Tag Archives: 4 months


Well, hello. Ahem. Anybody still out there? Soooo … it’s been awhile. I guess I needed a break or something. Actually, that would be “or something” because it’s not so much that I needed a break from blogging (I mentally narrate my day in blog posts; it’s sad) as it is … other stuff. Part of it was the realization that many of my posts were causing concern among certain friends and family members as to my mental and emotional stability. I mean, I don’t want to make people think I’m about to go over the edge, here! And part of it was the realization that lately I’ve been feeling a lot like I’m about to go over the edge, here.

My stock answer when people ask me what it’s like, having two kids, is “It’s kicking my ass!” This is said – and meant – semi-jocularly, but the fact of the matter is that it’s also objectively true about 75% of the time. I constantly feel frazzled, stretched too thin, unfocused, inadequate, lacking direction, dysfunctional, and frustrated. In short, I am a BUSHEL BASKET OF FUN these days. Whoo. During one of my recent meltdowns, I explained to Mr. Squab that I don’t feel like I’m living up to my own (dwindling) standards in any aspect of my life right now: I’m not being the kind of mother I want to be, I’m not being a good partner to Mr. Squab, I’m completely overwhelmed even by minimal housework, I’m not making any progress in my professional life, and god knows I’m not taking great care of myself. My inner honors student is appalled at my inability to Get. Anything. Done. And while cognitively I’m aware that this, too, shall pass, I’ve been spending too much time lately feeling hopeless and dissatisfied. Which, let’s face it, is not the most fun way to be in the world. Also it is booooorrrrrriiiiiiiiinnnnnnggggg to talk about.

Mr. Squab, who I should say right now is basically a saint, pointed out that almost all of my funk can be traced back to one overarching cause: the lack of sleep. The Sprout, like her sister before her, wakes up every two hours all night long. Every night. Sometimes even more often than that. During the day, she takes wee naps in the morning and then a longer nap – as long as three hours, sometimes – in the afternoon, while the Hatchling sleeps. Which means that for the last five months I have not slept for longer than maybe three hours at one go … uh, at all. When the Hatchling was this same age, I was also profoundly sleep-deprived, but at least I could sleep whenever she did all through the day if I was really out of it. No such luck with two! And as any veteran parent can attest, after a few months of completely inadequate rest, you start to get a little psycho, and the worst of it is that you’re too tired to remember that fatigue is the source of your misery. I casually mentioned the Sprout’s poor sleeping habits at my weekly playgroup recently, and everyone immediately offered sympathy, remarking on how rough it is, how much you lose your mind, how everything goes all to hell when you’re so, so, so, so tired. It was like a revelation: Oh, yeah! That IS why I feel so shitty! Because I NEVER GET ANY SLEEP. It’s not that I’m an inadequate person! I’m just an inadequately rested person!

This realization does not, of course, help me get any more sleep – that will have to wait for sleep training in a month – but it does make me feel a little bit better about being such a mess. Because, really, I’m doing fine: I have lovely children and a wonderful partner and a good support system and a roof over my head and enough to eat etc., etc. I’m just bloody tired, is all.

Portrait of a Sick Baby

Sick baby

The Hatchling is having her first cold. It manifested itself in a runny nose yesterday, and escalated to a 102 degree fever this afternoon. Other than being a little more cuddly and needing more naps than usual, she’s been her usual sunny self; but when her fever got high and her nose was so stuffy she really was sweetly pathetic. It must be awful to feel yucky and not understand why it’s happening or that it will be over soon. We dosed her with Tylenol and rocked her extra long before putting her to bed. Here’s hoping it’s just a 48 hour bug.

Solid. Solid as a Rock.

Or at least a rice grain. Yes, after several comically failed attempts, the Hatchling is eating solids. Our pediatrician had suggested that we start her on fruits or vegetables rather than rice cereal, which sounded kind of bizarre to me. But we gamely tried it, and you should have SEEN the faces she made. Not a fan. We switched to rice cereal, and she was all like, hells, yeah! She totally got the hang of opening her mouth as the spoon approached, and had soon developed what I can only call a Michael Jordan approach to eating:

The Michael Jordan of eating

Her mouth would open, and the tongue would come out, too, just to make sure she got every last bit. Of course, fingers make the perfect post dinner snack.

Fingers are good, too

Today, rice cereal; tomorrow: the WORLD!

Lullaby, and good night

So, I know he’s not for everyone, but I bleeping love Dr. Ferber. His sentiments fit really well with our parenting style, and I swear to god his is the ONLY book on children’s sleep habits that isn’t badly written, condescending, or oversimplified. It’s so refreshing to read a parenting book that treats you like an intelligent human being.

Sleep training is one of those awfully fraught parenting issues these days – at least, it seems to be among priveleged middle-class honkies like myself. I get the sense that my parent’s generation didn’t fret about it so much, but parents my age – well, for example, when Dooce wrote about her experience with sleep training, the post got 475 comments! Do you let your kid “cry it out” or do you “co-sleep?” Do you start training at 3 months, at 9 months, or not at all? Are erratic sleeping habits just a phase kids go through, or the mark of uneducated parenting?

Well, I sure as hell don’t know the answers to those questions. And reading most of the major books on the subject hasn’t made me any more of an expert on the topic. But I do know that I don’t function well without sleep, and nor does my husband or my kid. And it makes sense to me that children do well with structure, and repeated rituals, so they know what to expect. So the upshot of it all is that we’re currently “Ferberizing” the Hatchling. Which sounds like some kind of dry cleaning, but actually just means regularizing her sleep habits a little, and putting her to bed while she’s still awake. And I have to say, teething troubles aside, it really seems to be working. There’s not so much crying, which is a blessing, and last night the Hatchling slept from 9pm until 5:30 this morning, and then again until 7:00. It was – well, weird, actually, but definitely a weird I could get used to!

I expect all this twittering about sleep training is making my mom roll her eyes in an “a bunch of fuss about nothing” manner (admit it, mom!), but what can I say? I’m an over-educated, over thirty first-time mom, and while I’m sure we’d survive without the assistance of any parenting books, sometimes it’s helpful to get outside opinions. I mean, honestly, what else would you expect from a professional grad student? If I’d do research for an academic essay, you’d better believe I will for the magnum opus that is my kid.

Which is all a very rambly way to say: what do you all think? Are parenting books worth the time? Which ones did you like best/least?

Labor Day Jaunt

One of the best things about living in Minneapolis is the park system. Minneapolis has more lakes in the Metro area than probably any other big city in the US, and the parks system takes full advantage of them. Instead of letting developers plunk McMansions down along the shorelines, all the bigger lakes are open to the public, most with beautiful parks or gardens alongside. With the exception of Lake Harriet, which I used to live right by, I never took much time to explore the lakes before the arrival of the Hatchling. But having a baby is a wonderful excuse to get out of the house and go on a walk, and some of my best memories of these first months are the weekly walks we take around various lakes with my friend P and her baby. I love getting to know the city better, the lakes are beautiful, and it’s great to get out and stretch my legs with the young ‘un.

The only downside is that Mr. Squab almost never gets to go along. During the week he’s at work, and on weekends we’re either travelling somewhere, or we have projects planned, or it’s raining. Yesterday, though, the wee one was being fractious and couldn’t settle down, so we decided to head out to Lake Nokomis for a stroll. It was a gorgeous day, there was a nice breeze coming off the lake, and everyone was out. The Hatchling had a great time people-watching, and got to wiggle her little bare toes in the grass. It was just a short outing, but it was one of those days that you remember for a long time. Hope your Labor Day was equally pleasant!

Daddy and Daughter by Lake Nokomis

This settles it

I’d sort of been wondering where the Hatchling was going to fall in the Squotient Triangulum. Not having applied it to a kid before, I wasn’t sure how long it would be before I could tell what she was. I mean, maybe she wouldn’t develop her squotient until puberty! But as of this morning, I think I have conclusive evidence that we are, in fact, raising a squab. To wit:

The Hatchling got up her regular two times last night, and at her first feeding (at 1:30 am) I could definitely smell the sour-milky aroma of a poopy diaper. We don’t usually change her at night, though, so I hoped it was just a small one and put her back to bed. She got up again at 5, and the smell was a little more pungent. I thought to myself “I really should change her – she won’t sleep much longer with a dirty diaper.” But she was so tired and I knew changing her would just wake her up for good, so … I left it, and put her back down. She then slept until – wait for it – 8:45 in the morning, which is almost two hours later than she usually sleeps. Mr. Squab got up with her as he usually does so I can catch a few more minutes of shut-eye. As I rolled over and prepared to doze, I sleepily listened to the cozy sounds of the Hatchling getting her diaper changed.

“HOLY JESUS GOD,” Mr. Squab intoned. “Sweet fancy Moses, where did all that come from?”

I had to go in to look. Indeed, the Hatchling had pooped out approximately her own body weight. It was a dirty diaper of truly epic proportions, testing the physical limits of her #2 Huggies, and extending upwards to her shoulder blades in the back and her belly button in the front. Her onesie was so soiled that we couldn’t even get it off her without anointing her scalp in poo. It was sort of awe-inspiring.

We stripped the Hatchling down and stuck her right into a warm bath, as she smiled and gurgled happily (she loves being naked and LOVES baths). “What a sweet girl!” I cooed. “I can’t believe she slept in so long in that diaper.”

Mr. Squab looked at me accusingly. “She is definitely your daughter.”

“I don’t sleep in my own crap!” I protested.

“Yeah, but you would. Think about it. If you crapped your pants in the middle of the night, you’d wake up and be like, ‘meh … too much trouble to get up. I’ll deal with it in the morning.’ “

And he’s right, of course. If I had to choose between having non-poop-smeared PJs and getting a few extra hours of sleep, the sleep would win out every time. This is something only a squab would do. And apparently, it’s hereditary.

Oral Retentive

Top ten non-food related things the Hatchling enjoys putting in her mouth (this week):

10. Keys – real, fake, whatever
9. Her own toes
8. The TV remote
7. My forehead/cheeks
6. The horns on her stuffed giraffe
5. Mr. Squab’s nose
4. My hands
3. The eyeballs of her stuffed frog
2. The trunk of her stuffed elephant
1. Both her fists. Preferably at the same time.

I should add that to say the Hatchling merely “puts these in her mouth” utterly fails to convey the absolute ferocity with which she crams the above items into her oral cavity. She doesn’t just chew on them; she ATTACKS them with every fiber of her small being.


Angels and Demons

Yesterday, the Hatchling took a glorious three hour nap in the afternoon, on top of a 70 minute nap in the morning. Rather than enjoying this unprecedented event, my inner demon came out and started bitching about how it would just be nice if I knew in advance that she was going to sleep that long so I could actually get something done instead of bolting down my lunch and frantically reading magazine articles while watching the clock in the anticipation of hearing wails over the nursery monitor at any minute. But then my inner angel rose up and smited the crap out of my inner demon with her fiery sword, saying “You stupid git! You just had three hours of child-free time! You’re looking so far into the gift horse’s mouth you’re about to come out its ass!”

This, of course, was the correct point of view. Which has been brought home to me vividly today, as the Hatchling is on a nap strike and will not stay down for longer than 20 minutes, after which she gets up and is totally pissed off that I got her out of her crib when she’s still so damn tired!!

This parenting shit is not for the faint of heart, I tell you what.

Long Tall Sally

The Hatchling had her 4 month check-up today. I was a wee tad apprehensive about the visit, since last time she FREAKED OUT about her shots, resulting in me inadvertenly spraying milk all over the pediatrician’s office in my efforts to nurse her back to sanity. But she was amazingly low key about the whole thing. My eight-year-old nephew came along for the ride, so he entertained her in the back seat on the way there and back (and if there’s anything cuter than an 8 year old entertaining a 4 month old, I’d like to know what it is) and she withstood the weighing, measuring, and prodding with great equanimity. When the shots came, she did cry – I mean, who wouldn’t? Relative to her total body mass, those needles are HUGE – but she calmed down as soon as I picked her up, nursed contentedly for about 10 minutes, and then sat happily in her carseat while her cousin made faces and noises at her all the way home. (His assessment: “she’s like a tiny-toed, cross-eyed, fuzzy-headed elf.”) In addition, we discovered that the Hatchling is:

– in the 70th percentile for head circumference;

– in the 75th percentile for weight;

– and in the 97th percentile for length.

Ninety-seventh percentile for length! That is one long baby.