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Beach Day | nextlifechapter.comYesterday was a great day and worthy of note. We decided to spend the day at the beach and Tim insisted we drive a little further to the “real Florida beach” at St. George Island. I’m not sure it was worth the extra 45-minute drive, but the sand dunes were lovely and the beach accommodations were better than those at Bald Point.

We bought boiled peanuts along the side of the road on our way out (a true Southern treat…salty and soft like beans, not crunchy like roasted peanuts). We did get some rain and even had to eat our lunch in the van due to a passing storm, but in true Florida style, the bad weather passed quickly. It was a fun afternoon of jumping in the waves with Adelaide, playing in the sand, and resting in the shade of the beach umbrella while June napped on my belly.

On the way home, we hoped for good seafood and chance found us at the Seineyard Seafood Restaurant where we had a delicious meal and super-friendly service. (Tim can convince me to go to St. George Island any time if we can stop there on the way back.)

But what made the day truly remarkable was what happened the night before we went to the beach. For the second night in a row, June slept seven hours straight, in her crib in the room she and Adelaide share. It may not sound like much, but we haven’t had many nights like that since moving to Florida.

And–this is the biggie–Adelaide went to bed and slept the entire night without her pacifier. Aside from perhaps a few weeks of infanthood, this was the first night of her four years of life without a paci. This is a big, big deal in our house and for Adelaide. We have attempted to wean her from the paci several times in the past. “But I love it,” she once told me, such a sincere, yet sad plea.

When June was born, we decided to pick our battles and let it go. She only used the paci when she slept at night and it brought her such comfort that my post-partum self couldn’t emotionally handle the fight. I figured (hoped? prayed?) that she would give it up when she was ready. We did hang the carrot of “an awesome prize” over her head, telling her that she could choose something awesome at the store when she decided to give up her paci forever.

Well, tonight makes the third night in a row that she has gone without. I’m so proud of this young lady before me. I swear she seems to have grown an inch in the last month, and while it’s probably just coincidence, she’s been particularly pout and whine free this last week. My baby is growing up. And maybe, just maybe (knock on wood), I may once again get to regularly have a good night’s sleep.

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One-month survival

Rock 'n Play for newborn sleep  |  nextlifechapter.com

Resting peacefully in her new Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play.

The babe is one month old today. I appreciate your patience in my lack of blogging as I enjoy my maternity leave and this special once-in-a-lifetime period with my family.

The last four weeks have flown by, as expected. We enjoyed visits from our parents–Tim’s parents drove up from Florida and later my mom flew out from Illinois.  It was nice to have the extra hands and especially helpful to have sources of entertainment for Adelaide. Now we are on our own, trying to figure out our new normal.

Tim is convinced that June is more “fussy” than Adelaide was as a baby. I think he might have selective memory. Sure, Adelaide was a pretty chill baby, and June really likes to be held (plus, June seems to inhale a lot of air when she nurses and it makes her very gassy). Still, I don’t remember Adelaide being especially “chill” during the first four weeks. That time is mostly a blur, but my memories of Adelaide being a laid back baby were from when she was a bit older.

There was recently a thread on the Longest Shortest Time Mama’s Facebook page asking people to name their most useful baby item and least useful one. Over and over the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper came up as the “can’t live without” baby accessory recommended by moms. I had heard good things about the Rock ‘n Play, but we didn’t have one for Adelaide. After a particularly bad sleep night this week, I decided we would give it a try.

The Rock ‘n Play is positioned on an incline to help babies with reflux and gas, and I thought it might help a baby who constantly wants to be held. I was apprehensive to have her use it for night sleep because I didn’t want to create a bad habit. Plus, June had a surprisingly good night on Wednesday and slept 4.5 hours flat on her back in her bassinet (fluke? maybe).

The Rock ‘n Play arrived yesterday and so far, so good. We didn’t use it overnight, but June seems to like it for naps. We’ll see if that continues. I did appreciate a little hands-free time today–I did the dishes,  a load of laundry, and was able to write this update.

 

So, what was your most useful baby item? What could you totally have done without?

 

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We took Adelaide to her 6-month appointment on Tuesday and talked with our pediatrician about Ada’s sleep. She was doing pretty well, but then the week before last she got sick and digressed. She was coughing a lot in the night and kept waking up. We went to her, which is expected since she wasn’t feeling well, but then once she was better, she still was waking up more often during the night. When she woke in the middle of the night, I didn’t know if she might be hungry. Our pediatrician said that she shouldn’t need to be fed in the middle of the night. Since I had been putting her to bed asleep after nursing, our pediatrician said Adelaide may not have the skills to put herself back to sleep. She suggested changing our nighttime routine so that Adelaide goes to bed tired, but awake. We used to change her clothes/diaper and then read a story or two and then nurse her to sleep.  So, starting last Tuesday night we switched it so that I nurse her first and then I take her upstairs to change her clothes/diaper. Then, we turn on her noise maker, rock her, read 2 stories and sing 2 songs. Then I put her in the crib with her pacifier, turn out the light and leave the room.

The first night we put her down around 8:20 pm, and she cried for just about half an hour. I left to walk Hugo so that I wouldn’t have to listen to it. Tim is a little stronger than me in this department. When I came back from walking the dog she was asleep. The next night we put her down around 8 pm, and she cried for 6 minutes. She woke up a couple of minutes later and cried for another minute or so, but that was it. She woke up around 4:30 am, and I just brought her into bed with us at that point and she was good until around 7. Then, on Thursday night, I put her down around 8:30 pm, and that was it. No crying!! None at all. When she woke up around 4 am, Tim got her to go back to sleep just by rocking her and giving her a pacifier. She woke up again around 5:30 am, and I brought her to bed with me and nursed her. We both fell asleep until the alarm went off. I figured the no crying at all was just a fluke, but Friday night, she went down around 8:30 pm and again no crying at all. And no crying any night since.

We still need to work on getting her to take naps in her crib while she’s at home. I guess that will be the next sleep issue to tackle. I definitely have mixed feelings about “crying it out” – I don’t really believe in it until the baby is at least 4 months or so, and even then it’s tough for more than about 30 – 45 minutes. Still, it seems to be working for us so far, so I guess I’m a believer.

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New Year

I logged into my old LiveJournal account today to find a New Year’s questionnaire I answered several years ago (stay tuned, I’ll be posting it soon). While I was searching through the archive, I found this excerpt of a post I wrote in January 2005:

The New Year
January marks the one-year anniversary of a change in Tim and my relationship. In talking about this with him, we both agree there was a significant change last January although there was no particular event or mile-marker. I do know that it had a lot to do with me. I was confused about what I wanted. But then, something after winter break allowed me to put the past aside and let myself love him.

This New Year’s Eve was perhaps the best of my life. Tim and I were in Florida and we spent it at his friend’s beach house. At 11 o’clock everyone but Tim and I went inside. We stayed at the bon-fire and cuddled in the white sand. Fireworks on both sides from other beach-goers. The sound of waves. It doesn’t get much better than that. Then, we went inside and joined the others for the countdown.

I had a great time visiting Tallahassee. Tim’s brothers are just as he described. His grandma, tiny and kind. I looked through their old family photo albums. Baby pictures. Tim’s big, brown eyes. Tim gave me the town tour: his grade school, his high school. We even drove by his old Kindergarten building. We went to FSU and walked around. I took a picture of the “Bob+Carol” in the sidewalk. Tim’s parents wrote it when they were at FSU in the 70s.

Tim has articulated that he understands the move to Providence hasn’t been the easiest on me. Still, on our return from Florida on the 2nd, it was a great relief that we were returning to the same home. There was no good-bye in Providence as I went back to Boston. Moving was a sacrifice on my part, but he’s is so worth it. We, and our relationship, are worth it.

 

Wow. I hadn’t read that post in years, and reading it now makes me flash back to that time and place. So much has happened in the seven years since then. We finished grad school and moved to Philadelphia without jobs. We’ve moved a total of four times. We got engaged and were married. We adopted a dog and became parents. We’ve grown closer and remained best friends. Now I look through family photos of our baby and her big, soon-to-be brown eyes.

This New Year’s wasn’t as overtly romantic as the one of 2004 into 2005. Tim and I snacked on popcorn and sipped champagne while watching the first season of Portlandia on Netflix instant. We prayed the loud neighborhood fireworks wouldn’t wake our sleeping baby. It was a different kind of celebration, but still sweet in its way.

The next morning, Adelaide gave us the best New Year’s present. She slept for ten and a half hours straight. In her crib. In her own room! She slept through all the firework noise (and it was loud, and right outside our front door). She did the same last night. The true test is tonight, when I have to be at work tomorrow morning for the first time in over two weeks. We’re starting 2012 off right, and if I dare say it, I see a little more sleep in my future.

Adelaide and me at the Mummer's Parade on New Year's Day.

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There's no wait when you're out for brunch on a Wednesday!

7 weeks

1. The forgetfulness/scatteredness people claim as pregnancy brain/new mom brain is a real thing. (This may also extended longer than just for new moms, I’ll keep you posted.) Last week I left the house and spent the evening with friends all while wearing my shirt backwards. No one said anything (knitters, I’m looking at you), so either it wasn’t that noticeable or else they felt sorry for me and didn’t want me to feel bad. Three days later I left the house with my pants on backwards. How do you not notice your pants are on backwards you ask? Well, they were more the yoga-style pant than a button-up fly. I noticed when I got to the car and tried to put my keys in my pocket. The pocket faced the wrong way. I switched the pants around while sitting in the car parked on our street. Fortunately, I did it quickly and I don’t think any neighbors caught the brief moment I was sitting in the driver’s seat in my underwear.

2. Babies are harder to care for weeks 3 – 6 than they are the first couple of weeks. I feel like no one mentioned this. The first couple of weeks Adelaide just ate and then slept, and when she was awake and fussy (which wasn’t very long), I would just feed her again to quiet her. Now, she’s awake a lot more, and that’s a good thing. It’s fun when she’s alert and calm. She has so much more personality when her eyes are open, and I love looking into her deep gray eyes and talking to her. However, being awake more and more also means she’s fussy more and more. And now, I don’t always know what to do to make her happy. Feeding her doesn’t always do it, so it can be frustrating. Since she’s awake more, that means she’s sleeping less, and unfortunately she’s sleeping more during the day than at night.

3. It helps my sanity to get out of the house every day. The last several Mondays I’ve been attending a free breastfeeding support group at the hospital where I delivered. The discussion is usually informative, but I appreciate the opportunity to get out of the house more than anything. Plus, it’s a safe place to breastfeed in public. I’m now much more comfortable using my cover-up and breastfeeding while out and about, but in those first few weeks it was nice to be able to socialize and not have to worry about the logistics of how to discreetly nurse in public. Last Friday, I also attended the New Mom Support Group at the parenting center Ali’s Wagon. Right before the drop-in support group, the My Baby, My Self session features a different speaker each week. You can attend both the guest speaker segment and the support group for $10 (otherwise it’s still $10 to attend one or the other.) I’ve also been trying to make time to meet friends for lunch, make a trip to Target or just out for a walk.

4. When the doorbell rings, take the baby with you to answer. While writing this, two Jehovah’s Witnesses just came to the door. Seeing that I literally had my hands full got rid of them quickly.

There's no wait when you're out for brunch on a Wednesday!

 

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Night

From crappypictures.typepad.com

As I mentioned a few months ago, I bought a smart phone back in April. Now that Adelaide is born, I’m really getting my money’s worth. I use the phone throughout the night while I’m up breastfeeding and trying to get her to settle. I check my email and Facebook. I catch up on the local mommy Google Groups I’ve recently started to read. I check in on Twitter or some of my favorite blogs. I’ve even thought about plugging in headphones and watching instant Netflix movies on my phone in the night, but I haven’t tried that one yet.

A couple nights ago while up at 3:45am I came across this amazing post of crappy pictures. Aside from the fact that we have one child, not two, and a dog, not cats, it’s completely relevant. I wanted to wake Tim up and show him right then.

To his credit, I will say that Tim is not necessarily a deep sleeper. I know he doesn’t sleep through every chirp, snort and whimper. Adelaide is a loud baby who prefers to sleep during the day, so I know he is sleep deprived, too. (Just not as much as me.)

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