Sweet sleep

Maybe it was the single cup of coffee I drank Monday morning.

For some reason, the new little manling slept 5 1/2 straight hours on Monday night.  I won’t lie to you.  I lay awake in my bed after the first 4 1/2 hours, just watching the clock and waiting for him to squeak.  Yes, I got up once to check his breathing.  Yes, I jumped up again and nursed him at the first little squeak, which did not at all resemble a genuine cry.

And then, when he went back to sleep and I laid him in his own little bed at 5:30, I just lay there in my own bed, wondering what to do next.  After all, I had already slept an idyllic 4 1/2 hours, plus the time I lay awake waiting for him to wake up.  I waited til 6, then decided to share the joy with hubby: I got up and made his coffee and breakfast, and packed his lunch.

Oh, but that’s not quite the end.  I don’t know why, but I wasn’t entirely convinced that my single cup of coffee should receive all the credit.  Call it mother’s intuition, or just chalk it up to my own contrary nature.  I wanted to test it.

Yesterday morning, I skipped the coffee.

The day passed as usual.

The baby dozed off a little after 10 PM.  And he didn’t wake up until…

…are you waiting?

…you won’t believe it.

He didn’t wake up until…

You’re going to hate me.

5:30 AM.

That little kid slept over 7 hours.  So did I.  And he woke up pleasant. Yes, he was ready to eat, but first he smiled at me.  He was really glad to see me.  And I was really glad to see him.  I like that little guy.

I don’t expect it to happen every night – it probably wouldn’t be good for him this early – but I it sure was nice, and now I feel some hope that he’ll be sleeping through the night reasonably early like 8 of his 9 siblings did.

2 week check up

Jennifer came yesterday morning for Parker-boy’s 2 week check up.

She poked his poor foot again – she had to do some fancy talkin’ when he was born to convince us to do this twice!

She weighed him and nodded approvingly when he came in 1 oz. over his birth weight.  Since it’s normal for babies to lose up to 10% of their body weight in the first week after birth, the goal is to have them back up to their birth weight by 2 weeks.  Parker is right on target, with an ounce to spare.

She was delighted that we have decided to have him circumcised by the rabbi she recommended.  We’re not practicing Jews, and I had called a pediatrician first, but the rabbi’s website won me over.  In spite of the fact that we’ll have to drive 300 miles each way to his office and make an overnight trip of it, we think it’s worthwhile.

When done by a rabbi, the procedure takes 15-30 seconds and the baby hardly cries at all.  He encourages the mother to feed the baby within an hour before, unlike the doctor who requests that the baby not be fed for 2-3 hours before.  He has done this nearly 6,000 times already, a record that the pediatrician probably doesn’t share.  And when I called, he struck me as very personable, friendly, and even funny (check out the last question in his FAQ).

And finally, while Jennifer thought my caffeine plan was worth trying, she warned me that in her experience it took up to 12 hours for the caffeine to peak in her own milk supply.  She thought I might find it more helpful to drink a beer – specifically, a dark and hoppy beer – in the afternoon or early evening, to help the baby wind down for the night.

Yes, we drink.  We do it occasionally, in moderation, enjoying one of God’s many blessings as He encourages us to do.  And I find it much easier to enjoy this particular blessing when it’s dark and hoppy, just like the doctor ordered.  A whole beer every day may be a little much for me and the wee bairn, but maybe I can find somebody to share with…

Sleep? What’s that?

Parker is settling into life on the outside quite well, except for the part where we sleep at night and stay awake during the day.  Yes, I’m spoiled that way.  I’ve never had a baby wake me more than twice during the night.  Never until Parker came along.  He eats every 2-3 hours during the day, but more like every hour at night.  He’s punishing me for the ease of my past life.  I’m sure of it.

Yes, I try to nap when I can during the day, but am I the only mom who finds it difficult to relax and let go of consciousness while there are children running around doing STUFF?  What are they doing?  Is anyone watching the little ones?  Did Dad remember to take his lunch?  Have the chickens been let out?  When did Bethany’s diaper get changed last?  Is she wearing a diaper?  And would somebody PLEASE GET THAT DOG SOME WATER SO SHE’LL STOP BARKING AT THE BATHTUB?

If you’re wondering how that is affecting me, you should have seen this post before I fixed the typos.  I thought briefly about leaving them in to illustrate the point, but just couldn’t make myself do it.  Anyway, you probably wouldn’t have gotten the point because it  would be totally incoherent.  Like me.

At any rate, I’m thinking of trying drugs – caffeine, to be specific.  Normally I don’t drink real coffee because after just a cup or two for a day or two, I become so dependent upon the caffeine that I get withdrawal headaches.

For Parker, however, I’m ready to do it.  For the sake of sleep – the mere possibility of sleep – sleep at night, to be specific – I’ll risk a migraine or two.

My hope is that if I drink a cup of real caffeine-laden coffee first thing in the morning, each morning, maybe the little darling will stay awake more during the day.  Then he’ll have to make up for lost sleep by actually sleeping at night.

It’s a beautiful plan, right?  Please tell me it makes sense.  If you already tried and it didn’t work, please don’t tell me that part.  There’s nothing more tragic than the murder of a beautiful plan by a brutal horde of facts.  Or something like that.  It’s a quote, no doubt mangled beyond recognition by my sleep-deprived brain.

Chocolate ice cream saves the day

You might remember my slight obsession with giving birth on a holiday or family birthday – nearly all of our children so far have arrived on days that were already special, only to be made more special by the blessed event.
I was really hoping that our last baby would be born on Memorial Day, since we had a Memorial Day baby back in ’98. Their birthdays would be different, but they would have shared a holiday.  How cool would that be?
Alas, I missed the mark. Parker and I missed Memorial Day (May 31); we missed the birthday of his Memorial Day sister (May 25). We even missed D-day (June 6).   Just for the sake of salvaging our holiday tradition, I found myself hoping that he would go so far as Flag Day (June 14), which he would have shared with Sarah.

I shouldn’t have worried.  Kacie of Sense to Save has brought it my attention that he arrived on the perfect holiday.

June 7 was National Chocolate Ice Cream Day.  Who can complain about a birthday like that?

And for your viewing pleasure, just because I’m sure that everyone agrees that I have the cutest kids in the world (what? you thought you had them?):

Credit for photos goes to 8yo Becca!  The thumbnails are cropped automatically.  Click through to see the full version of each photo.

Parker pics

Baby names

Did you enter our baby giveaway yet?  Win one of 9 prizes from 6 sponsors worth a total of $475!


Our method of naming babies probably makes some people’s eyes twitch but it works for us. I used to believe that it was crucial to have a name picked out before the baby arrived.  If we failed, what would we call the child?  “That New Kid?”  Anyway, I always had trouble naming pets and I found that the longer it took me to choose a name, the less the name seemed to fit.  What if we dawdled and wound up giving our child the WRONG name?  Tragic!

But over time, we realized that we never settled on a name until just before the baby’s birth, no matter how far ahead we started the debate.  It seems we cooperate best under the pressure of a looming deadline.  Gradually we began opening the debate later and later in the pregnancy.

I don’t remember exactly which child started the tradition, but eventually we took it one step further and didn’t make the final decision until after the birth.  From there it was only a short slide to not even opening the formal discussion until the duedate loomed large before us.

And here we are, barely a week from D-day, without a clue as to what we’ll name the baby.  A boy will be easy – we’ve had a few choices on the table for a long, long time and only used one so far.  But when it comes to girls, I’m afraid we’ve nearly used up all the choices.   There’s just a finite number of names for a given gender, and we do have a lot of girls, you know.

We have a few preferences when it comes to girl names, or rather I do.  I can’t speak for hubby since we haven’t talked much about it recently.  I’ll know more about his preferences in a week or two, but usually the baby gets named when one of the suggestions I throw his way meets with thoughtful silence instead of a face and a counter-offer like, “But I want to name her Mumu Kefir.”   That’s how we work.

I like girl names that are:

  1. Unmistakably feminine.   No names that used to be boy names but are now used for both, no matter how cute or charming.
  2. Easy to spell – for adults, that is.  I know this limits us to relatively common names, but I don’t want my child to be forced to spell her name for every single person she meets just because we felt the need to be creative.   This means that if there are options for a particular name, we go with the most common spelling.
  3. Not too unusual.  Most or all our children’s names have been in the top 100 for their birth year.  We didn’t do this on purpose, but it does demonstrate a pattern.
  4. Not too trendy.  We don’t watch television, and don’t want to name our children after any prominent TV characters or stars – though we might do so out of ignorance or oblivion.  I still like the name Hannah, in spite of you-know-who.
  5. Names that sound nice together.  This is more important for the first and middle name since the last name is most likely temporary.   I think it’s important to have a little alliteration or assonance going on, and a pleasing rhythm of stressed/unstressed syllables.

So…do you have suggestions for us?  I’m all ears.  Well, ears and belly.  Lots of belly.  And ankles, now that we’re on the subject of body parts.  Or rather, lack of ankles.  I know they’re in there somewhere, but they’re playing hide-and-seek this week.

So much for my theory about exercise improving circulation and helping with the swelling.  I’m walking 2 miles/day, and I think the biggest result is simply jiggling the fat and water downward toward my feet.  I wonder if fatter feet make my belly look smaller by contrast?

Cloth diapers questions from the mailbag

Since we made the switch from disposable diapers to cloth last year, I’ve received a lot of questions from other cloth newbies and mothers considering cloth.

Since the mothers who ask these questions thought my answers might be helpful, I’ve decided to share my answers here too.  Feel free to jump in if you have anything to add to my cloth diaper q&a.

Good drying rack for diapers?

I read that you don’t use an electric dryer.  I have one, but would like to air dry my diapers to make them last (for more children, hopefully!).  Do you have a suggestion for a sturdy/large-enough-to-hold-a-couple-day’s-worth-of-diapers drying rack? The one I had before was your run-of-the-mill Wal-Mart variety that ended up breaking on me and didn’t always hold my entire load of diapers at once.

answer:

For a drying rack, I love my 2 racks from IKEA.  One is nearly 6 feet tall and holds 2-3 loads of laundry – I can’t seem to find it on their website but it’s called the Antonius clothes dryer, and costs $37.99.

They also have a smaller drying rack that holds about as much as the walmart variety you mentioned but seems to hold up much better. It’s $6.99.  You can get one similar to the smaller model at The Container Store for about $20.  I know, that’s a huge price difference, but the quality is better and you’re more likely to have one nearby.  Even at $20, I think it’s well worth it – it’s a great, simple design that folds down flat in one second flat so you can store it behind the sofa, etc.

How to store dirty diapers?

What do you use to store your diapers in before you wash them.  Have you ever heard of/researched the type of bag I referred to above…Planet Wise Wet/dry bag?  It is 16.5 x 27 inches, which seems large, but maybe I am nuts for thinking this will work for everyday use at home??

answer:

We store our dirty diapers in one of those diaper genie buckets, found at a yard sale for $2.  🙂  I pulled out the insides, so it’s just a bucket with a flip-top lid.   A trash can with a flip top lid would do nicely too.

Many people are very happy with wetbags, so that’s certainly an option, though I’ve only used our wetbags in the diaper bag.  Make sure you get one that seals well to keep both wetness and odor inside.  Most can be turned inside out and tossed in the washer when you wash diapers.

My sister uses a standard 5 gallon bucket with the lid set loosely on top so it’s not a struggle every time.

Whatever you use, make sure it has plenty of room to hold all your diapers between washings.  You’ll probably find that you change a bit more often with cloth diapers than disposables, so it may take a little more room than you expect.  It’s also  important not to pack the diapers too firmly between washes.  Ventilation keeps them from developing extra stink that can be hard to remove.

How to keep the stink away?

I do not want to bleach my diapers this time around, but I am worried that the stink will eventually overtake them.  I can hang them out in the sun for the first few months (baby’s due in July), but even here in northern Georgia – it gets too cold in the winter to be hanging the diapers out all the time.  Does Charlie’s Soap truly keep the stink away? I thought I read that you had to seek out other ways to deter it.  What tricks have you learned?

answer:

I did (and do) have problems with stink, but I blame our extremely hard water and our washer, which is definitely having issues.  If we prewash with cold, then wash twice in hot with just a bit of detergent, and if we wash every 2 days and don’t let the bucket get packed too full, we do alright.

Best diaper cover?

What diaper cover have you been most satisfied with (please don’t tell me about any that you’ve sewn yourself… remember – I’m not there yet! 🙂

answer:

Regarding my favorite diaper cover, I think Proraps are probably the best buy and most people prefer velcro to snaps, which is exactly what Proraps offer.  But honestly – we have trouble with velcro in our house.  I prefer anything with snaps.  The fit isn’t so infinitely adjustable, but it’s good enough for us and far more durable.

We started out with prefolds, snappies and Prorap covers. They worked very well for us aside from the fuzzies in the velcro, but since I’m pregnant and we always wind up with 2 in diapers, I decided to switch to Coolababy all-in-one pocket diapers from ebay.  They fit newborn through toddler so we won’t need 2 separate diaper stashes. There are certainly other nicer choices, but these are very affordable (especially if you buy 24 at a time) and very easy to use.

Got questions?  I’m no expert, but I’ll try to answer them.

Bossy Bess

Baby Bethany is beginning to talk – a lot.  She is 18 months now, and although she has been copying words and phrases for quite a while, she has just begun to assemble her words into phrases and sentences of her own.bessie (Medium)

She is also becoming far more interactive, and she’s beginning to display that she understands more and more of what we are talking about or even what we are thinking.

She’s always eager to repeat commands and corrections just in case her older sibs didn’t hear me.  She has enough vocabulary to tattle if somebody offends her.  And she’s tried to issue a few commands of her own, in carefully studied style.

Today, she asked Kaitlyn for a drink of water.  Kaitlyn pretended not to understand her, and Bethany repeated her request a second time, then a third, then a fourth.  Finally we saw it dawn upon her that Kaitlyn was teasing her.  She grinned along with us at the joke, then set her jaw and frowned.  She pointed at Kaitlyn and commanded her: “Kay-kay, obey!

She got her water, of course.  How could Kaitlyn resist that?

bethany (Medium)

Her nickname may be Bessie, but I’m often tempted to change it to Bossy.

Review: Thirsties diaper covers

You probably remember that we switched to cloth diapers earlier this year.  I started with a big assortment of used items, sold by a kind reader at a very, very nice price.

I split them with my sister and never looked back, but our used items are beginning to show some heavy wear.  We’ve had to repair several of our Proraps, and they just don’t have much life left in them.  It was time to start looking at replacements.

On the recommendation of several readers, we recently got some Thirsties.  These are among the more moderately priced diaper covers, and claim to be the best-selling diaper cover on the market.  Based on the number of recommendations we received, I believe it!

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Oh, look.  My baby was helping with the post, and she knows how to spell my name!  Do you see it?  I always knew she was smart.  She must know that this post is about diapers, and therefore about her.

We have really enjoyed our Thirsties diaper covers.  The colors are adorable and they do the job, plain and simple.   They have gussets – a must for us, with our rather bulky prefolds.

I think the crossover tabs are brilliant and obvious.  Why doesn’t every cover on the market have those?

Ditto for laundry tabs, though we’re not used to them yet.   I’ll have to train my diaper-changing children to actually use them, right after I retrain myself.  If our old Proraps had laundry tabs, they might not need to be replaced already.

Like most diaper covers, size medium covers a lot of ground, from about 9 months until potty-training age for many children.  If you want even more sizing flexibility, pay a wee bit more for the Duo Wrap.  It has all the features of the standard cover plus snaps to quickly and easily change the rise.   Did I really just say wee while talking about diapers?

Just for fun, we also got one of their Fab Fitted diapers.  I have to be honest: I squealed just a little when it came.  I can’t explain the thrill of a soft-n-squishy raspberry colored diaper, but there you have it.  You’ll probably want to rub it on your cheek before you put it on the baby the first time.  I can almost guarantee that this diaper will be the first one to get used every time.  It’s not super absorbent, but is just fine for daytime use and is much trimmer than the prefolds that we normally use.

Speaking of absorbency, I have to confess one more thing: I think the Fab Doublers are irresistibly adorable too.  Why would I care if it’s cute when it’s going to completely hidden from view?  I don’t know, but I want them.

Now for the best part:

GIVEAWAY!

Thristies has generously offered to give one of our readers a Thirsties Cover and a Fab Fitted in their choice of colors!

To enter, just visit the Thirsties site to pick your favorite color for each.  While you’re there, consider sending Thirsties a quick thank you on their Contact Page for sponsoring the giveaway.  Then come back and tell us in a comment.   To enter up to 3 more times, tell your friends about this giveaway by linking to it on Facebook, Twitter, and/or your own blog.  Come back and leave another comment for each entry.

Poll: late walkers

The poll on early walkers was fun and we learned a lot.  Thanks to everyone who took time to participate!

I have a friend who thinks her boy is a sure winner when it comes to late walkers, so here’s a new poll for you.  Since developmental delays often contribute to late walking, please answer based on your latest non-developmentally delayed child.

[poll id=”4″]

Our latest was 15 months.  I thought it was pretty unusual at the time, but I was fresh out of my parents’ house where babies walked at 7 months.  Now I know that things work a little differently, so don’t be afraid of shocking me.  I can take it.  Anyway, I still think my friend’s son can totally beat yours in this poll.

If you’re feeling self-conscious for the sake of your child, take heart.  Research indicates that children who crawl longer tend to do better in math, spelling, and spatial skills.