1. I've stopped wearing deodorant. Now you've gone too far, you may say. But our "roughing it" lifestyle and fear of unnecessary chemicals aside, it's just too itchy. I've tried a million kinds, including the natural and fragrance free varieties (and with and without antiperspirant) but something about the concept just doesn't agree with my delicate armpit skin. I'll be perfectly honest: I'm a sweater. I sweat when I'm hot, when I'm cold, when I'm nervous, when I'm active and when I'm at rest, when it's Thursday, when I'm sleeping. Nixing deodorant was not a decision I took lightly. As it turns out, a combo of baby powder (not ideal but better than deodorant) and baking soda are working decently well for me. No one has complained yet, and I've asked my loved ones and coworkers to be completely honest about my odor situation, should one arise. I feel weird and subversive and I'm not totally smell-free, but it's really only perceptible if your nose is in the immediate vicinity of my armpit. But... three cheers for happy underarms!
2. We're coasting on house projects right now. I've done a couple things in Johnnie's room that I'll share eventually, but the focus has been on other things. Since we have a stove and room to work, we've been enjoying home cooked meals like crazy and choosing family time over renovation work. S did a little work on the wall oven structure, but it's far from being done. And that is okay. The down-time together has been so nice, and so needed. And the food has been so good! S is an awesome cook. We're eating things like quinoa, brussels sprouts, barley and spinach regularly instead of greasy takeout, so this work hiatus is making us healthier too.
3. I hit a rough patch in baby rearing this week. Now that Johnnie is 5 months old, almost 18 lbs. and very strong, it's long past the time to wean her off of nighttime swaddling. (Swaddling has been a necessity for her; even swaddled, she still wakes to eat at least once most nights.) We started swaddle-weaning last Friday night, and let's just say it was a problem. They say you should wean by swaddling just one arm for a few nights, then wrapping just the torso but not the arms so they still feel snuggled. I tried this for a couple nights, but Johnnie's problem doesn't seem to be the feeling of security that a swaddle gives her, but that it prevents her arms from flapping all over. The thing is, my little chickadee flaps her arms like a wild endurance tambourinist all day long. It's her go-to move when she's excited, and she spends 90% of the time totally jazzed up about life. Leaving her unswaddled is like giving free reign to a hummingbird. On Monday night we only got about 2 hours of sleep. The past few days have been a huge challenge to my confidence as a mom, and clear thinking is not my strong suit when I haven't gotten sleep.
The thing is, we knew she'd sleep better if we put her on her belly. The prospect was terrifying for me, considering everything one hears about the SIDS risks of belly sleeping. But I talked to a lot of friends, and they all eased my mind about it (a little). The risk drops dramatically right about the age she is now, and she already does nap on her belly, so I decided to try it last night... but only after shedding a few tears over the difficulty of the decision and talking about it to everyone who would listen. Amazingly, most experienced moms agreed I should do it.
So last night we said a prayer, put her on her belly and tried the dreaded "cry it out" method, which I was also very hesitant about. She cried for 36 minutes, with me going in to pat her and sing to her every few minutes. Amazingly, she'd stop and smile during the singing but would start crying again as soon as I'd stop, which kind of made me laugh and realize that there was she was okay -- just a bit angry and confused about the change. After she finally gave in (which happened while I was patting her for the third time) she slept for 8.5 hours straight, only waking to let out a single little squawk and change positions 2 or 3 times before immediately falling back to sleep. That's a record night of sleep for her.
Now, I was a basket case. I kept looking at the AngelCare monitor handset to see that the little digital pendulum was still swinging, indicating that she was breathing. S's phone beeped and vibrated once when he received an email, and I snapped awake and rushed into her room thinking it was the monitor letting out the warning beep that it hadn't detected movement. But she was fine. She opened one eye, rolled it at me for being such a worrier, then went back to sleep.
When she woke up and let out her hungry cry at 5am, she was smiling and as happy as a clam when I went to get her. This leads me to believe that 36 minutes of crying didn't harm her as much as I feared, and it gave me hope that this is going to be okay and that I just need to trust God and my instincts as a parent. Tonight we'll try again, and hopefully -- if she has another good run, Lord willing -- I'll be able to relax and sleep a little more myself, and then a little more the night after that. This is definitely a test of faith and fortitude, but becoming a parent has shown me that I'm tougher than I thought.