Jul 28 2014
My 5-month-old daughter has recently decided that she’ll only nurse in bed. The big bed, the one that she shares with her father and me at night. If you’d asked me a few months ago whether it was possible for a 5-month-old to make such decisions, I would have laughed. A few weeks into motherhood, I was the type of mother who brashly vacuumed around my sleeping baby. I’d declare that a child with particular preferences probably had parents who overindulged her.
But then the 4-month-sleep regression hit; my pudgy girl, once a champion sleeper who could drift off to dreams anywhere, began to succumb to a peculiar, shallower sleep. She woke every 90 minutes at night. She stirred when the cat groomed himself across the room. Once we napped in the kitchen, on the sofa, in the bathroom in her Rock’n’Play. Now desperate for daytime sleep, I set her down in our darkened bedroom, pulling the black-out curtains shut.
She slept better during the day, and so slept better at night. And yet soon, despite improved sleep, she no longer wanted to nurse anywhere and everywhere, either. At 4.5 months old, she was now awake, aware of the wonders of the world around her. The pattern on the table cloth. The computer where mommy’s hands flew over the keyboard. The mug of coffee perched on the counter. The light outside our kitchen window. I’d started to put her in the cradle hold and she’d thrash around, hungering for the activity of the world around her instead. If I could get her to latch, she’d eat happily. But getting there was a struggle. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 25 2014
My little sister is pregnant. This is a big deal. A HUGE deal. It’s what we’ve all been waiting for for years.
So, I do what I do every time someone dear is about to become a mother. I go online and find the Dr. Sears parenting books.
Thoughts of my sister as a beautiful, natural mother dance through my head as I search. I see her clothed in a long white dress, a perfect pink infant wrapped close to her heart as she nurses her in a garden of roses. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 24 2014
Now that I’ve been a parent for a month, I’m hoping to see evidence of an emerging parenting style. Am I an Attachment Parent? Or am I Detached? What are my philosophies on where, when, and how the baby should sleep? Or eat? To wear or not to wear the baby?
Our days go something like this: Wake up. We’ve already woken up several times, this waking up is unique because it’s daylight. Perhaps the baby is in the crib next to the bed. In this case, we’re Room Sharing. More likely, I’ve fallen asleep breastfeeding once again and the baby is draped across my stomach. Both of our mouths are open and we are both snoring. In this scenario, we are Co-Sleeping. (My pediatrician has already given me major stink-eye about this, incidentally. I want to know though, how is it physically possible to not fall asleep breastfeeding in the middle of the night for two hours at a stretch?)
Ok, so we’re awake. The reason we’re awake is that Penrose is hungry. Penrose is basically always hungry, eating, or asleep. That’s fine, she’s 1 month old. So, I’m Feeding On Demand. Which I think is in line with Attachment Parenting. I feed Penrose until she seems calm enough to go back in her crib so I can shower. Inevitably, while I’m showering, she remembers that she’s neither sleeping nor eating, so she must be hungry. She begins to signal appropriately. However, I am in the shower, asserting my Right to Clean Hair, the only right I have retained since giving birth. Since I am not at the moment Attached and able to Feed On Demand, she begins to Cry It Out. This continues until I am out of the shower, whereupon I remember that I am Feeding On Demand and wrap my hair in a towel and get to it. Once she’s calmed down enough to put her back in the crib, I finish my toilette, such as it is. Sometimes she eats again before I can finish getting dressed, and definitely before I can make the bed. Often there’s a diaper change or spit up event necessitating a complete Penrose costume change. Read the rest of this entry →
Aug 5 2011
I’m fortunate in many ways, but one of the ways is that I happen to have terrific siblings. One of them was kind enough to have had her baby girl approximately 46 hours after I had mine. It was very thoughtful of her, as it means that I have a buddy with whom to go on the physical and emotional Slip and Slide of new motherhood. I mean, sure, each of us has friends…but there’s just no one with whom you can discuss vaginal health with the same degree of intimacy as you can with a sister. Actually, she blogs about the state of her post-birth vagina to an unseen audience of hundreds if not more, but let’s move on.
I live in a place famed for its mall. It’s a coincidence: my family was here on these suburban streets long before the mall really wielded its fame and fortune. It’s a fancypants mall where you can find, among other assorted goodies, baby clothes that cost more than I’d spend on an outfit for myself. But I speak of it not in terms of its Xanadu consumerist delights, but rather as a walking venue.
My sister and I decided that on the summer days that are hotter than hot, we’d go for a stroll in the mall with the wee ones. When you are three weeks out from having pushed out a kid, this is what is considered “rigorous exercise.” Yes, I’m aware of how pathetic it is to be lapped around the concourse by the speedy-looking 80 year old who applies makeup with a spatula, but that’s how things are at the moment. It’s a sorry state of affairs. Read the rest of this entry →