The Pregnant Waddle

Pre-Pregnancy Weight Just Around the Corner (It's Trying to Run and Hide)

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The experiment continues, albeit unsuccessfully and with much angst

So. Theories on infant sleep habits, anyone? I mean, we've got some to spare. Our little Squid, it must first be said, sleeps very well at night. She goes to sleep around 7:30 p.m., waking maybe once toward 5 a.m. for a snack, until we get her up around 6 a.m. During the day, she takes two good long naps at Nanny’s house and another evening nap, very short, with us.

Nanny claims (and I see no reason not to trust her word) that she puts the Squid down for a nap without rocking or anything, and that Ngaire sometimes fusses for a maximum five minutes before conking out for hours on end. At home? Well, Ngaire now lets me put her down once she’s asleep, but she will only fall asleep while being nursed or pacified and rocked. Sometimes, she’ll be all peaceful and sleeping, but the minute I put her down, those big eyes pop open and we’re in for another round of nursing, binkying and rocking. And she still sleeps with us at night.

I don’t have a huge problem with this. I’m a working mommy, and I love snuggling my darling, feeling her warm little limbs go limp against me. It is a tad time-consuming, though, and I do feel a bit of pressure to get my child to learn to settle herself to sleep … not to mention curiosity about what Nanny has, infant-sleep-inducing-wise, that I lack. So every so often, I decide to experiment with one of the myriad of theories I’ve read about, all of which guarantee a self-settling Squid in a nine days or less or your money back.

The latest theory is a cross between attachment parenting and the cry-it-out theory (nice cross, eh?). It involves sitting next to the baby, not picking her up, but patting and stroking her while she cries herself to sleep. After a few days, the mommy is to sit several feet away, verbally comforting her sproglet. A few days after that, the mommy is to sit by the door. The next step is to leave the room altogether. Nine days or less!

Night one of this experiment was, overall, less successful than the cry-it-out-with-intermittent-parental-comfort-forays thingy we tried a few weeks back. I got the Squid good and sleepy, put her in her co-sleeper*, and sat next to her. She figured out what I was doing, and even though she was so tired that her eyes were almost closing in between screams, she gave those screams her all. My gentle pats morphed into trying to hold her back as she scrabbled at my arm and tried to climb up it.

This lasted almost an hour. It ended abruptly and heart-warmingly when Ngaire eluded my restraining hand and crawled out of the co-sleeper and into my lap.

Stupid theories. I lay down and nursed my Squidlet to sleep.

* whose main function, so far, has been to keep the Husbandlet from falling out of bed.

Apparently, October is the new July

Last year, there was something in the water at my school; four teachers (including me) and the wife of another all had babies due in July. This year, there’ll be quite the crop of babies in October. Arwen, my college roomie, and two ladies from my church are all due then.

The poor Husbandlet is beginning to get a bit nervous at the renewed gleam in my eye. I’m finding all these pregnancies rather inspirational. If we didn’t have a baby still sleeping in our bed and requiring lots of snuggles and diaper changes, I think the Husbandlet would have true cause to worry.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Also, as of yesterday

Our baby is now a Crawler.

Why marine biology is perkier than teaching high school English

You get to eat what you study.

(You also get to go to lots of conferences and meetings, like the Husbandlet, who is in Maryland at present. He told me when he called yesterday that, amazingly, one of the speakers had managed to make a talk on crab-castrating parasites tedious. I can’t imagine how that could be.)

Excuses, excuses

Yeah, so, this whole getting blocked thing is really providing an impediment to my already limited blogging energy. Last year, huge and pregnant and waiting at work for hours a day till the Husbandlet came to get me, I was all about blogs: reading them, writing them, giving them up for Lent so I could maybe get some actual work done. But this year . . . well, there are many differences. Not pregnant, for one thing, and it turns out an external baby takes up a lot more attention than the internal variety. I leave work every day as close to 3:00 as I possibly can. In the evenings, if I am so fortunate as to get the Squid to sleep and manage to stay awake myself

SIDE NOTE: Have you ever watched a baby going to sleep? The fluttering eyes? The deepening breathing? The drooping head and relaxed fingers? That and the sleep-inducing hormones produced by nursing usually ensure that I am desperately sleepy before the Squid has even begun to consider stopping with the partying.

Sorry. So, IF, given all that, I manage not to fall asleep resting gently on my baby’s tummy, there are books to read, and stories and poems to write, and Husbandlets to cuddle.

All that is my very convoluted excuse about my pathetic blogging record of late. I’m sorry! Please keep coming to visit! Maybe I will post another cute studentlet story or Ngaire picture! You never know. The pregnancy is over, but The Pregnant Waddle lives on!

What I really started to blog about

Anyway, Ngaire has always loved music. When I was several months pregnant, we went to see The Phantom of the Opera (movie). Ngaire started boogying down during the opening credits. If I listened to the radio in the car, she would thump away in there. The Husbandlet frequently sang to her in utero, and she initially wiggled frantically at the sound of his voice, and later would become very still the moment she heard him.

These days, if Ngaire cries in the car, the Husbandlet lunges for the radio dial. A good dose of whatever’s playing on the classical station usually quells her. NPR, pledge drives and commercials, though, generate squawks of protest.

My parents and I took the little Boo to hear a klezmer band the other night. It was close to Ngaire’s bedtime, and she was a tad antsy, crying when strangers stopped by to coo over her, etc. But the moment the music started, she sat forward on my lap, tiny hands clutching the seat in front of her, attention riveted on the musicians. She remained totally absorbed and happy, until they stopped playing and started talking. Then her angst could not be restrained, and we took her off and put her to bed.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hot cochoor, or, a rare pop-culture rant

I know I’m a tad behind on this, but …the Oscars fashion this year? Oy. As Hollywood is increasingly producing, and the Academy honoring, movies that a) I’ve never heard of or b) I wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot Red Vine, the lovely red-carpet gowns have become the only reason I pay attention to the whole galumphing over-produced enterprise at all. I don’t watch the presentation anymore; I spend maybe a couple of minutes in line at the grocery store checking out the dresses in People Magazine or checking Go Fug Yourself and MSN’s Undressed. I do love pretty dresses. The Academy Awards can usually produce a couple memorable ones, the good including Minnie Driver’s red dress the year Good Will Hunting was up, or Hilary Swank’s incredible blue number last year, and the bad harkening memories of Bjork’s swan and that awful pink thing with which Gwyneth Paltrow, the world’s most overrated actress, offended our eyes the year she undeservedly won for Shakespeare in Love.

But this year? Blech. The stylists seem to have called each other the night before and said, “Let’s go with a mud-colored theme! My celebrity will wear it if yours does! BFF!”

WHAT was Naomi Watts wearing?! And Michelle Williams! My eyes! Michelle Williams actually made it onto MSN’s best-dressed list. I can’t think why. Her dress put me in mind of the time my grandmother gave a bottle of yellow mustard a vigorous shake, only to find that the top was open. Her lipstick added that much-needed ketchup accent.

On the other (good) hand, three words: Jada Pinkett Smith. And Jennifer Jason Leigh wore a gorgeous understated black dress, which will probably go mostly unnoticed.

This may be my favorite dress of the evening. I have no idea who this person is, but she or her stylist has great taste.

Also, I may be one of the few people anymore who remember that Helena Bonham Carter started out her career in intelligent E. M. Forster and Shakespeare adaptations, with a few historical dramas thrown in. Her metamorphosis into Tim Burton’s latest muse/Goth chick wannabe saddens me deeply on an aesthetic level.

A bunch of mini-posts from week 1 of Blocked Blogger-ness

More weeping and whimpering. Thank God for infant Tylenol (or rather, the off-brand version). We’re going on week two of rough days for Ngaire; some are good, some are bad. Wednesday was full of smiles and playing, according to Nanny. Yesterday was quite bad due to teething, and I came home to a limp and moaning little girl who clung to me and cried on and off throughout her nap and didn’t want me to touch her mouth. But after the infant Tylenol-Equate thingy: oh what a difference! Sleep, calmness, chortling and playing.

She’s beginning to scooch forward more often. Now, when she whaps a toy just out of reach, she’ll hoist herself up on hands and feet in an inverted V, hop her hands forward, and fall on her tummy. This usually gains her a couple of inches.

Bomb threat at school yesterday. The fire alarm went off a little before noon, and we all herded out of the building. It was (relatively) quickly determined to be a prank, but I have to say that the 45 minutes of “sweeping” done by the non-existent bomb squad’s equivalent failed to inspire me with unmitigated calmness. Calming down my students afterwards has left me with no voice today. Thank goodness it’s Friday.

The Husbandlet is still in the northern wilds. My parentlets and the Squid and I are off to visit my in-laws for the weekend. The Husbandlet will be home Sunday, and I have to say that as far as I’m concerned, he’ll be the best thing to ever come out of Canada.

On a completely unrelated note, my left eyelid keeps twitching.

Blocked Blogger

Gah. Well, no more posting from work, I’m afraid. But what shall I do now to procrastinate grading? Alas.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


Well, the Squid is adjusting to her new childcare situation pretty well. She cried piteously yesterday and today when we dropped her off, but apparently calmed down pretty quickly and (at least yesterday) had a happy day of playing, eating, and sleeping. I'm trying to feel less guilty about the whole thing. This morning didn't help: when we dropped her off, Ngaire realized what we were doing and began clutching and clawing at my chest as I handed her to Nanny. That and the piteous cries. It was so very difficult to hand her over! Absolutely miserable. And that was just me. My poor baby.

Things are going to be a bit crazy around here. The Husbandlet is heading off to Canada for a conference for a week. We will miss him tremendously, of course, and that is a problem. Perhaps the bigger problem is that every time he mentions Canada, I am forced to break into song. Which may mean that the poor psychologically-conditioned Husbandlet will inadvertently offend some key Canadians in his travels.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Ash Wednesday

I grew up in a liturgical tradition, and when Lent rolls around every year, I try to give something up. However, somehow I never feel like Lent has properly begun unless I receive ashes on Ash Wednesday. So, on Wednesday, I dragged the Husbandlet and the Ngairelet and my parents off to a local church.

I've heard other parents say that they find it very moving to see the ashes on their babies' foreheads: a reminder of mortality, etc. etc. etc. I was fully expecting to get weepy when Ngaire received her first ashes, since dog food commercials make me weepy these days. But when I carried Ngaire forward for ashes, this is what happened: the ash-distributor looked confused, I proffered the baby (like Danny Kaye with the infant king in The Court Jester, for those of you who have seen that movie), the lady aimed an ashy finger at Ngaire's forehead ... and Ngaire grabbed the dish of ashes.

We all escaped mostly unscathed. But we laughed pretty hard, which (it seems to me) is actually a better response to the whole ashes-to-ashes thing than weeping.


Well, it's finally happened: Ngaire is cutting her first tooth.

She had a rough day on Tuesday--actually, this whole week has been a tad on the rough side--since she's now with a new sitter. I was sitting next to her in the car on the way home, and she began crying ... and I spotted a little something peeking through her lower gums. A sharp little something, at that.

Our poor little Boo has many troubles this week: tooth, new sitter, congestion that made it impossible to nurse last night (though it did give me the rather sweet experience of sleeping upright in bed so she could sleep on my chest). It makes me sad to have her so unhappy, even though I know she's a tough little cookie and will pull through just fine.

Anyway, if you think on it, do send up a little prayer for my baby.