Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The mystery of the poo on the carpet

"Do you know anything about the poo in the lounge?" This was the text I sent my husband last Friday morning. I had walked into the lounge to find a rather solid looking poo on the carpet. At first I thought it must be mud but closer examination revealed it was most definitely poo. So how exactly did it get there? My husband had no idea. We don't have dogs. My baby was still in her cot so it couldn't be her. Could it be the cat? Surely not. It did not look like cat poo. Had he brought it in perhaps? I started considering even more unlikely possibilities...had someone snuck into our house and pooed on the floor? It was bizarre, it was a mystery. Photos were taken and the research began. To cut a long story short, it turned out that the guilty party was in fact our cat, Ranga. But why? He turned up later, tail between his legs, looking decidedly dejected and miserable.I put it down to being ashamed and embarrassed. However he really was not himself so hubby whisked him off to the vet. It turned out that the poor thing had somehow found himself the owner of an infected bite on his tail and had a fever. As antibiotics on their own didn't do the job, he had to undergo sedation, have a drain inserted, is now under house arrest and is very unhappily sporting a cone around his head. Why am I sharing this with you? Well the thing that amazed me most through this was the way he let us know that he was unwell. He pooed in the lounge. It worked. We knew something wasn't right before we even saw him that day.  

I have been similarly amazed by the ability of my daughter to communicate her needs with me. At 6.5 months old she has obviously not quite developed the ability to talk yet but through her actions she has passed on many messages. There's simple ones that we're all familiar with. Crying for tired, hungry or nappy change. However there are more complex behavior changes that have often, unfortunately, taken me a while to decode. Once I do (if I do), her behaviors suddenly make total sense. I've heard it said that babies are illogical but the more I learn, the more logical I think they are. Well mine is anyway, I can't really talk for anyone else. 

The first time I really encountered this was when my daughter, Miss A, was 9 weeks old. Now I am a first time parent so life is a continual learning curve at the moment. Up until this point, she had been a relatively good sleeper. However her day sleeps began to reduce in length until suddenly every nap was 45 minutes long with no resettling despite my best efforts. I spent many hours researching and attempting different solutions but nothing worked. At the same time, the majority of the times I tried to feed her, she would feed for 1 to 2 minutes before screaming and pushing away. It was awful. I didn't know what to do. I was scared to go out with her because of the fuss she'd make screaming. Plus I worried she wasn't getting enough food. I took her to the doctor who suggested it could be reflux and prescribed something for it. In my gut I really didn't believe this was the problem though so chose not to give her the medication. Fortunately for me, Sharlene Poole, New Zealand's baby whisperer, came to my coffee group around this time. During her discussions with the group she solved both my problems. Firstly, I simply was not keeping Miss A awake long enough. I thought that I was doing the right thing reading her tired signs when I saw a yawn and putting her to bed, but in fact she was signalling to me that she was bored! After 45 minutes of sleep, she'd simply had enough and didn't need anymore. Once I increased her awake time and ensured she was appropriately stimulated, our naps began to lengthen once more, or at least a resettle was possible. As for the feeding, her screaming was her way of saying, "Mum I really don't want any more food!" As I fed on waking and she had been having shorter naps, she was now getting fed more often which she clearly she did not want or appreciate. I changed the feeding schedule and she began feeding without any problems again. Both solutions were incredibly logical in hindsight.

The 45 minute sleep issues have returned again over the past week. This time though, I knew it was not linked to awake times as I had already consulted the Baby Whispering book by Sharlene Poole (which I had quickly purchased after Sharlene solved my last problems and has become my baby 'go to' book which I can not recommend highly enough.) I had tried adjusting awake times, changing what she was wearing to sleep, altering when I fed her, but nothing worked. I could not get a sleep longer than 45 minutes and I could not get any resettles. Finally I consulted my book again and found something I had overlooked. Sharlene stated that 45 minute naps were quite common at this age (6-7 months) and were often linked to day time routines and also the possibility of a baby being hungry. As my little girl is on 3 solid meals a day plus milk, I really did not think this was the issue but the next time she woke from yet another 45 minute sleep I fed her then put her back down. 1.5 hours later she woke up! The poor thing had been hungry. Her resistance to napping longer was simply due to the fact her little tummy was not full enough to sustain her, despite the meals she was getting. I have now altered what she eats at each meal in an attempt to bulk it out and we are beginning to get the longer naps again. Another logical problem and hindsight.  

The final example I'll share is another linked to sleep (oh how sleep rules the life of a mother!). This time it was night sleep. Unfortunately I do not have a girl who sleeps through the night (by this I mean 12 hours) but generally she is pretty good and will only wake once. However she started waking every couple of hours. This began to drive me crazy, particularly given I was now not getting much sleep. She wasn't teething, she wasn't sick, it wasn't a growth spurt, nothing had changed during the day. I searched in my book but no answer so I turned to good old Google. On this occasion, Google helped me work out what was going on. The days had been hotter and I hadn't upped my water intake. This combined with the fact that she was getting hot at night because she was reaching the limits of her bassinet (even though it looked like she had a lot of room left) meant she was thirsty at night. Once I addressed both these issues, her sleeping returned to normal. Another logical problem and solution. 

As they say, hindsight is a beautiful thing. Have I found the logical solution to all problems? No. If I had, perhaps I could write a best selling book and be rich! I'm beginning to believe that there is a logical solution for each problem though. Whether I uncover them or not remains to be seen but hopefully I'll have more successes than failures. Otherwise little Miss A will be left very frustrated at the inability of her mother to interpret her very clear communications, well in her opinion anyway. 

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