Saturday, February 2, 2008

Cara Bambina - Just You and Me, Kiddo

Cara bambina,

Well, Daddy's gone off with the guys for the weekend. You and I are going to have special Mama-Bambina time. This means you better be on your best behavior so Mama doesn't go nuts and pull out all her hair. I'm still losing so much hair since your birth, I can't spare to lose any more, so work with me here.

Yesterday evening--heck, all of yesterday when I had you, you whined pretty consistantly. I know your teeth are bothering you, but now that the 8th one (OMG! 8?!?!) finally poked through, I hope it will feel better and you will be less fussy. A mama can dream, can't she?

After I put you to bed, last night went pretty well. I heard you cry maybe twice around 1:30, but when I checked the video monitor, you were lying down and had already fallen back to sleep. That. Is. Awesome. Keep that up, please. I had hoped you would do the same at 5:45 this morning, but no luck. You cried, sat up, lied (layed?) back down, cried a little more, and then were standing and crying. That was my cue, and we were up for the morning. But at least it wasn't 5:00 like it was yesterday morning.

We've had a great morning. We played and had breakfast and you went down for your nap a little early. You and I are doing well so far. Just the two of us. Oh, plus the dog and cat, both of whom are also behaving very well. I'm just going to keep my fingers crossed that the rest of the weekend and Monday go this well. But I fear that I've totally jinxed it.

When you get up, we are either going to run errands or hang out with your aunt, uncle, older cousin and the twins. Maybe we can do both! And after your second nap, we are going to your other cousin's 2-year birthday party! It should be a fun day. You tend to be less fussy when I keep you busy, so hopefully this is a good plan.

We both miss Daddy, but he'll be home soon. I hope he is having a good time and getting lots of sleep. He needs it!

Ti amo,
Mama

Friday, February 1, 2008

Searches, Sleep, Solo and Self

Some random thoughts for today, cause I'm feeling random. And having thoughts.

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Normally, I do my Cara Figlia posts on Friday's, but I think I'm going to change that and do them on Saturdays and the Cara Mama letters on Sundays. It just makes more sense to me.

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I got more search hits yesterday than I have any other day of my blogging life. I know you are dying to know what the search terms were that brought people to my blog, especially because of yesterday's topic...
-"baby fidgeting night"
-"baby kicks fidgets while sleeping"
-"fidgeting while breastfeeding"
-"push me mama love"
-"things mothers say"
-"toddler hates having nose wiped"

I told you all I get a bunch of searches about the baby fidgets! The hits came from Canada, Bulgaria and the UK, and it looks like no one stayed to read. So I guess my two posts about my fidgety baby did not help them. I do not quite get the search for "push me mama love," but whatever.

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Just when I start getting used to the Pumpkin not waking up until 6:00 or later, she gets up earlier. Our week went like this: Sunday up at 7:00 (That's right! 7!!!), Monday up at 6:30, Tuesday up at 6:15, Wednesday up at 6:00, Thursday up at 5:30 and this morning up at 5:00 (Plus she was up at 11:45, and thank you, Londo, for rocking her back to sleep). I'm thinking it's a pattern and I'm a little worried about the nights and mornings to come. Especially because...

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My wonderful hubby is going out of town. He is right now on his way to the airport. He will be gone until very late Monday night. I'm hoping this weekend goes well, but the Pumpkin has been extra fussy lately. One of her teeth is just about to break through. Hopefully it will very soon, and that will at least make her sleep better. I can handle the fussing if she is at least sleeping.

So, Mama's Flying Solo this time, although it is not my first or even second time.

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Why is it that I keep referring to myself in the third person to the Pumpkin? Is this normal, or am I an episode of Seinfeld? It's going beyond "Come to Mama" and into things like "Mama doesn't like it when you do that" or "Mama needs to go over here." I'm really trying to stop it before it gets out of hand.

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I've got more, but I'll save it for another day. I've even got some longer topics I want to cover that I haven't had time to write up yet. I'm hoping to have some time over the weekend to start them, but with Londo out of town, I'm not sure what my days and nights will be like.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Flashing the High Beams

Who am I kidding by saying "flashing"? My headlights are stuck on high almost all the time. A friend and I were just talking about how our nipples are stuck in the "on" position pretty much since pregnancy. What is it about our pregnant and now nursing bodies that feel the need to announce to the world where our nipples are? I'm sure it's all part of helping the baby find the food source, but does the rest of the world need to know? As if I needed anything calling even more attention to my bignormous* mama breasts.

Someone please tell me it goes away. It must! But when?

Speaking of my boobs, Londo and I have realized that we can't keep referring to them as boobs, or even Magic Boobs, when talking to the Pumpkin. All the other names that people give them seem silly, but I think we are going with "nursies." I don't really like it, but I always refer to breastfeeding as nursing (e.g., "Pumpkin, do you want to nurse?") so I think "nursies" will be the easiest for her to understand. I've totally vetoed what Londo wants to call them. "Titty Monsters" is wrong on so many levels. I'd love to hear other suggestions, if anyone has any ideas.

p.s. I've added a quote at the bottom of the blog. I will change it up with all sorts of quotes that I love. Check it out!

*Note to One Tired Ema: I told you I was going to start using that word. It's totally part of my vocabulary now. I even used it at work the other day. Please thank Miss M for me. :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fidgety Baby (Reprise) and Mansfield Park

Did you think I was done talking about the Pumpkin's fidgeting after yesterday's long post? I did too. Until last night. When her fidgeting got so bad, I realized that I had more to write.

When I nurse the Pumpkin to sleep, I hate just sitting there. I get so sleepy. It used to be that she'd close her eyes pretty quickly and I could pull out my book and use my new booklight (a Christmas gift) to read while she nursed off to dreamland. But lately, she doesn't close her eyes for a long time, and her fidgeting has gotten worse, so I'm not able to read.

These days while she nurses, she fidgets and fidgets--twirling her hair, playing with the buttons on my shirt, playing with my fingers, trying to grab my lip and nose. So I hold on to her hand or her arm, keeping it still. And do you know what happens when I do that? Her LEG starts going! And she kicks me, and pushes with her leg and swings it around, banging my knee. So I use my hand and arm to try to hold her leg still and against me. Now, remember that my other arm is under the Pumpkin holding her in the craddle nursing position. So you know what happens when I try to hold her leg still... Yep, her arm and hand starts going again.

I'm working on the art of holding her hand/arm and leg still with one of my arms awkwardly positioned over her body. It's not easy, and it's very uncomfortable. So by the time we've switched nursing sides and she's finally actually falling asleep, I'm exhausted from dealing with her beating me up. My knee and arm are sore. I'm emotionally and physically exhausted. But she's finally asleep, and even though she is still fidgety, I'm able to put her in her crib and tip-toe out of the room.

But I'm totally wiped out. And that is why I went to bed at 9:30 last night and 8:30 the night before. I am so exhausted just from the 45 minutes to an hour it takes to get the fidget monster to bed. I had hoped to stay up a while last night and read, but it was not going to happen.

As for reading, I know I said I was going to read Jane Eyre next, and I really did want to. However, I haven't been able get my hands on the book! I know it's in one of the boxes of books still unpacked in our guest room closet. I finally got more shelves so that we can unpack those books. I just haven't had a chance to unpack those boxes and fish out the copy of Jane Eyre.

Instead, I've started Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Here is the story behind this book on my list of alternates for the TBR Challenge:

Jane Austen is my favorite author (just barely beating out F. Scott Fitzgerald in recent years). My favorite book of hers is Pride and Prejudice, which I have read so many times I've lost count. Since Austen is my favorite author, you'd think I'd have read all her books. After all, when Fitzgerald held the distinction (and it is an honor, I assure you), the only book--nay*, the only story (since I've read all his short stories) of his I hadn't read was The Last Tycoon. Since it was unfinished at the time of his death, I've not felt compelled to read it, although I probably should.

In fact, I have not read all of Austen's finished works. I have never read Mansfield Park or Persuasion or Northanger Abbey. I own multiple copies of compilations of her entire works. I have no idea why I haven't read them. The Penguin Classic copy of Mansfield Park I'm reading was even my husband's copy from a college class. I've always felt remiss in not having read all her works. I'm working on remedying that, which is why this one is on the list. I'm only a few chapters in and already enjoying it. I'll do a review when I'm done.

*Can you believe I said "nay"? My head is apparently in the Austen world right now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Baby Fidgets in Sleep (and While Awake)

Since I've started this blog, I've had quite a few visitors find me through a search for something like "baby fidgets in sleep" or "baby fidgets in bed" or simply "baby fidgets." This leads me to believe that there are others out there with fidgety babies who drive them crazy enough to search on the internet for some information about fidgeting babies. So I thought I'd do a whole post to discuss the fidgety nature of my child and how I deal with it.

Do you want to know when my child first started fidgeting? IN UTERO!! I'm not kidding. When I was pregnant, this baby moved a lot. She was very often kicking and pushing and hiccuping. OMG, the hiccups! I thought they would drive me nuts. Every. Single. Day. For. Months. Straight. Often more than once a day. I am not exaggerating--you can ask Londo or the many people I worked with, all of whom had to hear about it. I just thought it was part of being pregnant, and it probably is, but I've also realized that it is just my child's nature.

I may have mentioned before that the Pumpkin is a fussy baby, and she always has been. I think that part of her fussiness is her need for constant motion and activity. As a newborn, she needed to be held and walked/rocked/bounced constantly. When we weren't moving her, she was moving herself. She constantly kicked her feet and flailed her arms. Since she was a few weeks old, I have joked that she has restless legs syndrome, except it's her whole body. Restless Body Syndrome. I suspect she is not the only baby with this disorder.

How did we deal with this and get any sleep at all? Two things: the Miracle Blanket and the swing. Swaddling the baby worked amazingly well for us. Even when she was awake, a lot of times it would just calm her down. She would start calming down when we started the swaddling process. And we used the swing at night (all night long) from week 3 to 2 months. I would have kept using it, but she was getting heavy and it was starting to creak a bit. hehe.

We kept swaddling her at night when we moved her to the co-sleeper next to the bed, even though she started to kick her feet out. Then she started wiggling her arms out. Darn that fidgeting! She would wake herself up because she'd come almost completely out of the once mummy-tight swaddle. So we tried to not swaddle her, and it was a mess. We went back to swaddling.

Since she was such an active child, she started rolling over early. She started crawling early, she started standing, and cruising, and even walking early. The great thing about the early development of gross motor skills was that she was able to be active and fidgety on her own, without us having to constantly move her. But the huge issue with this early development is that she started rolling over in her sleep at 3.5 months. While swaddled. With her arms pinned to her sides.

So I freaked out, and we stopped swaddling her. This was right at the 4-month sleep regression time period. And there went our sleep. For months and months. Was it the figeting that kept waking her up? The teething? Gas? The sleep regression/developmental spurt? I don't know what it was, but to this day, I miss the swaddle.

Around 6 months, we moved her into her nursery. We figured if she was not sleeping in our bedroom, she might as well not sleep in her nursery so we wouldn't have to tip-toe around our room anymore. But I'd go in and cosleep with her in there for the morning hours. And she'd fidget.

I have before refered to "The Fidget Hour" which is the hour (or more) it would take the Pumpkin to settle down. I would bring her into the twin bed with me, nurse her lying down, and we'd start drifting off to sleep. Often, it would be beautiful and easy. But there were many many times that were not so easy. Especially when she was super fidgety. She would grab my shirt, grab my hands, twirl her hair in her fingers, and on and on. She would kick me, push her feet into me, and constantly move her legs. All while her eyes are closed and looking like she should be asleep.

On the worst mornings, she'd stop nursing and keep fidgeting, sometimes waking herself up or keeping herself awake. I learned to let her roll over onto her stomach and cuddle around her to keep her arms and legs from moving. Sometimes this would work, other times it would just piss her off.

Finally, she seems to be learning to stay asleep or put herself back to sleep through the fidgeting. I imagine it's just one of those things. She still fidgets, not only in her sleep but also while nursing or in her highchair or in her carseat--Who am I kidding? She fidgets EVERYWHERE. But so does her daddy, so at least she comes by it honestly.

To all those out there struggling with fidgety babies, good luck. I have no good answers for how to help others, only things that we tried that worked sometimes.
I hope it gets easier for us all as they get older.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Question of the Week - Oh, The Places You've Been

This week's question is in honor of my friend who is moving.

Of all the places you lived, where was your favorite?

This should be purely for location reasons, not what you were doing at the time or who you were living with.

My favorite place was Florence, Italy. (Who is surprised? Anyone? Anyone?) I would love to move back there some day, but I don't think it's in the cards for me. I also loved living in Athens, Georgia, USA (not to be confused with Athens, Greece--a place I haven't even visited yet). Athens, GA was such a great place to live, so it comes in second.

How about you?

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Cara Figlia - I Missed You

Cara figlia,

Mia carina bambina (my dearest baby), I missed you so much! I can't believe I was away from you for 75 whole hours in a row!! I know it was tough on all of us, but Mama really needed the break. I needed some time out of the house and away from all my own responsibilities. Not that I was lying on a beach somewhere drinking margaritas. (Hmmm, that sounds like a good plan for next time!)

I was helping a friend of mine get ready for moving, in part by helping with her baby, helping keep up with the household chores, running errands and helping pack. Her husband has already started his new job in the other city, so she has had to take care of so much all by herself. She was overwhelmed, and who wouldn't be? So I went up for just a couple days (and three, whole, sleep-filled nights!!) to help her. Which means, I was working and busy the whole time. But I was working and busy with things that were not mine, including you, our animals, our house, my job, etc. And Mama really needed that.

You did great with Daddy, as I knew you would. Thank you for sleeping so well for him, and for me last night! I know you started to get really fussy yesterday--your Daddy and I both could tell that you were missing me. Luckily, I came back before lunch and spent all day with you, even holding you for your second nap. (I couldn't resist!)

Thank you for nursing so well since I've been back. I pumped lots of milk for you, about 75% of what you drank while I was gone. But the pump just doesn't stimulate my milk like you do, and it is very rough on my nursies. But you've been wonderful nursing a lot and being gentle with Mama's sore nipples. I'm confident my supply is already building back up.

I missed your sweet smile and your adorable chuckles and giggles. I missed your teetering as you start to walk toward me. I missed your beautiful face and chubby baby body. I missed the way you snuggle me and give me kisses. I missed your nursing and falling asleep in my arms. I missed your babbling and animals noises that you are learning. I missed you, my little love. I missed you so much.

Ti amo,
Mama