Baby & Body: 5 month update

This past month has been F-U-N. Really, no sarcasm at all. Like, so much fun. It has also been a shit ton of work, but so much fun. The fun part is that Sloane is starting to become a real person, with a sense of humor, likes and dislikes, a temper sometimes, and little quirks. It’s a lot of fun just discovering what she thinks is fun or funny. Things like oinking or barking at her, sniffing or slurping her neck, pretending to eat her toes, and “pouncing” on the bed like a cat when she’s laying on it. It’s amazing the things you will do to get a belly laugh out of a baby. The work part is that this is basically a full-time job, which is fine because she actually is my full-time job right now (thank god for 12 month mat leave). But it does mean that I’m not doing much else other than interact with her. When I’m with her, that is…I’m still getting out without her for appointments or errands or the odd night or lunch out, so it’s not like I’m shackled to her every minute of every day, but when I’m with her, I’m really with her – if that makes sense.

Although I do have to say, she’s still pretty chill. She’s great in her stroller and Baby Bjorn or her bouncy chair on the floor – so long as I don’t go too long without giving her some attention. Hence the blogging in bed while she is sleeping now, rather than attempting to get any actual work done during the day. I have the rest of my life to check shit off a to-do list every day, and only 7 more months (waaaaah!) to be with her all the time. It’s a small, small window in the grand scheme of things. And as they say, “the days are long but the years are short.”

Back to things I can think about late at night without crying.

Her big accomplishment this month was rolling over, which she did for the first time on the Monday of the Labour Day long weekend while visiting our friend Terry. Also the second and third time. Given a spacious, carpeted room to frolic in, she finally had the space to play. Which made us realize that we had to create more space in our house for her (bye-bye gigantic aquarium, hello foam floor tiles) and also, that a new house altogether sure would be nice. For now though, this new little play space is doing the trick nicely. She rolls every which way and wriggles around to do full 360’s. She’s also taken to sleeping on her side again now that she has a little more space in the Pack n’ Play. Basically, we had been stifling our child’s movement with our teeny tiny home and restrictive furniture. Yay us.

In our defence, we are still taking her out for walks every day (with the odd exception) and she gets lots of play time at Grandma and Papa’s house too. We also started a weekly Rhyme & Reason class with little rhymes, stories, songs, finger/hand plays, and lots of info about development. She loves the activities as well as gawking at all the other babies and moms. She is particularly partial to songs that involve bouncing, jiggling or tickling. We also do the library every week or two and she likes it there quite a bit too. I’m pleased to report that there is an impressive selection of really good children’s books out there that make bedtime story time pretty fun for us (and the cats) too.

So she’s not too hard done by.

Likewise, I’m doing pretty well too. My biggest challenge is still remembering to eat and drink enough to not get tired and cranky. Just in the past couple weeks there have been a few scattered days where my milk seems a little lower than normal (this had never been a problem before, to say the least) and Sloane didnt seem completely satisfied during/after nursing – tugging and fussing (ugh) So I went with the old wives’ tale of drinking Guinness and it works like a charm. If I feel a bit low, I just drink one before bed and wake up fully stocked. But overall, i know that eating regularly and drinking enough water is definitely the smarter way to stay on top of my dairy duties.

In other TMI news, I realized that it has been more than 14 months since my last period. For some reason, it hadn’t really occurred to me before that it would be so long. It can come back any time after giving birth (a breastfeeding girlfriend got hers just 6 weeks later), but it’s not at all unusual for it to stay away until after you wean the baby if you’re exclusively breastfeeding. Just another little bonus to make up for the first few weeks of hell.

One thing that has maybe (?) started happening that I’ve been waiting for (due to warnings) is the postpartum hair loss. It does seem a bit delayed so maybe I’m just in a shedding cycle or it’s unrelated, but I do seem to be, well, shedding a lot of hair these days. It’s not like, coming out in clumps or anything but I’m just brushing out a lot more hair these days. This may be a blessing, given that what is left, Sloane is dutifully attempting to rip out. It really is a good thing they are so darn cute and sweet and smell-icious.

A Cat Confession

Last week I was ranting to my husband about needing to know the statistics on death by cat tripping at the top of the stairs.

This morning I got fired up again when one of the cats left a poop beside the litter box, because apparently the first of their twice-daily litter box scoopings was a touch too late for their liking.

Fellow pet lovers, rest assured: I still love my cats, care for them, and they are not going anywhere. I certainly don’t hate them, but I have to confess that post-baby, I’m not always feeling the crazy cat lady affection like I used to.

Taking care of a baby is a giant, time-consuming, energy-funneling undertaking. And some days, the cats seem like pushy, needy, messy things on my to-do list, instead of the joyful companions they have always been. I know it sounds horrible. But an outside-the-litter-box poop when you’ve just gotten the baby fed, changed, burped, and down to nap is spirit crushing. A cat incessantly head-butting you when you sit down to shove 5 bites of food in your mouth before the baby’s “mom is trying to eat” radar goes off can feel like an unwelcome interruption of the highest order. When a cat swerves under your feet for the 70th time that day, causing you to stumble and startle the baby you are clutching, I dare you not to feel at least a fleeting moment of rage. And the cat hair. My god, the cat hair! It’s one thing to lint roller yourself 5 times a day, but a whole other thing when you are rolling the baby, blankets, beds, carpets etc.

A quick Google search (and lots of personal anecdotes) suggest that these ugly feelings of post-parental pet annoyance are shockingly common. There are literally dozens of articles with titles like, “I used to love my cat and dog, then I had a baby”, “I had a baby and now my dog is driving me nuts” or, “My Cats Were My World Before I Had Kids, Now I Forget They Exist”. A common thread running  through each one, is some variation on the assertion that – at one time – the author’s pet was their baby. Not even like their baby. Their actual baby.

Lately, I can’t push away the uneasy feeling that maybe this is part of the problem. Pets are an amazing part of the home and of a family, but they are not children – nor, I reckon, should they be. But when we welcome pets into our home years (or decades) before kids enter the picture, we throw ourselves into caring for them, and about them, with a zealous passion. We do this because we can – because we have the time, money, energy and space to do so. In and of itself, it isn’t a problem. If you have the skill and the inclination, knock yourself out knitting your cat booties and cooking for your dog. Hell, set him a place setting at the dining room table. But if and when things need to change – whether because of a human addition to the family, financial hardship, or maybe an illness or injury – it’s okay to take them off the pedestal they probably didn’t need to be on in the first place.

The thing is, it’s going to feel like it’s not okay, because it’s such a downshift in the dynamic. When your pet gets demoted from beloved “fur baby” (honestly, is there a worse term?) to barely tolerated bum, you’re gonna feel guilty – and we all know moms specialize in guilt. A big problem for shelters and animal welfare organizations is that at this point, some people begin to feel like they are better to give up their animal than to provide it with what they perceive as second-rate care. Rescue organizations point out that in most cases, this is misguided and the animal is just fine in its current home. We don’t need to surrender our pets just because we can’t keep them in the (spoiled?) lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. We might if there is an allergy or aggression issue, but that is an entirely different scenario.

Now….I began writing this 2 months ago (so when I said “last night” and “this morning” at the top of the post, it was a bit of a fib). Sidebar: Did you know that Stephen King wrote all 200,000 or so words of The Shining in around 4 weeks? Yes, I feel sufficiently inadequate. WHATEVER, he also did a ton of cocaine at the time. ANYWAYS, the interesting thing is that my attitude has already started to come around. I feel less overwhelmed and irritated by them now and Sloane is starting to enjoy them as well, which totally helps. So if you’re in the thick of this situation now, I’d say give it some time. Like most things with a newborn, it won’t be this crazy forever.

We have to get some perspective and realize that it’s okay to let some things slide without feeling too bad about it. Especially when you have a helpless little human and your own mental health to worry about first and foremost. At the worst of it, our cats were still getting great food, good care, warm shelter, brushing and had treats and toys. They just weren’t getting unlimited attention and their picture uploaded daily to instagram. This is unquestionably better than the life they would have had on the street or in a shelter.

One day when your baby can’t stop giggling at your cat, you just might start to feel it again too, and the cat will have a whole new servant to recruit onto its staff.

PS – Kim, if you’re reading this, I’m not gonna keep posting in time for your morning coffee if you don’t text me gushing compliments every time. Just FYI.

Bye Bye Bassinet

That’s a little misleading since the bassinet is now simply sitting 10 feet away from the foot of my bed, rather than 3 feet away from the side of my bed. But baby steps, right? The main thing is that there is no longer a baby in the bassinet. Which is actually also misleading because the baby is still 3 feet away from the side of the bed in a Pack n’ Play. Sigh. I miss my bassinet. I love that bassinet. It’s pretty and it’s full of delicious, smiley, snoozy warm baby.

Sadly, that little bundle of yumminess has officially outgrown her bassinet. When I looked at her the other night, limbs touching all 4 edges, I realised I couldn’t put it off any longer. But I still have another month of sleeping with her in our room (as per SIDS risk-reduction recommendations) and I’ll be damned if I’m shipping her off to the Siberia that is her bedroom down the hall a day earlier than the experts are telling me to.

A lot of people said that they couldn’t wait until their baby was in their own room and/or that having her in our room would drive me crazy. On the contrary, and much to my husband’s delight I’m sure, I freaking love having her here. She’s so accessible and I can hear her little coos and sighs as she sleeps. I can look at her 25 times before I fall asleep and give her a little kiss and a stealthy breathing check from time to time without having to really leave bed.

For some reason, I’m also a little bit attached to the bassinet itself. This isn’t the first time I’ve developed an emotional bond with an inanimate object. There was a “crying in the back seat of my car in the garage as I prepared to sell it” incident that my husband walked in on. The bassinet was my first major baby purchase though, and it feels more intimate than most of the other baby gear and have I mentioned it’s really pretty?

monte-2013-ninna-darkbase

See.

So here we are. A bassinet, a Pack n’ Play, two adults, two cats and a baby. Heaven.

 

 

It could totally happen.

I was reading an article about this crazy rash of fentanyl overdoses lately – a BC town experienced 9 overdoses in 20 minutes one evening earlier this month because people unknowingly bought fentanyl-laced cocaine. Anyways, one victim’s mom said, “you just never think this kind of thing will happen to your kid.”

To which I replied: REALLY?! REALLY!? (Please picture Seth and Amy’s Weekend Update delivery of this line, because I couldn’t get the freakin’ GIF To embed here)

Who are these moms who don’t think this kind of horrible stuff could happen to them / their kid?! I think EVERY kind of thing could happen. Every freak accident, every obscure disease, every unprecedented animal attack, every bizarre addiction, every atypical disorder, every unthinkable crime, every rare insect bite…

So yeah, I might be crazy. At least I have a highly developed sense of imagination. I can thank my mother for that. She never just vaguely worried that I would “get hurt”, she worried that I would come home alone, late at night…minus 30, biting north wind…I slip on ice and break my ankle…realize I don’t have my house key or cell phone….and freeze to death alone on my front walk. Thanks, ma. I can only hope that if Sloane inherits this worrying habit from her maternal side, she uses her powers to fuel creativity rather than intensely detailed bouts of paranoia.

Baby & Body: 4 month update

Why is it that I can only get motivated to buckle down and write these monthly updates when I’m butting up against the deadline of the NEXT month’s birthday? Seriously, something is wrong with me. So once again, I am struggling to remember what happened between months 3 and 4. If you recall last month’s update, I mentioned that I was “jotting down notes for the next update”. Which would be rad if it wasn’t a bald-faced lie. I mean, I intended to jot down notes…

Think, think think. July 25 to August 25 was dominated by the fascinating discovery of toes and tongue. And naturally, the inevitable meeting of the two. Poor kid, please forgive mommy for outing your baby weirdness. It’s kind of cool when they discover a body part for the first time because for at least a week or two it nullifies the need for outside amusement (let’s all take a moment to thank god she is a girl) as they fixate on, say, grabbing their feet, and attempting to insert into mouth. The tongue discovery was particularly amusing since she can’t see it, but spent a lot of time sticking it out, moving it around, blowing bubbles, blowing raspberries and otherwise knocking herself out trying to figure out what exactly this unseen entity can do. With that, came lots more sound making and giggling. Turns out fart noises are as funny at 4 months as at 14 and, well, 40 years, I imagine. Actually, one of the funniest things was when my husband farted in his sleep one night and then I heard a giggle from over in the bassinet. And now I have outed my husband as well. Well done, me! Sloane is also becoming more dexterous, passing things back and forth between her hands, holding objects with more precision and picking things up if they drop.

The most accurate measurements I have are actually from juuuust over the 4 month mark (from her September 5 doctor’s appointment) when she weighed in at juuuust under 16 lbs and juuuust under 25 inches. What I remember most about this appointment was Sloane being pronounced “slow-anne” by the nurse when she called to us in the waiting room (I died laughing for 2 days, including an entire massage appointment when the therapist and I came up with back stories in bad southern accents about poor little Slow-Anne – named after her daddy Slow Andy, of course) and Sloane getting really pissed that the doctor wouldn’t let her have the stethoscope.

What else? Sleep…or lack thereof. Sleep regressions happen at a bunch of different points and it’s basically when a baby who normally sleeps well becomes an asshole. Or, you know, begins waking up at night, resisting going to sleep at night or skipping naps. Thankfully, Sloane has never been a night waker – much like her mom (and much unlike her dad) once she’s down, she’s down for the count. But resisting bed time and skipping naps are right up her alley. With the lesson under our belts from last month, we solved the first issue by moving her bedtime up again by an hour (for an 8pm bedtime) and the napping thing just ran its course after a couple weeks. Most of the time you don’t really “solve” any young infancy issues, you just get through it and realize that absolutely everything is truly just a phase. So happy that nap times are back in effect though, because that phase was a bit of a bitch.

As for me, there isn’t much to report. My body is chilling on a nice flat plateau while my emotions perch on a cliff. I’m definitely still hormonal in the sense that I can’t handle certain topics and I’m still more emotional than usual, although I’m starting to wonder if this now a permanent change. Maybe moms just cry for every baby in the whole world who gets hurt or sick or goes missing. I can live with that. I find that I’m still running warmer than I used to as well (this is polite phrasing for “wakes up soaked in sweat”) and I still have roughly the daily water intake requirement of an elephant. I’m starting to wonder if I should make attempts to fade my c-sec scar while I still can (i.e. while it’s still ‘fresh’) with various lotions and potions? Truthfully, I don’t give one flying fuck if it looks this way forever since it lies well within the bikini zone anyways and even if it were more visible, it’s not very big or unsightly. But it seems like an easy little project. Certainly much easier than starting to work out again. So I may have a shot in hell of following through.

 

Happy Blogiversary to me!

One whole year ago today, back when we were still calling the microscopic baby Perry, I posted my first blog entry.

There was a time, maybe a couple of months in, when I casually figured that I could easily get to 100 posts within a year. But I didn’t make it a goal. Then when Sloane was born and I saw where I was at, I recalibrated based on my track record of slackdom, and figured that I’d be more likely to hit 75 entries. But I didn’t make that a goal either. Which is actually a real shame because with a little focus I could have easily achieved that.

And so here I sit, in the dying hours of the Blogiversary, at an appropriately shameful 69 posts. Thinking about my blog in particular and goal setting in general. It’s something my husband is really good at — he chooses them well, writes them down, and ticks them off on the regular, both personally and professionally. This is obviously something I need to do as well or I spend the whole summer watching Big Brother and American Ninja Warrior. And okay, raising a baby who eats a thousand times a day, but still.

September has always felt like more of a “new year” than actual New Year to me, so it seems like a good time to breathe and reboot. I need to take some time to figure out what this will look like – should I post on a pre-set schedule? Or write a certain amount of minutes per day or week? Or just set a more realistic, long-term goal but leave the details more open-ended? As a stop-gap goal, I’m committing to 75 posts by Halloween, while I figure out how to best move forward. With other goals as well – because frankly, my motivation and energy levels have never been lower, so obviously something (or a number of things) has to give. The situation may be so dire that I will have to actually start exercising again. The horror.

For now, I’m tired. The baby is asleep. And American Ninja Warrior is on.