Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sleepless in Salinas

Asher turned 3-months-old last week. It is amazing how fast the time has gone. He keeps hitting milestone after milestone, which has me proud and teary at the same time. He is officially moving into his 3-6 month wardrobe, right on schedule. It's such a relief to see my small-for-gestational-age baby catch up so nicely, but I hate the reminder that he won't stay small and snuggly forever. With school starting this month and all of my Facebook friends commenting about their kindergarteners eschewing hugs and kisses (or, occasionally, a friend's amazement that her kid accepted a hug on the first day of school), I am acutely aware of how quickly Asher's "little kid" time will pass. Even more acutely, I feel regret for not enjoying "every moment" (as we have so often been advised, even by the people eating dinner next to us last night, while I was bouncing him and Crockett was asking to get our entrees to go).

The truth is that every moment that I spend with Asher is not a Hallmark moment. Like most babies, his good time is in the middle of the day. Via the nursery webcam, I get to watch Annie snuggle and play with him throughout the day. When I get home, he's fussy and tired, and I spend the next hour pleading with him to go to sleep, knowing that once he does, I'll get a few hours of peace. And a few is all it is. At this point, Asher sleeps well for 3-4 hours at a stretch initially but still has a lot of trouble sleeping from 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning on, at which point we sometimes have hourly wake-ups.

As it turns out, the other thing I'm learning from Facebook is that people like to comment A LOT about how well their babies sleep through the night at ridiculously young ages; no one admits that their 3-month-olds still wake up 5 times a night and that they're exhausted and routinely think about throwing their beloved babies out the window. I've gotta admit that it makes me feel like crap. As happy as I am for those friends, I am also insanely jealous.

So we muddle through, investing countless dollars in books about baby sleep, disappointed to learn that he's still a little young for sleep training and confused by contradictory advice--one book says that to make babies sleep better at night, put them to bed earlier, while another says to keep them up later. Add to the mix a trip to Alabama later this week...I'm pretty sure we won't be sleeping well any time soon.

But the reality is that these few months are a tiny portion of our lives and that we'll all get some sleep eventually. And I need to cherish this time, however it comes, because soon he'll be on to the 6-9 month outfits. Time goes way too fast.

Here's to everyone else's sweet dreams tonight! One day I will join you!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Swimming with the Fishes...Sorta

Now that I'm back to work and we've settled into a routine, it has been harder to keep up with all of the changes we see in Asher from day to day. He has quickly gone from being a lump who eats, poops, and cries to a little person who is interested in exploring the world around him. And although he still doesn't let us sleep much (he's still eating every 2-3 hours all night long and only takes short catnaps during the day), hanging out with him is increasingly fun, which makes the exhaustion a little more bearable.

Since my last post, Asher has reached several milestones. At 2.5 months old, he smiles and coos all the time now and even laughs in his sleep. He is very interested in people, especially new ones, and he clearly recognizes his mommy and daddy. Of course, his favorite person is the baby in the mirror. We have several mirrors positioned around his room, and his favorite seems to be the one above his changing mat. Every diaper change, he talks to and smiles at his image. We guess he is a little vain. Of course, if you were that cute, you probably would be too. He is also noticing objects in his environment more. Whereas he used to be focused solely on black-and-white, high-contrast images, he is now interested in all brightly colored things. Recently, Mary Kay, my nurse, gave him an activity mat, and it is now one of his favorite places to hang out. He has begun to realize that he can touch things if he moves his limbs, and he has started batting at the toys dangling overhead.

Also on the motor skills front, his neck is now strong enough that he supports his own head most of the time (unless he's really tired), and this weekend he sat upright for the first time in his Bumbo chair. The upright position opens up a new world of possibilities for him, and he was obviously thrilled with this new perspective on his world. We have a jumparoo on order, which should arrive on Tuesday, and I can't wait to see how much fun he has bouncing around in it while he explores the attached toys.

This weekend we had one adventure after another. Our friends John and Emeline Minor visited on Saturday night and were Asher's first overnight guests. Asher greeted them with his newly mastered open-mouth smile, which is by far my favorite of his new skills. We took advantage of the extended summer weekend hours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and took the Minors and Asher there for the first time to see the newly reopened Open Sea exhibit. We were fortunate to run into another friend, Rene, who is an aquarium tour guide and was visiting on his day off with a friend, so we got a private tour of the exhibit. We aren't sure how much Asher cared about the fish, but he definitely liked the activity and all the lights and colors. After a brief visit there (one of the advantages of being aquarium members is that costs us nothing to pop in for a few minutes to see one thing and head out--I think this will prove to be very useful while Asher is little with a miniscule attention span!), we headed to Tarpy's for dinner--our first dinner at a nice restaurant--where Asher ate a little and then slept soundly, clearly wiped out by his aquarium adventure, while we enjoyed a great, leisurely meal on the heated patio. Overnight, we had to make some adjustments to our routine so that our guests could sleep in peace without hearing Asher cry every 2 hours. The intent was for Asher to sleep in his pack-and-play in our room, but in the end, he spent most of the night in bed snuggling with us. I guess it was a special occasion, so it's OK. This morning we went out to brunch at First Awakenings, and again Asher was a great dining companion. The last time Crockett and I had been there was the morning before Asher's birth, so it was a little nostalgic. At the same time, it was such a relief to see that despite Asher's increasing inquisitiveness and wakefulness, we can still manage to keep him quiet and entertained enough to have an enjoyable meal out and not ruin the experience for the other diners. This afternoon, after a Skype session with Mama Katie, Daddy Brad, and cousins Tirza and Aldo (who are staying with their grandparents this week), was nap time for all of us as we gear up for the week ahead.

Our next planned adventure will be a grand one indeed: a flight across the country to visit our family and friends in Alabama over Labor Day weekend. We're intimidated by the prospect of keeping him quiet for 6 hours in flight, but his tolerance of this weekend's events is encouraging. We're currently reading up and preparing for how to travel with a 3-month-old. Any tips?