Posted by: CatherineD | October 16, 2009

2 Weeks and 1 Day

It’s so weird to think that it’s already been two weeks since we welcomed Daniel home, and at the same time it feels like he’s been with us forever.

This week we’ve settled into a somewhat regular schedule:

  • 8 – 9 a.m.  Wake, formula, breakfast of fruit and baby cereal
  • 10 a.m.  Morning nap
  • 12 noon  Lunch
  • 2 p.m.  Afternoon nap
  • 4-ish p.m.  Snack
  • 6-ish p.m. Dinner
  • 8 p.m. Bath, then books, then bottle and bed
    (This is the schedule we strive for, but of course not always what happens. He usually wakes once during the night around 4 a.m. for a bottle.)

Our SW came to visit on Tuesday, which happened to be a completely “off” day. Daniel fought naps all day and probably only got about 40 minutes of napping total. He was a very crabby boy. When the SW showed up at 4 p.m., he was still cute and fun, with a little whiny on the side. It was still a really good visit, despite the grumpy elephant in the room. She is pleased with his progress (she happens to also be an attachment therapist, which is comforting), and gave us some homework to help with attachment:

1. Work toward getting D comfortable in a cradled position – body horizontal across your body with one of his arms behind you so his face is turned in toward you and he can make eye contact with you. Make it fun for him, so that he thinks it’s a game; but the minute he starts fussing, switch positions and redirect his attention to something else.

2. Same thing with him laying on his back, and one of us hovering over him, again aiming for some good, positive eye contact.

3. Carry him more. Since he’s sooo heavy (23 lbs), it is tempting to just set him down on the floor to interact with him, but I have been using the Beco a lot more for carrying. I’ve even been vacuuming with him in the carrier, which he loves! I couldn’t believe it, but he almost fell asleep vacuuming yesterday. Our vacuum is really loud!

Our SW also suggested that we start having visitors and going on more outings, letting D’s behavior be our guide. If we do something different and he has a bad night, then maybe we did too much that day.

Brian went back to work on Wednesday, and we actually managed better than I thought we would. Naps went smoothly, and it helps that we had some friends come to play. My friend, Alaina, whom I have known since junior high, came over with her kids, 9-yr-old twins Ansley and Hayden. They were so excited to meet Daniel, and we enjoyed their visit.

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Yesterday, when B got home from work, we took a walk around the neighborhood. We stopped to help a couple trying to coax a stray dog to come to them, but between Lily’s barking and our scolding her (Cesar would not be pleased), I think we ended up scaring it away. Anyway, we ended up introducing ourselves to the couple who seem around the same age as us, and the four of us really enjoyed talking. She made a comment part-way through the conversation about “how nice it was to meet people that were…” she hesitated, then continued, “how should I say this – white,” with a nervous smile. Completely caught off guard, B and I just replied with polite nodding and immediately changed the subject. Ummm… I can see that she might not have seen that I’m half-Japanese, but isn’t it obvious that our son is Asian? It’s true that our neighborhood has a high volume of black and Hispanic families, but I have no idea what the percentages are, or if whites are a minority. In Phoenix, not many people get to know their neighbors that well. Unfortunately it’s so easy for all of us busy people to just drive into our garages at the end of the day and never spend time in front of the house. I miss growing up in a small town where I knew all of my neighbors… we hope to eventually move to a neighborhood like that for Daniel to grow up in.

So, back to my story. After we left our new acquaintances and headed back for home, I replayed her comment over and over in my head. I was super excited to meet new friends – until that comment. Brian broke the silence by asking, “Why did she have to make that comment about being white?”

I said, “I know… and I was looking forward to hanging out with them.”

Brian: “C’mon… is that really a deal-breaker? She seemed embarrassed immediately after she said it.”

Me: “YES! If that is something that comes out the first time she meets someone [when we are all usually on our best behavior] – then she’s definitely not someone I want to associate with!”

After D’s nightly bedtime ritual, I continued to think about it for the next hour or so (because that’s me – I over-analyze EVERYTHING). I went from questioning whether I should give her a chance – to ABSOLUTELY NOT – this is an important issue to me – and shockingly, back to “Okay, I want to give her another chance.” And, I feel really good about my decision. Here’s why:

I looked at it from every angle, and I finally realized that it’s totally acceptable for a black family to find comfort in meeting another black family, or for a Korean student to join a Korean organization – all to share similar interests and backgrounds. Because whites are the majority in our society and have caused much of the minority oppression throughout history and even still today – it has become socially unacceptable for whites to purposely seek out community with other whites. We tend to think of white supremacist groups, right?

Looking back at my childhood in a town of 2,500 people, I remember feeling excitement whenever another Japanese person moved to town (which I think was twice – we seriously knew EVERYONE in town!). It wasn’t because of any reason other than the fact that I was excited that my mom might find a common bond with them that she couldn’t share with anyone else. Maybe our new acquaintance feels the same way?

So, this is why I’ve decided to give this new friendship a chance. I’m still very guarded, but I feel good about my decision. Since I usually don’t use my blog as a soapbox, I debated about whether I wanted to post this, but this incident stirred up a lot of emotions in me. I also thought – “What if we do become friends and she reads my blog?” To which I answered myself, “If she turns out to be a person I can call a friend, she will read this and understand completely.”

So, there it is –  a little update with a lot of soapbox. If you made it through this loooong post, here is a little reward:

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Responses

  1. Very interesting interaction w/ your neighbor. I can see why it set you into “over-analysis” mode. I’m the same way. So far…no one has said anything “odd” to us…but it will happen. My husband is also 1/2 Asian (Chinese), but people just assume he is white.

    Good attachment tips. Just FYI…for the first week or two when I would give D a bottle…he didn’t usually look into my eyes. I worried about it a bit, but gave it time. It wasn’t that he avoided eye contact…he just looked elsewhere around the room. Then…suddenly…he was looking deeply into my eyes & touching my face, putting his fingers into my mouth, and just studying me intently. Bingo! Jackpot! I knew we had made a major turning point when he did that. He still does.

    Questions:
    How long does he “usually” nap for each nap?
    How much bottle (oz) are you feeding him each time?
    Our little guy usually goes to bed around 7:30 and wakes up between 11:30 & 1:30 for bottle…and then again wakes up around 5-ish. Each time we give him a bottle. I’m wondering if we should be feeding him more to get him to sleep longer?
    We’re still co-sleeping w/ him at night. I want to start to transition to the crib…so we’ll begin that “training” again (started before he got sick, but we need to get back to it). Is your D in his crib?

    • Janet – I was wondering if your husband was hapa (do you use that term? My mom’s from Hawaii, and it’s Hawaiian for “half”). It’s always interesting – most white people think I’m white, but many people of color assume that I am a person of color (although they don’t know which color!).

      Bottle time is usually the only time D is comfortable in a cradling position, and he will look into my eyes – especially if I sing to him. I love it when he touches my face!

      To answer your questions,

      -Upon the SW’s recommendation, I moved out of the nursery Tuesday night. So far, so good. I have to rock him to sleep first, then carefully transfer him to the crib. I haven’t been able to put him in the crib awake yet.
      -On a good day, each naptime is about an hour (longer if I sleep on the floor with him).
      -The pediatrician suggested 24 – 30 oz of formula per day, so he usually gets four to five 6-oz bottles a day (in addition to three meals of solid food). For the night feeding, the SW suggested slowly decreasing the amount, in the hopes that he will stop waking up for it.
      -Sometimes, if we’ve tried everything else and he is obviously tired but fighting it, we will give him a little more formula (2-4 oz usually does the job).

      Hope this helps. Our routine doesn’t work EVERY day, but it’s been somewhat successful.

      • Funny…I always wondered if you were “hapa” too. I guess I recognize it more after 13 yrs of marriage and being around my husband and his family for 18 yrs! Usually the only people who can tell “what” he is…are also people that are “hapa.” No, I’ve never heard that term…but I like it. 🙂

        Thanks for the play-by-play. Since we came home at a similar time and our guys are similar in age, I always wonder what people are doing. We’re giving him less formula…I’ve always wondered if maybe he needs a little more. We’re trying to ramp up the solids more too. After the stomach flu, we had to back way down and then dial it back up again.

        I think I’ll start back up with the crib next week (my parents are visiting and I don’t think this is the time to have everyone out-of-sorts or sleep deprived from something “new” again). Sounds like you are doing GREAT!!!

        Oh…and the whole figuring out how to be a Mom AND cook meals…don’t worry, it took me a while. I sometimes put him in the jumparoo thing (Einstein) – like an exersaucer – in the kitchen with me. (This also works when I empty the dishwasher…he sits in there and loves watching me put things away.) That works for a while. I also sometimes have to wait until my husband gets home…but that doesn’t leave a lot of time.

      • Janet, You should check out this book, Part Asian, 100% Hapa. I flipped through it at a Japanese Festival once and loved it. I keep meaning to buy it.

  2. I failed to also say, after that last bottle (between 5-6 AM), he’ll go back to sleep until about 7 or 7:30 AM.

  3. Oh, that last photo is so darn cute. He looks very contemplative (or maybe just tired?) Anyway, thanks for the update. Glad things are going well with Daniel and it sounds like you have a nice little schedule (most of the time). 🙂

    Not sure what to think about that woman’s comment. I can certainly see why you had some mixed emotions about that one! Very strange. Let us know if she redeems herself because she has definitely dug herself a hole there….

    • I know! I think I am usually pretty good at reading people, but that comment just shocked the hell out of me!

  4. First of D, is darling! And great update! I love that schedule. It took X awhile to fall into a routine, but once it stuck it made everything so much easier. And it’s so wonderful that your SW is an attachment therapist and can give you advice.

    Your neighbor’s comment surprised me. She must have felt very comfortable talking to you to have said something like that. Maybe as your friendship unfolds you can ask her about that remark.

    • Good idea about asking her about it later on. After it happened, I thought of so many things I could have said, but I was so caught off guard that my mind went blank for a second.

      • My mind would have gone blank too! It’s not till everything is said and done that I think of great responses. Wish I was more quick witted.

  5. Hey Catherine, my two cents on the mid-night bottle: what we did, instead of decreasing amount of formula, was we started watering down the formula a little at a time while also decreasing the amount. We found that Olive needed more time to lull herself back to sleep, which the water gave us. Does that make sense? Don’t know if it’s the best way, but it’s what we tried and it worked pretty well.
    As for the neighbor comment, I’m the *same* way, over-analyzing everything. It’s a totally weird comment, but I think sometimes people get caught up in the excitement of the moment of meeting new people who they really connect with that they say something really stupid. I’ve been known to do things like that and then kick myself for the rest of the night. Now, bringing up race is a whole other ball of wax, but I think chalking it up to nerves is reasonable. I’m thinking that probably she meant, but clumsily put it, “we’re so glad to meet people like us.” I’m so curious to see where the relationship leads…
    And YAY for you managing so well on your own! It’s hard when your partner heads back to the trenches. Go, Mama, go!!!

    • Elizabeth – thanks for the tip about watering down the formula. Great idea… it’s working already.

      I am the queen of weird comments, which is part of the reason I changed my mind. It seems I’m often asking myself, “Wow, did I just say that out loud?”

  6. Oh my, I over-analyze EVERYTHING. I would have definitely done the same for that conversation. What a strange thing for someone to say, especially when just meeting new people – let alone new people with an Asian child! I like your conclusion, though, and I bet if you talk with this couple again you will be able to tell whether it was a one-time type of comment or not.

    On a more pleasant note, I’m glad that things are going well and that the SW visit went well!

  7. OK – let’s see if I can remember everything I wanted to comment on…

    Your schedule sounds awesome! Way better than I ever had. (Even now) As for night time bottles, we tried all the “tricks” and nothing worked… then one day (night) Spencer just decided he didn’t need his bottle anymore.

    Eye contact… we still struggle with this because we have such a curious guy (and at night-night times, he needs to zone out and not make eye contact) but we’re confident of progress in other ways. (Checking in on us, keeping tabs in strange places, hugs, etc) Also – a great attachment game is putting a puff (or similar) in your lips and having him take it with his mouth. OK, that sounds gross, but it works so well! There’s a couple of others that I loved too, but I already feel like my whole comment has been unsolicited advice!

    I love that last pic of D… too cute!

    And as for the neighbor, I’d give her another chance as well. I’m a firm believer in second chances since I’m not always the best on first impression either. Now, while I would never say _that_, I can relate. I won’t get up onto my soapbox on your blog, but I would have been shocked as well. But I wonder if it’s because with all the “race training” we’ve had at this point, I’m more sensitive to stuff like that?!

    OK – enough of my rambling… you are doing WONDERFULLY for two weeks home. (At two weeks home we weren’t sleeping, eating or getting dressed on any sort of schedule or with any regularity!)

    • Christine – Your advice is always welcome! I think so much of the reason we’re doing well is because I learned a lot from reading yours and other blogs that had their babies home already. Please keep them coming! 🙂

      Everyone – Thanks for your support. I value your opinions, and I was interested to know what you all thought about the incident.

  8. That is about the same for us with the schedule – at least when we first came home. I personally did the less and less amount of milk / formula at night. Then I would just comfort him and eventually he stopped getting up at all. We also change Alex’s diaper right before bed to prevent him from waking from being wet.
    I don’t blame you for feeling weirded out about the comment. I would also give them a second chance -but if comments continued – then you may want to end it. It can be hard making new friends.


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