Weekend Update in Pictures and Words

My weekend was extended into Monday because I had the stomach flu and my wife had to stay home to look after Avery while I laid in bed all day. So today is my back to reality day. Today is my Monday. 

On Friday when my wife got home from work we put up our new family sized tent in the backyard to check it out before we go camping on the 24th. Avery had a lot of fun. 

 That’s going to be the summary of every day this weekend – Avery had fun. It really doesn’t take much to make this baby happy these days. Of course, it also doesn’t take much to set her off into a whiney fit… She has a lot of emotions. 

On Saturday we went to a friend’s house an hour and a half away and Avery slept blissfully in the car both ways. What a change from her newborn days… She actually LIKES the car now. At our friend’s house Avery played in her first bouncy castle and at her first water table. She also loves playing with (or watching) other kids, and when our friend’s 2 year old kept beckoning for Avery to “come play!” my heart melted a bit and I longed for a second baby. 

Saturday night Avery was really fussy, and seemed really gassy. She was flinching and jerking like she was having jabbing pains, barfed a couple of times, and even while bed sharing all night with me she would wake crying and would whimper in her sleep. I thought it was because I had eaten a lot of dairy at our friend’s house (not an uncommon reaction to dairy), but in hindsight she may have had the stomach bug first… 

On Sunday it was HOT. 31°C (87°F), which is something we’re not used to here after a cold, dreary spring. I ran to the store first thing in the morning and bought Avery a cheap little kid pool, and although we spent most of the day indoors, we braved the heat for an afternoon splash. She LOVED it. Avery had a lot of fun. 

We’ve also been pretty lenient with Avery’s exploring, trying not to helicopter while still making sure she’s safe. We locked a couple of the kitchen cabinets, but we left some unlocked so she can play with pots and pans and measuring cups. Avery had a lot of fun. She’s naked because it was just so hot… 

Also on Sunday my wife built the entire outdoor run for the chicken coop. All that’s left before the big reveal is to add the steel roof to the run and to paint the trim. 

Sunday night I was awake all night with stomach cramps and vomiting. Avery was in bed with us because I couldn’t be getting up with her all night in that state, and she stays asleep all night in our bed. At least we had that working for us. 

By morning I had stopped barfing, but I still had stomach cramps and I was super weak and exhausted. My wife stayed home from work and looked after Avery. It went great as long as I wasn’t in the room with them… Avery did not like that I was laying huddled under a blanket ignoring her. I think she was worried when her Mo would pull her off of me because I couldn’t handle the climbing on my stomach. She didn’t understand why she couldn’t have her mommy. 

But today I feel pretty much completely better, and Avery is much happier being able to climb all over me again. 

Honestly though… I liked the break. Even though I felt like shit, I relished being able to lay in bed and not worry about Avery. And now I’m happier and refreshed going into the rest of the week. 

Have a great week, everyone! 

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Weekend update: Easter

It was a beautiful spring long weekend. My wife got four days off (her new job gives both Easter Friday and Monday off!) and we only spent one day away from home. It was ideal. Busy, but at least we were busy in our own home doing our own stuff. Oh, and we were both sick, which was exhausting. We caught Avery’s bug. 

Friday 

I prepared an Easter dinner to have with my mom, and I managed to get the house cleaned too, all while taking care of Avery. It was one of those super mom days that balances out the days where I can’t even seem to get dressed by 5pm. My wife got a lot more progress done on the chicken coop, and my mom got a good visit in with Avery. 

Saturday 

I got some plants for the garden transplanted into bigger pots until all risk of frost has passed (mid May), and we sat on our first pub patio of patio season. Avery couldn’t get enough of the fries. 

Sunday 

We went to the in-laws for Easter dinner and Avery had a great time interacting with all the family she used to have stranger anxiety around. Except for her 1 year old cousin… She still has some issues to work out with him.

Monday

I had to go to work to invigilate an exam and Avery stayed home with her Mo. More coop building ensued, and some relaxing in the afternoon. 

Sleep

Since I last wrote about the floor bed arrangement, we have changed gears with sleep arrangements again. She seems to have matured a bit in the needing comfort area, because when she wakes through the night (which is still every 30 min to 2 hours) she doesn’t wail or cry in a panicked way. She cries in a complaining way now. So for a little over a week I have been putting her to sleep by nursing in the chair in her room, and then transferring her to her crib. The first transfer of the evening is hard. She needs to be really asleep to go for it, so it can take an hour and a half still. But after that all it usually takes to get her back down is a quick (2 to 15 minute) rock. She sometimes rolls around to get comfy after you put her back down, too, so she seems aware that she’s going back in the crib alone. 

The problem I’ve had over the weekend is that I’m too exhausted to rock her back to sleep. My legs feel like they’re on fire and I just don’t have the will power and I instead sit down in the chair with her. Sometimes she nurses, sometimes she just cuddles. She falls asleep, but so do I. A couple of hours pass. This isn’t helping our “training” because she still spends half the night sleeping with me, and it doesn’t benefit me like bed sharing did because I’m so uncomfortable. 

My wife took some of the night waking shifts over the weekend which was great for our “training”, but she can’t keep it up once she’s back to work this week. This will be my greatest challenge – staying the fuck awake through the night. 

Weekend Update: crawling practice 

This weekend was nice. Saturday was a spring projects day where my wife worked on the chicken coop and I worked on deep cleaning the house, one wall of one room at a time. Baby steps. Avery was feeling good (finally 100% over her cold) and super into independent play on Saturday, so we were really productive. My dad also visited for a few hours – he’s moving back to our province and was apartment hunting. Avery hasn’t let him get close to her since she was 1 month old (bad case of stranger danger that was heartbreaking for my dad), and this weekend she seemed to have completely gotten over that. They played and cuddled and it was great. Just took some patience and gentle encouragement. 
Sunday I had a board meeting and Avery was more clingy, so I didn’t get anything done. I felt pretty shitty about life by the end of the day. I also hadn’t had a break all weekend because I was watching Avery and cleaning and working 24/7 so my wife could get good coop building time in. But it paid off:

*this is the base of the coop, insulated and sturdy as hell. Walls and roof will go on top, run will be attached to the side, and underneath the coop is an extended run area. My wife drew up the design herself and sourced pretty much all materials either for free from hoarder family members, or for cheap from the Habitat for Humanity Restore. Note the classy faux hardwood vinyl flooring that will be the floor of the coop. 
The big update from this weekend:

Avery is so close to crawling! She gets up on all fours and rocks back and forth. I rarely did Tummy Time with her because she hated it. There was definitely some pressure to do it more so she would build upper body strength and learn to crawl. But I believe babies will learn things when they are ready regardless of how you push them toward opportunities. They might learn faster with pushing, but I’m not concerned with having her grow up any faster. Anyway, she got there on her own. Just a little more practice and she’ll be mobile. Hopefully independent sleep will start to develop when she reaches this new independence milestone!

Weekend Update

Our weekend was busy and full of little parenting worries. Not my favourite kind of weekend. 

Worry 1: pressure to leave my baby

Friday night was tainted by an emotional discussion between my wife and I. We’ve been getting a lot of offers from people wanting to babysit Avery so my wife and I can have a date night. I want to be emotionally available to my wife, and she really needs some alone time with me after 7 months of always coming second. But, I’m just not ready to leave Avery with someone other than my wife. She’s been going through a long phase of “making strange,” and my instincts are to slowly help her ease into social situations. Those offering to babysit assure me that it’s ok if she cries the whole time – they can handle it. No offense, but I’m not worried about the adults in that situation. So my wife and I continue to debate how and when we’re going to leave the baby with someone else for a date night. 

Worry 2: Eczema

We decided to miss Avery’s last swimming lesson of the season because her eczema spots on her cheeks were open and weeping and we didn’t want to get pool water in them. It was sad to miss because Avery LOVES the pool and we love seeing her having fun. 

Mid-Saturday-morning we went to a parenting book club meeting at the public library. That was nice. I love talking with other like minded parents. Hearing that others bed share and struggle with feminist parenting dilemmas, and just being around people who don’t pass judgment on my parenting is refreshing. It makes me feel like I suddenly have a cheer squad backing me. 

Saturday afternoon we ran errands, did a lot of cooking, and I did some work. The house did not get cleaned, I did not shower or even look in a mirror. Self care fail. 

Sunday morning we left for the city where we picked up some used building supplies for our chicken coop (my wife’s building us a chicken coop this spring!) and then we were off to Avery’s cousin’s first birthday party. My sister-in-law did such an amazing job throwing a Wiggles themed party – everything was rainbow and it looked like a Pinterest party gone right. 

Worry 3: my baby being labeled as anti-social 

At these kinds of social functions, though, Avery tends to get passed around a lot. She doesn’t like it, and she gets labeled as not liking people or as being a mommy’s girl. We’re already working on teaching Avery (and friends and family) about consent, and don’t want physical interaction to be forced upon her. If she cries and gets upset when someone new takes her, I want to let her come right back to her safe zone (with her Mo or I). I like to slowly introduce her to people and ask if she wants to go to them (even though we kind of have to infer her answer based in body language right now…)  But others out there believe in letting her work out her fears through tears. Unfortunately I pried her out of several people’s arms at the party when my wife had passed her around, and by the end I started to get frustrated. People assumed there was something wrong with her because she was being so “anti-social”. They even got the baby thermometer out, assuming she must be sick. Nope, I know my baby. She’s not sick, she’s sick of the grabbing hands. So that had me feeling quite judged as a parent, whether intentional or not. Oh and note to self – don’t admit to bed sharing around old school parents…. 

Worry 4: constipation 

Becuase of all the stimulation on Sunday, Avery didn’t breastfeed well. I only got her to have one small feed through the entire day. By evening, I noticed her straining more than usual. She woke a few times during the night crying (which she doesn’t normally do while next to me). This morning she struggled to pass some hard rabbit-like poops. I’m focusing on offering her the boob all the time throughout the day today, and her solids are going to be prunes and pears. 

I have to call the doctor today to ask what to about eczema that isn’t clearing. It keeps blistering and scabbing and weeping and I don’t want it to get infected. The corticosteroid is doing nothing and I’m concerned that overuse is going to thin the skin. 

I just want to look at my baby and feel like she is perfectly happy, healthy, and carefree. Do we ever get to that point as parents, or will there always be something to worry about? 

This post was written in reponse to a daily prompt:

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