Monday, June 1, 2009

Babies are Strange

Good morning, Starshine. The Earth says hello.

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but my baby is a little weird. Now that she can walk, she's figured out that she can crawl after all. And now that she can crawl and get into everything, she's decided that's a lot of fun, and now she doesn't have to go to bed, ever again.

She's also cutting more teeth, which doesn't help the sleep situation. So the past few nights, not wanting to be a total monster, I rocked her to a state of near sleep, which has worked in the past. But now, instead of falling asleep, she yells as soon as I stand up from the chair, and when I put her down, she rolls over, sits up, or stands and grips the bars of her crib, while scolding me in an angry baby language for being such a horrible mother.

One temporary solution was to hold her hand through the bars, while she drifted off to sleep. That way, I could get her to stay lying down. I felt this was a good compromise, because at least she was in her bed! But after 3 nights of sitting on the floor and holding her hand, it was taking exponentially longer for her to fall asleep, and when I tried to sneak away, she would clutch desperately at my hand and cry. Poor baby. And Poor Mommy! My heartstrings ache.

I'm realizing now how good the sleep has been, up until now. I'm hoping this is a phase, related to her new powers of mobility. Sigh. Last night, we restarted the sleep training, with regular intervals, which went something like this:

Me: Ok, it's time to go to sleep. (Lays Penny in bed).
Penny: Waaaah! (Rolls over, sits up).
(I leave the room, and return 5 minutes later).
Me: Honey, you need to go to sleep. Uh-oh, did you poop?!
(Pause to change diaper).
Me: Ok, seriously, it's time for bed. (Lays Penny in bed).
Penny: Waaah! (Rolling over, sitting up).
(I leave the room, and return 10 minutes later).
Me: Honey, I know you don't want to, but you really need to sleep. I will see you in the morning. (Lays Penny in bed).
Penny: Waaah! (Rubs eyes, sits up).
(I leave the room, and return 15 minutes later).
Me: I love you! Time to sleep! (Lays Penny in bed).
Penny: (Crying) I hate you! You're horrible!
(Repeat, ad infinitum).

And she screamed for an entire hour. An HOUR. There was a thunderstorm last night (and tonight), so her screaming was further punctuated by thunder and lightning. But tonight was much better. I thought we'd be in for at least 40 minutes of drama, but she gave up after 20. I have to give her credit. She's smart enough to know that it's more fun to stay up with us, and it's a lot more fun to walk around and explore, than to sleep alone in her room.

But I love the sound of her feet on the floor! And even though it's exhausting to try to keep up with her, she's really a lot of fun. Here she is, in action. She's gotten frighteningly faster since this video was taken.

Another amusing thing about Penny, is that she gets excited when she sees other babies. If she sees a baby at the store, she smiles, flaps her arms, and starts talking in this high-pitched voice. Most babies just stare at her, but she jabbers at them excitedly, as if to say, "HI! I LOVE YOU! YOU'RE SO GREAT!" She does the same to the neighborhood dogs and cats. And she greets our cats in her exuberant, high-pitched voice, every day. And then they're like, "SHIT! SHE CAN WALK?!"

Here's a not-so-amusing thing: Penny's into pinching (insert Penny-pinching joke here). I don't think she does it maliciously, but it is concerning. She pinches that tender, fatty place under my arms, or pinches my neck when she's feeling nervous or tired. It hurts! And it's not just me, she's been pinching Britt's mom as well. I'm trying to replace this behavior with patting, and she will pat me instead, when I remind her...Pat, pat, PINCH. I just don't want her to think that pinching is ok, but at the same time, if she finds it comforting for some reason, we need to find another way for her to feel calm.

Meanwhile, Penny had her one year check up a couple of weeks ago, and her doctor had me fill out a questionnaire about lead, and there were enough "yes" responses to indicate a possible risk. I am dreading the thought of a blood draw. Sheree, how bad was it? My doctor recommended going to the outpatient lab at Primary Children's, since they are the experts at sticking children with sharp needles. More on that to come, I guess.

In other news, Penny's head
circumference is now within the 90th percentile. She has a giant melon! It's sure cute, though.


Alisha said...

Just give up and co-sleep. Its more natural anyway. :)

jen said...

Hang in there...before you know it she'll be keeping you up (worrying) because she's out with her friends...

Sheree, J, + j said...

Ok. First--how cute is that video? With the unsteady walking and the chubby legs held far apart, what a terrific waddle she has.
Second--Good luck with the sleep training. Sounds like it is working. We had no luck with the intervals and went with the extinction method, which totally sucked for a week, then worked. During the teething months, I was heavy handed with the tylenol, otherwise the wake-ups were hourly.
Third--We went through the pinching. I had little baby paws clinging to all of my creamy areas. It was a phase.

Sheree, J, + j said...

And lastly, the lead. New comment area for this one since I'm bound to ramble. Let me say I am glad your doctor gave you the quiz and is sending you for tests. Apparently (see the comments on my own lead post) many doctors aren't doing this. For those that are, the standard age to test is 2 years old, so you're ahead of the game.
Our lead test was a little pricked finger that was touched by a glass capillary tube. It just took a drop of blood. This test only accurate to +/- 4 micrograms/deciliter. Reasonable accuracy for high lead levels, but not so good on low levels. Jack's level was 5 which means it could be as little as 1 or as high as 9.

If you're going to the blood lab, you'll have a much more accurate test done. Jackson has had blood drawn twice now. The lab we go to will assign two phlebotomists to the job, one to prick, one to hold his feet down, and enlist me to hold his chest down. I guess they have a lot of dramatic kids in. Jackson doesn't scream, he just gives a "What you talkin bout, Willis?" kind of look. I think Penny's reaction to shots will be a good indication of how she'll take the blood draw.
I'll be holding my breath that Penny's lead levels are low. They probably will be unless she's eating paint chips or teething on the windowsill, but there are some surprising contaminants out there.

Gotta go, Note to self--stop bragging about sleep training successes.

jen said...

Another thought on sleep training - I have a friend with a seven-year-old who still refuses to sleep without her dad in the bed with her. Because they never laid down the law. Just a cautionary tale...

Lo said...

The first time she bites something/someone, you'll pine or pinching Penny. Sigh. Don't give in on the sleeping. It takes a few days, but it's worth it for all of you. And I have friends who dealt with sleeping issues for literally years because they didn't tough it out.
She is an absolute doll. Love the video.

sarah said...

fwiw, elliot had the full blood draw, and it was shockingly fine. the good news for me was that I didn't know he was going to have to do it, so i didn't have to spend more than a couple of minutes thinking about how i was going to have to hold him while they drew a gallon of blood (more or less). those were unpleasant minutes. but then he barely squealed-he actually did better with the blood draw than with shots...dunno. anyway, so don't worry too much.

sleeping: totally a phase thing. one hting i'm learning is that you're never done with sleep training. it's just one way they process big change in their lives. y'know? elliot's going through a bad sleep period right now, as is (actually) brandon. So i get to lay down the law on both of them. Kapow!

Ginger, Allen, Fern, and Horace the cat said...

What a good little walker! It is so fun, isn't it?
You're not alone with sleep problems. Fern still nurses 75 times a night. But in her defense, she just got her first tooth, so I don't mind nursing her now. And she's in my bed...whole different ball-game.
I am super interested to hear about the blood draw and wondering if they do that here...hmmmm. I'm sending courage vibes to little Penny for the poke that's to come!

Momcat said...

She just gets super-er cuter-er every single day.
Pinching- I'd scream out "OUCH" She's just exploring, and it will interrupt the behavior. How else is she going to know you don't like it.
Those walking pictures are just adorable.

I'm of to Minn-e-sota on the 16th to see the brats and grandbrats. PSYCH!!