Saturday, March 16, 2013

Out of sync.

Baby Girl and I have not always been on the same page, but generally since she was born we've at least been in the same book. The past week or so, though, it seems like you might not even find us in the same library.

It looks like she's hitting another growth spurt, and according to the world of the internets she's due for a "4-month sleep regression"/growth spurt/19-week wonder week. Her sleep habits haven't changed for the worse at this point, she is actually more likely to sleep later now (even accounting for the time change), and her naps are sometimes longer than 20-30 minutes now. She might stay down for a couple hours at a time. We'll see how that progresses... I try not to get used to that kind of awesomeness, because babies are nothing if not unpredictable.

She's been waaaay fussy and clingy the past few days, and I've only been able to let her play "by herself" on her playmat or in her super seat a couple of times. Otherwise if I set her down she gets upset. Don't fret, I am fine with letting her fuss for a second while I run to pee, I'm no martyr. But I don't want to just let her fuss for the most part. If she's fussing, there's a reason for it, and I aim to help. Even if the only reason is wanting to be close to Mama. Right now I can get things done ... sometimes ... while she naps. I am fine with all of this. It's thrown us a little off, but nothing we can't handle.

Then this poor kid turned into a regular poop machine. Yes, I'm talking about my baby's poop. She went from a fairly regular once/twice a day to four or five dirty diapers in a day. No runny or weird stuff and she's not struggling with it or in pain, so I'm not overly concerned about it, but it's a change. The same thing happened around her 3-month mark, except it was from her other end: she started spitting up a lot when she didn't really do that often before. It was enough I took her to the pediatrician thinking it might be reflux, but not too long after that it stopped. I think this time around she's working on perfecting the systems on her other end.

I have no problems changing a ton of dirty diapers. But one unfortunate side effect of all these poopy diapers is that Little Bit has developed her first case of diaper rash. I'm proud we made it this far without that pesky little pain, honestly. In any case I've been putting some Boudreaux's Butt Paste to good use, and that's where the out of sync feeling has been coming in.

I've gone through so many diapers the past few days because suddenly a sometimes occurrence has become an almost-every-time occurrence. It doesn't fail, I'll be in the process of changing her diaper, and as soon as I start applying the rash cream she starts peeing! It's almost comical, even though I've had to do so many baby wardrobe changes, changing table cover changes, and going through multiple diapers in one, um, "sitting." It's just frustrating right now because of the diaper rash. I'll have her all clean and dry and be applying the cream, then have to wipe her off and do it all over again. The repeat cleanings like that aren't good for the diaper rash, even when using the gentlest methods. So the poor kid is all diaper-rashed, and her little body is still apparently trying to get some things straightened out, leading to more diaper changes and more irritation. Gah.

But we're working on it. Based on her behavior today I think we might be on the way out of this growth spurt. I just adore this kid... Even when she's having a fussy day, she's still such a sweet happy baby so much of the time. I feel so bad for her for having such a hard time right now, I hope she does come out of this funk soon.

She has her 4-month well visit this coming week, so she'll be getting her shots and I'll be definitely be talking to her pediatrician if any of these issues haven't resolved by then. But so far, the Mama instincts are saying everything is fine and this is a wait-and-see kind of thing. I love so much that she's growing and changing and getting things figured out, but it just puts us out of sync for a while before we find our groove again.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Branching Out.

Last week I took a baby step. Monday I took a slightly bigger step. And yesterday I took a leap.

I've been extremely fighting the downward spiral for the past few weeks... Really, since a week or two after we moved. I've been feeling isolated by not knowing anyone here but the couple of work friends The Hubby has brought home here and there. Unfortunately they are all singletons who live in the barracks, so no wives or girlfriends for me to meet and maybe connect with. They're cool dudes, but that's not helpful to me.

I've been terrified to leave our home by myself with Baby Girl. Unfamiliar surroundings, stressing over "what ifs," and terror over the insanity that is the traffic situation (out of the *few* times I have ventured out on my own, someone has either started crossing over into my lane--into the space OCCUPIED BY ME--or made the more popular move of darting out in front of me, causing me to have to stand on my brakes to avoid slamming into them at 40-45 mph. One of those times I am not even sure how a wreck didn't happen.) has led me to withdraw into what's familiar and safe. Our home.

Logically, I know that the only way to get more comfortable with the area and getting out on my own with Little Bit is to actually do it, to get out there. But I kept putting it off and putting it off, letting the fear and depression run everything. I kept making excuses about traffic (I still feel that one's valid, some of those near-misses would have been so much scarier to me if she had been in the car with me), or about the weather not being right, or what if she fusses too much in the car or in wherever we end up going, etc. Or, "Hey, I checked the mail today. No need to do anything else." My capability for accomplishing tasks became a one task per day limit. And I check the mail almost every day, so there you go. Besides, The Hubby could go make the grocery/diapers runs when he got off work. No need for me to do things. If I start to do more than one thing, I quickly panic and become overwhelmed. That leads me to go back to doing nothing and becoming depressed about it. It's so easy to get into that spiral when I have a built in excuse, Baby Girl.

But last week I decided I was going to take steps. A few weeks ago I had signed up for a L.I.N.K.S class about the unit my husband is attached to, where free childcare would be provided, and I wanted to have some getting-out experience under my belt beforehand. I knew the class would be an excellent opportunity to not only learn about what to expect for the next couple of years, but also to meet people. Specifically other Marine wives, and handily they would be wives who would be from the same unit (even though from different job areas, of course). So I would be meeting people! But first I wanted to know I could venture out on my own with baby and the world wouldn't end. Logically I *knew* this, but depression doesn't give a shit about logic.

So after working up to it for a few days, I took my Little Bit to the mall last week. We walked around for a while, when she got fussy I took her into the nursing room and took her out of the carrier to help her fall asleep, then went back to walking around a little bit before heading back home. I had fed her before we left, so she was happy and alert until she had gotten sleepy, but she went to sleep quickly and easily. Earlier this week we went to Walmart by ourselves instead of just waiting to send The Hubby (he has to come home and change out of his cammies, Marines don't wear them in public), and again she was happy and alert, just checking everything out around us.

Two outings, and the world didn't end. We didn't die. She didn't have shrieking meltdowns in public. Neither did I. The outings were a success.

So yesterday was the day for the class, and although I seriously thought about not going because it was raining and windy outside I told myself I was being ridiculous and went. I had packed up Little's diaper bag the night before, so off we went. I actually had to wake her up around 7:20 so she could eat and we could leave. I cried leaving her at the daycare (which was right next door to the class), but I toughed it out, learned a lot, and met some awesome people. I visited her at lunch and got her to sleep, then visited her again at our next break, then picked her up after the class and we went home. She did really well, except she didn't eat much. But she did eat, and she did manage to take a couple short naps.

Apparently, she can be left with people I don't know and receive perfectly good care. And she won't die, and neither will I. I can meet new people, with whom I can exchange phone numbers and email addresses. And I won't die. I can find other groups to join so that I'm not just hanging with military folks, and can find kid-friendly groups at that. And I won't die. Et cetera.

The lesson of this story is that no matter what depression says, I can leave the house. I can meet people. I can participate in society. I can do all this while handling an amazingly sweet baby girl.

And I won't die.