Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Stella Status Report

Stella and The BBD back from one of their walks.

Cuteness, in a onesie.

They are both so photogenic!
I can has carrot?


I realize that in the past few entries I have talked about many different things, but not about Stella Rae so much. The Golden Child, The Brooklyn Baby Baby, The Light Of My Life, The Reason For This Blog.

Well, she's coming along swimmingly. She probably weighs close to 20 pounds now, and is getting longer and stronger every day. She can sit up by herself for almost up to a minute, and she's starting to do things like laugh to herself. She's desperately trying to get us to feed her table food as soon as possible. In fact the other day I was eating some cereal in front of her, and she kept trying to lean out of Randi's lap in order to get closer to it.

In addition, her stomach problems aren't nearly as severe as they had been. Whereas before she was constantly swallowing down acid now her stomach is nearly always calm.

She even is taking a bottle better and better all the time. I think she skipped a few steps, and decided to go right to the big girl sippy cup. Usually babies go from bottle to the intermediary sippy cup to the big baby one, but Stella skipped right over steps one and two to get to step three. In fact I even fed her this morning with the bottle and she couldn't wait to suck it all down.

She still has some sleep issues, though. So what this tells me is that all our various bright ideas about why she has a hard time sleeping--bad swaddling, too much/little noise, stomach upset, you name it--were not necessarily it. Simply put this is a girl that has a hard time transitioning to sleep. In fact Randi is, right now, trying to lure her into sleep by singing to her, and I will join her.

Hey, what do you know, it worked!

Randi just asked me if I'm going to write one of my periodic "optimistic" blog entries that curse us for about three months. I don't know, I will have to wait until it's done.

Other news here, the last round of shots went better than prior rounds, so I am glad we divided up the dosages. Now we have a few more shots coming up in a week or so, and the dreaded flu vaccine. I think we are going to get all of them, because even the supremely touchy feely Dr. Sears recommends the flu vaccine.

Anyway, about sleep. Stella is still waking up several times a night, and refuses to self-soothe herself to sleep in most cases. Often the only thing that works is letting her sleep in the bed with us. Then, no joke, she proceeds to take up as much room as humanly possible for one five month old baby. She stretches her arms, quite literally at right angles from her body, almost like she's making snow angels. To deal with this Randi and I scoot to the sides of the bed, sleeping in a bed space smaller than the twin sized mattress I grew up with.

We are trying to get her more comfortable with her crib, we really are. Randi always puts her in the crib for naps. Almost without fail she will wake up 40 minutes later, no matter how soundly she appeared to be sleeping as the nap started. Baby naps that are under an hour typically are pretty useless, so this is frustrating. So we have to make her more comfortable in her bed, not ours.

She even found a way to take up even more room. Randi had her at her side and I awoke to find Stella had moved herself at a perpendicular angle to her mom, almost like she was creating a graphic of an intersection, so she took up not only her horizontal space, but all the space to her side too.
Our goal is to make sure that Stella can get to sleep without suckling off Randi, or being held by me. She's grown quite addicted to these two comforting things. It's going to be a challange. Since her birth she has been able to reliably count on us to cave in and do these things, but now we're trying with all we've got to get her out of this habit, that we got her into. New parents, we didn't know all we thought we did. But we know now.

You know, she's always kind of been like this, fiery. Even before she was born, which sounds like BS, but I tell you, it's true. That's why we called her Stella, she's not a quiet, passive little kid.

For example, in the womb she would get mad when Randi's class at school got too out of control, and would kick Randi over and over again until she got the class to calm down.

Another example, once I was fooling around and I called her my "little pork butt" and squeezed, gently, where her tush would be in the womb. Oh, she didn't like that at all. She then butted her head back into Randi's backbone, and started to kick up a storm. This girl was a handful right from the start.

And she still is, but we're crazy about her, just the same, and we're not the only ones.

Most morning, now, I've been taking her on short walks before her naps, to get her nice and tired. She wears a little knit cap made for her by our great, and dear friend Alex Pflaster, and it's kind of like walking around Park Slope with a celebrity. People stop us on the street to cooch and coo at the Golden Child. Many mornings there is even a local Latino man with Down's Syndrom who takes a good look at us, and says, "Nice baby!" I always thank him and smile back.

It goes beyond that. Esmerelda a woman who does checkout at our local Associated super market always asks me about Stella when I'm in there getting groceries. I didn't even know she knew my name, but she knows my baby. (It turns out, too, that she did know my name. This embarassed me, because I didn't know her name, and had to ask.) Randi gets asked the same questions, of course.

This means that now I know what it's like to live with two local celebrities, because Randi, as a teacher in the local school also gets recognized everywhere we go. Me? I never get recognized by anyone.

It's kind of amazing to see this little life take hold and grow before my eyes. I remember her birth so sharply, and it feels like it just happened. But life is changing more quickly now than ever before. Bored with your routine? Have a kid, your life will never be the same. And it will never be boring, even if sometimes you wish it kind of was.

Also, another change. I used to be a bad, bad insomniac. Some nights I just wouldn't go to sleep. Not that I didn't want to, I couldn't. Thoughts would race through my head, usually about trivial things, or even bad memories that I was revisiting over, and over. Bad decisions I've made that I wish I could take back. I used to do a whole lot of that, in a sense beating myself useless with hindsight. Which showed, ironically, a lack of foresight.

Those days are over now. We went to bed at 9:00 p.m. Friday night. I haven't done that in ages. My bed time when I was in elementary school was 10:00 p.m. But now I love such evenings.

True, we didn't stay asleep the whole night. Stella wouldn't have it. (Also, we were awoken at 2:00 a.m. by a man and a woman having a screaming fight on our street, saying the most horrible things to one another. Oh, to live with bars at both the foot and head of your block!) But we still got better rest than we had gotten in some time. And last night we didn't even make it to Saturday Night Live.

A little while ago I wrote about how we're afraid of becoming "those people," the people who think that simply because they reproduced the world should now revolve around them. I don't think we are those people, but we are a sort of parent I never thought we would be: the turn in early crowd, the bedroom commuters, even though we live in the heart of a vibrant city and neighborhood. Things change. And not always for the worse.
For those of you who simply can't get enough of the Brooklyn Baby franchise, may I recommend you check out The Brooklyn Baby Momma's new blog? She describes our current sleeping situation in better detail than I ever could, since she's the one who has to get up six times a night, and even has a lovely picture of our daughter and our cat, Cromwell.
Check it out!


Joyce Szuflita (chef-leeta) said...

I loved your hipslopemama post. I am up at 6:15 making oatmeal with a python around my neck. My husband heard a story from an old friend about how he was seen one morning running 5 blocks, back to school, after dropping the kids off. He forgot to kiss one of them.

David Serchuk said...

Hi Joyce,
So good to hear from you, and thank you for commenting. Yes, the python never goes away. I can also see myself being that dad!