Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dear Gwen: Month Two

Dear Gwen,

Wow, you have sure changed in the past month, and life with you has become a lot better as well. I'm feeling way more positive and confident about being a mom, and it's amazing that I write that a few short hours after I inflicted your first needless wound upon you by accidentally closing the wipes container on your finger. I felt incredibly shitty and guilty and once again like The Worst Mom in the World, but ten minutes later you were smiling at me, so I guess you've forgiven me and I will forgive me too.

The major change in our lives at two months is that you now seem to have a flexible daily routine in place. You wake up between 5 and 6am, when I usually bring you into bed with me and persuade you to doze for a couple more hours. Then we get up, get ourselves dressed and ready for the day (which involves breakfast on my part and a diaper change on your part), nurse more, and maybe play and cuddle a little before a morning nap around 10am. You nap for about 2 hours in the swing, during which time I tidy, blog, pump, and so on, then I wake you up to nurse and get your diaper changed again. The afternoon nap is a little more sketchy, as it's harder to get you down in the afternoon, but if you do manage a nap between 2 and 4 pm the rest of the afternoon and evening goes so much more smoothly. We try to get you into bed - which in this case is your cradle, now set up in your own room - around 7pm, but we go by your cues and if you start yawning earlier then off we go. I've been going to bed shortly thereafter, around 9pm, so I'm ready for the night feedings. Most of the time lately your night schedule is that you sleep for 5-6 hours, feed once, and then sleep for another 4. Very reasonable, my girl, and thank you very much for that.

Since figuring out this routine, I think all three of us are less insane and more well-rested. There are still difficulties, of course: this past Sunday night, your dad and I spent no less than three hours trying to get you down for the night, finally bringing you back downstairs and putting you in the swing, where naturally you fell asleep in minutes. I fought the temptation to let you sleep there all night, and after 20 minutes or so I put you back in your cradle. Your grandparents in Powell River have been suggesting I come for a visit, and it would be great to see them, but I'm afraid to be away from the swing. I'm not sure you'll ever sleep without it.

I just took a look back at your Month One newsletter, where I wrote that you were a "whopping" 9 pounds 2 ounces. A full month later, you weigh in at 9 pounds 9 ounces, a gain of only 7 ounces in a month. The word "whopping" hardly seems appropriate anymore. Instead, may I suggest "delicate", "petite", "slender" or my favourite, "lanky". You're never going to be the baby with the big pudgy rolls of flesh on her legs, that's for sure. But honestly, given the way I have struggled all my life to keep my weight down, I can't help but think you are going to have it slightly easier if this trend is any indicator of your actual metabolism. You are gaining enough to be healthy, though at the bottom of the growth charts, and in contrast to last month's guilt-ridden determination to get you off formula, last week I cheerfully volunteered to start supplementing if it would help you gain just a wee bit faster. This is an example of how much more confident and secure I feel in my role as your mother.

More than the weight issue, there is one thing that has characterized your entire second month of life, and that is thrush. On May 26th, you got a bad diaper rash. We started using a barrier cream, but it got worse, and the next day we had to call Lillian to advise us. Since her diagnosis of thrush, we have tried three different antifungal creams as well as various other treatments. The latest one, a candigen cream from my naturopath, seems to be working at last. I can't believe that the infection has gone on for a solid month - everything I've heard and read tells me that thrush should be a short affair, even self-limiting, but this hasn't been the case for us. I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's clear that you're more comfortable, too, with the rash finally improving. I can't wait to see what your personality is like when you're not in pain all the time.

Right now, you're a girl of extremes. I've seen you go from happy and smiling, bright-eyed and interacting, to hysterical with rage or frustration or pain or God-knows-what in only a matter of seconds. (Going the other direction often takes a little longer.) However, what I am really proud of is that the times of bright-eyed interaction, of eagerly watching the people around you, are becoming longer and more frequent. You are also content to be on your own for a longer time these days - you can sometimes hang out in your cradle or playard for up to three minutes before getting bored or lonely. Last month, you would have screamed after only a few seconds.

So in summary, the times with you are getting more fun, and the times when I have to leave you for a moment or two are becoming less painfully loud. You're already starting to grow up. I can't wait to see what the next month will bring.


Tuesday May 27th - Diagnosed with thrush (not all firsts are positive)
Saturday May 31st - First time sleeping all night in your own room
Monday June 2nd: First time alone with Dad, while Mama went and got a well-deserved massage
Thursday June 5th: First time responding to music (Depeche Mode - you like the bass line)
Saturday June 7th: First trip alone with Dad (to Woodgrove Mall)
Saturday June 7th: Mama discovered you can hold your head steady while
Sunday June 8: First trip to church - you hiccuped through the sermon
Sunday June 8th: You went to sleep by yourself in your cradle at 8pm! being pulled to a sitting position (four month milestone!)
Tuesday June 10th: Mama discovered she could nurse you while sitting at the computer
Wednesday June 11th: First time alone with a sitter - Grandma!
Friday June 13th - First time to Vancouver!
Friday June 13th - First time at a live music performance, which you slept through like a champ
Saturday June 14th - First time meeting a giant dog, who fortunately did *not* eat your head
Sunday June 15th - You suddenly caught on to a regular sleeping schedule.
Saturday June 21st - I caught your smile on film for the first time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great to hear that things are falling into a routine, if not a schedule.

Ben and I were talking about making a trip up to visit my folks in the interior, and both of us are terrified of the idea of packing up a newborn for a long car-trip. I'm going to have to pick your brain about travelling and if you've got any secrets that make it easier...

Did you find that Gwen's schedule was thrown off when you were moving around, or did she just not care as long as the feeding and diaper changing kept up to her demands?



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