Monthly Archives: September 2011

The Nightly Marathon

I am fairly sure that we’ve established how dorky both contributors to this blog are. With that in mind, may I present to you: a visual of the nightly paces I am put through.  Is it as awesome as Shannon’s  visual? It is, in fact not. Despite not having achieved perfection, we press on.

In a previous post , I briefly mentioned that I did a substandard job of putting a diaper on my son before shipping him off into his crib for the night. So let me explain…when coming out of the bath, I place my son on my queen-sized bed wrapped in a towel. Immediately, he rolls over on his stomach, flings the little towel hood off his head and darts somewhere across the bed. This is followed by non-stop darting while I try to stuff him into a diaper and into his pjs.

Above is an artist’s rendering of what a typical evening is like. Please note the cluster of dots in the far-right end of the bed – that is the location of a window where my son feels the need to tuck on the blinds, tuck on the window-opening mechanism and bang on the glass before gleefully proceeding to his next destination.

The ONLY and I repeat, ONLY thing that would make him stop is if he sees a Qtip. For reasons unknown, he delights in getting his ears cleaned. Yes, it is weird, no, I don’t know what makes him so.

Surprisingly, after this display of raw energy, he happily proceeds to quietly sit on my lap and listen to a book before drifting off to sleep. My theory is that he is simply reminding me that I haven’t been to a gym in more than a year and could probably use some cardio. In which case, RUDE!

Playdate for the Cat

I told my husband, about a month ago, “when we got back home from our summer travels we should think about getting a playmate for the cat,” who has been lonely in our apartment without us for longer than I’m comfortable leaving him in the care of petsitters.

Well, instead of “playmate for the cat” he hears “playDATE for the cat.” And asks, perplexed, “playdate for the cat??”

I think I laughed for like 2 minutes. When I finally came up for air, I say:

“Playdate for the cat??! Can you imagine a worse type of animal for playdates?
Strange cats hissing at each other, hiding under the bed for hours, the growling and batting… Oh god.”

Then I laugh some more before I finally manage to tell him I had said “playmate, and no not the playboy kind.” We then discuss all the various animals worse than cats on playdates: beta fish, cocks, badgers, male llamas…

But just the mental image of cats on playdates still makes me laugh.

I Do Not Nag (Without Cause)

Are you a man who has a spouse who just nags and nags and nags? So annoying, right? Don’t you just wish she would stop?

I am going to let you in on a secret – we do not enjoy being raging bitches. Literally, not a single woman I know enjoys yelling, criticizing, nagging, pleading, reminding or anything related.  So if you could possibly not do shit that necessitates the above-mentioned behaviors, we would really appreciate it.

Case in point:

7PM – I have to stay at work a bit late so I call my beloved husband to let him know that I am just leaving the office and to please feed our son dinner

8PM – I stroll into the house to find the fruit of my loins walking towards me like either a penguin or someone who learned to walk last week (it’s the latter). Regardless, he is supposed to be going to his bath like now and he’s already yawning.

(Before proceeding, I should note that there were some extenuating circumstances. 1)Feeding our child is an unpleasant experience at best as he shows absolutely no interest in consuming anything. 2)Apparently my father was going to make something for our son’s dinner but then didn’t. Pish-posh, basically.)

SPOILER: he hasn’t eaten yet!

DOUBLE SPOILER: My husband HAS eaten dinner.

TRIPLE SPOILER: My eyes see red as I rush around the kitchen trying to get something ready to stuff into our son’s mouth before he passes out at the dinner table. I am pretty sure I yelled various things of which I am not proud. If I didn’t have a yawning toddler in my arms who needed to be fed, bathed, read to, boobed and put to bed, I probably would have punched my husband in the crotch. Most likely with a fist.

Did I enjoy being angry after a 10 hour workday capped with an hour-long commute in each direction? I did not. Was the anger helpful in getting things done? It was not. Could my beloved spouse please get his act together and soon? I do hope so. For the sake of both my fist and his crotch.

Shhhh! Secret Father Of The Year

Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) (Lynne Kirton) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Don't Even Think About Fluttering Those Damn Things!

Sometimes, when my husband does something great in terms of being husbandly/fatherly, I am afraid to breathe wrong or in the wrong direction for fear that somehow this would have an effect on some stupid butterfly’s fluttering wings and then all of this new-found wonderfulness disappears without a trace.

I try not to over-thank for fear that he might think that his job is done and he can just relax but I also try not to under-thank for fear that he doesn’t feel appreciated. I wonder if I should mention it to any of my friends because what if that jinxes it? In other words, I completely and utterly over-think it.

Let’s see if maybe acknowledging my husband’s good deeds in the thicket of cyber-weeds will somehow magically positively affect it.

Last night, my husband actually got up with the baby. Shhh! Don’t breathe!  I know, I know it was so awesome. I actually got 6-7 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I feel energized like I’ve just taken whatever drug it is that makes you feel invincible (note to self:  become better at knowing about drug effects so you can make better metaphors).

On the other hand, this morning, my husband was still in bed by the time I left for work sleeping off whatever fun was had last night. (Secret grumble: even after all the bad nights of sleeping, I still have to get up at the same time the next morning and get myself looking perky and ready for gainful employment.)

UPDATE: I was told by husband that a ‘drunk and blind monkey’ could have done a better job diapering than I did last night. Suffice it to say, there were some leakage issues. Which makes his nighttime heroics that much more admirable. In my defense, I literally feel winded chasing our son around the room to try and get a diaper and pajamas on him after his bath. Getting any piece of clothing on him at all is a nightly athletic accomplishment.

The epic sleep post

My child does not sleep.

I should have known that I would be in for a long, epic battle with sleep since I am a terrible sleeper myself. My husband was also a bad sleeper as an infant. However, I had hoped to coax my baby into a love of sleeping, deeply, and in age-appropriate amounts (every few hours as a newborn, and 15 hours a night when she’s a teenager).

Alas, it was not to be. From birth, she preferred to be held as she slept. Putting her down both shortened her naps and made her upset when she woke, provided you could even successfully set her down without waking her. Over the months, I developed the “amazing cakes” maneuver of setting her in her bed. Moving her from my lap or shoulder to her bed was filled with the same dread, tension, and controlled movements that the creates of ridiculously elaborate wedding cake creations use to move their competition cakes from their work stations to the presentation table. Except with my little babycake, there was no repair fondant laying around.

Great progress has been made, however. She no longer is as difficult to set down, no longer requires an hour or more of attention at 4am, and no longer demands 100% co-sleeping, among other improvements. I have patiently waited for her developmental milestone of sleeping through the night, a feat that has only happened once when she was around 5 months old and I woke up in the morning and thought she was probably dead and had a small heart attack.

Her 7 month sleep regression featured such glorious characteristics as waking up 18-24 times a night and waking up at totally inconsistent times in the morning. That period, which stretched from her 6th month well into her 8th, was just unfair to me, to the cat, and to Sleep as a Platonic ideal.

Now that she is 1 year old, she wakes up somewhere between 4-7 times a night. I consider a 4-wakings night a really good showing. When other moms tell me that their kids are driving them crazy because they wake up every night and I realize they mean that they wake up ONCE a night, I pretty much want to fill their house with bees.

She is really sensitive to sounds and light when she sleeps. I have to leave the room like a ninja. I have learned where exactly to step so that the floor doesn’t make a sound, how to prevent my shadow from crossing her face, where and when to drape her blanket. It’s a delicate task, easily disrupted by the cat skittering down the hall, my husband sneezing in the other room, or a car screeching outside. I go to great lengths to protect her sleep because I am want her to be healthy and the quality of her sleep directly effects my own.

Naps are also frustrating because each one can vary so much in quality, duration, how many times I need to put her back to sleep, and location. Sometimes she needs to have me by her side in my bed, sometimes she’s fine with being in her crib. Sometimes she needs me to walk in circles with her strapped to me in her carrier in 30ºC weather for an hour.

Anyway, last night did not go well, with her first five wakings all taking place BEFORE 1am. Hopefully tonight will be better. Hopefully, someday she will sleep through the night. Hopefully I won’t be dead from exhaustion by then or in prison because I filled someone’s house with bees.

The Big 01!

I made it through an entire year of parenting. Holy freaking crap!

In that year I:

-Moved across country

-Changed jobs

-Hired and fired a nanny (this is the woman who proclaimed that my son was teething since he was 4 months old when in reality he didn’t cut a tooth until last week)

-Have NOT gotten a full night’s sleep

-Moved in with my parents (incidentally, if there is anyone who would like to purchase or lease a lovely house in Texas so I can stop living in the bedroom next to my parents, please do let me know!)

-Despite insane obstacles, continued to breastfeed and pump (ask me about the number of airplane bathrooms, empty hotel conference rooms, basements, grocery store bathrooms, rental cars and other bizarre, very marginally-clean places I have pumped in the past year. While you’re at it, ask me about acquiring dry ice in Harrisburg, PA and getting said dry ice through airport security and while I’ve piqued your interest, don’t forget to ask me about the countless arguments I’ve had with various hotel managers about using their freezers.)

But enough about me

In that same year, a little tiny alien-looking blob of a baby turned into a little human who laughs, loves, walks, crawls, throws balls, chases the cats, and hates to eat anything other than cheerios while swinging on a swing.

Yay for cute little humans!

Airing my “redshirting” laundry

Since I have an August baby, I’m going to take this as good news and stop worrying. Really.

“Delay Kindergarten at Your Child’s Peril” New York Times 24 September

Wang and Aamodt, the authors of “Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows From Conception to College,” show in a neurobiologically fascinating way how young children are challenged in constructive ways by being educated with older students to their own benefit.

I was always youngest in my class, also being a summer baby, but my mom totally had my educational ducks in a row ahead of time. I am probably not nearly as diligent as her. Because of my even-later summer baby, I have been reading and following the articles (and there are many!) on “redshirting” (the practice of holding kids back for kindergarten so that when they start school, they are the oldest pupil in their class). There are some significant studies that link students who are older upon kindergarten entry with greater academic success through elementary and middle school. By grade 4,  older kids were performing better by a few percentage points. By grade 8, in the U.S., older students were 4-8 percent higher in their class ranks than the youngest students. (If you want the full text of this 2006 study by Kathy Bedard and Elizabeth Dhuey click HERE.)

However, a new study by Kasey Buckley and Daniel M. Hungerman at the National Bureau of Economic Research looks at relevant data from the birth certificate of all children born in the United States from 1989-2001. What they found was a slight correlation between the seasons of the year wealthier or poorer women gave birth. The better-off moms got pregnant during the winter holidays and poor women typically get pregnant during the late spring and summer months. Therefore, much of the advantage shown by the previous Bedard and Dhuey study can be attributed to the economic circumstances of their birth, since babies born to the December conception set would most likely miss the cut-offs for many state’s kindergarten enrollments, pushing them into the next class year where they would be oldest in their group.

The New York Times Magazine piece that tipped off much debate was Elizabeth Weil’s 2007 piece, “When Should a Kid Start Kindergarten?” It contains an overview, much of it anecdotal, of some of the problems that face younger kids. I could not help being concerned about my daughter getting clobbered on the playground, humiliated in reading group, confused during a math exercise. Even though the newer studies are giving us more information about age and success at school in ways we can improve upon (such as early preparation), I still read this article with a touch of apprehension. But for now, I’m going to stop worrying. As much.

I’ll try…

Some other interesting articles:

“Should Children Redshirt Kindergarten?” at The Daily Beast

“Redshirting Kindergarten” at The Huffington Post

“The Downside of Redshirting” at The Slate

What I’d do for awesome naps

The baby is taking an awesome nap.

Things I would do to produce this kind of result on a daily basis?

Brush my teeth with tabasco

Wear a dress lined with the scratchy part of velcro

Apply lotion to only one side of my body for a month

Give up 1/4 of my shoes

Get stung by a bee or bitten by 12 mosquitos

Accept the internet turning into just one page of amazing designer deals that I still can’t afford for one week.

Not eat ice cream…. for a whole…um… month. But these better be seriously good naps.


Too bad I can’t actually leverage any of this for naps.

In Which I Complain About Sleeping

I think I am kidding about the above graph. However, judging from how long I looked online for instructions on drawing asymptotes (MAJOR NERD ALERT!!!) in Excel, maybe I’m a little serious. Or maybe I am a bit too committed to making a graph-based joke. Or too easily drawn down internet rabbit holes. One of those, I’m sure.

The nice thing about this visual is that my son is going to have an excellent study aide when he hits his Geometry books. So really, time well-spent. Hi-fives all around.

Anyway, I digress.

Last night, the non-sleeping got so bad that my husband was forced to stop pretending to not hear our son and got up to try to calm him down. Shannon has a pretty good idea of what the crying must have been like to manufacture this Fatherly Event, but for anyone else unfamiliar with the situation, (I feel like a reporter “sources familiar with the situation state that…”) trust me on this – it’s a major life event. It may go in the baby book, in fact.

I am not breaking any ground with this screed. Babies are not great sleepers. Babies who just got their first two teeth and started walking two days ago make even worse sleepers. Babies who do not see their Mama all day long and learn that they can conjure her up with a few pathetic-sounding yelps from the crib are Very Smart Babies indeed, but also are exceedingly shitty sleepers.

Someday this will end, right?

Teething is a Stone Cold Bitch

My daughter just got her 7th tooth. This time we are a little more prepared on how to deal with it, but let me tell you, I feel like she has been teething 75% of her life, so far. Since December, we have had these long stretches of teeth moving, teeth coming in, getting used to a new tooth, ugh. Teething is cruel because it takes a happy baby and makes them miserable which in turn makes you miserable. Then, you feel BAD for being miserable because it’s really they are the ones in real pain… and so on. It’s just a terrible cycle of misery.

It’s a good thing that she likes taking her Tylenol. Bedtimes become slightly less laborious and she might actually stay asleep more than an hour.

I know we evolved to eat lots of nice things with our variety-pack of teeth but at this point I’m starting to think they are overrated. I told her if she stopped teething, I’d just buy her some. She can even take them out at night for extreme comfort. Hell, I’ll even get her a nice decorative glass of Efferdent that works as a nightlight or something (denture glass nightlight, patent pending).