...from one very tired mama.
School started up again this week and I've been up at 5:30am (well, 5:42am) every day for the past three days in a row. Last year, because the school where I teach is very generous, I was able to reduce my normal load by 2 classes. That meant that I had very few students each semester (no more than 20). This year, I am back to teaching a normal load, and have about 60 students. I've kind of forgotten what it is like to be greeted by a sea of 30 unknown faces (and how is it that college students seem to get younger and younger every year? After all, I stay the same age, right?).
Anyway, enough about me. You guys are here to hear about Hallie. But at least this explains the utter and complete lack of photos in this post.
Hallie's doing really well. When last we checked (over a week ago now), she was 19 lbs. 13 ounces. We're thinking that she's got to be around 20 lbs. at this point. This is tremendous. This also has us backing off just a bit on the calories. Sharon is valiantly attempting to get rid of the 3am feeding; alas, it seems that Hallie is a bit dependent on it, and so we're having to get up by 5 or 6am, rock her back to sleep, and are hoping that this doesn't take too long to accomplish. We're also beginning to lighten up on her calories. Since she is pretty dependably eating 4 jars of baby food (one of which is often a baby yogurt) per day and around 18-20 ounces of formula, we're beginning to mix some whole milk in with the pediasure/nutren brew that we're serving up. We'll see if this has a negative impact on her weight gain (a moderating curve is good, but we don't want her to drop back down or anything) and adjust accordingly.
We've also been using our feeding tip of the month (courtesy of St. Joe's in Paterson), which involves getting her to open her mouth and lean in to the spoon, rather than just shoving the spoon into her mouth and hoping for the best. Hallie is doing pretty well with this, especially for the first half-jar of food each feeding and especially when we're able to be consistent about timing her meals, feeding her, etc. Sharon is, of course, better at this than I am, but I manage ok.
We're hoping that the new nanny we hired manages ok, too. We had tried out two people, all of whom were utter and abject failures. The first was nice enough but inexperienced with infants generally (nothing like fastening the diaper the wrong way to make that one clear) and the second was better-trained but utterly inflexible. She didn't really listen to us and tended to dismiss our experience and our tips (and, I suspect, the very fact that Hallie is an ex-23 weeker with GERD and swallowing/aspirating issues) and basically decided to do things her way. Which got her vomited on a couple of times, meant that she failed to feed Hallie, and led her to demand more money of us (A LOT more per hour) because Hallie was "difficult." When we decided to look elsewhere, she got really indignant and essentially accused us of "babying" Hallie and keeping her back. I say good riddance (and that we're really glad that we found this all out before she had the chance to do more damage than good. When we say that Hallie needs to be held after eating, there's a reason for it. It's not that the kid is spoiled, but that the reflux is an issue. And when we say that she needs to be fed carefully due to aspiration problems, we mean that we are keen on keeping her from developing pneumonia and hurting her lungs, which have been good so far, but which were crappy at best and non-existent at worst when she was first born. And when we say we don't give her solids to self-feed yet, we speak from experience that she has an overactive gag and cannot safely tolerate much really solid food unless it's cut up really small and melts in her mouth. We know that Hallie knows how to pick up food and get it in her mouth---that's never been the problem (and certainly wasn't tonight, when she chowed down on tiny slivers of olives and mushrooms and veggie sticks from Whole Foods with great glee). The teeth she's growing will help, but basically, our sense (from lots and lots of experience) is that we need to take things slowly where feeding is concerned.
So nanny trial number 2 failed. But behind door number 3 was a very wonderful, experienced nanny with very good energy (read: patient and much more zen) and a true soft spot for our little girl and our moderately dysfunctional (in its own way) family. We are hoping that she is able to deal with feeding Hallie because otherwise, she is already pretty excellent. Not to mention, musical (she is a percussionist, keyboardist, and singer songwriter). This is truly cool in its own right, but even cooler because Hallie responds so thoroughly to music. (In fact, one of the things I need to try to capture tomorrow is Hallie grooving to Patti Labelle's Gospel ABC on her new favorite Sesame Street DVD. It's very cute that Hallie copies Miss Patti's and the assorted Muppets' hand motions, even if this makes it harder to feed Hallie during this particular tune).
Anyway, all of this makes me realize how much going with one's gut matters here. Yes, we are hiring someone for a job. But this isn't just a job; we are trusting our baby with someone. Candidate number 2 set off bad energy bells for both of us, something that was based on no hard evidence whatsoever. It's just that both of us felt a certain uneasiness about her that we could not specify, and this led Sharon to even go so far as to think about getting a Nanny Cam. In contrast, we have the warm fuzzies for Candidate number 3 (---did I mention, that, in addition to everything else, she also likes NPR?). So keep fingers crossed for us, because we really want this to work out (not to mention really need it to, since we absolultely cannot manage without one day of childcare/week since both of us have to be at work for 3 days a week each).
I will try to get some cute pics of Hallie for my next update, but meanwhile need to get into bed because I am about to turn into a pumpkin. Which is, alas, sounding pretty seasonal; I cannot believe that Hallowe'en is just around the corner. If anyone has any ideas about costumes that are devoid of headgear (and perhaps even shoes), please let me know. Unless Hallie is playing 'peek-a-boo', she can't stand anything on her head. She is going to have a rude surprise coming this winter...