Monday, July 23, 2007

Highly Active Infant

So, the other search hit I noticed getting was for "highly active infant." There are few results for that search and none of them look like they would be terribly helpful for the poor parent who typed in the phrase. First, my sympathies. I'm assuming that the person that did this search was presented with a baby something like Charlie. This baby apparently never needs to sleep and if he does entertain the notion that he might need to sleep, it will only happen if you are holding him, rocking him, and standing on one foot while whistling "Dixie." This is a child who hasn't met an outlet cover he can't defeat. He would like to be with you all the time. Bouncy seats and swings can't contain this child. You will be given advice to "let him cry" and, one very difficult night, you will learn that your child can cry for upwards of 2 hours sleep for 30 and then start crying again. This is a child who would like to touch, see, examine, taste, and interact constantly. This highly active baby has 2 speeds- "on" and "fussy-please-God-just-sleep." On the up side, this child will let you know that you are the most important person in his life early and often. He will show you the wonder of ripping up a leaf, trying sweet potatoes for the first time, and, if you're lucky, be a fantastic hugger. He will be clever and inquisitive and will, eventually, sleep for longer than 45 minutes at a time. If you want to hear from another parent who is muddling through the experience, read on. Third, try some of these resources if you want actual advice...

Dr Sears calls this type of baby "high needs." Start with this article and go from there. I disagree with him on a couple of points though. I think high needs babies may need somewhat less sleep than other babies but not quite as little as he makes out. Also, I think that all babies and children benefit from routines, certainly after the "4th trimester" and that part of the behaviors he describes as "high needs" sounds a lot like Charlie when he's over tired and fighting sleep. So, I would ignore the advice about allowing your baby to have a wildly fluctuating bed time. Part of what you have to help your baby learn is how to wind down and shut off. These are not babies that know what they need so "listening" to them is sometimes not appropriate in my humble opinion.

On the issue of sleep start with The No Cry Sleep Solution and then give Ferber a go. I think co-sleeping sounds lovely in theory but if you have a highly social baby as well as highly active, it might be way to stimulating. This blog post is a great mom perspective on getting the highly active and highly social child to sleep.

The Baby Whisperer message boards are
also full of friendly moms with babies that can't slow down. These are referred to as "spirited" babies. Her EASY schedule is also rather helpful although we've found that Charlie needs to be rather sleep deprived to actually sleep so, we've modified it to give longer awake periods and shorter sleep periods (sigh...)

Finally, start a blog and vent away.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

11 Things About Me

1- I really love doing laundry. It's my favorite household chore. I get to feel like I have really accomplished something just by sticking a bunch of stuff into a new spot to stash it. Now, putting away the laundry is another matter all together...

2- I love having meals socked away in my deep freezer.

3- My favorite meal to have in my deep freeze is a fish packet. You take the flash frozen fish fillets (I usually use tilapia) and put them on a bed of frozen veggies on a piece of aluminum foil and stick a couple of lemon slices and some sort of herb on top. Pop in a couple of frozen cubes of white wine and fold into a little packet. You can then make as many servings as you need by pulling them out of the freezer and baking at 400' for 45 minutes (25 if they were in a regular freezer).

4- I was totally Ginny/Harry before it was cool.

5- I have 2 "comfort books."

6- They came to college with me and to the birth of my son.

7- One is Tam Lin by Pamela Dean

8- The other is Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. (The cover on the edition I linked is really hideous- mine looks much more appealing)

9- I tend to like stories where the girl saves the boy.

10- That meant that I also fell in love with Princess Florecita and the Iron Shoes when I was doing lit reviews for my children's lit class but I don't own it for some reason.

11- Now I totally know what I want one of my Christmas presents to be.

I mostly posted this because I was tired of the hazing post being at the top but also, it seems like all the cool kids have these lists of 100 things in their about sections. I'm not quite a cool kid so I'll just do 11 for now.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Hazing Process

So, a number of things have come together that just make me mad. So, this is basically a rant but, hopefully, it is a productive one...

I have noticed that there seems to be a mommy hazing process or at least the belief that there should be one among our mother's generation, at least from my perspective. My most recent run-in with this was in a meeting last night. I have been a member of a group of wives and mothers of faculty at my husband's university. It's starting to seriously die out and a big part of the reason is that they are still doing things almost exactly the way they have always been done. The new President called me and asked if I would help in her efforts to revamp things so that the group would be more appealing to the younger set. What I didn't realize was that by "younger set" she actually meant women between 50 and 60. I tried to point out that most of the efforts she was planning on making wouldn't actually appeal to women of my age but I failed miserably. That's a whole other post. Anyway, one thing that came up was that I said that women with young children would enjoy x,y, or z but that she would need to take steps to find someone without the young children to spearhead the effort because young mothers just didn't have that kind of time, especially for a group that they aren't already attached to. I then heard the old refrain that I hear from many of her generation "But we did it." I had to bit my tongue to prevent a sarcastic response.

I have heard many permutations of this. Our church's children's ministries are desperate for more help mostly because a number of families have children spread in ages leaving them stretched thin when they volunteer for all the groups. At a church picnic, I was listening to a woman discuss how much she missed her grandchildren and I pointed out that the nursery really needed "rockers" and perhaps that would help fill the gap she replied that it was really up to the parents of the infants. I've gotten similar responses from several other grandmothers woeful over their lack of baby time. My mother tends to go on about how hard it was for her when I ask if she could come to help while my husband travels. In my MOPS group, there are older women who are to act in a advisory capacity to the younger mothers. When we had a childcare crisis one morning, not a one volunteered to help watch the children so that more mothers (who were the actual target audience) could attend the program. The list goes on and seems to stretch to other areas as well. When I was in teacher training, the older teachers worked the student teachers to the brink of exhaustion while somewhat younger supervising teachers offered a gentler experience. The older teachers would repeatedly speak of how hard it was when they student taught. The medical community is only just now rethinking if it is wise to treat their residents as they do, even if it was how they did it when they were residents. I was listening to an interview wit the editor of Mothering Magazine and she was talking about how hard it was for them to live a natural lifestyle in the 70s and how now you don't have to be as committed to get organic foods or whatnot with a clear implication that this was a great downward trend.

Back to the point...

It seems like women who became mothers in the 70s and 80s feel that just because it was hard for them, it should be hard for everyone. It's as if they feel that there is to be a trial of fire, a hazing, a massive slog and any assistance is verboten. The thing is that they made their beds. They rejected the previous generation (with some merit) and wanted to do it differently. These women were going to do it all with ease. They would be supermoms. It's like an entire generation that is stuck in the teen rebellion stage of development. Slightly younger women seem happy to offer all manner of assistance. Offers from women to help with Charlie while my husband is out of town almost always come from this younger crowd. The helpful hand holding the door while I struggle with the stroller is from this group. The kind smiles in the grocery store as Charlie melts down- from the mothers of the 90s. I'm not clear if it's generational or if they just don't remember. I find it so frustrating. This is a group of women who are so perfectly poised to make things just a little bit better but won't. I sincerely hope that when I am out of the haze of rearing the very young, I will remember to lend a hand to those still struggling up the ladder rather than icing the rungs...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Africa Lyrics

So, the single biggest hit I get for my blog is people stumbling across this post while looking for the lyrics to Toto's Africa. To make the multitude's lives easier, here they are from this site. Now you too can enjoy trying to get it out of your head...

I hear the drums echoing tonight
But she hears only whispers of some quiet conversation
She's coming in 12:30 flight
The moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation
I stopped a nomad along the way
Hoping to find some long forgotten words or ancient melodies
He turned to me as if to say, "Hurry boy, it's waiting there for you"

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I blessed the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

The wild dogs cry out in the night
As they grow restless longing for some solitary company
I know that I must do what's right
As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti
I seek to cure what's deep inside, frightened of this thing that I've become


Hurry boy, she's waiting there for you

It's gonna take a lot to drag me away from you
There's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do
I blessed the rains down in Africa, I blessed the rains down in Africa
I blessed the rains down in Africa, I blessed the rains down in Africa
I blessed the rains down in Africa
Gonna take some time to do the things we never had

Monday, July 09, 2007

Oh, baby...

First, in an unrelated note... This is the slogan on my Cracker Barrel fudge box: "Plow into pleasure." Does anyone else find this to be an odd wording or have I just been spending too much time with the Smart Bitches?

Second, my husband and I are starting to seriously consider attempting to start the process for having another baby sometime in the very near future. This has me completely thrilled and terrified at the same time. I had such horrible morning sickness with Charlie and I had assumed that I would just take the medicine this time if I had trouble but all the meds are incompatible with breast feeding. I hadn't really planned on breastfeeding indefinitely and I think I should be able to make my 1 year goal irrespective of anything else but it does make life so much easier with Charlie. He has so much trouble winding down for sleep (and, yes, that is starting to improve- more later) that a little booby time is the simplest solution. We've worked hard to keep him from only knowing how to go to sleep through nursing but, especially when my husband is out of town, it is sometimes the one thing keeping us mildly sane. Also, Charlie loves the booby. We've dropped most of the easy feedings at this point and the rest will be a real wrench. I still don't find it a transcendental experience but there is something very "motherly" about it and it is such an easy way for mommy to make it better. Weaning will be harder on me than I expected.

The whole out of town thing is quite worrisome as well. My husband tends to travel at least several days every month. We're able to get some sitters and my mom sometimes comes down or we go up to them for the longer trips but I am often at the edge of endurance by the time he gets home if I'm solo now. I can only imagine what it will be like when I'm hormonal and exhausted or when we have 2.

At the same time, Charlie is an intensely social fellow and I think he'll be thrilled at having a sibling. We both think it would be nice to swoop through the intense, babyhood time instead of stretching it. We think we would like to have several children and I would like to be done with pregnancy by 35 or so and I'm 30 now. That isn't a huge time crunch but it does make you aware of where you are. The idea of being pregnant while Charlie is still taking naps is also a big thing. I know he won't hold on to them for too long so, sooner is better than later from that regard. It also seems like it would be nice if we had the next one before Charlie really got used to the single life. And, we're sort of going at it with the assumption that, saving some sort of major medical problem, it would be hard to have a more difficult baby. Charlie has many, many good points but he is, by far, the most difficult sleeper I have ever heard of, save Patrick. My husband commented that at least with colic we would know it would be done in 3 months or so and I have to agree. And, even if we have a child as difficult as Charlie, we have at least gotten 1 to practice on and now have at least 7 sleep books under our belt and I have that whole master's degree that covered everything about babies except sleep so... Of course, we could have a good sleeper who is exceedingly cranky and not nearly so cute and then I would, perhaps, second guess my assumptions, but at least I would be well rested and, as Dr. Sears says, you can handle just about anything during the day if you can just get some sleep at night. Finally, we've noticed that most everyone seems quite pleased with how they spaced their babies with the occasional exception of people who really, really weren't planning to have a baby just then. So, it seems that no matter what we decide, we will likely think we were completely correct in hindsight.

Also, we had said that we would approach this with a not preventing sort of mindset. So, there will be no "command performances." At the same time, I'm temperature charting for a couple of rather unrelated reasons. First, I like to know what's going on with my body. Second, you usually have a milk production dip around the time of ovulation and it's useful to know that's going on. However, with the charting, you rather lose the whole mystery of which days might be optimal so, it feels like we're doing rather more than just not preventing pregnancy but rather less than "trying to conceive" which is leaving me a bit flustered. I'm a bit of a planner and I was ok with the whole "let's see what happens" but I have way too much information to really pretend I don't know if this is a "just for fun" evening or not. Now that you know much more than you ever wanted about my life...

Does anyone have any input?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Housekeeping Question

So, I like to wash my kitchen linens and bath linens together with a nice dollop of bleach. However, that means that it takes a few days to accumulate a load. What do you do with dirty washrags from the kitchen while you wait for the wash? I don't want to mix them in with other things due to mildew concerns.

Monday, July 02, 2007

A return to journalistic integrity...

Or a stunt?

Mika Brezezinski refuses to read Paris Hilton story.

I totally admire her but I'm not loving the guys. Is it just me or is their tone patronizing?

Better than Baby Einstein

Charlie just sat happily in his high chair for 10 minutes while I washed the windows (I have a minor obsession at the moment...) and watched our Roomba clean the kitchen floors.