Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Sleeps

First off, thanks to everyone for the comments and emails regarding my last post. A woman in her thirties should be able to recognize a fellow woman in her thirties in crisis, and I was most definitely in crisis. The good news-- the amazingly amazing news-- is that we are back to sleeping like normal human beings.

I'm writing this as the Oscars are going on in the background, so in keeping with the theme I will say that the Oscar for the best advice goes to... well, all of you. What worked for us was pieces of what all of you said, a few sentences from my sleep books, and a couple helpful words from the pediatrician. Oh, and an epiphany from L. So here it is-- my helpful advice for getting your 15 month old to sleep through the night again:

1. Ger her well. As in not sick. When she's sick, all bets are off. Just get through it.
2. Lower the crib. This was L's epiphany, and... DUH. Kinda hard to fall asleep standing up when your chin can't rest on the rail. #Daddyprops
3. Listen to her cry. I could have spared myself several nights of agony if I'd listened more closely to HOW she was crying, instead of just focused on the fact that she was crying. Whiny cry=let her sort it out on her own. Screamy cry=something else might be going on. Again...DUH.
4. Be patient. Because that's soooo easy.

Now that I reflect on it, I see that #4 was really the clincher in all of this. I'm not proud to say that last Wednesday, in a sleep-deprived fog, when a woman told me that Anna was the cutest baby she'd ever seen, my actual response was, 'She's not that cute.' And how about when I logged into Facebook after a particularly hellish night and almost unfriended a girl who had written a post about how her 14 month old son had woken up singing to his blankie, and it was going to be a beautiful day. It's kinda hard to get through anything when that's your view of your world.

But sleep and patience do go hand in hand, and I must say that after a few nights of sleep I've been able to enjoy more messy meals:More messy art projects:
And more iPhones covered in slobber:
And the Oscar for most improved Mom goes to... me.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties is Losing It. Help.

Hi. Have you met my baby? She's really cute:

She's also really smart. Her most recent words are 'credit card' and 'octopus'.

She's also really sweet. This is her giving Cookie Monster kissies at bathtime:

In fairness, a few things have happened in the last six weeks. We've weaned off the bottle completely, gotten molars, wrestled with bronchitis, and are currently at the tail end of an ear infection. Things for Bubbie Bubberooni have not been easy. But this is getting ridiculous.

Let me give you a glimpse into what last night was like. Keep in mind this is not the worst it's been in the last few weeks-- this is just a typical night in the C house nowadays:

7:00-Get ready for bed and try to rock to sleep-- all while AB screams her face off
7:30-Mom, exhausted, passes AB to Daddy
7:30-8:00 Daddy calms AB down while Mom consults sleep book for some sort of magical formula
8:00- Mom tries bedtime again-- more screaming
8:30- Mom puts AB in her crib to 'cry it out' (aka torture herself)
9:00- AB grows tired of crying, so SHE FALLS ASLEEP WHILE STANDING UP IN HER CRIB
9:05- Mom goes to lay AB down, then strokes her face as she falls back asleep
9:10- Mom sneaks out of the room, knowing by now which areas of the room creak and avoids stepping on them and waking AB up
1:00am- AB is awake, screaming
1:15-1:45am- Mom goes in to try to lay her down, tries the 'stroke and sneak out' approach that worked earlier-- not this time
2:00am- Mom brings AB to bed with her and Daddy, exhausted
3:00am- Mom moves AB back to her crib
4:00am- AB is awake again, Mom is too exhausted to do anything other than bring her back to bed with her
6:30am- AB is awake, happy as can be. Mom mumbles to herself while making breakfast and thinks a straightjacket may be in order

Weissbluth says to let her cry it out, but for no longer than an hour (AB can go for an hour, easy). Ferber suggests the 'progressive wait' approach, which I tried last week and resulted in FOUR HOURS of pure hell. I've googled, and I don't see anything about what to do when your child falls asleep standing up. Or how the hell you're supposed to know when your child is sick versus teething versus in a bad sleep habit.

A woman in her thirties uses her resources, and you, blogverse, are my resources. I'm ready for you all to help solve my problems. Ready... go:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties Keeps the Dream Alive

If people who are good with plants are called 'green thumbs', lets call mine red. Or purple. In my twenties, it felt acceptable to say I wasn't good with plants. I had a lot of studying (drinking) to do. However, in the past three years being in my thirties, the plants that have made it into my house have continued to die slow, painful deaths. I no longer feel like this is okay. If a woman in her thirties can keep a baby alive, she can remember to water a plant for crying out loud.

Today I saw this beautiful orchid on sale at Whole Foods, so I named her... well, Orchid. And she came home with me.Orchid has come to symbolize a lot for me. Can I simultaneously care for her and Anna? Can I remember Orchid's needs without sacrificing the needs of my daughter's? Can I love Orchid as much as I love Anna, even though it doesn't feel possible that I could ever love anything as much as I love my AB?Everyone clear where I'm going with this?

Orchid, welcome to the family. No pressure, but your well-being is going to be directly linked to my sanity in the coming months. Do me a favor, will you? Live.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Woman in her Thirties is 1 in 5000

So I've got this thing called Vasa Previa. In doctor's terms, it means Yoda and I are sharing a blood vessel that is covering my cervix. In Momma's terms, it means probable bed rest, no exercise, definite C-Section (four weeks early), and lots of other restrictions of which I will spare you all the details. Let's just say this woman in her thirties resembles a constipated nun.

The thing I love about being a woman in her thirties is that there is an assumption of maturity about you. It's like when you hear a British person say something-- they are automatically more legitimate because their accent makes them so. A woman in her thirties is, by definition, able to handle life's curve balls better than a woman in her twenties. And I won't even get into a woman in her forties-- she's handles it all with her hair highlighted and her lipstick un-smeared.

I, on the other hand, have been handling this whole Vasa Previa thing like a big... FAT... baby. When I'm not crying about the C-Section, I'm whining about the restrictions and fuming about the bed rest. (P.S. if one more person tells me that bed rest is their dream come true, I reserve the right to kick their ass.) I'm mad. I'm really, really mad. I don't want this to be my story. I don't want to have Yoda early. I don't WANNA. The best way I can describe it is to say I feel cheated-- cheated out of a normal pregnancy, cheated out of time getting on the floor and playing with Anna. Vasa Previa affects 1 in 5000 pregnancies-- am I seriously the 1 in 5000? SERIOUSLY??

And then I get more mad when I think about stupid I'm being. A C-Section? Hello, women have them every day. Bed rest? Duh, better than having a premature baby. Yoda is healthy, and that is all that should matter. This is a few months of my life, not a big deal. I'll get through it. Grow UP.

I am usually able to wrestle thoughts like this easily. I have grown into a pragmatic woman in her thirties who can easily spot the forest from the trees. This, however, has thrown me. Just when I think I've accepted it, I get caught up in another whirlwind of why me, poor me, life sucks. And then I turn on the news and look at what's going on in Sudan, and then I want to kick my own ass.

When I first moved to China, a friend gave me a great piece of advice. She told me that the best thing I could do for myself was to ride-- not fight-- the roller coaster. She said I should allow myself to relish the good days, and throw myself a pity party every now and then when I got frustrated or homesick. These words proved to be invaluable to me living overseas, and are invaluable to me now.

Damn, this Vasa Previa thing really blows.

But this perfect little face... so worth it.