frivolous friday

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TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009

a simple update

It’s been a couple of days, so I wanted to update family on the goings on of our sweet Judeabug. Goings ons? Going on?
On what he’s up to lately.

I’m proud to say that Bug is getting quite roly poly! I only weigh him once a week right now (for the sake of my own sanity), but I would guess he’s probably getting close to 12.5 pounds. He won’t be a heavyweight anytime soon, but it’s nice to see him getting new fat rolls and outgrowing clothes. We still have quite a bit of sample forumla in our cabinet, just in case he should need it – but it looks as though we’ve made it through this whole “failure to thrive” stuff completely with breastmilk. It was certainly very stressful for awhile, but I’m so grateful that we stuck with it. I plan on breastfeeding him for a year, and I can’t believe that we’re already over a third of the way there!

Back to the goings on…

Bug’s been sleeping a little better lately. Two out of the past three nights, he’s slept until 4:00am-ish. That’s about seven hours for him, which is about average for his age. That’s about five hours for me, which is pretty exciting! I can’t say for sure, but I think this might be attributed to the rice cereal we’ve begun giving him in the evenings. We’ve also gone back to doing a modified version of letting Bug “cry it out,” for naptimes, which seems to be working. He’s crying less and less each day and gets more sleep as each day passes. I’ll have to elaborate more on what we do and why I feel like it’s the best thing for Bug at some point. Several people have asked me about it, and I feel like crying it out gets some bad press. Not today, though, because today…I have a picture to share!


Go Duke!

FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 20a how to guide for getting jude to nap

As I’ve mentioned (probably over and over…and over and over), Bug is not exactly easy to get down for a nap. I’ve heard tales of babies who just fall asleep in the middle of playing when they’re tired, of infants who sleep most of the day and night away, of children who can be put into the crib awake and transition themselves to peaceful slumber. In our house, those things are about as likely to happen as a unicorn prancing through the living room with a leprechaun on its back.
We spent the first two months of J. Bug’s life doing the walk/bounce/shhh/lullabye/pacifier/pleasejudefortheloveofallthingsgoodfallASLEEP! combo. We’d combine these things in a array of frustration and exhaustion, doing our best to get our sweet boy to fall asleep. I thought he might be overtired…so I’d try getting him to sleep at the first signs of yawning. I thought he might not be tired enough…so I’d try wearing him out thoroughly before putting him to sleep.

Eventually my exhausted self came to the conclusion that Bug was going to cry before falling asleep. He could either cry for twenty minutes in my arms, or he could cry for twenty minutes in his crib. The place where all that crying took place didn’t seem to matter to him. Since it was much healthier for my state of mind to let him cry in his crib – that’s what we tried. After a day or so, I realized that J. Bug actually cried less when we let him “cry it out” in his crib. It’s almost as if he prefers to be left to himself to settle down to sleep. We had a pretty good routine going when he was diagnosed with failure to thrive. Mommy guilt overtook my brain and heart, and I couldn’t bare to hear my sweet boy crying as I could almost hear him screaming, “I’m hungry! I’m not tired! Please, please give me food!” So at the slightest whine from my boy, I fed him. After a couple of weeks of him putting weight back and doing well, I realized that he probably wasn’t getting enough sleep because I was feeding him when he was upset from sleepiness. So we went back to the walk/bounce/soothe him to sleep ourselves method, and he went back to taking 30-45 minutes to wind down for a nap, and sleeping for 20 minutes at best.

After Bug’s last appointment, I decided that I could put fears of starving my child out of my mind, and work on helping him figure out how to settle himself to sleep. The first couple of days were brutal, but after about a week, he only cries for six or seven minutes on average. I actually just put him down for a nap, and I think he cried a total of four minutes (and yes, I still agonize every minute that he’s crying).

So here’s what we do:

1. I take Bug back to his nursery, turn the lights off, and start his lullabye playliston my iPod.

2. With J. Bug on my hip, I put a pacifier in his mouth and let him cuddle against my neck for a minute. This usually involves him smearing his drool all over my shirt, rubbing his eyes, pulling out the pacifier, etc. I only do this for a minute or so. My theory is that Bug is such an active and alert baby. I think he has a difficult time “turning off” his brain and settling to sleep. By having a very specific routine and giving him a minute or so to realize, “oh, it’s time to fall asleep,” I hope to help him figure out how to turn that active brain of his off.

4. I swaddle Bug in a specialized velcro swaddling blanket. To be honest, it resembles a straight jacket. I wish he didn’t have to be swaddled…he hates it. I’ve tried several times to put him down without swaddling, but his fists automatically go up to his eyes and keep him awake. As he’s napping, the jerking of his arms and legs usually wakes him up if he’s not swaddled. He’s too feisty for a normal blanket swaddle…he’s out of those things in 60 seconds flat. Hence thestraightjacket.

5. I hold a swaddled Bug in the crook of my arm (with his pacifier in his mouth) and stand next to his crib, swaying with him for a minute or two. Sometimes his eyes close at this point, sometimes he gets super fired up and fussy.

6. Regardless of what he does, after a minute of swaying with him, I lay him in his crib, in the middle of this sleep positioner (another protection against hisfeistyness…he ends up on the opposite end of the crib with his head up against the crib rail if we don’t keep him in it). I tell him goodnight, and that I love him, turn on his monitor, and leave.

7. I let him cry for ten or fifteen minutes. For most babies, I think it would be sufficient to let them cry for ten minutes. With Bug, I learned that going in too early would often rile him right up to cry even louder, harder, and longer. If I stayed away for fifteen minutes, he would usually settle himself by that point. I try to keep myself busy – folding laundry, answering emails, writing a blog…anything to keep myself from listening to his crying. When we first started doing this, I’d sit outside his door and cry right along with him. Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend that. Do something productive.

8. If he’s still crying after ten to fifteen minutes, I walk in and put the pacifier in his mouth. It usually involves having to jiggle it in there a little bit to get him sucking on it, and lots of, “shhhh shhhh shhhhh” -ing. Whether or not that settles him down, I leave again.

9. I wait another ten or fifteen minutes and repeat.

Since we’ve gone back to doing this after his FTT diagnoses, I rarely have to go in more than twice. He did cry on and off one afternoon for almost an hour, and I eventually picked him up and rocked him to sleep. For the past four or five days, though, he rarely cries longer than ten minutes. He’s progressively crying less and less. Actually, he went down for a nap yesterday for Shawn without crying at all!That would mark the second time he’s ever slept without crying first.

Once he regularly falls asleep with minimal crying, I’ll work on phasing out and shortening parts of his naptime routine so he doesn’t need all of those things to fall asleep.

So my friends, that – in a very long winded nutshell – is a how-to manual for getting J. Bug to nap.

Skyping while eating cereal for the second time. He’s multitasking already!

A ride with Daddy (who does not enjoy having his picture taken).

Naked baby on the changing table.

SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2000

bug smiles

 and it’s just about the cutest smile I’ve ever seen. He still smiles as though I am the funniest thing in the entire world – quite the ego boost (even if it IS from a four month old). I think he’s still working out the whole laughing thing, though. He smiles really big, and even kind of draws his shoulders up like he’s laughing…but no sound! We had one day that he laughed out loud – he laughed at me making faces to him while he was in his jumperoo, and he laughed at Daddy making faces while he was in the tub. It was a great sound, and I look forward to hearing him figure out how to make it again!

According to our home scale, J.Bug weighed either 13 lbs or 13.2 lbs – I weighed him twice. Either way, that seems to be right on target. Yay Bug! He’s mostly grown out of his 0-3 month clothes and is officially fitting into his 3-6 month clothes, which is also exciting. He has several more “going out” clothes in 3-6 months, so we have more fun options in which to dress him.

Let’s see, what else is Bug up to lately? Oh, I think he’s working on the sleeping through the night thing. He slept from about 9:00pm to about 6:00am three nights in a row (woo-hoo!), but has been waking up around 1:00am and 4:30am the past two nights. I’m not exactly sure why (I think gas might’ve played a big part the first night), but I’m learning that I don’t have to find a reason for everything. He’s continuing to get cereal at 7:30pm, and is getting better at eating. He’s beginning to actually open his mouth for the spoon, and he looks a little bit like a baby bird when he does so. 🙂 It’s hard to believe that in just two or three weeks, I’ll be feeding him real food. I’m not sure whether I’ve mentioned it here on the blog or not, but I plan on making Bug’s baby food (just in case you weren’t entirely sure we were complete weirdos and counter cultural). It’s cheaper and less processed, which seems like good enough reason to me! I’m going to start with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. We actually had both of those items on our grocery list anyway this week, so I figured I’d go ahead and make then freeze it for when he’s ready to move on from cereal.
Looks like naptime is over – gotta go!
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what? christmas isn’t in june?

Well, let’s just pretend shall we? Let’s just pretend that it’s December 26th and I’m an ace blogger who posts videos of her Christmas morning kiddos right away, okay?

At the very least, maybe we’ll be distracted from the fact that it’s HOT.

[do you like how I use Christmas morning to teach my kid to read? Yeah, that’s how I roll.]

[I made the boys super hero capes and masks out of old camp t-shirts that said, “kindness” and “gentleness.” You guessed it – that’s how I roll.]

[Yeah, these videos have my kids’ name in them. Let’s review the rules. Don’t steal my kids, we’ll call it good.]

So a couple of thoughts here. 1] In that last video, you’ll notice a large box with a red ribbon around it. That box held the afore-blogged about water table, unassembled. Yes, we were too lazy to assemble it for Christmas morning and just stuck a ribbon around it. Say it with me, folks.

That’s how we roll.

2] Watching these videos hasn’t exactly had the desired effect of distracting me from the heat. To be honest, it’s made me long for Christmas time even more. Would it be weird if I had some hot chocolate when it’s 99 degrees outside? At the very least, I think I’ll crank up the AC tonight and wear a hoodie. Six more months.

Six more months.

d…a…a…a…d…d…d..d..d..d..d..d..DAD

Father’s Day fell on the day after our family got back from church camp this year, so I knew I needed to do as much prep ahead of time as I could. One of my pre-camp tasks was to take photos of the boys and I with the letters “D,” “A,” and, “D” to frame for Shawn. Simple enough, right?

Yeah, notsomuch. Bear wasn’t exactly in the picture-taking mood. At first he was a little skeptical about the whole operation:

And then he got downright cranky…

Really, really cranky…

So then I tried to mix things up, maybe he’d be happier lying down…

But that stressed him out…

Just imagine him saying, “I hate you mother,” as I whisper through clenched teeth, “just. one. more.”

I started kind of throwing the letter at him, hoping it landed right side up, and snapping a quick picture…

…which actually sort of worked

At least, it worked if I could get my hand out of the frame quickly enough…

It’s a good thing their father loves them – regardless of how cranky or photogenic they are. I’ll make sure to show you the final product, but I’m dying to know – which ones would you have chosen to frame?

d…d…d…d…d…d…Dad

One of the things the boys and I gave Shawn for Father’s Day this year was a framed photo of our family. On the left hand side was Bug holding the letter, “D.” In the middle were the three of us [and Dallas, our Labrador!] holding the letter, “A.” And the right hand side holds a photo of Bear with the letter, “D.”

Get it? D-A-D.

I know, right?

So I took the photos on a Sunday morning while Shawn was busy at church. I thought it’d go pretty quickly, but it ended up being quite the ordeal. Among other things I had to get us all three dressed nicely, but then had to put us all back in play clothes so Shawn wouldn’t suspect anything when he came home. As you’ll see in tomorrow’s post, Bear was none too happy about photo taking and made my job pretty tough. Bug, on the other hand, was surprisingly amiable.

I had a really tough time deciding which one to actually frame:

[I know, it’s a lot of pictures. Hang on, almost done.]

Can you see why I had a tough time choosing? I’ll tell you which one I ultimately framed later, but for now – which one would you have chosen?

happy monday

Bear wanted to make sure you know he can point. At least, that’s the only explanation I can come up with for why I have 8,745 photos of him doing this exact same pose.

Even with that monstrosity of a finger in the way, I have to admit that I’m still enamored by those chubby cheeks and sparkling eyes. And just so you’re aware, I did manage to capture his mischievous eyes. That’s the same look he gave me right before he dunked my iPhone in my coffee.

Happy Monday, folks!

frivolous friday

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THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 2009

mommy guilt

In our attempts to fatten Bug up, we’ve tried everything…and I do mean everything.

Just kidding! I was making cookies and Bug held onto the butter for me until I was ready for it.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about J. Bug’s lack of weight gain and honestly, feeling pretty guilty. I’m not sure how I didn’t notice that he was “failing to thrive,” and I’m not quite sure how to tell if he’s struggling in the future. He’s a really active infant, and his activity level stayed constant throughout this whole thing. He wasn’t particularly lethargic or sleepy acting. He also rarely roots, so that’s never been a good indication either. Even weighing him every morning seems to only further confuse me. For instance, Bug weighed 12 lbs even yesterday. This morning – weighed at the same time, in the same kind of diaper – he weighed 11.4 lbs. Did he really lose over half a pound in a day?!

I didn’t know that my baby was hungry – starving. I made choices based on my best guesses of why he was fussing, and I was apparently often wrong. I’m struggling with second guessing all my choices now and am wondering when I’ll ever know Bug as  it seems a mother should. I was reading the other day that I should be able to distinguish Bug’s cries by now. I have to be honest – I have NO idea what he needs by the sound of his cry. I can only guess based on the timing: if it’s about time to fall asleep, to eat, to play with another toy, etc. Obviously that’s not the most effective way to figure out his needs, since that was my method when he stopped gaining weight.

Anyway, I’m blessed that he’s basically a healthy kid, just a little frustrated at the moment with trying to figure out how exactly to tell when he’s hungry or when he’s just tired or gassy. Advice or insight would be thoroughly appreciated!

Please continue praying for Matt and Patrice. I just checked their blog this morning, and Jonah apparently took 4cc of milk! That was one of the primary things for which Patrice was asking prayers, and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. So please pray that he’d continue to eat well and that God would protect his little body from infection.

SATURDAY, MARCH 7, 2009

on a posting roll

Yes, friends – I’m actually posting two posts in two days! Are you wondering to what you can attribute this amazing feat of organization on my part? To put it shortly, Shawn’s a great husband and father. He’s always offering to take Bug for a couple of hours so that I can get away. For awhile, I was using that time to run. Since I’m up with J. Bug so much in the night now, though, I’m finding that running just zaps my energy for the rest of the day. So for awhile, my answer was, “no, that’s okay, i’ll just hang out at home.” As I watched my patience level dwindle and my stress level rise, I started thinking that maybe I should again take him up on those offers. So I’m writing this in relative quiet at my local coffee shop. I love spending time with my sweet boy, but I have to admit that I do thoroughly enjoy the occasional break. In true motherhood fashion, I spend most of my time away from him thinking about him.

I do have some pictures for you! Like most babies, Bug likes to look at himself in the mirror, so I wanted to snap some pictures of him doing just that. I’m not sure how well you can see our bed in the background, but you can be sure it’s unmade…so just ignore that.

Our big boy! He loves to sit up on the couch/recliner, etc. like this. Check out that belly! Can you see why I might’ve been a little slow to realize that he wasn’t gaining weight?

I was reading a mother’s blog recently that was composed entirely of letters to her infant daughter. I thought that was a great idea and I think I might do that occasionally here. This blog is the closest thing to a baby book that I keep, and I really do use it as a way to keep record of Bug’s young life. I’d love to have some notes and thoughts specifically for him that he can read here when he’s older.
We have an appointment on Tuesday for Bug’s 4 month well check up and weight check. I’m really not sure that he’s gained weight in the two weeks since he was weighed last, so I’m eager to see. We’re feeding him as much as he seems to want, so if he hasn’t gained weight, I think I might ask the doctor about more aggressive approaches – hopefully something that will still allow me to breastfeed as much as possible. On the advice of pretty much everyone who loves me, I’ve decided to stop weighing him daily. Our scale isn’t consistent, and it just seems to feed my anxiety about him. I’ll probably weigh him every three days as I still want a way to track his progress and keep an eye on him. I have to be honest – looking at him, you’d have no idea anything was wrong. He has plenty of fat rolls and even more energy. Perhaps he’s just a small baby? I don’t know…I’m tired of pretending like I know what I’m doing or what’s going on. I have no idea. I’m downright clueless about this whole motherhood thing.
Jonah’s story was written up in the Winston-Salem Journal today.HERE’S the link. I’m so amazed and inspired by both of them. My heart literally aches when I see pictures of Jonah, and I genuinely love that boy. My prayer continues to be that he is healed and lives a long, long life. I pray that he and Jude will be good friends for many, many years. Please continue praying that 1)God would protect his fragile body from infection 2)He would eat great and get the nutrients he needs to fight the battle he faces 3)That God would heal his body, allowing Jonah to live a normal, healthy life.

TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2000

a letter to bug

Dear Bug,

Tomorrow you will be four months old, which seems both so young and entirely too old at the same time. You are one amazing kid, sweet boy. You had a check up today, and as the doctor listed the developmental milestones you should have been hitting at this age, your Daddy and I couldn’t help but smile at each other. Most of them you’ve been doing for a couple of months now! You’ve gotten much more smiley in the past month, and it’s sweet to see you charm complete strangers with that dimple. You’ve also started to really recognize me and Daddy, and I’m proud to say that we can make you smile more than anyone. I have so many favorite memories of you from the past month, but I wanted to share a few specific ones.

– Daddy and I read to you every night as you’re winding down for bed. You had fallen asleep while Daddy was reading a bit of “Winnie The Pooh” to you. In the book, Winnie the Pooh was singing a song, so Daddy sung the song in his “Pooh” voice (which is spot on, by the way). Though you were fast asleep, you woke up a little when Daddy started singing, looked at him, and smiled your sweet smile. You melt my heart, bug.

-You’ve started reaching out for Coletrane as he passes by, which I love. Sometimes Cole walks on by, and sometimes he graces you with a kiss on the hand (or on the face if we’re not watching!). Your joy at those disgusting puppy kisses makes me smile every time.

-One time I was changing your diaper on the changing table and you were beyond fussy. I was doing everything I could to calm you down, but nothing seemed to be working. I was buttoning up your onesie when you grabbed ahold of my forearm and just stopped crying. I looked down at you and you just stared at me…as if you knew you were safe with me.

We’ve loved watching you grow and change in the past four months, sweetheart, and are excited to see how much more you do so. Though we suspected it even when I was pregnant with you, we’re seeing that you have a fiesty, determined personality. I expect this will make some of our time as your parents a challenge, but I also expect that God gave you that personality for a very specific purpose. We love you so much more than you know, and God loves you more fully and completely than we ever could.

Love,

Mommy

the importance of a bowl

We had a visitor a couple of weeks ago. It was not a welcomed or appreciated visitor. We did not enjoy its stay in our household, and we ushered it out as quickly as possible. The stomach bug swept through the family- visiting me, then Bug, then Bear, the me again. It decided to skip over Shawn, I suppose satisfied that it took me down twice. 

Bug’s sickness was actually relatively easy. When he’s sick he stops being a tornado and is content to lay on the couch with a blanket and some Team Umizoomi. He’s able to articulate what hurts, understand that medicine and rest help, and most importantly – knows how to vomit in a bowl.

You don’t realize how crucial that skill is until your child without said skill gets sick. 

And they feel nauseous, but can’t put words to that feeling. So they whine and ask you to hold them to make it better. And then they throw up. And you don’t want it all over the floor, so you catch it in your hands. And then they throw up again. Except this time your hands are full of vomit, so it lands on your shoulder. Some of it even drips down your bra and gets stuck in your hair.

And your little sickie is too whiny to be out of your sight/arms for more than three minutes, so you quickly change clothes and use a wet wipe. And you plan on showering off the vomit when your husband gets home, but by then you’re so used to smelling sick that you forget you didn’t shower earlier. So you don’t get a chance to shower until the next morning, when the smell of vomit is good and absorbed into that skin of yours.

Not that this happened to me or anything. And if it did happen to me, I would doubtlessly have the wherewithall to not share the fact that I walked around for 24 hours with vomit on me with the interweb. I’m just sayin’, it could’ve happened. Hypothetically. And it would’ve been gross.

Very, very gross.