Thursday, April 16, 2015

Oy with the acid reflux!

This past week in adventures in parenting, my daughter started freaking out when we'd feed her.  She'd get through about 2 ounces of her bottle and then totally melt down.  She wouldn't take more formula, and she'd just squirm and cry.  On top of that, she started spitting up more than usual.  She almost never spit up before, but now she was doing it during pretty much every bottle, and it would smell acidic like it was actual vomit instead of baby spit up.  I'm not big on worrying, because kids go through phases where they do weird shit, but uncharacteristic behavior makes me pause and go "Well....maybe I should call about that?"  So, I called on Monday after she was just refusing to eat much and it was effecting her sleeping patterns and her mood over all.  We went in on Tuesday morning and found out our sweet 3 month old is basically a 54 year old man with acid reflux.  Her tiny baby esophagus isn't doing its job to keep acid down where it belongs, so it's starting to creep up when she eats and her stomach gets full, and it's burning, so the idea of eating more is just too much for her to handle.  That leads to the crying, because it hurts, and her pushing her bottle away because she doesn't want it because she's associating it with hurting.

We were given a prescription for baby zantac to control the acid, and told that if she didn't improve in three days, to give them a call back and they'd adjust the dosage.  We gave her the first dose when I got home from work that afternoon and that night she took a full bottle for the first time in a week, all without fussing or crying.  Yesterday there continued to be improvement.  She wasn't perfect, but she was doing much better than she had been.  Today, my mom sent me photos of a happy smiling baby who hasn't cried or screamed once all day, even when she started to get tired.

Now I feel like we need to give her a new name.  Something that sounds like an old retired Jewish man.  Maybe we should call her Saul.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Then again, maybe not

This weekend we decided to venture out on our first mall trip.  My husband needed new work shoes, and I just needed to get out of the house.  We hadn't taken my daughter out to the mall yet.  She had gone to the grocery store a number of times, but those are quick 20 minute trips.  Nothing that was going to require some time investment.  So, on Saturday after my husband got out of class and she had been fed, we went to the mall.

I dressed her in an outfit some friends had purchased for us.  A onesie that looks like the body of Kermit the Frog with a hat that looks like the top of Kermit's head, paired with a pair of baby blue jeans and her awesome infant shoes that have Animal on them.  The clothing wasn't gender specific, and she's a baby so it's not like she has obviously boy or girl features at the moment, so she looked rather androgynous.  We decided we were going to take her stroller with us to push her around.  It's blue, because I like blue.  My husband looked at her and said "People are going to think she's a boy" and then we both laughed.  So, I decided to add a mustache pacifier to her ensemble just to top things off.

We still got stopped by a million people at the mall to tell us how adorable she was.  I mean, they kept saying "He is so precious" but the pronoun doesn't matter.  We literally had people stand in front of us to stop us from walking down the hall so they could look at her, and they kept remarking on how cute she was, how funny her pacifier was, how sweet she looked.  And all of this while thinking she was 100% boy.  So maybe it's not just that little girls do something to people.  Maybe it's just that my little girl does something to people.  Though, the Kermit hat probably helped.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Little girls do something to people

I'm not sure what it is about little girls, but they seem to do something to people.  I've been contrasting the reaction to my daughter against the way people talk about and react to my nephew, and it's a striking contrast.  People dote on my daughter.  They coo over her, they delight in being rewarded with smiles from her.  They nuzzle her and hold her, and marvel at how adorable she is.  I'm not saying this to reflect any sort of conceit, or to imply that my daughter is any better than any other kid out there, but it's something I've noticed.  People seem to adore her.

My nephew, on the other hand, seems to get less cooing.  Less adoration.  I'm not sure why.  He's cute enough, but people just don't seem to have the same habit of melting over him the way they do with my daughter.  I can only conclude that this is because my daughter is a girl, and there is just something about little girls.  They seem to enchant people.  They invite this sense of awe and love that I don't often see people showering over little boys.

It makes me wonder if I'd have been as enchanted if my daughter had been a boy instead.  It makes me wonder if my husband would have fallen so instantly in love with her if she had been a boy.  It just seems as if little girls snatch up your heart and run away with it the second you lay eyes on them. I've never had a little boy, and I'm sure you love them as much as any of your children, but I wonder if it's a different kind of love.  I just think it's an interesting contrast.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Adventures of a Part Time Single Mom

My husband takes class two nights a week and on Saturday mornings, which leaves me solo on baby duty a few days a week.  It also means that I'm responsible for making sure dinner gets made for the family while also juggling an often cranky infant.  Then on nights when he doesn't have class, he often has homework, which puts me on infant duty again.  Then he's been going running with a friend one night a week for an hour, which leaves me alone with the baby to make dinner while he's running and then showering afterward.  The thing is, I want him to do all of these things.  I want him to go to class, and I want him to go running, and I understand that class means homework.  I understood the night that he wanted to go work on some projects with a friend after his family had been here all night, leaving me to clean up from the gathering and take care of the baby being put back to bed.  I wanted him to be able to go.  He's been excited to get the ball rolling on his project, and I'm excited to see him looking forward to something.  That said, I'm starting to wear a little thin.

Everything would be fine if she was always an easy baby, but she has a short shelf life for being awake, and she hates to nap, which leads to being pretty cranky in the evening.  It makes it hard to organize making dinner, cleaning up the house, walking the dogs, and making sure she's taken care of.  She needs a bottle at the same time I need to be prepping dinner.  If she doesn't nap, I'm juggling her needs with cooking.  It's not easy.  Lately, she's been getting bored with activities after a bit, so she gets cranky faster and it's frustrating to try to balance it all.  I've been dealing with things all right so far, but now I'm just starting to get tired.  It's easy to get frustrated.  It's easy to get tired.  I am trying to do everything for everyone who needs things from me, but it's not always a simple balancing act.  The other night my husband asked me to add a side dish to dinner and I said yes, because I didn't want to deny him something that he wanted, but at the same time, it wasn't part of my plan and it threw everything off.  It wasn't part of how I'd organized my evening, and I was left with last minute prep while my daughter was screaming her head off.  By the time he got home, I was irritated and annoyed because my plan, which should have worked just fine, was thrown off and now I was listening to a screaming baby when I should have had the time to look after her.

It just leaves me feeling like I keep taking care of everyone, letting them do the things they need to do and making sure they have the things they need, but I'm tired and I wish someone was taking care of me a little.  Most nights I walk in the door after work, start dinner, I'm the last to sit at the table to eat, everyone gets up and goes to do whatever they want and I go straight to doing dishes.  The first time I sit down for to relax is often near 8:00, but it's not really relaxing because I also have baby duty.  I'm not complaining about looking after her.  I love her, I like spending time with her.  I just sometimes wish every night wasn't like that.

Tonight I nearly had a meltdown because I was tired, I'd had a long day, I came home and started to cook while my husband went downstairs to work on some video uploads he wanted to do.  That left me with the baby while trying to cook.  When she started to melt down, he came upstairs and took over, but I felt like he was in the middle of something and I didn't have a right to ask him to come help because if he wanted to be nearby to help with her, he'd have stayed where I didn't have to shout for him to help.  Then, I made dinner and had to immediately get up and feed the baby while my foster daughter just laid on the couch complaining about how tired she was, and my husband went to work cleaning his video camera.  They had cleared their plates from dinner, but I hadn't had time to because the baby as crying for her bottle.  I got up from feeding her, went to put her down for a nap and after she finally was quiet in her bed, I went back downstairs to find that while they had cleared out their own plates, mine just got left on the table for me to take care of in addition to having to wash all of the dishes from cooking dinner.  I wanted to smash the plate.  I wanted to shout "I take care of you guys every day, you couldn't have just cleared my damn plate?!"  I wanted to walk out of the house for the rest of the evening and let everyone else deal with the fussy baby and the dishes, and making sure the diaper bag is packed for the next day, and just spend an evening doing something else somewhere else.  Not running away, necessarily, but taking a little break.  I just wanted to get angry.  Instead, I took a long shower and tried to let it all go.

I think I'm just tired.  I'll be happy when the semester ends.

Friday, April 3, 2015

In which I am, again, not typical

My daughter is three months old today, which feels like some sort of milestone but not really a milestone at all.  She's doing great, and she seems ahead of the curve on some things.  She can sit up in a Bumbo chair already, though you have to prop her up with blankets in the chair because she's still got a skinny little butt and the seat is a bit big for her.  She has a jumper toy at my parents house that she seems to enjoy bouncing in.  She is getting chatty and coos a lot.  She recognizes people, from what we can tell, and she reaches for and grabs at toys all the time.  She really enjoys shaking the crap out of the toys on her play mat.  She's no longer a lump of snuggly newborn.  She's becoming a person, and it's pretty great.

As part of these milestones there's a reality we have to face.  She's growing up.  It's happening fast, but it's supposed to happen.  This week I officially packed away her newborn clothes.  Some things were just outright ridiculously small, and some things were just on that edge of being ok and being too small for her.  Pants are the big problem there, since she's got really long legs, so pants are too short, and anything with feet in it was small enough that she couldn't straighten her legs anymore.  So, I made the decision to box up all of her old newborn clothes and send them off to my sister, who is having a little girl in June, and break out my box of 0-3 month and 3 month clothes.  It seemed right.  Most kids don't stay in newborn clothes until they're nearly three months old.  Most kids don't stay in newborn clothes more than a couple of weeks.  My nephew is nearly a month old and already working his way into 0-3 month clothes.  It was time.  I didn't think much of it as I was boxing everything up.  We kept a few sentimental outfits, the preemie sleeper we had from when she was born because her newborn clothes didn't fit yet, the outfit she came home from the hospital in, the first sleeper we ever bought her, and the outfit our foster daughter bought her.  Four outfits still seems like a lot to keep, but some day we may be sad if we didn't have them, so I'll put them into storage somewhere and look back on them and remember a time when she was tiny and sweet.  It'll be nice when she's a teenager and I will want to kill her.

The thing is, I did this all in an evening while my husband was at school, and I didn't think much of it.  I put the old things in a box, I hung up the new things and my night went on just fine.  Then someone said something about how I handled it so much better than she did when it was her daughter, because she cried a lot as she put away all of her daughter's newborn items.  She said she was so sad and couldn't help but cry over it.  When she said that, I remember my sisters crying over their kids outgrowing newborn items, and I suddenly started to feel like there was something wrong with me.  Should I have cried?  Should I have been emotional over putting away her first three months and moving on to the next three?  What's wrong with me that I don't seem to think much of putting her newborn stage to rest?  I started getting upset over the fact that I didn't get upset.  I actually cried this morning because I felt like there was something wrong with me.  Like, I didn't love her enough as a newborn, so that's why this wasn't sad for me.  Or maybe it was because it took me so long to actually connect with her and feel like "Yes, I can be your mom, and I can be good at it".  That falling in love slowly thing really is how it happened with me.  I loved her, I wanted her to be cared for and safe, but I wasn't totally crazy about her at first.  I wanted to be, but I wasn't.  I kept waiting for that sudden rush of awe and love that other women talk about feeling as soon as their kid is born and it never came.  I wanted it.  I really did.  But the fact is, my experience was what it was, and I can't change it.  That said, I will probably always wonder if it somehow speaks of me as a mother and if it means that I will never be as good as other people because I didn't have those moments.  And now I wonder if I'm not as good as other people because I didn't cry when she outgrew her damn clothes.

Maybe it is some sort of indication that I didn't love her enough at the beginning or something.  I don't know.  I like to think it's just as symptom of the sort of person I am.  I don't see any point in mourning what I've lost as she's outgrown her newborn stage and letting that subtract from my enjoyment of who she is growing into.  Her newborn stage was nice, but I like this one a little better.  She's interactive.  She enjoys things.  She smiles.  She is developing preferences and becoming a tiny person, and I like that.  I'm a practical person.  I know that she has to grow up.  That's basically her only job right now.  If I'm always bracing for impact every time she outgrows a diaper or clothing size, I'm never going to be able to be present in what she's doing right now.  They're just clothes.  I want to celebrate her milestones, not dread them.  I know she'll only be my little baby for a short time, but I'm going to be her mom forever, so I don't really feel like I'm losing anything as she gets older.

Maybe that makes me weird.