Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Finding a Voice

I didn't start this blog with the intent of making a chronicle of what my daughter is up to all the time.  It has more or less been that, partially because a huge part of what I do and think about necessarily has her at the center these days, and partially because writing this blog has served a practical function, and I don't have to recount what's new in Fiona's life as often when I see people - they just say, "I've been reading your blog," and we can skip all that.  So that's good.  But I'm still kind of missing the point of starting to write in this space, giving myself a voice without parameters.

Looking back at the posts I've done, it seems like I don't know what sort of voice I want to use here.  Sometimes I'm writing in hopes of sharing some profound wisdom or emotional thing.  Sometimes it's been from the "Man's Guide to Baby Raisin'" with all the blunt description that goes along with it, and every now and then I seemed to delve into the spiritual, or realize I was going to talk about my experience and not the baby all the time, so I mentioned music or teaching.

In a way, that jumble sort of makes sense, though, because I am all of those things.  Those voices, though disparate, are all authentic and make up how I view the world.  The good thing about a blog is that you don't need to use a consistent writing style.  Hell, you don't even have to spell things righte or talk good.  It's something I like and hate about the medium, and the fact that I'm exercising such flexibility in writing is probably going to limit me from ever having much of a following, should I ever start seeking that out.  Though apparently, you can stay at home and make some good money with a well-trafficked blog....

This space has also taken a back seat lately, because it doesn't have due dates, degrees, or loan payments included in the keystrokes.  I'm in the final weeks of writing my master's thesis, and until that's over, it really takes precedence over, well, a lot of things.  So I'll be back after Dec. 10 in more regular fashion, most likely.

In unrelated news, if you're a Richmonder and like beer, Hardywood Park Brewery has a gingerbread stout for the holiday season that tastes like Christmas - Beer Advocate magazine gave it 100/100.  Go get some.


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Crib-Dwelling, the Northern Lights, and Transition Mode

All of a sudden, the crib isn't as terrible a place as it used to be.  This schedule thing, while it's not exactly a magic cure-all, has been pretty successful for getting everyone some sleep in their own beds at night, and for that, some credit needs to go to the genius of a lighted mobile:

Like the Northern Lights over an Alaskan glacier, these softly glowing and swaying orbs of cartoon animal mystique are a breathtaking and awe-inspiring sight for our beholder.  Turn it on, and she can go from restless shouting to immediate, wide-eyed stillness, and the shouting and screaming turns into little pre-verbal cooing as she talks to her glowing little friends dancing above her head.

And, it has a remote, so you can restart it without being seen.

The whole babies and mobiles pairing is not news to anyone, I know, but I never really appreciated it until we set hers up this past week.  And I have to say, I don't only appreciate its utility...I kind of want one myself.  Seeing it calmly float in the dark bedroom, gently turning on and off as the spheres shift up and down, it really does create a calming aura.  I understand the appeal.

Tori says we can put it over our bed when Fiona outgrows interest if I want to.

Mobile-makers: if you stumble upon this post for some reason, here are things I want that this does not deliver:

  • An A/C power cord.  Nobody has C batteries, and I'm sure they don't last too long.
  • With a constant power supply, I'd like an adjustable time-out, like my computer screen offers.  It doesn't stay on long enough, and I can tell that mine just went off because my child is screaming.  Be right back....
  • The ability play music other than tinkly little lullaby crap all the time.  I just have it on mute, and play music from the ipod next to the crib.  But you should include an audio input, or wifi connection to play music from your computer.
I'd pay a few bucks more for that.  But really, the important part - the magical glowing - is spot on.

In other news, this is Tori's last week at home.  Tuesdays and Thursdays are gonna be Dad and Baby.  Work days are still a bit tenuous...need to figure out a long-term solution that better accommodates my voice students (and by accommodates, I mean, still makes it worth my while to have someone watching her and I actually make a little money).  Stay tuned, this is just getting good.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

She'll be a little sore...

Babies go to the doctor a whole lot.  Makes sense - they're quickly growing and developing, and it's good to keep tabs on all that.  Fiona had her 2-month appointment on Monday, and she looked great by all measures, so that's good.  The thing that made the visit worth mentioning was that she got FIVE vaccines that day, and that's even with us opting to postpone the hepatitis B, so it could have been six.

Don't ask me what they were, because I don't remember most of them.  One was in liquid form, but the other four were done two apiece in each leg.

I found a new job I don't want: pediatric lab technician.  All you do all day is make children scream.

I took my unsuspecting daughter into the lab (unsuspecting only because she hasn't learned enough about social awareness yet to know that when other children are screaming and crying, things might go poorly for her, as well), and held her while she was stuck and stung by four needles.  Of course it was ugly, but I knew ahead of time it would not be a fun trip, and I figured I could handle it just fine.  I mean, most nights that I'm up with her, she screams at me for a while before sleeping - it would likely be a lot like that.

We took her home, and she wasn't herself all day.  She slept a good bit, but whenever she woke up, her legs hurt, and it pissed her off.  But she'd start kicking her legs, probably making it worse, and subsequently got more angry, confused, and upset.  It was a terrible cycle...but again, not unexpected, right?

I guess my reaction was really the only unexpected part.  It was really hard to see her in pain, especially being so young and unable to understand what's going on.  She has begun to develop more specific cry sounds, and the one for pain/confusion she used Monday was awful.  I know she needed the shots, but man it's going to be terrible when she needs more.

In other news, the whole "impending storm" thing about being on a schedule?  Kind of like Hurricane Sandy.  I know it's awful for other people, but we largely missed any real damage from it (at least so far).  We're already starting to get longer sleep spans at night - go scheduling!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Gathering Storm

This might get ugly, at least for a while.  Today, we're starting Fiona on a schedule.

In case I've never told you this in person, or you haven't read it before, I know you already know everything about child-rearing, and I will likely ask for your advice on things sometimes.  I also know that there are a great many differing opinions when it comes to babies and schedules.

This is not one of those times where I'm soliciting advice.  You probably did this differently than we are, and it probably worked out great.  If there's one thing I've gathered from hearing the plurality of parenting advice out there, it's that as long as you pay attention to the needs of your kid, whatever approach you use will likely work just fine.

So the idea, in brief, is that life will work in 3-hour increments, starting when Fiona wakes up in the morning:

  • Get changed as soon as time starts, to help wake up.  
    • This bears much resemblance to my dad's wake-up method when I was in school, which was to turn on the lights and pull my covers off, so I know it works.
  • Eat.
  • Stay awake until midway through the 3-hour cycle.  
    • This could be tricky, but we're trying to do stimulating things right after eating - dancing around with music, tactile stuff, anything engaging.
  • Ramp that down as you hit the 1.5 hour mark, then it's nap time for the second half of the cycle.
    • This is tricky, too.  How do you make a baby sleep if they're not tired?  Especially one like ours who does NOT sleep in a crib yet?  In this first 3-hour cycle, the wrap did the trick.  We hope that, given a couple of cycles, she'll start getting tired when it's time to get tired.

There are two major snags in this plan: eating and sleeping (which are two of the three or so things Fiona does in life).  Right now, they happen whenever she wants.  Delays in either result in a pissed off baby, usually pretty quickly.  So for this to work, there will inevitably be times in the coming days where she gets really mad at us for things like putting her in a crib, or not giving her more to eat 45 minutes after she just ate.  The "rules" are not set in stone, of course, but we'll try to stick to it as best we can.

So knowing that this could get ugly for a couple days, we're going for it.  Hopefully the payoff will be a baby sleeping through the night soon!