Friday, February 27, 2009

My little Einstein

Gracie is clearly a genius. In spite of being not quite 3 months old, she has figured out that I am going back to work a week from monday, and has decided to regress to the sleep patterns she followed at seven weeks old. Lots of waking up and staying awake! Nursing at a glacial pace, followed by fits of rage when she's taken off the boob! Needing to be picked up and put down 324234 times before she stops SHRIEKING LIKE A BANSHEE and drifts off to sleep!

I am exhausted. I am absolutely peeing in my pants worrying about going back to work, waking up at 5:30 instead of staying in bed until 8am catching up on the sleep I lost overnight.

I know she's not going to sleep through the night until she leaves for college. I'm not asking for that. I stopped asking for that around the time I stopped asking for a baby that can handle things like sitting on your lap and being social. I just wanted her to go straight back to sleep when she DID wake up, and she was doing that for a few weeks. Then I made the mistake of using the W word in her presence, I guess?

I think she's a genius. Not only does she understand that I'm going back to work, but she is so very brilliant, she's just constantly thinking and processing and working on the formula for cold fusion, and it keeps her from sleeping at night.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I had a dream last night that I put Gracie in the refrigerator after I finished feeding her. In my dream, I just thought she belonged there. Oddly, it was the frig in my parents' basement, not mine. Anyway. My aunt came over to visit her, and when she heard where she was, freaked out and told me I had to get her out right away. I went running to get her, but by the time I pulled her out, she already had frostbite and was covered with black welts. It was horrible.

Obviously, this is a ridiculous dream. I would never think to put Grace in the refrigerator because I saw that very special episode of Punky Brewster when Cherie almost suffocated because she hid in an old refrigerator and Punky saved her with CPR.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Grace's One-Eyebrowed Baby

Everyone has an archnemesis. Superman has Lex Luther. Toonces has Scruffy. George Bush has the maze on his placemat at Pizza Hut. Even Maggie Simpson has that baby with the one eyebrow.

Grace's archnemesis? My left boob.

We seem to be on the path to recovery with this nursing strike. Not totally there, still pretty dysfunctional, but getting significantly better. She'll take the right if I get her on right away and stand while I'm nursing her (or sit, but NOT with the Boppy). She genuinely tries to take the left. A million different things happen when she tries. She misses. She can't latch. She latches on and pops right off, over and over, getting hte milk to let down and having it spray her in the face. She chokes because she starts to pop off but it's still coming down. She probably COULD latch on if we sat down with the Boppy and it was formally offered in a structured manner, like when she was a newborn, but that enrages her and then she won't try.

So I continue to spend quality time with my new homie, Medela, and hope for the best. And wait for my lactation consultant to call me back. We may have a pedi visit in our future too, if it seems like this is at ALL reflux or swallow-related.

It's better than it was two days ago, but we're still far from normal, and I have a pretty good feeling it's coming back with a vengeance two weeks from today. Not that anything big is happening that day...*sob*

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Hanging Out

Gracie ADORES the upstairs bathroom. It is her favorite place in the whole wide world. My only guess is that it's because it's bright, white, and warm (the heat really likes to go to that bathroom, it's usually a good five degrees warmer in there than the rest of the house). Every night, we have a ritual. I take her out of the swing, take her upstairs, and we hang out in the bathroom until bedtime. It's usually the only time she'll nurse without needing a bottle to get her started at this point, and last night she nursed and nursed and nursed like it was her favorite thing in the whole wide world. She also jabbers like crazy, cooing and gurgling and squealing, all while sticking out her tongue and smiling and not giggling yet but ohhh she's so close.

And I realized last night that this is mommy love, because there is absolutely nothing I am willing to do simultaneously, and nowhere else in the world I would rather be than lying in the bathroom floor for an hour and a half every night, talking to my baby.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Kitchen:)

First of all, what is up with my blog? Why are the posts not coming up when the page loads? hate.

Secondly, the kitchen people are coming next thursday! I am very excited, because it turns out the kitchen in our house suuucks, and I love to cook. It'll be really nice to get started on it. I wanted to make it a priority, but having moved in less than a month before Gracie was born, it obviously took a back seat. I'm still all over it, though, because it didn't seem to bad when we chose the house, but it really stinks. The cabinets are super cheap and falling apart (and the cabinets above the frig don't even open all the way, because the frig gets in the way), the appliances suck (the oven doesn't have a window or a light, the frig is tiny), the sink slopes towards the center, so you can't set anything in the sink without it rolling into the's a mess. I can't WAIT to hear what they think we can do.

After that, we only need to refinish the floors, paint, fix cracks in the walls and ceilings, get a new fence and a patio, replace the front door, decide if we're going to do an addition vs. moving, which will determine whether we do aluminum siding now or after an addition...I think that's it. For now anyway, I'm sure we'll find more prpoblems. This house, I am TELLING you. The thought of moving again is enough to make me want to cry, but the thought of staying here and doing all the work it needs isn't much easier. Not that it matters, given the current housing market.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Aw, come ON!!!!

So I've been rereading a book I read years ago. Operating Instructions is a memoir written by Anne Lamott (an author so fabulous I named my cat after one of her books) of her son's first year. I really liked it the first time I read it. Now I read it and feel so incredibly grateful for her honesty- all the times she feels like a failure, feels angry with her helpless baby, feels like she just doesn't know what to do, it just helps to know other people feel that way.

So then I decided to get online and see what's new with her and Sam. WHYYYY did I have to come across THIS?????????

I mean, SHIT.

Benadryl of Dreams

The cats got roofied last night.

Gracie was really hard to get down, clearly not feeling well, and mommy wasn't feeling well either, after a day of boob-boycotting (Gracie, not me. I don't boycott anyone's boobs). I was expecting a terrible night, and the felines in this house both had that look in their eyes like, "Ooh, nighttime! That's when I'm an asshole! Raaaawwwwwrrr!"

Fuck that noise.

They each got half a benadryl, per my aunt's dosing instructions. Well, sort of. Falafel fought me a little bit, took his, glared at me, and was a very good kitty all night long. Rosie? Oh my GOD!!! First, the fact that it even made it into her mouth is a miracle. Then she started running around the house, vomiting and pooping and frothing at the mouth, and then the froth got on my face and my eyes instantly swelled up and started running furiously and itching like mad (Oh yeah, I'm totally allergic to cats. I sometimes forget that because I'm not, you know, Rachel, but I really am) and then? When the little amount of benadryl she actually got started to kick in? She started howling like she was surely dying. my GOD.

She did eventually calm down and shut the hell up, and like I said, Falafel was good all night.

You know who else was good? Gracie. She slept until 3:30 and then didn't wake again until 8am. This is not my baby. My baby cries all night and refuses to sleep and chants backwards in Latin. Sooo, I guess her father is right and the cats DO bug her. I know a kitty who's getting benadryl tonight!...and I know another kitty who is NEVER GETTING BENADRYL AGAIN OH MY GOD.

(as for me, today I look like have raging pink eye. Not as bad as the time Heather had a really bad allergic reaction to Brennan's cat and a lady stopped her on the El and said, "oh honey, he's not worth it," but almost.)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mohawk of Love

The entire R. family is having an incredibly balls-out difficult day. Well, except Sam. Doggie loves snow. The rest of us, though, NOT happy. A picture of the mohawk of love should cheer us all up. Hope it can do the same for you. And if not, try eating Heath bits for baking straight out of the bag with a spoon. I tried that too, but all it did was make me feel like a beached whale. ANYWAY. Mohawk of Love!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Go Green

Like every other new mom on the planet, I have second-guessed every single decision I've made for Gracie. This morning, though, the decision I was most unsure of, the one I was fully prepared to scrap, was entirely validated.

When I decided to give cloth diapers a shot, my family reacted like I had decided to join a commune, or raise Gracie as a level 4 vegan (nothing that casts a shadow!). Seriously. Well, with the exception of one of my aunts who sent us awesome cloth diaper gifts. For the most part, though, people reacted as if I'd lost my mind.

Initially, we did prefolds and covers (what you think of when you think of cloth diapers) from a diaper service, which means you don't even wash them yourself, they come and pick up the dipes and drop off new ones each week. The covers are ours, and I do wash those, but they dont' need to be washed each time, just when they're nasty. I go through maybe two covers a day. We used disposables overnight because oh my LORD, Gracie was sure that all diaper changes were an attempt to amputate her legs. Eventually, when she was big enough, we started using >pocket diapers. We have to wash these ourselves, but it's much easier than some people online will lead you to believe.

ANYWAY. This morning, we were out of diaper services dipes (it's delivery day) and I'd left all the clean pockets downstairs, so I threw a sposie on her. When I woke her up from her nap, I thought, ew, she smells like pee. Then she had the audacity to poop in her diaper. I know, who would do such a thing? Well, dont' worry, the diaper wasn't hurt too badly, as the poo went absolutely EVERYWHERE- up and down her back, soaking her onesie (The P is for Pony onesie she wore home from the hospital!) and her sleeping gown (one of the few left that fits really well!). I mean, it was EVERYWHERE. Totally disgusting. And I am telling you this because we have never, ever, EVER had a blow-out like that with a cloth diaper. It just doesn't happen. In fact, she had another huge, liquidy poop this afternoon (it's the rotavirus vaccine she got on friday), this time in a cloth diaper, and she had one tiny little spot leak out the top of her diaper. Tiny little spot!

I am a total zealot. I think everyone should give CDs a shot. If you don't want the extra laundry, try a diaper service! If you don't want to mess with prefolds (which, really, are ridiculously easy), then try pockets! Our diaper service is still cheaper than disposables, and once you have a stash of pockets, there's no extra expense at all! Just give it a shot. You won't be sorry.

You're still not convinced? Gracie finds your lack of concern for the environment DEEPLY tiresome.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lordy Momma

Gracie done lost her damn baby mind today.

She is super tired, but I'm not sure why, because she slept well last night. Her naps got a LITTLE messed up this morning, but she can usually handle one messed up nap. She was pleasant during bathtime and afterwards, and I thought we'd broken the cycle. She went in the swing for her evening swing/nap, and woke up screaming half an hour later. She NEVER does that. We always have to get HER up.

Now she's sleeping in her crib. It took a few tries, and for all I know she could start screaming any minute now. She could also sleep until 1am. (I sort of doubt that...)

I got nothin'.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Packing It Up

Last night was every bit as difficult as I'd expected, which means today Stephen was exhaused and I slept waaay too late. Gracie slept in with me, and it threw off all her naps. I tried taking her to Target to get her outside, but it turns out she doesn't really do any better unless we're physically outside getting fresh air (although I did realize that all our best days have happened after long walks outside, reinforcing my determination to NEVER have another winter baby unless we move to San Diego). I am not sure tonight is going to be any easier than last night, but I am trying to THINK POSITIVE.

While she was playing on the floor this afternoon, I was packing away NB and 0-3m clothes that she's outgrown. I'm not sad about her being bigger- I still say you couldn't pay me to relive those days. Instead, packing her stuff away makes me sad about reality vs. our expectations. I know that nobody expects to have a difficult baby, and there's no way to prepare for it, but it was really extra-shocking for me. I mean, I've been taking care of babies since I was eleven years old. I've been doing it for a living for the last twelve years. Gracie, though, man she threw me for a loop. I expected to be tired, I expected it to be hard, but I honestly never expected to feel like I suck at it. And most days, I feel like I suck at this.

Don't get me wrong, Gracie is SO much easier now, and her fussiness is significantly better, but she still cries a LOT. She's just hard to be around a lot of the time, to be completely honest, because it's hard to be around a constantly crying baby. Since we know that, we find that we isolate ourselves, because it's just easier when it's the three of us...but then that's not exactly fun, either.

So, I feel sad sometimes. I see other babies sitting sweetly in their strollers at the store, or think back to babies in church, or babies in restaurants, and I'm bitter and sad that Gracie can't handle that. Then I feel guilty for feeling sad, because the gorgeous, healthy baby I have wanted for as long as I can remember is here, and I'm pouting because she's difficult? Nice, mommy.

I also have moments when I wonder if Gracie is really that tough, or if someone else would be able to handle her just fine, and it's just me being a spaz and Stephen following my lead because he's never been around babies before. Most of the time I know that's not true, because I DO know babies and she's TOUGH, but I definitely have times when I feel like it's just all me overreacting and not just taking her in stride.

So as I packed away her sweet little Christmas dress, and her sleepers, and the pink and purple onesies she never even got around to wearing before she outgrew them, I thought about packing away all that sadness and guilt. Her newborn experience wasn't what I'd expected or wanted, OKAY ALREADY, be done with it and move on. It's a nice thought, but it's not that simple.

I swear I'm trying, though.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

ohhhh no:(

As much as it's horrible to go for weeks without any sleep, it is so much harder, psychologically, to move backwards.

We've established a bit of a lovely pattern in our house. Swing time in the evening, being awakened from swing time around 7:30, playing on the bathroom floor, bedtime around 9:30. I have to watch Gracie SUPER closely, because once she got tired and I missed it and ohhh, there was hell to pay, she didn't fall asleep until 11pm and then when she woke at 3am, she was awake for two hours, went down for an hour, and woke up again. It was horrid, I kept waiting for a mysterious nanny to arrive and tell me she'd been sent to care for Dami- I mean Gracie. Anyway.

Yesterday was a very big day, as mentioned previously. Last night, she was a dream, sleeping like an angel, barely waking to eat at 2:30 and going STRAIGHT back down afterwards. It was ridiculous. This morning she woke for the day earlier than normal, but she was full of smiles and sat nicely on our laps (this is HUGE in our house, Gracie is just not a lap-sitter), and the day was off to a nice start. I'm not sre when the wheels fell off the bus, sometime in the afternoon. She woke up from a nap no happier than she'd gone down. We took her out to Home Depot and I put her in the front carrier. This is usually about the same as sedating her, she loves the carrier and instantly falls asleep. Not today. She cried half the time and spent the other half of hte time furiously sucking on a paci and staring at the lumbar like it was a big pile of vaccinations, just WAITING to puncture her squooshy, helpless thighs. When we got in the car, I rode in back with her since we had such big pieces of wood- I haven't done that in ages, and oh MAN was she eyeballin' me! Finally, about a block from the house, she dropped off to sleep. I was thisclose to telling Stephen, just drive. She needs the sleep, just get on the Kennedy and go. But I did not, because that seemed ridiculous.

She was fussy the rest of the afternoon, took a brief nap around 4:30, played a bit, went in the swing. Just like every other night. I should also add that I am no dummy and she's had tylenol for the last 24 hours. Anyway. I woke her like I always do, and she was fussy like she always is, except today? She just was not settling down. At ALL. Ohhh, she was mad, and so, so, so tired. I finally managed to get her to eat a little bit, and then after about half an hour's worth of hollering, she fell asleep.

One of two things is going to happen here tonight: she's going to wake any minute and be up until midnight, fussing and moaning and trying to eat and then screaming with rage over the fact that the milk is either not flowing fast enough or is flowing TOO FAST TOO FAST TOO FAST MOOOOM!!!! before spending the rest of the night sleeping in two hour blocks, OR, she's going to sleep until 1 or 2 am and be awake for two hours. You see, she NEEDS that play time before bed to go straight back to sleep during the night.

On the plus side, we won't care as much when the cats are yowling all night, and they WILL be, because guess who forgot to buy benadryl today? Sigh.

Happy Valentine's Day

Friday, February 13, 2009

Is this a JOKE?!

This is a joke, right?

Now that Gracie is essentially giving us full nights of sleep- going to bed at a decent hour, waking twice during the night, briefly just to eat- the *&(#*%&(!*@#& cats are howling for two hours every night?


Look. These cats are a part of our family. But I am ready to throw them down the sewer. It is one thing to spend two months as a zombie because my baby can't sleep. But now that she's sleeping, the CATS are creating a ruckus?

Jesus Christ in a sidecar.

My aunt has given me permission to give them benadryl at bedtime to make them sleep, and I'll just pray they're not freakshows who get hyper instead of sleeping when they get it because oh my HELL I can't take this.

On an unrelated note, we had a successful pediatrician visit today. Gracie weighs ust over 13 lbs and is 24.5in long, which puts her perfectly proportionally at the 95% for both lenghth and weight. Good girl! Her head is on the 75% because she knows that even though it would be perfectly proportional, I'd still stress if her head was on the 95%. Such a nice baby I have. Also, our pedi uses pentacel for vaccines, which means she only got two shots instead of four, plus oral rotavirus vaccine. She was still exhausted and wrecked after the visit and wouldn't sleep, so we took her for a long walk in the cold, and she is amazingly still asleep in her car seat now that we're home- she hasn't done that for awhile! When she wakes up, she'll be ready for tylenol and bath time.

Also, I talked to my boss about switching to three 12-hour shifts, which will be a pay cut, but mean that I have a whole extra day at home with Gracie. 12 hour shifts are absolutely brutal, but really, I won't see her much more working 10-hour shifts, and this gives me another day at home with her, so it's win-win. I will miss the extra money, for sure, but to be home with her, it's worth it.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sorry Gypsies, we're keeping her.

Because for the last two nights, our gorgeous angel has started out her night with a six hour stretch of sleep.

SIX HOURS, PEOPLE!!!! And last night she went down at 9:30, giving me real hope that I might, in fact, be able to return to work as a functional adult in one month.

Her timing could not be better, as today is the nicest day in Chicago in ages. We went for a walk this morning, which she loved, and now she's taking her afternoon nap in her crib.

I know she'll backslide, I know this isn't permanent, but it is a HUGE step.

Also, in her pleasant, well-rested state, she is making some seriously fabulous cooing sounds, and when she's not totally wrecked, she adds the cutest little gurgle to the end of her yawns.

Looks like we'll be taking the gypsies off speed dial.

Monday, February 9, 2009


Gracie is escalating her nursing strike. Her union rep is refusing to reveal her demands, which is really a shame, because as long as they didn't involve breaking any laws or anything, I'm pretty sure I'd be willing to meet them.

She did this once before- when she was about two weeks old, the left side was a bit overwhelming for her. In the sense that it would practically drown her. So, understandably, she'd get really pissed off and not want to nurse on that side. That evened out a bit, she got bigger and could handle it more, and the problem was solved. I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what is going on here. It started on the left side again, progressed to the right side, and is now progressing to feedings when she's only half awake (so she's howling in the middle of the night, which is awesome, no?).

I haven't bothered to call the lactation consultant who absolutely saved our breastfeeding experience at the beginning, for a few reasons that all conclude the same way: I just don't believe there's an answer to this. Back when I called her, I knew I needed her. The breastfeeding support at the hospital was crap, neither one of us could get the hang of it, and I knew we just needed good advice. We got it, and all was well. Now, I feel like there are a million theories as to why this might be happening, but none of them make any sense. It's not her reflux, because this got worse after we addressed that. It's not the letdown, because I still have a fast side and a slow side, and she does it on both sides. It doesn't really make sense for it to be something physical, because she takes bottles happily. I just...I think she doesn't like it, to be honest.

I go back and forth. It made me cry at first. A lot. I mean, totally silly, but it just feels like such rejection! I don't let myself cry over it anymore because it doesn't change anything, but it's really upsetting. Sometimes I think, forget it, this is so not worth it, I'm done. Then I think, we just have to work through this, she's still too young for me to be willing to switch her to formula when I have such a great supply. When I go back to work and have to pump all day, that might kill things, which is a totally different story for us. THEN I think, yeah, but I'm not willing to pump all day and just give bottles while I'm still home, I'm not a damn dairy cow.

I'm still not sure what we'll end up doing. I'm sort of hoping that if I keep doing what I'm doing, it'll just kind of go away. That solution has served me well for 33 years. We'll see, I guess.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Just because it's a cliche doesn't make it less true

Okay, two cliches, actually:

1- I can't wait for Grace to be able to show us her personality. I mean, okay, she really can already, but more of who she's going to become. The things that make her so hard now are going to be...well, they're still going to be really hard when she's older, but they're going to be so cool, too. She's so stubborn and determined, and her need to constantly be on the go go go is going to make her such an amazing person, I think. She'll be a true Sagittarian:) I really, really hope I can figure out how to make sure she keeps a sense of adventure without, like, killing herself.

2- One day, this child will stop fighting sleep so hard. oh my GOD, I've never seen a baby fight sleep as hard as she does. Eventually, she will sleep big long chunks and we will feel human again. Eventually, she will learn to love sleep (and if she takes after her mother, she will learn to looooove sleep). And when that day comes? I will have my revenge. Oh yes, I will.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Putting Gracie to bed at night gets me SO worked up and anxious and stressed out, my feet get sweaty.

REALLY sweaty.

The End.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Damnit, I knew it.

Guess who probably would've been a GREAT sleeper, if only she'd been born about fifteen years ago???


I knew it, I knew it, I knew it.

She was fussing like crazy, so I figured, eh, we'll do some tummy time. She fussed for a minute, passed out cold, and has been asleep ever since, including getting herself back to sleep after two hard-core startles.

Unfortunately, Grace lives in the age of SIDS research, so instead of sleeping like that all the time, she only gets to nap like that with her mother at her side, watching her like a hawk, and spends a lot of time tired and pissed off.

Poor thing.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grace of the Future

Today, while we were at Stephen's mom's house for brunch, the neighbors came over, mom and her daughter Grace. That Grace is about seven or eight years old, I'd guess? I'm not sure. Anyway, the mom and I were talking about our Graces, and it turns out that Grace was horribly colicky, too. I asked her mom when she started to get better, and she kind of hedged, kind of a lot, because I think she didn't really want to admit that it took forEVER. She said her Grace just constantly wanted to be on the move, and was so fidgety, she'd get agitated if she was still for more than five seconds. That is SO our Grace, too.

The good news is, her Grace is just a sweetie, so outgoing and polite and friendly and super-excited to meet our Grace. The bad news? Her Grace didn't get better until she started walking.

WALKING, people!!!!!

At least she walked early, but that doesn't mean ours will! She did say it started to get better at three months, but she was still fussier than average until she was 9.5 mos old and could walk.

God help us.

Having said that, we're on day two of prevacid. I see no difference yet, but I've been told by other parents to expect even longer than three days, so I am trying really hard not to despair yet. We did put her to bed in the swing last night to start out, and she slept five whole hours, which is the longest she's ever slept in her life. The swing motor is SO damn loud, I had a dream I went shopping for a new swing with a quieter motor, and when I found one, it cost $252. I bought it anyway, but I was mad at myself for not registering for it. Great dream, that. Anyway, after she woke up, I fed her and put her back in her crib, a process which took about an hour and fifteen minutes...about average for us. However, she DID stay asleep for another three and a half hours, which is really huge.

We also went for a walk today, in the "mild" weather. It turns out lots of people in Irving Park don't own shovels. This is amazing, since, you know, we live in Chicago and it snows every winter, but I have to believe that is the issue, because what kind of asshole lets it snow all winter and doesn't shovel their sidewalk? Someone who enjoys watching two desperate parents lift and carry their stroller across the icy, compacted snow while wrestling with a 90 lb dog who's on his first walk in weeks, that's who. There's a special place in hell for those people, right alongside the ones who turn from the center lane and the people who stop dead in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store on a saturday afternoon.