Friday, August 29, 2008


Honestly, I don't know how we went from here:

To here:

In five months.
Time is unbelievable.
Sacha is just an amazing little being. There is so much for me to be thankful for. Even given all the sleep issues, I think that I am finally starting to get the hang of this parenting thing. Which, of course, means that tomorrow everything is bound to change.
I am trying not to think of that.
Instead, let's look at this month's accomplishments.
Moving: While I wouldn't say that he's crawling yet, he certainly is mobile. When he is on his tummy (which is almost always, as he rolls the minute I put him down on his back), he uses his arms to pivot his body. He can make full circles. And Sacha also "moves" by bringing his knees toward his chest so that his bum is high in the air, and then he launches himself forward.
Talking: I have no idea what he's saying (and it's certainly nothing near Mama or Papa), but Sacha is talking a blue streak. I can have full conversations with him.
Laughing: Sacha smiled and giggled at a very young age (probably at a little under one month). Previously he would giggle if I ticked him, but lately he will laugh if I make funny faces, or if I am laughing. He also has the smile that a friend refers to as "if I open my mouth any wider it will break". See photo above!
Gesturing: I'm not sure how, but my mother taught Sacha to raise his arms when he wants to be picked up from the crib. (He only does this in the crib, though.) It's pretty amusing to see. If I walk in while he is playing, he will drop a toy and hold his arms up to me.
Sitting: I don't even know when the transition from sitting propped to sitting alone occurred. One day I thought to myself: what if I left him to balance on his hands while he's sitting. Low and behold- he did not fall over! Sacha can sit holding on to the side of the crib and holding on to his playmat bars. He's getting pretty good at supporting himself with one hand, and shoving a toy in his moth with another. Today I put him on his knees, and he balanced for a good while before toppling over.
Playing: It's amazing- Sacha actually plays with his toys. He chooses a toy with purpose- sometimes he will turn his body just to get a specific toy. His aim is spot on, and he grabs with one hand, and brings his toy directly to his mouth. I find that I can leave him on his own for quite a long period of time and he is able to amuse himself. Sacha has also now perfected grabbing the animals hanging from his mobile-while it's moving. He holds on tight, and when I come in to his room and see him doing this he looks at me as if he's saying "look what I've done!".
More Playing: Sacha found his toes last week, and perhaps they are his favorite toy of the moment. He has figured out how to get them to his mouth, and yesterday I found him sucking quite intently on his big toe, as if it were a thumb. He also loves it when I play airplane with him high up in the air. He is starting to stretch his arms and legs out while flying. And he laughs wildly. And, like most babies, Sacha loves to dance. He loves Ra.ffi, and The Beatles, and James Taylor and even my humming of silly diddies. As long as he's bouncing to a beat he's smiling and laughing.
Growing: Last week I weighed Sacha on my brother's produce scale (he's a farmer). He weighed 18 pounds. He is headed in the direction of tripling his birth weight by six months. We have a doctor's appointment in 3.5 weeks (just shy of 6 months), so I will keep you posted. He is fat, that's for sure, but he's also tall. This week I started using size 2-3 diapers. The 2s just weren't cutting it anymore.
Personality: Like I've said: Sacha loves to laugh. And he is smiling almost all the time. He is just one happy baby. Hardly anything bothers him. If he's crying it's because something is drastically wrong. He rarely cries if he's hungry, or even when he's tired. He is sweet and calm and seemingly good-natured. He loves people and smiles at everyone. I know I am incredibly lucky in this aspect. I KNOW.
For the life of me I don't know what I did to deserve such an angel. I am truly blessed.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Yup that's me. Just to confirm with you all: there is no tooth. if any of you are like my mother, then you may, as she did, be thinking "I knew it! Teeth do not appear on top first!". Thank you mom.

Now on to another timely topic:


(We could talk about the lack of mine, but I won't go there today.)

Let me just say at the outset that Sacha is pretty much a super-duper baby. (The B.aby W.hisperer may like to label him as an "angel baby", but let's refrain from labels.) If he weren't so happy and smiley this sleep issue would definitely be way worse. I am lucky, and I know that. (Sacha is not this happy because of anything specific I have done, I am pretty certain of that.)

After his stay in the NICU, it became apparent that Sacha was a baby who liked to sleep. By 3 weeks of age he was down to waking once in the night. And he went down for naps with minimal fuss: I would swaddle him, turn on the mobile and he would already be yawning (very Pavlovian!).

As he started growing and becoming more interested in the world, he of course had less sleep time and more periods of awake time. Still, it was easy to get him to take his naps. And he often napped for at least 2 hours at lest twice a day. Sacha would go down easily at night and still only wake his once for a feeding.

Then something happened... And I don't know what. In the past 6 weeks or so Sacha has steadily decreased his frequency and quantity of naps. I am lucky if he sleeps a full hour nap. Luckier even if I can get him to do that three times a day. Twice last week he took 4 45-minute naps. And each nap is a fight now. While it is very much easier to get him down to sleep at night (possibly because this is my husband's activity), Sacha still wakes up at least once a night, and on a couple of occasions in the past few weeks it has even been twice in the night. I go to bed each night with a bit of dread, as I don't know what each night will bring.

Of course I am looking for advice/explanations/comments of understanding.

So, just to give you the whole picture, let me just tell you what I do do when it comes to sleep.

I wait until he is tired. Which is a hard one with such a smiley guy! But he is good at giving me signals. He rubs his eyes and I watch for yawns. (And even after he starts yawning and rubbing he is still playful and happy!)

I always swaddle Sacha. Even at nearly 5 months, and even though he is very big, he really likes it. I think it signals to him that he is going to go to his crib to sleep. Though, sometimes he giggles while I am swaddling- like he thinks it's a game- no so conducive to sleep!

During the day I walk and or rock him sometimes. It really depends more on how I'm feeling. I always turn his mobile on to his "sleepy" music. If I put him in his crib awake he almost always is asleep by the end of the 15 minutes it takes to play through the mobile. Sometimes he cries when I leave him like this. On those occasions he always breaks out of his swaddle. And he falls asleep on his side.

While I feel bad about somewhat letting him "cry it out", I know from experience that it will last less than 15 minutes. During those time I usually go to my computer and try to distract myself by emailing and what not.

No matter what I do, he is usually awake within an hour. Happy and ready to play! Sometimes he is still yawning and/or eye rubbing, but he refuses to go back to sleep. Other times I leave him in his crib to play for a bit (mostly when I have a bit of work to get done or I am exhausted and need a few more minutes to myself).

At night we have a very strict routine: bath, naked time, massage, nurse and then sleep. Often Sacha falls asleep nursing, and on the rest of the occasions my husband walks, jiggles and shushes him to sleep. When he wakes during the night he will often fall asleep while nursing. But if he doesn't- it's an uphill battle to get him back to sleep.Sacha is wide awake and smiling- we swaddle, we jiggle, we shush, sometimes I even try nursing again. These are times that I think that I must be living hell on earth. Why, oh why does this happen? It's especially scary now that this has started happening sometimes twice in a night.

Most people say that he seems ok because the lack of sleep doesn't seem to be affecting him. "He's so happy!" they say, "If he needed more sleep he would be crankier."

My actual issue here is two-fold.

One- if Sacha is not napping there is no way I can get some rest myself. Nor is there any way that I can get a nice chunk of work done without feeling like I am leaving him for too long on his own. (To remind you, I am self-employed and work from home. When in Canada mothers usually get one full year mat leave, the conditions of my self-employment have meant that I was working less than 48 hours after Sacha was born.)

The second issue is a bit bigger: Don't babies need sleep in order to process all that they are learning and to grow? This really really is worrying me.

I know I am not alone. I have been reading so many post lately of other mothers dealing with the same issues. But it's so hard. I have no idea if there is anything I can do, and if so what it is!

On thing is almost for certain: it is not a tooth.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I am so tired today I might just croak. And my husband looks like he's been run over by a truck. He took Sacha grocery shopping so that I could have a break, but I can't fall asleep. I keep thinking about what the little guy has been experiencing the past couple of days.

Let's explore:

Increaced poop (more than his 2 times a day): check!
Waking in the night and taking 1-2 hours to get back to sleep: check!
Not napping: check!
Lots of coughing: check!
Emitting funny gurgly sound while puring lips and sucking on the inside of his mouth: check!
Chapped upper lip: check!
Spitting up alot more than usual: check!
Not knowing what he wants: check!
Being quiet (whenn usually happy and laughing pretty much all.the.time): check!
DROOL KING: check!

Tip of tooth peeking out of gum on top left: check!

Who stole my baby and replaced him with this big boy??

UPDATE: Umm... I think that I lied. Today there seems to be no tooth! What on earth did I see yesterday? And: then what is up with Sacha??

Monday, August 11, 2008


I did talk about this a bit in my previous post. But it's on my mind.

As we speak, Sacha is downstairs with my mother. She is attempting to give him a bottle (of pumped milk) for the third time this week. (The third attempt in one week time. So far: bottle 0.) We think it's best if I stay away while she tries, hence my sitting here typing.

I know: it's not necessary for him to take a bottle. It just means that I can't leave him for more than 3-4 hours during the day, and if we want to go out at night we have to wait until Sacha is asleep at 8 or so.

I actually never thought this would be an issue. I thought I wouldn't care if he took a bottle. At the very end of my pregnancy I bought an inexpensive (relatively speaking) pump and some bottles almost on a whim. A total whim, as I really was leaning very granola in my child rearing ideas.

I thought I would co-sleep. We purchased a co-sleeper and used it as a bassinet in our room for 3 weeks. That's all. I thought I would baby-wear all the time. Which I did often at the beginning of Sacha's life, but he quickly became to heavy to wear constantly. And, of course, I thought my baby would only eat from my breast. No nipple was going to touch my boy's mouth but my own.

(I have other convictions that I'm happy to report that I am sticking to, but that's not the point of this post.)

What I found out very quickly after Sacha was born was that I like my independence. (Which is not to say that I'm not thankful for my baby being in my life, we all know that I am, I don't have to go there, do I?) I just thought that I would be alot more... attached. To be honest, I didn't even read anything about attachment parenting before Sacha's birth. I only found out there was a name, a movement, for what I thought I wanted to do as I began to read baby development literature.

Can I tell you how thrilled I was to have my room back after only 3 weeks of sharing it? I didn't mind going to the next room when Sacha woke at night. In actuality it was easier to change feed and put him back to sleep in his room than in mine.

And can I tell you how thrilled I was when other people wanted to hold the little guy? And how comfy he seemed in his vibrating chair? And in the stroller? And anywhere I would put him down to sleep? Sacha didn't seem to mind, and I certainly felt a whole lot lighter not carrying him around all the time. I may have persisted if he didn't seem happy being put down, but in truth it seemed as if he didn't notice that he wasn't with me! (I know that baby-wearers will refute this, but again... not really the point of this post.)

And can I tell you about the concert tickets that my husband bought for us when I was about 7 months pregnant? The ones for a concert 5 weeks after my due date (Which he didn't even realize! and which ended up being only 3 weeks after Sacha's birth)?

We had to leave Sacha with my parents. And we had to leave a bottle. And he took it. No problem.

I liked the independence of that evening. My husband and I had a great time out. After only 3 weeks of parenthood we were able to leave the baby. It felt amazing to have some sort of semblance of life back if only for a few hours courtesy of Billy Joel.

I made certain that my mother was available to give Sacha a bottle about once a week. And he was always game. Sometimes it took a little coaxing, but my mother is patient beyond belief and Sacha always drank it down in the end.

Until this week. I don't know what is up!! We have tried 2 different types of bottles. I even went out and bought a sippy cup. Let me tell you- he loves that sippy cup. he figured out how to hold both handles, and that the spout goes in his mouth (a genius I tell ya!), but he can't suck hard enough yet (or hasn't figured out that he should suck the spout.)

I'm at a bit of a loss... Like I said, in terms of parenting issues, this doesn't rank so high in the "I have a problem" area.

But I like the little bit of independence that I had. It was what was keeping me sane. I knew I could go out and have a bit of me time at any point as long as there was someone to take care of Sacha. I haven't really written about this at all, but being a mother is alot more difficult that I could have ever imagined. And it's been very very hard on me. So my me time was important, even if it was infrequent.

And I am scared to lose it.

Friday, August 08, 2008


Last week Sacha turned four months old. It seems incredible that he has already been four months, but on the other hand the past four months seem like forever.

I don't usually post about Sacha. It's more how having him has created, umm, let's say, new challenges in my life. But I thought on this occasion perhaps you would like to know what is going on with the little guy. (Also, I would like to have a record of it. So as usual, my motivation is selfish!)

Without further ado: Senhor Sacha's fine achievements to date.

At three months and one day Sacha figured out how to get his arm out from underneath himself and completed his rollover from back to front. Last week he perfected the front to back roll. We were at my parents' house and once he did it the first time he did not want to stop. Sacha rolled under the coffee table and out the other side and clear across the living room until we could not push the furniture any further. It was fun to watch him; every time he ended up back on his back he looked up surprised like: "whoa! how did I get here!".

Sacha has been putting toys in his mouth for ages. At a few weeks I would hold toys as he would suck on them. Then I would put them in his hand and he would try so hard to hold on as he sucked on them. Then I would leave a toy on his belly and he would pick it up to chew on. Now he reaches for anything in sight to pull towards himself, and when it get there he chomps heartily on it. And does not let go. I remember thinking "is he ever going to have enough strength to hold his toys?", and now here he is, choosing which ones he wants and grabbing at it with one hand.

Speaking of grabbing toys, Sacha's mobile continues to be one of his favorite things (though, as he is developing a bit of a flat spot on his head, I try not to leave him on his back when he is awake.) He is able to track the animals as they make a complete turn, and has started batting at them as they come closer to him. He opens his hand to grab them, but they move ever too quickly for him. I know it won't be long before we have to take it down. (Not to worry, we have the fis.her.pri.ce aquarium all lined up.)

The little guy is almost sitting up on his own. He spends alot of time in his bumbo, and his neck and abs are getting stronger every day. He can sit in his pack and play and while holding on in front of him, and if you prop him on the sofa he pulls himself up straight and hold his head steady. When Sacha is in his car seat he likes to bring his head forward. He sits really well on my lap when I'm at the computer; he puts his hands on the table and bangs as I type.

I am still exclusively breastfeeding. Sacha would take a bottle here and there, but only from my mother. The past couple of days we have been trying to give him a bottle and he is refusing it. Apparently I screwed up there and waited too long between bottle intervals! Now until he starts some solids it's going to be very difficult to leave him with anyone as they can't feed him. But, because he is showing such interest in what I am eating these days, I think I am going to get him a sippy cup to see if he will take it. (He does drink water from my glass, but he won't brink pumped milk from the glass!) I actually would start introducing solids, but we are going to Portugal in a few weeks and I would prefer to wait until we are back to make a big change like that.

Which isn't to say that he needs the solids per se. He seems to be doing fine with breastmilk. When we went to the doctor at 2.5 months Sacha weighed 14.5 pounds. I weighed him last week on a regular scale (me alone, and then me with him, and take the difference) and he was about 17 pounds. We don't go to the doctor again until the middle of September (when he will be almost 6 months), so I won't have a more accurate weight until them. But suffice to say that Sacha is a big boy. (The other day my brother went to snap A sun hat on Sacha and he called over to me: "which chin should I button it under?")

Where sleeping is concerned, we still have not mastered the through-the-night skill. He has been sleeping long stretches at a time (like 7-8 hours) from the time he was about 3 weeks old. I thought he was a champion then, boy! Now it seems like every other kid is sleeping through (like from 7-7!) but little Sacha! I am actually fine with waking up the once in the night to have him nibble; he gets back to sleep pretty quickly afterwards, and so do I. But the past few nights he has been waking up twice in the night! TWICE! I think I smell a sleep regression! Eeeks.

Oy! I am rambling on and on like a proud mama. Well I am! I just can't get over how my little guy is growing. It is phenomenal. So often I turn to The C and say "what have you learned in four months?!". It is simply amazing to watch my son grow. As hard as it has been, this mothering gig is so rewarding in many many ways.

I'll leave you with a few photos of Sacha (from about a month ago) taken by a friend.