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.


17 thoughts on “10 Months (+ some -s)

  1. Heifer international is headquartered here. They’re one of the best NPs ever to me. We also have a bunch of universities in the area. Although also we’re a red state which is unfortunate.

    I’m curious and not at all judging-how does Ansel get to sleep when you’re away for the night? That’s the whole reason I wanted to get Charlie used to not nursing to sleep is if I was ever out or away, and I know you’ve traveled some without him so I’m just curious about it-will he fall asleep on the bottle? Again, that’s not a judgey question at all. I’m just genuinely curious for my own sleep training purposes.

    • Yes. With Laurie he’ll fall asleep rocking with either a bottle or paci, fairly easily. Still wakes as much, unfortunately.

  2. I’ve been lurking for ages, and am finally commenting to talk about diapers, of all things!

    We’ve mostly switched to wool, as well, and love them! I totally think they look like 1940s bathing suits. At first I was sure they’d leak, but they never do. I made ours with felted sweaters – I got about 6 diaper covers for $20 worth of sweaters, and they were super fast to sew. I like that they aren’t constraining around the tummy, with the Velcro PUL covers, it seems like our little peanut can’t even bend at the waist.

    • Yeah, we were also noticing A had marks from the elastic on the legs of the PUL covers that looked uncomfortable, and the wool has taken care of that!

  3. The San Francisco area is beautiful and progressive. It is pretty expensive, yes, but the East Bay where we live (Oakland) is a tad more reasonable. Lots of non profits around here. We’re hiring a campaign manager for a capital campaign we just started – I work for a housing nonprofit – and we’re actually finding it difficult because the nonprofit job market is so great, applicants have their pick of jobs!

  4. He is so freaking adorable!! The sleep deprivation will end, I promise. My solution at that age, when I was up at 5 for work, was to go to bed shortly after him. That might not work for you with how demanding your job is right now.

  5. Pacific northwest for the win!! It’s so great here (or there, because you’d obviously still be in the States). I love the mild winters and the ocean is amazing. Plus then we’d visit you and our babies could be friends.

    – Cade

  6. I’m sorry you and L have faced those rough bits. Family loans = the devil. I hope you two find work elsewhere and a move proves to be just what you all needed. Keeping things crossed for positive changes in 2016 for you three.

  7. Soooo I am a lurker (somehow I set it up so your updates come to my email inbox which makes me a super regular reader) from Indy. My wife and I expected this to be a brief stop along the way, but 6yrs in we are super happy. Indy is way more queer and queer family friendly than I expected. We have a f-ing amazing church, very lgbt positive, liberal and diverse – it’s where we go to see families like ours on a regular basis. And we stay because the cost of living is so low that we can afford to do all.the.travel. I work in Higher Ed & we have lots of amazing schools here. The non-profit community is fantastic. Also the Children’s Museum is the best in the country (but you already likely know that). Having family in the area complicates things, I know.

    • I have a similar love for Ft. Wayne, IN. The job market is wonderful, cost of living is way cheap, the city is beautiful and geared towards families, and the food is sooo good 🙂

  8. I’m really sorry you got a beat-down re: asking for a loan. I so sympathize. My other half is an amazing artist who just hasn’t been rewarded financially yet. We haven’t asked anyone for money yet I am constantly asked when M will “go out and get a job.” It makes me so furious and defensive. Hang in there. Things will get easier – they always do. You could always sell that gorgeous blondie for a bundle. 😉

  9. My 8 mo old son was waking up every 1.5-3 hours and it was taking it toll. I refused to do CIO and we tried everything (sleep suit, oils, white noise, strict bedtime routine.) We finally moved him into a crib in our room followed by not picking him up every time he cried (it was more like a scream.) We would comfort him in other ways but not pick him up. He would wake up around 2 and cry/scream off and on until 6, even with me rubbing his back and him holding my finger. Finally, after a weekish he realized that he was okay and I was still next to him when he woke. Since then, he has been sleeping 9-11 hours. We still use the white noise machine because he is a sensitive sleeper. I am 100% against CIO but knowing that I was right next to him and had my hand on him while he was crying made it easier for me to not feel like I was “abandoning” him. He just needed to work thru not being held all the time and learning how to put himself back to sleep without rocking and comfort food. Just thought I would share since I was in a similar situation.

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