Monday, April 18, 2011

Nursing my babe

Gus is feeling much better after two quite rough days on Thursday and Friday. Still no teeth, but I *think* that is the issue.  All the signs seem to point that way, anyway, according to my non-existent experience with all this!

These have been some tough days for all of us.  Although the most acute days may actually have been the easiest--for me, anyway! Yes, he was tired and fussy and feverish and did cry more than usual. But there was something so lovely about being able to comfort him at my breast. We spent most of the day cuddling together, either nursing or sleeping (and sometimes both!). When his temperature started to rise, a cold washcloth, some skin-to-skin contact with his mama, and some milk would calm him down so that he could drift off to sleep.

This is what mothering is all about. Yes, the days full of smiles and new accomplishments and sunshine are amazing. But I felt such connection, such love, and so very blessed to be able to care for my sweet babe when he was unwell. No one can care for Gus like I can. Sure, if Jon had been home instead of me, he would have found his own, equally good way of caring for and comforting Gus. But those two days gave me a real boost in my confidence as Gus's mother, in my ability to meet his needs, whatever they are. It was like this was a test, and I passed with flying colors (I always liked taking tests in school--I know, I am a big weirdo). And it really hit me that, even though he seems so big and grown up compared to when he was first born, he is still so tiny, so dependent, and  he still needs us so much.

Saturday and Sunday, while on the whole much better days where Gus was feeling more like himself and playful for the majority of the day, presented challenges that were in some ways more difficult. Namely, difficulties getting Gus to fall asleep when he so desperately needed to, and the crying that goes with that. Let me say now, Gus generally a) falls asleep really easily for both naps and nighttime and b) cries very little. Not doing these things--that is tough. All the confidence I had gained the previous two days went right out the window after 10, 20, 30 minutes of crying. And then a short break of happiness. And repeat. A few more times. He just sounded so sad. And nothing we could do could comfort him. And the thing that worked five minutes ago doesn't work now. You think to yourself what am I doing? How did I ever think I had this thing figured out?

But somehow, he calms again. He falls asleep (finally!) and wakes up to give you that smile that melts your heart. And all is right with the world. I am the mama, who makes the world right for my precious little one.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Big days and quiet days

At the park.
Gus has had a big week this week, so we were in need of a quieter day today. The weekend was busy, with a trip into London on Saturday. Then we went to the playground on Sunday, which Gus loved. There is a big basket swing at our playground that we can lay him in and he swings back and forth. He was giggling and giggling! Plus, on Sunday, he decided not to nap all day--he went 10 hours with only about 30 minutes of sleep! He was definitely ready for bed early that night!

On Tuesday, Gus sat up on his own, properly, for the first time. I was so impressed! I often sit him up to play with his toys, but I guess he was usually propped up against something (usually the nursing pillow) or in my lap. He has been able to sit either leaning forward on his hands or for a few seconds up straight for a few weeks, but I think I just have not really given him an opportunity to sit on his own until this week. And once he was given the chance, he sat like a pro! Obviously he was able to develop the necessary skills and balance while sitting on our laps (and probably being worn in the sling helps too), and then put them into action at the first chance he got.

That's right. I'm sitting.
Of course, Tuesday night was a real struggle for Gus to fall asleep. Usually he falls asleep pretty quickly once we take him up to bed at about 8:30. If he doesn't seem sleepy, we let him sit with us in bed, reading books or playing quiet games, until he is ready to sleep, which is usually within half an hour or so. Not Tuesday. He alternated between being really happy and playful and crying loudly for 2 hours! We thought he was probably over-tired from his big day (he sat a lot that day, so it probably wore him out!) and kept trying to help him fall asleep, but he would have none of it. He was close a couple of times, but then would wake himself up again. Finally I put him in the sling and rocked him, and he fell asleep within 10 minutes or so. But of course, I couldn't go to sleep, because I didn't want to try and move him out of the sling to soon and wake him up, but I didn't want to fall asleep wearing him either. I was a pretty tired mama when he woke up at 7 the next morning though!

I do think that he might be teething now. I feel like I am obsessed with the idea of teething! It is my go-to explanation for any unexplained fussiness :)  But he had another difficult night last night (thankfully not as bad as the previous one) and is now in the middle of his second extra-long nap of the day. He has just seemed out of sorts today. Plus he seems to have a low fever (although I never think to take his temp when he is feeling well, so he could just have a high core temp) and keeps trying to gnaw on my nipples! We'll see if we have any action on the teeth front in the next couple of days, or if it is just a slight illness or even just an off week. He is supposed to get his 3rd round of immunizations tomorrow (7 weeks behind schedule!), but I think I'll put it off another week if he still seems under the weather then.

So this is quite a mundane post. I have lots of other things in my head that I want to write about, but I am pretty tired as well, so I can't really think about more interesting topics today :)  And anyway, I am sure you are all very interested in the details of our everyday life, anyway!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Quick Takes (volume 8)

We fired up the grill for the first time this spring on Wednesday. Yummy! We had burgers / marinated portabella mushrooms on homemade rolls, skewers of zucchini, onion, and orange pepper, and potato salad made with potatoes, watercress, spinach and rocket mix, feta cheese, spring onions, a few almonds and some dill. It was definitely a winner. 

I also tried making my own yoghurt this week. It turned out pretty good. We have a yoghurt maker, and I followed the instructions here. It is just plain, so I need to see about add-ins to jazz it up a bit. But it really made the kitchen stink when I was making it--did not expect that!

So, I don't think I am a bad mother, but I do wonder if I am missing something re laundry. All the other moms go on about how much extra laundry there is with a baby, but that doesn't seem to be true for us. Usually I have to throw Gus's stuff in with some of ours because I need an item of his before there is a full load ready.  Of course, I may have been known to just throw a towel on the bed when his diaper leaks rather than changing the sheets. Two nights in a row. But guess who was happy on morning #2 that she hadn't gone to the trouble of changing the bed the day before? Maybe this sort of thing explains the lack of extra laundry.

I sent in our census form this week! I was inordinately excited about filling it in, I must say. I opened it right up to start filling it in as soon as it came through the letterbox. And even little Gus got to be on it. :)  I had a few difficulties, though. Normally I am quite good at following instructions (if I do say so myself), but I kept missing the if yes, go to question 12 sort of things. I particularly noticed this on the question about our primary language. For Jon and me, I put English as the primary language and answered the next question saying we spoke it "very well". But when I had to answer the question for Gus, I was stumped. Does he speak English very well, or not at all? That's when I realised the second question was only for those for whom English is a second language. It all makes sense, now!

The other part of the census that made me scratch my head was the ethnicity question. Now, I consider my ethnicity to be white. But that isn't an option on the census. You have to choose White British, White Irish, or White other, if you are white. So I choose white other and write in American. Even though I don't think American is an ethnicity. But then for Gus, it gets even more difficult. He is obviously white British, but if I am white American, then he should be as well. Like I said, though, American isn't an ethnicity! So it feels really weird putting that down for him, who is not American the same way I am American. On the other hand, I feel like I am erasing my contribution to his ethnicity if I just put white British. So in the end, he gets white other as well, and I write in British-American. Stupid question. It's all just a social construct anyway. (If we're being really pedantic, I could put Irish and German for my ethnicity, as that is my ancestral heritage, but that seems even more ridiculous than putting American.)

Are you participating in the 84,000 novenas for Pope Benedict's birthday?  What a neat idea!

As I write this, I should be asleep. But the good thing about staying up too late is that I can sit here, in the quiet stillness, and watch my husband and my baby snuggle together as they sleep. How blessed I am!

Don't forget to go to Conversion Diary to check out more Quick Takes! And have a great weekend :)