Life with Lyra: 9 Months In, 9 Months Out

I will probably say this each month, but holy moly where has the time gone!? I’ve been with Lyra for 18 months, sort of. The first 9 months were probably the easiest, ha. She went with me everywhere I went – didn’t cry, slept whenever, and let me have a pretty smooth pregnancy ūüôā I remembered thinking how I couldn’t wait to go back to my pre-pregnancy self, but boy was I wrong! I wished I would have relish the¬†time a bit more, especially to sleep and veg out since I don’t get to do any of these things¬†now.

The past 9 months have been a sort of a blur. Last week Lyra and I were at Jiggle Jam (hee, love the name) and I saw an 11-day old baby, 11 DAYS OLD!! The baby was so new and precious sleeping away in his Mom’s arms. I was thinking to myself how I can’t remember when Lyra was that small!!!

Lyra¬†is getting more and more playful each day. It’s so funny how the little things she does excites us the most. Recently, she started to clap¬†two objects together with her hands¬†and we were both like,¬†oh my god, you’re a freaking genius!!¬†Haha, I’m sure all parents go through this.

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Clap, clap, clap

Sleep

Lyra is sleeping much, MUCH better these past two months. She has slept for 6+, 7+ and even 8+ hours at a time at night. It might sound meager¬†but to us it’s nothing short of a miracle considering how she used to wake every hour or hour and a half at night. I don’t know how we survived. Lots of cookies on my end for sure. Though the past three days she’s been giving us a run for our money and acting like she forgot how to go to sleep. Sleep regression? Teething? Growth spurt? Tuesday?

Development

Omg so much has happened developmentally with Lyra. She went from sitting on her own to rolling over, and then not too soon after, she was crawling! It all happened in a matter of weeks which was astounding for us to witness. She is now pulling herself to standing, waving and clapping! My next trick, I mean skill, I am trying to get her to learn is blowing kisses haha.

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Throw me up!

Likes

Her Mommy, most of the time her Daddy too
Watching the bigger kids run around her
Her activity walker
Eating string cheese, apples, eggs, bread, zucchini
Being tossed in the air
Playing with our hair

Dislikes

Napping
Eating avocados, bananas, peas
Having her diaper changed

We’re taking a long trip now – Dallas –> New York –> DC –> New York. I am curious to see how this affects her sleep. Fingers crossed! By the time we get back to SF, she will almost be 10 months old!

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Say bye, bye!
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Conveniences for the Modern Momma

It may be that each generation of parents wonder how the previous generation managed to raise kids without the conveniences they have. I know we certainly do! We’re raising Lyra in the age of Dr. Google and social media for better or for worse. There’s a lot of information to sort through (which is not always reliable) so I do take it with a grain of salt. I find the best part of being plugged 24/7¬†is seeing that there are other¬†parents facing the exact same situation as us¬†(guilty of searching “my baby only sleeps when held,” “my baby doesn’t nap,” “my baby doesn’t like to be put down” and “HELP”). It opens up this whole community that you may not otherwise have. And we¬†learn that we are not alone.

Though in the same vein, we’re also facing information overload. I sometimes have to snap out of whatever rabbit hole I’m in, and close the computer before my mind explodes. Also¬†when you have parents with opposing philosophies, things can get real snarky and judgey. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Truthfully, my best resources are my mommy friends who have been there, and done that.

The interwebs aside, there are some other conveniences that has made this parenting life slightly easier. Here are my favorites:

  1. Tablo X by Yogibo. It’s a pillow for your iPad! It was great to be able to prop the iPad on my lap especially in the early mornings when I was nursing Lyra and she would fall asleep on me. It allowed me to catch up on my shows (The Bachelor of course – my god, is that all I watch? The answer is YES. P.S. I can’t wait for JoJo’s season!) and read my news feed.
  2. Baby Connect app. I love this app! I can record every feeding, diaper, nap times and more –¬†no more searching for a pen and paper or trying to remember the times in my head. I can also see Lyra’s info as a graph which is nice for us data-minded freaks. Also it allows multiple caretakers to log in and record data so Chris is able to enter in stuff and he can see how Lyra’s day is going from work.
  3. LoopyCases. This is such a lifesaver for me! I love being able to carry my phone with one finger and other stuff with the same hand, like Lyra! The loop also acts as a stand¬†for the phone so it can be propped up which comes in handy if you’re doing something like watching a video.
  4. SnoofyBee Changing Pad. This didn’t really become useful until just recently when Lyra discovered her hands. It helps me keep her hands out of her diaper so I can change her without trying to hold her arms and hands¬†down with my elbow.

Some friends use Owlet for peace of mind. It’s a little sock that goes on your baby’s foot and tracks their vitals. If there are any changes in the baby’s heart rate or oxygen, a red light goes off. They said they like it because they bedshare and it helps them know they are not smothering their baby at night. Looks fancy!

Let me know if you have any other favorites!

It’s Pouring

What is this mysterious substance coming down from the sky?!

Rain!!

I have lived in San Francisco for almost 5 years now and I can probably count on two hands how many times it has rained, like truly, really rain. I’m not talking about light misting, but torrential downpours where you feel like you’re being washed away.

These past few days have been downpours. Lyra and I got caught in it! I never seem to remember that dang ol’ umbrella. It was fun, for like a second. But luckily we were not far from home.

The rain is somewhat reflective of this whole last week. Starting on Sunday, we stretched ourselves a little too thin by trying to do all the things. We planned a hike and brunch in Oakland. Sounds innocent enough, right?

Right.

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@Redwood Regional Park

Except Lyra hardly napped in the morning and so we figured she might nap in the car on the way to Oakland. Nope. OK, well she might take a nice, long nap on the hike. NOPE. Technically she did nap but it was like an itty, bitty one that was more like a really long blink. OK, OK, maybe she will nap on the way to brunch. FINALLY. But it was again, short. Better, but short. She was fine at brunch and even fell asleep on the way back to the city. But we couldn’t transfer her to the apartment without her waking up, as sly as we were. SIGH. Another short nap. She was not a happy camper. Something you learn quickly as a parent of an infant is that shitty naps lead to shitty nights. And it was pretty shitty. We are used to her sleeping a long stretch (~3 hours) before waking for a feeding but that night, she woke up every 45 minutes or so.

The next morning, I thought it was a chance to start anew. Except, she wouldn’t nap. She fought it, HARD. After over an hour of trying to get her to nap, I felt myself bursting into tears. We were both crying at that point. It was very unexpected. Lyra is not an easy sleeper, has never really been- she just doesn’t like to sleep. We both agree she is a lot like me in this regard. But it had never been this hard to put her down before. I felt like I was in some bizarro world and I didn’t know what to do. Am I cut out for this??¬†After taking a deep breath, I decided nap time would be over and went about the rest of the morning as if she napped. We went to visit my friend who just had a baby five weeks ago and Lyra fell asleep in the carrier on the way there. So that was nice. EXCEPT it was for 19 minutes. At that point, I was like I GIVE UP. The day did eventually get better. (Eating cookies certainly helped.) That evening, Lyra felt hotter than usual. When I took her temperature, it was 100.7 and then an hour or so later, it was 101.9!

Poor Lyra. I realized she was having a hard time just as I was. We did as much as we could to make her feel comfortable while monitoring her temperature. Her sleep did suffer later that night but I actually felt a lot more zen about everything.¬†We did extra cuddles with her to make her sleep easier. She’s gotten almost back to normal now.

When it rains, it pours. The next day my Dad told me Kara, our wonderful corgi, died. I knew her health was on the decline but I didn’t think, or want to think, that she could possibly die. I feel if there is one thing people know me for, is that I LOVE corgis, and I am OBSESSED with my corgi. My apartment is literally a shrine to corgis and my phone’s background and MacBook background is of Kara,¬†not Lyra or Chris. It’s hard for me to explain how much a pet can mean to you to those who do not have any fur babies. But they become your family just as much as any human family member. You might actually like them more than your human family. Heck, I missed Kara the most anytime I went away. She was full of love and the best pup anybody could ask for. Truthfully I have not fully grasped that she is gone. I haven’t given myself much¬†time to think about it since I am focusing my energy on Lyra. I know I will be a ball of a mess soon. Right now, denial feels like an okay place to be.

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Our last selfie.

I kind of wish Lyra was old enough to play with me in the rain. I laughed a little this week when we were caught in the rain. It reminded me of this one time in Boston when my friend Aleks and I were walking across the Commons when¬†all of a sudden a sun shower hit. At first we started running through the park to try and get to Downtown Crossing so we could pop into a store. Then we started to slow down and stood by this tree, which provided no shelter at all, and started hysterically laughing. We were drenched. It was really awful, but so ridiculously humorous at the same time. When the cloud passed, and the rain stopped, we walked, sopping wet, into Wendy’s and ate some burgers. That feeling of just letting¬†the rain fall on me felt wonderfully freeing. I’ll never forget it.

Balancing Act

According to Zero to Five: 70 Essential Parenting Tips Based on Science¬†(highly recommend this book!), mothers who are working part-time reported less depression¬†and have better general health than stay-at-home moms. This isn’t to say that SAHM are NOT happy because I do know some mommas who love being at home. But I can totally understand the sentiment of those moms who WANT to work. I feel like I am somewhere in the middle. I love being home with Lyra (and I love that I am able to do so) but it doesn’t fill me up. I need more.

That’s why I continue to be a consultant despite the¬†stress it brings. Especially the industry I am in (international development) where it seems the work that comes in was¬†due yesterday and usually involves trying to get in contact with an office in a developing country where the Skype is spotty and the person who has all the answers is traveling in a remote area and unreachable – true story. And yet, I still want to work. I need to work. Not that being a SAHM¬†is NOT work. It is the hardest work I’ve done and its UNPAID. For my mental health though, getting time to use a different part of my brain and having a break from being Lyra’s ball and chain is much needed.

A few weeks ago I got a consulting contract and I thought I could work while Lyra naps but since she is a serial catnapper, my window to work is¬†anywhere between 30-45 minutes. Which translates to, open computer, read through email chains to figure out what to do, open up Excel document, go back to decipher emails, go back to Excel and oh, she’s up.¬†I eventually had to work at times when she was awake and that was damn near impossible. I didn’t give Lyra the attention and care she needed because my mind was split on her and working. The client I had probably received the worst work I’ve delivered. It was all around pretty crappy.¬†I knew I could do better – on both fronts. So we made the decision to hire a part-time babysitter to help me during the week and make me feel sane again and not spinning out of control. And just making the decision, was a total relief. I felt like 10 pounds (really 13) lighter.

The babysitter started last Tuesday and you wanna know what I did with those precious hours?¬†I went two blocks down to¬†Starbucks, got a decaf flat white, hunkered down at¬†the corner table and watched The Bachelor in peace (don’t judge). I did get some invoices out so it wasn’t totally a mind waste. (But even if I didn’t, who cares???) After a morning off, I felt totally recharged and energized. I can be a much better momma for Lyra and a much better worker for my clients. And when more contract work comes in, I¬†can feel GOOD¬†about working and feel GOOD¬†that Lyra is getting undivided attention from her babysitter.