2 Months

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Just look at that face… Isn’t she just the cutest? I might be a little biased. I am surprised this photo came out so well, considering I snapped it with my phone. Of course, it was one of several photos I snapped. Her expressions change so fast you have take multiple photos in order to get a good picture.

Lately she has been smiling and vocalizing a lot, which is fun. Of course it is hard to get photos of her smiling though. Every time you hold the phone/camera up to take a picture or video of her being all smiley and coo-y she immediately stops and stares, transfixed, at the phone/camera. I have managed to capture a few smiles here and there though.

Anna is also starting to use her hands, although her motor control is so poor I am never really sure what she is trying to do. It usually ends up as jerky swatting movements, and she will often grab hold of whatever her hand happens to land on whether it is a shirt, my face, her ears, etc. It is amazing how quickly she changes from week to week, and it is always fun to watch her development.

Although, along with the fun milestones also comes the not-so-fun doctor visits. Thursday she had her two-month checkup, which meant she got her first shots. Okay, technically her first shots were in the hospital, but those don’t really count since she didn’t seem phased by shots then. Anna got several vaccines in the form of one oral medicine and three shots. She did great with the oral because she was getting hungry, she sucked it right down without spilling a drop. She also did pretty good with the shots, but of course she cried with each one. The crying passed quickly though, and she seems fine for a while afterwards. Then the crankiness hit. Unfortunately I was out clothes shopping at the time, and she had a major melt down. Major. She has never had a full blown melt down like that before, but thankfully I was in a dressing room at the time and I was able to hide and hope no one was around. Eventually I got her calmed down, although it took nursing, a swaddle, a pacifier, rocking, and a lot of patience to get there.

As soon as she was asleep I headed for the checkout counter and called Sean to tell him we needed him to pick up baby tylenol. Luckily the timing was right so that he was getting home about the same time I was. After a dose of tylenol and a nap on her daddy she seemed to feel a lot better. I learned my lesson about shots though. Be sure to have tylenol on hand, and go home immediately afterwards!

Here are some pictures of Anna’s bandaids. Her poor little legs were bleeding after the shots, so she ended up with a bandied for each injection. There was Snoopy, My Little Pony, and Tweety Bird.



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In other news, she weighed in at 10 pounds 10 ounces. That was the part of the visit I was looking forward to. I knew she was getting heavy, and I was very curious to see what her weight was. Since we are around her all the time we have a hard time judging how much she has grown. We just know that sometimes she seems to level up over night.

Sleep!

Last night I got kiddo to bed a little after 1am, then stayed up a little while to make sure she was really asleep before I laid down myself. I typically stay up 15-20 minutes or so after putting her down just to make sure she is really asleep because sometimes she likes to mess with you, and if I tell my brain it is okay to switch to sleep mode it makes it damned hard stay awake if Anna decides she doesn’t want to sleep after all. Plus it is better for my mental health I think… I do better staying awake than being woken up.

When I woke up the next morning, it was to Sean coming in with his morning cup of coffee and Anna was starting to stir. When she starts to stir it is best to go ahead and get her up for a diaper change and feeding; if you leave her be you might get thirty more minutes of lightly snoozing baby, or you might get a screaming baby in five minutes. It is much easier to get her changed, fed, and settled back down if you catch her before the freak out.

I grabbed my phone to see what time it was, expecting it to be around 6:00. Lately we have been lucky to get some nights with her staying asleep for 5 hours, but I wasn’t prepared to see the clock reading 8:55. My brain couldn’t comprehend it at first, but then it sunk in that she had slept nearly 8 hours. And I had gotten a little more than 7 hours of sleep! Uninterrupted! Do you know the last time that happened?! Me either! It must have been some time early in pregnancy, because later on I had to get up to pee throughout the night.

As it sunk in that I had enough sleep in one stretch to qualify as an actual night’s sleep, I began to wonder what I was supposed to do with myself. Normally after feeding the baby I am in the “please go to sleep so I can sleep” mode where I am struggling to stay awake long enough to get her settled down and back in her bassinet. Then I nap a couple hours to her next feeding, and then usually end up falling back asleep for a couple more hours after that… my day not really starting until noon or later. Now, after a full night’s sleep, I had at least three extra hours in my day.

Those three hours went by quickly just with pumping (after that long I was pretty full, and she couldn’t eat that much) and other mundane things. However, being showered and presentable by 11:00 meant I could actually get out of the house in time to go have lunch with Sean. So that was pretty awesome, and I got to see his office for the first time. Anna fussed some on the ride over, but once we got to his office she was good and slept the whole time.

After that I went to Crabtree to do some shopping, and stayed there until nearly 6pm. That is the longest I have been out of the house with her on my own. She did really good, and slept most of the time. When she was hungry, I nursed her in a dressing room. The dressing room was pretty tiny and only had a small stool, which meant the diaper change was interesting… I had to sit on the floor and barely had enough room between me, her, and the stroller.

That was only the second time I have nursed her outside of the house, the first time was in a feeding room at Buy Buy Baby. I still don’t feel comfortable enough to whip it out in the middle of the food court or anything, but it is good to know I can find ways to nurse her. As we find ourselves out and about more, I am sure I will get better at nursing without the comforts of home.

After a couple hours she woke up and seemed to get tired of being in her carrier and got fussy, so I ducked into a dressing room again and let her lay on the bench (with my hoodie and her blanket for cushioning) while I tried clothes on and it made her happy again for a while. Eventually she got tired and cranky, and again it was a dressing room to the rescue while I soothed her to sleep without disturbing the whole store.

In the end I probably spent twice as much time shopping as I would have pre-baby, but that is okay. I went knowing it would be a challenge to juggle shopping with a 7 week old. I would say it was a success, despite having little luck finding clothes. I doubt there is much chance I will get a repeat of last night, but hopefully she will let me sleep enough that I can maybe go out again tomorrow.

Quilt Community

I am learning that there is a community among quilters, and they are generally pretty awesome people. My first introduction to the kindness of quilters was when I went shopping at Bernina World of Sewing for fabric to make my first quilt. It was a stroke of luck that I picked that store to start with. The clerk that helped me was super friendly and helpful, giving me lots of advice and assistance. She also gave me a large cutting mat that she had personally brought in, having replaced her mat with a new one. That saved me $45+. Later Sean went in to pick up a machine for me, and she remembered him. That time she sent a very informative introductory to sewing book home with him. I figured she was just super good at customer service, but now I am beginning to see the generosity she showed isn’t unique.

Backstory: When mom was here the other day she mentioned how she would like me to make a quilt for her. However, the cost of the material for her large bed was prohibitive. You really can buy quilts cheaper than you can make them. The fabric for a quilt is typically around $100 and up, and with her large bed it would definitely be pricey. And that is just the cost of the top… the batting and backing would add another $60 or so. Not to mention I am still learning, so paying that much for a potentially (re: likely) crappy quilt is just dumb. That is why I have been making small quilts; I want to keep the costs down as much as possible while I learn.

Yesterday I posted a message on a quilting forum asking for tips on saving money when making quilts. A lady responded saying she had a bunch of fabric she wasn’t going to use and didn’t feel like trying to sell it. So she is sending it to me for the cost of shipping ($17) so that I can make mom a quilt. I have no idea what the fabric looks like, I didn’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth. It will be interesting to see what she sends. I was surprised at the unsolicited generosity. It seems quilters are always trying to help each other out, especially the newbs like me. At the risk of sounding ungrateful, I really hope what she sends will work. Who knows, it could be a bunch of crappy/ugly fabric, or just stuff that doesn’t suit mom’s tastes. Even if there is stuff we don’t like though, I can always pass that fabric along to someone else in need.

Another example of the quilting community also stems from my perusing of the forum. I found a section for swapping fabric, which in itself is helpful. One thread was perfect timing for me though. The other day, while looking for a pattern for a quilt to make mom, I stumbled on an I Spy quilt that caught my interest. The I Spy quilts have lots of unique fabric squares in them. To make this kind of quilt on your own you would have to buy a LOT of fabric, and then only use a very small amount of it (most stores have a minimum amount to cut). The one I linked has 88 different squares, which would be crazy expensive. However, quilters organize swaps to help each other out. It was this kind of swap that I happened to find in the forum yesterday.

So, today I ran out and picked up some fabrics and cut squares to join the swap. This is going to be fun! Not only did I get to go shopping for cute novelty fabric that I normally wouldn’t have a use for, but I get to send them off to help others and then wait for a package to arrive with a variety of mystery fabrics. I can’t wait to see what all I get. It will be like Christmas! I have a feeling these I Spy swaps could be a little addictive. I might have to do a few swaps before I get enough charms (precut squares) that I like enough to use in a quilt, but that is okay. It will be lots of fun participating in the swaps! And, now I have a reason to pick up random cute fabrics when I find them.

Quilt #2 Complete!

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I finished my second quilt last night. My fingers are still a bit sore from stitching the binding!

I think the quilt top and binding both came out well, but the quilting sucks. I expected it to suck though, so it is okay. It is my first free motion quilt, and only my second quilt ever, so I am mostly happy with it. I just keep saying it has character. It was a great learning experience though, with some good lessons learned. I am sure my next (several) quilts will continue to be learning experiences, although I am getting to the point where I have lots of quilts I want to make that I really like. Therefore I want those quilts to come out good, and I am going to start being much more critical of myself. I am also hesitant about the quilting of those future projects because I know I lack the skills to do it well. But I also know the skills only come with lots and lots of practice.

Now I will start on the “Yellow Brick Road” quilt, only it is more like a green brick road since it is going to be done in greens and blues. This is a quilt kit that I purchased a couple months ago at Wish Upon a Quilt, and it came with enough fabric to make the lap quilt size. I decided I wanted to make it twin size though, so I picked up some more fabric today. This means that I have only picked 6 of the 18 fabrics in the quilt top (haven’t picked the border or backing yet). And the six I picked were chosen from a limited selection, as they had to coordinate with the twelve that came in the kit. That is partly good because it meant I didn’t have to put much thought into fabric selection or planning, but at the same time it means the quilt isn’t really mine. It feels more like paint by the numbers, but more fun.

I ironed the fabric for it earlier tonight, and I hope to start cutting tomorrow!

Weird Old Men

It is 1:30am, and once again I am sitting with a baby that refuses to sleep. She has been fed and is obviously tired because she will snooze for a bit, then wake up screaming until someone gives her a pacifier or cuddles. I figure I have about another hour of this, then I will feed her again and she will sleep around 3:00. That seems to be the pattern lately, and she so needs to stop that. It sucks. She really needs to figure out the difference between day and night, but that should come with time. We just have to wait for that internal clock to develop; the pediatrician promised it would happen on its own. On the bright side, she has let us sleep for five hours a few times lately. Once she finally goes to sleep that is.

So, while I wait around to soothe her every 5 to 10 minutes I figured I would write a post about something strange I have noticed about random people and babies. Especially about old men and babies.

Everyone loves a baby, and our baby gets constant “awww” sounds and/or smiles from passersby. I am sure pretty much all babies do when they are this tiny. However, some people don’t leave it at a “look at that cute baby” comment directed at a companion, or an “awww” as we pass by. Some people come up to look at her and want to chat.

The women that want to chat are typically older women. The younger ones might make a comment about her cuteness and move on, but it is typically the older ladies that want to converse about her age, birth weight, how long she sleeps at night, etc. However, they don’t touch her and often even keep their hands at their sides or behind their backs as they lean in to look at her.

Little girls (like 5 or younger) usually get really excited about her. If we end up waiting in line next to a young girl they will usually come up all smiles and excitement to look at the baby, want to touch her, and will exclaim over cute things like, “there are froggies on her blanket!” while their mothers try to reign them in and tell them not to touch babies with a tinge of desperation/embarrassment/fear in their voice. I try to smile understandingly since I know I will be there in a few years, and I don’t care if they want to look at her… I just don’t want germy kids touching her. Little boys don’t seem to care too much, although sometimes will excitedly tell a parent something like “look, it’s a little baby!”

Men mostly don’t really acknowledge the baby any more than they do any other being, but are notably more chivalrous. Old men are different though. I have had two old men come up and mostly ignore me, staring intently at the baby. One was at a rest stop, he came up saying something like “and how old is this little one?” while barely looking at me. Then he just stood staring at her with a “I’m trying to look like a kind person” grin before adjusting her blanket and wandering off. Yes, he adjusted her blanket! The second old man came up to us in Panera. His eyes were locked on the baby the whole time, and he mumbled something I didn’t catch, continued to stare at her for a while, kind of baby-talked about what a big baby she was (which is strange considering everyone else talks about how small she is) and then he touched her hand and walked off to the bathroom. Yes, again, a strange old man touched the baby as though it is perfectly acceptable. Both times I was alone with her, so I am not sure if this strange old man phenomena has anything to do with Sean’s absence. I think when he is around other men seem to keep their distance, must be some male thing.

Sleep, Quilting, Baby

Lately Anna has been messing with me when it comes to sleep. Earlier this week she actually let me sleep for five hours. Twice. Turns out that was just so the rest of the week would suck more when she suddenly decided she wanted to be wide awake until 3am, and go back to a 3 hour feeding schedule at night. Right now (at 2am) I have been trying to get her to sleep for a couple hours, and Sean was trying for an hour before that. Sigh. Apparently babies don’t make enough melatonin to get on a sleep schedule until about 2.5 months.

She keeps teasing me tonight. Several times now she has feigned sleep, only to be wide awake again after a few minutes. About 40 minutes or so ago I decided to swaddle her and shove a pacifier in her mouth just to see if it would help. After that she started looking sleepier, but was still fighting sleep. Now I have her in the bassinet with the swaying motion going… it has taken a while, but I think she might finally be asleep for real… or very close to it at least. Fingers crossed! Although, now it has been a couple hours since she ate last, so this is probably going to be a short nap. Sigh.

One day I will be able to sleep again right? I am just hoping for 6 hours at this point. I think I could live with six hours of sleep. The way it is now, there is no real routine. I am just at the mercy of when Anna gets hungry enough to wake up, which can be anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. And that rare 5 hour stretch we achieved earlier this week. Typically once I get her to sleep at night I do get at least 3 hours though, but sleep sucks being broken into what amounts to a series of naps. I am stuck being awake most of the night, then waking up several times to feed the kiddo (which can take an hour sometimes, or more even, since it also involves getting her back to sleep, diaper changes, and sometimes an outfit change too). This means I don’t usually “get up” until noon or so, at which time it is usually to feed Anna again and start the cycle over again.

So my typical day starts with changing a diaper around noon-1pm, then feeding her and often changing her again, followed by finally getting to eat around 2-3pm, then I get maybe an hour to do things non-baby before she wakes up and wants to eat again. Then the cycle of diapers and feeding starts over again. And of course there could be several diaper changes scattered throughout, she does manage to go through 10 or more a day. If I am lucky I get another hour to do chores or something for myself (like reading or quilting or chores) before Sean gets home. Doing anything else, like going out to lunch or running errands, typically requires sacrificing sleep.

That being said, between the time I can steal here and there, I have been able to work on my lattice quilt. It is nearly done! I just have to finish hand-stitching the binding (fabric covering the raw edge). I ended up doing a larger meandering stitch with black thread. This was my first attempt at free motion quilting, so it sucks as expected. Sean says it isn’t bad, but I think he is just being kind. Given the amount of practice it takes to get good at quilting, I am okay with how crappy it turned out. It has character. I started this quilt as a learning experience, and it definitely has been one. My next quilt will be better for it… although the thought of quilting the next one is even more intimidating now because I want it to turn out good and I know I lack the skills.

Oh, and remember when I said I thought Anna might finally be asleep? Not so much. At this point I am just biding time with a pacifier when she wakes up every few minutes, just waiting a little while longer so I can feed her again.

(and now at 3:20am I think she might really finally be settling in for a nap??)
(and yes it took me over an hour to write this… had to take several breaks to try to get Anna settled, and then to feed her, and a couple diapers were in there too)

Baby Massage

So apparently I signed up for an infant massage class while I was registering for the birth classes several months ago. It is a good thing the instructor sent an email about it yesterday, or I would have never remembered. Or at least I wouldn’t have remembered until about two hours before hand when my calendar alert reminded me… not sure why I didn’t set it to remind me further in advance. The email was also good because she let everyone know that the class was on “baby time” and there was no pressure if you were late or if the baby screamed the whole time.

Anna started out the day by waking up after four hours of sleep around 6:45 this morning, so that is what time I got up too. I normally go back to sleep for a nap after that feeding, but today it took her a long time to settle down afterwards and I decided to stay up so that I could have enough time in my day to run to Sweet Bottoms for a baby carrier and baby massage oil before the class. So that means my whole day was based on less than four hours of sleep, but oh well… that is parenthood at this point.

Anna wasn’t having much of her bassinet this morning, so I ended up just letting her sleep in my arms while I watched some bad television. Before I knew it, it was time to feed her again, and then after getting her settled down again I was surprised to see how late it was… so I had to kick it in high gear to shower, go through the baby cycle of feeding and poopy diapers again, and make it to Sweet Bottoms (20 minute drive) before the class started at 1:00. And of course I still hadn’t eaten either. I am bad about that.

I managed to make a quick decision on the baby carrier after the clerk gave a brief demonstration of several types, but of course the checkout process at Sweet Bottoms is always slow for some reason. They use an iMac as a point of sale terminal, and I am pretty sure they buy things through their online store to keep inventory up to date. I have seen them on the website while checking people out at least. They really need to get a better system, especially when some of their clerks are extra slow to begin with. Needless to say I was a bit late to class, but no one really cared. There was enough space for me to plop down between a couple other mothers even, so it all worked out.

The teacher had laid sheets out on the floor in a semicircle, and we all had our babies on a blanket in front of us. The teacher declared Anna the youngest there, but I am not sure by how much. I know there was an 8 week old, but there were some other babies that could have been a little younger. She was great and didn’t cry at all, she only got a tad fussy right at the end after the class was over and most people had already packed up and left. People kept remarking how great that was for such a young baby.

The class ended up feeling like more of a support group for new mothers than a massage class. Sure we did some massaging of legs (next week we move on to the torso), but mostly people talked about their experiences as new moms. And not all the babies were very cooperative. One poor mom’s baby was crying pretty much the whole time, and then slept, and then cried again with a poopy diaper. Another’s baby was nursing the whole time.

The mothers talked about how hard things were, and I began to feel really blessed that Anna seems relatively easy in comparison to some. A couple of the mothers remarked how unprepared they were for what it was like with a newborn, which made it really rough for them in the first weeks. I think that in addition to Anna being a pretty relaxed baby, my time as a new mom has been a little easier because I was prepared for how hard it would be. That is why I waited so long to have a baby, I just wasn’t ready for the sacrifice it takes until now. Not that I had any experience; I just knew it would be really hard. And since I was expecting it to be hard, it hasn’t seemed that bad. I am sure if I had thought it would all be cuteness and cuddles, it would seem incredibly difficult when reality came.

I really enjoyed the class though, and being in the company of others that are going through the learning process of being a first time mom. I was surprised at how good it was to hear people talk candidly about their experiences, and I look forward to next week. Hopefully Anna will continue to be a quiet baby from 1:00 to 2:00 pm for the next three Thursdays. It is also relaxing to know the class is a place where I can change a diaper or feed a baby without anyone batting an eye.

I really couldn’t tell if Anna liked the massage or not, but hopefully it makes her happy. They change so fast at this stage, maybe she will show more of a reaction in a few weeks. I will have to start massaging her in the times she is awake and I need something to do with her. At this point she isn’t interested in playing with anything yet, so there isn’t much else to do with her when she is awake besides hold her and talk to her.