Monday, September 12, 2011

9 Weeks

This week brought home how important it is for Josie and me to get out of the house. Last week we only went out once during the week and then on the weekend, but I think with it being the first week I was on my own and then not having much outside interaction, it got to my head a bit, since I was exhausted and frustrated by the end and afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the next 4 weeks on my own. Then this week, I'm already panicking that I only have another 3 weeks left with her before I go back to work, so maybe it's all just a matter of perspective ;)

But this week, we took her to a barbecue on Monday for Labor Day, then over to the rental house a couple nights after Ryan got off work so we could work on fixing it up to try to sell it in the next couple of months, La Leche League meeting on Friday, and out to lunch/Lowes/Ryan's parents' on Saturday for dinner. She usually is very good when we take her out, although she's decided that she actually won't take a pacifier anymore, thank you very much, so I usually just end up nursing her for a bit, and then one of us holds her, walks her around, or puts her in the carrier, and she gets a nice little nap in. I think all her development in the last few weeks has really helped now that she's able to see and focus on much more, so she's awake and alert (but quiet), and while she still gets tired out by being away from home, she doesn't seem to be getting as easily overstimulated and overtired.

I've nearly reached acceptance of the napping situation. I still miss the days when she would fairly reliably take a 3-hour nap in the afternoon, but since I've figured out a few ways to at least make sure she seemingly gets enough sleep (albeit in 30-minute increments), I'm not as worried about her being an overtired mess in the evenings. The key is apparently to just be around to nurse her as she moves between sleep cycles, so now she usually sleeps on me for an hour or so in the mornings, and then we've also spent a good 2-3 hours in bed the last few afternoons, with me nursing her back to sleep every half hour. This is obviously not the best long-term solution, since I won't be around to devote most of an afternoon to getting her to take a nap once I'm back at work, but I suspect daycare will be such a different environment for her that she may surprise me with how she copes - and if that's that she sleeps well for them during the week but still sleeps like crap for us on the weekends, then so be it ;) Because really, I'd rather take her night sleeping pattern lately over good napping anyway.

Hopefully this will be a continuing trend, but besides a few rough times a week trying to get her down to sleep (i.e., an hour of nursing/comfort sucking and then a half hour asleep before she wakes up for another hour-long session), she's been going down easier at night, then sleeping a good 6+ hours before waking to nurse, and usually then another couple hours before waking to eat again, and then peters out with a half hour of sleep before she's up for the day around 10-11am. Except for Saturday night, where she was asleep 10:30pm-10:15am, with only a 15-minute nursing session at 7:30. Which was awesome.

Going back to my solution for the napping situation, while I do feel like it's a little ridiculous to spend all afternoon in bed with Josie just to eke out a couple hours of sleep for her, there's also something about the whole experience that I really like. She's usually swaddled for night-time sleeping, but if I plan to stay with her anyway, I'll leave her unswaddled since chances are I'll be close enough to her to block at least one of her arms to cut down on the flailing that wakes her up. There's something very sweet and personal about nursing my daughter in bed, and her having her hands free to hold onto my shirt or poke at me or stretch up her arm over her head and rest it on my chest while she's asleep. I will definitely miss these sweet moments and lazy afternoons curled up in bed with her. But actually feeling this way surprised me a bit, given how overwhelmed I felt last week when I was on my own with her for the first time.

I think I'm very slow to adapt to changes anyway, and motherhood has been no exception. I'm still crying almost every day, which is annoying but ok, I guess, since it's usually not out of frustration, but I'm still dealing with accepting that there are certain things about my life that are different and that I may not get to do again, at least in the near future (like enjoying a leisurely meal and reading). Obviously, we made a very conscious decision to have a baby, so I was well aware of these changes and I was ready to move into that new phase of our lives, but then I was still taken by surprise by how tiring it is to always be "on" when it comes to the baby. I know she won't always be so dependent on us though, and I'm sure years down the road I'll look back at this time in her life and will miss it sorely. Until then, I console myself when I'm out on a walk with her by noticing all the little kids going by on their bikes with their (relatively) calm-looking parents, and realize that that will be us all too soon :)

In terms of Josie's development for the week, she's really been working on her repertoire of cute sounds and faces. She laughed a couple of times this week, which was awesome, and she's cooing up a storm now (mainly to the corner of the nursery, the ceiling fan, or her friends on the change table, although she saves an "aahh-goo" for Ryan and me on occasion). She's also smiling much more, although sometimes at goofy times, like when she's nursing. There's been a couple of times this week that I've looked down to see how she was doing just to see her smiling back at me rather than being focused on her food. She did the same to Ryan as he was giving her her weekly bottle yesterday morning, which makes me think food makes her happy :)
[Favorite picture of the week!]

Getting her arms back after being swaddled also continues to be an exciting event for her. She broke both arms out of her swaddle for the first time this week, and while I thought she'd be able to sleep through having one arm out, once the second one came out, it was all over as she had a wriggling, flailing dance party in her crib at 4 o'clock in the morning (which was hilarious, except for the fact that it was 4am). She also has been much more deliberate with controlling her arms and hands, and within the last couple of days, has been getting more consistent with getting her hand in her mouth to suck on.
[Swaddle fail - second one in a row]

Also this week, she apparently grew out of the Gerber brand 0-3 month onesies (Carter's seems to run a bit bigger, so those will last a few more weeks probably), and her small diapers - or, at least, she has had a leaky diaper just about every day this week, so I think the size 1 disposables are too small for her now, but I think we may have an absorbency problem with the cloth diapers, since not only the small size ones are leaking but the one-size as well (which should fit her up to 35lbs). So we have some research ahead of us to try to figure out if we've been using too much detergent and it's built up on the diapers, in which case we'll have to strip them - and quickly, since leaky diapers are not too fun.

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