Saturday, October 31, 2009


A Better Day

Little dude slept pretty darn well last night. Alas, his infrequent wakings still involved over an hour of work to get him back into a sleep state...but still! Sleep was had by all (Incidentally, I could have had 8 straight hours in the cave, but I had set my alarm for 3am so I could make sure I was upstairs when Miles woke up to save Corey the trip down to rouse me).

We had family play time at 530, singing transportation songs and one about a goose. Mostly Miles squealed, I sang, and Corey talked in rhythm. Things were looking up! But then he turned on us really fast and Corey marched his butt back to sleep. The two of them are on the couch sleeping to the static.

We can only hope that today will be a day that looks more like this

or this

and not one that looks like this

(Photo courtesy of the fabulous Amy Whipple)
or this.

Incidentally again, today is Halloween. My favorite, favorite holiday of all the holidays. This is the first time in my life I am not going to wear a costume for Halloween. I love costumes. I just didn't have the energy to create one this year. But stay tuned, because screams or no screams, M-dub will be in his costume later and he is going to make the rounds and have his photo taken. I personally hope he is crying pretty vigorously when we take him to see Frank across the street. Then maybe he can poop on his porch...but not on the costume.

Friday, October 30, 2009

A Typical Day With Miles

7am awake, eating, diaper change
745-815 happy time singing wheels on the bus or other transportation-themed songs
815-10 screaming, screaming, some eating, marching up and down the stairs, blaring white noise
10-1030 catnap
1030-11 eat
11-1130 potential happy time
1130-1pm screaming, screaming, screaming, me eating lunch with one hand, marching up and down the stairs, blaring white noise, some fretful nursing

at this point he either sleeps for a half hour or 2 hours. If it's a half hour, he screams the other 90 minutes

3-330 potential happy time with more singing, possibly kisses
330-5 screaming. see above
5-530 catnap
530-615 eat, diaper change
615-7 screaming his face off even harder than all the other time spent screaming
7-830 start bedtime: cereal, nursing, bath, marching up and down the stairs, blaring static, screaming, repeat the marching
830-11 sleep
11-1130 formula bottle

then he is awake every 90 minutes to 2 hours, nursing and screaming with marching and static.

You might notice there isn't a lot of sleeping going on. Most days, I feel so tired it's dangerous for me to operate a vehicle. Every spare ounce of energy I have is spent trying to coax Miles to sleep. In fact, there is a lot of arguing, wrestling, wrangling, epic battles. We have done and tried everything. Reflux medicine. Swings, bouncy chairs, co-sleeping, crib sleeping. Sleeping in shifts. The day we added the formula was an emotionally disastrous day for me, but we did it and he still doesn't sleep. Same with the cereal.

Today Miles is 106 days old. While other folks with kids his age are enjoying roll-overs and solo sitting up, I am struggling to manage a life that is really pretty difficult with this baby. We see lactation consultants and pediatricians. A sleep specialist won't see us until he is 6 months old. I talk to a post-partum counselor. I ask the midwives for advice.

I know it will pass. But right now? With a baby who is in such obvious, constant distress? Motherhood seems a far shot from the enjoyable experience I longed for.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Bone to Pick

I am a little peeved at the representation of rugby in this week's New Yorker "Talk of the Town" piece. They make fun of the athletes for having had injuries, for being rowdy, for drinking beer, and for singing crappy songs at post-tournament banquets.

Now, I will be the first to admit that rugby parties can get rowdy. I have seen lots of testicles in my decade of rugby and, once, on a very strange birthday I was forced into drinking Jim Beam from the severed head of a roasted pig. But you know what? My teammates and I train really hard and are outstanding athletes. The article is kind of flippant in mentioning that the US women's team is ranked 3rd in the world. That means something! Those women train their butts off, leave their families for months, leave jobs unpaid to represent this country on an athletic team.

Also? Other sports have crazy parties. I have been to the lacrosse house at Penn State. There were testicles there, too! And...adults? They drink booze. A lot! Have you seen the NFL commercials sponsored by Coors Light? And Budweiser?

The piece suggests that rugby lost its place in the Olympics because salty fans threw bottles and rocks, as if soccer fans don't freaking commit suicide when their teams lose and other such behavior. The piece fails to mention that 15s is impractical for Olympics because of the amount of recovery time players need after a match!

Finally, pointing out gross injuries is a tired joke to play on rugby. There is all sorts of research pointing to football as super dangerous. Heck, Malcolm Gladwell wrote in the New Yorker last week that football players have so many concussions, the sport might not even be different from dog fighting if you think about it his way.

All I am saying is Hey! World? Enough with the rugby jokes. Get over it!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Moment of Bliss

Last night I got home from work to find two things that never happen: my baby was laughing and there was a spare bottle left in the fridge. I put my stuff away and got to nurse him in person instead of hurrying upstairs to pump for the next day while he fretfully catnaps to static. We had this great moment on the couch as a family, just hanging out. It was so pleasant that Corey suggested we go to Oh Yeah for soy treats.

I immediately got scared. Take our baby in public? During fussy time? I wasn't sure if, after a day of work and no sleep for ten days, I had the mental stamina to nurse in public as a scream stifling technique. But we put him in the car seat. And he didn't scream! And we drove to Oh Yeah. And he didn't scream in the car! And we ate our ice cream and went for a walk. No screaming.

At one point I turned to Corey and asked if this is what real families are like. If that was what it was like to have a baby and laugh with him and just be out in public together. Not in our living room with static blaring or marching up and down the stairs. Or crying ourselves.

It was this perfect, blissful moment where I could almost envision a future that seemed well rested and happy. I am trying to cling to that memory, because I paid for it later. Miles was up each and every hour last night. He is so exhausted he doesn't know what to do with himself. I hope he figures it out soon so we can have more moments like yesterday.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Notes from a Sleep Deprived Madwoman

Snacky D's parents came over yesterday to meet Miles. They revealed that Snacky himself, Eagle Scout extraordinaire, was once a shitty sleeper, constantly screaming baby like Miles. And look how he turned out! Our friend now falls asleep on couches and in car rides. I once helped carry his sleeping carcass into his room and he never even woke up. So someday, the theory goes, Miles will be just as cool and good at being asleep.

When will that someday start? Can someone tell me a specific date so I can write it on the calendar? When I complain about my delirium, I think people think Miles wakes up briefly once or twice at night. No.

Miles goes to bed at 830. Sometimes he wakes up immediately and Corey marches him up and down the stairs for a half hour. Like last night. Then, when he is asleep at 9, he wakes up again at 1130 and eats for 45 minutes and needs to be marched up and down the stairs for another half hour.

Then he wakes up less than an hour after that and eats for a half hour and falls asleep.

Then he wakes up an hour after that and eats for a half hour and falls asleep.

He repeats this until 6am, when he craps his pants audibly for like 20 minutes and then laughs his face off, ready to greet the day. Nonplussed.

Each time I hear his grunty cry in the middle of the night, my body is so sad. I think I am starting to hear things, I am so tired. Even Corey agrees, we can still hear Miles crying after he stops.

He is three months old now. I was setting so much stock in the fact that colicky babies typically outgrow their issues by three months. This was supposed to be the magic number, the day when he would sleep for, like 3 hours. Three hours! In a row!

This will pass, I know this logically. But my God. I had no idea how crippling it could be to experience such exhaustion.

Channel Snacky D, Katy. Miles will one day sleep like Snacky D.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Fran, Again

Today we did Fran at Crossfit. I am back doing Crossfit. Sort of. Anyway, my December pregnant time for Fran was 5:15 and I was pushing 40# for the thrusters. Today, unpregnant but not having moved my body at all for three months, I finished in 5:12, but was really pushing it with 30#. And jumping pullups.

I feel like I have to accept the fact that I won't do a "real" pull-up this year, nor will I likely complete a rope climb. Unless of course Miles starts being chipper and silly when I put him down in his little car seat thing on the floor of the gym. That's what was going to happen in my vision of the world. I would take him, put him on the floor in front of me, and he would laugh and blow spit bubbles as I did pull-ups. Real pull-ups. Maybe he would clap for me?

In reality? He screamed until he threw up during the car ride to the gym, then I put him in the Bjorn and did some step-ups until Corey arrived to hold him. I busted out Fran and then nursed Miles on the floor by the ergs while Corey did his Fran. That's almost the same thing...right?

Humble Pie

So, I had two cavities. I know. Me! The girl who likes to win at the dentist. The person who GOES to the dentist specifically for the self esteem boost when the dentist calls in all the staff to ogle at my perfect, awesome teeth. I had two cavities.

Of course, I blame Miles entirely. For one thing, I have consumed significantly more dark chocolate since he has been born than during the entire rest of my life. For another, he is so time consuming that I often don't remember to floss my teeth and only get in a cursory brush once a day. Sometimes I forget even that. Someday, when my teeth fall out, I am going to send him a bill for dentures and say he started me on a terrible downward spiral into poor dental health.

I haven't had a filling since I was 15 years old, and even then I just had two little surfacey fillings from where my braces latched onto my molars. I didn't even know what was involved in getting a filling, so of course I had Dr. Dan talk me through the process. I was immediately sorry I had done so!

The whole practice of dentistry seems so medieval. So torturous! Drills in the mouth. Metal rings around the teeth. The grinding and the smoke and the smells! The metallic taste! My god. The worst is the Novocaine shot I buckled down and finally got since I am such a big baby. I literally whimpered while the needle was going into my cheek. Now my whole lip feels like a puffy goiter jutting out of my face.

I keep trying to sip my disgusting nursing tea and it dribbles right out the corner of my mouth. Much like Miles. I think the two of us should wear matching bibs for the rest of the day as we sit and stare at each other, trying together to figure out how to control the rubbery sausages holding in our spit.

Additionally, I no longer have any superiority over Corey in the dental department. Nobody tells you when you deliver a baby that you should budget for fillings because you'll be too consumed to care for your teeth properly. Nobody tells you that you are going to have to eat crow after months and years of teasing your husband for his decay-prone teeth. So let it be known that I, Katy, have publicly apologized to Corey for making fun of his cavities and am publicly recognizing the hypocrisy involved in such taunting now that I have had two, TWO, teeth filled in one day.

I realize now there is nothing funny about that chair in the back corner office and that it actually hurts quite a bit to have this problem remedied. I feel compelled to massage his back or something in penance. You know, with all my free time. As soon as I'm done flossing, I will think about offering to do something nice for him. But I really do feel badly for making fun! And I will never do it again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Rookie Moms

I have a Rookie Moms guide to Pittsburgh up on the Rookie Moms website right now!!! Check it out!

Weekend In Review

Pro--Mom came to visit
Con--potentially rabid, wild Rottweiler camped out on porch
Pro--ate good Thai food for dinner
Con--submitted sub-par story draft to editor, who noticed and commented that draft was, indeed, sub-par
Pro--got hair cut
Con--Miles didn't nap and was unhappy about it
Pro--made candy corn using the recipe from this month's Bust
Con--the candy corn looks like, as my former rugby coach said, extracted teeth
Pro--the candy corn tastes like candy corn. mmmmm

Pro--Miles took a big nap during the day
Con--Miles did not sleep well Friday night and everyone was, thus, tired all day
Pro--did a Crossfit workout in the morning
Pro--pumped a big bottle
Pro--got a visit from friend Steffy with her baby Sam

Con--Miles had his shittiest night's sleep since September 23
Con--couldn't pump very much milk this morning
Con--in tired haze, included cell phone in heavy soil load of laundry, thus destroying phone
Pro--switched to Corey's old cell phone, which is superior anyway
Pro--used Backup Assistant to get all old pictures and phone numbers into old/new phone
Pro--Miles took 2 hour nap
Pro--after Miles eats, whole family (including mom) can go to JG's meat/Steeler's party
Con--too tired to operate a vehicle safely, particularly through Fort Pitt Tunnel
Pro--Corey got way more sleep than me and can drive

Overall assessment: Mostly a good weekend. The addition of dark chocolate to our pantry and a daily beer courtesy of Snacky D helping us out with a beer run pushes the scale toward pro every time!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Um, Hello?

There is currently an un-neutered Rottweiler curled up on my porch. That's right.

Here is what happened. Miles was being fussy today. Super fussy. So he hasn't napped really. In the midst of his screamiest moment, I decided that he should eat again even though he had just eaten an hour ago. So there I sat on the sofa, all boobed up with Miles.

Then Juan knocked on the door. Juan is helping to clean our house (he is here because someone offered us a gift of housekeeping for a few months and I wasn't saying no to things anymore, so now we have Juan. Juan is amazing, btw). Anyway, Juan says, "I didn't know you got a dog!"

I'm all, "Juan, what are you talking about?" I look over my shoulder to see him sort of jiggling the ears of a mangy dog camped out on sidewalk. I told Juan I most certainly did not get a dog, that he should get away before it bites and he dies of rabies.

So then my mom shows up. I had sent her to the store for me because I don't have time to go grocery shopping. All that's in my fridge is soymilk, beer that Snacky D brought, and some pickles I pickled (they are delicious!). Mom calls me from her cell phone from the car. Miles is really starting to become unhappy at my breast and wiggling around and I'm freaked out about the dog and nobody is relaxed and the phone rings.

"Katy, why is there a Rottweiler on your porch?" It had climbed onto my porch! I told my mom to call 911.

They didn't answer so she hung up.

Mom hid in the car, Juan went outside to investigate, and I started looking up numbers for Animal Control. I mean, I don't have a dog. I don't know who to call or where to look in the phone book. Juan found a phone number on the tag, but they told me information was missing and they could do nothing for me. Nothing.

I left some messages on some phone numbers I found and then got a real human being. "We been chasing that damn dog all day! Where you say you live???"

By this time, the dog had moved from my porch to my neighbors' porch. They have German Shepherds and other dogs. Not good. I guess he didn't like it there? Because he walked his big ball sack back to my porch. Where he is currently camped out next to the stroller.

The stroller is on the porch because the other day, for the first time, Miles tolerated the stroller! We went for a walk like normal people do. But now we can't repeat this because he is screaming and, oh wait, there is a ROTTWEILER on my porch.

Did I mention that there is an enormous, dirty, smelly ROTTWEILER on my porch? One that does not belong to me? Yep. Life is interesting.

Friday, October 02, 2009

The Bjorn Ultimatum

I might have mentioned a few times that Miles is not the world's best sleeper. Of all possible inherited traits, this is the one I most wish he got from Corey. I mean, Corey is famous for falling asleep on couches at parties. It was his MO in college. That man will sleep for 14 hours every day if you let him. Miles? Not so much.

I think that, like mine, Miles' mind must race and prevent him from sleeping. I can just see his little inner monologue. If I sleep now, I might not get the breast milk for awhile. Oh. Look at the ceiling fan. That's cool. Ow. My nail hurt my eyeball when I jabbed it in there. Did I poop today? Do I have two of these arm things? Will they give me the breastmilk if I stop crying I wonder? No? Ok. Hey. My whole hand fits in my mouth. Don't I have another one? I do! I think it might fit in there, too. Nope. I should cry again...

But there is one thing that will ALWAYS eventually put him to sleep: walking around in the Bjorn. No matter how long he has been awake, no matter how wound up he is, if you march him up and down the stairs or stomp around the neighborhood long enough, he WILL go to sleep.

And here is the big problem. Typically, he only stays asleep if you keep him in the Bjorn. Moving. Which is all well and good if you're well rested and down for a 90-minute walk so he gets some sleep. I've sure done that before! Lots of times! Or else I'll just march up and down that bottom step until my legs are on fire and pretend I'm at Crossfit instead of in my living room.

But most of the time, I don't have the energy for this. So I am left with this huge conundrum. Do I put him to sleep in the Bjorn? Because if I do that, he'll sleep, which is good, but I can't put him down or stop moving at all. Which is bad. The alternative is to spend, like, 100 years shushing and nursing and blaring static and rocking in the chair that Corey refuses to oil. So it creaks like one of those old pirate ships you hear in movies. Or maybe a shopping cart with a bum wheel. And Miles spends this entire hundred years wailing and screaming in your damn ear and it's just agony. But at least you're sitting down.

Today, I felt up to sticking him in the Bjorn. We walked. And walked. And just as I was running out of bottles of beer on the wall, I looked down and the turd was asleep! So I walked awhile more to make sure he wasn't just faking (he does that sometimes). But then I was sweaty and hungry and it was beginning to drizzle. So I did a scary thing: I attempted to remove him from the Bjorn and put him down.

Most times, he is awake before you unsnap the top snaps. And that, friends, is the worst moment of your entire life, because you know what you have ahead of you, and it's not fun. I have changed my mind about Hell, in fact, to believe it involves spending hour upon hour with screaming, sad little infants because there really isn't much in the world that's worse.

So today, I risked the wake-by-jostle inherent in Bjorn removal. And by God! It worked in my favor! I couldn't believe it. My child fell asleep not after hours of agony, but on a cute little walk. I even chatted with some neighbors on this walk, got some fresh air, felt, in fact, wonderful. And then I put Miles down and he stayed asleep. Like a real baby!

I was so scared it wouldn't stick that I choked down some lunch, pumped out a bottle, and ran back upstairs to stare at him.

Still out.

I dug out my kettlebell and did a wee little workout. I went on facebook. Still out. It's been two hours now and I totally could have done, like, real writing or work or at least made lesson plans. But I am so scared he will wake up just as I get in the groove that instead, I choose to watch internet television and eat dark chocolate.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

For the Love of Sleep

For ten days in a row, I got fewer than 90 minutes of consecutive sleep. For ten weeks before this, I was getting between two and three hours in a row a few times each day. This took a toll on my body such that I did not feel safe operating a car. I was a walking, weeping mess. A disaster. I spent the days sobbing and feeling like there would be no tomorrow, that I would surely die of some unknown cause. Perhaps I would fall into the bags under my eyes and suffocate?

Anyway, it reached a tipping point where I simply had to sleep. Corey and I fabricated a plan. I made pumping breast milk a priority--it is hard to pump when your baby still sometimes eats every hour OR is in constant need of being held or soothed. Not much spare energy for extra milk production...but that day, we made it happen. I pumped and I pumped and I pumped until I had a spare bottle.

Then, I nursed Miles at bedtime. I immediately retreated to a cave we made in the basement. On the cement floor, on a camping pad, in a sleeping bag with ocean waves playing on the ipod, I hid from the rousing sounds of my baby's wails. I went in there at 830pm, scared I might not sleep through the disaster I was sure would happen above my head.

The plan was that Corey would pacify Miles until he got hungry again, give him the bottle, then pacify him until he got hungry AGAIN. We figured this would buy me 5 consecutive hours of rest--the most I would have had since Miles' birth. I couldn't allow myself to believe it was possible. Five hours of sleep? It might as well be 14. I had to use a Benadryl to get to sleep.

So my head hit the concrete at 830 and, apart from a few brief wakings up for no apparent reason, I slept like a lichen until Corey shook me 5am.

Miles slept from 830 until 1130 (that alone would have made me a new woman) and then drank his bottle and then slept until 5am. Let's take a minute and appreciate the enormity of this. Miles slept for 5 hours. In a row. Without drugs. I swear.

There are not words to describe the difference the cave has made in my life. I have never known such exhaustion as motherhood brings. I know that new parents are supposed to complain of tiredness, but I never could have imagined the weariness of ten weeks without delta sleep, without a second of restorative rest. Wee little catnaps and then full days of constant seemed unbearable. It IS unbearable.

But I have slept down there about four times now and each time, Miles sleeps for most of the night. This morning, he slept until 6am! I had to wake Corey up for work when I crawled out of the cave on my own. You see, we had stopped setting alarm clocks because what's the freaking point? Miles would make sure we were up in a half hour even if we drifted off, right? Not with the cave!

I don't know what it is about the cave situation, whether it's that Miles can't smell/sense me and thus stays asleep or whether the full bottles knock him out better than breast alone or whether the fates are just effing with me. But by God, I am sleeping in my cave until this kid works out how to get himself asleep. I will take a sore back over a slow death by exhaustion any day.