Archive for January, 2006

Toyz in tha ‘hood

January 31, 2006

Baby’s got a new best friend.

Ok, well, she’s got a lot of best friends, all in a rotating cycle of preference. The top dog best friend of the moment, however, is Whoozit.

Whoozit is like this reject from the Muppet factory. Or Animal’s alien cousin from the planet Zork. Or how I would have seen Animal had my pre-pubescent self been on acid while watching the Muppets. (I of course would never take acid while watching the Muppets as an adult – which, by the way, I am totally up for. The Muppets, that is. Not the acid. You don’t need acid with the Muppets. Besides, it would just corrupt the purity of the Rainbow Connection.)

Anyway. Baby LOVES Whoozit. Or, at least, is fascinated by him. (Someday she’ll need to learn to distinguish between these two emotional experiences. But for now it’s fine.) Which is exactly what the Whoozit’s publicist promised – on the propaganda that comes attached to Whoozit’s arm – “Nothing engages babies quite like Whoozit.” It also informs that Whoozit is “Baby’s favourite friend,” and that “When you’re discovering the world, it’s good to have friends like Whoozit along.”

I’ll say. ‘Cause that world has got some rough ‘hoods and bad crowds.

For example…

This is the barnyard posse. These dudes are bad, yo.

They lurk near – OK, on – Baby’s rocker-bouncer chair. Every time, it starts out nicely – they’re all like, “Hey, Baby, whazzup?” and Notorious C.O.W. riffs on Old MacDonald and everybody’s down. But before long it gets real ugly – they start giving her the stare-down stink-eye and, I think, mocking her outfits – and it ends in tears.

So that’s where Whoozit comes in. Pull crying Baby away from the Barn Gang and sit her down next to Whoozit and everything’s fine. I think it’s a My Bodyguard kind of thing. Whoozit is way bigger and scarier looking than C.O.W., Lil’ Pig and Sheepie, but that’s the point. Whoozit could so take them.

So Baby says,”… and then they came at me like this!” And Whoozit goes and kicks some barnyard ass.

“Baby’s favourite friend.” Don’t leave the nursery without him.

‘Cause motherhood’s gonna require some hard drinkin’…

January 30, 2006

Bust out of the swaddle twice last night. I wasn’t going to start the blog this way again, but couldn’t help myself. It’s driving me crazy.

I’ve seriously got to let this issue go. ‘Cause if I was following this blog, I’d be like, “dude, set your baby free or get over it.”

So I’ll shut up about the swaddling. For the moment. It’s not like there aren’t, oh, ten thousand other things about Baby and her universe and my role in it to obsess about.


That was a short moment. That is, two baby-cycles (eat-awake-sleep) of a moment.

Nap attempt Number One: put sleepy Baby in bassinet unswaddled. Disaster. She looks at me with a look of utter shock and betrayal. Like I’m about to pitch her afloat down the River Nile (this simile would work better if I were putting her down in a Moses basket. But whatever.) Then the SCREAM.

Backtrack! One-two-three speed swaddle; a couple of gasping sobs, quickly corked with a soother, and we’re back on track.

40 minutes down. Not a long nap, but beggars can’t be choosers (napping is not, let’s say, her preferred way to spend her time.)

Nap attempt Number Two: partial swaddle; screaming. Loose swaddle; better. Baby goes down, reluctantly. But 30 minutes later, she’s out and yelling.

So I give up. Nap Number Three is currently in progress (20 minutes in and counting). Yep, she’s swaddled. Good and tight.


This has been one of those days during which I feel, for a moment or two, here and there (or maybe more) that motherhood is going to defeat me entirely.

But would I turn back the clock, have things any different? No way. This is super-tough, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

(Okay I would maybe have it with a full-time housekeeper and a baby expert on retainer. But that’s it!)

What’s crazy about all this is that I’ve called the Husband twice trying to lure him home from work early to spot me off on baby duty, but the minute he gets here and says “OK let me take her” I just know that I will turn away, cuddle her closer to me and say, “just give me one more minute…”

Because when you’ve got this…

… how can you not just cling on?

Still, the Husband is bringing me some wine. And I will – after one more good cuddle – hand her off in exchange for a glass of it.

The swaddle diaries

January 29, 2006

Day 77…

Night before last, swaddle intact. Last night, busted out once. I think that the score is just about even.

Ha. Who am I kidding? I lost the battle of wills with my daughter about 10 seconds after she was born. But I soldier on, as I must. She at least has to THINK that I’m in charge.

Did some research on swaddle-weaning. Turns out that most swaddlers never wean – they just keep on swaddling ’til they lose the battle, ’til, presumably, Baby’s will to be unswaddled defeats her own dependence on the swaddle (and, presumably, Mommy’s will to swaddle.)

This baby still needs the swaddle. Despite her determination to free herself, it is absolutely essential to her sleeping comfort. The minute she frees herself, she’s miserable – she’s like an escaped convict who’s hit the other side of the wall and immediately collapses in fear, sobbing until the guards come shackle her up again. (I know that that doesn’t happen in real life. I think. At least, it’s not going to happen on Prison Break.)

Yes, I’m the guard in that analogy. Note that I’m not even the warden. I don’t know who that would be. Not my husband. Maybe one of the cats.

Anyway. The swaddle – her prison – is necessary to her sleepy well-being. But she clearly doesn’t appreciate it (as with all good/necessary things in childhood/adolescence, I suppose.) I can hear myself already – and it’s shrill – “It’s for your own good!!!

Other things I can hear myself say:

“I carried you for over 10 months!” (41 weeks. That last week was a whole new circle of hell. Or so I thought, until I went into labour…)

“I was in labour 36 hours with you!” (And the experience will still defy description 16 years from now. Lucky her.)

“I breastfed you for — months!” (Still counting on that one. I’ll probably exaggerate this number. I won’t exaggerate the numbers above – in the first case, because if she’s half as clever as I think she’ll be she’ll never believe that I carried her for, say, 16 months. And in the second case, because 36 hours stills seems perfectly respectably hellish to me.)

“I was up all day and all night with you when you were a baby!” (See previous postings. This is maybe something of an exaggeration. She’s a good sleeper. If I’m up all night it’s because I’m obsessive about her breathing, her spitting up, her swaddle, her future, etc, etc…)

“I changed your diaper!” (Oh did I ever. And believe me she is going to hear about the turbo-poo. As will all of her boyfriends. Yes, I know that I’m going to mess her up. My mother did me. Fair is fair.)

And so on. All of which will be followed by – “and this is the thanks I get!?!?”


Do not…

… be fooled by the very adorable, peaceful, unswaddled frog-pose here. Moments after this picture was taken, her arms and legs flailed out into sky-diver pose, and then immediately retracted into a spectacular head-punch. Scored a 9.8 from the Canadian judge.

Bustin’ loose

January 27, 2006

She bust out of her swaddle three times last night. THREE. And not just any ordinary swaddle – we’re talking Miracle Blanket swaddle, which is to say, full-on baby straightjacket. She’s done this before – the Husband swears that she can dislocate her shoulders, a la Houdini, to get out – but three times is the record. No matter how carefully and tightly I wound it, she got out.

I’m not torturing her, I swear. Yes, she’s demonstrating her will to NOT be bound by breaking out. But unbound, she punches herself in the head in her sleep and – duh – wakes herself up. She simply won’t stay asleep unbound. And it’s a failsafe way to calm her down, especially when she’s really sleepy and fighting it. I’m dreading weaning her off the swaddle, actually. The books say to stop swaddling when Baby begins to refuse or express dislike for the swaddle – !!! – which is one of the least helpful (on a list of many) pieces of baby advice I’ve read. Seriously – she’s the last person we should be asking, because as the books ALSO say, she doesn’t know how to put herself to sleep. And so we have to both teach her to get herself to sleep, and get her to sleep before she knows how to sleep. Which is all the more complicated given that she is a world-class squirmer. And a head-puncher. So we’re putting off weaning her from the swaddle. Because where there’s no swaddle right now, there’s no sleep…

And where there’s no sleep for Baby, there’s no sleep for Mommy. Because when she’s awake (or even partly awake, or – let’s be straight-up here – in anything other than a deep sleep), I’m awake. So really, this is all about me.

Sleep is a distant memory. Of course, this is no surprise. What is the surprise is what it feels like. I’m a longtime insomniac, so I stupidly thought that the nighttime parenting gig would be no biggie. Been there, done that three a.m. thing. But being awake to care for a whimpering, squirming, sometimes wailing midget who depends on you totally is an entirely different matter. It’s exhausting, sometimes backbreaking, depending on the squirm factor. And no matter how badly you want to sleep, you can’t, or at least not until you’ve calmed the squirming midget. (Yes, it is like a bad dream. One you can’t wake up from. Oh the irony.)

And therein lies the true irony – the vicious, vicious irony. You (the former insomniac) want to sleep. Badly. And you would be so able to sleep. You know with every bone in your body that if you could – just – put – down – head – please – for – one – minute – you would be dead asleep.

But you can’t. And it’s torture. Because you know that this is no deferral of sleep – it’s not as though you’ll get sleep in, or spend a weekend in bed, or nap for a whole afternoon in front of the TV, to catch up on your sleep. Ever. Again. This sleeplessness is for keeps. (Or at least until college). And that’s rough. So rough.

But then again, there is, always, always, this part…

Seriously. I would do anything for that face. I would forego sleep for an eternity. (OK, maybe not – but I’d stay awake a long long time just to look at that face.)

On a completely separate note – is it just me, or is gripe water basically just baby Jagermeister?

The first day of the rest of my life

January 26, 2006

November 14, 2005. Okay, so it was technically the first day of her life (and today the 74th), but really, in the fullest cheesy-Hallmark sense of the saying, it was the first day of the rest of my life. Because what they don’t tell you in pregnancy school (that blur of pregnancy magazines, websites, What to Expect Books and solicited and unsolicited advice that surrounds you for 10 months) is that when you come out the other side of pregnancy you are a different person. Or at least, I was. Am. This whole thing is way weirder than puberty ever was – sprouting boobs and getting a period was way less startling than becoming a walking, talking baby life-support system. I went from self-sufficient, self-centred (in the best possible sense, of course), thinking being to a completely biological being that is devoted to the care and well-being of another.

Which I find completely overwhelming. Nothing is so discomfiting as being a sort of grown-up, of the thirty-something urban adolescent variety, and feeling completely naive/ignorant/helpless in the face of the most enormous project you’ll ever encounter.

But hey, if everyone else can do it – um, Britney Spears, hello? – so can I. And for her – amazing, adorable, munchable her – I’ll do it with enthusiasm.

Yeah, for her, anything.

So, then, onward to the rest of my life.

(Day 74; 10 weeks, 3 days and counting…)