Friday, May 27, 2011

Running About Town

Tuesday, we went to visit the crew at my old workplace. As usual, it seemed strangely deserted for the middle of the day, but then a lot of people go to meetings and spend time in the Chicago office. The worker bees who are left tend to put their headphones on and crank out the work.
So Ellie really stood out with her squeals. She has become more vocal lately, especially in public. She squeals and grunts. Sometimes, it's very definitely in response to heavy flirting from friends and passersby. In the car, I think she does it to get me to switch from monotone talking on NPR to some music. But other times... I have no idea what she's trying to communicate.

I think she's starting to teeth. She's started to suck on her gums a little. She bit me a few times Tuesday. The first one surprised me and hurt, so I gasped and yanked her away. That upset her, but I calmed her down and she latched back on. Then she did it a few more times, but generally a little more gently. And, after the first one, they weren't as surprising, so I controlled my reaction better. I think towards the end she only did it to get my attention when I started to drift off. It was very effective. And, this morning, Ellie started with a new cry. This one sounds a lot like her pissed off cry when she doesn't want to nap (which so far today, she doesn't), but it's tinged with a little hysteria. So, given my other clues and existing suspicions, I pried her mouth open and took a look. It looks like there is a little tooth bud on her lower center left jaw. So, I applied a dab of Orajel that I picked up at the store yesterday, and she seemed to calm down. She is also in a 6 month growth spurt. Today is day 3 or 4 of heavy nursing. Some of our sessions last for almost 30 minutes. And, she hasn't done that in a couple months. I'm positive that she knows she has a doctor appointment next week, so she's "cramming" to get the extra weight on so she can rise in the weight percentiles ;)

On a more sober note, Daddy (P) had a plane accident a week ago. It was scary to get a phone call starting with, "First, I'm okay and everyone else on the flight is okay, but..." The investigation is ongoing, although we hope to see the NTSB report soon. However, it has the added effect of throwing our summer travel plans up in the air (so to speak). We were supposed to take that plane down to Florida for a wedding and later in the summer to Nevada. And, frankly we don't know if a) P wants to fly again or b) his license will be suspended for any amount of time. I've looked into commercial airline rules and I think we can handle it if that's how we have to travel. Amtrak and road trips were also discussed briefly. However both methods take a very long time and Amtrak is ridiculously expensive. High speed rail, please!

P and Ellie schmoozing at the Taste. Ellie LOVED it and was admired by many for her stylish robot leggings and her comfy method of travel (as well as her smile and dimples).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sleeping Hard or Hardly Sleeping

Ignoring the RULES and sleeping sunny-side down
I don't remember sleep being this hard. I don't think it should be, although I remember it taking FORever to fall asleep when I was a kid. Now, I'm out like a light, usually. Ellie on the other hand, has a LOT to learn. If it wasn't enough that we were struggling with catnaps, now she's rolling when I put her down. It's like it's physically impossible for her NOT to roll. The only times she's fallen asleep on her back lately are when she falls asleep nursing and that's how I put her down, or when she is just too exhausted to fully roll. Then, she ends up on her left side and only makes the full roll when she wakes up reenergized. My current strategy is to keep flipping her back onto her back (even though that seems to piss her off even more than being on her tummy) until she either falls asleep on her back or side or stops fussing on her belly. Usually, she'll only stop fussing when she abruptly passes out. That's how she slept on her tummy the first time. We went round and round flipping and crying for the better part of an hour before I was startled to hear silence. When I checked the monitor, she appeared to be asleep face down. I went in to check that she'd turned her head and could breathe, and then I decided to leave her alone. She slept 2 hours that time. Mostly, she seems to sleep better (longer) on her tummy and I am comfortable that she's strong enough to turn her head if breathing becomes an issue. However, she can't roll back over yet, so that does concern me. But, I'm convinced that her risk for SIDS is pretty insignificant even on her tummy. I'll still lay her down on her back, but we'll take sleep how ever she can get it.

Speaking of getting sleep, we had a new personal best yesterday. Ellie napped in the morning for 2 hours and 23 minutes. I couldn't believe it. I was minutes from waking her up since I had to be somewhere, but she ended up waking on her own – greatly refreshed, I might add.

I've started the nap book and discovered that the catnap problem is called One Cycle Sleep Syndrome (OCSS). That's when a child sleeps for 30-50 minutes and then wakes up when their sleep cycle changes. That explains why most of the time when I nurse her after she wakes up she'll go back to sleep for another hour or more, usually. That's about all the useful info I've gathered though. The "tips" look fairly useless. I'm gonna go back over the chapter, but it sounds like I'm gonna have to let her grow out of it, let her cry, or spend every waking moment coddling her to sleep. Bah!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Great Expectations

I'm not sure if I read it somewhere and it's just been percolating in the back of my mind, or if I just came up with this blast of brilliance on my own, but I think the number one rule of parenting is, "Have no expectations."

For example:
1. We expected Ellie to be a boy. Surprise!
2. I expect for her to be brilliant and blow the growth and developmental milestones out of the water. So, she comes out under 7 lbs and proceeds to linger toward the bottom of the weight charts for her age. She IS in the top 30% for height though. (Which just makes all her clothes really baggy and makes her look even skinnier.) She's also about a month behind in rolling and sitting, at least judging by another baby we know on Facebook.
3. She has slept through the night and for long stretches (6+ hours) at night before. She's also taken long naps. She just doesn't do it when I could really use it or when I think she will. For instance, right now, she's taking an hour long morning nap. This will be the 2nd or 3rd time ever. Of course, it took her an extra hour to fall asleep.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Nap Nightmare

Today was a truly screwed up sleeping day. She woke for the day around 5:10 am, only slept for 40 minutes for her first morning nap, refused to take a late morning nap, fell asleep at the Y right before I had to pick her up, then wouldn't go back to sleep when we got home. Her/our afternoon nap finally happened around 3, but she woke after 45 minutes and then snursed (sleep-nursed) for 30 minutes before I got her back to sleep. As I was putting her down again at 4:30, the thought crossed my mind that that was probably not a good idea. But, the idea of getting more sleep was too seductive. We woke up a little before 6, right before P got home. Both of us were cranky. Late naps are bad. Plus, I was planning to put her to bed starting around 6:30. But, we pushed that back to 7. She was happier after her bath, but very hungry. So, we nursed for almost a half hour and then I laid her down awake. She played with her hands and made mostly happy noises until she finally passed out a little before 8.

I got my Nap book in today and started flipping through it. There were allusions to "gifts" and "volcanoes", so I decided to start at the beginning so I'd understand the code. There is a whole chapter on making short naps longer though, so I may skip ahead after I figure out the key phrases.

Now, I'm off for bed because I have NO idea what she'll do tonight. Cross your fingers.

Rolling Pin

Well the rolling left thing has escalated. The side of the crib doesn't stop her anymore. Apparently, when she wakes up, she gets enough oomph to make it to her tummy. But, because she's so close to the side of the crib, she pins her right arm. So, I think we'll go back to a center placement and just hope the kid learns how to roll back to her back and/or turn her head before she face-plants. Or, maybe I can look for a wedge pillow to go on either side....

We've been moving Ellie's bedtime up to about 6 (although she usually isn't asleep until 7 or 7:30. However, she still has been waking up on average 3 times a night and then is UP for the day by 5:30. We went for breakfast yesterday morning and were in and out by 8. We beat all but the early morning counter crowd. I've never seen Jimmy's that empty on a Sunday morning. Of course, after that, Ellie took an hour and 15 minute nap. I was REALLY hoping she'd repeat that today, but no such luck. So, I think we're going to inch bedtime back toward 7. Maybe start with 6:30 and see how that works. It's been nice having 2-3 hours to do stuff in the evenings, but the loss of sleep on the other end is not worth it. I'm really dragging this morning. I am looking forward to her next nap already.

Roll Em

I had a realization. Ellie only rolls left. I wonder why that is. It certainly makes it easier to block her rolling in the crib. So, I guess I should be thankful whatever the reason. We just lay her down slightly more left than center and when she tries to roll – as she now does automatically – her legs stop her when they encounter the side of the crib. It's not 100% foolproof, but is does prevent a lot of trips to flip her over.

Yesterday, I hit the bookstore and got a few other board books to read. I was getting a little tired of alternating between Ten in the Bed and Carry Me Please. I like the features of those books. They have a sentence on each page spread, an identifiable illustration to describe or talk through, a repetitive phrase, and they're just short enough to hold Ellie's attention and still eat up a little time. I got one called Baby Giggles which has a bunch of baby photographs, most of whom are smiling. She has been pretty interested in other kids and babies, and I like the different expressions. I also got a board version of Harry the Dirty Dog, which is admittedly at the outside limit of her attention span. But, it's a classic and more interesting for Mom and Dad to read. I also got Olivia, but it's either a little too long or the illustrations are a bit too complex for now. I have no doubt we'll grow into that one though. And, we picked up the paper version of Once Upon a Potty. We read it through this morning and introduced Ellie to her new potty chair. It's pretty similar to the bumpo style seat she has, so I hope she doesn't get confused. I also sat Ellie on her potty after a particularly loud poop, but she didn't seem to like it. I think her butt is just a little small for now (not surprisingly). So, perhaps for now, we'll just work on identifying when she eliminates and save the potty for when she can actually sit unassisted. I have a book coming from Amazon about early potty training, so we'll see what else it recommends.

Today, I'm mostly posting a batch of videos. They're nothing super exciting. Mostly just Ellie playing or cooing. But, for those of you who don't see her everyday or even every month, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of her cutest moments.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rolling On

We're just a couple weeks from Ellie's 6 month doctor visit, so I figured I should probably check in before then. We've gotten our photos back and even the ones we ordered came in. I'm not entirely happy with them. For as much as I shelled out, I feel they should have better focus, or could have smoothed out some of the worst of my sun damaged skin. The studio didn't provide digital files, so you'll have to go online in the next three weeks to see them. (Although I'm including screenshots of two of my favorites.) The next set, Ellie should be on her own sitting or rolling around, and I have a different photographer in mind already.

Since my last post, Ellie has become a pro roller. She seems to delight in her trick now. She hasn't tried to roll off the changing table yet, but I'm sure she will in the next week or so. I'll post a video soon.

Naps are kind of stalled out. She'll take a long one every now and then – usually in the afternoon. But, most of her naps are right at 30 minutes. Which, makes it challenging for me to get anything done in the interim. Not to mention, she's not getting "good" sleep. She's going to sleep faster, which also cuts down on useful time. However, she's been waking up "nice" so she rolls around and talks to herself  for 10-20 minutes, so I usually have time to finish up whatever I'm working on (breakfast, cooking, watering the plants, etc). I got on Amazon last night and bought a pile of reading about starting solids, naps, and early potty-training. Apparently, 6 months isn't too young to start making her aware of her eliminations. We already call attention to her pooping since it's very obvious, but she's a stealth pee-er, so I'm not sure how that'll work. I'm waiting another couple of weeks to start her with some brown rice cereal, but I'll read the new book first. She has been showing interest in food. She tried to divert my oatmeal spoon the other morning. And, I gave her a baby spoon to play with and mocked feeding her, so she seemed to get the concept.

She's also starting to get interested in the animals. And, yesterday, she sat up and semi-supported herself with her hands. And, she's gotten to really enjoy her time in the jumpy even though she can barely touch the ground with feet.

She's been going through a growth spurt lately, so you may or may not be able to tell that her face is really filling out. Her dimples are much more noticeable when she smiles now. And, her knees actually have rolls!