Tag Archives: queer parents

Six Months!

april-9

Six months?? Six months!! She’s no longer a squish, that’s for sure. She is a ham and a delight and I know I’ve been saying that since January, but omgosh every week she’s so much hammier.

She had her 6 month check-up this week. We have a 13# 4oz baby, which is somewhere around the 5th percentile (they marked 13# 14oz on her sheet and said 15%, but like, I watched them weigh her and that was not 14oz – also she’d been 13# 2.5oz the week before when she went in for fever/cold/rash). I think they also marked her height wrong, because she dropped from 70% to 50%. Oh well. It doesn’t matter in the long run, but she is a looong skinny baby and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change any time soon.

Otherwise: ear infection cleared up on it’s own, cough is almost completely gone, basically in one of her rare, non-cold instances and feeling 99% healthy – so perfect time for shots! Yaay… boo. Our happy baby quickly became unhappy, but I think we’re through the worst of it.

Sleep

…ahahah.

Well. She’s doing a few 2 hour chunks each night, but she’s refusing to go back to sleep unless nursed, which I have only been reinforcing because a) she was sick and had an ear infection for a week or so and b) my wife was sick and needed as much sleep as she could get. But now we’re on the other side of both of those, so we’re committed to soothing and letting her cry and *not* feeding her back to sleep every 60-120min. She’s six months old. She absolutely does not need to eat 6+ times a night.

But even with just getting those 2 hour chunks most nights, I feel 100% better. More like my usual self. I’ve been able to start organizing the house and even think about cutting down on some of the clutter we’ve accumulated since we moved and some of the clutter we brought with us and really shouldn’t have. Time is still scarce, so we’ll see how much I can actually get done.

So. Sleep currently looks like this:
7pm bedtime
9pm wake up, feed
11pm wake up, feed
1am wake up, feed
2am wake up, try to soothe back to sleep, feed
3am wake up, try to soothe back to sleep, feed
4.30am wake up, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed. Feeding does nothing. Usually goes back to sleep after 30-45min
6.30-7am wake up for the day

Blrgh. Not ideal, but still so much better than it was. I’ve mostly accepted our lot. Problem is, there’s no room for a backslide. If she does any worse than that, my day is ruined. So we really need to work on this, I just… listening to her cry at 12am is difficult.

Anyway. Enough about sleep.

 

Solids

The doctor encouraged us to start solids, even though Lady Jr isn’t really showing any signs of readiness – she can’t sit up unassisted, she’s not very good at the pincer grasp, she’s uninterested in what we’re eating, etc. I thought that was weird, so we’re compromising by making food available, but not forcing baby to eat it. We’ve put avocado in front of her twice now and she mostly mushed it around, but once she stuck her avocado-covered fingers in her mouth, so… progress?

Idk, I think I need to do more research on baby-led weaning, since that’s the approach I want to take. Just… how much mashing, how much purees, how much gnawing? Idk.

 

Stroller

But my favorite part about six months is we’ve been cleared to go running together! I ordered a running stroller off of Amazon last week (the week before?) and we’ve been… getting used to it while just walking. Man, strollers are such a different experience from baby-wearing. For one, she’s so far away. For another, I can’t feel her falling asleep or getting upset. There’s a little flap on top of the stroller cover to peer in, but I can’t see her face, so I still have to stop and go around to check on her.

She’s been… less than thrilled so far. She’s gotten upset both times I’ve taken her out in it. I assume all I can really do is keep taking her out on short walks, but I miss having her snuggled up next to me. But, alas, can’t run with a baby carrier. And I want to run with her…

Any tips on how to make the stroller less of a scary experience for a baby? It might just be that both she and I need to adjust.

What else, what else…

 

Milestones

She grabs for anything and everything and can almost always get it. She’s started reaching, too – reaching for cups and faces and cats. She wants to touch the cats, which is new. She seems interested in them.

She can turn the pages of a board book. We’re 99% sure daycare taught her this neat trick.

She just started rolling belly to back (again), at least at night, while she’s half asleep. I don’t think she knows she can do this, yet.

High-pitched shrieking. Yeah. Not enjoyable.

Can occasionally sit unassisted for a few seconds before toppling over, vs immediately toppling.

Has started rolling over and sleeping on her belly at night. Usually this turns into a longer stretch of sleep than usual.

 

And now that you’ve made it through all of that, have some pics:

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Daycare wanted a family pic, so…
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Sleep Training: Night 5

Ugh.

We pushed through last night. She went down without a hitch around 7.10pm. She rolled over and we watched her eyes slowly close on the monitor. But we didn’t celebrate. We knew better.

8.50pm she woke up crying. I’d been about to go to sleep. Instead, I poured myself another glass of wine and put headphones in. We started the soothing waves. No pacifier this time. 3min. 5min. 7min. 7min. 8min. I was near my breaking point. She was still crying. I said one more wave. And, as if she was just waiting for it, she fell asleep after another 2min of crying.

Lady and I stared at each other. It had taken 40min, but Lady Jr had fallen asleep. I dream fed her and went to sleep myself.

And then she woke up two hours later. An hour later. And then every hour after that. I got up at 5am to pump and write. She woke one more time at 5.30am and I helped her get back to sleep – then she stayed asleep until 8am.

So: no change. Maybe I should have let her cry when she woke up each time but after the first one I wasn’t awake enough to remember what time it was or how long it had been or if I’d fed her or not.

And now I’m sitting here even more exhausted than usual because at least usually I go to bed before 9pm. The line between functional and not is very very thin for me lately and I’ve been straddling it most days, but something as stupid as getting one less hour of sleep is enough to throw me off. And so I frantically googled for advice, support, anything this morning, but every time I read that someone’s baby “only” slept three hours or omg, maybe you shouldn’t expect baby to sleep for 10 hours at this age, I started crying. I don’t want her to sleep 10 hours. I want her to sleep 3.

Lady urged me to take a nap during my lunch hour today, but I have so much to do. And what’s 40min in the grand scheme of things when really I need a week’s worth of sleep? I need to be stronger. I have to be stronger.

I told myself we’d be done if we couldn’t get through last night, but we did. Now I’m telling myself we’ll be done if nothing improves after two more nights. I can’t think any further out than that. I’ll just keep coping as I was coping until she’s old enough – and it’s warm enough – to move her crib to the office.

Or, according to some wise soul on the internet, most sleep issues resolve around 15 months. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but only 10 more months, right? Right?

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Sleep Training: The Update-ining

TL;DR: Everything is awful. We’re awful. Sleep training is awful. But I think I know what the problem is.

So up until about Saturday, things seemed to be progressing well. Then Lady Jr just cried and cried and cried and started sounding really distressed and it was just me in the house, listening to her cry and listening to the cats cry and so I caved and boobed her to sleep. And since then it’s like we’re back to square one. I know I shouldn’t have caved. I also have newfound respect for every parent who goes through this.

Saturday night she was up every two hours, then every hour after 1am.

Dr Lady came home Sunday and we toughed it out a bit until she accidentally soothed Lady Jr to sleep. Again, Lady Jr was up every two hours, then every hour after midnight.

Monday night, I caved after 30min of crying (with soothing intervals). That night also sucked.

Tuesday night, we talked about committing or not to doing this. Dr Lady reiterated that this isn’t just for us, it’s for Lady Jr, too. If our sleep is shitty, then so is hers. So we re-committed to sleep training and sticking to the schedule. Lady Jr fell asleep after one wave, but woke again around 8pm and cried and cried and cried. I said I’d feed her if she made it to 9pm, because then it would’ve been 2.5 hours since she last ate and also I needed to sleep. She made it to 9pm. I fed her and she instantly fell asleep. The rest of the night was the same: slept until 11, woke again right before 1, then 2, 3, 4, 5…

I feel terrible because we haven’t been able to stick it out. The total crying time hasn’t ever been more than 30min, she just rolls and fusses and spits out her nuk inbetween, so she’s not getting sleep. Apparently the night she self-soothed to sleep without the pacifier was a one-off. I feel terrible because all this crying is getting us nowhere. I feel terrible because I know caving isn’t helping her, it’s only making me feel better for a few minutes.

I used to be the most stubborn, strong-willed person, too. What happened??

Anyway, this is all to say that my updates stopped because, basically, we stopped. And I feel so, so guilty for it. But I also know we need to do this.

So we’re restarting. Re-committing. And this time the pacifier is being taken out of the equation, because I think she (and we) were relying on it for sleep instead of actually learning how to fall asleep. Which she can do! And we’re going to stick to the schedule unless it seems like she’s going to cry herself to hysterics, in which case then we’ll soothe a little sooner. And I’m just going to have to stay up later and handle it.

I also need to stop googling “Ferber support” when it gets rough because you know what pops up? Not support. :/

My stubborn streak is still here somewhere. I just need to find it again. And if we can’t do this right, then we need to not do it at all and just deal with the shitty sleep for a few more months.

So I need to do it right.

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Five Months

march-39

Holy wow we have a five month old. How did that happen?? We’re going to be a big ol’ six monther soon – I better start reading up on introducing solids!

Lady Jr’s current skill set:
– Babbling
– Pterodactyl-esque wheezing (seems intentional, so not worried… yet)
– Can grab anything you put in front of her
– Can (usually) put that thing in her mouth
– Can half hold her weight on her legs for more than a few moments
– Cranes her head to follow people around the room
– ROLLING OMG – she started rolling with her diaper off, but now she can roll even with the cloth diaper on, much to my surprise when I left her for a few minutes to go grab the car and came back and she was upset because she was on her tummy and didn’t know what to do. And then I try to roll her to her back and she rolls right back to her tummy again and keeps crying. It’s kinda (sorta [really]) ridiculous.
– Wide-mouthed smiles at strangers

Last weekend she traveled for the first time out of state and on an airplane. It was an adventure for all involved, but it went surprisingly well. She was a trooper on the flight out and charmed the flight attendant and our seatmate and didn’t even fuss. She slept for most of the flight, too. On the flight back, she was a little more irritated, probably because she missed her morning nap. She still slept for most of it but fussed a little on the descent. Still, I was able to distract her and avoid a full on meltdown. I even got to read a book (one-handed [on my phone]) on the flight!

Lady Jr met her great grandmum and my father’s side of the family. They were pleasant and talked about the baby and not politics, thank god. My favorite part was when we took Lady Jr to the senior living center and all the old ladies fawned over her. As they should.

Less favorite was the weird way people seemed to ignore that babies could, you know, get upset if they missed a nap or didn’t get fed. I know we’re in the baby trenches so we’re particularly keyed into those facts (nay, laws), but even people who’d had kids before seemed to think it’d be perfectly fine if Lady Jr only got 20min car naps. Uh, not so much? And since we would be dealing with the fall out, I pushed back. Still, even trying to make sure she was accommodated, she was a very tired baby by the time we got home. 😦

Anyway, some quick tips re: airline travel –
1) Travel before they can crawl! It’s surprisingly easy and everybody loves babies. On the flight back there were numerous other families with older kids, from toddlers to five year olds, and our baby was by far the quietest. Not bragging – I just know that once a baby starts crawling, they don’t want to sit still, so that could easily be us in the next year.

2) If you’re breastfeeding, bring a big bottle for water and lots of snacks. This should have been a no-brainer, but, well, apparently I have no brain.

3) Bring a blanket for baby because the temp on the airplane can vary dramatically between taxiing and flight.

4) You can also use that blanket for discretely nursing during take off and landing, which will help baby’s eardrums not hurt.

5) Sit near the back of the plane so you are a) near the bathrooms in case of a diaper explosion and b) near the engines for optimum white noise.

6) If you use a carrier, TSA totally lets you keep it on and wear baby through the metal detector. A++

7) They still make you take off your shoes, though. 😦

8) Bring a jacket onto the plane for your lap to better prop up your (hopefully) sleeping baby.

9) One-handed reading devices FTW.

and last but not least

10) Budget extra time for everything. I’m normally paranoid about arriving early to the airport and this time that saved our bacon, because, for the first flight at least, we got there right after they’d started boarding. Dealing with the car, the car seat, TSA, etc, just takes longer with a baby.

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Sleep Training: Night 4

Oh god, last night was awful. I really hope this just means we’re on the right path, but at the same time… I kinda caved. All right. I definitely caved last night. And the worst part was, it didn’t help at all. I started with a goal of going at least 3 hours, preferably 3.5 hours between feeds, but, well.

See for yourself.

6.20pm – Last feed
6.40pm – Down in crib, asleep after a little fussing
7.30pm – Woke up crying. I did waves of: 3min, 4min, 5min, 6min – finally gave in and fed and snuggled her at 8.00pm because she just sounded so distressed. 😦
10pm – Cry. Fed. Back to sleep.
12am – Cry. Soothed. Cry. Soothed. Cry. Fed. Cry. Soothed. Fussed. Cry. Held until she fell asleep. Put her back in her crib.
1am – Cry. Fed until she fell asleep.
3am – Cry. Mildly optimistic that she had gone 2 hours before I remembered the time change. Fuck DST. Half-halfheartedly tried to soothe her, then fed her until she fell asleep.
4am-4.30 – Cry. Fed. Started to fall asleep, then fussed herself awake. Cry. Soothed. Cry. Held until she fell asleep. Didn’t put her back in the crib this time.
5.30am – Cry. Soothed. Put her in the crib. Cry. Held her hand. She fell asleep.
6am – Cry. Fed. Fussed, started to fall asleep until…
6.30am – Happy pooping sounds. Fuuuuuuuuck. She finished falling asleep. I wondered if it was worth waking her to change her, then she started fussing. Changed her (massive poop!), soothed her, and got up when she seemed mostly asleep.
6.40am – Watched her finish falling asleep on the monitor.
7.30am – Up for the day.

On the bright side, since the last two, three nights weren’t so bad, I don’t feel as broken as I usually do after a night like that. Tired, yes, but today doesn’t seem insurmountable.

Ugh. I don’t know how much of this was regression and how much of it was her needing to poop. I guess we’ll see tonight.

On the other bright side, her naps were A++ yesterday. Fell asleep on her own for two (she napped during a walk for the third), stayed asleep for an hour for the first one. So far today, not so much… we’re on wave 4 of trying to get her to go to sleep. Thank god Dr Lady will be home today.

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Sleep Training: Night 3

Two steps forward, one step back. At least I was expecting things to regress a little. And they certainly did.

Goal for this night: 3 hours between feeds. Try to let her cry for 3min at a time. Usually I stuck to this, but sometimes she just sounded so distressed that I soothed her a little sooner. Middle of the night wake-ups are hard y’all.

Other notes: cry usually means I’m letting her cry those 3min, unless stated otherwise.

5:45pm – Last feed
6:45pm – In crib. Put her down wide-eyed, gave her her nuk, kissed her forehead, and left. She rolled onto her side and that was that. Not a single peep.
(8:00pm – Bedtime for me.)
9.10pm – Cry, feed right away. Back to sleep pretty easily.
11:30pm – Cry, fuss, cry, soothe, cry, soothe – repeat until 12am, when I gave in and fed her. She finally fell back asleep around 12.20am.
2:30am – Cry, fuss, cry, soothe, cry. I tried giving her her nuk but she kept spitting it out. I gave in and fed her even though it hadn’t quite been 3 hours because she seemed hungry. She was hungry. Okay, good call. Fell asleep easily on the boob and stayed asleep
3:30am – Cry, soothe, cry, nuk, and settled back to sleep.
4:30am – Cry, farts, soothe, cry, and loud poop. Changed her and tried to soothe her back to sleep, but she was having none of it, so I fed her.
(5:00am – Get up. Coffee. Write)
7:18am – Wake up for the day.

The first half of the night was fine, but the second half we returned to our old patterns. I’m not too concerned, though, because a) it’s normal for there to be some regression and b) obviously she was uncomfortable and had to poop.

I don’t know if it’s related or not, but she also slept 1.5 hours at daycare for the first time, ever. The longest she’d slept there before was 1 hour, and that was when she was sick with a cold.

Here’s to (hopefully) a better night tonight. But just in case, I’ll be going to bed early again.

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Sleep Training: Night 2

I need to actually note things in the middle of the night because last night was much more of a blurry haze. I’m going to take that as a good sign, because that means I wasn’t waking up enough to know what time it was etc.

That said, this is how night 2 went:

6.00pm – Last feed
6.30pm – In crib
3min of crying, went in to ssh and soothe until Lady Jr calmed down (~1min), then just a perfunctory fuss or two and she was asleep
9.30pm – Cry, feed, but woke up as soon as I transferred her from the boob to her crib. Cried and fussed with soothings and sshings intermittently. Eventually I gave her her pacifier and she was quiet long enough for me to start to fall asleep before she started crying again. Rinse, repeat until about 10.20pm, when she finally quieted and put herself to sleep.
12.20am – Cry, feed, immediately asleep
2-3am – I woke up suddenly, but she wasn’t crying. I watched her for a while. Started drifting off to sleep. Then she started crying. Fed her. She went back to sleep pretty quickly.
5:40am – I woke up for the day. Pumped.
6:00am – Cry. Feed. Wide awake. Tried feeding back to sleep, but as soon as I moved her, she was wide awake again.
6.30am – Up for the day.

Aah, I miss when she would sleep in until 7.30, 8am. Alas. I’d get my hopes up about the upcoming time change, but daycare tires her out so much that she just can’t stay awake long after she gets home. :/

So we have (mostly) 3 hour differences between feeds, which is A++. Now tonight, I’ll try for 3.5 hours, with the eventual goal of 4 hours between feeds. Any longer than that is gravy.

I realized that while I bemoaned, at length, about our current sleep situation, I never wrote out what my hoped-for situation would be (not ideal, because ideal = 8+ hours of sleep, and I recognize that’s not realistic for her age). So, what we’re working towards is 2-3 wakings each night with about 4 hours between feeds and an easy transition back to sleep for all of us. I don’t mind a little fussing, but crying off and on for 30, 60min in the middle of the night isn’t good for any of us.

Right now we have 3 wakings and 3, 3.5 hours between feeds, but she’s still having a hard time with at least one of those wakings. So we’re already 900 times better than before we started sleep training – if you recall, she was waking up every 30-90min and fussing almost every single time – but we’re not quite to our goal. And we’re only on night two. It’ll be interesting to see if those middle of the night cries get any easier for her (and me). I think we need to work some more on learning to sleep without the pacifier, because she really seems to want it (need it?) when she gets particularly upset.

Here’s to night 3 and needing less and less coffee.

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