Wednesday, December 3, 2008

When you're buying a puppy

They tell you to find the most active of the litter and make the excited ball of fur your next family member. In 'selecting' (er growing?) a child, the same is not true. While nobody wants a dud of a kid ('Do something already!'), one should really be careful in wishing for an active baby. When we had our first ultrasound to determine that indeed a baby was responsible for my various flu-like ailments, Amelia was but an embryo, a tiny peanut-looking image on the grainy screen. Not quite a person yet, but enough to let us breathe a sigh of relief and immediately send out holiday cards with our announcement. Something else happened that day during the ultrasound. Something very prophetic. As we all looked at the screen, the peanut thing began vibrating across the page. We all jumped. It's Aliiiive! Justin and I laughed because it was the coolest thing we'd ever seen and because we were still nervous from the wondering. The OB on the other hand, raised her eyebrows in warning. "WOW! That's a VERY active 9-week embryo." Ha, ha, we laughed. And then she repeated it a few more times, "VERY active." It began to sound a bit solemn. "It's VERY rare to see a 9-week embryo move like that. . . That's a VERY active embryo." hm.
Then, throughout my pregnancy, we laughed at the maniacal kicks and disco-ing taking place under my tummy. We felt the baby move from the outside months before most moms feel it from the inside. Cool, we thought. We get the active pup from the litter!
So naive were we. See, the maniac embryo becomes a maniac fetus, and a maniac baby. I can't speak for childhood yet, but I'm guessing the maniac-ness does not dilute over time. In any case, as you all well know, we have struggled with Amelia's sleep and needing to be restrained, errrrr, swaddled in order to rest. Nobody believed us when we told them how she just would NOT sleep unless bound tighter than the Thanksgiving Day paper. All babies grow out of this, we were told. And again, (as with everything else), our baby child does not fit in with the group, "all babies." Now that she knows how to roll over, it's impossible to do the simplest things such as change her or go to the bathroom for a couple seconds. As soon as you set her down, she is gone. We were initially able to deal with this by swaddling her legs and keeping her in a sleep positioner. Yeah, until she managed to flip herself over in the positioner and then proceed to scream because she was stuck on her tummy. Some babies can just fall asleep wherever, on their tummies or in any which way, but not ours. . . Once she learned to roll within the positioner, the contraption became completely useless to us and we again found ourselves realizing that we no option but to go cold turkey.
Needless to say, it was a looong night. So long in fact, that it still feels like yesterday to me. This is one battle through which I can't help her. I tried rescuing her every time she got stuck, to only have her continue to roll as soon as I left. There is no rescuing to be done as this is something she has to figure out. I've tried everything. So today has been a battle because her busy little body will not her rest. I nurse her, read to her, sing to her and set her in her crib. Two seconds later, I see legs abound over the top of the rails, her lovey flying through the air. She's yelling and rolling and struggling. There aren't tears, just frustration and exhaustion--of which I feel too.
I foresee a continued struggle with this change, but am confident that she will be better off for her accomplishment. Finally this afternoon, I found her like this

It will not last but a few minutes, but it is progress. Up since 3 this morning, I am holding out hope in this tiny step forward. . . and already hearing the future, "what a climber!" "boy she can run!" "wow, you can't take your eyes off that one!" . . . all the while remembering the foreshadow of a skilled doctor on our innocent new parenting selves.

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