October 6, 2011

Notes from the other side

For the past week, my fabulous sister has been here. Because of her know-how and ability to get Brex (Baby Rex--love it!) to go to sleep (as well as her willingness to change diapers!), I've felt like I have training wheels for this new parenting deal. She's also helped clean the house, make dinners and do dishes. Between her and Jrex, I've felt like all I have to do is figure out Brex. For the most part, I've been happily surprised by how the overwhelming love for the little one outweighs the exhaustion. Much of that however, is due to my sister taking Brex whenever he's been fussy and then getting him to go to sleep. If I try to get him to sleep, he's too busy rooting into my arm or shoulder to settle. I keep looking at him and mournfully asking, "Don't you like me for my personality?" Based on the scrunch-faced tears I get right after the question, I'm guessing the answer is no.

Throughout the pregnancy, I kept finding out that my theoretical hippie approach was outweighed by my pragmatic streak. The one area where I didn't plan to do the 'hippie' version was with the baby's sleeping habits. Knowing how much I need sleep, my plan was to give Brex a couple weeks, maybe a month sleeping in the co-sleeper that Jrex's sister gave us. Letting Brex sleep in the same room as us, but not our bed seemed like a fair compromise. Overall though, I was going to aim for a schedule and sleep in the nursery crib as soon as possible. As it turns out, if Brex is next to me, he eats/sleeps in four-hour blocks, if left in the co-sleeper, I'm lucky if he eats/sleeps in a three-hour cycle. Despite my theoretical pragmatist, it's so much easier to have the baby in bed and do easy feeding and sleep cycles. Definitely not our long-term plan, but for now, he's hard to resist.

OTRsis leaves Saturday and then it's just us for the next twelve days before Mom Kim comes. I think those days without outside help will be challenging, but good. My hormones finally dropped a bit today (I got very weepy when faced with a few challenges) so if that continues, then next week will be even more of an adventure. Jrex is planning to just do a couple hours each day in lab so that he can be around to help.

Before now, I've always called the first three months of a baby's life The Blob Phase. I just haven't found them all that interesting. Good thing biology kicks in and I find this particular Blob utterly fascinating. His facial expressions crack me up, even the way he warms up toward crying is amusing. Jrex seems similarly affected which is really fun to watch.

Mom K has asked for pictures, so I'm trying to send her a "Daily Brex" via text message. My sister pointed out that my Dad and brother might also enjoy that. I asked if she wanted one, too and she did. I guess that means that I've already become one of THOSE parents, huh?


Inkling said...

He's beautiful! And I'm so glad you updated. The sleep thing? I hear you. =) Isn't it incredible how God wired us to fall head over heels in love with the wee ones that grew inside of us? It still takes my breath away sometimes.

Rachel said...

So glad you have help. Your sister sounds awesome. That period without help will be tough, but it will help both of you to bond with the new baby and learn how to manage on your own.

I never planned to cosleep either, but that was the only way she would sleep, so whatever works, right? If he is sleeping in four hour blocks already, you are very lucky! For putting them to sleep, sometimes walking around with them in a sling/ carrier works. (Even outside, if necessary.)

scarp said...

I never planned on cosleeping either, but here I am 3 years later, still (mostly) enjoying it. (with the seco d kid now, the 3 yr old is in her own bed...) rumor has it that at about three months is a good ti e to teach the baby to sleep on their own, and for longer stretches, so keep that in mind if you don't want to cosleep forever. I can't say from experience, cuz in Mexico, and with my kids, that was right about when it got really cold out, and houses are not heated there, so how was I gonna leave a little baby sleeping alone in the cold?! I do know that if you make it to sixish months still cosleeping, then kid really likes it, and then it is a bit of a battle to undo, and could well be until the kid is 1 1/2 or so before you can convince them to move out. Not that it's all bad, just giving you an idea of how it might go.

So glad to hear you are enjoying him! There is nothing like those newborn days!

Oh, and both times I cried when my mom left after about a week, worried that I wasn't ready to do it on my own, but both time I figured it out just fine. You'll do great, especially if James is going to be around some to help.

Anonymous said...


Have a care what patterns you establish with your baby. I say that from my parents' experience. Evidently, I was a fussy baby. The one sure way they had of getting me to sleep was to take me for a ride in the Ford. So --

Watch out! Even a month-old baby is an imperialist aggressor. If you let them, they'll dominate you.

That three month rule sounds about right. At 1802 Walker, we exiled you nights to the living room, and for much of a week you cried yourself to sleep for 25, 20, 15 minutes. It was a tough week for you and for us. But, it was the right thing to do. Look how independent you turned out to be.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your wonderful new son. I've been a bit out of touch. So glas he has arrived, and I hope your joint sleeping patterns work out well for you all.

Big hugs and love for all of you.