As I Live and Learn

Friday, June 24, 2005

Baby Saga, Day Seven

Awful night (probably worst). She kept waking up every half hour or so. After a few times and even moving around in her stroller not working, when I went to check her stomach to see if she was having gas problems she grabbed my hand tightly with both her hers and wouldn't let go. Even as she calmed and started back off to sleep, she didn't let go. I realized she must be doing the clingy thing again and so brought her stroller in right up next to my bed. I lay down to sleep with my hand on her in the stroller, I figured I can sleep without one hand for a night. But even that didn't keep her calm more than an hour or so at a time. Nor did her usual feedings (which were cut short by me having to ration the formula as I was almost out!) nor did feeding her Pear baby food. I finally got her to sleep again, after a good half hour battle or so, by whizzing around my living room with her in the stroller. Then, stupid me, thought "I should put her back in her bassinet, not let her sleep in her stroller", and woke her up, so another half hour of fighting to get her back to sleep. Yet again she woke on not long enough time. It started to dawn on me she wanted not only to be close to me with contact, but she was best soothed when in my arms, and the best way to get her to sleep was likely to lay down with her laying on me (part of this inspiration I think was because of how tired I was). Sure enough, she immediately calmed down and then fell asleep. So finally brought her into bed with me, and she slept pretty well. Unfortunately my realization was not made until 6am. Either a clingy phase is starting, or the longer she's away from parents the more she needs the reassurance I'm still here.

In the morning, once all the night's frustration was forgotten (which didn't take long after her first smile at me) it sank in she was about to leave me. I played Shania Twain for her - as her favorite music is country and Shania Twain is the only country CD I own because I do NOT like country, only about six songs from the genre - and when "From This Moment" was playing I tried to sing along but started crying. So I made the baby a promise that "as long as I live, I will love you." It helped me gain some peace.

While changing her, when she was clad only in a diaper, for whatever reason I put my hand up against her stomach, and noticed for the first time that her skin color is the same as mine. Almost exactly, allowances made for the various tan shades I have. I don't know why this was of much significance to me, likely because of me no wanting to let her go. Another form of bonding? Skin color rarely matters to me, when I deal with or about people it doesn't occur to me to think about their skin color in relation to whatever is going on. Which is probably why it took me so long to notice she and I have the same color.

She really like sleeping on me. I put her face up on my chest and stomach, and she clams right away and will fall asleep. It even worked today while I was tired and just wanted to rest while she fell asleep so I could then go online to check in with work. I love that her being so close to me is comforting to her.

Try to not watch as much TV

Forgot to mention before:
- Steve discovered she loves Elmo!
- She loves the mall too. Aunt Cindy had similar success taking the baby around the mall as I did.
- When I had left the baby with Cindy and gone to work, the baby started crying. (Most likely) Because I left! While it's sad in a she feels abandoned again way, it is so nice to be wanted like that!
- Looks like me? But we're not even blood related! (The women at the mall all agreed. Even said she has my eyes.)
- The Mama Sway. I've been doing it all week with the baby. Things such as that and baby talk and the like come naturally to me. But I've been caught by others, and have caught myself, doing the Mama Sway even when I'm not holding the baby. As far back as Sunday at the mall. It's gonna be hard to not do it after she's gone. Probably will be hard to sleep too, despite the amount I am lacking from this week.
- She doesn't like anything covering or on her legs and feet.

I can't believe it's been a week already. Doesn't feel like it. I'm going to miss her. Have to get as much happy time in as possible before she goes. The family is going to arrive a little earlier than I expected to pick her up. *sigh*


I cried the way home from meeting up with her family. I'd still be crying now, but Steve let me babble at him about how I am, and I'm trying to do stuff to distract myself. I got more attached than I meant to. I miss her more than I want to. Twice during the week, while things were good, I wondered "if they'll let me keep her." I didn't even mention it before now because I knew they wouldn't. I did however ask Sherrone to talk with Ricky and asked if I could be one of her godparents. Yesterday I asked Amy, Dad, Step-Mom, and Mom all if it would be inappropriate or tacky if I asked to be the baby's godmother. The consensus was no, though no one really knew how to go about asking, and it was settled on to ask if I could be "one of her godparents" as some baby's have more than just one godmother and godfather. So now all I do is wait.

And go up North next weekend with the family for the 4th, where I'll get to see the baby again.

Kim is coming over soon to keep me company tonight. Grateful for that. I should probably go shower before she arrives... it's been a hot and teary day.

Thus ends the Baby Saga. Baby's name? Sahara.


Baby Saga, Day Six

She lifted herself up from being on her stomach to look at me! Not with her arms, she's still not getting that yet, but she lifted her head AND chest as far up as they will go without arm support. That's a first! And I coaxed her to it! It took since she's arrived, but she did it. I'll settle for that instead of pushing up on her arms.

She's almost to sitting without support. That's another thing we've been working on, but I can't take much credit because she came to me working on that. So cute to watch her wobble around and then slowly collapse.

The glamour is wearing off. I still enjoy playing with her, and her babbling with me is precious (I WISH I had a video camera or digital camera with movie capabilities). But having to deal with work and the baby at the same time is driving me crazy. Plus, I am starting to miss finishing out some dreams. And not getting to have as much time to play with her as I want because of work, and yet when I'm with her- I'm just a bag of mixed feelings.

Yeah, it'll be good she's going home tomorrow. Though Saturday I think I'd have liked better.

Went into the office today. My Aunt Cindy babysat, at my house so that the baby would be in familiar surroundings and hopefully that would help with he clinginess issue. Apparently the baby slept a 2.5 hour nap, and then another nap while I was gone! Yeah, she gets to sleep after a hard night (she woke up more than her supposed normal two times), but I don't. I totaled up only about 5.5 hours for myself. Ugh.

At work Amy asked about thinking you hear the baby at night, starting to fuss or babble or whatnot, but actually no sound was made. I definitely have experienced that, the more tired I get but can't fall asleep the more I think I hear the baby.

While in the office I caught myself cooing. Geez, these habits you pick up and do even when the baby's not around!

Forgot to mention that when I had taken her to the Step family on Wednesday for baby sitting I begged my Step-Mom to bathe the baby. She's only had my failed attempt so far this week for a bath. Though her Mom said she is only bathed twice a week for exema reasons, so if she got a bath on Wednesday and then goes home Friday that would be alright. My Step-Mom obliged, much to my thanks!

Also forgot to mention that while with the Step family they fed her baby pears (pear sauce, like applesauce, but pears), and they say she loved it!

I tried feeding her some pear sauce before bed, and while she made grimaces at the taste she kept eating more (so funny). She'd look at the jar intently and wait for me to get another spoonful from it for her. But she doesn't know how to eat solids yet, and so kept trying to eat as if there was a bottle in her mouth, which ended up with half of the spoonful being pushed back out of her mouth. That's okay, just meant it took longer to get as much food in her tummy, it still happened.

I watched her learn! We were sitting on the floor, facing her mat with toys hanging from bars above it. She noticed her foot came in contact with a noisy toy. She paused a moment, then carefully moved her foot to the toy, and watched it move with her foot. She did this slow deliberate movement a couple more times, then she lifted her other foot and tested if the same was true with that foot. Soon she was using both feet to kick at the toy. She learned, and this time she did it all by herself! It was so cool.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Baby Saga, Day Five

Sleep deprived, and loving it!

She woke twice during the night, which her Mom said is standard for her. Though each time it took about half an hour before I was able to go back to sleep myself, mostly due to having to feed her and trying other things to get her to sleep before resorting to the bottle. It takes her five minutes to drink one ounce when she's half-asleep. And she wants at least two, if not four, ounces each time. Plus I went to bed waay too late last night again, again because of work. That has GOT to STOP. I won't do it. I won't! (Turned out I needed a reminder to go to bed right away, but I did get to bed before 12:30.)

But after the first few minutes, I stopped caring much that I was loosing sleep. Last night did not bother me like the first night with her had (granted she woke more often that first night). The only thing I really ended up caring about was my arm holding the bottle up for so long over the edge of her bassinet. Urg! Still, the missed sleep doesn't matter to me much anymore (except that which I missed due to my own fault). Why? Probably because she matters more to me now. And you know how much I love my sleep.

I drive differently now, of course 'cause with a baby I have to drive safer than I do normally. I cruise 5 mph slower, I take it easy over railroad tracks and rough surfaces, I try to go slower around corners, and I don't call anyone on the cell phone while driving. But I noticed this morning I'm driving that way even when she's not in the car! I suppose that's a good thing. But it's like when I'm standing and rock back and forth eventhough I'm not holding her (I've been doing that since Sunday). Seems so natural now I barely even think about it!

Inventions that need to get done: 1) crib bottle holder 2) baby view mirror

I close my eyes, and I can see her face.

I came to the realization today that I don't like those bottles that are bent. Why? Because it makes them SO much harder to prop with a blanket. And really, while watching her eat I noticed they bend too far away from the bottle's nipple to actually be much more useful over a standard straight bottle. You still have to tip the baby back in order for the baby to be able to drink everything, which defeats the purpose!

The quest is still on to determine what her eye color is. I think I've decided that they change color depending on her mood. But basically they are mid-dark blue on the outer rim, shading to hazel/grey, and brown on the inner ring just before the pupil. I've seen the amount of brown in her eyes change, and therefore also the amount of blue. For examples:
- When at the mall we all thought her eyes were hazel.
- When at my home her eyes are clearly brown, both days I've checked, from the pupil to a pencil thin outermost rim of dark blue or grey hazel (can't rightly tell 'cause it's so thin).
- When outside at the potluck her eyes were definitely mid-dark blue with an inner circle of brown, about three times pencil thin width.
So I still don't know. Perhaps they will settle on a color when she's a bit older.

My step-sister said the baby almost rolled over today, she made it about 3/4 of the way. And I missed it!

As much as I griped yesterday about having the baby around and trying to work, I missed her today. I sent her off for about 7 hours so I could work, and ended up missing her muchly. On top of that, I spent about 2.5 hours with no work to do 'cause I finished up what I was assigned and when I said I was idle the manager didn't respond! And then, I get her back and she almost immediately falls asleep!

I realized shortly after dinner there's so little time she and I have left in this visit. Tonight between dinner and her bedtime is only about three hours, and as I said she napped some of it. Tomorrow I have to go into work for about half a day, and on Friday she gets picked up by Mommy likely in mid-afternoon (I hope later!). *sigh* Sucky.

She was cranky for quite a while after we got home, so no playing then either. But once I finally got her calmed down, she cooed and babbeled with me on and off over a span of about 20 minutes. That was so nice. Then bedtime was close at hand.

- One is enough. (But having a sibling is good for a child, so I guess two then.)


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Baby Saga, Day Four

She slept 7 hours! Then ate, played a small bit, and went back to sleep for a couple more hours! It seems the combination of baby oragel during the day, and baby tylenol if she wakes up with pain at night, works to manage the teething!

I got to bed waaay too late, 'cause I want to finish up the loose ends of work I had done during the day. I missed Summer Solstice, because I set my alarm but then forgot to turn it on. I kept waking up with a runny nose, and being warm - over and over and over. Grr. *sigh* The baby slept so well, and I didn't get to enjoy it.

Yesterday, I forgot to say, after getting baby oragel she was quite content to gum on her hand. Which she kept up today. That hand mouth coordination is getting better. Once she's gotten it down with the grabbing of an object she'll be all set, heh.

ARRGH! Working and the baby do not mix well. Not that it's helped work has been demanding immediate responses today every other time I turn around.

That baby's happy enough looking around and cooing for a while, but she definitely wants to be held LOTs. It was easier yesterday and the day before, I expect because I didn't have to focus on much but her, and could carry her around to do some house hold tasks.

Glad I have care for her lined up for Wednesday. Hopefully I can get some for Thursday too. Friday will just have to be happy without me working much.

Ooo, I am beginning to be able to feel her hands/fingers on my arm even when she's not there. Aww... oh no... I'm going to miss her so much!

Baby's first ritual! Not sure I'll tell her parents that. It was a potluck as well, which they know she went to 'cause they called on a three way call to check up on us. She was good during the actual ritual stuff, after the circle was cast and everything/one called, because she was watching each person doing their thing. But otherwise she was usually fussy - unusual for her. And she was VERY clingy. The only time she allowed any of the others to hold her was when I had to use the bathroom. She did seem to like Meaghan, smiled at her lots. But the other two she was wary of about 3/4 of the time. And she fused and straight out cried much of the time we were there when I wasn't holding her (and she wasn't sleeping). The consensus seems to be she's having abandonment issues 'cause she hasn't seen Mom or Dad since Friday and I am the caretaker now, added to that that it was a completely new location to her. She may have been afraid I was going to leave her too. I don't much think she liked it in that place either, except for the water fountains which she found interesting (though that may be because I've been playing water sounds for her every night to sooth her to sleep and the one fountain sounded the same).

It was interesting to note that I have a huge amount of patience with a baby's crying and such in comparison to the amount of patience I have in playing with a baby/child.

And yet, when we got back home at night, all I wanted to do was hold her and hold her, and play with her. I promised I would play with her (hopefully a good deal) before taking her to the Step family tomorrow.

I'm getting very attached to her. I can even say I love her. Three more days is going to be too long, they need to come get her in the morning if I'm going to be able to give her up easily.

- Help me, I'm falling in love... and they're going to come take her away, er, back. *sigh, cry*
- Despite the aggravation at times, it's totally worth it, more than even.
- If I ask, do you think her parents will let me be her godmother?


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Baby Saga, Day Three

Shortly before 4 am I finally figured out the baby's problem keeping her from sleeping long stretches at a time. Teething! I knew she had started, but it didn't occur to me until an extraordinary moment of sleep deprived clarity that perhaps the pain was greater at night. Some baby tylenol and a half hour of coaxing her down from being upset over the pain that woke her, she was asleep, and slept into late morning (likely due to lake of sleep thus far). YAY! Now I know what her being tired and in pain looks like.

I've got her pain cry down, and her tired indications are pretty standard, and the need a new diaper cry. There are still a couple cries I don't know, one I think is her just fussing to be fussing but I'm not sure which it is. I keep forgetting the no eye-contact rule also (eye contact while she's falling asleep or you are trying to lull her to sleep helps to keep her awake).

She's much more grabby today. She hasn't quite gotten the hang of controlling once an object is in her hand, but she is getting to understand that she can grab things and move things. She managed to get her pacifier back into her mouth today! Seems a repeatable thing if the pacifier hasn't traveled very far, but even that is hit or miss as she still has to learn how to get it back into her mouth without turning it improperly.

That baby bouncer seat thing is Great! She starts to wake up, maybe even fussing a bit, and the thing bounces in reaction to her movements and it puts her back to sleep!

She seems to be exploring much more with her hands too. She still explores a lot with her eyes, but the hands are catching up I think. She now allows a blanket on her, but only so she can grab it and play with it. Her hand to mouth coordination isn't great yet, but the "everything goes in my mouth" phase is fast approaching!

Steve and the girls came over. His oldest was wonderful and helpful with the baby once she understood how to behave with her. It was actually very helpful, and she was so good most all day. I promised her as a reward she and I would go out just the two of us one day. Steve made dinner too, yum. But the youngest was CLEARLY jealous, which added complications (she kept taking the baby pacifier, and tried to eat the baby's food and drink from the baby's bottle, she even got into the stroller - which she was too big for - and soon it fell on her). But it was nice to have them around, especially for the first day of work. Even though the kids were distracting, I got a ton of work done. (Yay, now I don't have to worry about work that much for the rest of the week as I got done the big important thing for Thursday).

Boy oh boy, the baby ate a lot today. I've been keeping records of her eating and sleeping to help learn her schedule.

It's also interesting to see all the different parenting styles. I let Steve handle things his way for the most part 'cause I needed to concentrate on work, but a couple things I did "help" him with. But other than that, it is ANNOYING how people keep telling me what's insane and what should be. Yes, sure, this baby's parents have a unique way of handling their child when it comes to sleep and such. But I was left with instructions for her care, and except for one thing that I won't handle, I want to respect the parents' wishes. They already have problems with Grandma contradicting them with their children (and on much more, like punishments and most everything), and with a neighbor who's befriended their oldest. I don't want to be like that. Plus, keeping things as similar as I can to home should help in managing her!

It's so great seeing all the new stuff she's learning and doing every day!


Monday, June 20, 2005

Baby Saga, Day Two

Baby Saga, Day Two (written day three, 6/20)

The baby likes to watch my hands as I'm typing. Excellent!

Well I woke up yesterday Annoyed. I had a whole list of things I was going to type up for here about what this baby needs to learn. The ones I remember are:
- She has to (re)learn how not to wake up every two hours during the night!
- She has to learn to drink water
- She has to learn how to be even the slightest self-reliant. That is
- keep herself entertained sometimes
- hold her own bottle
- keep her pacifier in her mouth
- She has to learn either to roll over or push herself up from lying on her stomach. For crying out loud she's three months old already!

Yeah, she woke up pretty consistently every two hours throughout the night (that's not last night, but the night before, as in the night leading into day two). It was NOT cool. I only had to feed her once, every other time it was simply put the pacifier back in her mouth, so I was able to fall back asleep pretty quickly.

During the day, things got much better. Apparently I had gotten enough sleep somehow throughout all my catnaps through the night that I was in a normal mood once fully awake.

(What I learned (from book) about water, sleeping in same room, and what she should be doing at 4 months)

She's four months old, not three! I was told three, by.... someone. But clearly from everything Sherrone left me, she was born in the teens of February and it's June 20th.

Trip to mall - it's much easier to keep the baby and myself entertained outside the house. For example, Wicks & Sticks: she loved smelling the different candle scents. She was fussing while I was trying to find a scent I liked, so I said "you want to smell too?" and stuck the candle under her nose. Her eyes went real wide and she looked really surprised like babies do when something brand new to them comes there way. So every candle I tested I also put under her nose to smell. She loved it! It's almost like smells alone are a new experience for her. We did come across one scent she very much did not like judging by the look that crossed her face! But she helped me by picking out what seemed to be her favorite scent. Then we walked around the mall a lot, she liked the motion, and looking at all the different store windows and people.

Finally I came across a nail salon where the women inside just loved the baby, but I stayed for about an hour because I had found a couple women to talk to and who kept baby happy. One had a baby boy of her own only a couple months old, so she did really well with the baby. The women there thought the baby looks like me. I told them she isn't mine, but my cousin's. They said the family resemblance is easily seen. I told them my cousin was adopted. Even after that they said well the baby has my eyes! I love it.

Is she Left handed?

I don't know how to bathe a baby! :( I tried in the tub and in the sink, with water all around and without. The best I finally managed to do was kinda sponge her down with a washcloth with soap on. Didn't even try to wash her hair, that would have been awful. I'm going to have to take a class or something on baby washing.

She held her bottle for first time!

Day two went well enough. But I called Steve anyway to have him and the girls come over Monday to help me out. 'cause I have to work and the baby - as I said in yesterday's post - likes watching things going on, especially people in motion, and while I'm working all I do is sit at the computer.

I'll fill y'all in about last night in the next post.

End of day feelings about having my own baby:
- Well sure, I still feel I can do this, but boy would I have to find groups to get the baby and I involved in so I don't go crazy. I need adults! (Or people close to that.) And I'd need to get out of the house more than occasionally.
- I'd definitely rather a girl than a boy if I'm to do this alone, despite how hard it would be when she hits the teenage years.


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Baby Saga, Day One

Yesterday went pretty well.

The trip to the grocery store was relatively easy due to the versatility of the car seat. It's designed so you don't have to take baby out of the seat to switch transportation modes (it has a turned handle for hand carrying, clips in and out of the car seat base, and slides in and out of the stroller, and even has an inset for sitting snugly over grocery cart seats!)

The baby saw her first (I assume) play: "A Mid-Summer Night's Dream". First off, it was done in a wonderful setting, that being an outdoor arboretum. Secondly, it's a great play and was very well acted! I loved the experience. The baby also seemed to enjoy much of the play, she really liked the Nymphs and when Puck did active monologues, and she was only scared once which was when all the people ran screaming in fear. We might have a budding Shakespeare lover here!

It's abundantly clear the baby likes to watch things, especially things in motion. Which makes it petty easy to entertain her. But the problem is that with only me in the house, and me not being an active person at home due to computers, there is little for her to watch. So unless I'm playing with her or explicitly entertaining her, she tends to get fussy. I'm also a bit worried about TV watching. From almost the first instant I turned on a child's program (I figured she'd enjoy the bright colors - my place is a plethora of greens and matching colors, not contrasts) she was engrossed in it. Not such a bad thing in concept, as it kept her quiet and "entertained", but she was SO entranced she completely stopped moved and didn't much respond to anything (except maybe a bottle) unless I turned her enough away that she couldn't turn her head to see the screen. I will definitely keep this info in mind for when I need to work without distraction this week, but I also have to not let her watch TV too long!

In general getting her to sleep when she needs it is easy enough. And usually her fussiness isn't a need for food, so I have to try everything else first - especially since she started teething the day before she came (early! Just like her big sister). Which means sometimes when she seems to want the bottle it's really just because the action of sucking on the nipple eases her gums. But you can't give a baby an empty bottle 'cause swallowing air causes all sorts of problems. But I bought a teething toy that has seemed to ease this problem, it has six different plastic things on it designed for gumming on, each with a different pattern and texture so she can use whatever feels best. (I learned yesterday the reason babies gum on things when they teeth, preferably things with varying textures, is that it helps break the skin! I've always known teething toys, or a finger/knuckle when nothing else is available, help ease the pain, I just didn't know why.)

End of day feelings about having my own baby:
- I can do this, no problem.
- I don't want to do it alone.


Reunion Memories

(The question was: "What's your favorite reunion memory?")

Can't say I have a favorite reunion memory, so much as I have favorites of the memories the reunion brought back to me that I had forgotten, or almost forgotten. Such as:

- The snow sculpture of a dragon chained to the fence under the "do not chain bicycles to fence" in the Winthrop House courtyard between Gore and Standish that some student built one winter (98-99 I think? Or 99-00?).
- Winding through random black poles along the sidewalk, just to keep hikes up from the river to the yard interesting.
- The lid of the dumpster closing on my head while I was working dorm crew.... actually, that sucked, but it's a fond memory now!
- The Science Center
- My Reading Tree!

Ahh, the good ol' days.

One of my least favorite reunion memories was discovering Chick-Fil-A was no longer! It's not in the Greenhouse Cafe in the Science Center. *pout* I did check online and found there is still one in Mass, but now it's in the Burlington Mall. Will have to go there the next time I visit (as I forgot to on Sunday on my way out).


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