Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Reflecting on Parenting... Personalities...And Food Allergies

We have some sickies in the house (cold and cough) and so I cannot believe that I am the first one awake (well, besides Hubby getting ready for work!). My early birds are usually up at the crack of dawn! So I am taking this time to get some thing out real quick.

As I was laying there in the dark I was reflecting on how much Pip is growing. She is fourteen months now and she is changing so much. I was thinking about my experience with all my babies, and how she is probably my quirkiest one yet!

Everyone wants to have an easy baby, one that eats and sleeps well -nothing wrong with that. I desperately wanted that. My oldest was quite an education on what babies could be - and it wasn't on the "easy" spectrum, at all!
Roo 6mos
 She had colic and we had a nine week nightmare of learning to breastfeed. She was in general a very intense baby, who woke often and never napped well, in her first year. This is how she napped most of her first year:
Well generally not outside... ;0)
 And then she blossomed into this fantastic, fun, sweet, amiable little toddler. She napped an hour and a half daily from fifteen months to...Well, even now at FIVE she still takes a good long nap a few days a week.
She of course had her whiny and very intense teething months
(she cut eleven teeth in the two months after Freindly was born- I think I've blocked that time out), but in general? She was just the sweetest easiest "go with the flow" toddler.
2.5 yo first night in big girl bed
 Friendly was born nineteen months after Roo and she was just so sweet and snuggly. She had a very fussy time in the evenings, but as a new born, she napped fantastically and slept three to five hour stretches at night from day one.
passed out after her fussy stretch- 10 weeks old
  She loved to be worn and be near me, but preferred to be laid down for naps (win!).  In general she liked her space at night- which was really nice for me as I had two little kids crawling all over me.
She breastfed like a champion and loved to space out her feeds - she wasn't a "snacker", at all. It wasn't until she started solids that her sleep fell apart and remained HORRIBLE until she was nearly three years old.  Once we addressed her issues with gluten and dairy she started sleeping through the night peacefully. Whoa!
I won't go into her toddler years, "beyond intense" doesn't really sum it up. To quote my children, Food allergies "are a BAD WORD."
Friendly 26mos- there was a lot of sweetness too!

And then Pip, she arrived 29months after her big sister...
She was the snuggliest brightest most social baby I have ever met. She was our first experience with a non-colicky baby. So I have had it in my head that she was "easy" - and I think that has been my best gift as I am coming out of this long season of...sleep deprivation (well, I see the light at the end of the tunnel).

She was the quirkiest little thing...
Her hatred of being worn her first six months- HATED it. I have 2 pictures of her being worn, and she woke up SCREAMING to get out a few minutes after I snapped the picture...
Her quirky style of breastfeeding...I think if she had been my first I would have struggled with her almost as much- if not more- as I did with her oldest sister. Since she was my third? I was super super super relaxed. We just kept relatching, relatching and practicing and she caught on after the first couple of weeks. No biggie.  But she was extremely finicky about the positions she nursed in and the PLACES we nursed in her first nine months. She preferred nursing in bed, in the quiet in a reclined position. Any other place I was guaranteed to get milk in her. It was very frustrating those first 6months.

Oh she also LOVED to be held in the cradle hold. LOVED it. It was her go-to "all is right with the world" position. Especially if it was kind of like this:
She HATED movement, it was the funniest thing to have come from hours of rocking and swaying and bouncing my colicky babies to have a baby who would scream HARDER if you bounced her or swung her. She would panic in the baby swing. She still doesn't like to be jostled!

I was curled up in bed with her this morning reflecting on the past few months, it dawned on me- she has been my biggest challenge when it comes to babyhood. She even outshines her oldest sister who - at the time- I thought was the worst sleeper the world had ever seen. The past few months Pip has been waking three to four times in an hour from midnight until six in the morning. It has been a nightmare. Her behavior at night reminded me a ton of how Friendly acted after eating dairy or gluten. But I was already DF and GF- what more did I need to do?!

While she never slept like Friendly with long stretches, she was a snuggler, and we'd snuggled our ways through the nights. We barely woke for night feedings- it was fantastic! Then The Super Super Bad Sleep started around 8months old (right around when she started solids). We were having night after night of just -very little sleep. A lot of middle of the night screaming and crying and restlessness.
Yes, Pip didn't go through a colicky stage as a newborn, but she was our little night owl. Every night from the day she was born we were up with our little third wheel until 11 or 12 most nights of the week. No matter how I adjusted her naps I couldn't get her to go to bed earlier. Hubby and I set our teeth, committed the time to parenting her through this, and pushed through. We were very tired.

6mos...11p.m. Adventuring..

She was a happy little third wheel!! Motoring all around, getting into all things. Until she hit a wall, fussed for a few minutes with Daddy, and I was FINALLY able to nurse her down, day in and day out.

Even with her night owl habits she was still the HAPPIEST baby I had ever met. And she took great naps during the day and was well rested. It was only at night she became this alternate reality baby.

I noticed in November she started getting terrible diaper rashes whenever she had corn. I eliminated corn from her diet and carefully gaurded her from getting any.
Her sleep improved a tiiiny bit. She was no longer staying up until midnight or later- only until 11ish. We muscled through the winter, but she still had nasty exzema and I figured it was time to do some thing about it. So about a month ago, I bit the bullet and cut out corn from my diet.

I have been having a total "facepalm" experience here, she is sleeping! She is going to bed before 9 (usually around 7:45-8p.m.!!!!!!) and sleeping with just a couple of wake ups for some milk or a a hug and going back to sleep! My sweet baby is sleeping! Over the weekend she had a few five hour stretches. Yes, I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.

The past two weeks Hubby and I have been enjoying child-free time (that we didn't snitch in the middle of the night after getting Pip down) for the first time in fourteen months. It was a very long year. And while I wish I had known there was a sort of "magic bullet" I don't regret the special time we got with our youngest. I don't regret the hours we spent passing her back and forth when she got cranky... The hours snuggling and enjoying and investing in her. It was worth it. 
Yes, food allergies are a BAD WORD.  But with out them we wouldn't have gotten this past year... A year of hours of one on one time with our intense, bright, and seriously smart little baby.

Yesterday we were having to steal our hours of snuggling our Pip during the DAY...She still loves to snuggle and snuggle...
Scuse my "I have a cold" face...

It went fast...And I am standing on the other side....Thankful it wasn't soy. :0.

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