Saturday, September 15, 2012

White Noise

Recently I discovered that I have a helper to soothe and entertain the baby for a few minutes while I run to the bathroom, grab a bite to eat, etc. His name is Dyson. He's a vacuum! (He's a great vacuum too by the way!)

I had heard that babies love white noise because it reminds them of being in the womb and makes them feel safe. When I vacuumed with Michelle in my arms, she fell asleep pretty quickly. Unfortunately she would wake up as soon as I put her down and turned the vacuum off. It took me a while before I got the idea to leave the vacuum running for a few minutes after I lay her down so that she's asleep or at least content for a bit anyway with the white noise. It worked! Even when she woke up, the sound of the vacuum was enough to pacify her so she didn't scream. Sometimes I have to go to the washroom urgently and there's no one to hand her off to so Dyson has stepped in as a temporary babysitter! (Sometimes I had to go to the toilet so badly but was holding it in because of the baby and causing damage in my colon/rectum -- wrecked him? Darn near killed him! My doctor said it's better to let the baby cry while I go for a poop than to end up in the hospital getting colo-rectal surgery! Who would watch baby then? I've had some constipation and bleeding because of holding it in too long. And this is WAY TOO MUCH INFO! Sorry. But it just goes to show you the lengths I go to for the baby! Stupid I know! The doctor says it's OK to let her cry for a few minutes. The world won't end. It won't hurt her. I just feel so guilty. I have to stop that. I try to take care of the baby as best I can but I have to remember sometimes to take care of me because if something happens to me I'll be no use to the baby anyway!)

It takes me hours to settle her down with my dancing, rocking and lullabies. Dyson only seems to take a few minutes to calm her. I'm not sure if it's because she likes the sound or because it's so loud she can't compete with it but it stops her from crying most times. At least the house is clean with all this vacuuming! I hope it doesn't hurt the vacuum using it so much. They need to make a CD of vacuum noises! While they're at it they can invent a machine that simulates the motion of a car. She likes her swing as well but doesn't stay quiet in it too long. Nothing beats the car for a nice long nap but with gas prices these days you don't want to go driving around too far. And the red lights are a killer!

Even the car isn't always a safe bet though. If she poops while you're enroute somewhere, you're in trouble. We were barely driving 10 minutes when all of sudden she started wailing. At least I wasn't on the highway yet so I pulled into a gas station and parked to change her diaper (which is VERY awkward in a car, I would quickly discover). At least she settled down after that, thank heaven. Speaking from experience (a nightmarish excursion recently) a long drive with a screaming baby is NOT pretty. At one point I had to just stick balls of Kleenex in my ears because my headache was so bad her screams were like knives plunging into my eyebrows. Being in an enclosed space for any length of time with a shrieking infant is perhaps the most stressful experience one can have. I would suggest it as an instrument of torture if they ever bring back that sort of thing (as opposed to the rack, water torture etc.) She likes the motion of the car but when it stops (at every red light, construction site etc) she starts to cry. She likes the sound of crinkling foil (more white noise) so my Mom gave me a piece for in the car to scrunch at each red light. It stops her crying for a couple of seconds anyway. Other popular noises include the bathroom or kitchen fan, running water (especially the bath -- I once ran a bath just to soothe her. I actually got to get in the bath but not until hours later. The water wasn't that warm anymore but I still enjoyed it.) You do what you can. She also loves music but especially loves to be danced around to it. There is no substitute for being carried around. I like to make her happy but it is really hard on my wrists, arms, neck and back after several hours/days of it!

Had a nice visit with my Mom and sister and they gave my arms a break by holding/carrying Michelle around for a while. She fell asleep in Mom's arms a few times. Mom said that she walked the floor with me all day when I was a baby. I didn't like to be put down for a second. I didn't sleep at night either. So I guess I should be thankful that at least Michelle does sleep at night. (Eventually! Even though sometimes it takes quite a while and quite a few lullabies to settle her down.)

People ask if she's settled into a routine. Not really. Each day is different. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to why she's more or less cooperative on any given day. It's sort of luck of the draw. Though she has her moments (good and bad) on any given day. In general she seems to feed every 2 hours during the daylight and every 3 hours (sometimes 4 when I'm lucky) through the night. At least she sleeps at night. Through the day her naps are pretty erratic (ranging from one minute to one hour) and sometimes non-existent. I've told her that babies are supposed to need a lot of sleep but she doesn't seem to agree. She's a very light sleeper --so sensitive to every little sensation that she awakens and cries if there is a slight noise other than white noise, if she hiccups, if she has a speck of wet or dirty in her diaper, ANYTHING!

Sometimes you get lucky. Michelle actually let me go shopping at the kid's store the other day! She had fallen asleep in the carseat and stayed asleep initially in the stroller. Then she woke up but remained quiet, wide-eyed and curious about all the colourful clothes in the store. I was so pleased! I got her a few clothes for the Fall. Surprisingly one of the sweaters I got, sized 6 months, barely fit her once I tried it on her at home! The sleeve barely went over her little fist. There seems to be a big difference in how manufacturers size baby clothes. So it's hard to know. Some six month outfits are huge, others are tiny. She's growing like a weed so it's hard to know what to do. I had a lot of cute summer outfits in 12 month size thinking she'd be a year old next summer so it made sense but at the rate she's going she may be fitting 12 month clothes at 6 months in the middle of winter! I also picked up some colourful bows on sale. Yes I know she doesn't have a lot of hair but I still think it's cute on her!

Mom says it will get a little easier at least when she becomes interested in toys and there are more things to amuse her. I can't wait to be able to play with her. I've tried showing her toys but she doesn't get it at this stage. I'm her only toy! And like the energizer bunny I have to keep going and going and going!

I try putting her on her ocean-themed play gym but she doesn't have much interest yet. Though she does occasionally swat the dangling toys with rattles and rings, it's most likely by accident as she's constantly got her little fists and feet going. She was very active even before she was born, constantly punching and kicking me from the inside. Now she does it from the outside. She's rarely ever still. I remember even when I was at my doctor's appointments and at the ultrasounds she was kicking every time. And when I try to change her diaper, she scrunches her legs up making it nearly impossible to get the diaper off. That's probably the sort of move she was pulling when I had my 19 week ultrasound so we couldn't tell whether she was a girl. I was so thrilled when I finally knew for sure. I wanted a little girl so badly, even though I knew girls were higher maintenance (in her case, VERY high maintenance!)

Every time I see her smile I'm just overwhelmed by her sweetness, her innocence. I have to be careful because with my hormones surging sometimes I'm so sentimental, I love her so much that I almost start to cry. One time I did tear up and said "I love you so much." Seeing the tears in my eyes made her tear up and her lip quiver. I don't want to upset her so I have to be strong during those moments. She wouldn't understand yet about tears of joy. Her tears are always because she wants something -- she's hungry, she needs changing or, as seems to be the case most often, she's overtired and cranky and wants to be lulled to sleep. If it's anything else, I wouldn't know and it must be frustrating for her not to be able to say. I can't wait until she can talk and tell me what she wants without me having to guess. Although I know that will bring its own challenges! Something tells me she'll be rather demanding, and none too pleased if/when her demands aren't met. I'll do my best to make her happy without spoiling her too much. I wanted a little princess but I don't want to create a monster.

There are so many milestones coming up -- being able to hold her head up, to sit up, to laugh, to talk, to play, to stand and walk. It's amazing to me. Absolutely mind-boggling how much a little human being learns in the first year. She may not remember these early months, not consciously anyway. She won't remember the countless hours I spent feeding her, carrying her, singing to her, dancing with her but on some level I'm hoping that it helps her to feel safe, to feel loved and helps her to develop into a happy, healthy little girl. I know that the early years are crucial in our development, that they set the stage for the rest of our lives, shaping the people that we become. I want to do the best for her. And I'll do whatever it takes. Sometimes I may just have to lighten up and not worry so much!


  1. I've been a reader of your blog for awhile and just had to let you know that I found tons of white noise for my little one on you tube! Also have you tried swaddling? My little guy was an active, demanding baby but I found that the white noise/ swaddle and movement combo helped him sleep!!! Try the 5 S's -- happiest baby on the block, it was awesome for me and you're already doing a couple of them :) congrats on your beautiful girl

  2. Thank you! I never thought of Youtube for noises. I'll have to try there rather than having to run the vacuum! Michelle doesn't seem to like swaddling anymore. She likes to kick and punch and seems frustrated if you try to restrain her movement at all...

  3. There's a Whitenoise App I downloaded for my iPhone for use in a pinch when we're has Beach Waves, Rain, Fans, & a ton of other sounds. To this day, Elena sleeps with our floor fan running, she even turns it on herself now as part of our bedtime routine. Not all 5Ss worked with Elena (like swaddling, never worked) but I've heard that book is good.

    PS How could that smile not melt your heart, so precious!!!

    1. I don't have a cellphone but I have some old CDs of nature sounds I'd forgotten about (including a thunderstorm one she seems to like.) People keep telling me about the 5 Ss. I'm not sure what they all are. Michelle doesn't seem to like swaddling. She kicks her legs like crazy and doesn't like to be confined. She's very active.

      Yes I love her smile! :)