Gone… and fishing

Is Ellen’s ear infection gone? I have my doubts. We have 3 more days of antibiotics, but a week in, I would expect improved sleep and significantly less ear-tugging. If anything, her ear-tugging has gotten worse!

I think I’ll take her into the doc to check that the meds worked. We used to do that with Lewis because his ear infections were so chronic and sometimes wouldn’t clear up with the first round of antibiotics. Maybe Ellen has a resistant strain?

In other news… the kids ate fish tonight! Well, we all did. I made fish tacos with cabbage, pickled onions, salsa crema, and avocado, and they were delicious.

The best part is that Lewis at a whole one plus a side of cheesy refried beans. By his standards, a damn feast! When you can get him to focus, he is a lot of fun to feed, because he isn’t picky and loves new flavors.

Ellen ate tiny bites of fish, beans, and avocado. My little burgeoning eater is really showing a preference towards chewable chunks vs purees, and a serious aversion to anything coming at her on a spoon or fork. But if you put it in her mouth with your fingers, she’ll eat anything!

Based on that, I would predict that Ellen will be an eager eater with her hands when she is coordinated enough. Quite different from her brother, who never has liked to eat with his hands much, because he doesn’t like to be messy!

Proud of my tiny humans and their adventurous palettes! Makes cooking rewarding, on the occasions I actually do it.

Big night!

We had a first at our house last night! I went to the inaugural meeting of a new book club, and that meant I was gone at bedtime and Kyle had to put both kids to bed for the first time ever.

I knew Kyle was up to it, and he knew he was too. But Ellen was a wild card, and we weren’t sure how that was going to go. Historically, she has a pattern of screaming when someone else tries to put her to bed. But Kyle has recently made it onto Ellen’s list of acceptable caretakers, so we thought there might be a chance.

Book club was literally a 3 minute walk from our house, so our backup plan if everything went sideways was that I would walk home, help out, and then go back to book club. That didn’t end up being necessary! Kyle and Ellen rocked bedtime out!

Lewis was a sweet, good boy for daddy, and Ellen took some of a bottle and then let Kyle rock her to sleep without any abnormal amount of protest.

(edit: was it really the first time Kyle was on his own with both kids? He must have done it in the early days before Ellen developed stranger danger… but this felt like the first time, and in any case… it was the first time she didn’t lose her shit)

I haven’t been able to leave for anything that spanned bedtime in over 7 months without feeling absolutely horrible due to Ellen’s meltdowns. It was so painful for me that I haven’t really even tried to leave, with the exception of a few date nights. I felt confined to my house, and as much as I love those nightly snuggles with Ellen, I am ready for a little flexibility now.

So this feeling is freedom. With babies, freedom comes gradually. Especially breastfed babies, I think. They’re physically dependent on mommy, and that often comes with a sort of general attachment as well. This was just one step further along the path to separation and independence.

I remember with Lewis that the biggest, final step was when we stopped breastfeeding and I could leave whenever I wanted without a pump or a care in the world. So we still have a ways to go with Ellen, but Kyle’s proven ability to get her down for the night is huge. I feel physically lighter knowing that I am free to accept social invitations in the evenings now without guilt.

It was pretty special for Kyle, too, to rock his daughter to sleep without her screaming bloody murder. I knew the two of them would bond and become close eventually because I saw how the relationship grew between Lewis and Kyle. Kyle is such a great dad, and he loves his kids so deeply… but baby-hood is so difficult for him. I think mostly because I have had a kind of monopoly on comforting our children when they are young. The breastfeeding thing meant that they naturally ended up in my arms as infants, and breaking that spell takes a long time, all the while, Kyle ends up as a bystander.

As wonderful as my newfound freedom is, and as beautiful as it is to once again get to watch my husband bond with his child, I have some feelings of loss that go along with it too. What is parenthood if not an exercise in wrestling with your emotions?!

It is so hard to be the only one your baby wants, and something I long to put behind me. But it is also so special, and something I secretly want to last forever. Yesterday’s success means that the era of Ellen’s and my exclusive relationship is over, for better or worse (mostly better!).

You want your kids to grow up and become independent, and getting them there is basically the essence of your job as a parent. I’ve always found their growing up to be bittersweet. Every new thing Lewis learns means he needs me less, and that’s a sign of a job well done, but also… ouch!

Those big kid accomplishments make me very emotional, but these baby milestones, where the independence is a physical severance of ties to me as a mother… well those are the hardest of all for me. They’re gloriously, wonderfully freeing… and gloriously, wonderfully painful.

But in the end, I’m so happy. The feelings of loss are muted (but worth acknowledging!) in comparison to the pride and happiness I feel. I’m grateful to have a husband who is patient enough to wait for me to be ready to hand over my babies, and who loves his kids easily as much as I love them. And I’m so proud of Ellen for developing emotionally and forming bonds with other caretakers. Watching her be loved by others is second only to getting to love her myself!

Bad dream

I had a dream last night that Kyle and I had our third child, a girl, weighing in at 19 lbs at birth.

No one made it into the room in time. I just felt the urge to push, blacked out, and then had a 19 lb newborn in my arms. I then walked out into the hallway holding the baby and said, “surprise!”

Not sure what that dream was trying to tell me. But I can say that blacking out while birthing a gigantic baby sounds nice, because the dream-birth wasn’t traumatizing at all, even though the dream-baby was 10 lbs heavier than Ellen was.

Dream-baby was also very cute. We never named her because we hadn’t even discussed names prior to the birth, and I woke up before we could sort it out.

I love babies. Funny dream.

7 months

ELLEN! What happened?! You’re 7 months old!

Let’s see… Ellen still seems to be hovering around 21.5 lbs. She has stalled out, which is A-OK, because I’m loving that she gets to wear this batch of clothes for a while. I didn’t think her weight gain would slow down until after she was mobile, but she is showing no signs of movement, yet here we are!

Our little Queen of Inertia is miles away from crawling – she still doesn’t even really like to roll over much. But her favorite thing in the world is jumping! She also loves to be held up so she can stand. She finds that activity very amusing.

Still no hints of teeth, either. I am not looking forward to the possibility of disrupted sleep due to teething, but I am kind of hoping she gets a few teeth soon because then she can try some more foods. Ellen loves to eat, and I’m having the best time playing and experimenting with her. I can’t wait for the culinary world to be even more accessible to her, because I think she’ll really have fun.

So far, she definitely seems to favor savory foods. Peas, eggs, and carrots top the list, but she also likes meat purees (ewwwww) and other “meals” pureed into goop. Bread with butter is a big hit, and beans are never turned down. As far as sweet items, she accepts bananas (with gusto!), mango, blueberry/oatmeal puree, yogurt, and amoxicillin (ha! thank goodness, makes giving her the meds for her ear infection easy!). I want to try giving her peanut butter soon, but my nerves keep stopping me. The doctor said to try anytime, and that early introduction can actually prevent peanut allergies. But man… it is a little scary!

Ellen’s list of people who aren’t “strangers” keeps growing, slowly but surely. The new daycare teacher has made the cut, and so has Kyle. My mom and Kyle’s mom are almost acceptable – I don’t think it will be long now!

Proud of my darling girl. Love her with every piece of me, even though she exhausts me with the sleep stuff sometimes!

Pulled the trigger

We went ahead and pulled the trigger on Ellen’s prescription for her ear infection. She had a mediocre night again, unable to fall asleep until I gave her tylenol. At that point, she miraculously fell asleep. Pretty clear indicator to me that the pain was keeping her up, even if she didn’t cry. She’s such a toughie!

Last night was only marginally improved, but she had only had one dose, so that’s not surprising. Hopefully tonight, 3 doses in, she will do better.

We’ve also got her on probiotics to help keep her gut in good health and try to avoid some of the digestive issues that come along with antibiotics.

Meanwhile, Lewis and I sang the ABC’s today and he knew¬†all the letters!!! First time I’ve heard where he nailed it like that. Sweet boy is learning so much!!!

Ears!

Well well well! Miss Ellen went to the doctor this morning, and my decision to take her in was not so dumb after all!

Sweet girl has some bum ears at the moment. The doctor called them “borderline infected”. What this actually means is she has an ear infection either on the way in or on the way out, but it is impossible to tell which.

So we have a prescription in-hand for antibiotics, but we’ve been instructed to wait a day or two to see if she gets better or worse and then make the call to get the meds or not. Seems logical to me!

I have a strong suspicion that the infection is on the way out, and I just missed the signs. She never had a fever, only tugged at her ears when she was tired, wasn’t super whiney or grumpy or fussy… and she didn’t even have consistently bad sleep! Those good nights mixed in threw me off the scent!

Essentially, she had none of the signs that Lewis always showed when he had his chronic ear infections. Ellen seems to be much more even-keeled about the whole thing than Lewis. The only thing she gets worked up over in life is when she is left with people other than me, Kyle, or daycare. Other than that? You’ve got to have a master’s degree in Ellen-behavior to detect if anything is wrong!

I’m very glad to know that, now. That will inform a lot of decisions about her wellness in the future. Subtle signals with this one!

A good one!

Last night, after I did literally nothing different, Ellen slept 7.25 hrs + 3.75 hours and then had to be awakened to get up for school.

All I can do is shake my head and accept the sleep when it comes. At this point, I’m convinced I’ve done all I can to lay the groundwork for Miss Ellen to get good sleep, and it is up to her whether or not she actually does it on any given night.

Ellen will be visiting the doctor tomorrow to get a quick once-over. She’s been sick for going on a month (ish? who can keep track anymore…), and her cough doesn’t seem to be getting better. I figure it has been long enough, we might as well let the doc take a peek at her just to be sure it isn’t anything more than a lingering cold. I’m 98% sure that’s exactly what it is, but that pesky 2% is driving me toward the doc. I’m comfortable being sent away with good news, but I’m not comfortable not going and missing something.

Lewis has been putting us through a “you win some, you lose some” pattern with potty training. Win: he woke up in the middle of the night last night to go potty. Lose: Over the weekend, he refused to go for so long (despite needing to) that he peed all over the floor when he finally gave in – got to the toilet, pulled his pants down, and didn’t have enough time to sit because he had to go so bad.

It’s been mostly wins, though!

We’re trying to move away from the little potty in favor of a “safety seat” on the normal toilet. Our first step was to make the kid potty downstairs disappear. The accident over the weekend seemed to be in protest of using the normal toilet, but he shaped up after that. He uses a normal toilet at daycare, so I see no reason we can’t get rid of the little potty upstairs soon too. We are definitely looking forward to not having to clean out the little potties anymore. It is so gross!

P.S. Remember when I thought Ellen was teething at 2 months old? She’s almost 7 months old and still has no teeth! Where are they?! haha

 

 

We had another terrible night last night. But both yesterday and today (so far) have been wonderful. It’s funny how much the daylight changes your perspective.

Well, that and caffeine…

Plus, I am reading a book right now (kindle on my phone – pro tip for getting through sleepless nights!) where one of the characters inadvertently killed her newborn baby, and the telling of that scene brutalized my mama-soul. I read it on about hour 5 of being up with Ellen last night, and suddenly I wasn’t angry to be awake. In fact, I couldn’t squeeze her warm body close enough.

And I couldn’t wait for Lewis to wake up in the morning so I could squeeze his warm body too. I was immediately in desperate need of feeling the rise and fall of their chests.

I hate the book I’m reading, between the alcoholism, the lying, the incredibly poor decisions and the stress caused by the characters engaging in all three, I’ve hated it from the start.

It’s for a book club a friend of mine is just starting up, so I have been powering through. I wanted to stop reading it long before that awful scene. Now I am truly traumatized by it, and I dread picking it up to read another page.

But I am grateful that it got me through another bad night. Grateful it made me appreciate what I have. Because during the bad nights, I struggle to maintain that perspective. So thank you, terrible book.

Ok attempt number 4 in the last 2 hours… please be the lucky one. Please let Ellen stay asleep this time.

We had a good run of good nights again. Streak is over.

Really, it was a good, recharging, much-needed streak of great sleep.

Trying to pull from that built up energy to get through this night. It is 2:40 am, and I have slept for 2 hours total, in two 1 hour chunks.

Zzzzz. Come on, Ellen. Let’s do this. I know you can!!!

Update: I enjoyed a nice 20 minute light doze. Happy to report I am back in the chair with Ellen. Currently giving the doctor’s advice the middle finger and feeding the beast for a second time tonight.

We’ve had a lot of good nights lately. A lot. And those good nights do a lot to get me through the bad nights. But some nights are so bad, nothing can prepare you.

Tonight is one such night.

I have been up with Ellen for all but 45 minutes of the last 4 hours. Why? No idea.

I fed her. She woke up when I put her down. I rocked her, I got out for 45 mins. I have rocked her to sleep no less than 5 times since coming back in. I fed her again. I let her fuss in her crib for 30 minutes.

I just gave her some Tylenol and I’m rocking her again.

The fatigue is hitting so hard my head is throbbing. It makes me nauseous. I’m also absolutely livid, which makes me feel guilty. And I’m sure it doesn’t exactly help me in my efforts to relax Ellen.

I wish I understood why sleep is so unpredictable. Then I would at least have some idea what to do. But I literally haven’t changed a thing, and I’m dealing with a terrible night. For over a week, it was great. And then wham.

In the interest of providing a balanced and true report of how things are around here, please observe some sweet pictures from yesterday. We had the most wonderful day together, sunshine and smiles galore.

The Sickness

Ellen gave me and Kyle The Sickness (AKA a mild cold).

Kyle is home sick from work. I am still working (but also at home), and seemingly getting the mildest version of The Sickness. Ellen has been sleeping much better since the first night of her visit from The Sickness, which I am very grateful for.

Lewis is so far unscathed.

I don’t have much to say, other than colds suck (especially for babies and grown men), and good nights of sleep are blessings from heaven.

Amen.

Yup

I jinxed it. Ellen came down with a cold overnight last night and we didn’t sleep much.

I called in tired to work today.

At first I felt guilty, but then I let that go because I have been “on” for so long, frequently running on fumes, that it makes sense that I needed a day to recuperate.

And I do feel better. It did help. We will see what tonight brings – it could be more of the same – but no matter what, today did me good.

Bonus – I actually witnessed Ellen, Queen of Inertia, roll from back to front this evening!

Freedom!!!

Today I went to my monthly mommy bunco group and Kyle stayed home with the kiddos. I have been doing this every month for a while, the first Sunday afternoon of each month.

Historically, Ellen has screamed the entire time I was away, which has taken away from the fun for me, because I am constantly worried about her and poor Kyle, and feeling immensely guilty.

Not today, folks! Ellen didn’t cry at all the whole time I was gone and she took her entire bottle! I got away for about 3 hours and was able to completely disconnect and feel no guilt whatsoever. Heaven, I tell ya!

Also, the last 5 nights, Ellen has slept really great. 4 of the 5, I was only up once. The 5th night, I was up twice. She woke up a few other times here and there but put herself back to sleep.

I’m still totally tired, because that’s the name of the game. But it is the kind of tired that is sustainable. The kind I don’t mind.

I probably jinxed everything by talking about it. But at least I’ve got 5 good sleeps stored up to get me through a few bad nights, if my luck has run out.

Balanced reporting

If I am going to write about all the crappy sleep, I should also write about the good nights. Especially since they’re more newsworthy, being as rare as they are!

We have had a string of mediocre nights. Not terrible, but not awesome. A lot of me ignoring Ellen and not going in after her one allotted night feeding.

Last night was not mediocre. It. Was. Awesome.

Girlfriend woke once around 1:45. Then up for the day just before 6. Hallelujah!!!!

So what was different?

Nothing. Literally nothing. Unless you count me forgetting to pull her off my boob when she fell asleep so she sort of dream-sucked for an extra few minutes.

Anyway, I feel like I am seeing rainbows and walking through clouds of glitter. AKA I am rested and it is going to be a great day!