Nov 29, 2009

Talking Colic

Colic is one of those words that just doesn't look right when it is typed or written out, which is very fitting really...because let's face it. Colic just isn't right at all.

Take my son, for example.

The child has a beautiful disposition. He first smiled when he was 3 days old, and just hasn't stopped. If there is such thing as a happiness prodigy, Jude would be one.

His first 3 weeks could not have been better. Most of the day was spent napping...waking at intervals to eat, grin, play for a bit, etc. Perfectly normal, except...when he was awake, he was extremely alert. Too alert for someone his age. Overstimulation would occur after every waking period and he would require me to calm him down before he could sleep again. I thought nothing of it and simply enjoyed the low-key snuggles he needed as much as he did.

When he turned 3 weeks old, things started to change. At first, he stopped napping...and if he did go down for a nap, his arms would eventually flail and he'd startle himself awake. He was eating badly, too...screaming during feedings, wanting to cluster feed when he wasn't even hungry. All of this seemed to stem from a sudden inability to soothe himself. He'd attempt to soothe on my breast or the bottle, and would get angry because he'd get unwanted milk.

Then the night-time tantrums began.

At first, he'd begin screaming inconsolably at around 8pm and go until midnight before he'd exhaust himself enough to sleep for a few hours. After these episodes, he would wake up like a champ, then pass out again. However, it got worse and the point where he had begun crying all day, and then until 2 or 2:30am. He was nearly impossible to calm. I walked and walked with him...bouncing him, patting his back, making soothing noises. If I was lucky, he'd fall into a fitful sleep for a few moments.

I was shell-shocked and sleepless...desperate to understand what was happening with him so I could help him. His extreme distress made me feel helpless...and like the worst mother to ever disgrace this universe. Was it my fault? Did he hate me? Did I hurt him when I picked him up? Did I scar him for life when I put him down?

Just when it was at its worst, and I was at my most desperate, I put him into a Snugli in an effort to get something (anything!) done. He fell asleep and stayed asleep. I was even able to transfer him to a cradle, where he slept a good 2 hour stretch.

It made all the difference in the world. The secret to my son's displeasure was sleep. Hands down. And once I knew that and could con him into naps, he started sleeping earlier and earlier at night. He only cries when hungry or wet, and even then very fleetingly. But if, for some reason, his routine gets too out.

A child Jude's age NEEDS sleep, or he or she will become so overstimulated that screeching for hours is the only outlet they have. It's not like they can go hide in a quiet room and read a book...or punch something...or go for a run to let off steam. So it builds and builds until it is impossible to contain.

I am lucky. Most people never figure out how to deal with their child's colic, and end up spending 3 to 6 months battening down the hatches at 6pm...just trying to survive.

For anyone who happens across this post because they are losing their minds and looking for something (anything!!!) to help them, I am going to link a few sites I found useful. And, if you want to share your story, please do.

Nov 24, 2009


Fact Fiction-- (Mads Langer)

Imagine a world without me - say you're falling apart
Let's pretend you've missed me for a while
Wouldn't you say you were lonely and love was breaking your heart?
Put on your Sunday best and fake a smile

I dream of dreaming dreams of her - in twilight she's a constant blur
The picture is clear and I'm still fact she's fiction

Remember the night you were with me - fell asleep by my side
Strangers together - your hand in mind
How come we never came closer when all the stars were aligned?
I thought we had a moment

I dream of dreaming dreams of her - in twilight she's a constant blur
The picture is clear and I'm still fact she's fiction
I seem to miss the missing part, she's still my favorite work of art
The picture is clear and I'm still fact she's fiction

Nothing has changed cause I'm still fact - she's fiction
Or I may be imperfectly formed in this contradiction

I dream of dreaming dreams of her - in twilight she's a constant blur
The picture is clear cause I'm still fact she's fiction

I fell in love with her longing - let's just say that she never found out
Who it was she never found in me

Nov 20, 2009

Just about sums it up...

Have you anything to say in your defense?

by Cesar Vallejo

Well, on the day I was born,
God was sick.

They all know that I'm alive,
that I'm vicious; and they don't know
the December that follows from that January.
Well, on the day I was born,
God was sick.

There is an empty place
in my metaphysical shape
that no one can reach:
a cloister of silence
that spoke with the fire of its voice muffled.

On the day I was born,
God was sick.

Brother, listen to me, Listen...
Oh, all right. Don't worry, I won't leave
without taking my Decembers along,
without leaving my Januaries behind.
Well, on the day I was born,
God was sick.

They all know that I'm alive,
that I chew my food...and they don't know
why harsh winds whistle in my poems,
the narrow uneasiness of a coffin,
winds untangled from the Sphinx
who holds the desert for routine questioning.

Yes, they all know...Well, they don't know
that the light gets skinny
and the darkness gets bloated...
and they don't know that the Mystery joins things together...
that he is the hunchback
musical and sad who stands a little way off and foretells
the dazzling progression from the limits to the Limits.

On the day I was born,
God was sick,

Nov 19, 2009

The Sarcastic Fringehead...

In my next life, I would like to be one of these guys.

I find them almost as funny as I find hippos...(and, I rarely laugh as hard as I did the time I watched a documentary featuring hippos) Sarcastic Fringehead! Best name ever.

A description:

The sarcastic fringehead - Neoclinus blanchardi - can be found in the waters of the Pacific Coast from San Francisco down to Baja California. Though the Fringehead is a small fish, rarely reaching a foot in length, they are known to be quite aggressive, even swimming after divers. Their native habitat is empty shells and small caves or burrows - though they are often observed living quite comfortably in discarded beer bottles and soda cans. Milton Love, noted fish biologist and author of "Probably More Than You Wanted to Know About the Fishes of the Pacific Coast" has this to say about the fringehead:"Sarcastic fringeheads are occasionally taken by both sport and commercial fishermen, and when this happens, no one is completely comfortable. The fish tend to be cranky and the fishermen tend to be nervous. I have seen very rugged commercial fishermen, men who laugh in the face of danger, doing fairly amusing little dances while a 6-inch-long fish clamp sharp teeth around their thumbs."

and this one:

These fish are found along open coastlines on sand or hard mud bottoms , outside the breaker zone in depths of 3-73 m (10-240 ft ). They live in various kinds of shelters , such as empty clam or snail shells , abandoned burrows, and cracks in clay or rock outcroppings. They also find human trash such as cans and bottles satisfactory as a home worth protecting. Whatever the shelter used, a sarcastic fringehead claims it as its home territory, fiercely defending it against intruders. The larger the container , the larger the fringehead occupying it.

These fish give a whole new meaning to coveting someone elses stuff. Imagine if that was our way of dealing with the real estate market. You like someone else's house, so you just...take it. Sarcastically. With a really grumpy look on your face.

I could get into that.

Hope you are as amused by these guys as I am. They even have their very own poetry cave. ;)

A milestone and a mystery...

4 weeks ago yesterday, I gave birth to a slippery, wiggly, gnome-like creature...

And, he is SUCH...

a baby... :)

I can't say I am going to miss these newborn meltdowns, it wrong that I think his cryface is adorable? He looks kinda like a Klingon. Except...cuter.

My little Klingon is growing so fast, and I have to admit that I am having mixed feelings about it. I mean, I brought this little boy home:

And he has been replaced by this one:

How did THAT happen???

Happy 4 weeks, little man. Sure do love you.

Nov 15, 2009

The La Leche League can kiss my...ummm...nipple.

Like all new mothers, I want to do what is best for my baby. We listen to classical music together (while I whisper sweet nothings into his ear about maybe someday playing the cello). We dance together and he falls asleep in my arms. We "kangaroo cuddle", I sing to him, I read to him...recite with him with educational toys.

He is thriving. It is beautiful to find a roll of chub that wasn't there before. I kiss his knee-rolls and his frog belly...nuzzle his chubby cheeks and nibble his toes. He can already self-soothe, lift his head for fairly long periods of time. Sometimes he stares at me from across the room, and then grins at me when he sees me coming. He sleeps 5 or 6 hour stretches a night and wakes up perfectly happy...wearing a diaper that would even frighten a dung beetle. His hand to eye coordination is already ridiculous.

I know nothing of newborn narcolepsy. My kid was born 3 months old, and aside from the fact that he occasionally cries inconsolably as though it is the end of the world, this motherhood gig has been the easiest and most instinctive thing I have ever done.

Except for one thing. And, at this one thing, we are both utter failures.



When he was born, they asked me if I wanted them to put him on my chest. I, of course, wanted nothing more. 9 months is a long time to wait to meet the greatest love of your life, and the moment had finally arrived. There he was...all covered in goop. So perfect, so beautiful, so...hungry. They asked me if I wanted to nurse him a bit, so I first put him to my breast when he was mere moments old. He wasn't a natural, and it took a bit of work that evening to get him to understand that my breast was a food source...the BEST possible food source. But, he eventually latched (a perfect latch, I might add), and all was well...for a few hours.

He soon discovered that I did not yet have any milk.

See...nature plays a few cruel jokes on mothers. Early breastfeeding is the cruelest of all. Crueler even than the fact that a baby's head is very rarely birthable without tearing, even though women have been birthing babies since there have been women. Crueler than the fact that after you have been torn to shreds and can barely walk, your baby needs you. Badly. More than he ever will in the future. Those first few days are prime bonding time, and when you cannot even get out of bed, well...*flips Mother nature the bird*

But the worst is having a ravenous baby and having only a few beads of colostrum to feed him. You feel like a failure. Your baby is STARVING...for the love of GOD you can think of nothing but feeding your baby. The hungrier he gets, the more he cries. Then he becomes furious. You keep offering the breast, because what else can you do? He sucks until his cheeks cave in and gets only a couple of drops, while the formula fed baby in the next room sleeps contentedly.

Then, if you are really unlucky, your baby will develop jaundice. You are told that your baby needs liquid to flush the jaundice out, but are encouraged to continue breast(starving).
Now, I am well aware of the fact that breast milk is the very best thing your baby could possibly eat, but when your baby's eyes turn yellow, the last thing you want to do is watch them go more and more yellow as you fight through nursing...errr...starving a very ticked off baby.

I gave my baby a bottle because his agonized crying made me cry. He gulped that bottle down in less than a minute and I felt relief for the first time in days. I had done my job. My baby was fed and happy.


Breastfeeding started to wane. He was more and more frustrated by the breast and its slow delivery. I had taught him instant gratification and he didn't want to go back to struggling for every stinkin' drop.

We lasted until the evening we got home from the hospital, and then there was a frantic formula run. I told myself that he would only eat formula until my milk came in fully. I figured that since my boy wanted instant gratification, I would pump...increase my milk supply until it flowed fast enough for his liking. I was told this was an impossible dream...that he would be on the bottle forever and ever AMEN...but I kept pumping. Eventually, I was pumping enough milk to feed him bottled breast milk all day long. No more formula, no more guilt.

The boob? It seemed to go the way of the Tasman booby. He would not take it, no way, no how. This went on until his one week birthday. We were visited by a public health nurse who told me to try again.

I scoffed, chuckled, rolled my eyes. I told her there was NO WAY. My son? He hates boob. Loathes it. And then I pulled out my breast and offered it to my son.

He latched. And ate a full feed.


So we breastfed, and it was wonderful. My baby was eating the way nature intended. Not only was he getting the most perfect nourishment possible, we were skin to skin...bonding in ways that are impossible otherwise. He began grasping my finger as he fed...grabbing handfuls of my hair...gazing lovingly into my eyes...

And then I began to make too much milk.

You would think that is a good thing, but it is actually worlds of badness.

My darling, sweet child...turned into the devil. He screamed through feedings, sounded like a drowning piglet while he ate, and the spit-up...OH MY GAWD the spit-up. It was unreal. He developed infant reflux and started to become colicky. He needed nose drops because he kept on vomiting through his nose and the dried vomit was clogging his sinuses and affecting his breathing. In order to sleep, he needed to be on a 30 degree incline so he would not overflow...

So, I have admitted defeat for now. He is officially a bottle-fed baby. Breast milk at night, and formula during the day until I can get my milk supply back up and it can be all breast milk, all the time. (It had gotten to the point where he and I were both crying during feedings, and my milk was drying up due to stress).

This decision comes with a lot of guilt, though.

In the hospital, there were posters all over my room about breastfeeding. The nurses barely talked of anything else. "How is he doing with breastfeeding??" they would ask, even though they should have been asking themselves if he was maybe just a little bit TOO yellow. I was made to feel awful for even considering giving my son formula while in the hospital and the public health nurse gave me stink eye when I told her about our initial foray into bottle-feeding and urged me to try again.

I feel like I must justify myself when even the formula container says:

(Don't even get me started on how ticked off the discovery of the little ditty above caused me to be. Why the guilt? WE KNOW!!!!)

Thankfully, motherhood is entirely instinctive. And, as instinctive as it is to put your baby to the breast, it is also instinctive to stop putting your baby to the breast if it is causing harm.

I will keep telling myself that while I enjoy my happy, healthy, vomit-free baby.

(A couple of links for anyone who wants to read some of the propaganda... ;)

Nov 7, 2009



This charmed the heck out of me today.I liked Meryl Streep before this...thought she was an amazing actress. But now? Now, I think she is brilliant. :)