Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Sleep regression, CIO, crawling, baby jail, baby sleep positions



The Baby is crawling.  She's not a speed demon yet but she is very sneaky and can be quick.  The increased mobility means less time for writing and a good deal of time learning what's dangerous in my house.

Our house has been fully childproofed.  Poisons, pans, sharp objects and glassware is locked away, wires have been tucked aside (as best as they can), doors closed, corners softened and all other baby proofing opportunities have been taken care of.  Nonetheless baby Manni - like all babies - will find any and all possible dangers quickly and with no thought to her own safety.  Fully baby proofing a home is impossible but I'm fairly confident that the precautions we have taken should suffice for the time being until she learns how to climb or pick locks (possibly July?).

A vast majority of Manya's free roaming time is spent tormenting Cojack the dog.

My Ear!

The dog likes people but when he's hot he likes to rest.  During the summer the dog lies on the cold floor for hours at a time enjoying being lazy.  The new love the baby gives him has thrown him for a loop.  Adults and children give rubs and pats.  They tickle behind ears and whisper sweet nothings.  Baby Manni offers full body presses, ear pulling and little finger massages (he likes those).  After a few minutes it become a game of chase as Cojack runs away from the baby and she follows him unrelentlessly.


I have been playing with the idea of Baby Jail.

In order to keep baby Manni from wondering unsupervised and/or tormenting the old dog, I'm considering confining the baby for short amount of times in an octagon fenced in playpen.  I hate the idea of the baby jail but it may come in handy.  Part of me believes its a pathetic cop out to purchase a pen for a baby but part of me likes the idea that I know exactly where she is and what she's doing when I'm trying to do work.  I'm weighing my options.

Switching gears, getting a baby to sleep is a full time job.  A job that, like the stock market, is constantly changing, adapting, and working with all its might to destroy you.  Once you think you've gotten a hold of it and are master of your domain, nothing works anymore and you have to start anew.

We are always working on getting Baby Manni a good nights sleep and several solid naps each day.  We've discussed it in sleep posts, and sleep regression posts.  Recently we tackled the CIO method.  CIO stands of Cry It Out.  There are many, many parents who swear by this approach and it works great for their children.   There are also many people who believe it is the cold and heartless approach to getting a baby to sleep. 

I believe the CIO approach is one in which, similar to Spider Man III, everyone cries.  The babies cry, the mommies collapse in front of the door in a heap of maternal guilt and cry, Kristen Dunst with her snagged tooth and Spider Man cry.  Even the bad guy Sandman cries.  (I thought SpiderMan 3 was ridiculous)

Bottom line.  Everyone is miserable and after the baby can no longer cry for her parents love she collapses in a heap of sweat, tears and abandonment.  The parents are unnerved and can not function properly or relax even after the baby is crying due to the stress of the ordeal.  The meaning behind this torture for all involved is that the child will learn to put themselves to sleep on their own and eventually not cry to exhaustion.

So we put ourselves through this torture for somewhere around 9 or 10 nights.  First it was an hour minutes of hell.  Then 50, then 45, then 31, then 29, then 26 (Oh look a pattern!)  but then Manni said Fuck You! and we went to 39, 48, and then the one night of real devilish fun, 16 minutes of hysterics, followed by 2 minutes of quiet into 15 minutes of crying and 2 minutes of silence (repeat 4 more times) and then back to half an hour of crying until ENOUGH!!!!! 

Cry It Out is not for us.  Not because it doesn't work - I'm sure it works wonders for numerous parents - but because Manya defeated it despite our best efforts.  Because she's stubborn.  Because listening to a baby scream to the point of losing her voice (she still has a strained voice) for 30-45 minutes for a week and a half is horrible.  Because we can get our baby to sleep without having her cry it out.  And because if we can't get her to sleep by other methods (due to teething, sickness, or pure stubbornness) we don't mind co-sleeping from time to time.

The only downside to co-sleeping is the midnight attacks from Baby Manni.  Manni is a HOG of the bed!  For such a little baby she loves to take up the whole bed!  She kicks, she chops, she punches both of us to make as much room for herself as possible.  She also has to be touching both Sarah and myself at all times which makes things very interesting. 

The following image taken from Fail Blog perfectly explains the challenges of co-sleeping and one of the reasons its nice to have your baby sleep in her crib most of the time.
http://failblog.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/epic-fail-photos-parenting-fails-baby-sleep-positions.jpg


Manni does sleep in her crib most of the time but when she is taking over the bed she performs a violent combination of "The Roundhouse", "Snow Angels", "H is for Hell" and "Jazz Hands".  Three nights ago I was awoken to three swift karate chops to the back of the neck only to find baby and mommy cuddling in "The Dog House" position silently.  I'm 95% sure I didn't dream it.

Of course to get Manni to go to bed we have several different tricks.  Our most successful baby calming technique is the Yoga Ball.  We've used the bouncing technique to calm Manya down since she was very very young and I touched upon it in a long time ago in  this post.  Manya hates bouncy seats, rockers and lying in cribs.  Her true passion is the fart ball/yoga ball.

Most homes have a giant yoga ball taking up space but rarely being used.  We use that yoga ball as our bouncing ball to rock/bounce our baby to sleep.  While holding the baby in our lap with her either sitting or lying down we slowly bounce on the ball.  The rhythm of the bouncing puts Manni out within minutes.  A side effect of the yoga ball rhythmic bouncing is that the ball also unexpectedly releases any and all gas stored inside your body.  The plastic ball reverberates the sound of said gas tenfold and distorts it into either an unusual duck quack or a sticky wet balloon.

Note to readers: If attempting the yoga ball method for the first time do so without company in the room.  Know you limitations.

For the record I love the yoga ball.  Not only does it put the baby to bed but it provides hours of entertainment.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Now for some pictures:
Too Cute!

Whats that?

I kinda like the blurry drool.

She likes swing.


That is not my voice.


Twitter : @babymanni
Instagram: @babymanni

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pediatrician baby fun




 This is our interpretation of the 1986 Jim Henson and David Bowie film "Labyrinth"



I took the baby for her first blood test today.  I had to drive to a special office called LabCorp for the blood taking.  What ever happened to doctors office's doing everything and specialists actually specializing in something SPECIAL?  Taking blood is one of the first things doctors and nurses learn to do, but they no longer actually take blood?   I know its an insurance thing, but it still makes no sense that patients have to spend time going to the doctors office, and then spend more time going to a LabCorp so they can take your blood.  Great allocation of time.  At least I didn't have to use up vacation time on it.

This is the first time I've gone to a LapCorp.  I don't go to doctors.  I recently (two years ago) went to my primary care after years of dodging it.  I hate extremely sterile places (I.E. hospitals, doctors offices, ect.) and avoid them at all costs (the birthing experience was rather difficult for me to say the least but I wasn't the one giving birth).  I also have issues with getting my blood taken.  I don't actually pass out, but get as close to losing my dignity as you possibly can while still maintaining the minimal amount of consciousness.  Essentially I'm a zombie that sweats profusely but is consciousness enough that I'm able to comprehend all the snide jokes mumbled by the nursing staff.  For this reason, when I mustered up enough courage - and had an appointment scheduled by my adamant wife - to visit my primary care and found out that I'd have to schedule ANOTHER appointment strictly for blood testing I knew that there was no way that was going to happen.  Appointment never made, no blood taken.

Today was the first time I've gone to a LapCorp.  Today I learned Baby Manya isn't as much of a baby as I am. 

That was a lie.

She's totally a baby. 

Totally.

LabCorp was a complete shit hole.  Not entirely their fault as they are moving to a new location in three days but holy crap they really didn't care about this facility at all.  It was a dump.  I felt like I was at the NJDMV circa 1992 minus the lines and minus the bugs.  You didn't sit down at the DMV, you could sit down at LabCorp. 

The nursing staff was 99% Indian (I only say 99% because there's always the chance one is from Pakistan or Bangladesh and they would get super pissed at me if I mistook their nationality) and they were excellent.  Super nice.  Super good at their job.  They also loved Manya and all crowded around helping each other and trying to make the baby comfortable.  Seriously, there were four nurses and doctors enjoying the baby.  Well, it was either that they just thought she was really cute or they all wanted to watch me sweat profusely at the sight of blood. 

I for some reason was under the impression that baby blood taking was done through the heel.  I was mistaken.  Nine month olds get blood taken from their arm just like adults but with a much smaller needle.  The needle was so small it was almost cute... almost, because its attached to a tube that makes the whole blood taking experience look like a meth lab.  A meth lab where I try not to look too disheveled and/or pass out.  But it was happening.  Here we go...

The nurses cooed and smiled. 

I hugged the baby aka prevented her from ripping out the needle and injuring herself.  And I sweat. 

Manya screamed and screamed and screamed and turned about as red as a stop sign, then turned purple, then turned red again and then sweat more than I did.  The nurses in mid-blood draw actually discussed the shade of red Baby Manni was turning.  When it was over we all felt terrible for the diaphoretic tomato in my arms. 

One of the nurses was so disheveled by it that while backing away with the blood sample she accidentally walked into the cubical wall and broke it off the wall.  Seriously.  That's how much of a shit hole this place was!  A 105 lb nurse could accidentally break through the wall WWE style.  Beast mode.

When we got home all the poor baby wanted to do was sleep.

Baby Manni resting after a hard day.


Crazy eyes!

Abuelo!


Monday, May 14, 2012

Baby is crawling!




Manya has been rocking back and forth on her knees for several weeks now.  The movement is quite hypnotic.  It has gotten to the point that I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to call around for a Minyan or if she's personally calling a Adhan. 

The bouncing is known to be a legitimate precursor to crawling but with each day that passes I hear more and more stories about babies who skip the crawling stage and go straight to walking.  Of course those babies didn't spend a lot of time on their belly.  Manya spends a great deal of time on her belly.  A vast majority of that belly time was spent spinning in circles, "planking" (which she never would pose for pictures), and rocking/praying.  With each crawling attempt Manya never quite got to the point of moving her arms forward which ultimately resulted in a face plant or a slow motion reenactment of the friendly fireman "Stop, Drop and Roll" if you included "frustrated cry" after the roll.

We attempted to work with her by giving her incentives to crawl to objects but she is very resourceful and more often than not was able to take advantage of the environment around her to bring those objects to her rather than the other way around.


Other times she worked on climbing rather than crawling.



She also attacked us when we worked her too hard.

 

 Then this happened:


We are now fully mobile. 

And increasing in speed and dexterity with every second.

Similar to Moore's Law (who's the dork now?) Manya's speed and coordination doubles every eighteen hours (rather than every eighteen months).  So now I have to keep my head on a swivel 140% of the time.  Yay. 

Fear. 

A little bit of fear. 

Did I mention that now that we're totally mobile Manya wants to do everything.  And by everything I mean walk.  It's all subconscious.  Her back leg keeps trying to push her up into standing position on its own.  She doesn't know it but its happening, but that one leg knows what it's trying to do.   I'm watching it.  Wide eyed.  It's going to figure it out.  And it's going to happen soon.

Loving every new milestone with a tiny bit of terror. 

Cojack is not excited about a fully mobile infant either.










Friday, May 4, 2012

Baby falls, sneezing baby and boogers!



Holy crap, last night the baby tried to kill herself.  Not in a Sylvia Plath or Kurt Cobain kind of way, no, she went directly for the 'overly excited about Daddy in my bedroom in the middle of the night, lets test the Laws of Gravity and Daddy's reactions while sleep walking' method of self-destruction.

I passed the test.   Somehow while facing the wrong direction with limited light and clad in just underwear, my cat like reflexes caught my suicidal baby and her delicate head.  There was no true logic to the event other than she was so excited that she wanted to "launch" herself into my arms from 5 feet away with my back turned.  Despite my success I had a brief but powerful heart attack, almost had to change my underwear, and decided not to tell my wife.  Yea I don't use the strap on the changing table because she wiggles and squirms her way out of it.  Never was an issue before.

Well at least we have hard wood floors to break the fall.  I feel like I should be walking around with 17 pillows to soften the blow from any fall.  Then again, wouldn't Darwin say 'survival of the fittest'?  That might work if you have fifteen kids running around, but when you only have one little rug rat who just smiles, coos and tries to launch herself into a full fledged NASA test of gravity you (as parents) tend to care about the well being of that infant.

Bottom line, no harm no foul.  She hasn't been dropped or fallen from any piece of furniture yet (not from lack of trying).  I assume its inevitable at some point, but I'd prefer the soft shell firm up a little more before we start testing it.

I'm funny!

Is there anything cuter than a baby sneeze?  It's amazingly cute.  Is amazingly even a word?  I'm pretty sure the smaller/younger the baby/creature/pet, the cuter anything is but sneezing is very cute.  Even the sound of a baby sneezing is cute.  You've all seen the panda sneeze.  I know I'm cheating by using a panda bear is my example, but you get the point. 

Baby + Sneeze = Cuteness

Well, it's cute until you see it in slow motion.  And it's cute when a baby does it until you realize there's a booger.  It makes sense there would be a booger.  People don't sneeze for any reason other than a tickle or blockage of the nose.  So finding a booger is entirely logical.  Logical and kinda gross because even though a baby is so teenie and precious, apparently their boogers are the same size as a full size adult.  And they're just as disgusting.

But babies don't use tissues.  And they tend to release their boogers as far away for a tissue as possible and/or in the middle of an activity where traveling to find a tissue is near impossible.  But you can't leave it on your baby's face because that's simply wrong.  So quite often I find myself walking around with someone else's boogers.  This is not fun.  In public everyone would think its mine and I'm just being a freak.  Imagine being at the park or the mall walking around with one nonchalantly looking for a tissue?  At home I could tell my wife to take the baby's booger from me but who's to say I'm not lying and just trying to get her to take my booger and not her baby's? (credit that line to Josh K)

As I'm sure you've deduced, the baby still has a stuffy nose which only occurs at night.  I spend my evenings in a world of boogers and sniffling.  It is the bane of my beauty rest and if I'm not beautiful in my old age I will forever blame Manya's stuffed nose.



Can we talk about the irony of fighting with the baby for forty five minutes to get her to go down for a nap.  After four separate attempts and finally getting the eyes to close and drift into a deep sleep the phone rings (land line, never happens) at full volume, and its the pediatric office!  Good times.

This is Manya's Peruvian outfit!

Manya on the swings for the first time ever!!!


Anyone ever notice that a baby crying kind of sounds like a cat?

We don't own a cat.  Just a baby.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Baby's first tooth, more sleep regression and more fun



We got our first toof!

I have no idea when it came in but yesterday I caught a fleeting glimpse at a sliver of white surrounded by a darker gum bruise.  Upon closer inspection to has been confirmed, the Toof Fairy arrived!  This Tooth Fairy is original as she creates drools puddles and sleepless nights rather than leaving quarters and dimes under your pillow.  The tooth is barely breaking the surface of the bottom front gum but it's interesting and exciting to see the baby's mouth slowly transforming into a vicious sharp bottle opener.  I'm quite certain Sarah's nipples will shortly no longer cherish the bonding time of nursing.

The wonderful milestone of our baby's first razor blade has been coupled with the inevitable restless sleep.  This sleep regression is not as intense as our first bout of sleep regression.  Logic would dictate that teeth breaking the fresh soft innocent gums in a baby's mouth would cause extreme discomfort (check), excessive drooling (check), some bruising and swelling (check) and the end result would be a lack of sleep by baby (check) and daddy (check)... and mommy (check).  The teething has also arrived at the same time a frustratingly irregular nose cold graced us with its presence.  This cold is evil.  Pure unadulterated evil.  It only reveals itself once Sarah and my eyes close for the night.  All tucked in, parents in their bed, baby in her crib, dog curled up in his, lights off, house locked.  Within minutes the thick snot grows and builds, slowly suffocating our baby and resulting in fearful and unnerving snorting, gasping and choking.  Disturbing cries for help and Daddy comes running armed with the horrible blue booger suction ball.

During the day, clear nasal passages.

At night, thick swamp-like pipes and (possibly caused by?) a cute white baby toof.

To add insult to injury, our suction ball is received by Baby Manni the way most would welcome a amputation; with paralyzing terror and asphyxiating abhorrence.  This all too common pure hatred of the snot suction ball all but assures us that if the initial inability to breathe didn't wake her up entirely, then after the exhuming is completed, we are all but guaranteed full bright eyes, bushy tails, tear drenched cheeks and a generally quite agitated infant.

Repeat.

Repeat.

Repeat every hour and fifteen minutes.

Good times.

Cue alarm clock...  miraculous disappearance of nocturnal booger monster.

Baby is still cute.



I must insist this isn't the norm.  With a clear nose, Manya sleeps in her crib for hours and hours.  Often from 8:30-9:00 at night all the way until 8:30 in the morning.  Of course just because the baby doesn't wake us over the course of an evening doesn't necessarily mean we don't create our own adventures.

Two nights ago Manya crashed immediately following dinner and didn't wake until hours after the sun rose the following day.  I on the other hand apparently have delusions regarding the whereabouts of my infant over the course of a full night.  At around 4:15AM I awoke in a panic.  For some reason I believed the baby was in our bed, but had been misplaced somewhere within our sheets and comforter.  I thrashed around under the blankets flipping pillows and yanking at the sheets, patting everywhere in search of the lost infant.  The lights were off and not a beam of light penetrated the shadow of darkness, but neither the unyielding blindness nor the illogical search ceased my panic.  It wasn't until a still sleeping Sarah mumbled, "You search for the baby?  Stop it.  She's in her crib." that I calmed, realized I apparently "awake thinking I lose the baby in the bed several nights a month" and returned to my much needed slumber.

I'm quite a fool when the moon is out.

...

Also quite a fool when the sun is out.

Hey, look, bunny ears!






Here are some videos...

Chewing on the feet




Exciting grandma time!

Grandpa singing in Polish


And a little in Hebrew















Saturday, April 28, 2012

Avery's Bucket List, SMA / SMAvery


The Life and Times of Baby Manni is a blog about a father and his daughter but I wanted to share with all my readers the story of Avery Lynn Canahuati.  Please support the Canahuati family by visiting their blog and feel free to return to http://thelifeandtimesofmanni.blogspot.com/ and enjoy my blog when you have a few minutes.

Imagine you've been diagnosed with an incurable genetic disease and you are told you will not only lose your ability to walk and move your arms, but you will die between now and the next 18 months. What would you do? My name is Avery Lynn Canahuati, I'm almost 5 months old, and this has become my reality. But before I die, there's a few things I'd like to accomplish...this is my bucket list and my story. SHARE IT & HELP ME TELL THE WORLD ABOUT SMA!

Several weeks ago a young couple, Laura and Mike Canahuati, were informed their five month old daughter Avery had a rare an incurable genetic disorder, SMA.  They sat for days in shock and devastated but soon collected themselves and decided to make the best of it.  To cherish the fleeting moments with their incredible baby the Canahautis made Avery's Bucket List blog for their daughter's remaining days.  This blog chronicles every experience and adventure for each day in her life as written by their daughter Avery.

The blog was created to celebrate every day of Avery's life, to spread awareness about her genetic disease SMA and raise funding in hopes of one day finding a cure.

I found this story gut wrenching but inspirational.  Please support Avery, her family and their dedication to living their lives the way we all should every day.

Avery's Bucket List Blog

UPDATE: Avery passed away April 30th, 2012.  Her family is still working to raise awareness about SMA and reach their goal of raising $1,000,000 for SMA research.  Please visit their site and pass their message along.

Twitter: @babymanni

Instagram: @babymanni

Blog: http://thelifeandtimesofmanni.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Baby's first Car Wash

At eight months old I gave my daughter her first nightmare.

It was entirely unintentional.

With the weather heating up to the 80s this week and the blooming trees deciding to turn our car and truck green, it was apparent a car wash was in order. As a child I LOVED the car wash especially the amazing drive thru ones where we were allowed to sit in the car while the car was being washed. I loved the multi-colored soap, the giants brushes and especially the tornado type driers that blew the gallons of water off the car in seconds. Cleaning the inside of the car with the vacuums I hated (still do) but the car wash was one of the best.

I am easily amused.

Today I treated Manya to her first car wash experience...It will be her last this summer.

We pulled into line at the hopping car wash a quarter mile from our house. I got the $15 deluxe package which includes... ? I have no idea. Some wax, tire cleaning, a bunch of noise... but I'm sure its better than the $9 "we're going to rinse your car with some backwash and recycled dirt mixed with soap". Manya was intrigued. She'd never seen so much water poured around the car. She looked out every window and back over the top of the car seat three or four times before the giants brushes began to swat at the window.

Rap, pap, pap, pap, pap!

And that was it.

Full blown hysterics.

I don't know if it was a sensory overload or that one specific noise was scary, but she was having none of it. Every childhood memory I was hoping she'd love was a complete horror show to her. The soap and wax pour on the windows in beautiful color patterns but she didn't see as her eyes were pools of tears and I knew the true terror was yet to come. Forty agonizing seconds of gale force winds rattling the windows and pumping windshields. I couldn't hear anything but she was having none of it.

The car got pushed out of the conveyor belt and I raced the quarter mile back home hoping the sunshine and cracked window would calm the inconsolable child. Thirty seconds later, back in the familiar confines of our driveway I found the most distraught hyperventilating eight month old you've ever seen. Drenched in sweat, puffy eyed, gurgling with a trail of mysterious boogers was a very unhappy baby. Of course two seconds after I let her best friend the old, fuzzy, flea-minator Cojack the pit bull up from the basement she was all smiles and giggles and doggie pats.


She's loving life again but now I know:

Manni@8months + Car Wash = Horror Show