We call this pose: Minutes From Freedom/Li'l Houdini
Well, maybe I was a little premature with my victory lap of a post last time.
Stella is back to having sleep issues, although they're not as bad as they had been before we purchased the Miracle Blanket. Somehow she's found a way to break free of the almost baby-proof 'Blanket, first wriggling out a leg, and from there getting her arms out. I swear this kid continues to astonish, in delightful and sometimes exhausting ways.
Once she's out all bets are off, and soon she will be back up to her old tricks of flailing around and hitting herself in the face until she wakes up. Happy times.
But it's not all bad. She also continues to astonish in ways that are just kind of astonishing, at least to this first time parent. For instance, yesterday, Randi held her up, and Stella got her face right close to her mom's and tried to lick her on the mouth. She did this for quite a while. It was absolutely adorable, and beautiful, at least from my perspective as a parent.
She is also enormous. She must weigh at least 15 or so pounds, and is probably six inches or so longer than when she was born. Now when I hold her I feel like I'm really holding a substantial human being. True, I still live in fear, too, when I hold her, but now that she can hold her neck upright all by herself I am less afraid. Not to be morbid but that was always the big one with me, that somehow I would hurt her neck. Randi always reassured me that if I were hurting Stella she would find a way to let me know; Stella that is, not Randi. But I was afraid that somehow I could be so horrifically bad with children that I would find a way to hurt her quite badly and do it so fast that she wouldn't even have the chance to cry.
Morbid, yes, I know, but that's how I thought for about the first two months of her life, until she became super good at holding her head up on her own.
But, the crying game continues, if not quite as endlessly as before. She still wakes up at the drop of a hat, if I had a hat to drop. But she's easier to get back to sleep. Often I will pick her up, if I have to and she's not falling back asleep, and walk with her back and forth in our tiny bedroom, letting her rock against me. I always feel like kind of a magician when I see her little eyes start to get heavy, like it's an alchemical transformation.
This is the dangerous time, this time between sleep and wakefulness. If I can get her to really settle in at this point our chances of getting several hours in a row of sleep rise dramatically. To do this I often will keep walking with her for several minutes, until it's crib time. I keep rocking her even as I put her in the crib, which is hard for me, because the crib is really tall, and I kind of have to lift her over the gate and down, gently of course, while rocking her.
Here's how willing we are to try anything in order to get Stella sleeping. The BBM had noticed that Stella's stomach was often tight at night, with gas. Randi read about dairy causing allergic reactions in babies in many cases, so she gave up dairy two weeks ago. Then, last Sunday, I thought, hey I can do that too. So I gave it up. I had a small slice of pizza tonight, against my better judgement, but for over a week I've avoided all dairy.
Tell you the truth, it's been awesome. Less snot in the morning, I wake up less groggy--always a problem for me--and I have more focus and energy during the day. It seems to only make sense.
It's also worked for Stella. She's less fussy, and sleeps better, if only slightly.
On the news front we had a great weekend at my sister's in Connecticut. In addition to the blessing of getting to leave NYC for a couple of days, we also got to spend time with my Mom, sister and her two delightful daughters, aged four and soon-to-be five. The younger niece, Samantha, is a very, very sweet girl who kept on trying to bring toys and things to her cousin Stella. They're delightful kids.
It also didn't hurt that my sister has a lovely pool, and it was great weather on Sunday. I even took my shirt off, which must've blinded some people flying by in airplanes. But it felt great, soaking up the Vitamin D. I needed it. I had read that in cultures where people get more sun there is less diabetes. I didn't know that, kind of blew my mind. I also read that 20 minutes in the sun is the Vitamin D equivalent of 200 glasses of milk. Talk about lactose intolerance.
We drove home Sunday feeling relaxed and happy, like we'd been away on vacation for a week. Ever since reading a book on fussy babies, and learning how common it is we're less stressed out and worried about Stella. We don't love that she's groggy a lot during the day because she won't sleep enough, but we aren't as afraid anymore. She's who she is, and what she is is wonderful, and a gift. Our job is to preserve this gift and make it thrive. We really try to do it.
I guess even if we know there will be some sleep-deprived times ahead we have it all in a little bit more of a perspective now. I think the next step is being able to get away from Stella as a couple for short periods of time. We aren't there just yet. The BBM feels unable to leave Stella with baby sitters even for a couple of hours, as she's so worried about Stella's sleep schedule.
This is too bad, because our three year anniversary is coming up soon, August 7. I would love to take Randi to one of the many fine restaurants our neighborhood has to offer--Al Di La is a favorite--but it's unlikely. Instead we will likely be here, in Stately BBD Manor, enjoying our own company. And it's more than enough.