Sleep and Milk

Two children under two means lots of diapers, lots of breastfeeding and not a lot of sleep. I should hardly be surprised. In spite of that, I’ve got questions and I’m hoping that you guys have thoughts. 

First, the sleeping.

Monkey sleeps like a champ, but he eats almost every two hours and the process of feeding him from start to finish (with diaper change) lasts about an hour. This makes the nights at our house something short of restful. 

The factor that pushes all of it over the edge is Yogi’s recent shift from a 6:30-7 wake up to a 5am start time. 5AM??!!! The boy is an early riser and I have made peace with that, but 5 o’clock is a little hard to accept. More than a little really. So I’m thinking some kind of gentle scheduling shift is in order. Here’s how Yogi sleep has been looking for the last quite some time (since about the time he turned a year):

6:30ish Wake-up
12-2 Nap (This ranges btw 1.5 and 2 hrs)
7ish Bedtime

This means that at 21 months, Yogi has been sleeping about 13 hours a day. Now it’s more like 11 hours.

There are a few things that make this complicated. The first is that almost every night Yogi is skidding into bedtime on fumes. The little dude is d.o.n.e. by 7pm and I don’t know how we could keep him up any later. It’s also the case that if we do something in the morning that involves either the car or the stroller he almost always falls asleep, which makes me feel like pushing the nap back isn’t the best idea either. But what to do? There has to be something, right? If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Next, the breastfeeding.

Monkey is doing well and aside from the fact that he wants to eat all.the.time we are having no trouble with him in the milk department. And then there’s Yogi. 

Yogi was exclusively breastfed through his first birthday. Around that time, we introduced whole milk and he began nursing only at night before bedtime. As he got older, these sessions became increasingly brief and my wife never knew how much milk he was actually getting. We both assumed that he continued on with it for comfort reasons and because it was part of their bedtime routine. On the rare evening when I did bedtime, he never complained about the lack of milk or asked any questions about it at all.

Since the arrival of Monkey, Yogi wants to nurse both more frequently (he asks for Mommy Milk at nap AND bedtime and he has asked a handful of times when he sees Monkey nursing – my wife has agreed to nurse at nap and is continuing with bedtime, but has gently refused the other requests and he hasn’t protested) and for longer duration (which I imagine is a function of that fact that her supply is much greater).

I’m not officially worried about this, but I’m wondering if his response is a typical one. Anyone have any experience here? I’m thinking that the novelty of this will wear off, but maybe not? 

Glimpses of the First Week

Yogi reaching for the bucket when my wife walked in from the hospital with Monkey.

Kissing Monkey’s baby cheeks while he snoozes.

Yogi’s sidekick lovey almost never leaving his side. Paci too. These guys have never been outside the crib for any length of time and never out of the house so it’s a whole new wide world for Yogi’s buddies. One that I hope to be narrowing soon.

Yogi’s renewed interest in the Ergo, or as he calls it “backpack”.

Early morning walks on the greenway and breakfast at the neighborhood bagel joint. Milk for Monkey and Blueberry bagel with a side of peanut butter for Yogi. Yum!

Enjoying snuggly Monkey time while Yogi naps.

Waking up in the night with a “Mama, Mama!” Yogi. We had this problem licked, but since the arrival of Monkey I can’t bear to think that he feels abandoned with all of us in the other room. This ends tonight. Pray for me….

Wondering what we ever did with all that time we had when Yogi was an infant. Babies really do sleep all.the.time. How could we have thought we were tired?

Trying to pick my battles with a veggie burger throwing, kiddie hammer banging, standing up in his chair and laughing hysterically toddler. I love this boy, but sometimes he drives me crazy. But, maybe that’s the sleep deprivation talking.

Yogi’s excitement about Muzzie, Grandpa, Nana, Pops AND Moka (the dog) all being in town at once.  He really got into hugging everyone good night before bed. So cute.

Hearing Yogi say his brother’s name. Nothing better.

Remembering too late that you should never leave the house with an infant without a burp cloth and a change of clothes. How quickly you forget.

Yogi going (too exuberantly?) for a big bite of ice cream and accidentally sending ice cream flying into his brother’s face. Oh the poor, poor second child.

The anatomy lesson that breaks out each time Monkey sits in his bouncy seat. Yogi marches over and begins “Ears, Eyes (this one is a bit scary, but so far so good), Nose, Mouth, Hair, Hands, Feet, Knees”. Never gets old.

Feeling relatively certain that my house will never be clean again.

Yogi, Monkey and my wife on the afternoon before labor began.

Introducing Monkey

Here is the newest member of the family. A yawning Monkey on his second day in the world.

Mama and Monkey stealing a snooze.

We got home with the boys this morning and are beginning the process of settling in. So far I’m finding the phrase, “the boys” to have a nice ring to it.

Boy Clothes

Yesterday the three of us went on a mission to find some Yogi clothes.  Not.easy.  Here’s the back story…..

I thought we were having a girl.  For sure.  I probably thought this bc I have absolutely no experience with little boys and couldn’t imagine having one of my own.  I was the oldest of lots of little girl cousins and somehow probably 90% of the kids that I babysat for in middle/high school/college were girls.  I just don’t know anything about little boys.

And then Yogi arrived and I think that boys are the new black.  In fact, if we decide to jump into this whole TTC thing again I hope we have another boy.  I’m sold.  But…… the clothes.

WARNING – BLATANT STEREOTYPES AHEAD

No one would ever call me a fashionista.  In fact, I care about fashion and clothes really only to the extent that they are a part of gender presentation. This is a long-winded way of explaining that I have never had any interest in traditionally masculine/boy clothing.  I am fascinated by the butch aesthetic and female masculinity and I also love, love, love a more feminine look in men.  I also have some love for traditional femininity bc for whatever reason that is where I land.  In the midst of these divisions I have made, the only one that I’m not so into is traditional masculinity.  And now….. I have a boy.

He’s not yet a month old and I know that this clothes thing is going to be a struggle.  So much of this stuff is just bad.  I mean why does a 1 month old really need to wear camo?  Or a Future Quarterback onesie?  I’m all for people expressing themselves in their own way, but that stuff is clearly not for me.  I mean if he grows up to celebrate the beauty of camouflage that is one thing,  but I’m not going to inflict it on him.  So, where does that leave me?

No, it’s not an important issue but contemplating it in the breaks between Yogi fussiness has been a fun distraction.  I’m including some pictures of some of the cute stuff.

It’s hard to create a good fashion spread with a 4 week old, but this is the best I could do.  I think this little onesie is adorable.

This is another that I love on him.  It’s my favorite of the decidedly boy (not unisex) outfits.  Yogi looks lovely in gray and navy.

Four Weeks with Yogi

Yesterday marked four weeks with our boy.  Do you call that a month or do you mark the month by the date, which would add three days (the 15th)?  All of these things confuse me, reminding me of the whole week v. month v. trimester of pregnancy which I could never quite nail down.  At any rate, we’ve been a family of three for a while now and getting more comfortable with every moment that passes.

After getting maybe a cobbled together total of four hours of sleep Saturday night, we went on to make it a big Sunday.  My wife pushed the boy on an early morning run.  Mornings are beginning to be crisp and cool now, which is wonderful.  After cleaning up, we took Yogi to church (we love the Unitarians in our new city) for the first time and he did great!  Although the sermon was long and I kept waiting for a huge toot or scream in the midst of the quiet, meditative moments, none came.  He slept quietly in his bucket and made only cute little baby squeaks.  It was perfect.

Of course it was cool to be able to take Yogi with us and have so many people fuss over him, but it was also great just to BE there.  We haven’t been since before he was born, which seems at moments like a minute ago and at other times like a lifetime.  It felt good to include him in something that is such a routine and emotionally significant part of our lives.  It was also quite a nice service that I’m glad we didn’t miss.

The focus was on the Jewish High Holy Days that run between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  We were all given stones upon entry that we could use in a ritual called T’ashlich, which means “casting off”in Hebrew.  Although it sounds like bread is traditionally cast off, the metaphor still works with a stone I guess.  The point is to reflect on your sins and cast them off in preparation for the new year.  Unitarians aren’t too wild about the idea of sin, so the minister spoke about casting off thoughts or habits or assumptions that have locked us in dysfunctional patterns.

I love that Yogi’s arrival has coincided with all of these transition points (the coming of Fall, the start of the school year, the Jewish New Year).  It’s a great opportunity to think about letting go of what no longer serves me so that I can be more receptive to what is to come.  It’s good timing. ;).  It is also true that every time I have fallen in love it has happened in the fall.  Perfect.

Happy Momma

Today I got to feed my boy for the first time!  Something in my heart opened up just that much more.

He will be four weeks old tmw and Dr. Wonderful said it was time to introduce him to the bottle.  Although we were concerned that if we introduced a bottle he would prefer it over the breast, the good doctor said that he has seen much more incidence of the reverse.  My wife will be returning to work in mid-October, so we can’t have him refusing the bottle.  My wife has been pumping since about a week after delivery, so we have a pretty good start on the breast milk conservancy.

This afternoon I put an ounce in the bottle, snuggled him close and off he went.  I was expecting some degree of fuss as a result of the new sensation, but not a peep.  He looked right in my eyes and gobbled it all up.  Easy as that.  When he had gotten it all, I got a good burp and passed him to my wife who topped him off.

Dr. Wonderful suggests that he have at least one bottle feeding a week.  Sounds good to me!

What I’ve Learned from Yogi so Far

  • I require much more sleep than an infant considers appropriate.
  • It is possible to type with your right hand while bouncing a baby head with your left.
  • As unbelievable as it seems, that wet spot on the upper middle back of the onesie is NOT sweat, it is urine.  The urine stream of little boys do not heed any of the standard laws of physics.
  • My son sleeps in his bouncy seat and neither god nor the parenting police has struck me dead.
  • Nothing I have ever seen compares to the cuteness of the Yogi stretch.
  • I’m afraid that I don’t have the patience or fortitude that breastfeeding requires.
  • You can never get enough of kissing baby cheeks.
  • I haven’t worked through my self-worth issues (AKA bullshit) as thoroughly as I thought I had.  Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I truly deserve all of this.
  • The baby bucket is either WAY heavier than I ever imagined or I don’t have the guns I thought I did.  Probably the latter.
  • Frequent wardrobe change is not just for the baby.  There have been days when I have had to change my clothes more times than I have changed Yogi’s.  This has something to do with the fact that the boy enjoys the diaper-only look and something to do with his tendency to let it all go in the seconds that he spends between diapers.
  • I’ve got to improve my time management skills.  It’s going to be a long time before I again have the alone time that I’ve grown accustomed to, so I’ve got to make the time I have count.  Working on that one.
  • The people who complain about the unbelievable number of diapers that infants go through?  They are not being dramatic.

The Birth Story

Yogi is 16 days old today, so I’m feeling the pressure to get this down before I forget.

Saturday, August 14

We spent a low-key evening with some new friends, eating a delicious home-cooked meal and playing with their two-year old.  By Tuesday, when my wife hadn’t eaten in days I was really glad that we had had this meal.  Our friends cooked chicken on the grill paired with a traditional Bulgarian salad (he is Bulgarian), mashed potatoes, grilled tomatoes and chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven.  This is probably the best meal that my wife had had in at least a month and I was surprised by how much eating gusto she had.  I guess that was a sign.  During the last weeks of her pregnancy she never felt like eating and when I could entice her to try something, she never felt well afterward.

All was normal when we got home and settled into bed.  In fact, we fell asleep kissing and all tangled together that night.  By that time in her pregnancy, that was a real gift as it was usually impossible for her to feel comfortable in bed.  At some point during the night things changed.  By the time I woke up (maybe 7am), she had been awake for a few hours and was feeling different.  That was how she put it, something was different.

Sunday, August 15 – Morning

On Sunday mornings, we usually get up and go for a jog, shower, have a little breakfast and head to church at 11.  Although I encouraged her to be cautious, she wanted to head upstairs to the treadmill to see if that would help her feel better.  At this point, we were planning to carry on with the day.  Now, I realize that to most people (me included) getting on the treadmill does not make the short list of activities to pursue when one thinks they might be in labor, but my wife is not most people.  In her defense, walking and jogging have helped her feel better throughout this pregnancy, so I guess this response wasn’t entirely crazy.

So, she headed to the gym in our building to do something productive and I proceeded to pace around the living room.   Pacing and pacing and repeating an “is today the day?” loop in my mind.  When I couldn’t stand it anymore, I headed up to the gym to check on her.  She was cooling down after jogging 7 miles (I’m glad I don’t have a tendency towards feelings of inferiority) and calmly told me that she was thinking she might be having contractions.  Cool as a cucumber.  She decided to take a shower, settle in on the couch and start timing these things.  Ok, I could be on board with that.

By the time these tasks had been accomplished, we decided to call the doctor bc whatever these things were, they were about 5 minutes apart.  She told us to head into the hospital and let them monitor us.  I managed to whirl all of our stuff into the car while barely taking a good deep breath and we were on our way.

The hospital is about 3 miles from our house and given that this drive took place in the late morning on a Sunday, we made it to OB triage in a flash.  We had to wait a bit as there were 2 women in line ahead of us, but she handled the wait fairly well.  By the time we made it through the check-in process and got her hooked up to the monitors, it was very clear that she was in labor.

Sunday, August 15 – Afternoon

The nurse called our doctor (who was magically on call that day) and gave her the update.  The next thing we knew, they were rolling in a wheelchair and saying “Happy Birthday.  You’re having a baby today.”  We headed down to an L&D room, where my wife was prepped for surgery.  That was when the whirlwind really began.  Suddenly there were lots of people in the room and I was realizing that it was time to call people.

We had decided that we wanted to have all 4 parents and (if possible) her brother and my best friend in town as soon as possible to meet the baby.  We all had plans built around our scheduled c-section date, so nobody was expecting the call that Sunday.  I was able to reach everyone but her parents immediately.  My parents got in the car and headed up the 200 miles from their house, while my wife’s brother started his 900 mile journey.  My wife’s parents were in the air headed back from a trip with her brother, so I caught up with them on the tarmac and they hit the road as well.

During all of this calling and surgical prep, my wife was calmly chatting with the hospital staff.  There were moments when she went a little white, but for the most part she seemed entirely present and together.  She was a little nervous, but the primary feeling in the room was excitement.  We were going to be meeting our baby so soon!

In what felt like moments and I think was really only about 30 minutes, they wheeled her into the OR.  They left me on a little chair outside the door until the anesthesiologist had completed the spinal and all systems were go.  I have no idea how long I sat on that chair.  I concentrated on my breath and repeated “All will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well” over and over and over until the nurse ushered me through the door.

I sat on another chair in my surgical gear by my wife’s head and focused all of my attention on her.  There were so many people in the room, but I don’t think I really saw any of them.  I saw only her and the huge smile on her face.  I was able to hold her hand and all I could think to tell her was something along the lines of “you’re doing a great job baby” and suddenly she started to laugh.  Then she said “I’m going to lay on this table like I’ve never laid on a table in my whole life”.  It was pretty funny.  I’m used to cheering her on in races and so this kind of encouragement was what came to mind, but I guess it didn’t really fit the situation.  It did make us laugh though.

Sunday, August 15 at 2:09

Shortly after that the OB held up the baby and I could see him over the curtain.  I couldn’t do anything but stare at his face and until my wife asked “is it a boy or a girl?” I forgot to look.  When I did look it was quite clear that we had a little boy and I couldn’t believe it.  He was so perfect.  The nurses whisked him over for clean up, but I was able to follow and watch everything that went on.  When they laid him on the scales, he immediately grabbed the edge and I was struck by how powerful his little body already was.  They wrapped him up tight, handed him to me and I was able to take him over to my wife.

As the doctors closed her incision and cleaned everything up, we just stared at our boy.  I had brought my camera and the nurse anesthetist picked it up and took pictures of the three of us.  I was so teary that it was hard to see, but I could tell that the whole world was new.

Rockin the Fifth Percentile

Yesterday we saw Dr. Wonderful (I LOVE this man) for Yogi’s first pediatrician appointment and he is looking great.  Here’s the rundown:

At 12 days old, the Yogi is

  • 6 lbs, 5 ozs (5th percentile)
  • 20 inches long (40th percentile)
  • 13 inch head circumference (3rd percentile)

I officially have a tiny baby.  This is hugely entertaining to me as I come from a very tall family.  At 5’8″, I am a runt.  I am fairly certain that no one in my family has ever been anywhere near the 5th percentile.  My wife is pretty tiny herself, so I guess it’s time for me to get used to being the giant in the family.

He is up 3 oz (thanks T)  from his birth weight and in spite of some over-attachment to the nipple shield, he’s a good eater.  Soon I hope to post more about the birth and our transition home.  Maybe after a nap…..