Thursday, August 09, 2007

Parasite Lady

Oof. My friends all told me they'd laugh their asses off when I finally created a Spawn. Damn them...they can surely laugh at THIS post!

Because, early parenthood? Kinda sucky. Please, PLEASE don't misunderstand: Rozzle is the most perfectest baby EVAH, with an angelic face and sweet "practice" smiles. (Some say that's just gas. Fuck them: she smiles. SMILES, dammit!) But, yeah...these first few weeks have been filled with wonder and frustration in nearly equal amounts. Well...sometimes the frustration wins. Especially in the middle of the night, which seems to be about the one time of day that Roz does NOT like to sleep. I now understand that being a new parent is pretty much a game played by this warm little parasite, who wins the game by making her highly-educated parents feel like absolute dumb-shits.

Feeding: breast-feeding is going really well between Miss Tessmacher and the Rozlynator. Roz started latching on like a pro almost from the very beginning. Sometimes she likes to cluster-feed, which makes Tess feel a little like a glorified milk factory - especially since she's trying to build up a pumped supply for when she goes back to work in a couple of weeks. But sometimes Roz just seems to be very gassy and uncomfortable after eating...say, the night after Tess has had a really good Moosewood garlic-potato soup for dinner. Whoops. Can I get you a side of broccoli and baked beans to go with that? Now, of course, we're trying to find a diet that's bland enough for Roz to stomach, but also contains enough nutrition for BOTH her and Tess that neither of them die of scurvy. Or, whatever.

Sleeping: Roslyn sleeps pretty well...between about 9:00am and 9:00pm. Then, she likes to cluster-feed and scream all night. Y'know how nightmares or random house noises seem so much more threatening at 3:00am? Well, baby-frustration is pretty much the same thing. Behaviour that I can pretty much shrug off in the afternoon becomes wrist-slashingly terrible in the middle of the night. Admittedly, Tess & I are making a perfect new-parent mistake, trying to stay awake during the day to visit with friends & family and "get stuff done." I know we should be sleeping when Roz sleeps...but, we're also trying to turn her INTO a night-sleeper, so we're keeping the house dark & quiet at night, and light & busy during the day. Doesn't matter...Roz sleeps right through it. Thus, we're usually walking around during the day with those annoying grainy, pained eyes.

Fussing: this is really where Tess & I can throw our hands up in the air and whimper "I can't DO this!" Books tell us that we'll be able to discern the difference between Roz's cries: "I'm hungry!" versus "I'm shitty!" That's bullshit: she screams the same no matter what. Either that, or we really ARE the worst parents ever. So, she'll eat during the day, and then sleep in whatever old position: flat on her back, usually, with her arms up over her head. Like Dad. But then, at night we'll do the SAME DAMN THING, and she fusses, and cries, and screams, and generally behaves like a lilttle monster. Is she too TIRED to sleep? Is she reacting to Tess' stress levels? How does Tess NOT feel stressed out when this is going on? Is it gas? Sheesh...the damn CAT is easier to figure out than this!

Strangely, though, things that I used to dread - like, changing poopy diapers or figuring out how to get her little hands through her onesie sleeves - are totally fine. She likes to play, even at this young stage, and gives pretty clear signs that she's in her "active alert" stage. Then, we like to play the "Let's Stick Our Tongues out At Each Other" game. Good fun!

In all, parenting is pretty much like I figured it would be: tired a lot of the time, trading off who has the babe so that the other can get something done, and learning something new every day. I really hadn't counted on the high frustration levels...but, I guess that's my own naïvete showing through. Alas. So, while I try to decide whether I've had too much coffee to successfully nap right now, y'all can look at this eye candy of the Greatest Baby Ever. Enjoy.

THIS is comfortable?!?

"To fuss, or not to fuss...that is the question!"

Proud - but tired! - Poppa with his 3-week old.


Blogger Strangela said...

Amen! I have never second guessed everything I do as much as I have in the last 6 weeks! And to think that by comparison I think Hannah and Roz are both really good babies - how do people deal with really fussy, colicky babies?

Sorry our garlic soup made Roz so unhappy!

10:15 AM  
Blogger Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Question: You mention in your post that you guys "trade off who has the baby". Do you guys hold her during the day while she's sleeping? Or do you put her in her crip the minute she starts to snooze?

The reason why I ask - if she has gotten used to you guys holding her all the time, she won't want to sleep at night because she's in her crib, not being held, and therefore is not soothed by your presence into sleeping. Also, if you hold her all the time, it's going to be hell on whomever babysits her when Tess goes back to work. No matter who babysits for you, they won't be able to hold little Roz all the time. Better get her where she can handle not being held now. Also, this will help her get an early start on learning how to keep herself entertained. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE, GUYS!

Also, babies are soothed by noise. She had nine months in mommy's womb of always hearing something - blood swishing through mommy's veins, mommy's tummy gurglings, mommy and daddy talking to each other, etc. It may be TOO QUIET at night now for her to sleep. My suggestion - a fan, white noise machine, something that makes a constant droning-type noise that will help her to know she isn't all alone and isolated.

Oh, and also, SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS, YOU TWO! Otherwise you'll be zombies, and even less able to handle the strain of new-parenthood. A crying baby sounds much more horrible and stres-inducing when you're sleep deprived. When you've had a nice nap, it's just a tiny little bump in the road.

Now, take the Mother Hen's advice and go take a nap!

10:19 AM  
Blogger Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Oh, and Strangela. I know a lady who has a colicky daughter. She discovered the sound of the bathroom exhaust fan quieted her down and put her almost immediately to sleep!

And my son had colic when he was a babe. Mylicon drops are a necessity in that case! And lots of white noise.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Mike said...


12:05 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

So...are you asking for advice here? Cuz I'm sorry, but you're gonna get it.

OK, I'll try and keep this brief and not too obnoxious! Jenn, I'm sorry, but I disagree with you on one point. Roz is only a few weeks old, and almost all babies need to be held a lot when they're that young. It's okay. You can not NOT NOT spoil a baby that little by holding her "too much." It helps to have a front-pack or sling or maya wrap or whatever's most comfortable to keep your arms free (not to mention friends, family, whoever is willing to hold her when she cries). When she's with a babysitter in a couple of months, by that time she may not need to be held so much, but a good caregiver will understand if she does. If he/she doesn't understand, find a new sitter/daycare.

If you just can't stand it and need to lay her down, that's okay, too. But don't let anyone tell you your instincts are wrong. When Daniel was tiny (and I'm trying to remember more about this since we'll be re-living it all in a few months), I wanted to hold him all the time. It felt right to me and it comforted him.

When she's this young, you really can't tell the difference between the "I'm hungry" cry, the "I'm tired" cry, the "I'm too hot/cold" cry, and the "I'm crying because I'm a tiny baby and I don't have anything else to do" cry. Wait a couple of months and those things will become [a little] clearer. In the meantime, if you don't listen to anything else I say: READ THE BOOK "HAPPIEST BABY ON THE BLOCK" by Harvey Karp. Your library ought to have it, but if you buy a new copy, it comes with a DVD. I know Mike said not to read books about parenting, but this one addresses fussing in the first three months and what to do to calm your baby down. I swear it works. It's the only baby book I ever recommend (because I HATE parenting books...I've been known to throw them across the room).

It only gets easier, I promise. If anyone ever says to you "You think it's hard NOW? Wait until she's crawling/walking/talking! Wait until you have ANOTHER one!" give them a dope slap. The first three months is the hardest; don't let anyone tell you different.


p.S. I'm glad the breastfeeding is going well. That can be an added stress!

12:39 PM  
Blogger Gknee said...

I have no parenting skills, so I won't even comment about that...but wanted to say that I love the pictures

2:49 PM  
Blogger Jenn-Jenn, the Mother Hen said...

Hey, Suze, it's okay to disagree with me. Every parent and kid is different. And I didn't mean not to hold her at all. Little babies are just meant to hold and rock and snuggle and sway - I was merely trying to make the point that sometimes when she falls asleep during the day, if they aren't already doing it, they should put her down in her crib to slowly adjust to sleeping without someone holding her, that's all, so she'll sleep better at night and also so that she'll be able to handle not being held sometimes. I didn't mean to not hold the little darlin' at all.

7:16 AM  
Blogger Suze said...

Jenn, of course I don't think you'd advocate never holding a little babe :) And actually, when I looked back at comments, I realized you really were just talking about when she goes to sleep, and I can't disagree with you there.

In fact, there were several months when I was trapped at home during Daniel's bedtime (this is when he was 6 months old and older) because he quit taking a bottle and Stuart had a really hard time getting him to bed because D was used to being nursed to sleep. It's a hard habit to break, that dependence on mama to get a baby to sleep, especially if that kid (like mine) never goes to daycare. So it's a good idea to make sure the parents are taking turns getting a baby to bed as early as you establish a bedtime routine (probably won't happen for a couple months yet), so mama doesn't get stuck with all that responsibility.

10:33 AM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Follow her cues.

Follow your cues.

You'll come to a happy medium.

I really think that a bedtime routine established now will set the tone. Now, before people FREAK out hearing that, remember, at this point, it's not for Roz, but for mom and dad. Just something simple like feeding, bathing, rocking for a bit, then laying Roz down for the night. It may seem strange at first, but we thought the same thing.

Know what? I've got a great 8-yr. old sleeper to prove it.

A little structure in every day doesn't hurt.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

I know this is taboo, but you are at exactly the stage where Anna and I gave up on having our little Sophie sleep in her own bed and she started sleeping with us. At first we felt horrible about this but within a couple of days we both started to love having her sleep with us. We did get grief about the co-sleeping from others but quickly learned to not give a flying f*** what others said. Our little bird started sleeping through the night and we were getting sleep. Waking up in the morning with her next to me and seeing her smile is one of my top three memories in my life. She never seemed happier than when waking up next to her parents. We would lay in bed and play and cuddle, and it was wonderful.

Sophie is now 11 months and has been sleeping in her own bed for about three months. The transition was easy and painless. The first night we put her in her own bed, she cried for 10 minutes. The second night 5 minutes. And then she went down without any problem.

If you do start co-sleeping, I HIGHLY recommend building a co-sleeper. It is this cool little contraption that looks like a crib but with only three sides. The key is to build it so that it is the exact same height as your mattress. The beauty of the co-sleeper is that she gets to sleep with you, but doesn't take up any real space in your bed.

If you are interested, I will be happy to send you pictures of the one that I built.

9:21 AM  
Blogger Strangeite said...

Ok, I lied, it has not been three months, it has just been a month, but it has seemed like longer. (I really do miss waking up next to her) Here is the link to where Anna talked about the transition to her own bed.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

I'd rather change poopy didies for the rest of my life than re-experience the sleep deprivation of the newborn period. Hang in there. Every one will tell you that it gets better after the first three months (aka the 4th trimester) and it does...but it's a long three months and it didn't help to hear that. You just slog through as best you can. It WILL end, I promise. There's lots of hard stuff ahead--the attitude! the sass back! Damn three year olds!--but you'll never be this zombie-like again.

She's beautiful, by the way. Congratulations!

11:17 PM  

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