Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Sleep-Proof Baby

We had a good run. For two nights in a row, Conrad only woke up once to feed. It was like a spa vacation. But last night he woke up every two hours, and between 7:30 this morning and 10:00 tonight, he took only one 20-minute nap. We looked it up on the Information Superhighway and found two possible explanations; he might be having a growth spurt, and he might also be having a cognitive growth spurt. In other words, he might be learning something new. Whatever it was Jean read said that often babies don't sleep when they are mastering a new skill, and then sleep through the night for the next couple of nights to recover. Based on his lack of sleep today I expect to wake up in the morning and find him riding a unicycle while reciting pi to 39 places in Urdu.

Hastings has decided he needs to help when Conrad is upset. He'll walk over with a concerned look on his face, and reach up and put a paw on Conrad if he can reach him, or rub his face against Conrad's head. It's very sweet, but sometimes, when Conrad has been inconsolable for half an hour for instance, it almost feels critical. "Oh great. Even the cat thinks we're doing something wrong."

Baby, what'd I say?

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Ew, gross. That smells good.

In the last 10 weeks we've had innumerable experiences that seemed astonishing to us, but we realize in retrospect are absolutely common. I mentioned early on I would try to avoid the new dad phenomenon of acting like we're the first people ever to have a baby. So forgive me if it seems trite to mention that our life is so full of effluent these days that we barely even notice it. Things that would have made me choke back a gag in January can now be handled while holding a sandwich in the other hand.

The name of the above-pictured product therefore fits in nicely with our new, no-big-deal attitude toward bodily functions. Half of our conversations revolve around some aspect of belching, farting, peeing or pooping, so it makes perfect sense that we have a product in our lives called "Butt Paste."

But there is one thing about the product that, despite its efficacy, will make me reconsider when it's time to buy a new tube:

It smells good.

No, I mean, it smells really good, like something you would fill a pastry with. The web site says it has a balsam scent, but it smells more like vanilla to me. When I'm standing over my son, having just removed his dirty diaper, ready to slather his pooper, I don't want to be thinking, "I wonder what this tastes like?"

It also distresses me that this blog will now show up in searches for "butt paste smells good."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Oh, if every day were like today

Last night Conrad went to bed peacefully at 9pm. He awoke around 4am to eat. Dave had gone to bed at 9:30 and I followed shortly at 10. This allowed us each a 6 hour stretch of much needed sleep. The next awakening was a bit before 7am, but was followed shortly by an hour long nap around 8.

There was a second nap around 11 for about 45 minutes. We went for a car ride at 2, which resulted in the inevitable car nap. Now, it's 5:30 and our lovely boy is taking his 4th nap of the day. Will wonders never cease?

Also, this morning Conrad passed some developmental milestone. He learned to scooch. By scooching, I mean that he was lying on his back and he used his legs to push himself backwards. He made it out of the baby gym and on to the quilt lying next to it.

I suppose this means that the safety days of leaving him on the bed or other higher surface while doing something else are over. But it's was quite awesome to see him moving himself across the floor.

But perhaps I've ruined it by posting it here for all to see, for now my boy is flapping his arms and kicking his legs in what can only mean, 'I'm not tired'. Something we're quite familiar with.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Working out in the baby gym

Fo fanny

After going through about 50 email responses to our Craig's List and newspaper postings and half a dozen phone interviews, we have found a nanny. It was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be. There's a place in town where people looking for work hang out, and she was there with some of the guys. She said she has lots of child care experience. Well, really she just said "Yes" to every question we asked. She promised she'd leave him with plenty of food and water if she had to leave during the day.

But seriously, we did find a nanny. She's got extensive infant care experience and worked at a daycare center and has a degree in early childhood education. She's worked at a bank for the last several years but has been thinking of becoming a full-time nanny for a while when she saw our ad. Plus, we like her. We talked to several people who were perfectly well qualified, but didn't quite gel. Obviously if we're going to be seeing her every day and discussing Conrad's growth and happiness and development with her, we want someone who can hold up her end.

Maybe we can add blogging to her list of responsibilities and not go three weeks between posts anymore.

Now of course we have to figure out what to call her. I think we'll follow the convention from the movie "The Nanny Diaries" and call her Nanny. Maybe we'll insist she call herself that, too.

"I have to go to the DMV Friday, so I'd like to leave a little early."

"I'm sorry, what did you say, Nanny?"

"Alright, fine. Nanny has to go to the DMV Friday, so Nanny would like to leave a little early."

"Absolutely not."

Lots of new pics on his Flickr page

I've just uploaded about three weeks worth of photos to Conrad's Flickr page, and by the time I'd finished writing captions for some of them, I realized I'd used up all my blog post ideas. Also, I am very tired. So, go look at photos.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Flail it Out

We received a book as a shower gift called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. A good friend of ours also confirmed that this was very useful when their daughter was young.

I finally cracked it open a couple of days ago when Conrad started something new: not sleeping. To be truthful, he was sleeping well at night - waking a couple of times to eat, but mainly sleeping from about 9pm to 7 or 8am. But he decided that daytime sleeping was for the birds. Or in our case, the cats.

The book says that babies of his age should never have more than 2 hours of wakefulness. Doing the math, this means once he wakes up and I feed him, he's got about another hour before he's supposed to be sleeping again. I tried swaddling, rocking, walking, jiggling, shushing and endlessly repeating, "Go to sleep. Go to sleep." to no avail.

On Wednesday, he napped in the morning for 2 hours but then was awake from noon to 7pm, at which time he was down for the night. On Thursday, he was up from 7am until 6pm, with a few short catnaps in between. My nerves were a little frazzled.

Today, we have a new approach. Instead of picking him up and rocking him back to sleep when he wakes up 5 minutes after the previous attempt, I left him in his crib. He doesn't cry, he just sort of flails about, breaking the swaddle and looking like he's surely wide awake. This has been going on for an hour and a half. And miraculously, he's actually falling asleep for long periods of time between flails.

Maybe he's just trying to convey that he no longer enjoys the swaddle.

Happy Birthday Dodie

My grandmother turned 90 yesterday. We, sadly, couldn't be there as we didn't think we could manage the trip to Michigan with young Conrad in hand. Also, they threw the party on a Thursday. That's what happens when all the children of the birthday girl are retired and don't think about work schedules anymore.

I spoke with her this morning and she said the celebration was extraordinary. I think that means she was pleased.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


Wow - we haven't posted anything since the end of March. How can be? It's certainly not because Conrad hasn't done all sorts of wonderful and cute things, but more that we're caught up in the day to day caring and feeding of our little baby. I'm feeling especially fond of him right now because he's sleeping in his swing.

The big news in our lives is that we're looking for a nanny. After waiting to hear of an open spot on four different daycare waiting lists, we finally decided that rather than put him one geographically inconvenient place to potentially move him to a more geographically convenient place and then ultimately put him in Dave's work daycare, that we'd hire someone to come to our home until Dave's work daycare has an availability.

All grandparents and other well wishers may breathe a sigh of relief.

We've placed some ads and are also working with an agency under the heading of 'use all available avenues'. We've gotten some good responses and some not so good responses from our ad, so the next step is to have some phone interviews and see where that leads us.

In the case that you're reading this and live in this area, do let us know if you happen to know of a wonderful nanny who is looking for employment beginning in May.