Rhythm| Week 12

Okay, so I obviously fell off the one-post-per-week bandwagon. Truth be told, as I type this now, it’s Week 20!

Looking back, I can’t even remember exactly why I stopped. I’ve been storing ideas in my head like it’s a vault; I just never committed them to writing. Although I don’t have a story for every week, I do still have a clear memory of things I wanted to capture before the memories fade. So, there’s no time like the present . . .

Somewhere around Week 12, Ainsley and I finally found a rhythm.

I won’t say “routine” because we are far from it. We do, however, have a pretty predictable schedule.

During the day, I generally try to follow a sleep –> eat –> play routine in the hopes that she won’t associate nursing with nap time, since that obviously won’t happen when she goes to “school.” She gets tired every two hours. She never naps by herself for longer than 30 minutes. {I don’t use absolutes like “never” lightly, but in this case, she’s like a tiny human Timex.} When she pops up during her mid-day nap, she inevitably falls back asleep while nursing, so I get stuck under her tiny cuteness in the nursing chair for the next hour or two.

It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it.

Okay, somedays it really is tough. These are the days when I’ve reached the end of the Internet on my iPhone, I can’t stand the thought of watching another Criminal Minds rerun, and all I want to do is pee or have a snack or refill my water bottle or do anything besides sit my @#$ underneath a sleeping baby. But it just takes one look at her sweet, sleepy face to remind me that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be. Having seen babyhood be swallowed up by toddlerhood once before will do that to you.

I’ve always regretted not recording my routine with Reece. So, for posterity’s sake, my Ainsley days look something like this —

7:00 – Wake up + nurse + get Ainsley dressed for the day {On the rare mornings where Ainsley is still asleep, I go upstairs and get Reece ready just like the good ole days. 🙂 }
7:30 – Eat breakfast as a family + read books with Reece before school
8:30 – Hugs + kisses with the boys as they leave for the day
9:00 – Turn on the Today Show {My favorite guilty pleasure of being home all day!} + bounce with Ainsley on the exercise ball until she falls asleep
9:10-9:45 – Settle in to the glider for nap time {Sure, I could put her down for her nap, but once I’m back at work, I will never say, “Gosh, I wish I hadn’t held her as much when I was home.”}
9:45 – Clean diaper + nurse {Ainsley is a super-efficient nurser, and I’m still struggling with oversupply so nursing rarely takes longer than 10-15 minutes.}
10:00-11:30 – Read books + tummy time + sometimes sneak in a shower
11:30 – Make lunch + fill up my water bottles + get things ready for mid-day nap
*If I’m feeling brave or stir-crazy or in desperate need of something from the store, I’ll use this time to run errands. I try to plan things so that I can drive to one shopping center before the fussiness starts and then walk around to a few different places while wearing Ainsley. If I get it right, she’ll sleep through the whole thing.
11:45 – Start bouncing + humming to help Ainsley fall asleep {Our go-to nap songs are “You are My Sunshine” and “Twinkle Little Star.” }
12:15 – Ainsley wakes up + nurse back to sleep
12:15-2:30 – Watch the shows DVR’d from the night(s) before {My current obsessions include The Voice, Parenthood, Scandal, and Grey’s Anatomy}
2:30 – Clean diaper + nurse Ainsley
2:45-4:15 – Read books + tummy time + house chores + figure out what we’re going to eat for dinner
4:15 – Start bouncing + humming with Ainsley for another short nap
4:30-5:00 – Watch the news while Ainsley naps
5:00 – Reece + Brad get home –> nap time is officially over
5:00-5:15 – Clean diaper + nurse Ainsley
5:15-6:00 – Scramble to get dinner together + spend time with Reece reading books + negotiating when he’ll get his turn for mama milk
6:00-6:30 – Eat dinner as a family + hear all about life on the outside
6:30-7:00 – Read books with Reece + get things ready for bedtime
7:00 – Ainsley’s bath
7:15 – Night-night hugs + kisses with Reece
7:30 – Lie down with Ainsley for our bedtime routine {9 times out of 10, I fall asleep with her, so my day ends here.}

At this point, Ainsley usually wakes up twice during the night. The first time is totally unpredictable – it could be 11:00 pm or it could be 2:00 am. The second one is always around 4:00-4:30 am. Surprisingly, I don’t really mind the overnight feedings. Now that we’ve mastered side-lying nursing, I’m only awake for about 10 minutes, and then we both fall back asleep again. And, given that Reece woke up every two hours until he was 9 months old, I feel like I’ve won the lottery with this schedule!

And, in the midst of what can sometimes feel like a lonely and mundane existence, I try my best not to take for granted how fortunate I am to have this precious time with Ainsley.

Because I knew then the way I would feel now: I’d give anything to go back to these days . . . just for one more day.

Holistic Healing | Week 9

We’re a little over two weeks into the dairy-free experiment, and I’m still dubious.

I had my final midwife visit last week, and she got to witness Ainsley’s “spirit” first-hand. Within seconds, she asked whether I had taken her for an adjustment. I was embarrassed to admit that I have not. I saw my chiropractor religiously every other week throughout my pregnancy. I know how much it helps. I know he specializes in prenatal and infant adjustments. I even talked with him about when I should bring Ainsley for her first visit. But, I still haven’t done it.

My midwife felt so strongly that she insisted I get in my car, drive to straight to his office, and wait until he could see us. I didn’t act quite that quickly, but I did get an appointment on the books for this week.

At this point, I’ve tried shutting myself in the house so that we can stick to a strict, familiar schedule; baby-wearing around the house, especially during witching hour; cutting out dairy; investing in essential oils; and studying infant massage videos. While it’s hard to say that any specific thing has made a difference with Ainsley, I feel better, so I guess that’s something.

Ainsley was not the poster child for infant chiropractic adjustments. She screamed the entire time. She had so much stuff going on that he was actually sweating by the end of our visit.

As if I didn’t feel badly enough about the delay in seeing him, I learned that her Atlas bone was out of alignment, which is why she always turns her head to the right. And, when I say always, I mean always. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen her willingly turn her head to the left. Because she’s been doing this for her entire little life, her muscles have developed around the head turn, which will take time to work out. Add to this a series of cranial plate misalignments, and you get one seriously cranky baby.

When we got home, Ainsley took a ginormous, deep-sleep nap, and woke up like a new little woman. Even Brad has been saying she’s a different baby. Almost likeable. 😉

Two days later she “lost” the adjustment and returned to her old, fuss-pot self. So, we’ll be back first thing next week.

As bad as I feel about not doing this until she’s almost two months old, I am thrilled that we seem to have identified a trigger and have a treatment plan.

With any luck, her “different baby” state will be her “normal baby” state after a few weeks of treatments. Wish us luck!!

No More Novelty | Week 8

This week could be memorialized by all sorts of things.

Ainsley’s sleep suddenly became more organized, thereby making life a little more predictable.

I started exercising. Well, I started walking 30-45 minutes in the neighborhood. For this OCD runner, it doesn’t really feel like “exercise,” but I know it’s exactly what I need right now.

I finally took Ainsley to see my holistic family chiropractor, and, within 12 hours, she was a new baby. I am equally thrilled and shamed by this development. I saw him religiously every other week of my pregnancy; I value the importance of chiropractic care; I really should have known better than to wait until she was almost two months old for her first adjustment.

I got pooped all over at my breastfeeding mommy group meeting, which, in turn, ruined a chair at my chiropractor’s office. I am pleased to report that both my pants and the adorable outfit Ainsley was wearing survived this embarrassing incident.

Despite all these terribly exciting events, something else stands out at “the” memory for Week 8 :: The novelty of having a baby sister in the house finally wore off.

Miraculously, Reece made it a 7 whole weeks without showing many signs of jealousy. This week, he’s been barking orders like: “Put Ainley down here” (while motioning to the swing, which she hates). “Daddy hold Ainley, I hold Mama.” And, my personal favorite, “I need Mama milk.” Not want. Need.

He’s basically impossible to say “No” to.

Before Ainsley was born, I always said that I would let Reece nurse if he asked, but I wasn’t going to encourage it. I was leery of tandem nursing, and I figured that saying “No” would just make any jealousy issues even worse.

So, here we are. There simply isn’t enough mama to go around.

Seeing the Light | Week 7

I’m probably stating the obvious here, but having a newborn is hard.

Every day feels like Groundhog Day. I nurse her, change diapers, comfort her when she cries (which is a LOT with this little one), and hope that I’ll have time to take a shower. Not to mention trying to squeeze in just a few minutes of one-on-one time with Reece and keeping up with my own health and wellness.

Having been through these dark weeks months before is a life-saver.

All I have to do is take one look at Reece, and I am instantly reminded what the prize looks like.

One morning this week, Reece came barreling into our bedroom, beaming with excitement and shouting, “Mama, Mama! Hi Mama!” I looked down at the tiny terror that had kept me up half the night and couldn’t help but smile. Someday soon – sooner than I’d like probably – we will have two of them. And it will be awesome!

Milk Madness | Week 6

Confession :: Miss A is not the happiest baby on the block.

In fact, I’d venture to guess she is one of the least happy babies in the Town.

I haven’t wanted to talk about it because somehow I feel like a failure. Isn’t that weird? I’m not sure where this idea that “good” parents have happy babies came from, but it seems engrained in our society (or in social media, at least). At this point, I haven’t done anything differently with her than I did with Reece. So, it’s time to start searching for answers.

I took Ainsley to our pediatrician this week for congestion and a super-snotty nose. Thankfully, the congestion was just that and not something serious. “Dr.Kim” was much more concerned about her fussiness. The first thing she asked was if I eat dairy. “Yes, of course, who doesn’t?” I thought. She had several suggestions, but she was adamant that cutting out dairy usually made the biggest difference for her patients. She isn’t concerned about a true allergy, but does think her immature digestive system may be unable to process dairy until baby girl is 4-6 months old. I am skeptical, but so desperate that I’d try just about anything.

To be honest, I thought this would be easy. We’re already an almond-milk only household. I don’t eat a ton of cheese or butter. I do love yogurt, but can easily give it up for a while.

Then, the other shoe dropped . . . Do you have any idea how much stuff has dairy in it?

Scrutinizing food labels for dairy has been an eye-opening experience. I got Dr. Kim’s dairy-free advice on Monday. Naturally, I had just stocked the fridge over the weekend, and I was too stubborn to pick up more food from the store. So, I’ve been “surviving” on oatmeal, graham crackers, peanut butter, and hummus.

I’m starving, cranky, bored, tired, and still skeptical, but hopeful. It will take at least 2-3 weeks before we know whether the absence of dairy makes a difference in Ainsley’s demeanor.

Until then, here’s to hoping I find more satisfying things to eat and this turns out to be more than just an educational exercise.