Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Bits

Lucia is finally, finally sleeping through the night: 7:30pm to 6am, more or less. Sometimes she gets up at 5:30am and can be coaxed into another hour or so of sleep. But 6am seems to be our new wake-up time. Not bad. Not bad at all.

Yesterday I called the advice nurse because Lucia was spitting up a bit more than usual and I wanted to see if there was anything I should be looking out for; I’d heard a stomach virus was going around. As usual, the nurse asked a long series of questions. But this time I couldn’t help finding them just ridiculous. Among many others, the nurse asked if Lucia had large purple lesions on her skin. Seriously? “Oh, yeah—now that you mention it, my baby IS covered in large purple lesions. I forgot to mention that.” I know they’re just going through their process, but I found this quite funny.

We had a great visit with Rachael this week, and Lucia and Rachael seemed to really hit it off. Rachael also helped me make a new batch of baby food, including pears and mangoes. She also attempted to help me prepare a batch of green peas. I say “attempted” because the peas turned out to be a huge mess. I tried to make some pureed peas with fresh peas from the farmer’s market, but I added far, far too much water. I then tried to add in some frozen peas to thicken the mixture up, only to then realize I wouldn’t be able to refreeze peas that had already been frozen. Peas were all over the floor. Pea mush was everywhere. The end result of it all was one small bowl of pea mush that Lucia was just so-so about for the last three days. I can’t really explain why this turned out to be so messy; what I do know is that peas are one baby food I’ll be buying in a jar.

I suddenly have an onslaught of freelance projects. I'm not really sure how or when they're going to get done. How, exactly, does one raise a baby, work from home, keep the house from falling apart, and pursue one's own personal endeavors when the aforementioned baby naps for a maximum total of 3 hours per day? I really need a sister-wife. Maybe two.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Best Time in NorCal


It’s one of the best times of the year in NorCal—warm, sunny, blue skies, green trees and grass, gorgeous roses and other flowers, not a bit of humidity, and none of the rain that marks the winter or the unbearable heat that ruins summer. It’s hard not to feel happy at seeing Lucia’s bare babyfeet and the smooth, winter-white skin on her now-bare baby arms and legs; I think she enjoys wearing her light spring clothes.

There are few better ways to enjoy the good weather than going to Napa to visit the Clarks and having lunch together in their beautiful, fruit-tree-filled backyard. And so we did, on Saturday, along with Rachael, who’s here for most of the week. Lucia got to wear a new spring outfit (thanks, Grandma), and we all got to admire the newest addition to the Clark family. Lucia rarely looks like a large baby; but next to a newborn, she seemed so solid and grown-up.

Things seem to be falling into place along with the nice weather. My sleeping seems to be back on track—finally—and I’ve slept more or less normally since Friday. And they’ve been full nights, too—Lucia seems to have turned a corner in the past week or so and now sleeps (usually) from 7:30pm until 5:30am. She usually, but not always, will go right back to sleep until 7am. There are no more nighttime feedings. The next big step: getting her out of her bassinet and sleeping in her crib in her own room. The only hurdle in doing this is my own unwillingness to sleep so far away from my little one.

Now that I’m once again eating dairy (Blizzard count: 2 in 3 days), my weight has stabilized and I’ve even put on a couple of pounds. A well-slept, non-skeleton mama? I won’t recognize myself.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rolling Over

Lucia, enamored with her newfound ability to roll from back to tummy, now does it constantly. If I put her down on the floor on her back, I can barely take my hands away before she flips herself over. This afternoon, I heard her wake up from her nap, but she wasn’t crying so I let her stay in her crib for a few minutes. But as the minutes went by with no call from Lucia, I went to the doorway of the nursery to see what she was up to. Suddenly, I saw the crown of a little head pop up above the side of the crib—she’d rolled over in her crib, a first.

Right now, as I type this, I am trying to get her to take a much-needed second nap. But every few minutes I hear crying, go to the doorway, and see that little head again. She seems to have forgotten how to turn herself the other way, even though she was a pro at it just a few months ago.

In other news, I’ve made the bold decision to forget about the arbitrary, self-imposed food restrictions I set in place when Lucia was a newborn and I was desperate to find “causes” for her crying. I’m once again eating cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and tomatoes. When given the opportunity, I will eat broccoli. I’m a little wary about citrus, but I’ll ease into this one, too. Andrew and I got Blizzards last night to celebrate. And Lucia is fine.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Some Sleep

I got some sleep last night. Some, a few hours, which felt like I’d cleared a major hurdle. I took melatonin last night, as well as a packet of “Ionic Fizz” in some hot water that the woman at the health food store said would help balance my minerals after all the lost sleep. So, minerals balanced and circadian rhythm coaxed into submission, I did manage to sleep. We’ll see how tonight goes. I’d like to avoid actually taking the prescription sedative my doctor gave me, so we’ll do melatonin again tonight and see if I can’t get back to normal this way first.

A side benefit to this week of insomnia is that we’re managing to break Lucia’s habit of 4 or 5 a.m. feedings. I’ve been so out of it that Andrew’s been handling the middle-of-the-night waking—and he just soothes her quickly back to sleep, no rocking or feeding required.

In other news: Lucia is 14 pounds 7.5 ounces, right on track for her, and she’s now in the 65th percentile for height! And today she rolled over from back to tummy for the very first time. So exciting. We’ve been trying to prompt her with that for a couple of weeks now, and today it just clicked. She whipped over to her side, ran into the obstacle of her arm, but this time she gave a little extra oomph and completed the turn.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Insomnia

Lucia has finally started sleeping more reliably through the night, and we’re gradually phasing out the 5 a.m. feeding. This is great news. The problem is that now that Lucia is sleeping more, I’ve stopped sleeping altogether.

Beginning a week ago, I simply stopped sleeping. It began with my not being able to fall back asleep after she woke up in the middle of the night. Monday and Tuesday, she got up around 4 a.m., and that was it for me. Wednesday, she woke up around 1 a.m., and I was up the rest of the night. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, I couldn’t fall asleep at all; I got a maximum of six hours total for all three of those nights.

I’ve tried sleeping on the couch. I’ve tried sleeping in the guest room. I’ve tried eye masks, and big meals. I’ve tried drinking a big glass of red wine and watching Master and Commander, the most boring movie in the world. I’ve tried reading. I’ve tried sleeping with Andrew and without Andrew. I’ve tried Tylenol, and Benadryl, and Unisom—even a double dose. Nothing gets me to sleep. I get close—teetering on the edge of sleep—and then rise right back to awakeness.

Needless to say, I am a zombie. I may feel worse now than I did when Lucia was a newborn—at least then I could sleep when I had the chance to. I’ve never had sleep problems, and certainly not anything as prolonged as this. And at this point I’ve moved from frustration to a kind of panic, which just makes sleep even more unlikely. I’m waiting for the point where my body just crashes; but that hasn’t happened yet.

Sleep seems like a distant memory. There’s nothing lonelier than being awake in the middle of the night, pulse and thoughts racing, unable to get comfortable, filled with the knowledge that every passing second is one more second of sleep lost forever and that, come morning, there will be a baby to care for, a day to get through.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Letter to Lucia: 6 Months (For Real This Time)


Little Lucia,

I already wrote you a six-month letter, but at that point you weren’t actually six months old. So consider that letter, and all the ones before it, as simply oddly spaced letters written for no particular reason. This letter should get us back on a sensible track.

Carrots, sweet potatoes, avocado, and butternut squash—these are part of your life now, and you love them all. You are a good little eater, opening your mouth wide for each bite (though I have to be quick; sometimes you close your mouth before I get the spoon in) and only occasionally spitting anything out. Sometimes you try to eat your bib between bites, or sneeze, and this creates a big mess. This week I somehow managed to get rice cereal on the back of my sweater, up by the collar—who knows how it got there? Once you start feeding yourself I can only imagine the sort of cleanup mealtimes will involve.

You are full of new noises. Thankfully, you seem to have lost interest in your ear-piercing scream; you’re now in a “hissing viper” stage, making a sound from the back of your throat that sounds, for lack of a better description, like radio static. You also gurgle now, making good use of your copious drool. And you deliver all your sounds with whole-face smiles that never fail to cheer me, even when I’m frustrated or tired.

And tired I am. I seem to be having a spell of insomnia this week, and over the past three nights I’ve had just ten hours of sleep. I fall asleep fine; but after you wake up, and after I soothe or feed you, I simply can’t fall asleep again. This time, at least, my exhaustion is not your fault, and I feel bad when my tiredness makes me less patient with you than I should be.

A short letter this time; my tired head is spinning. You are eating some rice cereal with Daddy as I type this, occasionally letting out a yell just for the sake of it. Six months, little one. Six months.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Three Bits

This morning, I saw a guy on a skateboard being pulled rapidly down the street by what looked like a team of sled dogs. A closer look revealed that there were only two dogs; but they were all harnessed up and were definitely pulling along the skateboarder.

Yesterday, I answered a knock at the door and found a UPS guy on our front porch. He smiled and then began coughing violently, bent over at the waist and hacking in a very alarming way. “Are you okay?!” I said. “Do you need some water??” “I’m fine,” he said finally. “I just choked on some spit.”

There was a slug on our kitchen floor yesterday. Hideous. Hideous hideous hideous.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Single Mamas

As Lucia and I returned home from a walk this afternoon, we passed three men doing some lawnwork. I gave one of them a significant look--a look that said, "Don't you dare start your insanely loud grass clipper while I walk by with my sleepy baby." Another of them said to me, "Hell-ooo."

As I walked away, I heard him say, "Man, I'd love to live in this neighborhood. All the single mamas..."

Single mamas? If I were a single mama, how, pray tell, would I be walking around outside in the middle of a workday? The comment was so ridiculous that I chuckled to myself the rest of the way home.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Everything I Thought I Knew Was Wrong

It was pointed out to me last week that I’ve been miscalculating Lucia’s age for, oh, the entire time she’s been born. I’ve been tracking her age in weeks; and for some reason I assumed her age in months was calculated by dividing that number by four. That is, clearly, wrong, and I’m not sure why I never realized it; surely this error is rooted in the same part of my brain that has me give a salesclerk four dollars plus two extra pennies on a $3.98 total to make it even.

Anyway, Lucia is not six months old. She is five and a half months old. She will be six months old on April 15. Which means I inadvertently gave her solid food several weeks before I actually wanted to. This seems to be somewhat beside the point, however. She is loving her solid foods—sweet potatoes yesterday were a huge hit; she slurped them up so eagerly that the bib was nearly clean—and has excellent spoon-eating abilities. She’s ready; she’s fine; she doesn’t care about her mama’s best-laid plans. She cares about being well fed and happy.

But still. I didn’t even know how old my own baby was, a fairly large matter. Let’s hope I’m doing better with the small stuff.

Grandparent Invitation: Move In! Please!

Friday night, Andrew and I got into our car at 8:30pm and drove to a sushi restaurant for dinner. We ate our entire dinner together, without getting up from the table or taking turns eating bites of food. We got home around 10pm. It was the latest we’d been out in months. As we watched people coming into and leaving the restaurant, it was like seeing a secret world that goes on every night while we’re home with our sleeping baby—a world that doesn’t revolve around 7pm bathtime and 7:30pm bedtime and collapsing ourselves at 9pm.

Thanks to my parents, who were in town for the past few days, Andrew and I actually got to go out for dinner, just the two of us. It was more than a little strange to spend even those couple of hours without Lucia—as though some vital part of us was missing. It was quite nice having a leisurely meal without having to tend to the little one—though we agreed that, in general, most of the time, Lucia is a lovely dining companion.

That’s not to say that we wouldn’t pounce on the opportunity to have more evenings out—and many more days of having two extra pairs of arms around to hold and entertain Lucia. It was so wonderful to have them here, and I think Lucia, too, had a good time having some new faces around. She put on her “perfect baby” act almost the whole time, too, even sleeping through a nice lunch out at a burger place we love on Saturday afternoon. Fusskins? What Fusskins? She made a liar out of me.

Mom and I embarked on a large cooking project on Sunday, preparing about a hundred servings of sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, and avocado for upcoming food introductions. Who knew you could prepare baby food in advance and freeze single servings in ice cube trays? It was a lot of mess and effort, but the end result is extremely satisfying, and I’m excited to keep making food for her as all the summer veggies and fruits start appearing.

Now it’s back to just the three of us. Next time she sees Grandparents Orlando, she just might be able to crawl over to greet them.