Monday, March 22, 2010

Visitors = No Sleep For Baby?

Does your baby’s nap schedule change when you have visitors?

I’m not talking about the inevitable excitement that your baby experiences when new faces are in the house. A baby is bound to be a little more wound up and restless than normal when new people are around.

I’m talking about purposely changing a baby’s nap routine so that the baby is awake as much as possible when the guests are over.

When our baby was little, she slept just as well, if not better, in someone’s arms as she did in her crib. Having visitors over made almost no impact on her naps, because she was able to sleep while someone held her. True, she maybe didn’t sleep as much because she wasn’t as comfortable with the visitors as she was when my husband or I held her, but she still slept when she was tired.

Now, she only really sleeps in her crib. If we try rocking her to sleep, she arches her back and fights it.
During the last two days, many situations have presented themselves where it appeared to be a “good” idea to keep our daughter awake instead of letting her sleep.

Yesterday afternoon a friend called me, wondering if I’d like to go on a walk with her and bring our babies along in strollers. I thought it sounded great; unfortunately, my baby had just gone down for a nap. I told her we’d be ready to go in an hour, figuring she’d be up from her nap by then.

She wasn’t up from her nap, and I debated whether I should leave her with her dad while I walked. I leave her quite often with him, but I knew she’d be hungry when she woke up. After weighing the pros and cons, I woke her, fed her, and we went for an hour-long walk.

She took a quick nap after we got home, and we were off again, this time to a get-together with my friends. When we came home, I discovered that her grandparents (my in-laws) were coming to stay overnight. My baby was beyond tired, so I put her down for a nap. Her grandma and grandpa were, of course, 
disappointed that she was asleep when they arrived. I went in to feed her at about 9:30, and could tell she would easily sleep all night if I let her. Instead, feeling bad for her grandparents, I brought her out to play. She played until 11:30pm, which is WAY past her normal bedtime.

The next morning, everyone wanted to go out for breakfast. I had already put our baby down for her usual morning nap, and I could tell everyone would like to settle on a definite time for departure for breakfast. This time, I was firm – “If you would like to set a time to leave for breakfast, that is fine with me. The baby and I will just have to stay home from breakfast if she isn’t up yet.” They decided to wait for her to wake up.

By the time we were done with breakfast, she was ready for another nap. Instead of coming directly home, which is what I would have preferred, everyone decided to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things. Then, when we got home, Grandma and Grandpa wanted to play with the baby some more, of course. She finally got her nap in when they left.

By the time Saturday night rolled around, our baby was exhausted, crying inconsolably, and I was feeling all kinds of different emotions. First, I was feeling guilty and mad at myself for not standing up for her and letting her sleep when she was tired. Secondly, I was mad at my in-laws. Even though they didn’t really do anything wrong, I felt pressure to keep our baby awake because of their presence. Third, I was mad at my baby, because she wouldn’t stop crying. (Yes, also ridiculous, but it had been a long couple of days for me too!)

I made a decision right then and there that we wouldn’t have a repeat of the last couple of days. Yes, I understand that, sometimes, babies have to be woken, because parents need to go places, and the baby can’t stay home alone. However, when it comes to visitors coming over and desiring to play with the baby, they can wait until she wakes up from her naps, and they can say goodbye for a little while if she needs to go down for a nap.  Adults can understand and deal with disappointment. A baby can’t very well understand why she is being woken up and kept in a constant state of over-tiredness.

I’m going to be firm on this. Although people may have a strong desire to spend time with our baby, my desire for her to be healthy and well-rested is much stronger. Even though I might really want to get out and socialize with my friends, I’m not going to do it at the expense of her sleep.

And so, another lesson has been learned the hard way. It’s not the first on the list, and I’m positive it won’t be the last.  

Friday, March 19, 2010

Play Dates: Germ Factories?

I’m a social person. I enjoy getting out and talking with other moms, especially other moms with babies. If they breastfeed, it’s an added bonus, because it means we will have lots to talk about.

My baby and I laid pretty low this winter. I felt like I wanted to keep her protected from germs during flu season. Now that spring is upon us, I’m much more open to getting together with other people. In fact, this week alone, there are three play dates we are attending.

I’m not sure what your experiences have been with play dates, but  mine usually go something like this: There are blankets on the floor, everyone brings some toys to share, and all of the babies are sitting up on the blankets or lying on their backs or stomachs. It’s a free for all with toys – each baby can play with whichever toy strikes his fancy. Toys go in mouths, back on the blanket, and into another baby’s mouth.

Part of me really doesn’t mind this, but another part of me is fighting the urge to sanitize every toy that my baby is about to play with. I know she’s at an age now (almost 8 months old) where she can fight off a cold pretty well, and it might even do her immune system some good. However, no one can deny that having a baby with a cold is a pretty miserable state of affairs – for both the baby and the mommy.

Another aspect of this is the huge differences in the way parents handle their own children being sick. When my baby is sick, we don’t attend play dates. If we get together with people, I keep her away from the other babies, and I don’t let other children play with her toys. I would feel terrible knowing I caused another baby to get sick. I know that not all parents share my philosophy on this, though, and would be all too willing to allow their sick baby come into contact with my healthy baby. Does this bother me? I haven’t decided yet.

When I start to panic, I think about all of the germs we come into contact without even realizing it: The shopping cart at the grocery store, the products at the grocery store, my car door handle, my car keys, playground equipment, library books. Is there really a way to completely avoid germs?

I don’t agree with doing everything the way my parents and grandparents did when it comes to raising children, but I think I agree with the way they handled germs. Sure, we washed our hands before eating and after going to the bathroom, and we bathed regularly, but that was about it. We played outside in the dirt, we played with other children, sick or healthy, and they didn’t worry too much about it. Somehow we all lived to adulthood, and I have a feeling my daughter will too, play dates or not. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Baby's First Easter

Hubby and I just went to Target to buy a binder for one of his school projects. Even though we promised to only buy what we went in for, we, like normal, ended up with a heck of a lot more than a binder.

For our baby, we bought a reusable swim diaper, swim hat, swimming shirt (SPF 50, baby!),
and shorts/t-shirt outfit. I thought that was pretty reasonable, since we've been needing to get her a swimming suit, and the outfit was on a great sale.

All reason went out the window when we caught a glimpse of the Easter aisle.

We've been talking about getting her an Easter basket, which makes sense to me, because she'll use it every year. We found one we liked, and took it off the shelf. An Easter basket needs Easter grass, though, right? We grabbed a pack of that. Our baby isn't old enough to eat candy this year, so we decided it would only be fair to pick out a toy for her to have. We decided on a Little People Easter set. Even though she can't eat hard-boiled eggs or really participate in egg-dyeing, we still thought it would be a fun experience for her to look back on in pictures. Add that egg dyeing kit to the cart.

It went on and on.

I'm curious what other parents do for their baby's first Easter. I'm sure some do nothing, since the baby has no clue what's going on anyways. I bet there are others who go all out. It seems like stuffed animals would be a popular choice for an Easter gift for a baby.

What did you do for your baby's first Easter?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Uplifting Words, Positive Reminder

Sometimes it's hard to put complete trust in God. There are times when problems come up in life - problems that are emotional, financial, relational, whatever. I look back on my life, though, and I've been blessed beyond what I could ever imagine. We've always been able to pay our bills, we've been blessed with good health, and we have wonderful friends and family. We don't deserve any of it, and yet God still continues to bless us. How awesome is that?

I read a great blog about this today. You can read it by clicking here.

Gas Leak - Rants and Raves

Some issues going on behind the scenes during our gas leak ordeal:

  • I had to pee SO BADLY! I was about to pee my pants BEFORE we left our friends' house, but decided to hold it until we got home because our daughter was so tired and so fussy. Little did I know I wouldn't be able to go into my apartment for quite awhile. A kind neighbor drove me to a bar on the corner, and the kind bartender let us use the bathroom without buying any drinks :)
  • My poor baby was so tired. She was beyond tired. She had reached the point of no return, where nothing could comfort her, where she would burst into inconsolable crying for no reason at all. Instead of putting her to bed, we got to stand outside, sit in cop cars, or sit in ambulances. Luckily, after breastfeeding her in the ambulance, she went to sleep on the ambulance bed. They even let her keep her ambulance blanket and teddy bear!
  • This brings me to my next point: The police, firemen, EMT, and ambulance driver were AWESOME. They were SO, so sweet, and kind, and caring. I can't say enough good things about the way they treated us.
  • Was everyone sweet and caring? No. Our neighbors were SO upset that they had to leave their apartments, and they openly were upset with US for it. They did nothing but complain and talk badly about us (in front of us). I'm sorry, would you rather I let you die in your sleep from inhaling natural gas,  or allow you to blow up if you decided to light a candle? Come ON! Yeah, it was late, but it wasn't that late, and it was a Friday night. And yeah, it was cold, but it wasn't that cold - it was in the 40's! Honestly, what should I have done? 
  • There was some uncertainty as to whether I should have called the police or whether opening the windows and running fans would have been enough. In my opinion, when a problem involves a gas leak, there's no reason for a person to try to fix it themselves. It's not worth the potential risks.
  • Our landlord and maintenance man were both notified, and both showed up. Maybe now they will believe us that that old gas stove needs to be replaced! We've complained about it before, and nothing ever gets done.
  • I've felt nervous that we don't have a carbon monoxide detector in our home. Hopefully this will be the push my husband and I need to go pick one up.

Gas Leak - The Story

The three of us got home around 10:00pm yesterday after spending time with friends. The second I stepped into our apartment building, I smelled strong natural gas. When we opened the door to our apartment, the smell got about 100 times stronger. Our stove is a very old gas stove, and I knew that that's probably where the gas was leaking from.

My husband went inside and saw that a burner was on but not lit. He turned it off, I immediately went outside with our daughter, and he followed. I wasn't sure whether I should call someone or not or whether we should air the apartment out ourselves. I decided to call 911. We live in a very small town, crime is very low, and I figured it wouldn't be a huge problem if I called 911 and they directed me to someone else if they decided I hadn't called the right person.

Turns out they were glad I called. One cop car showed up, and they could smell the gas from the outside. They must have notified a bunch of people, because within minutes, I could hear sirens coming from all over the place. More police cars showed up, a couple of firetrucks, and also and ambulance. They got everyone out of the building (4 people, 6 including us), and got to work ventilating and testing the air in the apartments. 

It was cold outside, so they gave me permission to sit in the back of the police car with my baby. Her first (and better be last!) ride in a police car! After awhile, we moved to the back of an ambulance, which was more comfortable. 

I have no idea how long this whole ordeal took, but they let us know when the coast was clear and everyone could go back in. They told me it was good I had called (I still felt unsure as to whether I had done the right thing).

I'm glad everything turned out alright and no one was hurt!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Baby: The Sleep Pro

There's a new baby living in our house these days. The old one was fussy, fought nap and bedtimes, and was hard to figure out. The new one goes to sleep without any sort of fight and is cheerful when she's awake.

I'm not sure why this change took place in her. A big part of me thinks it's because we let her cry herself to sleep a couple of days ago. It was after that that the big change took place in her. I let her cry for about 10 minutes before each nap, and by bedtime that night, she didn't put up any fuss anymore. For the last two days, she goes to sleep easily, and naps for much longer periods of time.

We all know the old saying,"The grass is always greener." Back when my baby was fussy and didn't sleep well, I wished she'd sleep for hours. Now that she takes long naps and sleeps well at night, I miss her and wish she needed me more!