A strong desire…

So lately I’ve really been wanting a baby.  I’ve written about this before; it’s been particularly strong this month.  I think one reason might be because they refilled my birth control prescription with a different generic brand, and even though it’s supposed to all be the same, they do have different effects sometimes.  I’ve been having various unwell feelings all month (like nausea, sweating, and headaches) that can be explained by hormonal changes, so I suspect that this brand is affecting me.

In addition to the feeling that hormones are really affecting my body, a new couple-friend whom I met last spring and kept in touch with all summer is having a baby.  Like right now, as we speak.   I visited their apartment earlier this week, and when I walked into the bedroom and saw the empty crib and the baby swing and other stuff all ready for the baby’s arrival, I felt so emotional that tears came to my eyes.  Lately I think about what a wonderful father Husband will be and what a wonderful mommy I will be, and I just can’t wait to bring a little being into the world, our little being.

We are, of course, far from being able to afford it right now, as we are in more debt than just credit-card at the moment.  I get a stipend payment in September, and I shall be using it to pay overdue rent and rent for the whole semester too, so that will eat up most of the check.  Still, as depressing as it is to barely see the money, it’s good that it is enough to pay both our back rent and our rent through December, so we will feel much better once that is taken care of.  Living in NYC and a fairly minimal life, the rent is by far our largest expense.  All week I have been visiting and talking to new students who have just moved into apartments through the campus housing office, and although their apartments are cheap for the neighborhood, I can’t help but feel that since we struggle to pay our rent out here in our burrough of the city, we just couldn’t have afforded a one bedroom on campus.  Our rent is only 2/3rd that of the average rent for a one bedroom through campus housing, which in itself is probably only 3/4 of the rent of a one bedroom in the neighborhood that isn’t through campus housing.  Ah, to live in NYC.

No, I don’t want to join your bible study

I’m walking on campus, and it’s late evening. As I walk, I watch a tv episode on my iPod. I have both headphones in, I’m walking with my head down to look at the screen, and nothing about me, as far as I can tell, looks particularly friendly or open. I notice in my peripheral vision two young asian ladies waving me down. I think perhaps they need directions to somewhere on campus, so I pause the tv show, remove the headphones, and ask how I can help them.

“Do you go to school here?”

“Yes,” I answer.

“Would you like to join our bible study group? We meet blah blah blah blah blah….” (fade out listening)

It is a familiar question. I have often been stopped before and asked to join a bible study group. There are signs all over the campus bulletin boards saying things like “Jesus loves you” and “You are not alone” in bright word art colors. But I have never been waved down when I had my earphones in before to be asked that.

I am never comfortable with people approaching me to ask me this. I am not a fan of this kind of missionary work. And it’s never people from any other religion. I do not get Jews, or Muslims, or Buddhists, just walking up to me and asking me to join them. Maybe it’s because I look Anglo-Saxon (I am, in fact, a European mutt), but I also get the impression that these people can do this because they are the majority religion. All of the others, they have their communities, but they aren’t in your face about it. The Jewish Center on campus is very active, but they don’t stand on street corners asking people to join them. The Muslim community, as in many parts of the US, is much less visible; here, you see Muslims dressed in their traditional clothes often enough, but you don’t see them practicing their religion right in front of you, and certainly not standing around approaching strangers.

But the Christians? They are everywhere. Signs and posters are everywhere. Teams of two walk around asking people to join their bible study often. They set up tables and advertise free pamphlets on how to find Christ, or they host “debates” and invite some weak arguments from the other side. Sometimes, they sing acapella songs that praise the Lord and hold Christian rock concerts outside on campus.

I don’t mind them practicing on their own, but just please don’t bother me. Don’t assume I am Christian because I am white. And don’t be surprised when I tell you I’m not interested. And don’t keep trying after I’ve made my disinterest clear.

fade back in to conversation.

I put my hand up to try to pause their explanation of where and when these meetings are. I’m feeling annoyed and unashamed. These girls look so ignorant and naive, and for the first time , I decide to play for shock value.

“I’m sorry, I’m not interested. I’m an atheist,” I say in explanation, and I make to walk away.

One of them looks particularly surprised and amazed. “You mean you have never heard of Christianity?” she asks sincerely.

I’m working…woah.

So it’s 10:13 pm, and I’m at home, and do you know what I’m doing? Voluntarily?  I’m working on my research!  Running some data analysis!  Imagine that!

It’s rare that I do work because I really want to more than because I feel like I should get it done.  It feels really nice, to be this interested and intrigued by what the outcome of the data analysis will be.  Quite pleasant, quite pleasant.

In other news, I’ve felt very strong baby fever lately.  I’m reading a book on baby sleep, and it’s very interesting, but it makes me think a lot about when I’ll have my own baby.  I borrowed it from the mom I babysit for, because it describes the general philosophy she uses for her baby’s sleep.  I thought if I read the book myself, and understood the theory and reasoning behind it, I would be able to comfortably perform a pre-nap routine with the baby that follows her guidelines.  I’d have to say, it does seem to be helping to that end.  I felt much more confident putting baby down for his nap today, able to not leave him alone to cry but also to not cuddle him too much – i.e. to not rely on too many “sleep crutches” that baby won’t have when he wakes up during the night.

Ok, enough about that, back to that data analysis…

Home sick

(First, a note.  I swear, I’m still around and hope to post more soon, but as I had imagined, August has been a really busy month.  Hopefully I get back to blogging more in September!)

So today, for no apparent reason, I was sick.  Last night I felt a little feverish when I lay down for bed, and then this morning I thought I was ok until I got on the subway.  It was rush-hour subway travel, and for a portion of the trip we were right behind another train and had to stop and wait before we could move again.  I got all hot and sweaty while the train was waiting underground, but I didn’t think too much of it as I hadn’t eaten anything yet and figured I could just really use some water.  Finally I got to my babysitting job, and I got a glass of water and felt mildly off, but ok.  Later in the morning, baby went down for a nap and I took a nap too.  It was very restless but at the very end I was starting to sleep deeper, and then baby woke and it was time for me to get up.  As I was playing with baby, I started feeling even more sick.  So I ate the cheerios I’d brought with and tried to drink water, but while I managed it for a while, it didn’t get better.  A half hour later I was feeling really nauseous and feverish and I called the mom to tell her that I’d need to head home as soon as she got back, which was fine.  I had about another 15 minutes, and I thought I’d make it ok, but literally just before she got back I went to the bathroom and threw up.  So I came home to nap and rest.  No idea what happened, but I’ve been feeling mildly nauseous for the rest of the day.

On the plus side, I’ve felt very loved by my cat, Fluffy, as she spent pretty much the whole time laying by my side on the bed – sometimes under the covers with me, other times on the pillow by my head.  She really cuddled with me, and her affection makes me so happy to have this lovely cat in my family.  And of course Husband was very kind and took care of me with cuddles and water.

Ahhh, I love my little family. ::purr::


::peaks kitten head around corner, peering out from her hiding spot:: meow.

I’m still here.  It’s been a busy month so far, as I knew it would be when I wrote about my “full plate.”  I’ve been babysitting a decent amount (including minor tensions with the mother), working on finishing the bedroom (how lovely it is to wake up in the morning and not begin by climbing up off the floor),  and spending more time in the lab preparing and executing experiments (which resulted in what was, upon a preliminary glance, good data).

And now, I must get some sleep, for the plan for tomorrow is analyze data, babysit, analyze data, and I shall have to start early enough.  But I shall write more soon.

Thoughts on sleep methods

First of all, I’d like to admit that I have removed a post on Ferber vs. Cosleeping. It was written very colloquially and wasn’t a thorough exposition on my thoughts on one method vs the other, but it has gotten more hits than any other single post on my blog, and I don’t relish the thought that anyone might have read it who was looking for serious advice on one vs the other. So I apologize for removing an archived post, but I thought it was best. In it’s place, I thought I’d leave this post of mine. On a message board that I have visited a few times, two posters asked the same thing:

I have a 9 1/2 month old DS and i have to rock him to sleep at night or else he wont go to sleep. and he has been waking up in the middle of the night and sleeping in our bed. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get him back in his own bed but most of the time he ends up sleeping with us, and i dont get any sleep because of it. What should i do, should i not put him in bed with me at all. my family tells me he will end up only wanting to sleep with us and not in his own bed. he moves all over the place or he wants me to put my arm around him when he sleep, other time he cuddles up as close as possible that i cant move without me worrying im gonna hurt him. i dont know what to do….

I am having the same problem! My son is 13 mths and has always slept in our bed. Even though we have a king sized bed he is a restless sleeper. I would love to put him in his crib. He is very long in height and kicks me most of the night. If anyone has a suggestions, I would be greatful.

And so I wrote back this response, which I thought I’d post here, as it sort of tells how my feelings on sleep methods have changed since some of my earlier posts.

From what I’ve read, the age that a child naturally grows out of wanting to sleep in your bed is often 3 or 4 years old. If you are not getting any sleep now, you probably won’t want to wait that long, so you may need to try other methods. You may wish to try adding an arm’s reach cosleeper to the side of the bed and seeing if he will sleep in that – he’ll be near you and close enough to touch, but a little more protected from your own movement and you from his. If baby is used to sleeping cuddled up against you, even putting him in the cosleeper might cause some distress at first, but with some patience baby would get used to it.

Another thing you might try is putting the crib in your room (if it fits! I live in a NYC apartment myself….), but you still might need to “train” baby a little bit to get used to sleeping in his own crib.

A third question is what happens if you let him fall asleep on/next to you, but then once he’s asleep you move him to his crib? Sometimes the case then is that baby sleeps fine, but if baby wakes up, he cries for mommy. So that would be workable depending on how many times a night baby wakes.

Finally, I know the Ferber method can be hard on moms and dads; I find it excruciating to listen to baby cry, but if you aren’t getting your sleep and the other things don’t work/aren’t right for you, you might consider it. The Ferber method is proven to train your baby to fall asleep on his own. My major suggestion with that is to read Ferber’s book itself, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, and follow it. His method involves gradually letting the baby cry for longer and longer – but in the beginning you go back in every few minutes, so baby knows you haven’t abandoned him. You set up a bedtime routine so baby learns the signals that it’s time to sleep. Often people try the Ferber method but don’t use a gradual build up to time you let baby cry in one stretch, because they didn’t read the book themselves and based what they did on short web articles or what they’d heard from friends.

The biggest thing I think you should know is that it doesn’t matter what family or others say about what you choose to do. Some people will tell you you shouldn’t let baby sleep with you because it will “spoil” baby or because baby will never grow out of it. Others will tell you you shouldn’t let the baby cry because that’s mean or because you’re training the baby not to depend on you. You have to pick the parenting style that works for you; since they don’t live with you, they can’t know all the details about what it’s like. Do what’s right for you, and don’t worry about it.