked and nursed him again. He woke at 4:15 and I sent L in again. He then woke for the final time at 5:45 and I brought him to bed.

And I felt like this: download.jpg

L was seriously struggling as well, since she rarely gets up with A in the night (my choice) – so we were all hurting. It seems super likely that he is getting another tooth, since he’s doing a weird sucking/chewing thing and also trying to gum things like major appliances. But still. How could one night go SO well and another go SO badly?

Yesterday, we received our dock-a-tot. And I sent a secret prayer to the heavens that we would find some relief.

L was in charge of bedtime since I was at rehearsal. She said he was more than ready for bed at 7pm, so she put him down on the early side. She said he woke once around 9pm and needed a quick booty pat, but otherwise, he stayed asleep until 1am! I nursed and rocked him at this wake up, put him back down in the dock and he didn’t wake again until 6am! Into bed until the alarm went off at 7:30am!

Was it the dock? Did the tooth do it’s worst the night before? I don’t know, but I am once again quite rested (although, don’t trip, the sleep debt I’ve accrued over 10 1/2 months + pregnancy unrest means that it will take years before I am actually rested.) And I am hoping beyond hope that between the dock and perhaps turning a corner developmentally, he may be on track to wake less often. I could definitely work with the 1am/6am wake up (which I would count as only one wake up since he comes to bed at 6am regardless)

12540949_10201497245388979_5985527338997932931_n.jpg

So, we’ll see.

In other news, we went to meet the new pediatrician (Ansel had an insurance plan through a company that went out of business, so we had to switch insurers and thus doctors as well) and she was awesome. He also got his second flu shot, and weighed in at 22lbs and 29 1/2″ – in the 76th percentile for height and the 72nd for weight.

And finally, as you all know, our Denver Broncos are headed to the Superbowl! I’ll be real that I’m not holding out a ton of hope that we’ll beat Carolina, but I also didn’t think we’d get to the Superbowl earlier in the season, so I’m prepared to be amazed. And, they won even though Ansel had a massive blow out in his lucky pants earlier that day. Prompting us to use the #pooponbrady hashtag. Sorry LadyKing.

12548908_10153384032746864_2931756993621114176_n.jpg

10 Months (+ some -s)

12510411_10153373325011864_6507020560458651273_n Well, here we are – closing in on a year old! On January 17th, Ansel Jack hit 10 months (and we successfully took a picture to mark the occasion!) Here are some highlights:

  • He finally cut his first tooth! Bottom left, coming right in. And it is sucking just as much as I thought it would, too!
  • He’s cruising like crazy, crawling so fast, always wants to be standing, and has been attempting to stand independently more often and for longer periods of time.
  • He’s eating SO MUCH, even though he really is still such a gummy bear. Current faves: hummus, graham crackers, beans, peas and most recently, tuna.
  • He feeds himself very, very well! His pincer grasp is excellent and his accuracy is amazing.
  • He is fascinated by figuring out how things work, connect and move. Definitely baby engineer phase – spends lots of time looking at wheels, examining gears, looking at how things are put together, and fitting things together.
  • Between his stiff legged supported walk, his penchant for falling and hitting his head on everything, his unintelligible shouts at random moments and his gymnastic nursing sessions, we have affectionately begun referring to him as a baby drunk.
  • He has a new sound every day, it seems like. Raspberrys, hard d’s and g’s, all the many vowels in all the many mouth shapes. My personal favorite is when he whispers “aduh, aduh” to himself while he is concentrating.
  • Current favorite toys and activities: soup ladle (we named the ladle Lou), the washing machine, a monkey gear turning toy.
  • Attachment and shyness are kicking in. He’s still generally affable with strangers, but he cried when I left him at the babysitter’s yesterday – a first – and will not let me do anything but hold him once he’s decided he wants milk.

Parenting Ansel gets more and more fun (and more and more complicated) every day. It’s exciting to see him thinking about things and figuring them out, trying to communicate, observing and responding. I like being one of his moms.

Like many of you, sleep continues to be an illusive and complicated part of parenthood. Ansel wakes 2-3 times a night on most nights. We put him to sleep between 7-7:30pm and he falls asleep easily (while nursing, which I have 0 issues with.) Most of the time, he’ll sleep until around 11pm, right before I go to bed, and then I’ll top him off. Sometimes he skips this one and wakes at 1-2am, but he always wakes around the 1-2am hour even when he has had an earlier wake up. I nurse him this time and put him back in the crib. He then usually wakes between 4am-5am, and I bring him to bed where he sleeps until we all get up at 7:30am.

In most cases, he falls asleep easily whenever he wakes up. Sometimes, we just have to pat his butt or rub his back, other times, pick him up and rock him briefly. But this still means I’m getting out of bed at least twice a night. Last week, in the throes of teething, he was waking almost hourly in the early part of the night. After almost a year of this, it’s starting to take its toll.

So, we are starting to think about what to try next. We decided, even with Molly’s less than rave reviews, to invest in the Dock-a-Tot, both based on the other reviews and Ansel’s love of sleeping in my snoogle on the bed (and the fact that he often seems to crawl in his sleep and bonk his head on the crib, which then wakes him) They were out of stock on every fabric except zebra print (and we are not an animal print family, unfortunately) so it only just shipped yesterday. My hope that this will suddenly cure our sleep troubles is probably irrational. But it’s there, nonetheless. I’m not ready to night wean him or do any sort of “cry it out” sleep training yet, although we may explore some other options if the doc-a-tot isn’t the sleep panacea I’m dreaming it is.

On the up side, Ansel does appear to be taking lengthy naps, on his own, in his crib. I say apparently because as long as I am involved, that is not the case. If I put him down for a nap, it lasts 15 minutes unless he’s being held. But both L and the babysitter have succeeded, and since they are with him far more frequently, I guess that’s all ok. Knowing this is also a potentially helpful strategy for other sleeping, as well.

Since he’s gotten more mobile, we’ve been having issues with our cloth diapers leaking – something that was never an issue before. We have determined that there are likely a few reasons for this: well water which likely means needing to strip  our prefolds (a project for the weekend); putting our PUL diaper covers in the dryer (dumb dumb dumb! but we either read that we shouldn’t and spaced it or didn’t read that and just figured it was a good idea. So I’m telling you – hang your diaper covers with PUL up to dry!!) So, last weekend we bought some wool covers second hand and I am in love with them. They are hella cute (seriously, A looks like an old timey body builder or beach goer!) and they do not leak, like, at all. So, we have been using these, mostly, and some pockets we also got second hand, with an extra doubler. Giant diaper butt, yes indeed.

But things have also sort of been hard . . .

  • We decided, mostly because of the extra 2 hours it was adding to our day (but also for some other complex reasons,) to no longer have my mom watch Ansel at her house for a full day. She was so heartbroken when we told her and I am such a pushover, that we decided she would start coming over for a few hours on my work from home day to watch him. This is actually a great solution, but it comes with a lot of difficulty as well. I’m just generally struggling with my mom, in part because . . .
  • Upon making the very difficult decision to ask her for a loan (L doesn’t get paid in January, thanks to the shitty way of the adjunct world) she laid into me about how L needed to find a new job that paid better. As if we are not painfully aware of how poorly paid and treated L is, as my beautiful brilliant wife does not already daily doubt her worth because of her paycheck, as though we had not considered a thousand other solutions. (just in case you’re wondering, the doc-a-tot was a gift as well, so no, we didn’t buy an expensive sleep aid and forgo our bills and then borrow money, in case you were wondering.) It was grueling and awful and I’ll never again ask for money because the emotional cost was far, far too high. This is really just a microcosm of our relationship right now.
  • I didn’t get the job. There were more than 200 applicants, and I was one of 7 final candidates, which I know should make me feel good, but mostly makes me feel kind of lousy. The job was exciting and new, in a semi-related field that could’ve meant more growth opportunities, and it paid REALLY well.
  • Work has been intensely overwhelming. On Tuesday, I worked from 10am until past midnight and then came in to a staff meeting where a colleague told me she wasn’t willing to budge on a deadline for something else by half a day and I literally almost cut a bitch. Instead I cried, and then the universe cancelled a meeting and I was able to meet the deadline but still . . .I am compromising my time with family far more than I’d like to get things done.

We are also very seriously considering moving out of state, regardless of any specific job situation. Of course, L continues to apply for full time and tenure track positions (holla friends in LA, cause she’s got three apps out to schools in your area!) but we are also seriously considering heading to Minneapolis, where our good friend is moving in a few months or the PacNW. I think we both feel like things need to shift somehow, and what we have done here doesn’t seem to be working. So . . .tell me why you love where you live and then send me any job opportunities you see – I have a masters degree and mostly I’m great at non profit administration, training and facilitation, and sexual health education.

Playing catch up

Accurate title for both this blog post and my life.

There’s SO much to update you on! Where do I start?

  • Ansel met Cecile Richards (the president of Planned Parenthood Federation of  America aka sort of a personal hero for me) at a memorial for the victims of the Co Springs PP terrorist attack. F a bunch of white dudes killing people in the name of God, but love Cecile. 12308814_10153287995766864_3964621136491587943_n (1).jpg
  • In early December, Ansel and I flew to New Jersey to attend the National Sex Education Conference. I booked the trip in late August, when Ansel was 5 months old (aka: not mobile, not super vocal, a very different baby) and in the intervening months, we determined it would be best if L came along (which is possible because MIL is a flight attendant and L has a ‘companion pass’) which was all well and good until L ended up with a sinus infection and I really didn’t want to compound her suffering on an airplane. Since she had her own work trip to go on at the end of the week and needed to be well for that, she stayed home. And because of the overlap in these trips, Ansel came with me and I was solely responsible for his life and well being for 24 hours/day, 7 days. Ultimately, we made it. Ultimately, I will never do that again. As often happens in parenthood, I wasn’t able to be fully present in either task – I wasn’t fully present at the conference, and I wasn’t a 100% available parent. And obviously, I have intensely deep respect for anyone who regularly (or always) solo parents because that shit is HARD. 12313594_10153293008426864_8884761668945041526_n (1).jpg
  • I got home from NJ and almost immediately ended up sick. Like SICK sick. Sick, in fact, with pneumonia. Which is weird because I didn’t have a noticeable cold or other low level sickness. Nope, I just woke up with fucking pneumonia. So, that can happen I guess. Having pneumonia and working and caring for an infant (although, thankfully, with a partner as well by this point) SUCKS. The cherry on top of this shit sundae was that all of the “planning year milestones” for the grant I administer were due Jan 1 (because for the government, it’s perfectly acceptable for a planning year to = 6 months) So, I was doing some intense self flaggelation about the amount of time I was taking off but also, I was SO SICK that I had to take time off. And pneumonia is exhausting because you basically can’t breathe and have reduced oxygen levels and so you’re just always so tired. So, that sucked.
  • During this week, Ansel turned 9 months old and because of bullet points 1 and 2 (but mostly 2) we just couldn’t get our shit together to take pictures. BUT, we did make it to his 9 month well child visit, where he clocked in at 21lbs and 28 1/2″, keeping him in about the 60th %ile for both height and weight. His head remains a little smaller still, at 50th %ile. He’s solidly in 12 month clothing.
  • Developmentally, he appears to be kicking ass. He has been crawling for some time, and is super speedy. He started pulling up in early December, and now basically just always wants to be standing. He’s cruising along furniture and is using a walker he got for Xmas, as well as taking steps holding our hands, and has stood unsupported for a few seconds at a time about twice. He’s SO CHATTY, understands quite a bit (his name, “NO”, milk, food, up, etc.) and babbles almost constantly. Of course, he remains incredibly smiley, very laid back, filled with joy.601110_10153331584371864_8621877703174180891_n.jpg
  • Still no teeth. We thought we saw one cutting through but it either crawled back up into his gums or we were wrong. I think the most likely answer is that we were wrong.
  • Also during sick week, I had a phone interview for this amazing, totally dreamy job. I must have done ok, because I have a second interview this Thursday. Per a good friend’s advice (good friend is also ED for a big org), I purchased a suit jacket to look my funder best. So, please send general well wishes this Thursday morning, 8:30am mountain time.
  • We celebrated Xmas at 6 different events, including 1 before the actual day in CO, 4 during Dec 24, 25 and 26th in Indiana, and a final one on Jan 1st back in CO. Ansel amassed a literal shitton of toys and clothes (necessitating his own suitcase to fill with said toys upon our return) and prompting us to set some serious boundaries for his fast approaching 1st birthday. There was minimal drama in either family, save a little tension on my end (thanks to my ever semi-obsessive mom) and a little worry on L’s (thanks to her dad who can’t take care of himself.)
  • We had one of the best NYE celebrations ever. We hung out briefly with some of L’s theater friends (who also have a newish baby), then went and got burritos at the best burrito place, then put A to bed and watched “Making a Murderer” until midnight when we popped the cork on some sparkling cider, drank it, and went promptly to bed. 12357051_10153340079736864_1020453026820034187_o.jpg

It felt like a whole lot more when it was happening. But there you have it! 2015 went out like a damn wrecking ball . . .I’m hoping 2016 is just as exciting, but maybe not quite so intense.