blankets. expecting parents of the world: do not register for blankets! people will give you so many! the one exception is if there’s some kind of special blanket that you know you will use to pieces. i registered for & received a swaddling blanket by swaddle designs & I LOVE IT. ramona is already too big for most traditional receiving blankets, so the swaddle designs blanket is my go-to when i want to swaddle her. the other blankets in heavy rotation are blankets we did not ask for & that i didn’t expect to use so often. my second-favorite is this really soft fleecy blanket printed with monkeys. i didn’t think i’d use it because i thought it was too heavy for a tiny baby. i don’t know what i was thinking. i use it constantly. it’s my fave for when i take her out in the moby & want a blanket to cover her.
if you must buy a blanket for a new baby, may i suggest a wearable blanket? we have several & they’re a nice layering piece.
pacifiers. someone just asked my opinion of pacifiers earlier today. ramona was given pacifiers when she was in the NICU. as far as i could tell, she didn’t seem to have any idea what the fuck to do with them. then she was enrolled in the ntrainer study, to help her learn how to take food my mouth, & that basically involved giving her a special augmented pacifier every day. i think it helped her figure out what a pacifier is & how to use it. for like a week after that, she was really into her pacifier. then we just kind of stopped offering it to her. not because we were against them, but because a tiny baby will just spit the pacifier out before too long & then scream to get it back. so you have to sit there & hold it in her mouth. kind of defeats the purpose of, you know, pacifying the kid so you have a few minutes to do something else. if she really seems to want to suck on something & her bottle isn’t ready yet, we will offer a finger. but the pacifiers have fallen out of favor in the xyerra-taber household.
that said, i feel that parents should do what they need to do to get through the day. if a pacifier helps, then use a pacifier. if at some point i feel that a pacifier will help me with ramona, i will use it. i would use it with the hope of taking it away for good before she turns a year old, because i really don’t want to deal with trying to convince a three-year-old that it’s time to give up on the pacifier. but you know…i say that now. who knows what the future holds? i never thought i’d lay my baby on the ottoman & turn my back for two seconds, only to hear a *thud* & find her laying on the floor, but…that’s exactly what happened two nights ago. anyone who thinks they will be the perfect parent whose baby will never use a pacifier, or whose baby will be weaned off the pacifier by the time they’re a year old, or whose baby will never fall off the ottoman, or whose baby will never fall asleep on its belly should probably rethink their decision to have a baby. because there is no perfection in this gig.
sleep. right now, jared & i are trying a system suggested by a friend of his. we’ve split the night into two shifts: 10pm to 3am, & 3am to 8am. we trade off on who gets which shift. tonight i have the late shift. last night i had the early shift. when you’re on shift, you stay in the living room with the baby & you sleep on the couch. hopefully she sleeps in her bouncy chair, but…maybe she sleeps on the couch with you (on your chest, not actually on the couch). or she sleeps on you while you remain awake, staring at the clock & wondering if 4am is too early to just give up & make coffee. the other person sleeps in the bedroom, & it is a kind of bliss.
this system isn’t great. it means that we never get to sleep together anymore, & especially last week, after charlotte died, i had a really hard time. charlotte used to hop on to the couch & snuggle with me when i was on baby duty. it was really difficult to lay there & know that charlotte would not be visiting, & of course i kept replaying her last few days in my head over & over, & the trip to the animal hospital, & her symptoms, wondering if we truly made the right decision in euthanizing her. for the first few nights, i stayed up with ramona during my whole shift, watching TV while ramona slept. (i rented “parks & recreation” from the video store in order to have something light & funny to distract me.) when i had the bedroom to myself, i laid there & cried.
i’m feeling better now & am able to sleep some when i’m on baby duty. jared LOVES this system. he says he likes to know definitively whose turn it is to get up with the baby. (we had all three been sleeping in the bedroom together, & jared & i would take turns getting up with her. but it was stressful in a way because you never knew when you first woke up whose turn it was, & if it was your turn, you felt a lot of pressure to get the baby all the way back to sleep before bringing her back in, lest the other person wake up & be angry.) i think this system is okay. i got a solid seven-hour stretch of sleep last night after we did the pass off at 3am, so i guess i can’t complain. what new mom gets seven hours of sleep at a time, you know?