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Blog is moving….

Hello, if you happen to find this blog, I have moved over to

http://our-little-cupcake.blogspot.com/

Please read on over there, I will still have updates on parenting in general, and of our experience with MCAD and FODs.

Finally!  We did it!

Cupcake has taken to the Ergo carrier, and will now stay happily on it for long periods on time.  On Saturday she even fell asleep on it when we went out.  And once we got home she stayed napping for her usual 40 minutes, even though she was bundled up for the outdoors.

This is a new chapter in our baby wearing and our mobility.  I will once again be able to take her places without worrying about taking the stroller down our stairs.  We used to do fine with the moby and/or bjorn, but at some point she stopped napping on it, and it became very limiting since I’d have to make sure we were back by nap time or risk a total meltdown.   I think I still prefer the stroller, since there’s no constant weight on me and she naps beautifully on it, but it’s nice to know that once again we can hop outside for a quick errand.

I’m officially obsessed with parenting.  What can I say, Cupcake just turned 5 months, and she’s just so …. awake, aware of the world, and opinionated.  And those opinions include not wanting to nap longer than 40 minutes at a time, a dictator-like control of exactly when she wants to be held and for how long, and waking up several time through the night to… hang out, I guess, I’m not sure what her agenda is there.

The night wakings are of particular stress to me.  Not just because I’m someone who enjoys my sleep (will I ever get to experience the wonders of sleeping in again?), but because they intersect with parenting philosophies and her MCADD needs.   Most of the people in our Mom group seem to be going through sleep training, or at least the most vocal moms.  And I hear them comparing CIO stories, or how their babies are now sleeping 10 hours straight, or whether it was hard to give them tough love but now they’re sleeping in their own room, etc.  Why does it feel like they all joined forces and did this at the same time?  Did I miss the sleep training memo?   I was beginning to feel like the odd duck.

Then I met the lovely ladies of our local La Leche League chapter.  What an amazing group of women dedicated to breastfeeding and helping each other through the process.  And also,we  finally saw the crazy attachment parents I’d been waiting to meet since I found out I was pregnant.  I was beginning to think Brooklyn had become mainstream.  And boy, they were incredibly reassuring to  my parenting instincts.  Sometimes it’s good to see the extreme version of your parenting philosophy, and have that mother content and functional, to appreciate your own position in the middle.

Their attitude towards nigh wakings was refreshing.  I’m paraphrasing the things they would say:

- I love the night feedings , its my chance to bond with my baby, just the two of us without all the distractions of the world

- Its how I make sure she’s getting all the nutrition she needs

- You must feed regularly through the night to keep your milk supply, what, you don’t feed 5 times through the night, oh you poor dear!

- Of course I co-sleep, it makes it so much easier to feed those 5 times per night that the baby needs for nutrition and bonding!

Finally!  People who respond to night-parenting by breastfeeding and think it’s great!  When talking to other people who are sleep training, I’d always felt that MCAD was the only reason why I was staying up with the baby.  Now I realize that there are many many wonderful (not insane) mothers who also feed on demand at night.  It’s a way of seeing our night routine as a parenting choice rather than the consequence of Cupcake’s disorder.

Next meeting is in a month.  I’m looking forward to it.

Overwhelmed

Today is one of those days when I feel that I’m failing as a mother.  Cupcake has needs that I just can’t meet.  Where did my chill happy baby go?  Why was she replaced with the fussy machine that needs constant attention?

I joined our mom group in a walk in the park.  After surviving a brutal winter, today was one of those spring days that makes people prematurely decide the cold is over (it’s 50 degrees you say?  Off with the coat!).  Yeah, the wind chill factor actually made it much less desirable to be out than we suspected.  Nevertheless, it was nicer than its been in a while, so we went to do the Park loop, which is probably about 3 miles long.

So off we are, Cupcake in her stroller, me with my tennis shoes ready for action.  Within minutes Cupcake falls asleep, as she’s wont to do.  And life is good.  But then we had to stop so a fellow mom can feed her fussy baby, and I realize that it’s awfully close to cupcake’s feeding time too (I had topped her off right before leaving, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean that she’s sleep through her feeding time.)   I guess the lack of motion woke her up, but once Cupcake was up I figured I might as well feed her too.  She fed fine, just one side, and seemed content with it.  Or maybe she wasn’t fully content, but it was so windy and cold, and she so uncovered, that I decided that she’d eaten enough to satisfy her metabolic needs.  In any case, she went back on the stroller and proceeded to munch on her toy.  I thought nothing of it.

What followed was 40-60 minutes of constant whining.  Her pacifier kept falling off and I’d reposition it, then she’d take it off herself and suck her finger, then she’d look sleepy and need the paci back, and start the process all over again.  It was windy, and I wanted to cover her from the drafts, so I had to open the stroller every time she needed anything.  Her hands felt freezing since they were wet and covered in drool.  Stressful, to say the least.  And all this was happening at the furthest point of the loop, so my only choice was to keep going, going, going until we reached our side of the park.

I’m so frustrated.  I feel like I’m failing at some mothering skill that made everyone elses’ babies hang out happily on their strollers the duration ofthe ride.  Other kids stay on their carriers for hours, or take long 2 hour naps on their strollers, or seem overall better adjusted to the realities of being outside of the house for long periods of time.  Cupcake can do everything on 40 minute limits.  She naps on her stroller with no problem, but once the 40 minutes are up she needs to be OUT NOW.  There’s also a time frame on her carrier, and she wont sleep on it.

I’m so overwhelmed by this low attention span problem.  I can’t take her out for long periods of time.  What will happen when I want to take her to Manhattan and she gets fed up with her stroller/carrier when we are there?  There’s no turning back at the point, I’m afraid.

This just feels so permanent, like it will never end.  It gets better, right?  They learn to stay in one place longer, their antsiness gets more under control, doesn’t it?  I really hope it does.

 

Rare Disease Day

Apparently, Feb 28th is International Rare Disease Day, which is an aptly named (though ridiculous sounding) day of remembrance.

http://www.rarediseaseday.org/

And I checked, MCAD is one of the “diseases” included as a rare disease.  The list is actually incredibly long, but it’s worth remembering that since such few people are affected, there should be a ton of diseases and only a small sample of the population is affected as a whole.

It feels weird to see MCAD on it.  Our situation doesn’t feel like a disease in the true sense of the word, but rather as a dietary restriction, a behavior modification, a preference.  Cupcake shouldn’t be fasting, and if she starts to crash we need to take her to the ER.  That’s pretty much it, right?  No lingering daily afflictions, developmental issues (at least so far), strict medical regimens or physical/mental handicaps.  Yet at the same time, I know that if she has a metabolic crisis, she needs very specific treatment that only an ER can provide.  And from my understanding, most ERs are not familiar with Fatty Oxidation Disorder protocol, and that even if the kid looks fine they need immediate treatment.  So it’s probably good to raise awareness.

More awake time?

I’ve been debating what to do with Cupcake’s schedule.  Lately, it seems that her awake/active time is lasting longer and longer.  Our nap system is not schedule based, but rather we respond to her cues.  And so far her naps have been sporadic at best, but one common element is that she now stays active longer between them.

It used to be that after 1.5 – 2 hours, Cupcake would be ready to crash.  She’d do the eye rubbing thing, fuss a bit, and I would know that it was time for her to go to sleepy town.  And as opposed to most sleep training advice, I wouldn’t put her to sleep as soon as that happened, because then she’d just take longer to fall asleep.  I’d rock her and she’d to down within 10 minutes, I’d set her on the crib and she would sleep for 40 minutes.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  We had our system down, whether I was happy with it or not.

And it seems that the system has changed.  I’m not sure what’s going on, but she just. won’t. nap.  And she seems pretty content with it.  But I worry that less naps will affect how she sleeps at night, or that she’ll get tired earlier.  Most of all, its important for us that she have a late bedtime, so Nate can maximize his time with her.

Today she was awake for 2 1/2 – 3  1/2 hours at a time, and still only sleeping 40 minute at a time.  What gives?  I was expecting her to nap longer if she was up longer, but that would make entirely too  much sense.  I’m fine with her taking less  naps, it would be preferable in fact, but not at the cost of her total sleep for the day.

Is it teething?  Is she just so distracted now when she nurses that she’s permanently hungry?  Is this just a phase?  Are the sleep training books right?  Do I need to help her nap better?  Is her stuffy nose still affecting her?

And why we are asking questions, why does she still poop so much ?!?

Eating out

I’m a firm believer that babies (actually, all children) should go everywhere.  Call me old-fashioned, but short of strip clubs and violent movies, babies should be part of society, and interact with the community as a whole.  It also helps that we live in a certain Brooklyn neighborhood known for its strollers and hipster parents.  I mean, most businesses around here cater to families (as if they had a choice), so its easy to take Cupcake out.

We’ve been taking her out and about to cafes, coffee shops, and restaurants since she was a few weeks old.  It’s good for her to be exposed to city noise and “real” life, and its even better for us to get out of the house.  And we’ve accomplished this without ever setting food in a fast food joint, Chilli’s, or any of those “family friendly” chain restaurants (which really seems code for mediocre food, but they’ll let your toddler throw food at the wall).  I’ll revisit this last statement when Cupcake gets older and starts to walk, as I’m sure I will come back and eat my words.  But it’s my sincere belief that children that are exposed to restaurants and adult life from an early age learn to adapt their behavior to those situations.

Last night we went to a local Ale House for the first time.  I was a bit apprehensive because it’s technically a bar, and I feared the music might be too loud.  (I should add at this moment that I have very European sensibilities, and think there’s no reason children shouldn’t be in a bar.  By this I mean a pub-style place, where they have food and drinks and its a relaxed atmosphere.  Keep babies away from dance clubs, fratty college bars, and smoke-filled music venues, please.)  We needn’t have worried.  As soon as we arrived the bartender asked if we needed a high chair.  Oh, I love this neighborhood.

We ordered a beer and burger each.  Cupcake was awake the entire time and we took turns holding her and eating, declining the high chair offer since she can’t quite sit on her own yet.  Sure, we left a  bit faster than we usually do (Cupcake began to get antsy as we were finishing our meal), but we had time to finish all our food.  Maybe “hanging out” at a pub is harder with baby, but being there for a bit is no problem.  Food was good, beer was excellent, and spending an evening with the family in an Ale House?  Priceless.

Maybe we just have a particularly chill baby, but I doubt that.  Other kids from our baby group are also perfectly quiet and happy when we meet in coffee shops or grab brunch with them in tow.  And they take them out and about in the city too.  Coincidence?  I think not.

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