Monday, February 28, 2011

felix felicis

The title comes from the fact that Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has been playing on (our promotionally free for some months) HBO incessantly lately.  As in, right now.

Also happening right now?  Child asleep.  Husband asleep.  Me, drinking a hot buttered rum for the first time in...I have no idea.  A long damn time.

If you're not a Potter fan, Felix Felicis (which I might well have misspelled terribly) is an elixir Harry gets as a prize in class.  It's "liquid luck," guaranteed to give good luck for one day to whomever drinks it.

What on earth does that have to do with anything? you ask.

I just want to say this about my generally well-sleeping child: it's luck.  Really.  I firmly believe about 90% of her good sleeping habits are sheer blessed random chance, and not anything I did to earn it or deserve it or make it happen.

I have no idea how to make a baby sleep.  I think I have the sort of child who sucks you into having another child, because you think, "come on, how hard can this be?" and then you have a second one who's colicky and doesn't sleep through the night until they're three, and you realize that it was all dumb luck the first time around.

If it makes you feel better, her napping skills suck donkey balls.  Really.  She's a terrible napper and I'm frantically reading all the sleep books I can to figure this out, but most of them say something like, "it all works out after six months or so," so I'm probably just screwed for another eight weeks.  My husband says it's better to have good nighttime sleep.  Most of the time I agree with this, until it's 4pm and he hasn't been home all day and she hasn't napped for more than 15 minutes at a time, at which point I start to question his logic.

But otherwise, life is okay over here.  We survived round two of vaccinations today; quite a bit easier than round one.  We had our first adventure with Department Store Photos, which was actually pretty fun until the end, when I was trying to parse out why I didn't need six 8x10 photos of my child and both she and I were running out of patience.  (But we did get some super cute pics.)  Balancing work and parenting is - um, yeah.  A work in progress.  For the rest of my life, I suppose.  It will (she says with gritted determination) start to get better next week, when my husband's schedule lets up a bit.

I realized the other day that my memory of nursery rhymes is truly, utterly, pitiful.  I get one line in and can't remember anything else.  "This little piggy went to market, this little piggy...uh-oh.  Let's try another!"  And does "You Are My Sunshine" have any other verses?  Please?  Because we are singing things like, "oh you should sleep now, should really sleep now, please take a nap now, before I scream," and I'm pretty sure that's not an official verse.

Also, you can make up a lot of diaper-related songs to "Mary Had a Little Lamb."  I'm just saying.

Friday, February 25, 2011

some random stuff i have learned

Mostly, I feel like every day of this parenting thing is a series of best guesses.  And the process of elimination.  Which culminated in my decision this week to try to get Baby Girl to go to bed earlier: she's been about a 10pm bedtime girl, and it seemed to me that she needed to back that up to 8pm or so, and so I made this whole plan for moving that toward 8pm, figuring it would take weeks, and it took 3 days.  Which is partly WONDERFUL and partly an embarrassing realization that she has probably been asking (in her, you know, screamy non-verbal way) to go to bed earlier for weeks.  Except I thought she had gas.  Or a messy diaper.  Or was hungry.


Anyway, there are still a million things I do not know.  Like how to create a nap schedule.  (Schedule?  HAHAHAHAHA)  And how to parse the precise difference between "high-pitched-scream-indicating-need-to-fart" and "high-pitched-scream-indicating-need-to-sleep" (see paragraph above).  And how to balance work and parenting.

But I have learned a few things.

Such as:

  • You can do a lot of things while nursing, but knitting is not one of them.
  • The day you figure out that your child is ticklish precisely under their right armpit is a very fun day.
  • Antibiotics are good for healing ear infections but VERY VERY BAD if you are a cloth diaper person, so it is okay to switch to disposables until the Poop Express stops arriving nine times a day.
  • The New Adventures of Old Christine is a really funny show (I learned this when I was home all freaking day during weeks of rain).
  • You can make up a lot of ridiculous songs to "Mary Had A Little Lamb" in order to entertain your child on the changing table.
  • When local-living grandparents go to Hawaii for three weeks you really, really miss them.  A lot.
  • Sometimes parent-baby group is just like junior high, but with babies.  (Yet another reason not to get pregnant in junior high.)  In other words, sometimes the Mean Girls turn into Mean Mommies. 
  • If you are going to pump or nurse in your office, it is a really good idea to learn how to lock your door.
  • It is surprising how many people will look at a baby wearing pink overalls with a cupcake on the front pocket and say, "how old is your little boy?"
I'm sure there's more, but that's it for now. 

What have you learned?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

cautiously optimistic...a bottle update

I sort of want to declare victory regarding the Battle of the Bottle, except that I'm afraid I'll be like W., all up there on the aircraft carrier with the big "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" sign, apparently totally unaware of the years of "oops, guess that war wasn't quite over" yet to come. 

With that said, we seem to have accomplished quite a bit over the weekend.

Friday, I went to work.  My husband was home on a school break, so he decided that it was time to bring this thing to a head and see if he could wait Baby Girl out long enough to make the bottle her only option.  Wisely, he sent me away when I got home at lunchtime, as I would have totally caved once I heard her crying to eat. 

It took about five hours, but she finally did it.  It seems that heating up the milk much warmer than we had been was the key difference.  And he squirted a little milk into her mouth before putting the bottle in.  By last night, she was happily eating from the bottle even when I was in the room.  Major progress.

Meanwhile, I had bought two other brands of bottles, so we're just hanging on to those in case "Mission Not So Accomplished After All" hits us later on.

Tomorrow his school break is over, so that's the next front: seeing if she'll take the bottle from her caregiver.

Ah, the things that bring me excitement these days.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

one step forward...

Live from the "Battle of the Bottle" front, we bring you this breaking news:

it seems that "temperature of the milk" may be the break we've been looking for.

At least today.

Stay tuned for the inevitable, "two steps back" update.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

i'm not dumb. that's not your boob.


Going back to work had been such a breeze that first week.  My husband stayed home, which was great.  I ran home about lunchtime to nurse Baby Girl, and she drank pumped milk from a bottle the rest of the time.  It was all good.  Happy, shiny people.

And then the ear infection came.

I don't know if it's the infection, or the antibiotics (which, among other things, has been causing Massive Diaper Blowouts the likes of which are going to turn her bedroom into a Superfund cleanup site), or just her little stubborn personality making its first grand appearance, but she has suddenly decided, after months of being fine with it, that she is NOT going to drink from the bottle.  No, no, no, no, no, Mom.  NOT.  DOING.  IT.

She gets the bottle in her mouth and tongues it around for awhile before realizing, "Hey, this isn't a real boob; this is some kind of rubber fake boob and IT IS REALLY PISSING ME OFF."  And while I'm glad that she's not a fan of fake boobs, the bottle-refusal piece is problematic. 

We've tried dipping the nipple in sugar water, which worked once, and then she seems to have figured that out.  Sometimes she'll take it if I start her by nursing and then slip her onto the bottle, but that doesn't really fix the whole "Mom needs to work and you have to eat without her sometimes" thing.

Any ideas?  I welcome advice of all kinds. 


Monday, February 14, 2011

my funny valentine

To my funny, feisty, wiggly, diaper-blowout-y, gassy, giggly, nap-challenged, squeal-y, bottle-refusing (there's a story for another post), often exasperating and yet delightful daughter:

You are the best Valentine ever.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

dear jennifer aniston,

I realize I don't know you at all (although I feel like I could give you some career advice, since you seem to make questionable choices in movie roles - I suspect you're probably better than "main girlfriend" all the time, but maybe that's all Hollywood offers).  And our lives are probably not on the same trajectory.  I mean, yours is all "glamorous, beautiful, world-traveling movie star" and mine is more, "milk-stained t-shirt at the local grocery store," but I saw that you're, once again, on the cover of People magazine this week and, on behalf of women-who-stayed-single-for-longer-than-most-and-maybe-still-are, I just want to say this to you:

don't let the asshats get you down.

I mean, really.  A week hardly goes by without some tabloid proclaiming that you are desperately attaching yourself to yet another guy, or seeking an international adoption to cure your clearly raging loneliness (aren't all single people horribly lonely, after all?), or barely keeping yourself from leaping off a bridge at the sight of Brangelina and its Ever Increasing Brood.  And then there's the latest People cover, which shouts, "Jennifer swears, I'm happy, really!" as if you had a giant nail stuck through your chest and kept insisting, "it doesn't hurt, really!"

Is it that hard to believe that a single woman could be happy?  I mean, I never remember seeing these sorts of covers with Warren Beatty ("Warren swears, I'm happy, really!") or George Clooney ("George breaks up again, desperate for love") or any of the other famous Hollywood bachelors.  Nobody goes around thinking that a 40-year old male movie star is drowning himself in vodka tonics every night just because he hasn't managed to get hitched yet.

It seems to me like pulling off a successful movie career (minus that one with what's his face) is a lot harder than getting married.  A lot of people are married.  Not a lot of people are movie stars.  Maybe it's just that you don't fit into the "what a woman is supposed to do with her life" mold that most people expect.  I had that problem when I was single.  It seemed like everyone and their brother kept asking when I was going to get married, as if I could just produce The Ideal Spouse out of thin air.  Then you get married, and everyone wants to know when you're going to have children.

Which maybe is why I feel so irritated on your behalf.  Because it turns out that I couldn't produce kids out of thin air (not to mention my uterus) either, and the constant assumption that I wouldn't be happy without them was hard to bear.  It's one thing to feel that for yourself; it's all the other people piling it on top of you that starts to hurt.  "Don't you want children?" they say, as if there could be no hurt at all hiding behind my childlessness.  "You'd be such a good mom," they say, which only makes you want to weep in front of them because you know that, damn it, which is why you cried when you got your period for the 37th time in a row this morning.

So, anyway.  I realize you'll never read this.  But I hope you don't read People either.  Because you seem like a nice person.  And if you want to get married, I hope you do.  But I bet you're pretty happy as you are.  I hope so.  I hope we can all find happiness in the life we have, instead of wishing it away for the one we don't.

You know what America?  She looks pretty happy to me.  SO SHUT IT ALREADY.

Carry on, Jennifer.