Sunday, December 31, 2006

Our Champion Sleeper?

Some will say that we are extremely lucky. s sleeps very well. During the day, all she would really need is a decent feeding and she is out like a light. So deep is her sleep that a herd of tap-dancing elephants couldn't wake her. Yes, lucky if we were lions or some other nocturnal hunters who have a preference for sleeping during the day.

Our dear little s sleeps so well during the day that she prefers to party during the wee morning hours. Not early evening even. She loves to be awake between the hours of 2-6 am. We do manage to get her to sleep during those hours but her sleep would be so light that she would wake if I had a loud thought.

Initially I had thought that she just needed to eat every 3 hours. I did an experiment yesterday and realized that during the day she could go almost 5 hours without eating if left to her own schedule. Now that my return to work date is fast approaching, some extreme measures need to be taken.

It is going to be painful for a few days but the plan will be to wake her in 2 hour increments for the next few days for a feeding and for "forced" play. Sounds pretty harsh, doesn't it? But something's got to give.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Parenting perspective

G here.

Boy the most under appreciated job in the world has to be that of a parent. I consider myself usually a very calm, rational and low maintenance person. But everything in our household conspired together to push me over the tipping point the other night. Both F and I have been very sleep deprived since s arrived. She's an odd little baby. She sleeps better than g ever did but her sleep patterns are irregular. Some nights she goes to sleep right after a bottle for almost four hours in a row. While other nights she's up pretty much the whole night. The other night when I commented on how "Parenting sucks" I had been able to sleep from only 1 am to 2:30 am. After that 90 minutes of rest, s remained awake until 5:30 in the morning. F finally came in at about 5 to relieve me. I felt bad since F is also recovering from the same flu I had just recovered from the same illness. On top of that, g had not been eating for about two days and was having trouble sleeping.

Does Parenting suck? Yeah it does. It's a thankless job but I do it anyway. I guess I had just forgotten how hard it was. Now I have my second daughter to remind me. I send my praise off to parents that have multiple babies and no live in nanny.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Meltdown #4788

So it was around 5:00 AM when I finally got out of bed. Last night to this morning was an example of how much of a character-building exercise parenthood is. G very gallantly offered to take s for evening. g was under the weather. She has been persistently losing what little lunch she has had. Thankfully she has been really thirsty so no dehydration. The doctor said that her throat is really inflamed. Her sleep has also been equally disturbed. She can't seem to sleep longer than a few minutes to an hour. Gmom was with us and she was such a lifesaver. I don't think I would have been able to rise above the fog I was under yesterday to take both kids to the doctor. The doctor had no better new but no bad news either. He said that whatever g had would just have to pass on its own (ie we would have to ride out the wave of unhappiness).

Gmom offered to bunk with g. G was going to take s. I was going to "luxuriate" on the couch. My attempt at sleep started around midnight. s had awakened and G had fed her and was putting her to sleep. g had finally fallen asleep after hours of tossing and turning. Things seems to be going well. I must have been sleeping lightly when I heard G come outside to fix another bottle. Then in what seemed like a few minutes later, I heard cry out again. I then heard the swing come on. I heard the swinging and shushing proceed in earnest for awhile. I finally decided to get up at 5:00 am to help out. G informed me that he has been trying to get s to sleep for the last 2 and a half hours and that"parenting sucks!" He was obviously starting to go out of his mind. So I decided to take over. After another hour, she finally fell asleep. By then, it was 6 am and g was going to be up in 2 hours. Yeah...sweet dreams!

Parenting can be really painful.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Superhuman powers

I had to chuckle when I read this quote from Gwen Stefani -

"I'm still nursing," she says, "and I think it gives you superhuman powers.",,20004425,00.html

I might actually take xray vision or arms of steel (maybe buns of steel). I have nursed g and am nursing s. Although I am not sure if nursing has given superhuman powers, but it has changed me as a human being. I have never had to do a more rewarding, grueling, at times painful, at times thankless but ultimately powerful experience in my life.

Consider the preparation. Breastfeeding is the most complicated natural thing that a woman will ever have to do. Most natural things are fairly self-explanatory. Even childbirth, the pain and contractions brings a woman very close to her instinctive self. I can speak from experience now that even with a horrid lack of preparation, a woman's body "knows" how to bring a child into the world. Breastfeeding seems to go against all reason initially. We are told in classes to put the baby to the breast within minutes of birth. Check. Seems simple, right? There are many considerations apparently. The latch must be checked to ensure proper milk removal and to prevent pain, etc. Feedings should also be done every 2 hours. Now this is every 2 hours taking into account feeding time. Thus if the baby takes 45 minutes to feed and it takes another 10 minutes to change diapers, another 10 minute of burp attempts, the mom would have less than an hour before the process begins again. It is also counter intuitive, but during the first week of life, the baby should be awakened to eat. So the rule of "never awaken a sleeping baby" doesn't apply here. I have done extreme measures to awaken my babies (wipe them down with a cool washcloth, strip them down to their diaper, tickle their toes, play loud music, etc). A mom will do what she has to do.

So you'd think that once you get into the swing of things, it should become fairly routine, right? WRONG! There is always a possibility of thrush, infections, mastitis, plugged ducts, etc. There are such a thing as nursing strikes when the baby refuses to nurse. Super counter-productive. I have endured one and it was no fun. There are also incidents of biting, pulling, preference for one side over the other. This list can go on and on and on. Whole message boards and user groups have been created around breastfeeding support. This "natural" act is an endless amount of highs and lows.

So why? Each person will have a different reason why they chose to do so. Personally it is the best thing I could do for my baby. The benefits are well-documented. It makes me proud that I am able to provide for her in a way unique only to me. However with both of my kids, it is work. It has taught me though to trust in my ability to do this. In the early days of this journey, I have heard VERY OFTEN, "are you sure you have enough?" In those early days, I didn't know for sure. A nursing mom never knows for sure unless you have a scale handy. In this second phase, I have learned to trust in my ability to give enough, to trust that s knows what she needs and will let me know if she needs more.

This is a journey. It's one fraught with hurt and happiness. It's a journey that I still take day by day. There are days when I feel like quitting. There are days when s seems like she want to quit. I have given myself permission to quit anytime. This permission has allowed to soldier on. So superhuman, no. Definitely more human, more myself, a better self.

Friday, December 15, 2006

S at 5 weeks

S at 5 weeks featuring my favorite chin (the second one from the back). Yes, she is all cheeks and chin. She has finally grown but still very much a pipsqueak. At her one-month appointment, she has weighed in at 8 lbs 7 oz, 21 inches and 33 cm head circumference. She is no longer 25th across the board in percentiles. She is now at the 50 percentile in weight, 75th percentile in head circumference and her height remains at 25th. She has started to hold her head up more steadily. Her new thing this week has been to stay awake all night. During the day, she can sleep through jackhammers and g jumping around her car seat. At night, she would awake when I shift position in bed. At least she has something in common with her big sister.

Poor s has all this baby acne. It's made her face look so red and it is really rough to the tough. The acne is combined with seborrheic dermatitis, a form of eczema. Great...another thing in common with g and G. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

Pile on the mommy guilt

I have mentioned in past entries about how I have felt I have to be the disciplinarian because Nny is a push over and G has been working nights. I am beginning to see now that g is beginning to see me in such a negative way. She is beginning to expect that when I come into her crying fit that I will be the one to discipline her. In a day, I must say no to her at least 10 times. I feel horrible that I can't just enjoy her, that I have to constantly be the police officer.

Today g got into the cleanser cabinet and though Nny was right beside her, I thought that it is best that she should get used to not being allowed into that cabinet. Nny was trying to gently reason her out of the closet. I looked over and did the full name thing. She looked at me with that mournful look that she has developed in recent weeks and proceeded to bury her face in Nny's leg.

Same thing today when g reached for a pot of soup on the stove. Nny was just blocking g's persistent efforts. I did the same stern talking-to. Again, she ran into Nny's legs and hid from me. That just killed me.

I hate the fact that I have to constantly be yelling her. g is such a sweetheart. She is a bundle of raw emotions though. Today I had to tell her not to eat lint. I didn't even raise my voice but telling her another no just made her dissolve into tears. I feel even worst hen. My daughter now is so intimidated by me that I can't even "gently" tell her anything. I know that is probably not so, but it doesn't help the way I feel.

Friday, December 08, 2006

High Expectations

Maybe I just have impossibly high standards. I am silently seething as I am blogging. I am at the computer so I can remove myself from a potentially explosive situation. The new nanny (nny) has been working for us for the last month. For the most part, it has been going ok. She is the polar opposite of our old nanny (aka she-devil). She is extremely loving to g. Well...loving to the point of being g's slave. g must think that the nny is hers because when I had once asked the nny to change s' diaper. g had a massive cow, a whole herd actually. Nny has been extremely indulgent and on the surface that is really good, right? Except I am of the school of structure. I do believe in loving my kids to death, but I do provide them with a structure, a list of do's and don'ts to abide by. With Nny, a lot of these rules have been flying out the window. I don't think it helps g It just makes her more demanding and less able to deal with a no.

Thus far, I have been the "heavy". It seems like for the last few weeks, I am always saying no to her. "No, you can't play with the medicine shelf. No, you can't stand on the chair. No, you can't jump on nny. " and so on and so forth. Nny used to let her play with water as she is washing her hands. I usually intervene, but once I just let it play out to see how Nny would deal with it. It went on for about 15 minutes with the water running full blast. It only lasted 15 minutes because I decided to step in before we drain enough water to fill a pool.

Don't get me wrong. Nny is receptive to our comments and tries her best. Communication has been the worst for us since she only speaks Mandarin. Gmom speaks bad Mandarin. I know the equivalent of 20 words and G knows about 50. It is almost like the UN without the aid of interpreters. So it has been really hard to share ideas with her or really explain our philosophy on child-rearing.

I am getting frustrated though this is a much better situation than a few weeks ago. meals are becoming a battleground now. Tonight, g refused to eat her fish and rice, opting instead to "learn" to use chopsticks. After a full 30 minutes of that, g asked for a clear soup with wintermelon. How much food is that really? So she had a bowl of soup and winter melon for dinner. This is g's last meal till the morning (a full 13 hours from now). Healthwise, I think despite the good stuff that is in the soup, it is hardly enough to provide her with everything she needs to grow. She has been having the soup with melon meal for almost a week now although most of the time it is not exclusively as is the case tonight.

I guess I should stop making soup or really start brushng up on my mandarin.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Meltdown #4385

Ok...I have not honestly been keeping track although that number may be close to accurate. Last night was a particularly bad night. Sleep deprivation aside, it was that time of the night when everything is coming together (or falling apart). s must be having some sort of growth spurt. She was nursing non-stop and didn't want to fall asleep. It was also bedtime for g. So I needed to get her showered and start the sleep sequence.

the shower went ok but things began to unravel from there. s (who finally fell asleep a few minutes before) woke up again and started crying just as I was trying to get g to sleep. Just as g was settling down, the nanny came in to get a diaper for s. So g bolted up to see what was going on. s was hungry so she was crying throughout this whole time. I tried to leave g but she started to get upset also. She reached freak-out levels within a minute. Now I have 2 babies crying at the top of her lungs as the nanny was bidding me goodnight.

So I decided to nurse s in g's bedroom, hoping that we would all just fall asleep. I actually thought that we all did except s started to fuss and g bolted up again. I swear that kid can ignore the karaoke night at the bar next door but can hear a pin drop in that bedroom. So s started to cry and I thought I should take her to living room so as not to wake g up even more. Too late, g was up and rose again to freak out levels in record time.

I yelled. I hate doing that, but I did. g fell silent and gave me her sad look complete with tears rimming her eyes. I hated myself even more. I quietly told g that I really need to give s something to eat and I had to leave. I will see her tomorrow.

The rest of the night was more of a nursing extravaganza. I finally had dinner at 11:00 and graduated to another nursing extravaganza till 2:00 AM. I think I will take a pass on that third kid.

Friday, December 01, 2006

The sadness

I am happy to report that s is back on the "juice" (breastfeeding). Her bili levels are lower. We would just have to deal with her being a little yellow for now. During our many loooooong feeding sessions, I catch myself looking at this little shrimp. My last little shrimp. G and I have had the conversation about this one being our last child. We both felt that 2 was enough and that we were both done with having anymore. While I was heavy with pregnancy, I totally agreed. It was difficult being tired and ill with morning sickness AND have a toddler to deal with. There was no way I could deal with another pregnancy and 2 toddlers.

But I smell my little baby's hair, I wonder. I am weighed down a little by sadness. Though not necessarily an overwhelming desire to have another child, but the loss of that possibility. That part of my life is now over.