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.