Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Highly Educated.... Completely Screwed

My college basketball coach was fond of telling the team: "You are highly conditioned athletes!"

This was, of course, on Mondays.... shortly before she ran us into the ground and laughed about it. Heaven help us if we'd lost on Saturday. You weren't walking out of the gym alive... but you were walking out a highly conditioned athlete.

Anyhoo.... that has become one of my favorite sayings whenever I feel winded when I shouldn't. Like, say... the 2009 Santa Run 5K that took me a whopping 37 minutes to complete? Yea... highly conditioned. That's. Me. I guess I should start saying: "At ONE TIME, I was a highly conditioned athlete who didn't have to barf after running one block."

But those original words... or variation of them... come to my mind almost every day now that I'm a mom. Quite frankly, Benny and I are highly educated people. Well... I'm educated. Benny brings the "highly" into the mix. The point is, 16-year-old's with babies can figure this out... I saw a woman the other day with twin boys who were born premature with all sorts of health issues and she seems to be doing just fine. What are we missing? IT CANNOT BE THIS HARD.

As I type this, I'm enjoying my first moment of silence all day long. Hazel has stumbled into a new realm of fussiness these last couple of days, and we have been at our wits end trying to figure her needs/wants out. She only falls asleep during the day if she's taking a walk in the stroller or riding in the car. So, today I decided that we should try to take a nap without that stimulation. Lest it become a habit.

I've never been more wrong.

About anything.


Fussy McFusserson was NOT having it and her 2 p.m. nap did not happen. So, we started in on the evening fussiness a bit early today. Her fussy times usually begin at about 5 p.m. and finish at about 9:30. Which is a lot of fun. Really. Last night, the only thing that calmed a crying jag that lasted from 5-9 was a warm bath. Tonight, before she jumped on the Fussy Train To Infinity and Beyond, Benny was able to calm her down and get her to sleep.

And yes... those are earplugs. And yes... we need them with the Lioness. I had to ask someone to repeat something five times today as I think she's damaged my eardrum with her hollering. Not. Even. Joking.

Unfortunately, it knocked him out, too... and I don't dare wake him up for fear that he'll startle like he usually does when he wakes up, and send Hazel flying into the Christmas tree. So, I'm waiting patiently for the next feeding at 10:30 and can only hope that she'll go to bed again after that because while I should have been napping, I've been too worried about the possibility of the startle and the flying of the baby into the Christmas Tree to actually sleep.

These last few days have been hard... mostly because the fussiness as she has been missing her last two naps of the day. But, the flip side of that is that our little girl will eventually (after hours of crying) fall asleep at about 10 p.m. and won't wake up to be fed until 2 or 3 in the morning. Now that Benny was able to get her to sleep at 9 p.m., I can't help but wonder what little Hazel has in store for me tonight. It could be very, very good.... or very, very BAD.

And, by the way, I know that everyone told us how much our lives were going to change and how hard it was going to be when we started our little family. But really.... would it have killed anyone to be a little more specific? I really would have appreciated a little heads up, you know? If someone could have said: "Your child will lose her mind every day at 5 p.m...." I would have at least been able to gird my loins. It just seems to me that other women who have kids and know what's in store for us newbies have a responsibility to make sure we have all the facts in front of us.

And if that stops people from reproducing... well, I heard that the earth was going to melt in the next 50 years anyway, so really... we're doing the responsible thing.

I kid, of course. Despite my sarcastic rants (which right now are my only way to stay sane), my little girl is an angel and I love her dearly. And I love her Daddy for taking care of her tonight so Mommy could get a little quiet time.

We're going to figure this out. Truly... it cannot possibly be as hard as we're making it out to be. I suspect we're guilty of overthinking. And maybe of not trusting our instincts. We just don't want to break her, you know?

Oh, and as a side note.... any moms out there who would be willing to share their experiences with newborns and maybe even share an idea or two about how to set a schedule? I'M ALL EARS. Following BabyWise, we've set up a eat, wake, sleep schedule.. but I'm wondering what other ideas and/or options are out there.

And as a final kick in the front tooth... I was tired of having Hazel's newborn outfits not fit her (they were all getting a little short in the legs and snug in the belly) so I hit Carter's today for their sale. My little 5 week old is now fitting comfortably in 3. Month. Clothes.

And 6. Month. Shoes.

By the time Santa gets here, she'll be wearing his suit!


Bonni Simmons said...

Oh wow...I just had a baby girl seven months ago and she screamed quite a bit too (although nothing like what you are going through). Hers was all about tummy issues - she started zantac at five days old after being hospitalized because she had stopped eating.

Does Hazel seem to be worse around feedings or is it always at the same time every night?

If it is always at the same time then it is probably colic (which as you probably know, has no known cure). We did gripe water with Allie at her afternoon feedings. You can get it at natural food stores... it is pretty much just liquid herbs that settle a gassy tummy and help them relax. Also, pick up The Happiest Baby on the Block. It is a book specifically geared toward the parents of colicky infants.

Fortunately, you are probably at its peak right now so you should see some improvement from here on out. I know how hard it is to have the bubble burst on how awesome it is going to be to have a baby... firsthand.

Our first three months were not fun. At. All. But then she magically started sleeping for eleven hours a night and started interacting and laughing and playing.

To be honest, I regretted having her for moments (mostly at 3 am when she wouldn't stop screaming). Now that she is older I am so in love with her I can't stand it - and heaven forbid we are talking about more :)

Get through the exhaustion and there is something awesome waiting on the other side...

If you want to hash it out with someone who just went through it, let me know. Sometimes a sympathetic (and empathetic) ear helps out.

Bonni Simmons said...

Oh, and we also used The Baby Whisperer as a "routine" setter and it really worked well for us. I would use it on the next one in a heartbeat.

Lori said...

Sounds like you and Benny are doing a GREAT job. Don't get too down on yourself! But I'm sure the constant screaming, exhaustion, and feeling of helplessness is overwhelming.

I know some babies are very colicky until they can MOVE. Once they are able to move it's like a lightbulb goes off and the kid is happy as a lark. All they wanted was to get from point A-B. sometimes all it takes is the ability to roll. That wouldn't surprise me if your sweet Hazel was a mover and shaker like her parents. :)

As far as routines, I think you just gotta do what you think is best. I know that's a "cop-out" answer, but with my kids we tried everything possible to change their schedule or help them modify and they still did what worked best for them. We did Babywise and after awhile our daughters slept better in the night.

Do you have a swing that swings both ways? (front to back & side to side) that was our LIFESAVER for naps. it made her feel like she was "moving" like in a car but gave me the ability to also nap, or get things done around the house.

You're doing great. Motherhood is a constant trial and error, you're awesome.

Jenn said...

After we had Zack I often wondered why anyone would have anymore children. Zack was actually a really good baby, it was just exhausting trying to keep him happy.

I've heard that grip water works really well with colicy baby's (which it sounds like that's what you have). Also try pushing her legs into her stomach to see if you can help work out some of the gas bubbles.

And as for schedules, we didn't really stick to one. We fed Zack when he was hungry and put him down for naps and sleep when he was tired. He actually came up with his own schedule and it works great for both of us.

Every baby is different so it's hard to say what works best. You can't break her and she'll never know that you messed up a schedule. Trial and error is all you can do with your little one.

Good luck and I know you and Benny are doing an amazing job. It's hard because the bad parts cloud all the good times at the beginning. Just be patient and if you need a time out just put her in her crib and let her cry. It's okay!

stronger said...

I'm not sure how many times I heard "God gives us only as much as we can handle" while going through all of my custody stuff...

My babies were perfect. Very calm, very happy, very easy. It was all I could handle at that time. You got a special baby because God knows you can handle her- don't lose sight of that in all the screaming. She's healthy and well-cared for. Call on your friends for help so you can take some time for yourself to recharge.

greyhound said...

You are a great mom. I know this because I know you. Don't lose heart. Just keep experimenting and you'll find something that helps. And your instinct away from using crutch like always going for a ride in the car, etc. is dead on perfect. Give into the car rides and you will be driving the neighborhood at night when she's 3.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

well, my two are now 7 and I know that I lost an entire year and a half to their infancy. I calculated that we changed something like 1000 diapers in the first month. My husband stayed up one night and watched some thing on sleep on the discovery channel, and I can remember him waking me to say 'good news honey, we'll survive!'

I could recommend a couple of books. Trouble is, I don't know any newborn moms who have time to read.

Have you thought about getting a doula? Sometimes it can help to have another expert to tell you UR Doin it wrong or better still, your baby is workin' you. Or even better, your kid is totally normal, let me recommend better earplugs. This is what Doulas are for. Perspective.

One more thing: I took a little 1hr session on infant massage when the wains were teeny, and incorporated a short infant massage session into the bedtime routine. That was magic!

You'll crack the code on this baby - you will!

Stacey said...

Oh- I have one of these strong-willed babies! I am a friend of Krista's in Scottsdale and read your life is nuts blog from time to time and just checked this one out. Our newborn babe was fussy ALL DAY LONG but nights were the worst - the only thing that soothed ours was bouncing on the yoga ball and the sound of the hair dryer (even had to break out the vacuum sometimes). I don't know who cried more those first three months her or me. Everyone told me that by three months she would calm down, but I had some dark moments where I would wonder if my baby would be the exception to the rule and I would be spending the next I don't know how many years trying to soothe a pissed off child. When you are pregnant, no one talks about how some babies come out not fully cooked and ready for the world which makes dealing with an extremely fussy baby all the more difficult and isolating (cause if you have never had one of these babies then you have no idea what it is like to care for them!). And like you and Benny- my husband and I were really easy and perfect angel babies (acc to our parents) - so I never thought I'd get such a pistol from day 1. You guys seem to be doing a GREAT job - and fussiness does peak around 5 or 6 weeks - so you have probably been through the worst and if you are lucky then things might significantly improve - or if you are not so lucky (like us) -- I can confidently say you will survive (though my husband and I still have some PTSD from the experience) and she will outgrow this phase. My daughter became a different baby around 13 weeks and at 6 and a half months - though she remains strong-willed (Princess Sophia we call her) she is happy, active, alert, healthy and freakin' hilarious. Those first 13 weeks were some of the longest of my life though. I blogged a bit about our experience (maybe some of it will make you laugh) http://velastegui.ourbabyhomepage.com/index.php

Check out the following entries: June 3, August 5th, August 23rd, october 12th and also the comments from June-August.

Things will get better!!! Just take it one day at a time and be kind to yourself...and don't forget at the end of the day, you and Benny have each other.

Siren said...

Yes, it *can* be that hard. It was for us. (Plus he couldn't nurse without medical intervention and I got hideous mastitis, blah blah blah.) Some babies are just more challenging than others. You guys are doing GREAT. Every baby is unique, so the only thing anyone could realistically tell you to do is exactly what you're doing - experimenting and finding what works for your family.

Baby Bear also had reflux (our record for one changing table session was puking on 7 outfits before we were actually able to leave the room), so I feel your pain. We routinely went through all 18 burp rags and his entire wardrobe every single day. And he used to scream endlessly at inhuman frequencies - it turned out he had terribly painful gas. The doctor gave us permission to give him infant Mylicon and it was like MAGIC. Seriously - worth it's weight in gold, that stuff. Doesn't hurt to ask the question.

From what I understand, Baby Tweet is still too young to get onto a true schedule, so I wouldn't beat yourself up too much over that. It helps to keep the environment very quiet when she does wake up at night (i.e. don't turn on the TV if you're bored trying to get her back down at 3am) - it helps them get the idea night time is boring.

We didn't move Baby Bear to his room until he was almost 4 months old - you're a goddess for being able to accomplish that!

Oh, and it's totally, totally normal for new babies to want to feed like crazy around 5 pm. It's called 'cluster feeding.' It's an actual thing - just something to know needs to be worked around now, and she'll grow out of it soon enough.

I still tell myself almost every day that if I hadn't been in such good physical and mental condition from triathlon, I could not have survived Bear's babyhood.

I now it's meaningless babble to you at this stage, but I can tell you now that I'm two years in, every second of lost sleep was worth the awesomeness of getting to know the tiny human ruling our home.