Friday, August 31, 2007

New Song

My sister came up with a new song...

Since little kids have no real concept of time, she figured the best way to tell Ellie how far we are from our destination is in terms of numbers of screams she has left to go.

99 more wails to go.
99 more wails.
Let one out.
Scream and shout.
98 more wails to go.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Signs of Sleep Deprivation

#1: Loss of motor skills

It's embarrassing how badly the lack of sleep affects one's ability to do seemingly simple things like walking. I would not be surprised if people have started to question my ability to care for an infant if I keep walking myself into walls, or if Michael should be trusted with flight hardware if he keeps missing steps on the stairs. Really... those walls and steps can be tricky S.O.Bs.

#2: Memory loss

Just this morning would be an excellent example of this -
Niffer - What are our conclusions on how last night went?
Michael - Well she slept for 2 hour stretches, right?
Niffer - No, she slept for 4 hours and then 2 hour stretches.
Michael - No, she went to bed at 7:30 and woke up at 9:30.
Niffer - No, that was the night before.
Michael - Remember? You said "I can't believe it's only 9:30, I slept so hard."
Niffer - Yes, but that was the night before, when we didn't watch anything before going to bed.
Michael - We watched something last night?
Niffer - Yes, the remainder of the movie.
Michael - Didn't we do that two nights ago?
Niffer - Hmmm... I don't know.
Michael - Maybe we should start keeping a notebook of her sleeping habits.
Niffer - You're a smart man.

#3: Flawed logic

A good example from two nights ago (I think):
Michael - We humans got this whole thing backwards.
Niffer - What do you mean?
Michael - Like that video of the colt just popping out and being able to run and eat right from the start. It's too bad we have to be born before we can take care of ourselves because of our large brains.
Niffer - Yeah, animals did it right.
Michael - Well I guess puppies are born without their sight.
Niffer - Yeah but that makes sense because they have better vision.
Michael - So they're born earlier because of their huge eyes?
Niffer - Exactly.
Michael - What kind of freakish huge-eyed dogs have you seen lately?
Niffer - Uh... Good point.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


For those of you who believe in evolution, answer me this...
Why haven't we learned how to fall asleep while standing and rocking a baby back to sleep?

For those of you who believe in devine creation, please pass along the suggestion to God for the next time he decides to create a universe with intelligent life forms.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

@$$ kicked by a GIRL

Yes, we're getting our @$$es kicked by a little girl. It's embarrassing. Don't let her cute face and wide happy eyes fool you because every hour, or two if we're lucky, she is awake and ready to start the day. We're losing. We're losing bad.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Will the idiot please stand

Uh, yes. That would be me. Michael came up with an incredibly smart and seemingly obvious theory on why Ellie has not been sleeping.

The time change. EST is two hours ahead of MST so when we put Ellie down for bed at 6:30/7:00 she's thinking it's only 4:30 and thus nap time. An hour later, she's bright-eyed and bushy tailed.

Duh. How stupid can I be? It seemed so obvious and make so much sense.

It's just too bad that it affects the entire night. Ugh.

A friend of mine went through a similar thing when she came back from CO wither her son (same age as Ellie) and she made a comment that she felt like they were dealing with a newborn again because her son was waking up every hour or two.

I wish we could say the same, but the newborn Ellie slept 4-5 hours. Always has. And we thought always would. So we're dealing with something worse. Something much worse. Something pre-newborn. Scary.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Two Fun New Games

How to play Game 1 (a racing the clock game):

Player 1's is to lays on her back and then rolls over onto her stomach. The amount of time spent on her back before rolling over can vary and has no importance. Once on her stomach, she then cries.

Player 2's role is to go over to Player 1 and roll her back over so that she is once again laying on her back. The challenge is to do this within a short pre-fixed period of time. If Player 2 is too slow, then Player 1 may decide that the game is over and may protest in any way she chooses.

When the "round" is complete (marked by Player 1 laying on her back again) then the next round may begin by repeating the steps described above. The object of the game is to complete as many rounds as possible and keep Player 1 happy for as long as possible.

How to Play Game 2 (a guessing game):

Player 1's role is to go to sleep and then wake up and cry, demanding to be put back to sleep. The duration of the sleep period before waking up can vary from 5 minutes to 15 minutes or even to as high as 9 hours (only to be used on rare, bonus rounds).

Player 2's role is to guess what Player 1 needs in order to go back to sleep. Options include any combination of the following:
- Player 2 may swaddle Player 1
- Player 2 may un-swaddle Player 1
- Player 2 may feed Player 1
- Player 2 may bounce Player 1
- Player 2 may make calming "Shhh"ing sounds in Player 1's ears
- Player 2 may rock Player 1
- Player 2 allow Player 1 to suck on Player 2's finger
- Player 2 may roll Player 1 from side to side
- Player 2 may pat Player 1's back in a rhythmic pattern
- Player 2 may sing a song to Player 1

When the "round" is complete (marked by Player 1 sleeping peacefully without any physical contact with Player 2) then the next round may begin by repeating the steps described above. The object of the game is to complete as many rounds as possible and keep Player 1 sleeping for as long as possible.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I know not what I do

Please forgive me, I know not what I do...

Ever heard of that song? It's been stuck in my head since going to the doctor's for Ellie's 4 month check up yesterday.

In a nutshell, she's doing great. She is 50-70th percentile for weight and above 95th percentile for length. She is no longer a little baby.

We asked the pediatrician about sleep training and sadly she recommended waiting until closer to 6 months, and after talking about it together we agreed.

So this means that the hours of crying last night and this morning were unnecessary and I feel horrible about putting my little baby through that. You might wonder why not continue now that we've started and in the end we feel like there is a reason we like our pediatrician and we should trust her (plus my sister said that they teach the same thing in her class - to wait to have the baby learn to sleep until closer to 6 months).

So there you have it. More evidence against my nomination for Mother of the Year.

However, for those who want a quick update on how last night went... Ellie slept for 3-4 hour increments unswaddled! Maybe having her put herself to sleep a couple of times did good stuff for being able to sleep unswaddled. Either way, I think I see hope.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Worst Mom EVER

I know I've already posted 2 things today, but this one will be quick.

I wasn't mentally prepared to have to do nap time alone, since we were hoping to have Ellie learn to sleep this weekend... and UGH!!!!

1 hour and 8 minutes of crying. Strangely she cries strong up until the end, which is even more difficult on me. I'd like to believe that this is harder for me than for her, but I doubt it.

I suck.

Baby Sets New Sleeping Record

Last night the baby slept for 5 minutes. Yes, you heard me right. 5 minutes. And since you're probably confused about how that's a new record because previously she had been known to sleep for 9 hours, I will explain.

Ellie has been on the edge of some sort of funky transition period where she does not like to be swaddled yet needs to be swaddled in order to know how to sleep. Well last night this situation came to a head. Here is a basic summary of how her sleep schedule went:

15 min
15 min
15 min
15 min
10 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
5 min
5 min

At which point we decided to unswaddle her and see if it would do the trick. If not, then we would go ahead and start with helping her learn how to put herself to sleep. We had hoped to wait until this weekend to do that, but 5 minute sleep times were just too much for us to handle. Besides, we figured that if we weren't getting any sleep anyway, we might as well try to make some sort of forward progress.

After unswaddling her, she slept for 30 minutes, at which point it was 1:30 AM. Let the learning begin!

Let me tell you this... having her put her to sleep the first time was by far the worst thing I have ever experienced. We would check in on her every 15 minutes (suggested by a few sources) and though the books say that most children/babies put themselves to sleep within the first hour, ours is apparently more determined or something. She lasted 2 hours before no longer crying. UGH!!!

I guess there is no chance in hell that I'll receive the Mother of the Year Award this year.

Hey! I know you!

I must admit that I was nervous about coming back home from Colorado. I could tell that by the end of the trip Ellie was getting tired of meeting new people. She started to become somewhat clingy to her mom in those last couple of days. I had nightmares that Ellie wouldn't recognize her daddy since who knows how long a baby's memory is? Would she remember him if it had been 2 weeks since seeing him? Ugh. I would feel so bad if she started crying after handing her to his loving embrace.

Luckily, though, she remembered him and even gave him a smile when seeing him. Thank God.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

July Picture Update

I know, I know... I'm way late for the July pictures. My only excuse is that I had company in town at the beginning of August and then left for Colorado for a couple weeks. Please forgive me.

July Pictures

Traveling with the Little One

Well we're back in Maryland now. I'm so tired, but so is Ellie.

All and all traveling with her went well. In both flights, she cried (well, more like screamed on the return flight) during take-off and landing. However, I still don't really see what the big deal about traveling with a baby is. Granted, it's not easy, but I know so many people who just won't do it, let alone do it by themselves.

I'm glad I don't feel that way. But it wasn't easy. It was just different. Maybe the key is to have a different attitude about it. Oh, and to sit in the front row of the plane so that you can stand and rock your baby during the flight.

Other than that, really the only comment I have to make about spending the last 2 weeks alone with Ellie (I was visiting family, but the "alone" was in reference to not having my wonderful husband with me) would be that it really reinforced the whole "I'm a mother" now. I realized that only I was responsible for making sure that someone was around to watch Ellie and only I was responsible for putting her back to sleep when she woke up. I am responsible for this little one and I love it.

Monday, August 20, 2007

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle

The all-knowing "they" say that when my little baby has had enough of being swaddled, she'll let us know. How? I'm not sure. Maybe she would normally break out of the swaddle during the night and continue sleeping? Not our Ellie. We took care of that problem by installing industrial strength velcro to her swaddles.

Four months now and I think she's decided that she's had enough. Or maybe she's beginning to consider the option of life without a swaddle. Either way, I'm tired of waking up every hour or so to switch between the two in order for her to go back to sleep.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Smiling and Standing at the same time

I've become quite familiar with how the back of my baby's head looks because she is almost always facing away from me. However, I do find it adorable that even so, I can still tell when she smiles. Apparently it's impossible for an infant to smile and stand at the same time. Wiggly babies are cute, even from behind.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

She's her mother's daughter

Ellie is definitely my daughter. She has recently taken to talking a lot when she's tired. I've always had the problem of saying things I wouldn't usually say, or having conversations I end up not remembering, when I'm super-tired. My apologies, Ellie, for passing it on to you, but I can now see why it's so entertaining for everyone else.

Additionally, she gets the hic-ups all the time! One of them even scared her today. She's got it bad. Someday I'll apologize for the more annoying genes and associated habits I've passed on.

Friday, August 17, 2007

That's the Ellie I know!

Finally, after a week of not sleeping through the night (there was even one night when she woke up every 2 hours!!), Ellie slept 9 hours straight through again. My mind was saying "Atta girl! That's the Ellie I know!" My heart was saying "Have I told you lately that I love you?" My boobs were saying "Damn, she's back!"

P.S. Happy 4 Month, little one.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Look what I found, Ma!

A few weeks ago Ellie was attacked by a bear. A pink bear, to be more specific. I apologize for not telling you sooner, but everyone is ok. Much to our surprise, Ellie told the bear exactly what she thought of her inappropriate behavior, and then proceeded to spend the next few days telling anyone who would listen the story about how she survived a bear attack.

We didn't know she could talk so much.

Soon the news of the vicious pink bear wore off and life went back to normal. Ellie ran out of people to tell the story and grew tired of hearing it herself.

She returned to sitting back quietly, just taking in as much of the world as possible.

Then we recently went to lunch with Daddy and guess what we found at the brick oven pizza place?

Ellie's voice! Who would have thought that was where she left it??

She squawked, squeaked, quacked and groaned throughout lunch. Both Daddy and I were so surprised that we didn't know what to think of it. It was somewhat embarrassing, and nerve wrecking. Obviously we're still not used to her making noises unless she is upset, so with every squawk, we prepared ourselves for the worse.

However, as it turns out, Ellie was just messing with us. I'm not sure what story she was so excited to share with everyone, but maybe she was reminiscing about the time when she single handedly took on the ornery pink bear.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What the boobs don't know...

Apparently the concept of time zones is foreign to lactating boobs. By the time Ellie wakes up for her 2:00 AM feeding, my breasts have decided to punish me for my seemingly laziness. Did they not get the memo? We're in Colorado now!! It's not fair that I'm punished for the sun not rising at the same exact time across the entire country. Sigh.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Nursing Distractions

I swear that the instant we landed in Colorado, Ellie decided to grow up. She has suddenly (no warning, I swear) started grabbing everything at the table! Ack! I'm not ready for that yet!

Another thing that she has suddenly taken on is being distracted while nursing. New noises make her stop eating to look, which results in me flashing the world more. I can not talk while she's eating or she'll stop to pay attention to what I'm saying. Worst yet, was the ice-maker... when it went off, she bit me. Then when I told my sister about it, she laughed which made me laugh, which once again made Ellie stop to pay attention to me. Her smile showed that she thought it was all pretty funny too.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The story you've all been waiting for...

The airport. I'm sure you're wondering how it went. I'd love to tell you a great story, which I intended to do, but unfortunately (or fortunately) so much stuff has happened in the last few days that I now have better things to write about!

However, I will still give you the shortened version.

Ellie did just fine on the plane, all things considered. Well, let's just say that it wasn't her that upset me. She cried during take-off and landing (I couldn't get her to take the breast!) and was difficult to get to sleep, so why do I say it wasn't her that bothered me?


Ugh! She ended up basically going from 5:00 AM EST to 2:00 PM EST without eating or sleeping. Surprisingly, though, she was in a pretty good mood for most of the day, AND was super-easy to put down to sleep. Huh. Go figure. I kindof like sleep-deprived Ellie.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I'm not laughing at you...

Oh my gosh! Tonight Ellie gave me her first honest-to-god laugh! Every night I give her the counting kisses and this time, when I got to "7 loud kisses on a pretty belly button" she let out a real giggle! Damn I wish I could have seen it! Unfortunately I had my face stuck into a baby belly at the time. Doh.

Messing with Mommy

Sleep. Who needs it? Really?

Ellie was sleeping just fine. She usually slept for 7-9 hours on a consistent basis. A few days ago, I posted an entry about needing to sleep train her, and that might have given people the impression that she no longer slept so well.

As it turns out, I've been reading a book about how to teach children to fall asleep on their own. In it there is a sentence or two that says "if your baby is less than four months, and she sleeps through the night, then continue whatever it is you were doing. You do not have problems."

Huh. That makes me feel better. We don't have sleep problems. Case closed.

Or do we?

Ever since I came to the conclusion that we are doing just fine and that Ellie sleeps great, she has been waking up throughout the night. Ugh. Go figure.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'm still alive

For those of you who were wondering, yes I'm still alive. The plane to Colorado did indeed land safely. However, I'm exhausted and haven't been in the right mood to type up any post... but not all is lost! I have some great ideas in mind, so maybe that will give you something to look forward to. And heck, if they end up not being so funny and entertaining afterall, we'll blame it on the lack of sleep. It's a win-win situation really. Now I must sleep. Again.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Don't forget to pack your underwear!

I haven't mentioned the fact that I'm visiting Colorado this week yet because I've mostly been in denial. I'm so excited to see people again because I certainly do NOT see my friends often enough and it will be nice to spend more time with my family. On top of that, I just plain miss my mountains!

However, I'm so nervous about traveling, alone, with Ellie. And thus the denial.

But let's ignore that for the time being. We'll just assume that traveling with her will go smoothly and it will be no big deal.

Let's talk about packing... I have no real good idea of what to bring with me, so I think I'm going to bring just about everything except the kitchen sink (luckily my sister has one of those, so we should be ok). The funny thing about packing, though, is that I'm not nervous about forgetting to bring something that I'll need for the baby... but I certainly hope I don't end up in Colorado without any clean underwear!!


Note to self:
When procrastinating until the last day to pack for your first trip alone with an infant, it is not wise to experiment with sleep/nap arrangements at the same time.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Alert the press!

I believe it has been more than two days now since Ellie has given us one of her award-winning cries in the car seat. I know what you're thinking, so let me just go ahead and answer all your questions now:

Yes, I did say that Ellie hates her car seat.
Yes, this is the same baby.
No, I did not drug my baby to get her to shut up.
Yes, she is indeed still alive and able to scream.
Yes, she was actually strapped in her seat inside the car, not tied to the top.
No, she was not passed out - though that's another miracle to tell another day.
Yes, I did indeed remember to bring her with me.
No, I did not change car seats.
No, it is still too hot in the car.
No, the sun is still shining on her face.
Yes, she still has many many many toys in the seat with her.
No, it is still too cold in the car.
Yes, the car seat is still in the backseat of the car, not up in the front with me.
No, she's not swaddled.
No, she's not gagged.
Yes, Ellie is smart enough to realize she's in the same seat, in the same car.

And finally,
Your guess is as good as mine on what changed.

Did I miss any?

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Friday, August 03, 2007

Job Hunting

Searching for a new job in a new state with a new baby is not exactly the easiest thing to do. To date I've applied to 2 jobs and sent my resume to another company. Not too shabby for a month and a half of searching. Michael has even applied to a couple himself, but he's got it even worse than I do because he doesn't get hour-long nap times to quickly search for openings while he's at work. Silly employers expecting their current employees to work.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mmmm.... Diaper Soup

I swore it would never be me, but I am ashamed to admit that I have joined the ranks of parents who talk to their non-parental friends about the consistency of my child's diaper (Niffer hangs her head in shame).

Yes. I did it. I'm sorry.

And just so that I do not have the urge to give my friends such un-wanted details of parenthood again, I thought it might be good to get it all out in the open, for the entire public (or at least those reading this blog) to see. My apologies in advance but in my defense, you do not need to continue reading.

Mustard soup. That's the consistency of what comes out of my little girl. It's gross, I know, especially those times like The Diaper Incident of May 2007. However, at least I know it could be worse... at least it smells like buttermilk because I breastfeed. You have to take your winnings when you get them.