We’ve been experiencing sleeping issues, which — by the looks of a quick Google search — appears to be one of the most angst inducing conditions in early parenthood. It’s not the getting up at 2 a.m. that bothers me. My eagerness to make Jimmy feel loved makes every one of our interactions oddly cheerful, no matter the hour. It’s the 3 p.m. slump that is getting to me. Heavy eyelids, a general sense of confusion at work, misguided ideas about dinner (don’t maraschino cherries count as a vegetable?).

Getting Jimmy to sleep is easy enough. Laying him in his crib is touch and go. Keeping him there for the duration of the night has become impossible. He wakes around 2, sometimes again around 5, and seems to want nothing more than to be held. He falls asleep almost instantly in my (and only my) arms, but maneuvering him back into his crib has become a painstaking process. If you could be cradled by a warm, familiar body while you slept, wouldn’t you prefer it to the cold solitude of an empty bed — a bed that, due to current safety practices, is devoid of any blankets or even stuffed animal  friends?

We tried letting Jimmy cry it out. He is persistent. He goes berserk. It seems clear that he does not have any self-calming skills. This is my fault, probably, as I’ve given him only small opportunities to learn them. He flips, he flails, he turns himself purple. We’ve learned that he can sustain this for at least an hour. An hour is too long.

At this point, I don’t know how to backtrack, and I’m torn as to whether I even need to. He’s a baby, and aren’t we just here as mothers to meet our baby’s needs, especially in the first year? I truly don’t believe you can really spoil a baby. A toddler maybe. But a baby? Can a baby’s habits really be classified as “bad”? I don’t believe so.

So I will continue to zombie through my days as long as it takes Jimmy to go through this new phase. I don’t feel it’s my right as a new mother to a decent night’s sleep, every night. Maybe once in a while, but not every night, or even every other night. This is exactly what I signed up for when I decided to have a child.


More Oxygen, Please

James loves the SnugginGo.

No lack of oxygen for Jimmy!

After our first few trips in the car, I became very concerned about the position James’s giant head was taking when he sat in his car seat. Basically, once strapped in, hishead slumped forward and his chin became pressed to his chest, which to me seemed dangerous because of the difficulty it could cause in his breathing. Although my theories are not always scientifically accurate (i.e., I am often deemed a crackpot), this one was actually backed up by a few minutes of Googling. 

Apparently, the chin-to-chest position can compromise a baby’s airway, resulting in significantly lowered levels of oxygen — obviously a problematic scenario for a growing child.

Despite the fact that poor head positioning is unsafe for babies, it is all too common in infant car seats. However, nothing in the Graco manual warns parents of the danger, and the most popular solution I found online involved a network of rolled up receiving blankets shoved behind the baby’s shoulders and knees and around his head. In addition to this get-up being a total pain in the ass to arrange every time I loaded him into the seat, Jimmy found it wildly uncomfortable. 

So, the search for an effective insert to keep Jimmy from suffocating in the car began to consume me. Finally, I found the Snuggin Go. I was a little wary of the $50 price tag, but it got great reviews from parents and was designed by a neonatal nurse (who also runs the small business that markets it), so I went for it. Honestly — and I swear they are not paying me to say this — it is worth every penny. 

The difference in James’s body and head position with the Snuggin Go insert is amazing. He is clearly more comfortable in his car seat now, his head is ever so slightly tipped back so his airway is wide open, and I worry a lot less that he will perish in the back seat while I drive around town. 

Although it had a happy ending, this whole experience me angry at the car seat companies for building such a ubiquitous product that is so lacking. The level of blind trust we have in child safety giants like Graco is alarming when you consider that their product designs ignore this seemingly basic element of infant anatomy. 

As far as I can tell, the Snuggin Go is only sold through the company’s Web site, but hopefully it will make it into stores soon so more babies can benefit.

Embracing Suburbia

Ready to Ride

James is ready to ride.

Ever since my son James was born a month ago, I have felt this desperate need to buy a minivan.

When I was pregnant, when James only existed in theory, I felt like I had chosen a great daycare, that our house was clean enough, and that my little Toyota would carry us reliably around town for another hundred thousand miles.

Now that James’s little nine-pound body is in my arms nearly twenty hours a day, nothing seems safe enough. I am second-guessing the competence of the daycare to snuggle and stimulate him enough; to eradicate dust and dander I have washed blankets and upholstery that has gone months (okay, years) without soap; and I have unwaveringly convinced myself that the only vehicle safe enough for James to travel in is a minivan.

So, it’s a toss up between a VW Routan and a Toyota Sienna, and possibly the Chrysler Town & Country (although I am not a fan of its new styling, they have some great deals going on these days). We have plans to do some test drives on Saturday.