Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Crib progress

Yesterday Silas slept for one hour in his crib. We had our nighttime routine (I'm not even going to pretend that I'm a that put together - my "routine" is that he gets a change into a clean diaper and nighttime clothes before I feed him for the night. Some nights we read Fox in Socks) and then I put him down in his crib around 9:50pm.

During the next ten minutes, I frantically downloaded a white noise app on my phone, after five minutes of providing shushing sounds on my own started to find me feeling lightheaded. Silas, like any baby, has this period right before he falls asleep where any little extra noise will jolt him back to awake. The first white noise app I found had seagulls flying on the beach. I started playing it. The dogs, previously curled up together and sleeping started growling at the non existent seagulls. Silas woke back up.

I quickly downloaded another (free) app and played a combination music box/ocean sounds combo as I patted Silas on the back. His eyes would slowly close until there was just the faintest sliver of eye visible, but I knew that wasn't good enough. He wasn't truly asleep until they were closed. After about five more minutes of gentle back patting, I sat back on the bed and waited to see what would happen.

My roommates came home.

I heard the door open and I knew that this was one of those moments - either the dogs would freak out and bark and all my work would be undone or nothing would happen and Silas would continue to sleep.

Thankfully the dogs did nothing except to continue to sleep, as I found myself tensing up every time I heard a noise outside our room. I kept glancing at Silas. He seemed to be staying asleep. I should mention, on Christmas Eve, he fell asleep and slept through a loud home theatre viewing of Batman (we were in the other room but it was still certainly above general household noise). He can sleep through anything if I'm not trying to also get some sleep.

When I checked the time, it was only about 10:10. All of this effort and worry and whatnot, and it had only been about twenty minutes! Putting a baby to sleep is exhausting work sometimes. I took off my glasses and closed my eyes to try to get some sleep myself. It didn't work terribly well, because the next thing I knew, Silas was awake and crying.

I don't know what woke him up. I just know it was only a few minutes after eleven and that I was tired. Into bed he went next to me and we both went to sleep until midnight thirty, at which point Smiley woke me up as he came to bed and I very nearly tried to kill him.

I'm a little tired this morning. Time for work!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

It was somewhat surreal to go through all of this past year pregnant, knowing that the next time I saw Christmas, Thanksgiving - even halloween - that they would be "baby's first." And now they've already happened. I am struggling to find a new way to express how fast time goes, and how much faster it goes each year. When I am ninety, will a year happen in what feels like a day?

Silas is napping now (obviously) and Smiley and I have been spending most of the morning and early afternoon rearranging stuff in our house. We finally put our bed up on a bed frame and stored some boxes under there, which opened up spaces in our dining room, closet and computer room. Somewhere along the line, though, those rooms seem to have exploded. For now we're eating a late lunch of tacos and then I guess we'll tackle putting everything back together.

We did set up Silas's crib. He's only rolled over twice, but we are getting to the point where he won't be as immobile while sleeping as he is now, and I am thinking I need to start dealing with having him sleeping on a different bed. It would be one thing if our mattress was still on the floor, but we needed the underbed storage. I think. I'm not sure. I never thought Silas would be sleeping in bed with us - definitely thought he'd be in a bassinet and then crib. But, as everyone knows, half of being a parent is being surprised with what happens. Yes, Silas is my son and I will be doing my job of raising him, but one knows you can never forget that he, even now, is still his own person.

Well, I've only had like three tacos and I totally think there's another corn tortilla shell in the kitchen, so I'd better get over there and snag that before Smiley does. I need my strength to deal with the constant chaos of our house.

Merry Christmas to those celebrating! It's been a wonderful day.

Friday, December 21, 2012

So tired

Today marks my last full week of work. I'm working part of next week and one day the week after. Then I start school. Going back to school has not been easy. In addition to worrying about the financial aspect of it all, I've just had a hard time with the whole process.

For example, I had my transcripts sent to the college at the beginning of November. When I went for orientation at the beginning of December, my transcripts apparently had not been received. Uh. Ok. So, then they finally showed up mid-way through December but guess what? My holds for English and Math testing weren't taken off because they didn't get entered before the campus closed for winter holiday. So now I can't sign up for the online workshop to take online courses. Not cool.

But that aside, I'm excited and nervous, and mostly tired. I hope to get some sleep this weekend. I need it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Shh! It's a secret!

Today Smiley picked up some extra work so I am going to seize the moment and sneak a Christmas tree into the house! What with me quitting my job to go back to school and him having some issues at his weekday job, I won't be spending much, so it won't be anything amazing, but it will be Silas's first Christmas tree!

So as many of you all know, I'm not particularly religious; I haven't really been to church in probably years. I do firmly believe in being compassionate towards others, helpful and open minded, which are all things I can do no matter where I am on Sunday, but there is actually one thing I miss about not being able to go to church here in Tallahassee - and if you know me, you might have guessed - it's the hymns.

And maybe you wouldn't have guessed it - maybe you don't know how peaceful singing is to me. Smiley knows. He's had to put up with it for two years now; it's not uncommon for me to spend an evening singing along to my favorite songs (think Nightwish, Evanescence, Within Temptation, and video game songs that I love) as a way to relax and wind down. (And actually, the people I play WoW with know. They've heard me singing over vent during raids to stay calm!)

And maybe you might think I'm weird; I know when I brought a friend to church services many years back, he complained that the songs were too slow. I know a lot of churches like to bring excitement to their hymns with upbeat tempos, guitars, and other instruments precisely for that reason and that works for many people, but not me.

I got to thinking about all of this today when I was singing Silas lullabys as I put him down for his morning nap. I started using the old hymn tunes as a base for my words of love to Silas. It comforts me, and, judging from the fact that he's been asleep long enough for me to write all of the above - without any breaks to rock him back to sleep! - I think it comforts him too.

Well, I can't spend all of my time here typing; I've got to go make room for a Christmas tree. Thanks for letting me share a little part of my morning with you guys.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

10 minutes to write

Apparently Silas did not go down for an afternoon nap today; I tried to get him to sleep after work for a bit, but as he didn't seem overtired, eventually we played together some and he kicked around on the ground while I organized our computer room some. Finally, he started making this sort of bird call/pterodactyl noise that he makes when he is becoming overtired, and I was able to trick him into sleep by rocking him while nursing him. It's not as easy as it sounds!

Anyhow, he's lying down for who knows how long - my guess is ten minutes. I thought about continuing to organize the room, but who needs an organized room when I could share my thoughts with the world instead? (Like someone who drinks too much one evening, I'll probably regret this in the morning when I stub my toe on the old vacuum cleaner again).

Here's what I've been thinking about: babies give you a natural high. Yes, I'm aware I linked a article instead of, say, a scientific journal, but the point he makes (#4) is true enough. I am getting high as ever off of my beautiful little baby! How else could I continue to wake up two, sometimes three (and yes, still, occasionally four times a night) to tend for my little baby if there wasn't a huge reward in it for me? And that huge reward just happens to come courtesy of my own brain chemistry. Awesome!

So in a nutshell, if you didn't know, breastfeeding and contact with your baby produces oxytocin, which makes you feel good. And I'm guessing that my sensitivity to it is why I feel like having more babies so intensely. (And I'm probably "overdosing" by not only breastfeeding but also having Silas sleep in bed with us). But there is one other reason, and you have to promise not to laugh!

I think my desire to have my children quickly is that I want to be able to be around for grandchildren and great grandchildren. If I've learned anything, it's that I can't expect to have grandkids until maybe thirty years from now, and then that means great grandchildren sixty years from now. In sixty years, I could be dead.

So yes, laugh if you must, but the previous paragraph is truly written with only sincerity. I believe that one of the greatest rewards to being a parent is to watch your children become parents. It's the circle of life type idea; to watch life continue onward through my little family. I have to admit that I've felt this way even before I gave birth, so I can't blame hormones on that! I know that not everyone wants to have children and I'll never force Silas or any other my other hypothetical kids to do something they don't want to, but I sincerely hope that I will at least get to meet some grandchildren, some day.

I have to confess that this entry was not written in ten minutes. About five minutes into writing, Silas woke up. I kept writing for about three more minutes while he decided whether or not he was going to fall back asleep; at the eight minute mark (in total), he started crying, so I went check on him. And, uh, he's waking up again, so I guess I've got to go. This is what I get for him not taking an afternoon nap. (Babies, unlike adults, tend to sleep better the more sleep they get).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Moments of Reflection

Today at work a department-wide email went out regarding the lactation room. It was kind of awkward, since as far as I know, I'm the employee that made it happen. Up until I gave birth, lactating moms were either pumping in the bathrooms or in their offices, for those who had the option (or I guess not bothering with this at all). I didn't have an office option because, well, I'm not important enough for one. And I was not about to go pump in the bathroom!

So, yes, when an email goes out assuring people that employees are allowed to use this room to express milk and that they can use time in addition to their breaks, and I am the only person using the room, it's weird. It means people have been talking about me.

I don't know exactly why I'm so adamant about providing breastmilk for Silas. I mean, I don't think it will help him with good taste later in life - my mom breastfed me and I still enjoy a box of kraft macaroni and cheese on occasion! But the benefits - less illness, more protection against allergies, an amazing system of supply and demand to ensure he gets exactly the calories he needs - definitely play a huge part in it.

I believe, first and foremost, in feeding your baby. I never would want a mom who is feeding her baby to feel like she is less of a mom. But for me, breastfeeding is definitely a super important aspect of what to feed Silas. I am happy I have the oppertunity to keep doing that while I work, but I hate that I have to pump to do so. I hate that I have to go to a stupid room and use an electric tool instead of getting to just feed him, like I can when we are together. I know that for some moms, the time apart is well spent, but not for me. I can't wait for the 31st (my last day of work) and to start school. I will still have to pump, but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. For now, that's a win in my book.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Feeling Overwhelmed

You know, it's funny. I had thought I wanted a little baby girl. I had thought I wanted to deal with tiny dresses and tiny hair bows and adorable little baby tights. But then I had Silas, and realized that what I wanted was Silas - a perfect little baby for me. It's nice how those things work out.

I've been fairly stressed out about starting school up again next semester, which is seriously messing with my ability to find a moment to sit and write. When I get stressed, I tend to organize things. The end result isn't exactly a cleaner house, but a more organized one. I will go through old mail to make sure I want to save what I wanted to save last time. I will restack games and boxes until I feel they are in a better configuration. And mostly, I will sit in one place, feeling overwhelmed by everything.

Luckily, Silas loves when I sit in one place, because it means he's either nursing or getting my attention for playtime or getting rocked to sleep. So at least someone is winning in this situation.

Friday, December 7, 2012

New Comp!

Yesterday evening Smiley put together my new computer. It is fast and quiet and hasn't burst into flames - it is a success.

So, as you might know, Silas shares a bed with me and Smiley. Our bed, if you can call it that, is a mattress on the floor. I follow most of the guidelines for safe baby bed-sharing and it's been a great experience for me; I feel much more rested since I can take care of Silas without having to get up.

But I think it is time for us to put our bed back on a frame. The underbed storage that we gave up when we moved into our house just over two years ago is starting to catch up with me. There is a lot of stuff I'd like to just jam under there and forget about. Once we put our bed back up, I think that we'll have to start putting Silas in his crib.

I feel like sleeping with Silas next to me is one of the only ways that I get to spend time with him. I really hate working all day. I'd rather be taking care of Silas. But at the moment, I am doing what I need to do. But if we put up our bed and put Silas in his crib - well, the thought actually makes me feel an intense longing and that makes me curious as to why I feel that way.

I know part of it is that I don't think he'll sleep well in a crib; I spent the first few weeks of his life trying to nurse him to sleep and put him down in his bassinet, and it felt like he slept horribly in the bassinet. Bringing him to bed with us was such a change - he still woke up every 2-3 hours, but at least I barely had to move to accomadate that. Now he has been (occasionally) giving us four hour stretches once a night, and it will only get better with time. But I still worry that he'll go back to waking up more often, and that it will be tougher on me to get up to tend to him, even though he'll still be in the same room.

Starting in Janurary, I'm going back to school and will have more time to spend with Silas during the day. I think that this will help make the transition to crib easier for me. But our bed frame in in the house, in the living room, taking up space right now. I don't know if I want it to be in the living room for four weeks.

I feel like this should be a pointless debate; we should get our bed back and move Silas to his crib. But I feel like I shouldn't think about this while I'm extra tired; it seems much more intimating than it is.

And this is what my brain is like at nearly eleven pm. Good night y'all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sleeping Like A Baby

I was bracing myself for another long night, but Silas had other plans for me. Like, sleeping a lot plans. (Disclaimer: I did not bother to check my clock, but it felt like he only woke up two or three times).

The downside? When Smiley's snoring woke me up sometime in the middle of the night and Silas was still sleeping, I once again felt so awake that I had a very hard time falling back to sleep. My brain was awash in refreshed neurotransmitters and my body was like "eh, we'll take what we can get." And I was like, "I want to kind of scream!"

I mean, here I was, awake. But it's one thing to be awake because my baby started fussing for food or comfort and quite another thing to be awake because my husband can occasionally wake the dead with his snoring.

So I kind of batted at his arm until he stopped snoring and I announced that his snoring was loud beyond reason. So he shifted to sleeping on his side, and this is usually the part where I would fall back asleep before his snoring got too bad again.

See: brain awash in refreshed neurotransmitters. All of my neurons were firing to say, "hey, listen to his breathing. Doesn't it sound like he could start snoring soon? Oh boy, I think I heard a snore! I mean, when does heavy breathing become snoring anyway? Do they have like a chart or a graph or a professional scale? Oh - oh - whatever they use, that snore definitely was on it. Yup. He's snoring again!"

Thankfully, I did manage to fall back asleep and when Silas woke a little later, I still felt ok. I won't be still feeling ok if I don't go get ready for work though, so. Yeah.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Just a thought

One of the downsides to not having cable TV is that I don't get to listen to commercials on the TV anymore. Obviously I still get to listen to commercials on the radio and online, but those hardly count. No, it's not that I miss the groan-worthy scenarios and pitches - it's just that I miss the hilarity that ensues when I see or hear a funny commercial.

As a quick example before I hit the sack with my lovely 9pm bedtime that means nothing when Silas wakes up every two hours or so, I want to talk about Trojan Bareskin condoms. You see, when you're merely hearing the term "bareskin," it seems a lot like they're talking about "bearskin." And when you consider that lambskin condoms are a thing, it seems like maybe bearskin condoms could be a thing.

And that's when things just get silly. I mean, who the heck determined that making a condom out of bearskin was a good idea? Were they in the middle of making a bearskin rug and it was somehow a logical conclusion?

And then that's all I can hear when I hear that commercial. But now I don't hear that commercial and sometimes, just occasionally, my life is a little bit sadder.

Growth Spurt?

I've read that babies can have a growth spurt around 3 months old. Not that Silas needs one, but he will be three months in a few days here and he spent all of last night waking up every one and a half hours. It was like the newborn days all over again. I think I might be certifiably still sleeping as I write this.

The weirdest part of waking up like that is how time just sort of stops existing in the way that I normally experience it. It felt like I was up all night, despite the fact that I would check my phone thinking only a few minutes had passed, and an hour would have gone by. And then it would feel like hours while he was nursing, but it would rarely be longer than 10 minutes.

Actually, that's a welcome change from the newborn days - Silas used to nurse for up to forty-five minutes. He's much more efficient now!

Like I said. Gonna look forward with optimism and a positive attitude. Or fall asleep in the car on the way to work. You know, one or the other.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Back to School

Well, I had tossed around the idea of going back to school for a bit now, but never been able to really get my foot in the door. Today, I signed up for a full course load at the local community college and with any luck, by September I will be enrolled into the nursing program.

It's funny, because in the end, it was Silas that motivated me to do better. Before him, I could put off the idea of going to school because it would be a lot of work and a lot of change and not much of a tangible reward. But now, if I put in the work and the effort, the change will be that I get to spend a lot more time with my family and with my son and gain the skills to be employed as a nurse.

A friend commented that school and a baby seems daunting, but I think full time work and a baby is daunting. I already spend a lot of my evenings on the couch holding Silas and watching TV or reading. Now I will just transition that to reading textbooks and notes. It's been awhile since I've thought of the year in terms of semesters, but I'm so excited for the spring semester. I will get to be home with Silas Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And no, it's not going to be easy when I need to study and Silas starts crying or needs attention or whatever have you, but it's going to be better.

I'm pretty tired (yeah, it's 9pm, my new bedtime x_x) so I'll wrap this up before I ramble too much, but I am going to tackle this with as much optimism as possible. I'm so thankful to my husband for supporting me as I try to find a way to provide for our family with him and spent time with my baby! (And future babies!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hi December!

Yesterday I went to pick up my son from his great-grandma's place. Outside of the building, several older women were gathered, enjoying the late Florida afternoon. Normally I pick the entrance I use to avoid having to talk to too many people, but the alternative was walking out the other door and around the building and dang it, Silas is heavy in his car seat.

Of course one of the older ladies cooed "Look at the baby!" which I'm not going to pretend like I minded. I love showing off Silas, and I love the inevitable response to the inevitable question: "How old is he?"

"He's just 12 weeks, today," I said, smiling.

One of the other ladies looked shocked. "I thought he was at least eight months!"

Another chimed in with the "he's gonna be a linebacker some day!"

And a third, wearing a black tank top, asked me what I was feeding him. She said, I couldn't possibly be breastfeeding.

"Oh, well, actually, I am."

This lady looked at me, without missing a beat and said, "How? You don't have breasts. Show me what you feed him from."

Well, despite the slight, sudden urge to rip off my shirt and prove that I did, in fact, have breasts, I didn't do that. I knew better. I just smiled and said, "Yup, he's been breastfed from day one."

The other woman made a comment about formula being perfectly fine after breastfeeding for the first six weeks. It certainly wasn't my place to begin going on about the benefits of breastfeeding, so I agreed: "Yeah, generally I've found that feeding your baby is the best option. Babies, they seem to like that best."

The women laughed. The black tank top woman asked me if I ate food. I laughed and assured her I did. They told me motherhood has been kind to me. I thanked them and declined to offer to show them the stretch marks that covered my body.

As I wished them a good afternoon and walked away, I thought about how much I love the fact that this baby situation is working out for me. See, it's probably no secret, but I love being out of the ordinary. It is, in a lot of ways, how I define myself. So having a ginormous little baby, especially while I am tall and skinny, is a great contrast and I love it.

(It is also why I love driving the Sebring, but you already knew that).