Monday, April 19, 2010
Thora's ninth week of life brought a number of new changes.
First of all, she found her thumb. They looked like they were meant to be together. A few cute pictures later, though, and she lost it again. I try to help her but she still can't find it for long. Oh well. Her coordination seems to improve every day, so I'm sure there will be a happy reunion, eventually.
Second, she made a new friend. Thora loves our shower curtain and stares at it, talks to it. She is so happy in the bathroom hanging with the shower curtain that we are now spending a lot of time in the bathroom together as a family. I sit on the exercise ball in there with her when she's fussing, telling her ridiculous stories ("Once upon a time, there was a plastic shower curtain who wanted more than anything to live with a family with a baby girl. And one day...") and once I even had my dinner in there because nothing else was working and I was so hungry! Ridiculous, but effective.
A friend of ours loaned us her Storchenwiege. I can't decide which I like more, this woven wrap itself or its name. It's really fun to say Storchenwiege. Of course it's the only German word I've had a reason to say in the last five or more years, so I say it all the time. I am starved for German. So much so that I read Thora Hänsel und Gretel in German last week. She didn't mind and I had so much fun.So Storchenwiege. Storchenwiege! The cool thing about this wrap is that I can once again be the champion multitasker I love to be. She can sit in it and I can do things with both hands. Up until now every blog has been written using the Hunt and Peck single-handed method. But right now she's in it and I am typing with both hands! It's a miracle!
Also, we went to her two month pediatrician appointment. We managed to avoid vaccination yet again, although I think next month I will be giving in, at least to one of them. We learned that Thora's grades have improved (see last month's grades here http://thorathebee.blogspot.com/2010/03/grading-begins.html). Must be all that tutoring! If you recall, last month Thora got a 90% in weight, a 93% in height and a lousy 78% in head circumference. This month, she got an 83% in head circumference, growing a full 2 cm in one month and going from a pathetic C+ up to a passable B-. In weight she's up to 95% and, incredibly, in height she is off the charts. That's what they said, off the charts. What does that mean? How can you be taller than more than 100% of babies your age? Is that extra credit? So now she has an A- average. I am so proud. Kidding, of course. Another mother said to me, that must mean there are babies out there who are in the 5th percentile, the 10th. Are there really such tiny babies out there? She and I both seem to keep on meeting babies somewhere in the 90th percentile. So where are all these little tiny kids?
It's kind of amazing how tall Thora is. I mean, her paternal great-grandfather is 6' 8" so I guess it isn't that amazing when you think about it. But I am not 6' 8" or anywhere even close. I am 5' 4" if I stand up really tall and stick my chin out and throw my shoulders back. And I carried this Amazon in my belly. And I carry her every day. (And why am I not losing my last 10 or so pounds of baby weight? If lugging this 13 pound giant around all the time doesn't count as a workout then what does?)
Anyway, I know all babies grow at different rates and that she may slow down while others catch up but now I am worried about things I know nothing about. What if she develops faster? She is vegan so at least she won't be ingesting cow's milk and all the horrible hormones in it that are causing menarche in 8 and 9 year old girls these days, but what if she's the tall girl in the back? The one who has to wear a bra before everyone else? That was the opposite of my experience. I was always the kid at the front of the line, the front row in class pictures, the baby. And I played the role, too. Crybaby, whiner, can't take a joke. Flat chested. I was a year younger than the rest of my classmates so I really was smaller and less mature. Thora's birthday is in February so she will be the same age as her classmates, not pushed ahead like I was. Though I was proud of being younger because I felt it meant I was smarter, I was definitely at a disadvantage in some ways. It was just one more reason for me to get picked on and not know how to laugh it off. If Thora is the tallest kid in her class, if she is the first to wear a bra, at least she will be on a fair playing field being the same age as the other kids.
One thing I really hate about going to the pediatrician is the lecture on sleep we get every single time. Generally, I love our pediatric practice. They have several offices around the city so we were able to go to one near us when we lived in Brooklyn, and now we take the C to their midtown office. They are progressive and they take our insurance. They don't give me a hard time for delaying vaccines, they support breastfeeding exclusively, they answer all my frantic questions patiently even though I am sure they hear them all a thousand times a day ("Is it okay that she's so tall? Will her stork bite go away? Is it okay that she's so drooly? Is she normal? Smart? Not retarded? Am I a good mother?") But I do not like is the sleep talk. I am very pro-attachment parenting and opposed to sleep training. My schedule is Thora's schedule. I don't believe in making her adhere to a schedule that is convenient for us. Easy for me to say, I know. Because lucky for us, Thora decided all on her own about three or four weeks ago to start sleeping through the night. I told this to the pediatrician proudly and thought she'd say "Wow, that's great!" like everyone else does. Instead she asked when she goes down, how many times she wakes up to nurse, how late she sleeps. And wouldn't you know, she thinks we're doing it all wrong.
There's nothing like a conversation with the pediatrician where the sentences start with "Babies her age should be doing..." to make you lose every shred of parenting confidence you have because your kid isn't doing it. She should be able to sleep 12 hours, they said. She should not need to nurse at night, after all it's just comfort nursing. She should be able to this, to that. I was scared to admit that we were co-sleeping, that she hates her bassinet. But I like co-sleeping, so what's to admit? I was all rattled. But I kept my cool in the office and said "she's doing very well and if I have any more questions, I'll be sure to ask, thanks!" End of subject. I knew that Thora was doing great and that her nursing in the middle of the night wasn't just comfort nursing (and, as my dear and very logical friend Julie pointed out to me, "so what if it's comfort nursing? She's a baby! What's wrong with comforting her?!"). Despite what Dr. Sleep Training said, I knew that I should consider myself lucky that she sleeps 12 hours at a stretch with waking up once or twice in there for a quick nurse, a diaper change. But still, the message I was hearing was right out of a lolcat picture: "baybeez: ur doin it rong!"
So what did I do?
I started sleep training her! Well, no, not really. I did think about it though. What do I really want? Right now Thora goes to sleep around midnight when we do. She sleeps with us. She stays asleep until about four or five, and then when she wakes up she nurses for about thirty seconds and falls back asleep. Then she wakes up again at around 8:30 or so and is up for a while. That's when she nurses longer. Sometimes I change her. If we are home that morning, she falls back asleep within a half hour. If we have somewhere to go, she protests and fusses until she's settled in the Moby wrap and then she passes out. Either way she eventually drops back to sleep and doesn't wake up until almost one in the afternoon.
Which is awesome when I want to get stuff done in the morning. But then I stay in all day some days, afraid to wake her by putting her in the Moby. Now that I have the Storchenwiege, I can have her nurse and nap in there in the morning and still get work done. And it really sucks that we have no evening, because she's so fussy before falling asleep that we can do absolutely nothing together. We take turns holding her so I can cook and we can each eat dinner alone and quickly so we can take the baby from the other. Not ideal. We thought it over and then our friend Mark chimed in when I asked him, "If your kid's sleeping until noon, you're f-ed. Seriously."
So yesterday I woke her up at 10. She wasn't happy about it, grunting and grumbling sleepily, but she stayed awake. And she fussed much less in the afternoon and early evening. She dropped off around 9:30 in Johnny's arms, so we brought her to bed and lay down with her. I read to her and sang to her for over an hour, almost falling asleep myself, but by 10:40 she was really asleep.
It was amazing! She stayed asleep and we got to do grownup things together. I washed the dishes while Johnny dried and put away. We drank tea. Ate pretzels. Watched an episode of Carnivale. Our pinkies were dry!And before we knew it, it was after 1 am and time for us to get to bed too. Thora stirred but didn't really wake. It was awesome and I could not wait to do it even earlier the next day.
What I didn't think about was that if she was going to bed at 12 or 1 and waking for that half-hour at 8:30 or 9, it would stand to reason that if she went to sleep around 10 instead, that half hour would come a lot earlier. And sure enough. she was up at 6 and I, bleary eyed and feeling like I did when she was a newborn, struggled to wake up with her, get her changed and fed and back to sleep. It was worth it though, because she eventually did fall back asleep and we all got up around 9:30. I even feel brave enough to try to work on minimizing that half hour, because according to my pediatrician, at two months they should be able to sleep 12 hours straight without getting up to nurse. I don't know a single baby that actually does this, but maybe Thora will be the first?
Posted by Teeny and the Bee at 11:19 AM