Friday, June 25, 2010

Harper's Colic

(I know I have mentioned before that Harper has colic, but I know that I downplayed its severity.  This is the real story of Harper's colic.)
My mom had warned me before I had Harper that I had colic as a baby.  Wade's mother warned me that he had colic as a baby.  Therefore, I concluded, our baby would also have colic.  All this meant to me was I would have a baby who screamed all the time.
But what is colic, really?  I looked it up on and realized I was pretty much right:
"All babies cry, but sometimes a baby will cry for hours at a time, no matter what you do. This extreme type of crying in a baby between 3 weeks and 3 months of age is called colic. Although it is upsetting for parents and caregivers, colic is normal for some babies.
Doctors usually diagnose colic when a healthy baby cries harder than expected in a "3" pattern: more than 3 hours a day more than 3 days a week for at least 3 weeks in a row. Colic is usually worst when babies are around 6 to 8 weeks of age and goes away on its own between 8 and 14 weeks of age."
There are no causes, no reasons for colic.  It may be because their nervous system isn't developed.  It may be due to a "sensitive temperament" whatever the hell that means.   Harper's "episodes," as I like to call them, began when she was three weeks old.  This is her 12th week and she will be 3 months on the 29th.  Maybe, just maybe, we will get lucky and this will all stop at 14 weeks.  I've heard tell, though, that we may not be that lucky.  Some go to five months or, HEAVEN FORBID, 7 months like this.  YIKES.
For a first-time mom (and I'm sure it's the same for those who have multiple's just quite a shock for a new parent) when this all began, I was a complete wreck.  Absolutely nothing would calm her down.  I felt like a failure; like the world's worst mother.  I don't believe in letting a baby cry it out and I felt that that was what I was doing to her.  Some nights she screamed/cried/wailed for 2 hours and some nights she would go strong for 5 or 6.  It is only frustrating because there is no cure, no simple way to help her.  I look at my baby with her pouty lip and my heart just falls to pieces.  She looks at me with eyes begging for help.  Momma, why can't you make this stop?! That's what those beautiful blue eyes are asking me.  I apologize over and over to her during her episodes.  I tell her I love her more than anything or anyone else.  I hold her close so she knows I'm there for her.  There's no worse feeling in the world than knowing you can't help your baby.  There were a few times where it was all day and all night crying.  And just when I was about to the breaking point, she got better.  At about 8 weeks old, she was happy during the day.  She gave me her first smiles.  We played and I sang her songs and read her storybooks.  The nights were still bad, but it was those days that made it all worthwhile.
And then last week happened and she was back at it.  We tried the vacuum cleaner (which worked a handful of times).  Harper is very content outside because of all the noise, but that wasn't an option thanks to the massive amounts of rained we endured.  If it wasn't for my mother (!), father, and husband, I don't know how I would have gotten through these weeks with my head still attached.  I know I would have made it through because she's my baby, my world.  But they all kept me sane.  When I needed to fall down exhausted into a chair or eat or even go to the bathroom, they were there to step in.  There's nothing like a good support team to get you through the bad times.
I broke down and bought some organic gripe water last weekend.  It's supposed to help with hiccups (which she gets at least 2 times a day), teething, upset stomach, and gas.  I've been giving it to her twice a day, sometimes three times.  I don't know if it has really helped, but this has been a glorious week.  Lots of "talking," smiles, rolling over (!), kisses, and oh so much more! 
Dealing with a colic-y baby is an adjustment.  It's so difficult at times and completely exhausting.  But I wouldn't trade one millisecond of my moments with her - good or bad.  Even though I hope and wish that her colic episodes are coming to an end (or have ended!) she is my everything and I will do my damnedest to make sure she is happy, healthy, and thriving no matter what.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

A Song For Harper

I'm a little baby
Short and stout
Here is my tummy
And here is my mouth
When I get all fussy
Here me shout:
"Put a boob right in my mouth!"

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Harper is not a very big fan of her carseat. Sometimes she's fine in it for, oh, three minutes. Tops. But mostly she acts like it's some sort of torture device (and really, it kind of seems that way when I'm putting her in there. Poor little arms!) However, there are appointments to keep, farmer's market's to visit, and parks to explore. Therefore every few days we venture out of the house. She's got to get used to this thing eventually, right?

Today was a slightly spur-of-the-moment, slightly planned outing. I had a video that needed returned and a few groceries that need to be bought. We ended up meeting my mom for lunch at a local pizza place (oh, Wise Pies how I love thee!). This particular establishment is located in a fairly busy part of downtown. We sat outside at one of their tables waiting for mom to arrive. Harper was happily (!) playing with me in her carseat. For two seconds. And then she turned into Hungry Monster. FEED ME NOW! Thankfully I had decided NOT to wear the really cute striped dress I got for a steal at Goodwill over the weekend ($2.99!) and opted instead for shorts, nursing tank, and shirt. Now, I have nursed in public before, but usually it's more discreet. And since Harper is getting a wee bit older every day (ack!) she is constantly looking around. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about popping my boob out on this busy street (especially since not 10 feet away was some guy smoking a cig on his cell phone and I was paranoid my boob was showing and he was taking pictures. HELLO FACEBOOK.) Harper latched on like she hadn't eaten for days (shark mouth I call it), but kept choking and pulling off. It was hot, she was sweaty, and the metal chair was hurting my delicate behind. Somehow I managed to pull it off, though. Score one for me! Eventually we'll get better at the nursing in public. That will make our outings a little more tolerable.
And because she was such a good girl, we walked around Basesler's and I was able to do a little bit of grocery shopping. When we got home (after a lovely nursing session where Harper wanted to talk and talk and talk to me! Oh, and eat my face. "No, honey, my nose is not a boob!) I was able to make rhubarb pudding and two loaves of bread today (not to mention clean the kitchen and do laundry) while Harper slept in her swing. I don't know if she's teething or having a growth spurt, but myohmy this child can sure sleep a LONG time when she wants to! Maybe this is a sign that her "colic" stage is ending. One can only hope. Until then: more gratuitous baby spam for your viewing pleasure:

Monday, June 14, 2010

This Weekend

Our weekend was filled with:
:: Harper's first visit to the Farmer's Market and our library's monthly book sale and she slept through them both

:: Finding great treasures at Goodwill (lovely covered bridge

:: Baking bread using a new and very delicious (and much l
oved!) recipe

:: Loads of thunderstorms

:: A baby shower for a very sweet lady

:: A nap or two (or three)

:: Spending a lot of quality-time with loved ones

Friday, June 11, 2010

Thinking Outside the Box

Over the past few years I've been trying to get myself and Wade further and further away from conventionality. But ever since I had Harper I'm beginning to become even more conscious: about what we eat, what we drive, the cleaning products we use in our house and on our clothes.
Recently (as in the past week), we purchased a 1983 Mercedes-Benz turbo diesel car. Wade and I have been wanting to get one for the longest time. The reason: they can run on used vegetable oil. It's no Prius and it's not the greatest thing for the environment. But it is helping to recycle used oil and we don't have to buy gas (at least not as often)(or until winter). We will also be able to visit his family in Vermont A LOT cheaper because of this vehicle.
I've planted small gardens before, but they've yielded very little. I did get tomatoes and cucumbers to grow, but there were so many we couldn't keep up. So that means I am going to be learning out to can and freeze. And doing a lot of research on what grows best here and how to best grow it. Hopefully this year I will learn because I will be frequenting our Farmer's Market weekly. Which is another thing I'm going to try: eating locally. Which means eating out isn't an option. But we do have a grocer down the street that sells locally grown vegetables, fruit, and butchers their own meat. I've been looking into CSA and there are several around here. Next year maybe...if I can't get my garden to grow.
I've started making my own laundry detergent and am researching the best homemade household cleaners.
I've started baking our bread, buying more organic and/or local foods. Starting tomorrow (my first trip this year to our Farmer's Market!) I am going to try and have an exclusively local/seasonal diet. My next goal is to start cloth diapering Harper.
I've been trying to reduce/cut out television, though watching movies is something I don't think I can give up.
I want Harper to grow up knowing where her food comes from. I don't want her to be like the kids on that Jamie Oliver show who didn't know what a potato was! (oh, and wanted to eat the chicken patties even AFTER he showed them all the DISGUSTING things that were in it. SHIVER.)
As corny as it sounds, I feel such a connection to the past as I'm kneading dough or grating soap for laundry powder. I feel like my foresisters are looking down on me. And in all honesty, I feel proud at giving the big chain stores the cold shoulder.
I was really good at making everything homemade this time last year. Morning sickness really hurt in more ways than one. I made butter, whipped cream, orange juice, lemonade, even marshmallows! For a while I was washing clothes by hand and hanging them out to dry. I did all this while I was working full-time. Now I have a job that I do 24/7 and I'm pretty sure I can pick up where I left off.
Next on my list I want to try:
:: making cheese
:: making soap
:: making toothpaste
:: making preserves
A bit ambitious maybe, but it's all been done in the past. I don't see why I can at least make the effort. It's all for the benefit of my family. For them I'm willing to do anything.

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Day of No Naps

On a typical day, Harper averages 3-4 naps before bedtime. If it's a growth spurt kind of day she's apt to have around 5 or more.

Today was not either of those kinds of days.

We started off our morning as usual: nursing in bed, talking and smiling while getting dressed, and swing time while I brush my teeth and whatnot. This is usually when Harper takes her morning nap (and Momma showers). She was all about the smiles and cooing instead. So I held onto her a little while longer and decided to go next door to my parent's house since my father was home. I figured she'd be tuckered out by then and sleep (cause I needed a shower!). So Grampie played with Harper while I got myself all good and cleaned. And just as I was finishing drying my hair I heard Harper pretty much screaming. My dad was trying his best to calm her, but nothing was working. This is not normal Harper behavior. So, Momma to the rescue! I tried nursing her, but she wanted nothing to do with that. I brought her back to our house where I laid down with her in our bed, nursed her twice (I knew she was hungry!), and then she wanted to talk and coo and play once again. Who am I not to oblige her in this, I ask? I tried her swing once more, but she was SO SMILEY I couldn't in good conscience keep her there. So I decided to do what any other Momma would do when her baby doesn't want to sleep:

We had an impromptu photo session. As you can see, my baby is sleepy. VERY SLEEPY. Yet she's still awake (that's what she does best!).

Also, she didn't like the bunny ears. But what do I care, right? Cause she looks so goshdarn ADORABLE in them. She can pay me back when she's a teenager.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

For the Parents: Just A Reminder...

Wade works quite a few nights. I try to be awake when he gets home so we can spend quality time as a family. This gives him time to unwind, relax, and sometimes unload. Last night the three of us spent the night like we normally do: me holding Harper while he fixes something to eat, him playing with her while I get things ready for bed. Well, last night, she was getting a wee bit fussy so I tried nursing her. She acted disinterested so I told Wade she needed her diaper changed, handed her off to him, and he went upstairs. I started to upload some pictures from my camera when I heard her SCREAMING. It seriously sounded like someone was hurting her. I gave him a few minutes (seconds?) before I went up to see what was wrong. He was calmer than I thought he'd be, but she was just laying there crying and crying and crying. All the while I'm resisting the temptation to just PICK MY BABY UP cause he's the dad, you know. But finally he finishes with her, I take her back downstairs and try nursing her again. And guess what? That's all she wanted. The moral of this story: DON'T TAKE THE BOOB AWAY.

::You'd never know it to look at her, but this sweet little girl has got some LUNGS::

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A friend of our family's, who is graduating high school this weekend, visited my parent's house last week. M., my mom, and I were sitting in the living room talking about nothing and everything. Then M tells us about a freshman (FRESHMAN!) who is pregnant. Aren't FRESHMEN like 14 years-old?!? I'm pretty sure my friends and I were not having sex or even THINKING about having sex at 14. YIKES.

I look at Harper and while I try to slow down my days, make every moment with her stretch as much as possible, I still think about the future. What will she be like? What sort of things will she be interested in? Will she and I be good friends like my mom and me are? Will I be able to educate her about the right things? Will we be able to instill the right morals and values in her. Will we be able to keep our 14 (16, 18!) year-old from getting pregnant? I know things like this happen more often than we like to think. And if it's going to happen, it will. I hope that I can keep it from happening; I hope that Harper is smarter and in more control over her body than that.

Can't she just be a nerd? And want to read books? And learn everything about everything? And be beautiful? And independent? And have great social skills?

But most of all, can't she just be a nerd and neverevernever want to have sex at 14 (or 16 or 18!).

I don't care if she wants to be a nerd who runs around in a cape all day. I will still love her. (And I would love her if she got pregnant at 14 GOD FORBID.)