Saturday, October 1, 2011

Phoebe and Asher: Compare and contrast

I really would like to write more about Asher but Phoebe just gives me so much material. The funniest thing Ash does is to grab whatever soft thing is nearest to him, be it a toy, a cloth or his sleepsuit, and smother his face with it, seemingly trying to eat it. And he gets very excited about his bath. Bathtime used to calm him down and totally relax him. Now he seems to be trying to beat his personal best for how much water he can get on the floor. Oh and he just loves to stand up. He thinks he's so cool. And I suppose that is pretty impressive given he's not yet 17 weeks old.

Meanwhile, as I'm bathing Ash I can hear Phoebe playing with her Barbie in the bath and saying "I'm the teacher. I'm the teacher. I'm the teacher.... I'm here. I'm Barbie." And muttering nonsense to herself. At times she is just so incredibly cute. Like when I went to say goodnight to her and she gave me a big hug and said "I love you too darlin'" over and over again. And then "Your earrings, darlin'. Your earrings, darlin'. Your earrings, darlin'" as she played with my earrings. Until eventually I said, "Phoebe, stop playing with my earrings now please" and she said, "Ok" and stopped. Just like that. And then at other times she's just totally mental and incredibly frustrating.

I read back over some old posts to see what Phoebe was like at Asher's age. At first I didn't quite know what to make of them. On the one hand I seemed to know a lot more about babies and what they were supposed to be doing. And on the other I seemed a little bit more stressed about the fact that she wasn't doing what she should be and that she kept changing. I seem to remember thinking that she was an easier baby as she had more of a routine but Ash is definitely getting into a routine now. He seems to wake a bit more at night and feed more during the day than I remember Phoebe doing. But then reading the old posts it seems that Phoebe started to sleep through around 10 weeks and then stopped again a few weeks later. She'd feed approximately every three hours but then would cluster at certain times of the day. When Ash was tiny he seemed to cry more than Phoebe, be more awake at night and he still seems to wake up earlier. But then the two occasions that Phoebe's inconsolable crying really impacted my social life and have stuck in my head may well be the only two occasions as it seems I blogged about them.

One thing I can say is that I have less time to worry too much about what Ash is doing. I don't have as many friends with babies of the same age to compare behaviours with. I also have the benefit of my experience with Phoebe of knowing what worked for us then and what didn't and not even bothering with the stuff that didn't work. Plus being told that everything is a phase and learning that that's the case from experience are two different things.

So with all that in mind I thought it might be useful to pick a few key points from a post I wrote when Phoebe was about a week older than Ash is now and see how the two compare.

  • "Little Miss P has changed so much over the last 4 weeks." So has Ash.
  • "Just in the last few days she has taken to sucking her bottom lip (teething, perhaps?) and it totally changes the look of her face." Ash has started gurning like an old man. I remember Phoebe doing this too.
  • "She cries less and is more vocal, shouting when she's a bit annoyed about something." Ash has been doing that for a while now.
  • "About two weeks ago at Gymbaroo she rolled by herself down the soft play wedge and has since rolled quite a few times, including onto her back during mat time at Gymbaroo when she got fed up with being on her tummy." Ash is rolling onto his side both from his back and his tummy although he hasn't quite rolled over completely yet. He does wriggle around a lot though. It still amazes me how much babies can travel just by wriggling.
  • "She has also started to commando crawl although doesn't go very far and gets tired easily." No commando crawling here unless I put my hands to his feet to give him something to push off.
  • "As well as continuing with her standing fetish, she is now learning to sit and is getting pretty good at doing it on her own....She can stay still for a few seconds but then she topples over, which she seems to think is great fun. If she's holding onto something, such as my finger or a toy then she can balance for much longer." Ash also loves to stand and sits whilst holding onto both of my fingers although I really have to hold onto him. It seems as though he has the strength in his upper back but not so much his lower abs.
  • "She seems to be over her fear of going to bed." No fear of bed with Ash. He bloody loves it. Phoebe, on the other hand, is a different story some nights.
  • Phoebe had recently changed from falling asleep after her feed, or talking herself to sleep, or having to be jiggled to sleep to wanting to fall asleep on the breast. If I pulled her away from the breast she would wake up, cry and root around. It was taking me an hour to get her to bed. In contrast Ash usually falls asleep at the breast quite quickly although tonight I had to give him a quick cuddle afterwards. I quite enjoy that last feed. He doesn't seem to mind falling asleep with the light on so I put the radio on tuned out (to drown out the noise of Miss Chief having her bedtime tantrum) and take the opportunity to read my book. If the light seems to be bothering him then I turn to the iPhone.
  • "Phoebe still sometimes wakes up in the night. She usually wakes when I go to bed or around midnight and then again at about 5.30am but this varies." Hmm... Ash always wakes in the night, usually at least twice. And he often wakes up at 5.30am or earlier. I read that Phoebe would wake at 6am for a feed, change and quick play then go back to bed for 2-3 hours. Ash wakes anywhere between 4am (hasn't done that for a while, thank god) and 6 or 7, stays awake for a couple of hours then goes back to bed for 1-2 hours. Only I don't get to go back to bed with him like I used to with Phoebe because by then Phoebe is up. 
  • "Last night she went to bed around 7.30 then woke at 10.30pm when I went to bed and again at 3.30am and then 6.30am when we all got up." That sounds more like Ash. So maybe he's not that different after all.
  • "I'm not at all used to all this night-time activity so I'm a bit tired and I'm off to bed in a minute." I am but I'm still tired and off to bed in a minute.
  • "I've given up trying to make her nap in the middle of the day. I just let her sleep when she's tired and hope that it fits in with what I'm doing." That's pretty much always been the case with Ash. These days I like him to have one or two of his naps in his cot but he also sleeps quite well in his car seat on the pram base. I aim to get him to sleep about two hours after he last woke up. I swaddle him in a muslin cloth during the day and at night he has this kick-arse sleep suit that keeps him all snug but lets his arms go up either side of his head and he can still suck on his hands (through the suit). During the day when we're at home I generally have to put him in the sling so that I can block out visual stimulation and then jiggle him for a bit. Since Phoebe was a baby we have bought a new (second-hand) Ikea chair which is so comfortable. I sit in that for a bit to make sure he's asleep before putting him in his cot. More often than not I doze off too.
It was interesting to read those old posts and see just how similar they are, and in what ways they were different. It seems that aside from the waking at night, and the stupidly early mornings, that Ash is the easier baby. It certainly sounds like he's easier to put to bed at night. But I really do remember Phoebe being easy too. My expectations may be different this time. And of course I'm totally distracted by my toddler.

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