Thursday, March 31, 2011

i need to nanny cam myself

Hi everybody! It's been a while. Apologies. But it turns out that newborns hinder regular blogging. But yesterday Katie taught me how to wear my Moby wrap properly and suddenly I have two hands! TWO HANDS! Revolutionary.

I've started to write quite a few posts and abandoned them when it came time to feed or nap or change or bounce or zone out for a precious moment. So much to say and so little time to write it down! I'm sure I'll become overwhelmed and abandon all hope if I try to catch you guys up on every fascinating detail about the last month all at once. So I'm going to share the latest and season it with tidbits about Tater's first few weeks of life. Sound good? Here goes!

First, Tater has arrived! James Charles Robertson (aka Charlie) was born on February 27, 2011, at 8:32 p.m. (just under 13 hours after my water broke). His first name comes from Brad's side of the family, his middle name from my side of the family, and his nickname from my maternal grandfather, Charles McMullen. I'll write a post about the labor and delivery soon. In the meantime, here's a photo:

We're slowly but surely getting our new parent sea legs, but we couldn't have done it without our family and friends. In fact, today is the first day that I've had to fly solo at home. Brad was home for four weeks, and over the last month we've had the help of Brad's mother, father, sister and brother, as well as my brother and my sister. In fact, my sister left this morning after spending a week with us, helping to ease the transition when Brad returned to work, including taking over Brad's nighttime duties so that he could get a recharge of sleep his first week back.

It took us a while to figure out a nighttime routine. We had candyland dreams of Charlie falling in love with his bassinet and sleeping soundly from the first night home. No dice. It's not that Charlie doesn't love his bassinet, it's that he only loves it during the day. Sun's up, Charlie embraces the bassinet. Sun's down, the bassinet turns into a house of horrors. We spent a few nights trying to coax him into the bassinet, but eventually gave up in order to save our collective sanity. Instead of going to sleep as a family, we took shifts. I would hang out in the living room with Charlie until 3am, letting him sleep on my chest while I watched reruns of Murder She Wrote. (Why are there no reruns of Night Court? That show was spectacular. Is there a petition out there that I could sign?) Brad would take over night duties until 7am, waking me up for feedings.

This routine worked for a couple weeks (it was especially great when Brad's mom was here and took a shift from 6am to 9am, giving us a few extra hours of blissful sleep). Eventually we decided that we should try the bassinet again, fearful of ingraining poor sleep habits or prolonging day/night confusion.

The first night of "bassinet trials take-two," Brad slept next to the bassinet. But Brad is a DEEP sleeper and he needs a fair amount of recovery time when he wakes up. Unfortunately, time had not mended the fissure in Charlie's relationship with the bassinet. Charlie didn't go more than twenty minutes without erupting into a fit of screaming and tears, but twenty minutes was more than enough time for Brad to go under. So more than once, when Charlie started to wail, I would have to join in to get Brad's attention. I doubted the long-term sustainability of this arrangement.

I slept beside the bassinet the next night. I went through countless cycles of nursing, rocking, bassinetting, soothing, cooing, nursing, rocking, bassinetting, soothing, cooing, with minimal success. Meanwhile, I watched as Brad drifted into a light coma. During one of the comforting sessions, I wanted to try the pacifier. Unfortunately, the pacifier was in my breastfeeding basket (a little kit I put together so I can easily tote my breastfeeding / baby-care essentials from room to room), and the kit was next to Brad. So I woke him up.

Me: "Brad. Wake up. I need the pacifier."
Brad: (Snore) (Chortle) "Huh!?!"
Me: "I need the pacifier."
Brad: "Pacifier. Pacifier. Pacifier. Here."
(Brad hands me a large bottle of hand sanitizer.)
Me: "Brad. Wrong. Wake up. I need the pacifier."
Brad: (Harumphs in irritation.) "Pacifier. Pacifier. Is this what you need?"
(Brad hands me the Gro Egg, a room thermometer which is plugged into the wall and does not even come close to rhyming with pacifier.)
Me: "BRAD. WAKE UP. I need the PACIFIER."
Brad: (Sits up in frustration.) "What?"
Me: "For the love of Charlie. I need the PACIFIER."

It only took two nights of struggling with Charlie's hatred of the bassinet and Brad's incoherence before I decided that we needed a plan B. I thought a co-sleeper might work better, as Charlie always calmed down when he was next to me in bed. So I found someone in the Chicago parent's network who was willing to part with their gently used co-sleeper for a reasonable price. When Brad went to pick it up, they threw in their Snuggle Nest because it worked so well for them.

Amazingly, the Snuggle Nest did the trick! For the last week and a half, Charlie has been soundly sleeping in the middle of the bed in the Snuggle Nest. Brad and I have considerably less real estate in our queen-sized bed, but it's a minor inconvenience. Charlie is sleeping for three-hour stretches in between feedings and my sanity is saved.

Brad's humorous reactions to my wee-hour requests, however, continue. One night when Charlie started fussing I asked Brad to change his diaper before I fed him. He quickly sat up, leaned over the Snuggle Nest, and said "Choo . . . Choo . . . " while waving his hand over the Snuggle Nest. Then he crawled back under the covers and started snoring. I suppose he thought he'd successfully employed magic to put Charlie is a dry diaper. Thankfully, my laughter got his attention and he fulfilled his diaper duty.

Brad never remembers these antics in the morning, which makes them all the more entertaining.

With Brad returning to work and Caty in town, I thought it would be a good idea to have Caty and Brad trade places at night. That way Brad could recharge his batteries and Caty could get a little extra QT with her beloved nephew. They made the switch and Caty was awesome. She sprang up every time I asked her to do something, and I felt like we were the overnight baby duty dream team. For three nights, Charlie would surely want for nothing.

Or maybe not.

At 4:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, I startled awake. I was lying on my side and Charlie was next to me. Clearly, we'd both fallen asleep while I was feeding him. But I had no idea how we ended up in that position. No memory of hearing him cry, moving him beside me, undressing.

Me: "Caty!"
Caty: "What?"
Me: "Any idea how Charlie ended up beside me?"
Caty: "He cried. An hour ago. I went to pick him up to change him, and you told me not to, that he was hungry and you would take care of it. So you picked him up and started to feed him."
Me: "I picked him up?"
Caty: "Yup."
Me: "You didn't put him here?"
Caty: "Nope."
Me: "Oh crap."
Caty: "Good thing I was here and not Brad, or the two of you would have no idea what happened."
Me: "Oy."

Open mouth. Insert crow.

Caty's home now. Which means the second-string players are back in the game. I've accepted my shortcomings and proclivity to sleep-feed my son, so I've stopped using the reclined side position for the late-night feedings. But to be on the safe side, I should probably nanny cam myself as well.


  1. Love it. Thanks for posting this Robin. I am also excited to read the birth story when you get a chance. I am thrilled for you guys!!!! I just hit 37 weeks myself and am very envious of your quick and dirty labor....

  2. Robin -
    By number two Dave was sleeping in the guest room and the baby was in bed with me for about six weeks. It seemed to be the only way that we could get sleep and there wasn't the fear of someone rolling over on the baby, me falling asleep in the rocking chair during a feeding, etc.
    I can so relate to doing things while asleep. I used to wake up next to their crib, thinking I had heard them and it was only a dream.
    The sleep deprivation is brutal. I did the sleeping on the chest thing with number four because it was the only way he would sleep. Reflux is wicked.
    Hopefully by now you're getting some stretches of sleep and starting to feel human again.

  3. You might want to try out GotoCamera's free webcam software. GotoCamera is EASY to set up and easy to use. All you need is a webcam (a USB webcam such as those made by Logitech, Creative, etc, or even the webcam integrated into your netbook / notebook) and a Windows PC, and you’re ready to start. Once your camera is set up, you can turn on recording schedules, configure motion detection, share your camera with family, and access it from any browser, including your iPhone, so that you can remotely monitor your camera's recordings. You can watch over your children any time you wish. This is perfect for people who can't afford a nanny to watch over their kids when they're away from home. At less than $4 a month, it makes complete sense to me. Give it a shot, try their 1 week free trial and let me know how it goes :)