Monday, January 21, 2013

Superstitious pigeons ... and parents

After Nate was born 4 years ago, a coworker of mine came to visit when he was around a month or so old.  I must have told him something like "he slept n hours last night and during the day we had done XY and Z with him so we're doing XY and Z with him today so that he'll sleep n hours again!"  And he laughed and told me about Skinner's "superstitious pigeons." The pigeons were fed at regular intervals regardless of their behavior.  Nevertheless, they associated whatever they did right before the food came as having caused the food to arrive, thus becoming "superstitious" and repeating that behavior frequently in hopes that food would come. He joked that parents are the same way.

This time around I am trying not to be a superstitious parent.  But sometimes I can't avoid it.  It's tough when you want a certain behavior to repeat.  I have seen over the past week that it doesn't really matter what Jack does during the day, he's still going to sleep 6-8 hours for his first stretch.  This is a good thing.

Of course, there are certainly some things that will affect the baby.  :) When you smile and make funny faces, he will smile back.  We've also discovered that when I drink caffeine, he spits up a ton. When I don't, he barely spits up at all.  Nate was a big spit-upper so we assumed Jack was another "happy spitter." That means that the spit up is not due to reflux or colic, and they aren't in any discomfort when they spit up.  But Jack was spitting up so much that he'd actually wake himself up because he'd be soaked around his neck and his head would be in a puddle.  I was doing all the things "they" suggest -- holding him upright for 20-30 minutes after feedings, raising one end of his crib a little (this also helped with congestion when he had a cold) -- but he was still spitting up immense amounts. I was getting ready to try cutting dairy thinking maybe he was sensitive to it (though he didn't really have any of the symptoms of a dairy allergy besides the lots of spitting up).  Nothing I read online suggests that caffeine is a cause of spitting. Someone on a moms' list I read made a comment about having cut out caffeine and I decided to give it a try. It was easier than cutting out dairy.  And it seems to have worked.  No superstitious parent behavior here.  Just a happy baby who isn't spitting up constantly.

Monday, January 7, 2013

In sickness and in health ... and even for lunch.

When my dad retired, my mom, who had "retired" when my brother was born after being a stewardess with Pan Am for 14 years and always listed "homemaker" as her profession, joked that when they got married she had vowed to be with him "in sickness and in health, but not for lunch."

As long as we've known each other, Jen has had Mondays and Tuesdays off and worked Wed-Fri 5:30-midnight (leaving the house around 4:15, depending on traffic) and Saturday and Sunday mornings, generally getting home anytime between 11:30am and 3pm, depending on what's going on that day.

That means that while I'm on maternity leave, unlike many women who's spouses work full-time, I have her home during the day 5 days a week (she's not home during the day on the weekends, however). Of course, that means that 3 days per week, she's not home during dinner time, but, like I said, her schedule has always been like this. We've never had days off together except for Monday holidays and vacations.

It is SO nice to have her here during the day while we've been getting used to our new family.  We've settled into a great routine, especially with Jack usually taking a nice long nap in the middle of the day; that means we get some nice time together with Nate.

Today we had a nice lunch together and then Jen spontaneously made some rice pudding with leftover Chinese food take-out white rice.  I guess our Mondays and Tuesdays while I'm on leave is what "normal" people have on Saturdays and Sundays.

So I say yes to "in sickness and in health" ... and even for lunch.