Ben Franklin is throwing up right now

BEEP BEEP BEEP…I interrupt this mommy blog to bring you a political rant…this is not a test…you have been warned….

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. –Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin is my favorite of the Founding Fathers because he seems like someone you could invite over for a barbeque and a few drinks and he’d be terrific fun and you’d probably learn something from him, too. Because, as you probably already know, Ben was a smart guy. (Except for flying the kite in a thunderstorm––that was stupid, if it actually happened.) Just take a look at the first paragraph of his Wikipedia entry:

A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. He invented the lightning rod, bifocals, the Franklin stove, a carriage odometer, and the glass harmonica. He facilitated many civic organizations, including a fire department and a university.

(Um, could you DO more in a lifetime? Sure doesn’t seem like it.)

Now read the quote at the top of this post again. Boy, is this quote still pertinent today or what? Because all over the news I keep hearing Democrats and Republicans explaining away these egregious privacy intrusions by saying it’s for national security. To protect the homeland. From the terrorists. They still wanna get us, ya know. (PS – Be scared.)

*deep breath*

I’m a progressive. A proud liberal. I’m also a registered independent. True, I generally vote for Democrats, because they generally align closest to my political beliefs. But a party loyalist I am not. I speak up when my government screws up, regardless of party. So when I heard the news that the NSA has been cooperating with major communications corporations to spy on practically every American, I flipped my shit, so to speak.

So many times I’ve heard people defend the practice of spying on innocent Americans by huffing and puffing, “Well, if you care so much, then what do you have to hide?” Idiots. We are AMERICANS. We have a CONSTITUTION. The government––our government––is supposed to have limited powers, not limitless powers. Why are we tolerating the transformation of our government into a real-life Big Brother? Why are we acting like this is okay?

And you wanna talk about government waste? How much of our tax dollars are going to pay NSA workers to scrutinize everyone’s phone and internet records? Thank goodness we still have plenty of money for Head Start, medical research, food banks, FEMA, civilian government employees…oh wait, we don’t? Priorities, people, please. Terrorists still wanna getcha! TERRORISTS! Now excuse us, but Bob in Des Moines has some really freaky porn that we’ve gotta check out. (Because, get real…you know that’s what happening.)

Democrats, why are you not outraged? 

Whatever you think about the scope of presidential powers, you must––must––stay objective. If you try to rationalize something away by thinking, “Oh, I don’t really like it, but I know [insert beloved President here] is a good person, and he/she wouldn’t abuse that,” STOP. Just STOP. Because guess what? In a few years, there’ll be a new butt sitting in the Oval Office, and that one might be the devil incarnate (in your opinion). So if you would object to the President you loathed the most (*cough cough*…Dubya…*cough*) doing a particular thing, then you must also object when your guy does it.

And to the Republicans reading this:

I know you are probably besides yourselves with glee, wanting to jump down to the comment box and type in all caps “I TOLD YOU SO!!!!” Not so fast, my friend. Don’t even THINK about saying anything about Obama being a shitty president because I can guarantee Romney (or McCain) would’ve been a hundred times worse than Obama. Your party clamors for “small government,” but wants it to be so small it’ll fit inside a woman’s vagina yet big enough to monitor the phone calls and internet usage of every American. You guys clamor for endless tax cuts to benefit behemoth corporations and banks and the infamous 1%, but don’t seem to give a (genuine) shit about the poor and the rapidly disappearing middle-class. I’m not even going to get into GOP foreign policy right now (aka: WAR), because it’s exhausting and I have stuff to do today.

Yes, I voted for Obama twice. The first time, because I believed what he said, and the second time, because he was less bad than Romney. I’m no Obama apologist. I didn’t give a dime to his re-election campaign, or to the DNC, because I am very dissatisfied in their ‘work’ over the past five years. But let’s not kid ourselves––the GOP is cuckoo bananas at this point. The only reason Democrats are still winning is because the Republican party has lost their freaking minds. (So Dems, wake up: you’re winning by default, not because you’re doing a good job or because people like you.)

Bottom line: Don’t get sucked up in this “rah rah my team is best” bullshit. No party is infallible. In fact, right now, they both suck.

Our electoral system is controlled by money. Our government is controlled by money. Huge corporations are buying politicians though legalized bribes (campaign donations) in order to get those politician-puppets to do what they want. Your election officials no longer represent you––they represent their donors. They represent the wealthy. They represent Big Business. Not the little guy. Not the average Joe. They do what the money tells them to do.

The only way to change this is to get money out of politics. That is the ONLY cure.

I’m pretty sure Ben Franklin would tell you the same thing. (Once he stops throwing up, that is.)

PSSST: Wanna act? Visit Wolf PAC to learn more about how we can take our democracy back!

Slacker = Me.

Holy moly. I can’t believe I didn’t post ANYTHING for the entire month of May! Shame on me. A lot happened last month: I ended up in the hospital with mastitis (bad); we spent a week in Columbus visiting my family (good); and Bucko turned ONE YEAR OLD (whaaaaaa?!?!).

And life only gets wilder as the summer progresses. Hubby is getting promoted to major in July––woo hoo! And a few days after that, we’re moving to Charlottesville, VA (5 weeks and 5 days from now…not that I’m counting…OK, I’m counting). Hubby will be doing a year-long advanced law degree program at the JAG School, which is located by UVA’s law school. After living in the same place for four years, we are positively itching to go someplace different. (I know for you civilian folks out there, you can’t even comprehend the concept of moving every couple of years, but for military families, four years in the same spot is forever.) And Charlottesville is WONDERFUL WONDERFUL WONDERFUL so we’re extra excited about it.

Phew. Now that we’re caught up, I hereby pledge to be a good blogger and post more in-depth entries about all the stuff going on in our world. So help me God. (You have to say that at the end of a pledge, right? Or maybe it’s “liberty and justice for all….”)

Whatever. You’ll be hearing from me again soon.

That’s a promise.😉

Twins: Blessing or Curse?

Last week, I read a piece in HuffPost Parents made me feel sad. And conflicted. Because I kinda sympathize with him, and I kinda feel disgusted.

The title of the post: My Wife Is Expecting Twins and I Am Not Happy About It.

I expected it to be generally good-natured grousing about the upcoming challenges of parenting newborn twins, but to my surprise and discomfort, the guy was actually pretty serious. Maybe it’s silly for me to talk about it since you can never really know how you’d react to a given situation unless you’re actually in it. But I really do think I wouldn’t react like this.

The backstory: They already have a son, and they wanted to give him a sibling. They’re “older” (late 30s) and had trouble conceiving––tried several IUIs (intrauterine inseminations) that were unsuccessful––then tried IVF. Got pregnant on the first try. With twins. They opted to transfer two embryos, and both stuck. (For what it’s worth, when we underwent IVF in fall 2011, our RE (reproductive endocrinologist) told us that there’s a much higher success rate when you transfer two embryos as opposed to one, and the risk of having twins as a result is about 25%.)

So they ended up with two boys instead of the one girl they were hoping for. And apparently they are taking this pretty hard. He did mention that they only considered selective reduction for only a few seconds. (That’s an abortion of one or more fetuses. It’s more common for women who become pregnant with several embryos through fertility treatments, because a multiple pregnancy is inherently more dangerous for both women and fetuses).

So they chose to do IVF, they chose to transfer two embryos, and they chose to not pursue selective reduction after genetic testing showed that both fetuses were genetically normal (no major abnormalities, serious defects, etc.). But they seem miserable.

Our fear is not the new parent fear of the unknown. It’s the smart, informed fear of the known. Our biggest nightmare is that we’ll have colic again, or double colic. This time around, we’re counting down — not like expecting parents but like cancer patients with only months to live. Enjoy life while you can, for soon it’s double the diapers, double the feedings. Half of zero sleep is … less than zero?

So tell me how this isn’t going to suck. (Did I mention we live in a one-bedroom apartment?) Sure, in 10 years I could have close to a starting five of super-athletic, NBA-hopeful alpha males living under my roof smelling up the joint. But right now it’s hard for us to see twins as good news.

I can see where they’re coming from––to some degree. In my very limited experience of almost eleven months spent parenting one baby, I understand that babies are incredibly demanding, need constant supervision and care, and suck away almost all free time, including sleep, which shouldn’t be considered free time anyway. I know the newborn period is one crazy, six-to-eight-week-long sleepless blur of nursing and diapers and crying (both baby and mommy). I can only imagine how much more intense that would be with twins. Now, I think it’s completely okay and normal to have anxieties and fears and some trepidation about what you’d be facing as the parent of twins, but there’d be so many blessings and joys to balance that out . . . right?

We didn’t seek to get pregnant with twins, but we wanted to maximize our chances of getting pregnant at all, so when we underwent IVF, we opted to transfer two embryos. When we found out we were pregnant, we were elated. When we found out we were pregnant with one baby, we were elated. Sure, I’ve wondered about the other blastocyst and what it might have been––a boy? a girl?––but I am not mourning its “loss” because it didn’t stick around for a reason. But if it had stuck, and we had had twins, I’d be okay with that too. You know why? Because we wanted to be parents so badly. We knew and understood the “risk” of twins and we were at peace with it.

Ostensibly, this couple also wanted to get pregnant very badly, or else they wouldn’t have spent so much time, money, and energy into becoming pregnant. But when you enter the realm of fertility treatments, paradoxically you give up some control of the process by taking control of the process. You make so many choices along the way––what path to pursue, what medications to take, how many embryos to transfer, how many cycles to try––that you have to ultimately make peace with knowing that you are still human and you still cannot control everything. You don’t get to pick the gender (except under very limited genetic conditions). You don’t get to choose which embryo(s) will become your child(ren) and which won’t. You do so much, you make so many decisions, and then ultimately, you wait and hope and pray because that’s all you can do. And when the treatment succeeds and there’s a healthy baby on the way, you rejoice.

Like I said, it’s normal to have some apprehension about having a baby, and that goes double for twins (sorry, couldn’t resist making at least one bad pun). But how sad is it that this couple seems to be so unhappy about this pregnancy? And the twins aren’t due until August. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but so much could go wrong in the meantime. Twins usually come early. There are so many potential complications along the way. What if they are preemies? What if they need to spend time in the NICU? What if something even worse happens?

I’m not really sure what point I’m trying to make. I’m still trying to sort it out. I want them to be grateful for the pregnancy, especially since it’s the result of the same process that made our Bucko a reality. But I also don’t want to tell them how to feel or what to think, because I respect that people have different reactions and it’s normal to have mixed feelings about parenthood.

Ultimately, I’m just sad. And I hope they change their minds.

Random Good Things

I’m sick of bad stuff. Too much bad stuff going on lately. Bad stuff like what’s been in the news. Bad stuff like pollen alerts and spring allergies and sinus headaches. Bad stuff like teething and cleaning up after majorly productive snotty baby sneezes. Bad stuff like stressing over how we’re moving in less than three months and OH MY GOD THERE IS SO MUCH TO DO DEAR GOD HOW WILL WE EVER GET EVERYTHING DONE.

So this post is going to be refreshing, like how your mouth feels after you brush your teeth and then take a big swig of ice-cold water. Brrrrrrrrr but it feels so goooood. Yeah, that’s this post. Figuratively.

Good Things about the baby:

  • He is now pulling up to stand (when holding my hands, but he really is doing all the work)
  • He rolls over (very occasionally)
  • He can support himself on his hands and knees for quite a while and is starting to sorta kinda maybe move forward (although so far, he just collapses on his tummy)
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  • He can stand up by himself while holding onto something for support (the couch, the ottoman, etc.). And he is SO DARN PROUD of himself too.
  • He waves “hi” and “bye-bye” and understands what “hi” and “bye-bye” mean (he even waves “hi” to Daddy when we’re talking to him on the phone!)
  • He says “ma” around me and “da” around Daddy. And he says “yay!” sometimes when he’s playing.🙂
  • He signs “milk” and “all done” and uses them appropriately (in context, not randomly)
  • He is REALLY interested in music! He loves his music class, loves the instruments he has at home (a few cheapo plastic maracas and shaker eggs), and will actually demand to listen to music in the car.
  • And he is REALLY interested in books! His teachers say that he loves the book corner in his classroom––they put him there when he gets frustrated by too many kids playing near him and he settles right down. Could this kid be any more like his mama?😉
  • He is sleeping right now. Alone. Without me. Without being attached to me. Without me holding him. You have no idea how liberated I feel. Plus I honestly believe he’s getting better rest. I suddenly have the urge to tebow even though I’ve never done it in my life and I can’t stand that goody two-shoes, but maybe that just goes to show you how deliriously blissed-out I am over this recent development. And maybe it also shows that I need to get more sleep. Or a glass of wine. Or both…yeah, that’s the ticket.
  • He has had two very good days at school (yesterday and today)––he’s been eating better, he’s been in a better mood, he hasn’t been crying like he did last week. Soooo glad to hear that.

Other Good Things:

  • Sunday morning, I looked out the big picture window in our living room and noticed a dramatic change in the back yard––one of the big trees back there literally bloomed overnight! (Is “bloom” the right word for when trees open up their leaves? Probably not. But whatever.) The burst of green was a very welcome sight––spring is way overdue. And the grass suddenly turned from ugly muddy straw into green stuff that is starting to resemble grass. And we even have some dandelions blooming in our yard. (I love dandelions. I think they are pretty.)
  • Today I discovered four tiny blue eggs in my bluebird box.

    20130423-223104.jpg I’ll check it again in a few days to see if this clutch is complete or if the bluebirds decide to add a fifth baby. A couple of years ago, they raised five little ones in that box. (Not sure what happened last year, since I was gigantically pregnant and not exactly able to waddle back there to check the nest box.)

  • I have new makeup and I love it. I haven’t bought myself new makeup since long before Bucko arrived. That’s a long time, especially considering I used to be a Clinique consultant––makeup used to be my JOB! I love makeup. I love making myself look pretty, because then I feel pretty, and everything seems a little bit better. (Yes, even ardent feminists are allowed to want to feel pretty.)
  • Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and 74˚. In other words, perfectly perfect. Annnnnd it just happens to be our 9th wedding anniversary. (NINE YEARS!) And somehow we’re still here. And we have a cheerful, giggly, squirmy, delightful little Bucko. And we can’t imagine life before him, just like I can’t remember life before Us.

To many, many more years of this.🙂

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Do I have a weird kid? (Also, my first parent-teacher conference from the other side of the table)

I can already hear the smartasses out there saying, “Well, look at his parents.” Hyuck hyuck hyuck, y’all. Gee whiz, you’re so clever! *rolls eyes*

But really.

Surely I’m not the only parent who wonders if their kid is developing normally, even though I know all kids develop at their own pace and I know that “normal” is a pretty arbitrary word anyway.

But still, I worry.

It didn’t help that yesterday, when I went to pick Bucko up from school, his teacher’s supervisor asked to have a conference with her, his teacher, and me to discuss “things we could all be doing to help Bucko be more successful.” Um, okay. What provoked this was a particularly tearful day––I guess he cried most of the time he was there (3.5 hours or so). He wasn’t happy sitting in his high chair, so his teacher took him out and was feeding him baby food while he was sitting on her lap, which is apparently a Big No-No according to DoD* child care guidelines. He also is starting to get mad when other kids try to play near him. And, as usual, he wants to be held a LOT, which is not gonna happen because his classroom has a lot of little babies who need the one-on-one time more than he does.

*Department of Defense, for you civilians out there

So the conference was today, when I went to pick him up from school (today was a much better day, BTW). Essentially I was told that I need to make sure I’m feeding him in a high chair, facing him, because that is the only approved way of feeding a baby solid food in DoD-land. Which is how I generally feed him anyway. And I told the supervisor that, but I don’t think she believed me. And I’m supposed to “expose him to social situations.” I take him to swim lessons and music class and new mom groups and library storytime and daycare. How much more socialization could I do?

Honestly, she kinda acted like I was stupid. And she’d do this thing where she’d make eye contact with me except she’d raise her eyebrows and look up and to the left and flutter her eyelids every time she elongated a vowel sound, which was often, because she also talked r e a l l y s l o w l y:

“W e j u s t n e e d t o M A A A A A A K E S U U U U U U R E [flutter flutter flutter]

w e a r e g i v i n g h i m a l l t h e T O O O O O O O L S [flutter flutter]

h e n e e d s t o S U C C E E E E E E E D [flutter]”

Like that.

It was kinda weird.

His teacher didn’t say that much. I got the impression that she thought the ‘conference’ was bullshit. Of course she wouldn’t actually SAY that. But I got the distinct feeling that she isn’t all that enamored of her supervisor. Plus, she is not a native English speaker––Spanish is her primary language––so although she can communicate pretty well in English, you can tell she isn’t as articulate as she’d like to be when she’s not speaking her native language, and that it frustrates her. (Totally understandable.) But probably more importantly, her supervisor appears to frustrate her. (Again, totally understandable.)

Maybe it’s just first-time mom anxieties, but this added to my list of Things Bucko Does That Make Me Wonder If He’s Okay. (Or more accurately, Things That May Or May Not Be Things To Worry About.)

  • He doesn’t put things in his mouth (toys, Cheerios, teethers, etc.).
  • He likes to cross his first two fingers.
  • When he gets frustrated, he twists his hands back and forth like he’s unscrewing light bulbs.
  • He’s not that into food (except yogurt, which he would probably eat by the bucketful if we let him).
  • He’s not crawling or pulling up to stand.
  • He’s never been interested in rolling over.
  • He doesn’t like to have other kids around him.
  • He demands a LOT of one-on-one interaction.
  • He won’t sleep by himself. (I think we’ve got that one addressed, thank God.)

There’s probably more but I have trouble remembering all of my neuroses at whim.

I’d really like to not screw this kid up.

That’s all.

When Bad Things Happen

Maybe it’s just me, but it sure seems like bad things are happening much more frequently now than they did when I was a kid. Or maybe I was just a really sheltered kid. (That is a definite possibility.)

After a tragedy occurs, generally my first response is sheer rage at the horrible people who thought that committing acts of violence was a good idea. Then, despite my outwardly pacifist nature, I imagine all kinds of tortuous things I’d like to see happen to those horrible people, whoever they are, and kinda sorta hope for Vengeful God to serve up some Old Testament-style justice.

But ultimately, I don’t believe in Vengeful God, so that fantasy doesn’t last very long.

Then I contemplate running away to a place where shit like this doesn’t happen, which inevitably ends up being a Nordic country, which I then immediately rule out because it would get too cold and I like sunlight.

Then I immediately feel horribly guilty for being so superficial. (Just keeping it real.)

But mostly, I stick with rage.

Inevitably, though, no matter how much my righteous anger wants to bubble up and permeate everything I am thinking and feeling, my conscience––and what I hope is my true nature––slowly but thoroughly takes over and brings me back to one thing:

Mr. Rogers.

I *so* would’ve done the same thing had I ever met Mr. Rogers. Even as an adult. He’s my hero.

Yes, Mr. Rogers. Because he is probably the most wonderful person to have ever lived while I have existed on this planet (and I’m not the only person who thinks so––see here and here and here).

[Seriously, is there anyone who doesn’t absolutely ADORE Mr. Rogers? If so, they should be excommunicated from society. Except Mr. Rogers wouldn’t approve of that––he’d probably invite them into his house for a sandwich and some juice and they’d talk and maybe draw a picture or feed his fish or something and everyone would leave feeling respected and loved. Which is why everyone should adore Mr. Rogers.

But I digress.]

Just to give you an idea of how much I adore Mr. Rogers: when I heard that he had died, I sobbed. As in ugly-cried. And I am not a crier, especially about celebrity deaths. I cried myself to sleep that night.

And I can’t write about Mr. Rogers without sharing these fun facts about him*:

  • he was an ordained Presbyterian minister
  • his middle name was McFeely, which was his mother’s maiden name
  • he was a talented pianist (he majored in music composition in college)
  • he wrote and performed all the music on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
  • his mom knitted all of his cardigans that he wore on his show
  • he was a vegetarian
  • he was red/green colorblind

*thanks, Wikipedia!

Anyway . . .

The reason I inevitably think of Mr. Rogers when bad things happen is because of this quote:

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

When I was very little, maybe around 2 or 3, and people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would always say the same thing: a helper. I didn’t get more specific than that. I just wanted to be a helper.

I still do.

And no matter what happens in this scary, unpredictable, volatile world, I take solace in knowing that there are––and will always be––many, many more people who want to be helpers than those who want to hurt others. People will continue to be hurt, sadly, but there will always be people who will help.

And I am one of them.

And it is my responsibility as a parent to ensure that my child(ren) will, too.

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.

––Fred Rogers (1994)

Adventures in “Sleep Learning”

Because sleep training = negative connotation. (Sleep learning just sounds so much better.)

Yes, I have succumbed. Somewhat.

I woke up yesterday feeling exhausted and desperate. Not a great combination. Bucko had woken me up roughly every 60-90 minutes, needing to nurse in order for him to fall back asleep. And so he’d nurse for a couple of minutes, then fall back asleep, while I’d stay awake, because I just don’t fall asleep that easily. By morning, I was miserable. And to tell you the truth, Bucko wasn’t much better.

A realization hit me: we’d both do better if we could both get a full night’s sleep. All this fragmented sleep wasn’t doing either of us any good. I was sick of my daytime-zombie routine and Bucko was not faring well either. Something needed to change.

Enter “sleep learning.”

I’ve read a bunch of sleep books: Elizabeth Pantley’s The No-Cry Sleep Solution, Dr. Sears’s The Baby Sleep Book, Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep, even the much-vilified Ferber book (which honestly isn’t nearly as draconian as the AP-crowd makes it out to be), and more.

Ultimately, The Sleepeasy Solution made the most sense to me. It bills itself as an in-between approach to the CIO (cry-it-out) methods and the so-called “no-cry” methods. One of its common-sense revelations: babies are going to cry when you implement change. They don’t have any other way to say, “Um, why aren’t you doing what you used to do to get me to sleep? I want THAT.” So they cry. But they have to figure out how to get themselves to sleep without needing some kind of parental crutch. Until now, Bucko would only fall asleep if he was nursing and being held (or lying next to me in bed). EXCEPT…he would also fall asleep in his car seat. And he would take naps (albeit reluctantly and irregularly) at school, sleeping in a crib. So I knew that he was CAPABLE of falling asleep without me, although he wasn’t yet doing it consistently.

So last night, I put theory into practice. We did a bedtime routine (which, I admit, I have not been doing consistently, but will start doing every night): bath, diaper, pajamas, books, nurse. Then I put him in the co-sleeper awake (much to his dismay), turned out the light, and told him it was time to go to sleep.

And he immediately started wailing. Predictable. But it wasn’t a terrified cry, it was a pissed-off cry. He was mad that he wasn’t getting what he expected. Understandable.

I went downstairs, listened to him wail for five minutes, then went upstairs to tell him (in a reassuring, loving, gentle way) that it was okay, it was time to go to sleep, and then I went back downstairs. He kept crying. Ten more minutes passed. I went back upstairs, told him (reassuringly, lovingly, gently) it was bedtime and he needed to go to sleep, went back downstairs. Crying continued. But two minutes before the next check-in (after an additional fifteen minutes), the crying stopped. He was asleep. Twenty-eight minutes of crying.

ROCK ON!

I got a little cocky at this point, thinking I had slain the sleep monster. (Spoiler alert: not true.) After an hour or so, I went to bed and luxuriated in stretching out in bed without worrying about a baby getting in the way. It was lovely. Until Bucko woke up and started crying again.

And kept crying.

And wouldn’t stop.

For an hour.

And this is where I cracked. After an hour of lying next to him while he cried, I picked him up, put him in bed with me, and nursed him. I honestly think he was crying because he was cold (not used to sleeping alone) and hungry (I guess he was due for another feeding). He nursed for about five to six minutes, and then I unlatched him and pulled my shirt down. He started crying in protest, but I rubbed his tummy and cuddled him and told him it was okay and he needed to go to sleep. And guess what? HE WENT TO SLEEP!

So despite my failure to stick to the plan, I still consider last night to be a success, because what was really bothering me about our sleeping arrangements wasn’t so much that he was in bed with me, but that he wanted to comfort-nurse every hour or so all night long. Last night, he woke up maybe two to three times wanting to comfort-nurse, but went right back to sleep after I cuddled him instead of allowing him to nurse. Around 5am, he nursed for about ten minutes (for food) and went right back to sleep after I unlatched him. He woke up for good around 6:30am, roughly eleven hours after I put him to bed last night.

So . . . SUCCESS!

And as I write this, he’s napping upstairs in bed all by himself. (Well, technically, a kitty is sleeping on the bed with him.) It was not without some drama––it took about a half-hour of crying before he fell asleep, but this time the crying was less insistent and angry and was more just frustrated and fussy.

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Yes, I know that technically (according to safe co-sleeping guidelines) I’m not supposed to have pillows on the bed, or blankets, or a cat, BUT . . . Bucko is quite capable of pushing away things from his face and rolling away from obstructions, and the cat isn’t going to bother him. Trust me.

If I can get him to a point where he naps by himself, goes to bed by himself, and then gets in bed with me after his first night waking, I can live with that. I’d gain much more free time during his naps and after he goes to bed at night, and I’d be much better rested if he’s not constantly comfort-nursing throughout the night. He’d also be much better rested, which would definitely help out his teachers when he goes to school, not to mention his mommy and daddy at home!

Win win win. Everybody wins. (Except for daddy, who can’t STAND to hear him cry. I’m the bad cop.)

UPDATE –– mid-afternoon

So Bucko ended up sleeping for over THREE HOURS! I actually had to wake him up around noon so we could go to the grocery store before his second nap. (Say whaaaaaaaa?!?!?!) And he was even more easygoing and good-natured than usual. No fussing whatsoever, not even in the car (he’s not always a huge fan of being in his car seat).

We got the grocery shopping done, came home, and immediately headed upstairs for Nap #2. I nursed him (and, just a side note, WHOA did I need to nurse––it’ll probably take a few days for my milk production to adjust to his new schedule) and then told him it was time to go to sleep. Got up, turned on the white noise machine (we like the “ocean” setting), and went downstairs to put the groceries away. He was quiet for a few minutes until he realized I wasn’t coming right back, then he started crying a bit. He’d alternate between silence and fussing, but he was asleep in less than fifteen minutes. FIFTEEN MINUTES! PROGRESS!!!

I want to stress that at NO point did he sound genuinely distressed. If he sounded frightened or in pain or something like that, I’d attend to him ASAP. I snuck upstairs during one of his silent moments and found him lying there playing with his fingers (and somehow, he didn’t see me––phew!). He definitely wasn’t in distress. His cries, when they occurred, were of the annoyed/pissed/frustrated variety. I can live with those cries. And more importantly, so can he.

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This is what liberation looks like.

So far, he’s been asleep for about a half-hour. I feel giddy.

 

Woes of a shitty mother

The title says it all.

My baby won’t sleep on his own. He cries when he’s not with me. He’s wearing out his teachers at school. He won’t take a pacifier. He doesn’t sleep through the night. He’s not crawling. He’s not cruising. He will only nap if I’m lying next to him. He will only sleep at night if I’m lying next to him. He can’t self-soothe.

It’s all my fault. I’m hindering his development. I haven’t taught him how to sleep. I don’t play with him enough. I don’t read to him enough. I don’t interact with him enough. I interact with him too much. He’s too dependent on me. I need to make him more independent. I need to respond to his needs more. I need to work on his motor skills more. I shouldn’t let him watch baby TV shows. I should feed him more solids. I should brush his teeth twice a day. I should take him for a walk every day.

My life would be so much easier if only I could get all the laundry done. If I could get the house cleaned. If I could create and stick to a weekly meal plan. If I could start and stick to an exercise routine. If I could get my life organized. If I could get a solid night of sleep every night. If I could get Bucko to take a nap by himself.

I feel like I can’t get anything done. My head hurts. It’s allergy season. I’m tired. Bucko is so needy. I’m so tired. Other moms make it all happen. Other moms can handle everything. I can’t. I don’t know how they do it. I’m a failure.

I suppose all moms have days like this, but today seems extra rough for some reason.

Help! A Plea from a Breastfeeding Mama

Over the past few days I’ve been working on a couple other, more involved posts, but right now I’d really appreciate any advice more experienced moms could give.

Lately, it is just about impossible to nurse Bucko and/or have him take a nap (the two, for better or worse, pretty much are inextricably linked) unless we are: a) in bed, b) lying down (side-nursing), and c) in a dark and very quiet room.

I think I’ve covered my ongoing ambivalence about his sleep habits (am I doing the right thing? am I responding to his needs or am I creating a monster?) so I don’t really want to get into that right now.

What I am seeking is advice, encouragement, whatever you may have to give about how to handle this. I thought I had witnessed distracted nursing before, but this is a whole new level. It’s like Mega Super Jumbo Family-Sized Distracted Nursing. A quick drink or two, then BOOM! Instant unlatch to whip his head around and look whoever just had the AUDACITY to whisper to me, or maybe clear their throat, or just happens to occupy the same space. Same thing if the TV is on, or if one of our cats is in the same room, or if we are simply in A Room somewhere on Planet Earth. There’s always something distracting. So he’s nursing more at night. Sigh.

When I vented to Hubby about it, his response was, and I quote, “Maybe he’s trying to wean.” No, no he is not trying to wean. But thanks for playing. Bucko is still quite attached to the boobies. Just not as much as I’d like him to be, literally speaking.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Is it finally time to quit the co-sleeping? I hope that’s not the answer but I’m starting to get a bit desperate.

Mommy needs a break sometimes

It finally happened.

SEPARATION ANXIETY!

*cue scary music*

Ten months of generally being okay with Mommy going someplace else for a little while has come to a screeching halt. That idyllic time is over.

I know all babies go through separation anxiety at some point, and that it can last off and on for a few years. And I know it’s a good thing, because it means that Bucko has developed object permanence and a secure attachment. But ugh, it is not pretty.

Bucko goes to a great daycare center on post. I am very comfortable leaving him there for a few hours here and there while I get stuff done at home. He clearly enjoys being at “school” (which is what we call it): he loves his teachers, they love him, he enjoys playing with all the neat toys they have there, and he likes being around other babies.

Today, after he woke up from his morning nap, I told him that he was going to go to school today. He smiled really big and said, “Yay!” (“Yay” is his first word––he started saying it last week. Too cute.) He knows what “school” means. He knows the drill. So off we went to school, with Bucko in a cheerful mood. We got to school, went to his classroom, and I set him down to play with some toys while I put his bottles and diapers away. He was fine. I filled out his daily paper (where they track his diapers and what he eats and when he naps) and he was fine. Then I started to make my getaway. He usually doesn’t notice, or if he does notice, he usually doesn’t care.

But today . . . .

OH MY GOD YOU’D THINK I WAS LEAVING THE COUNTRY! Huge wails, arms outstretched toward me, big fat tears rolling down his big fat cheeks. It was heartbreaking. One of his teachers scooped him up so I could leave without feeling too awful, but he kept sobbing. All I wanted to do was run over and grab him and hug him tight, but I know that’s not going to help him get used to goodbyes, so I just left.

😦

On the drive home, I started piecing together other clues that separation anxiety was beginning to rear its tearful head. Bucko has been extra-clingy lately, something I had attributed to teething. He burst into tears the other day when we were at a new moms play group and I got up to go to the bathroom. He has started to fuss at home whenever I leave the room, even if I’m just grabbing a snack in the kitchen or running upstairs to find a clean outfit for him. He’s not content to be on the floor playing with his toys. He wants to be held. He’s been waking up seemingly scared several times each night, needing me to hold him and nurse him back to sleep.

No wonder I’ve been so worn out lately.

So now I’m wondering how long this phase will last. How long must I endure the cries and screams whenever I go to the bathroom or take a shower or drop him off at school? How long until I can be somewhat productive at home when he’s home, too? How long until I’m not so bone-tired anymore?

(Please, don’t answer that.)