Archive for June 2012

Things you’re not doing:

  • rolling over *
  • grabbing at toys **

* It doesn’t seem like this has even occurred to you yet … you’re much more interested in trying to scoot forward.

** You do, however, grab at my hair. I understand why people get “mommy cuts” now. Speaking of hair, you’re shedding some. You might get that back-of-the-head bald patch after all. I’ve finally started shedding hair again too, SIGH. But no more than I’m used to, and maybe even a little less. I’ll miss those months of hair-free floors.

Things you are doing:

  • smirking, beaming, grinning
  • making faces of pleasure and consternation in your sleep
  • babbling *
  • sucking on your fists **
  • splashing during baths
  • trying to SIT UP ***

* You can be a real chatterbox.

** And occasionally gagging yourself on them. How, I have no idea … it’s not like you stick them very far in your mouth.

*** This is your newest obsession. It’s what you immediately start to do when we lay you on any slight incline – like in your pillow or carseat – tucking your chin in and curling forward. Sometimes you wobble around a bit and flop back … but if you’re successful, you’ll bend over and with a few twists and kicks end up on your tummy! You’ve got a good set of abs in that coconut belly!

You’re so soft and squishy – you feel like a marshmallow! And you’re definitely starting to feel heavy in my arms.

We recorded your first real, audible laugh on June 15, at exactly eleven weeks. Prior to that you’ve chuckled out loud in your sleep, but this was in response to being tickled and SO VERY AWESOME. Kind of sounds like a squeaky toy.

You like to breastfeed with one arm splayed upwards, fingers sometimes scrabbling at my collarbone. Scratch scratch scratch. When your fingernails are trimmed, this is affectionate and endearing. When they aren’t, it’s kind of vicious.

Sometimes you resist falling asleep. You’ll be exhausted, yet still struggling to keep your eyes open. This is definitely not a trait inherited from your father, who acquired the ability to doze off in five seconds from his years at a mattress company, when his workday started at 6AM. Any aversion to sleeping is entirely my fault. As a child, I hated naps and early bedtimes, and would spend those hours of misery composing epic multi-volume stories in my head.

Your first accidental Mandarin phrase: “第一个.”

I remember reading about newborns being all scrunched up, limbs tucked close to the body, then “unfurling” as they adjust to life in the open. Well, you’re definitely unfurling, what with all the happy-feet dancing and hands-over-head, full-body stretches.

I didn’t leave the house for two full weeks after you were born, because the idea of taking you outside – of dealing with diaper leaks or meltdowns in public – filled me with terror. But now you can be away from home the whole day, charming the socks off everyone you meet with your double chin and ready smile and attempts at conversation. You’re never thrown off schedule, either, because – ha! We don’t have one for you!

At eleven, almost twelve weeks, I would say you’re cheerful, bright, eager. You also have a fierce temper, a big bomb with a long fuse. (I take the blame for that one, too, sorry.)

You’re outgrowing the last of your 0-3 month clothes. I’ve broken out the 3-6 month stuff already. And once we run out of size two diapers, which will probably happen within the week, you’ll be starting on the box of size threes my parents brought over.

The public health nurse who called said they expect babies to double their birth weight in six months. You took, like, two. For all the weight you’re gaining (13.3 lbs at ten weeks), you don’t actually latch the way all the literature says you’re supposed to.

Just the other day I discovered that if I squish your cheeks together, you’ll open your mouth really wide and stick out your tongue. Is this some variant of the rooting reflex? Most adorable and hilarious trick EVER.

K: “Jericho Beach is just off UBC, right?”

S: “I think so? But don’t quote me on that.”

K: “You went to UBC – how can you not know?”

S: “Well, I didn’t go to UBC and then HANG OUT ON THE BEACH.”

You’re not staring into space, you’re gazing at the light fixtures.

You’ve discovered that your vocal cords are good for more complex sounds than crying. Since then you’ve been trying enthusiastically to converse with us. Lately you’ve added more full-throated sounds to your initial repertoire of murmurs, and you’ve accidentally made vocalizations that sound like “ninja,” “okay,” “oh yeah,” “uncle,” and “hello.” You’re at your most chatty after a good nap, and when you’re being sung to. I hope you’re trying to harmonize.

I didn’t expect to deal with drool until you start cutting teeth, but you’ve taken to blowing tiny spit bubbles.

Last post, I mentioned one giant poop a day. But there was that one day you had five poops, and for the past three days you haven’t pooped at all. In brief, you’re confusing.

Yesterday we took you for your first round of immunizations. They say it’s harder on the parents than on the child, and I’m inclined to believe it, because I felt terrible but you were marvellous. You were smiling and babbling away up until our doctor (I like her so much better than the last one, by the way) was getting the needles ready, at which point you started crying, as if YOU KNEW. But you only screamed for a little bit and seemed to forget all about the shots shortly thereafter. You’ve cried harder than that over less, which I found oddly reassuring. In fact, your “OW!” cry is no match for your “I’M PISSED OFF” cry.

Now I’m on eggshells all, Is that regular fussiness or side-effect fussiness? Is she sleeping more than usual? Is that a bruise? But I guess not being able to tell is good news.

We started on cloth diapers in Ashelyn’s fifth week. It took that long for me to overcome the mental hurdle of poop-in-the-laundry. Besides, coming into this with close to zero diapering experience, we thought it best to start easy.

I used to be afraid of handling newborns, in that “they’re so fragile what if I break them” way, but you get over that quickly when you have your own. (Especially if you and your spouse were the only ones present at her birth and thus forced to deliver her.) In a similar vein, diapering in general, and cloth diapering in particular, hasn’t been nearly as bad as I feared. It’s actually kind of fun. I’m discerning a pattern in which I expect things to be horrendously difficult; that way, if they aren’t I’m pleasantly surprised! Self-deceptive? Perhaps.

At this point we’re not cloth diapering exclusively. We still use disposables at night and when we go out, which works out to roughly 3-5 a day.

Here’s our change station:

1. Diaper pail. There are two bags inside, a washable Monkey Doodlez liner (we got two for $15 off Craigslist) and an old grocery bag for the disposables. The latter is held in place with clips.

2. A basket of cloth wipes. By “cloth wipes,” I mean cotton t-shirts cut up into squares. We use these for pee diapers.

3. For poopy diapers, we still prefer disposable wipes. (Aside: Ashelyn’s poop is the exact colour and consistency of mustard. On average, we’re down to one giant poop a day.)

4. A water spritzer, for moistening cloth wipes. Or spraying baby’s butt, although that usually creates more mess than it’s worth.

5. Two snappis for our prefolds.

6. This basket has nothing to do with diapering, it just happens to be parked there. Inside are washcloths and extra blankets. I need the blankets when I nurse, to prevent milk from shooting everywhere. No, really.

Now, a closer look inside:

There’s a pack of Pampers, size 2. And baby powder, which is sitting there because it was part of a baby shower gift, but we never use it. The rest is our cloth diaper stash, obtained during a fortuitous February sale at Hip Baby.

1. Dri-Line prefolds, small (<20 lbs). We have twelve of these, and they’re actually turning out to be our most frequently used diaper.

2. Three diaper covers: a purple Bummis super lite in small (8-16 lbs), a white Bummis super snap in small (8-15 lbs), and a yellow Motherease airflow cover in medium (10-20 lbs). I find the Motherease to be ugliest but, due to its coverage, most leak-proof.

And three brands of one-size pocket diapers with snaps. My original plan was to get ten of the ubiquitous BumGenius (in addition to the dozen prefolds) and call it a day, but the store owner recommended diversifying the stash. I still like the uniformity of my original plan, but diversifying was close to $100 cheaper.

3. BumGenius 4.0, three in “noodle” and three in “butternut.”

4. One Fuzzibunz elite in mint. This and my BumGenius are so cute it almost hurts to have them pooped in, which of course is ridiculous and defeats the purpose.

5. AMP duo, one in sage and one in light blue. These are the bulkiest, but partly because I stuff them with the extra, larger inserts from the other two pocket diapers.

6. Extra inserts that come with the BumGenius and Fuzzibunz. Right now we’re using the smaller newborn inserts.

7. Not pictured is a Kissaluvs fitted diaper, newborn size (5-15 lbs). I forgot that it was on the laundry rack for some extra drying time.

In retrospect, though there’s nothing wrong with it, I would’ve passed on the fitted diaper. Between the one-size pockets (for convenience) and the prefolds (for economy and longevity), Ashelyn and future siblings should be covered. A fitted diaper is slightly more convenient than a prefold but less so than an all-in-one, slightly cheaper than an all-in-one but more expensive than prefolds. And this one is sized, which means she’ll outgrow it before being out of diapers.

As Ashelyn grows we’ll need to buy a set of bigger covers, and possibly the same prefolds in large (>20 lbs). But that’s it, and it won’t be for some time.

So, cloth diapering has been coming along rather swimmingly. By now I’m resigned to extra laundry anyway, so another load every couple of days doesn’t faze me. I run them through a cold soak, then add the covers and diaper pail liner for a hot wash with Hydrox. The prefolds, inserts, and wipes go in the dryer while I hang-dry the pocket diapers and covers. We haven’t had any incidence of diaper rash, with either cloth or disposables. Leakage hasn’t been an issue, either; mostly when it does happen it’s human error – our fault – a clumsy diaper change or lopsided positioning of the leg gussets, for example.

One last thing. Is it just me, or are the brand names for cloth diapers especially ridiculous? You know you’re a mother when you finally become desensitized and stop scoffing at them. Nursing products are pretty bad too … hello, My Brest Friend? Bamboobies?

The first two nights are hazy in my memory and probably involved more feeding than sleeping, but after that we figured out a tag-team arrangement that lasted for a number of weeks. It went something like this, all times being approximate:

10-11PM. I feed Ashelyn, hand her over to Kevin, and head to bed.

12-1AM. Ashelyn is hungry again. Kevin changes her diaper and brings her to me. Then he goes to sleep in the spare room.

3-4AM. Ashelyn is starting to wake and fuss. Out to the living room for a diaper change, back into the bedroom for noms. She drifts off without a fight and I keep her with me for a “double shift.”

6-7AM. After feeding her again, I pass Ashelyn off to Kevin in the guest room with the bassinet. If he’s up, he’ll come take her. I go back to sleep.

Eventually, as I got the hang of things and Kevin started getting back to work, we phased out his contribution to night-time care altogether. Lately our nights look more like this:

12-2AM. Ashelyn has been having a meltdown but finally falls asleep around this time.

5-7AM. And she’s stirring after a solid 4-6 hour chunk of slumber! I quickly change her diaper before settling back in bed to feed her. Ashelyn nurses amazingly well when she’s starving – all business. We both go back to sleep after, because it’s too early to be up, I say! Especially with a bedtime like that.

8-9AM. Another feed, and I may or may not try for another stretch of sleep, depending. Yes, I spoil myself.

The whole not co-sleeping thing hasn’t panned out as I’d hoped. I’m glad we only spent $50 on the crib, because Ashelyn much prefers to sleep on or beside me. Of course I’d rather not have to worry about SIDS, but when the choice is between 3-hour periods of rest or half-hour ones, there is my sanity to consider.

Even more lamentable is the fact that munchkin has deviously managed to kick her father out into the guest room. Usurper! But he needs a solid several hours of shut-eye in order to function with any measure of efficacy, and Ashelyn is quite a squirmy and noisy baby, even when she is sleeping.

So, at the end of the day (heh), we choose flexibility. We choose to work with whatever maximizes sleep for all parties. This is how we’ve avoided the sleep deprivation nightmare.

(Is that an oxymoron?)