Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Let Sleeping Babies Lie

Four nights ago we started a bedtime routine for Blueberry. She had been doing most of her sleeping at night already, but we had been putting her down for the night at our bedtime instead of a kid's bedtime, and she would sleep late into the morning (waking up briefly for a couple of feedings during the night). I wanted to move everything back a few hours so that if we needed to go somewhere in the morning she would have had a good rest. So, around 8:00 p.m., I change her diaper, put on her jammies, take her upstairs, turn on her sleep sheep, a gift from cousins Lulu* and Lydia* (this is more for me than for her; I just love the ocean wave sounds. It calms me right down. I wish I had discovered this earlier in my life), feed her, and wait a few minutes until she seems to be sleeping deeply, and lay her in her crib. Then tiptoe out of the room, down the incredibly creaky stairs, and anxiously keep my ear glued to the monitor for the next two hours. And when I say glued, I mean LITERALLY glued. Ha ha. Just kidding.

Two out of four times, she woke up within a few minutes, maybe because I didn't wait long enough for her to get to sleep before laying her down. I don't want to lay her down while she's awake because she will cry and I just don't want to hear her cry. I just don't want it. The other two times, she stayed a sleep. The kids are in bed. The gift of time, to be offered nightly for the rest of the foreseeable future, most of the time. A couple of hours to myself before bedtime. Maybe I'll do the dishes. Perhaps I will fold laundry. I do believe I'll have a shower, if I can unglue the monitor from my ear and glue it to Stanley's ear.

If you have any thoughts on baby bedtime routines, I would be glad to hear it. Just as a reminder to some of you, you are supposed to sandwich criticisms or concerns between positive statements, if you don't want to make a vulnerable new mother cry and feel like a bad mother.

I wanted to mention, in case you had heard about this and were concerned, that I am aware of the baby sling recall. My sling is not the brand that was recalled, but it's the same basic design, so I'm going to play it safe and not use it. It's a shame because slings are such a wonderful thing but they are going to get a bad rap because this one was not designed with safety in mind.

I'll see if the company will take the sling back without the original packaging, but I don't want to go through too much trouble with that. I may use it as a diaper bag or a hanging basket, or cut it up and just use the fabric for something. It's a cute fabric. I'll add it to my growing pile of clothes and linens that I would have donated to charity if it weren't for their possible use in sewing projects. It's my goal to avoid buying new fabric unless it's necessary, partly because I'm poor, and partly to help save the environment.

Speaking of sewing, I am SEW close to starting a project. First I have to mend a pair of Stanley's jeans. Then I can work on something less pressing. I have such a long list of projects I want to do (I've listed them in a previous entry sew I am not going to repeat myself), it's hard to know where to start.
Blueberry has become easier to entertain.
I wish I hadn't used her real name in the video but oh well. I don't want to call her Blueberry in real life. At least not on a regular basis.
And to head off a possible concern, no, she does not sleep in this basket, unless we are watching her. At night she sleeps in a pack'n play, with only a fitted sheet under her, and she's swaddled tightly in a blanket that is not near her face, and there are no toys or crap in there with her. Well, sometimes crap ends up in there but I didn't put it there. That's all her.

*Names changed.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Letter Bonanza 2010

I just learned that April is National Card and Letter Writing Month. That gave me an idea. I'm going to write and send a card or letter every day in April. Thirty days, thirty pieces of snail mail.

Wish me luck.

I'm not going to send any crap; each piece of mail has to be something that I would have enjoyed receiving, even if it's brief.

I am not going to impose any kind of checklist for who gets mail; I think it needs to be spontaneous so it does not become more of a burden than necessary. So if you don't get a letter, I still love you.

I'm not going to worry about who gets the first, second, etc. letter as I would if I were announcing an engagement or pregnancy. So if you get a letter at the end of the month, don't worry; you're still my favorite.

A person may receive more than one letter during the month, particularly if there is a back-and-forth thing going. I guess that's kind of how correspondence is supposed to go.
Two letters will go on Monday, because as they say, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds, but don't even ask them to pick up your letter on a Sunday. Don't even.

I began preparing for this endeavor by ordering stamps. I usually buy the ugly liberty bell "Forever" stamps so I don't have to worry about cost increases, but this time, to make it more special, I ordered these:
We recently saw Julie and Julia, about a blogger who cooked all of Julia Child's recipes, over 500 of them, in one year, and blogged about it, and her life almost fell apart because of the pressure. So Stanley remarked that Letter Bonanza 2010 could turn out to be a source of stress rather than joy, and his point is well taken. The solution is simply that I will not do it if it's not fun. I want it to be not so much a challenge as an excuse to write a lot of letters. Also, I don't necessarily plan to report on how it's going, so that takes a lot of the pressure off.
Blueberry is doing great. She had her 2-month checkup on St. Paddie's Day. She's healthy. Weight, height, and head circumference all within normal range. Yay!! Also, she let one rip in church today.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reaching Out

My friend Lucille* came over for tea on Wednesday. It had been a while since I'd seen her. Before I knew it, three hours had gone by. We talked about babies, mostly. It was really good to be able to compare notes; when she left I felt like I'm doing okay as a mom and Blueberry is a normal baby. It's a nice feeling.

I'm slowly getting the motivation to get out more and find more people with babies. I joined a Meetup group called "St. Paul Area Moms" (S.P.A.M.!) and saw that there is a meetup Monday morning at a coffee shop (Java Train) that is easy walking distance to our house. I had been meaning to go to this coffee shop anyway. When I got pregnant, Stanley mentioned that I should go there after Blueberry is born, and he based this suggestion on the fact that when he went there to pick up some coffee and pastries one morning, he saw a bunch of moms and babies there. In hindsight, it may have been one of these meetup groups. It seems like it would be quite pleasant to be a regular customer at a mom and pop coffee shop, whether I'm meeting people there or not. They have a play area. The coffee is good.

In the following video, Blueberry demonstrates that she has trained me to lift her up in the air when she raises her arm.

I would really like to hear your comments and ideas about this. It's too early for her to learn to use sign language - she could learn what they mean but probably wouldn't use a sign until 6 months or later. But if she can associate her behavior with what happens immediately after, perhaps she could tell me, for example, when to change her diaper by shaking her head? Or is that too big of a leap? I should know more about this, having supposedly been trained in developmental/behavioral neuroscience. But my lit search on this topic has not been very fruitful. The only research I could find looked at infants' sucking response in order to view pictures longer or change pictures. Not useful in this scenario.

Daylight Savings Time starts this Sunday!!!

*Names changed.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Guess what this post is about! That's right! Blueberry! She is doing well and seems to be maturing daily. She looks at me intently when she cries as if she is trying to communicate, and she does a pretty good job most of the time. She spends a lot more time awake and gurgling happily lately. And the other day, during tummy time, she did this:

And then she announced, "Parsva bakasana!" I could hardly believe it. I wish I had captured it on video. The only video I have to show you is one of her sleeping. Oh, what the heck.

(If you can't see the video, and you want to see it, and you are reading this in an email, try going directly to the blog.)

The weather has been warmer and the sidewalks are a lot less icy, so we went on a walk yesterday.
It was a lot of fun for me; I don't get out much, mostly because it's such a hassle and I'm lazy, and it was wonderful to finally have some good walking weather, and very satisfying to be out and about as a family rather than a couple. Not that I ever minded our walks as a couple. Those were great, too.
Blueberry enjoyed it as well (note the hand signal).

And yes, her hooded sweater has ears. I'm not sure what animal it is supposed to represent. The sweater has an apple on the front. So that doesn't explain anything.
Hope you are having a nice week!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blueb Jeans

As long as I can remember pre-motherhood, there were two baby things I could not resist. Baby feet, and baby jeans. When I would meet a new baby, I would be compelled to touch his/her feet. I don't mind if you find that strange. And when it was time to give a baby shower gift, more often than not, I would give baby jeans. I loved that they are so small and thick that you can't fold them, and I loved the absurdity of putting jeans on a baby. Jeans are durable, originally meant to be used as work pants, and babies are not likely to engage in activities that require jeans. And if you look sideways at something absurd, it can be cute.

An interesting thing happened with the baby feet: When Blueberry was born, I did notice her feet, and how cute they were. Exhibit A:

But suddenly I didn't care about baby feet any more than any other thing that came along with her, such as baby elbows, baby belly buttons, and baby sneezes.

But jeans! I still have a thing for baby jeans! Grandma Spupspe gave her two pairs, one for 6-9 months, and one for 9-12. But none for right now. I was tired of waiting, so on Saturday, Stanley took care of Blueberry and I went on a much-needed excursion to have lunch with a friend, and to shop, and I found myself at the kids' clothing store, which is way more interesting to me now, and I unwisely spent $12.50 on these:

GAAAAAAH!!!!! SO ABSURD!!! SO POINTLESS!!! SO CUTE!!! The smallest jeans she will ever fit into: 0-3 months. She had to lay down to get them on this morning. But they fit! I chose a casual t-shirt to go with them, and made sure I wore something that complimented her outfit, and we were ready for our closeup.

It was not easy to get this picture. Blueberry cooperated fully, but her mother had issues. Here's a failed attempt that I'm posting because despite its crappiness, I like it. It shows off my nurturing motheriness.

Yep. That is the type of mother I am. Blueberry, if you're reading this, many years in the future, this is what you endured. Thank you for your patience and resilience. I did the best I could. I love you.

Since we're having a fashion show, I might as well show you the adorable sweater given to Blueberry by my sister-in-law (Stanley's brother's sister, who also happens to be named Hazel*). I could have posted this the other day, but for obvious reasons, did not. But today's post seems to be appropriate for it.

Blueberry just loves it.

*Names changed.