Friday, December 31, 2010


The end of the year is supposed to be a time of reflection, right?  I've been reflecting lately on how motherhood has changed me as a person.  It's amazing to think how different I am in a few short months.  And I do feel the changes have been most dramatic since Wiggles birth, rather than since finding out I was expecting.

One of the big changes is my pack-rat-ish tendencies.  Thank goodness they've lessened.  I've struggled for years my entire life with the urge to save, preserve, and store everything.  I kept the boxes and packaging things came in.  I kept old movie stubs, receipts, clothing tags, etc.  Just in case.  And then there's the things that have meaning.  Like...old notes from an ex-boyfriend.  REALLY!?  Really.  I felt the need to keep them.  In a little box in the closet.  I scrapbook now, so that helps with some of the preservation of things in a nice way.  But I've just felt this strong need to keep STUFF my entire life.  At the same time, I've been incredibly frustrated by how this pull leads to clutter.  I don't actually like clutter.  I admire model homes and the like for their incredibly clean and uncluttered atmosphere.  But such an environment has been elusive at best with my pack-ratish tendencies.

Finally, finally, I've found myself changing in this respect.  It sounds cliche, but things are just no longer as important.  Now, there have been a few times already that I've recycled packaging only to regret it mildly later.  If I'd still had it I could have returned the object - but in the end, it didn't reallllly matter.  I guess this particular change started when I was pregnant - we got rid of a ton of stuff when we moved.  But since Wiggles was born I find myself looking over the apartment wondering what else we can do without.  I no longer feel compelled to keep gifts I have no use for (thanks MIL!) because they were a gift.

And, the best news for Wiggles and other future children, nieces and nephews - I no longer have such a strong tie with my toys.  Yes.  Toys.  I.....have a collection of lovely plastic toys (like Playmobil) that I have loved dearly and cared for meticulously.  And while one would assume it'd be natural to pass such a thing onto one's children, I had no intention of such.  No sir.  These toys were MINE.  Mr. Random thought it was quite ridiculous, but I brought the toys into the marriage so he could do little about it.  Guess what?  I'm now happy to pass them on.  When they no longer present a choking hazard, I hope Wiggles enjoys them.  And if we end up with children who have no interest in the more girly toys...I'll be happy to pass them on to a niece who would like them.  I think I nearly stopped Mr. Random's heart when I told him this.  This is a HUGE change in outlook for me.  And I couldn't be happier about it.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mr. Random's Deal

Mr. Random is wonderful.  He is an excellent husband and father.  He's smart, funny and good-looking (of course).  But he lacks one thing.  A dream.  And it's driving him nuts.

It has been for years, actually.  Part of the reason he's worked mediocre jobs that bring no satisfaction, but thankfully a stable paycheck, is because he didn't know what he wanted to do.  And in the absence of a strong desire to do something specific, he just did whatever he found.  Which lead to retail and other less-than-fun positions.  Positions he found miserable.

So, here we are - 4.5 years out of college and still...he's not sure what he wants to do.  He thinks he'd be happy as the stay-at-home-dad.  Unfortunately for him, we had a baby a few years too soon for that dream.  If we'd waited until I was done with my PhD and gainfully employed it might have been an option.  He's though about being a teacher off-and-on for years, but for some reason has always resisted it.  He's not entirely sure why, but thinks it might be because it's not "prestigious" enough for his dad's approval.  Despite that, the job of teacher fits a lot of his personal requirements for a job he'd enjoy.

He wants a job that is respected.  That helps people.  With lots of time off so he can travel.  (is there any other career besides teaching that fills those 3 things?)  So he's going back to school to be a teacher.  But he's still not 100% sure it's the right "career" for him to be happy.  So that's what I was alluding to in the previous post.  Not only is it a bad financial move, it's a bad financial move for a "I'll-probably-maybe-hopefully enjoy what I'm doing after" career change.  Gulp.

In our defense, while Mr. Random is doubtful...I feel pretty confident he'll find out he loves teaching.  And I do know the guy pretty well.  :)

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

To move or not to move?

We have about a week to decide if we want to renew our lease.  Our apartment is raising our rent about 10%.  It's roughly $70 we really don't have.  I don't remember if I mentioned it on here, but Mr. Random is leaving his miserable job.  He's going back to school.  We're equal parts terrified and excited for this next chapter.

Financially, it's probably a bad decision.  It means we'll be living on my meager income from my RA and teaching at community college and student loans.  For 1.5 years.  Then we hope, pray, etc. that he gets a teaching job upon graduating.  So we can start paying back his loans.  I should graduate the following year, when we'll once again, hope, pray, etc. that I get a job.  So we can start paying back my loans.

So, financially, it doesn't make a lot of sense.  It'll mean a lot of debt that would have been nice to avoid.  And, if I get a teaching job, it's possible he could have gone back to school then for free.  But, finances aren't the only thing to consider when making life decisions.  A major factor was Mr. Random's happiness.  He's been truly miserable in this job.  Quite frankly, he's not been happy since we moved here for my educational pursuits.  He's worked one job or another for 4 years with the main requirement being income, not his own personal satisfaction or happiness.  It's definitely time for him to be able to pursue something he'd enjoy.  (if only he knew what that was...but that's likely another post - yes, he's not 100% sure this is a path he'll enjoy...yes, definitely another post).  Also, there's the issue of daycare.  It turns out part-time care costs more than full-time care (!!!) and would basically negate my income.  Or halve Mr. Random's income.  And things are pretty tight as it is.  So - instead of scrimping and scraping by with Mr. Random in a job he hates and Baby Wiggles in daycare, we'll take turns caring for the little one and scrimp by with student loans.  It doesn't make financial sense, but I really believe all 3 of us will be a lot happier for it.  And that's definitely worth something.

Anyway, complicating factors is this raise in rent.  It's going to make things even more difficult. we stay?  Do we move?  I've looked into other properties.  But we like the area we're in right now.  Though our neighbors are somewhat noisy and there are somethings about the apartment (floorplan, and noisy vibrating AC unit) that I greatly dislike.  We could probably rent a house for about $100 more per month than the new apartment rent.  But that's yet another $100 we really don't have.  And I do look forward to taking Wiggles to the pool this following summer.

What to do?  More research probably...and it looks like I need a pro/con list.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gender Lines

This post has nothing to do with Christmas - but it has everything to do with a thought I had while laying back down after a 5 am feeding.  So I'm going ahead and writing it down...before I forget. :)


Growing up, I wasn't happy to be a girl.  I didn't want to be a boy exactly but I didn't much want to be a girl either.  It felt limiting somehow, but not in the way I think it does for most people.

You see, instead of feeling like I was limited to girl-specific undertakings...I felt instead that I ought to take on more boy-specific projects.  And excel at them.  That I needed to strive beyond "girlish" things.  It's hard to explain exactly, and I have no idea where I got this drive.  But in the last few years, becoming a wife and now a mother, I realized that all I had ever really wanted, was permission to be "just" a girl.  And do stereotypical girl things.  And enjoy them.

It's like the song, "everything you can do, I can do better."  I felt like that was my calling.  Like I had to prove that motto - in everything, and most especially boyish things.  I played a musical instrument that usually is played by males.  I excelled in science and math - all of my classes in these subjects were male-dominated.  I wanted to be an astronaut - also a male-dominated field.  I fought hard against showing emotions - especially crying.  I had this overwhelming sense that I needed to prove I could do whatever a boy could, and could do it better.  Hell, I even tried to learn how to throw a football (but am too innately clumsy to get very far in the world of sports).

But here's what I'm coming to realize.  While there will always be individuals that will blur gender lines, and excel in areas that are not typical for their particular gender - not everyone has to be such an individual.  In fact, if everyone was, there would be no gender lines to blur.  We'd probably cease to notice male or female as much.  And I think we'd lose something important.

So, it's really only been in the last few months that I've realized I'd like to be female...and that is okay.  I can be a girl, a woman, and enjoy the things women are "supposed" to.  And I'm not letting anyone down.  It doesn't make me less of a person or a failure.  It just makes me me.  And I happen to be female.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Years Resolution

I've already decided on my New Year's Resolution.  It might be a little early, but not by much.  So, here goes:

For 2011, I resolve to be less cranky.

Yessir.  I am high-strung by nature, and run at a level of heightened anxiety...pretty much 24/7.  I stress over things.  Big things and small things.  And it's not healthy.  Or necessary really.  Most often my stress and anxiety do very little to help with whatever is causing the stress and anxiety in the first place.  In fact, mostly it is an obstacle by rendering me either completely useless, completely bitchy, or both. needs to stop.

I realize it's not going to stop completely, and especially not right away.  This is a hard habit to unlearn and is probably going to be a life-long project.  But I want to get started.  So - here's to 2011.  The year I will start mellowing out, releasing my anxiety, and learning to just relax and roll with the punches a little more.  All in the name of personal happiness and setting a better example for a sweet wiggly boy.

Monday, December 20, 2010

PhD, not MD

I may be working on adding a Dr. to the beginning of my name, however; I need to remind myself that that Dr. has nothing to do with medicine.  The experimental weaning from ranitidine was most likely a total failure.

I say *most likely* because, well, you never know for sure with a baby, do you?  So, we stopped Wiggles medicine on a Sunday.  Our theory - it was interfering with his ability to poop, and this was causing discomfort, which was disrupting his sleep.  Now...upon stopping the medicine our boy started sleeping better at night(4 hour stretches y'all!) but there was still no poop.  For a week. he is breastfed could be normal, but was a bit of a long time without poop for his "normal".  And the trouble was, by the end of the week, he was definitely straining and then crying.  And farting, and then crying.  It was heartbreaking.  Meanwhile, we'd had that one sudden cry in the night...but nothing more.

So...was it reflux?  Gas pain?  A very urgent need to poop but for whatever reason it wasn't happening?  Finally, it all came to a head on the 7th morning, exactly 1 week after stopping the medicine.  He woke up and just cried.  It was like a flashback to his 4th week of life (just before starting the Zantac) but with much greater lung power.  He was definitely unhappy, and definitely uncomfortable.  :(

Meanwhile, Mr. Random had left right as he was waking up to go get some dark corn syrup.  This was recommended by the pediatrician's triage line as a potential cure for the no-pooping issue.  So I was supposed to wait to feed Little Wiggles until he got back - because we were going to mix the corn syrup with the breast milk I had pumped just for that purpose.  I was literally 5 seconds from giving in and nursing the hysterical baby when Mr. Random got back with the syrup.  So we gave him that.  And his Zantac dose.

And he did poop a little later that day.  And he hasn't been quite as hysterical, though he's still been more upset than normal.  And cried after farting.

So...was it reflux?  The need to poop?  Both?  Or - the wildcard, teething?  Because we think he's teething.  There aren't tell-tale white bumps in his gums yet, but if you feel his gums they're feeling thinner and you can kind of feel teeth.  And he's definitely chomping on things with his mouth.

That's the trouble with babies.  Far too many variables, and no way to control all but one.  I'm just glad he seems to be doing better.  And we'll definitely be keeping him on the medicine until we see the pediatrician at his 4 month visit.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Ugh.  So, we're trying the no medicine thing.  And it's been 6 days.  And it's been going reasonably well.  We started seeing a longer stretch of sleep at night (at least 4 hours!) and there was more frequent farting and burping.  I was feeling good about our decision. 

And then last night around 2:30 am he woke with a LOUD cry.  Usually he coughs a little, makes some noises, and then starts with a cry that kind of winds up.  This was a 0 to 60 in .3 seconds kind of cry without any warning.  And it freaked me out.  At first, I wasn't sure what was wrong, but was incredibly worried.  Mr. Random thought maybe he was still asleep, but immediately after the no-warning cry he started the cough, cough and then crying in earnest.  I went and fed him and he nursed to sleep.  When I put him back in his bed I smelled that his breath was a little like stomach acid. 

Ah.  The Reflux.  Most likely anyway.  So then I stood there, unsure what to do.  I mean, he was back asleep.  Do I wake him up and give him his medicine.  No, of course not, you never wake a sleeping baby.  Do I give him a dose when he next wakes?  I decided I'd give him a dose if he did that screaming-cry bit again.  Which he didn't.

So now what?  Was it an aberration?  Was it because I ate a pre-packaged lunch that had onions in it, and only discovered this when it was too late?  Do we continue without the medicine or do we just dive back in?  Or perhaps go to half a dose? 

And why, why did we start on this endeavor without consulting the pediatrician?  I the last appointment I went to she had said we would probably try him without the medicine soon.  But, she was implying after his next appointment still another 3 weeks away.  And we just went ahead and did it.  Maybe because we've had such a crappy pediatrician up until this point we felt on our own anyway?  Ugh.  I just feel frustrated.  With myself and the whole situation.

Anyway, Wiggles is I best be off to bed.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Weaning, but not that kind

We've stopped giving Wiggles his reflux medicine (ranitidine).  He'd been not sleeping well for about 2 weeks.  And we noticed a correlation that the 2 nights in the 2 weeks he did sleep better, were also the nights after he'd pooped.  Yup.  I'm gonna talk about baby poop.

Poor little Wiggles seems to have a rather troublesome digestive system.  He had the burning spit up out the top, and has had lots of trouble getting it out the other end.  We've had to be really good about bicycling his legs every day to help him pass gas and poop.  Also, we found early on that if we made sure to sit him in his bouncy chair for at least a half an hour after eating (good idea for the reflux anyway) that he'd often poop in that position.  So, there's all that.  Well, after starting the reflux medicine, his poops got really mucusy and less frequent.  It could have been a coincidence of timing. could be from the medicine.  No on really knows.  (does anyone ever realllly know what's going on in a baby's body?  It seems to me that no one does)  Anyway...he's still having trouble passing poops and we noticed 2 nights of poor sleep were accompanied by some farting right before waking.

So the theory is that the medicine is making it harder to pass the poop and/or gas.  And this is causing some discomfort, and then he has to really strain to pass these things and this wakes him up at night.  That's the theory.  I'm full of theories.

Anyway, so we're trying him without the medicine.  So good I guess.  He does seem fussy today, but I couldn't honestly say if it's just extra tired or something else.  We're going to try a full week without and then evaluate and see how he's doing.  That's the plan anyway...wish us luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Judgement

I was reading another blog recently talking about the judgement of new mothers.  And I will readily admit that I was guilty of being a little too judge-y myself, and probably still am to an extent.  I've definitely found that the roughly 3 months of motherhood I've already experienced have quickly changed my judge-y-ness though.  I am a lot slower to judge than I was before, and for that, I am glad.

But our society is just rife with it.  If you ever wonder why a pregnant woman or a new-mom seems a little on edge, perhaps a little overly defensive, it's because she is dealing with constant judgement.  From everyone, most likely including herself.

I have experienced The Judgement as both a pregnant woman and a new mom far more times than I'd care to recall, but one particular instance really rankled and has stuck with me for about 2 months now.  I was having lunch with a friend, who I am sure really means well.  But it still rankled.

We met for lunch, and I brought Wiggles along.  He was about 2 months old at the time.  This friend does not yet have children, but is starting to think about it and consequently has often asked me questions about pregnancy and parenting.  I am more than happy to share my experiences with her, and so we often discuss those two topics.  At this particular lunch, she asked if I'd had my follow up 6-week appointment with my doctor yet - because she knew I had some questions for the doctor about Wiggles' birth.  I told her I had and what I'd found out (not much! lame...) and then,

The Judgement.

She then asked me if the doctor had told me what I did or could do differently in pregnancy so that my next baby doesn't have reflux.

This is exactly  what I'm talking about.  A well-meaning friend still assumes that something wrong, something shy of perfect, some slight issue with a baby, must be the result of something that baby's mother did.  And it still kind of stings.  I mean...what if it was something I did?  Did I DO this to poor little Wiggles?  I mean...I know I didn't, and I told her as much and that if anything, it was likely genetic and not something preventable or a response to something specifically I did...but...gosh.

And I'm sure it's just the beginning.  This won't be the last time I'm accused for something I have no control over.  The joys of Motherhood, huh? :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

He's fine, of course

He woke up after 3 long hours.  A 3 hour nap!  Amazing!

And then when he does sleep...

I find myself overly anxious.  I worry that he's stopped breathing.  And I've been doing other things, oblivious.  Ugh.  Wiggles is taking his 3rd nap of the day.  The first nap was 56 minutes, the second just over an hour.  So far, this third nap, he's been down for 2.5 hours.  And it's taking all of my self control to not go in there to check on him...why don't I?  Because the door sticks and it'd likely wake him.  And when you have a baby that struggles with The Sleep as much as Wiggles really, really, really don't want to interrupt when he does, in fact, sleep.  But boy does it give me anxiety.  I'll probably only hold out another 10-15 minutes...then I'll risk it.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Timing is Everything

It's funny how people are always looking toward the next "big thing."  When you start dating someone, they want to know if it's serious.  Once you're serious, they want to know when you're getting married.  At the wedding they're asking when you'll have kids.  At the birth of your first they'll ask when you're having another.

While it feels slightly crazy at this point to even consider another child (can I get at least 1 good night of sleep first?) it is something we've talked a bit about, however briefly.  It gets a little tricky figuring out the timing.

Before we were even married Mr. Random and I talked about how many kids we each wanted - and we both were and still are in the 2-3 camp.  It wasn't until after we were married I had the good sense to ask him how close together he wanted these 2-3 children.  He casually said that he thought about a year apart.  !!!  Do you know how long it takes to gestate a baby?!  I exclaimed.  He just smiled sheepishly.  While he understood my apprehension, he still felt it'd be better to have kids closer together than further apart.  And, I admittedly did not and still don't have a solid number in mind as the "ideal" spacing between kids.  I have seen sibling rivalry be terribly heated at certain intervals, and I've also seen kids with the same age interval be super close.  So basically, I don't know what the right interval is, but I can guarantee you that I do not feel ready to get knocked up again - and we'd be needing to right around now in order to go with Mr. Random's 1-year-apart plan.  Luckily, Mr. Random also understands my reluctance at this point and is not in any way pushing it.

Which brings us to the timing.  If not now, then when?  Well, the tricky part is figuring out when to have another without (further) derailing my career.  I still think that having babies while in grad school makes a lot of sense.  My schedule will probably never be this flexible again, and the demands on my time and abilities should only be escalating from here on out.  Publish or Perish!  And get tenure.  And what not.  Now, my plan is to graduate in Spring 2013.  Which I really think is do-able.  So, with that in mind, and the afore-mentioned desire to make babies during grad school if at all possible, the idea is that we should get knocked up June 2012 (cuz you know it's just that simple, right? - I kid) so that baby #2 comes around February 2013...and I'll defend my dissertation say January 2013 (you know, hugely pregnant because...well, that'll rock) and then have the rest of the spring semester and the summer to enjoy baby (struggle through the sleep-deprivation of the early months) before starting my new job (fingers crossed!) Fall 2013.  It's brilliant.  I think.  Anyway, that's kind of the current idea of things...but we'll see what happens between now and then.  :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Night Waking

Wiggles has gone back to some terrible sleep habits.  He now will sleep for a MAX of 3 hours at a time.  And has decided 22 minutes to 2 hours at a time is better for night.  Sigh.  He had been sleeping at least 4 hours in a stretch at night...usually more like 5 or 6.  8 hours in a stretch a handful of times.

No longer.

And we're at our wits end.  It's only been 2 nights of this so far, but after 13 weeks of poor's enough.  And it is SO frustrating to try to Google information on it.  Because almost every post I find suggests the baby is hungry.  He truly, truly, doesn't seem hungry most of these wakings.  And this little guy is WELL fed.  He went from the 25% in weight at birth to the 75%.  I'm not starving him.  But even more frustrating, I feel like the people posting and the people answering often start off with, he was sleeping 8 hours a night starting at 8 son started sleeping 10 hours a night at 5 weeks, so trust my advice, etc. etc.  And I just feel cheated.  And like none of these people truly understand or can help in our situation.  Because we're going on 13 weeks...with 4 times that the little guy has slept an 8 hour stretch.

Now, I know I'm not the only one with a more difficult baby.  And the fact we've even got those 4 times probably puts us better off than some.  But...can't we get a break!?  I find myself wondering what I'm doing wrong.  How I can make it better.  But so far nothing is coming up.  No amount of Googling or asking other mothers - friends and my own - has come up with anything.  As far as they can tell...I'm doing everything right.  Or maybe they're just too nice to say what I'm doing wrong?  Sigh.  I feel like there must be something...

About this Blog

I have a journal. You know, the real kind...paper, bound in a book form...nice leather cover. And I do write in it...every few months. I like it, but somehow I find it hard to keep up regularly. I'm at a computer nearly all the time, so I find it easier to keep up on this blog. So, that's what this blog is for. To help me journal when I'm away from my journal. A place to collect my thoughts before I lose them to the chaos of my mind.

Or see my first post here. That's why I started this blog.