Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fast Flow... Is the Mess Worth the Convenience?

As anyone that is alive and can read knows, Nick and I are constantly in search of the trick for sleeping baby at (now) 6 weeks.  Unfortunately, it is considered "Taboo" to give them copious amounts of Benadryl at this stage in their lives so I've been stuck reading tons of books on the subject.  Nick, who is away at basketball camp, called me the other day with what he felt was the golden ticket (Thanks Britney Spears) for our woes.  "I talked to the White Knoll coach and he said he and his wife read this book called "Babywise" or something".  He then proceeded to tell me how this method worked.  Hi Nick.  Read the first post on here.  It's what we're doing kiddo.  If anyone watches Modern Family and knows about the episode when Claire is upset with her husband and he doesn't know why, then you know why I was miffed by this.  God bless him for trying though.
Later on after this conversation, my mom and I go home with Ava Claire and put on her sweet pajamas with the little puppies embroidered on them with ballet slippers.  She's so sweet and cuddly.  I try to get her to go to bed and it fails miserably.  I like to think it was because Cami came sliding in the bedroom all Tom Cruise in Risky Business style because she saw (gasp) a cat, but it was actually because I was tired of rocking and put her down too soon.  Nana then took her and she was out instantly. Of course.  I brushed Nana up on her Babywise skills since she was taking what is usually Nick's shift of anything before 4 am.  She passed the test and was allowed to tend to her. (Let's be honest- I probably would have approved Brice to feed her if it meant I got 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep). I sleep soundly for 3.5 hours since the Gamecocks kept me up past my bedtime (WooHoo) and woke to the blissful sounds of  Ava having baby dreams.  I prepared her bottle and decided to go with the fast flow nipple.  Now, here is a side story to that. Nick and I got thicker formula because we figured she'd sleep better with that on her tummy but it wouldn't flow through her newborn nipples so I went in search of a Medium flow nipple.  Well, while at Target I see they have a "Thick Liquid" nipple and think "Duh. that's what I'm here for" and buy that.  Well, in teeny tiny print you find out this is super-ultra-funnel fast flow and probably should only be used for drunks in 5 Points to avoid going into shock after 2 hours of no alcohol so that it gets in their system adequately. Nick found a "Notch System" that is used so we cut out a little of the quickness but it's pretty messy. Nana did not like the messiness and chose to wait the 20-30 minutes it takes Ava to finish one of her slow bottles.  At 4 am, I made the executive decision to go 5 points drunk on her.  She finished her 4 ounces in about 3 minutes.  She didn't want to burp but definitely wanted "mommy human" so we returned to bed (CPS is not reading this I hope) and prepared to watch I Love Lucy.  2 minutes into a Lucy crying episode, Ava starts squirming.  I cuddle her and pet her and pick her up from her cozy little nook on my chest and look at her sweet little face.... just in time to have her projectile vomit all over me, the walls, the comforter, and I'm pretty sure Brice got a little on him.  It was seriously like something out of The Exorcist. I cried for mom and she came to take baby and clean her. 
The entire time, Ava didn't flinch.  It was like she was saying "That's what you get for trying to speed through this process woman. Next time you'll savor the time you get to spend 25 minutes loving on me at 4 am". 

Point, Ava Claire.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Is it 4 am or 4 pm? Guess what? Ava doesn't know!!!

Let me preface this entire post by saying I love my daughter more than life itself and there is nothing I wouldn't do to make her life better.  That being said, I'd like to make mine and Nick's life exponentially better by her sleeping... at the correct times... in the correct place.
Ava enjoys sleeping just as much as her mommy and daddy, just at the wrong times and in the wrong increments.  She enjoys napping continuously through the day and staying up begging anyone that will listen to hold her at night where she sometimes falls asleep on our chests and then wails when we put her in her crib.  We try keeping her up during the day but that has become difficult since we have no sleep from the night before and we thank God for a nap.
Nick and I are champion sleepers as many of you know.  It's a rare breed in the human race to be as in tune to sleeping as Nick and I are and we were very fortunate to find one another.  We felt when we procreated that our offspring would also appreciate a good 4 hour nap here and there and still be down to fall asleep for a good 9 to 10 hours at the appropriate time.  When sweet Talyse recommended "Babywise" to me, I thought "Oh, that's for parent's that don't have our champion bloodline" but went out and bought the book anyways.  While reading the book, I would laugh at the 2 "children" they fictitiously created in order to give you the most absurd scenarios in baby sleeping.... or so I thought.  Ava is that naughty little child whose parents are up all night, stressed, making 3 am deals with God that get increasingly desperate as the night goes on (just last night I said that I would watch nothing but the BYU channel on TV if she would just fall asleep- now looking back, I am thankful she did not).
Considering my entire profession is dedicated to infant development, you would think I would have the secret to this.  Now, I know she is only 5 weeks old but, again, how can you come from sleepers like us and not want to sleep constantly.  Heck, I would LOVE to be an infant again just to have the excuse to sleep ALL DAY LONG.  Does this child not realize how LUCKY she is to have this option???? Infants are so ungrateful. Nick mentioned to me the other night that Samuel L. Jackson does the audio for a children's book called "Go the *&%# to Sleep".  This for some reason made me very happy that I am clearly not the only parent that begs for their child to just sleep.  In an interview on the book, he said "I used to say that to my girl all the time when I'd try to get her to go to sleep.  They say reading helps but it doesn't. I'd tell her "Go the F*** to sleep baby" and she would say "Go the F*** to sleep Daddy?" and I'd say "Yes. Go the F*** to sleep".  Encouragement for us all... until I realized this child could talk and still wasn't sleeping.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tough Week

This week has been one of so many changes.  First, I went back to work after only a month of recovery.  Since I had been out on bed rest for so long with preeclampsia, it was kind of necessary to get back into the swing of things.  Ava Claire went to Miss Weezie, the Nanny on Thursday, my first day back and she did great! She slept pretty much all day.  That evening however, was difficult.  She cried for a long time and we could tell it was tummy issues.  Earlier that day, I had noticed that her eye was swollen, the same way Nick's swells when he's exposed to peanuts.  I realized then that it could have something to do with what I'm eating.  Since she is only getting 1 feeding a day from me because of my lack of milk, we made the decision to stop pumping.  It was so difficult to do that but I feel like the elimination diet is going to be a waste of time to figure out what is upsetting her so much.  If we have her strictly on formula, at least we know EXACTLY what she is consuming so we can work with that. 
On a brighter note, she slept in her crib last night! No bassinet or anything! I was so proud of her.  Miss Weezie put her in the crib on Thursday and she fell fast asleep so I figured I could try it too. Something else I learned was that she falls asleep immediately if she's fussy when she is placed on her tummy.  Apparently the pressure on her stomach helps.  I am now allowing her to take naps on her tummy- strictly supervised of course.  Her core and neck muscles are well developed so I feel comfortable with her being able to breathe correctly. We will see if this makes her happier.
Tomorrow we will celebrate Father's Day.  Ava attempted to make Nick a stepping stone for his flower garden he has created but trying to get a 1 month old to place her hand flat in cement is a little challenging.  I will post pictures tomorrow of how this turned out since it is supposed to be a surprise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow

So, after being out of work for 12 whole weeks, I am going back to work tomorrow!  For those of you that know me, you can understand why I am excited about this.  I love working with children and since abruptly having to go on complete bed rest after my stay in the hospital at 32 weeks, I have been extremely bored.  Well, let me take that back.  I was bored until little Ava Claire arrived of course.  Some people think I am crazy for being so ready but I have a lot of factors that play into my comfort of Ava's care when I am not around.  The first one being that Nick will have her the majority of the time since he has the summer off.  If you haven't figured it out from my other posts, Nick is an amazing Daddy so there are no worries with that.  During exhibition games and basketball camps that interfere with work for me, she will go to the Nanny at my office.  I am so fortunate to have access to something so amazing at my job.  It definitely makes it worth it on the tough days.  I know I will be able to go in and see her when I want.  Although I am on the road a lot with my job, I have so many great friends at work and Miss Weezie is AMAZING with her, that I am completely comfortable with her being there.  My mom arrives next Sunday to stay with Ava Claire while Nick is away because frankly, Ava Claire needs Nana time and I'm pretty sure Nana is okay with Ava Claire time. It's a little sad that our families are so far away but I am lucky that my side is only about a 2 and a half hour drive from us.  We can't wait for Nick's family to move south so they can be much closer to Ava Claire (hint hint). 
So, wish me much luck tomorrow as Ava Claire and I head to work as a Mommy/Daughter duo!  Of course you can expect an update on how this goes soon :-)

Monday, June 13, 2011

4 Weeks Already???

It is so hard to believe that Ava Claire was born 4 weeks ago today.  It's strange because it doesn't seem like she should be 4 weeks old, but then again, I feel like the day I went into the hospital was months ago.  She has changed SO much since then that it's hard to believe she's the same little girl.  Her hair has gotten lighter, her eyes are bright and wide, and she laughs in her sleep!  She's getting great on making eye contact with Nick and I and will even hold it for 10-15 seconds (much longer when we are feeding her).   One of my greatest fears before Ava Claire was born was how Brice and Camille would react to her. I haven't addressed it yet so I will now.
While Nick and I were staying in the hospital with Ava Claire, we were fortunate enough to have Nick's mom and dad stay at our house since they drove from New York.  Cami immediately fell in love with Loretta and of course Brice slept with her at night.  I am so happy they weren't alone when we were not home.  Nick came home daily and would bring different items that Ava's scent so they could get used to it.  Apparently, they didn't take much interest in those things though because they were so happy to see Nick (or at least Brice was).  When Thursday, going home day, rolled around, I was very nervous.  I had been away from my fur babies for 3 whole days!  When we walked in the house, we had Loretta bring Ava in behind me.  The pups were SO excited to see me! They jumped (which Nick tried to keep to a minimum due to the surgery but was unsuccessful) and licked and barked and 'talked' to me.  I sat and pet them for a long time.  When Ava Claire finally made her appearance, they were very confused (although, I attribute some of the confusion to the large pink balloon that scared Brice for several days).  You could tell they didn't know what they were supposed to do.  Nick would hold her down to let them sniff her and sneak a lick on a foot or hand but they were very alert which concerned me. I was so scared that I called my sister and told her to have Tylen come to my house immediately and make our back fence more secure because I now had two outside dogs.  When I would want to sit with Ava Claire, I was terrified when the dogs would come near me.  Now, being a dog person, I should have known that my fears were feeding into their anxiety.  After two days of being terrified and torn about throwing the dogs to the backyard, Brice came and put his little pitty head on my leg while I was feeding Ava.  I realized then that I had to relax and I had to remember how loving these two dogs were.  I had to remember that Brice is frequently chased under beds by cats and Cami hasn't snapped at Nick yet though she hates him.  Once I settled down, the dogs did as well.  After much training and treats, I feel completely confident in Ava's safety with them as long as we are in the room with them and don't let our guard down.  You have to always be alert with animals, not just pit bulls because they are all unpredictable.  As of now though, Brice just wants to be near her, sniff her diaper to alert us that it needs to be changed and rest his head on her Boppy when she's on the sofa with us.  He does great when we say "Leave It"- he'll walk away from her, or if we say "She's Okay" in a soothing voice, he isn't concerned about her when she cries.  You can tell her mood affects him greatly.  He wants to sleep at her crib but we keep him out and he will sleep at her door on occassion when she is in her nursery.  Cami is wonderful with her.  She doesn't get too close but she will come from wherever she may be in the house as soon as Ava cries and lay near her.  She is much more alert as to sounds outside (Brice is as well) and seems to always be on guard.  I am so thankful that the babies all get along great because I was truly concerned about it.  I feel like our little family is now complete :-)
Cami protecting Ava Claire after a particular fussy moment.
Brice admiring his favorite human.  You wouldn't believe how calm he is around her!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Milestone??? Already?!?!?!?!

For those of you who don't know what my job as an Early Interventionist entails, I assess babies and toddlers on development.  I basically do activities with them to see if they have reached certain milestones by the average range in which they should.  This has proven to be both very beneficial with Ava as well as a bit of pressure on her and myself.  The benefits are that I don't freak out when she goes cross-eyed trying to focus because I know she won't truly be able to synchronize focusing with both eyes until about 1.5-2 months.  I am constantly observing little things she does like coming to midline, grasping small objects, etc. and wondering if she is truly meeting that milestone or if it's just something babies do while figuring out how things work. Today, however, Ava Claire did something that Nick has told me she has done before but I did not believe him- she rolled from tummy to back during our tummy time!!!! She is very mobile and can move around in a circle while on tummy time and I had noticed that she could get to her side while in tummy time so I assumed it would be only a matter of time until she figured out how to completely go over.  Well, she did today and I think I scared the dogs I was so excited about it!!! Now I'm wondering if she was able to do this because her sweet little frog belly is quite round and gives her extra leverage- see picture below :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ava's First "Play Date"

Today, Ava had her first "play date" with sweet baby Ben.  Ben is my best friend Jennifer's little boy and he is 2 months old today.  Their play date consisted of a lot of staring (eye contact on Ben's part, Strange focusing on Ava Claire's) and lots of talking from the Mommy's and Miss Vickie and Phil.  It was so great to see little Ben grow so much since I saw him the week before Ava Claire was born and all of the milestones he has reached (like the aforementioned eye contact).  It was very cute to see Ben's reaction to Jennifer when she would pick up AC in front of him.  Not sure if he meant to, but he was very close to crying a couple of times when he would see another baby with his Mommy.  It made me very excited to think of all of the things Ava Claire will accomplish in the next few weeks as she grows out of being a newborn into being an infant.  Sadly, I was so excited to have visitors that I forgot to take pictures of the encounter which I think I will regret when they get married one day and we don't have a picture of their first visit on their slide show.

Last night, I had my very first trip out with my sweet friends from Bright Start away from Ava Claire.  She stayed at home with Daddy as he prepared for the basketball game later that night.  I was so excited to get out but knew I would miss the Princess.  I was fine for the first couple of hours but then started missing her so I went home early.  When I got home, I found out AC had slept pretty much the entire time so I didn't miss too much.  I figured it was my trial run before I attempt to go back to work this Thursday (!!!!) and I think it went well.  I am so happy we have a nanny at Bright Start though so when Nick has basketball camps and things to go to this summer, she will be in the same building with me.  It's a win win situation.  I think Ava is secretly waiting on me to leave the nest so she and Daddy can watch ESPN and work on basketball plays all day.