Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Rolling with Laughter

This afternoon, whilst she was playing in her cot, I put Little E on her front and she had her head up and was smiling and having a good look around. And then she very deliberately lifted up one arm, gave a good shove with her leg, and rolled over. She looked a bit surprised, but pleased with herself. Although I made a big fuss of her she declined to repeat the trick. This was the first roll since the first one ever (a month ago) - we were beginning to think she had forgotten how to do it!

This evening D undressed Little E for her bath and gave her a big kiss as they were walking to the bathroom. She laughed with delight. It was lovely!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

First Mandarine Crop

This is what happens when you lavish a tree with inattention, ignorance and neglect:


And there are still lots left!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

To Swaddle or Not to Swaddle

Ever since she was born, Little E has been wrapped up like a  caterpillar to sleep. Swaddling is supposed to comfort newborn babies, and assist them to sleep by preventing them from hitting and scratching themselves. Little E very quickly got to the point where she would not fall asleep unless tightly swaddled, or, if she did manage it without the wraps, would wake up soon after.

For the past few weeks she has begun crying whilst being wrapped up, but has then relaxed as soon as they are on and she is in her bed. However, we have had to become trickier and more precise about exactly how the swaddles go on, as the bigger and stronger she gets, the better she is at unwrapping herself. Given the hand development that has occurred in the last couple of weeks, once her hands are out she will almost instantly pull or knock her dummy out. Of course she does not seem to appreciate that it is her who has removed the dummy - she appears to think a large, invisible giant has ripped it from her mouth, and the discovery that it is lying on the blanket next to her is always met with unamused wails. I also had started to wonder how she would ever transition from being swaddled to sleeping just under blankets - I had visions of chasing a two year old around the house and trying to lie her on the table to wrap her up to sleep!

A few weeks ago, a friend suggested we use a "miracle blanket" and kindly loaned us her son's old ones. These are great, but Little E is getting too long for them and I worried that they were cramping her legs. Recently we have been using them without the foot pouch (ie, just using them to pin her arms to her sides).

A few times during the day recently I have tried putting Little E down for naps in just a grobag sleeping bag. Because it leaves her arms free, it takes her much longer to fall asleep, and although she has managed it a few times for daytime naps, they are not as long as if she is swaddled and I hadn't been brave enough to try it at night.

We hadn't come to any decision about what to do, but last night things hit critical point. I suppose after four nights of 8.5-9 hours sleep we were due for a hard one again! We had a nice day at Mum & Grandma's, but E did not sleep quite as much as usual and was very tired by about 7.30. We tried to wrap her, to be met with the usual grizzling and complaining, which escalated into full blown howls. Patting and singing in the cradle, and eventually walking and patting and singing whilst still wrapped did not help. The second I lay her on the table to unwrap her she was happy (although still wide awake).
We decided to put her in the grobag. This meant that she needed to sleep in her big cot (in her own room) rather than the cradle, because she has gotten so big that when she throws her arms around they hit the cradle bars. She has had some daytime sleeps in the cot, but never overnight. Having her in the cradle next to our bed is such a convenience I have been reluctant to graduate her into the cot and her own room. I also worry that I won't hear her as quickly as if she was right next to me, and consequently she will have to grizzle/cry longer, wake up more thoroughly, and be harder to get back to sleep. Also the anti-SIDS mob suggest keeping the baby in parents' bedroom until at least 6 months. However, it was clear that the usefulness of swaddling, and therefore the cradle, had come to an end, so I stuck her in the grobag and into her cot at about 8.00 and decided to see how she went.
By 10.00, her arms were still flailing frantically, she was knocking her dummy out every few minutes and then crying because it was gone and her head was thrashing from side to side. She was due to eat anyway, so I took her into bed with me, fed her and she fell asleep in my arms (still in the sleeping bag). I carefully transferred her back to her cot. She woke up instantly, and the flailing resumed. Until this point her bedroom lights were on very low (the light has a dimmer switch) so I could see what she was doing. I then turned them off completely, and sat next to her cot sticking the dummy back in every few minutes. She almost fell asleep a few times but kept waking herself up. Around midnight I decided she might be cold despite the grobag, and added a blanket, tucked as tightly into the sides of the cot mattress as I could manage. I sat leaning over the cot, pressing both her hands to her chest with one hand and patting her with the other. Either exhaustion, or half an hour or so of this, did the trick and she finally fell asleep.
I woke up at 3.30 panicking because I hadn't heard a squeak out of her for hours, before remembering she was in the cot. I snuck into her room and she was fine. At 4.30 she woke up and I bolted out of bed to put the dummy back in. At 5.00 I did the same thing. And at 5.15. This time she was properly awake and 15 minutes of patting and hand restraining were to no avail. I decided to try swaddling her on top of the sleeping bag and, surprisingly, she seemed relatively happy with just the grobag and miracle wrap (as opposed to the miracle wrap topped by a flannelette swaddling cloth). At any rate it put her back to sleep around 5.45, and she stayed that way until about 8.00.
At 8.00 she woke up hungry and grumpy. She ate and had a brief play in her play gym and green chair whilst I had breakfast. I then stuck her back in the grobag, but this time with her arms stuffed inside it. We did try this once quite some time ago and she hated it, but today has been asleep for nearly 2 hours. We are supposed to be at mothers' group this morning, but I decided that hopefully getting back to the 9-hours-at-nighttime routine is more important. If I knew she was going to sleep for 2 hours I would have had a nap as well!

Friday, July 9, 2010


Last night, Little E, aged 13 weeks and 5 days, slept for 8.5 hours!!!

She had a "dream feed" (D gives her a bottle without waking her up) at 10:00pm and she was pretty unenthusiastic about it, drinking about 80ml instead of the usual 100ml and taking quite a while to do it. She has been doing tihs a bit lately, so we are hopeful that sometime soon she may not need the dream feed at all, and may sleep from 8:00 or so until morning. A 16 week old baby at our mother's group apparently does this, and I was very impressed when I heard about it, but now it is seeming like a not-so-unrealistic prospect. 

At about 5:00am she was stirring, so I reached into the cot, gave her a pat and her dummy, expecting that it wouldn't work and we would be getting up for food in a few minutes. Instead we both went back to sleep for another 80 minutes or so. Now to figure out what the magic was last night, and to repeat it tonight!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Worst Walk Ever

We had a perfectly pleasant morning: my friend & her 18 month old  Little H came over at about 9:30. Little E was falling asleep as they arrived, and slept for for most of their visit. Litltle H played in the garden whilst the mummies had tea and crumpets and schemed about a week down south that we are planning in a few months time. They left at about 11:00 so Little H could have his nap at home.

Little E and I then walked to Floreat Forum to buy nappies and go to the library. She grizzled a bit on the way to the shops, but then fell asleep in the pram. The pram is a bit hit and miss at the moment: sometimes she is quite content in it - lots of fist sucking and thoughtful staring, other times constant complaining. She woke up whilst we were still at the shops (incidentally, two minutes after she woke up the complex's fire alarm went off and everyone had to leave - I assume the place hasn't burnt down) -  but was ok until about halfway home when she decided she was hungry. Really hungry. Seeing as I could not magically transport us into the lounge room, it took about another 10 minutes to get home and she screamed (literally screamed) the whole way. (I might add at this point that she had eaten less than two hours previously). Toy dangling and talking and bribing with the dummy did not help. Nothing helped. She howled so hard she cried real tears, which I have only seen her do twice before, when extremely worked up.

When we got home her slave immediately produced lunch and she gobbled it, but for the first few minutes stopped every few seconds to give another sob, and to stare at the mean slave- who-denies-food accusingly. She then fell asleep on my chest for a bit, woke up, and had several huge spews requiring two changes of clothes, probably because she swallowed so much air during all the crying. Then I tried to put her down to play, and she cried some more. She cried every time I put her down for over an hour. I stuck her in the green bnouncy chair for two minutes whilst I made myself lunch that I could eat with one hand, and she hung onto the frog with one fist the whole time, still crying. Finally I walked around the house for ages, then sat on the couch with her on my shoulder until she fell asleep. I then tried to put her in her bed and she half woke up and cried some more, but then settled down and finally fell asleep.

After sleeping for half an hour she woke and ate (again) then cried and spewed (again). She then reluctantly consented to lie in her play gym and play for 15 minutes, but very grudingly and interspersed with grizzles. She then cried some more and we worked our way through most of a Coldplay album whilst walking around the house. By then I had really had enough and stuck her in her cot, where she blew raspberries, had a conversation with the shaft of sunlight on the wall, grizzled a bit more so as to remind me she still wasn't very happy, then passed out.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story is, except that fortunately we don't have many days like this. I'm not sure how people whose babies are frequently and inexplicably upset cope with it - I'm assuming that all the unhappiness was due firstly to the perception that food was being unreasonably withheld when normally it is produced within a few minutes of it being requested, and secondly feeling sick from all the crying and gobbling.

Now that she is asleep I am feeling philosophical and Anne-of-Green-Gables-ish and am content to say that tomorrow's a fresh day with no mistakes - although we will see if that lasts if the crying starts again before D gets home!
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