This week in Mommy Group we talked about fine motor skills and childcare options. The same small group of us met for lunch before class. As always, it was lovely to be out in the world with Owen and not stressing about naptimes. As I talk to the other moms, I am realizing just how strict I am in terms of sticking to our “schedule” and napping in the crib. Sometimes it feels like we never leave the house because I’m so worried about Owen getting overtired or not having the right naps, or (gasp!) sleeping on-the-go. The other ladies are going out to dinners while their babies sleep in the carseat under the table, meeting friends for afternoon coffees and taking their little ones shopping. While part of me feels like I should lighten up and enjoy his portability at this stage, part of me feels validated in that he is such a happy baby and such an awesome sleeper at night. He is on a better “schedule” than many of the other babies, and I do wonder if it’s at least in part because I am so vigilant about his sleep. That said, everyone else seems to be getting out a lot more and seeing friends. I’m, well… not.
When I struggle with daytime naps in the crib (like right now, it just took me 35 minutes of rocking Owen for a few minutes, putting him in his crib, leaving the room, having him cry, going back up there, lather, rinse, repeat, and finally I was so fed up that I threw him in his swing), it makes me think that I should just throw caution to the wind and go shopping or something, toting Owen along in his stroller. However, then there are times like yesterday, when he went down in his crib like a little angel for the morning nap and slept for 2 solid hours. Clearly he needed a good nap in the quiet comfort of home. He never would have slept two hours out and about. The jury’s still out on that one. My current theory is that if I stay at home and give him a good morning nap, then we could go out in the afternoon and nap here and there, and he should be fine.
That theory doesn’t always hold, though.
Fine Motor Skils
- The teacher gave each of the babies little plastic rings (you know, those cheap, colorful linking rings that you can attach baby toys to the stroller with). We laid the babies on their backs and put the rings in their hands. Instinctively they grasp them and flail them around. Apparently this tactile experience helps them to learn to bring their hands to their mouths and to understand that they have control over their bodies.
- Owen loved this game. He happily smiled away while waving his rings in the air, legs pumping and mouth and eyes opening and closing.
- Unfortunately he loved it so much that he totally and completely wore himself out. We had been out to lunch prior to this playtime, so already he was on the verge of tired. But hey, he had such a long morning nap that I thought, “He’s fine! I’m going to relax like everyone else!”. Once he played for awhile, it was time to feed him again, so I calmed him down and tried to nurse. He would have NONE of it. Crying, screaming, kicking… you’d think I was trying to torture the poor child. Finally I realized he was wildly overtired and overstimulated, so I wrapped him up in a blanket and bounced on an exercise ball to help him chill out and take a little snooze. Since he was so overtired, he took forever to calm down, and everyone in class had to listen to him wail. Finally he fell asleep in my arms and I didn’t dare put him down. He got about a 20 minute nap, and then I tried to feed him again. Still fussy, but he ate a little. He cried the whole way home in the car, and then was absolutely impossible to put to sleep once we got home. Grrr! See what happens when I leave the house?
- After exhausting Owen with fine motor skills activities, we talked a lot about childcare options. I have a center-based daycare lined up for January when I return to work, so I didn’t contribute a lot to the childcare discussion.
- However, I was very interested to hear the teacher ask how many of the moms had gone out for a date night with their husbands and/or left their babies with someone else for awhile so they could get out of the house. The verdict? Everyone in the room had except for me!
- Ummm, really? I’ll be honest, I haven’t even left Owen with Benjamin except for when I got my hair cut last weekend. And everyone else has left their babies for date nights? With strangers?
- Yet again, I’m learning the lesson that maybe I need to loosen the reins. Several of the moms are getting sitters to come on a regular, weekly basis so that they can have some time to themselves. While I don’t think I need that kind of help, it would probably be good for me to go out to dinner. Or go to the gym by myself. Or get my nails done. You know, exist without a baby clinging to my shirt. Obviously after 9 weeks of being with Owen nonstop, this is a tough concept to grasp.
When did you first go out without your baby? What did you do? Was the time away worth it, or did it stress you out more to be gone?