I need some sleep!

Ikaikas sleep schedule sucks.

In fact, it doesnt even really exist, which is probably what sucks about it.

He consistently wakes up at least once during the night. This is usually around 330 and he doesnt even go down for good until around 11 or 12 so thats only 3-4 hours of straight sleeping! Ive tried feeding him full bottles and solid foods to "fill him up" right before bed, but that doesnt seem to make any difference. He naps great during the day. He takes a nap every two hours or so and stays down for a decent amount of time. He will even put himself down (we just plop him in the playpen and cover it with a blanket and he babbles to himself quietly and then drifts off to sleep...unlike the night where we have to pat his back and be silent for him to even consider sleeping)

His inability to sleep through the night never really bothered me until the other day I started noticing that he was sleeping through the early morning hours and (more importantly) not interested in eating during the late morning/early afternoon. So my thoughts are something along the lines of hey dude, if you are going to cut out a meal why not make it the one at 330 in the morning and save your mother some grief!

Which leads to my new plan. I still feed him around 11pm if he wakes up, mostly because Im awake anyway and its no biggie for me. Then I put him down and thats it. No food until at the VERY earliest 6am, preferably 7. Weve been trying this out for the past few nights (teething is not the ideal time for this kind of an experiment but whatever) and its gone okay. The first night he kept waking up and screaming crying and would not go back to bed and ugg...horrible. Last night he still woke up several times but it was easier to get him back to sleep. I caved at 6 and fed him just a little so he went back to sleep, woke up at 9 and was STARVING (which is what I was hoping for).

So Im optimistic that with just a little tweaking here and there, this plan will lead to a child that finally sleeps through the night (or at least a child that only eats during the day).


TOOTH! He has a tooth!

Yesterday (actually it was the day before yesterday but whatever) we spotted a tooth. A real tooth that is breaking through the gums. I can scratch it with my nail and it feels hard like a regular ole tooth. Its the front bottom left.

Today, while watching March Madness (grr...what was that all about Huskies? Why are you forcing it down the middle?) there was another tooth sighting. The tooth directly next to the one thats already sprouted, front bottom right, is visible - although it hasnt broken through yet.

Although Ikaika is technically teething, I havent noticed much reaction from him. No runny nose or fever or anything of that nature. He slept like crap last night, but he sleeps like crap almost every night. He likes to suck on his teething rings (thanks Uncle Danny) but I havent noticed him preferring "teething" things over "non teething" things.

Any teething tips or tricks I should know about?


On my hands & knees!

Ikaika has made another breakthrough in mobility. These last few days he has been getting up and supporting the weight of his body on his hands and knees. You can tell that he wants to move that way (crawl) but he usually just falls forward on his face. But he will get up there and rock back and forth, etc.

We finally had to move the stuff around and create a kind of play area that is closed in by boxes and stuff. He doesnt necessarily like it but he was getting into all the electrical cords (his favorite chew toy) and the dumbells.

Ikaika also has begun sucking on his lip. I cant remember if I already said this - but the other day I was standing in line at Starbucks with Heidi and when I looked down he was sucking on his lip. And he hasnt stopped since.

He ate brown rice cereal the other day. He seems to like it mixed with the poi but he will eat it alone. He pushes it out of his mouth a lot, maybe he thinks it has a weird texture.

I would show you a picture of all this but Mr A accidently melted my battery charger (the smell was horrific to say the least) so no more pictures until I find some batteries.


Catch of the Day

My dear husband left at 5am this morning to go holo-holo (fishing) and I didnt see him again for TWELVE hours! Lucky for him, he came home with a bucket-load of tasty fish!

It was a hot one today, bright sun and little wind, and our apartment is sweltering! So Ikaika is sitting outside with Mr A, Jason (neighbor), and Jason’s son Kamau (hes about 10?) cleaning the fish. I was watching but I made the mistake of eating at the same time…the inside of a fish, not such a yummy site.


Pololu Valley

We went hiking in Pololu Valley today. Its about a ten minute drive from Hawi (where we live). Its easy to find because you keep going on the main road until the road ends and youre there!

Here a view from the parking lot at the trail head. You can see there are several other valleys and Im fairly certain that you could hike to all of them from this point. Someday we might just do that but it wasnt today! If Im not mistaken, this is called the Hamakua Coast (its the northern coast of the island for all you map readers).

This is Pololu Beach. It a black sand beach and I swear there was sand under those black rocks! The waves were mean! Look at those sets! Locals dont swim at this beach though because the current is too strong and there are undertows, etc. I guess tourists drown here every once in awhile (I would imagine they have to helicopter someone out if they got injured or died) But its a nice beach to explore or picnic on and the smell...the freshest of the fresh!

We decided to picnic inside the valley on this log. It was a meager picnic of trail mix and water because I didnt feel like hiking down with a three course meal.

Heres some more exploring of the Valley. This water was rather stagnant but added to the natural ambiance of the whole excursion.

And heres a view looking into the valley from half way up the trail. Beautiful.
Ikaika slept through all of this part, upholding an honored tradition in my family of kids snoozing through majestic landscape views of the US.
I did much better hiking up that trail than I did when Mr A and I were hiking up that temple in Cambodia, which means one of two things. Either I am in better shape than I was a few years ago or the hot hot heat of SE Asia seriously inhibits my climbing abilities.

It was really nice but we both agreed that it would have been easier with a backpack for the baby rather than a front pack. Ikaika is getting to the upper limits of what the Baby Bjorn can take weight-wise. Im just glad Mr A was packing him and not me!

Afterwards we got ice cream and Ikaika was VERY interested in eating it. But tough luck - no dairy or sugar for you, dude!
Although I did give him a couple teaspoons of poi when we got home, so Im not a complete tyrant.


Ring of Fire

Yesterday we drove to Hilo and the weather was wet. Its been raining on that side of the island for almost four days straight now so there were a lot of flood warnings and landslide precautions being taken. On the way home we encountered one rockslide that, if it had been just a little more plentiful, would have blocked the entire road and we would have been stuck! But we got home safe & sound so no worries! From what I gather, this is a normal thing for this time of year (flood warnings on the major highways).

Aloha kakahiaka! Good morning! Arent you a cute sight for tired eyes?

This morning we had an exciting EARTHQUAKE! I wasnt even out of bed yet! It wasnt anything major, just a little rumble to remind us that we are residing on a live volcanic island. I had to laugh because when I was younger I was so worried about natural disasters, especially earthquakes, and I used to watch all those Ring of Fire documentaries, etc. I swore that I would never live anywhere that was in the RoF. And here I am with my newborn son and my little family, living at the epicenter of volcanic and techtonic activity!


PS Send more Sleepers!

Holy Moses! It has been so cold here lately I could have sworn I was back in Portland this morning! Waimea is likely the chilliest place in the whole state. The rain there falls up (it just swoops up and hit you under the chin!) and the weather so far has been comparable to most average days in the northwest. Today even the Kohala Coast, which is normally the one place on the island that is for-sure sunny & 80 degrees, was raining! It was still warm (75) but that just meant wet & muggy which is grosser than gross. We had Ikaika rollin down there in his footie sleeper and a beanie. Where we live, Hawi, its been raining for a couple days now! Although Kohala is known for the wind (ka makani o kohala) even the locals say the weather has been wacky!
In other news, I was reading with a flashlight the other night and I saw something crawling on my hand so I jumped up and shook all the sheets out - A FREAKING CENTIPEDE! Right there on my arm! They are getting brave...


A Boy and his Poi

We fed the baby food!

For the record, and for those of you who aren’t particularly interested in reading my very long analysis of this situation, I mixed a teaspoon of poi (boiled taro root that is pounded down into a paste – we get the stuff from Waipio Valley and its awesome!) with enough breastmilk to make it super runny and just fed it to him off a spoon. He was a little unsure at first. He sucked on the spoon for awhile. And then he attacked that poi in a manner befitting his lineage. When he finished the entire contents of the little bowl he pounded down a 6oz bottle, crawled around talking to himself for awhile, then fell into a food coma (I believe they call that “Hawaiian disease” – eat & sleep).

There tends to be a lot of competition among parents (and its just the beginning for us!) so I suppose its only natural that the subject of weaning is slightly emotional.

Most of the people I have talked to or books that I have read suggest waiting until the baby is six months or older before introducing any solid food. One source suggested that poi shouldn’t be fed until the baby is at least seven months or more. We have friends that claim their children didn’t touch anything but milk until they were 11 months! Current research suggests that an infants digestive system isn’t developed enough to handle anything more complex than milk until they are 6M+ and introducing solids too early could lead to all kinds of craziness like allergies.

But this isn’t merely a matter of health or wellness – it’s a matter of pride. I wanted the award for most perfect mom who had the patience and good sense to feed her kid the nectar of life and nothing else for a year or more or whatever it took to win! If Kenneth waited until 11 months, I want to go 12!!!

I have been researching the subject of weaning extensively in the past few weeks. Ive found some great recipes and other such things, but Ive found that the most common advice is “take it slow”. Ikaika has been giving me some clues that hes up for trying new things. There was the pizza incident and then again this morning he was trying to eat a slice of toast out of my hand. He hasn’t cut any teeth but he is exceptionally large for his age. He cant sit up by himself but he also cant sleep through the night yet (his night wakings have been getting closer together rather than farther apart, much to my dismay).

I think the heart of the issue is that I don’t want to be judged. You can say “in one ear and out the other” until youre blue in the face but the fact of the matter is that people do judge – especially parents – and I don’t want to be thought of as a mom-who-couldn’t-hack-it. Its part of the reason why I chose to have a natural birth, as embarrassing as that is to admit. I know that I need to be able to have confidence in my own decisions as a mom and not care what other people say. Turns out that adopting that attitude is the hardest part of being a parent so far!
Im not going to breastfeeding until college and Im not going to be homeschooling while simultaneously getting my masters degree and writing the great American novel. So I should probably cut myself a break starting right now.

This started back in late January when people began suggesting that I give him some formula to “top him off” at night so he would sleep better. I knew that, for me, giving formula wasn’t an option so I nodded politely. But I didn’t give in to the urge to run out and buy a can of Similac, no matter how tempting it seemed at times. I was committed to breastfeeding. And here we are a month and some change later and hes still eating nothing but the juice of the boob. Now it’s the same pressure that I felt about giving formula but this time its about solids, except now people are telling me to wait until six months or telling me stories about how their kids or whatever.

But Im his mother and I think now is the right time to give him poi. Not because I know what Im doing and not because its what everyone around me is pressuring me to do. I know it’s the right time because I just know and Im his mother.

When I first had the baby my dads one pearl of wisdom was to trust my instincts and not listen to anyone else, including him. Ive got to trust myself on this food thing. Maybe I give the baby poi this week and then go back to milk. Maybe I graduate him to fun cereals. I don’t know yet. But I do know that my gut told me tonight that this kid wants some poi. So here we are, my child is four and a half months old and he ate his first solids. And, more importantly, Im okay with it.


Sunday drive to Hilo

Today we had to drive to Hilo, which is on the other side of the island and a good 2-2.5 hour drive from Hawi. I had to go there for a volleyball ref meeting but we took it as an opportunity to have some good fun.

On the way we stopped at Tex, an "ono kine food" roadside eatery right outside of Waimea, and got some yummy malasadas (sugar covered doughnut goodness). We also stopped at Akaka Falls and made the ten minute trek to get a good view of the tallest waterfall on the island.

Its about 450ft. Looks like Snohomish Falls but the hike there is shorter and easier, which is good since Im front-packing a 20lb baby.

The greenery is incredible - just like Jurassic Park (JP was filmed on Kauai). These leaves were as big as the baby! There were ferns that were as big as a car but I couldnt get a good picture that properly demonstrated their massive size.

I have to go back next week too because some genius didnt have the rule books ordered for us. Im looking forward to it because we will head out earlier and probably get to explore more of Hilo Town. Mr A wants to try fishing off the Hilo jetty. I want to poke around UHH campus and maybe hit the only cloth diaper store on the island.

Ickey was great in the car, he just slept and seemed to like the waterfall so that was cool. He charmed all the people at the meeting and we are now paying the price because its ten at night and hes fussy since he was sleeping all day. Either that or hes teething. I dont know!