Everett recently turned a year old, but this week marks the one year anniversary of bouncing on my big orange ball.
Regular readers can probably cite many references to my yoga ball. It all started when Ev was a week old. That first week was blissful; he slept most of the day and the entire night with the exception of dream feeding at night. I was counting my lucky stars that everything was going smoothly. One day things changed- my once content baby was suddenly screaming. It didn’t sound like a normal fussy cry. My poor newborn seemed like he was in pain and I had no idea how to help.
I tried the usual suspects: gas, keeping a dry diaper on at all times, nursing, etc…. On a whim I tried sitting on my Birth Ball while holding him. I bounced and he calmed down. He stopped screaming, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I was a ball of nerves but bouncing on that ball turned me into one large aching muscle. It didn’t matter though because my baby was happy and sleeping.
Every night around 9 pm I had to bounce my baby and nurse him to sleep. My husband and I would watch a movie while my older son was in bed. I held my new baby and bounced. When my back was in such pain I could hardly stand it I would hand him to Steven and he would bounce him. Back and forth it went until I took him to bed with me. Some nights he needed to be bounced back to sleep but in general it was just a late evening fussy period.
It took a few weeks for me to figure out that Everett was sensitive to dairy. By the time the elimination diet worked and he was out of that constant screaming phase he was used to being bounced to sleep.
Along the way the ball became a part of our lives. It was my right arm. Many major events were spent on that ball. Fletcher’s 2nd birthday and Thanksgiving Dinner, Christmas Morning, almost every meal in the early days, and so on.
At 2 months old we drove to visit our family and left the ball at home. At the hotel after my baby screamed and screamed I sent my husband off to the front desk. I had him ask their permission to borrow the yoga ball in their fitness room for the night.
When we arrived in Charlotte I immediately sent him off to buy a new ball. It was bigger and better than my original. I spent all of Christmas Morning on the ball keeping Everett happy while we opened gifts.
We deflated the ball and took it back home with us. From that point on whenever I left town I would deflate the ball and reinflate it at my destination. Only recently have I left it at home.
This year the blog could be called “The Website Built on a Yoga Ball” because I would guess 65% of my work has been done while bouncing Everett on the ball. Recently it hasn’t been as much but the first 8 months I was on it for 2-5 hours a day. Eventually I stopped having aches. I never noticed when it happened. Someone remarked that I must have a strong core from bouncing all day. Honestly, the bonus “fitness” aspect never occured to me until then. Who knows? Maybe the ball is why I shrank back down to a size 2 pretty soon after Ev was born.
Remember that awesome animation I made about cloth diapers many months ago? 10 of the 12 hours I worked on it were spent with Ev in my arms. I animated it frame by frame, one handed, while bouncing. The Cloth Diaper Finder? The original spreadsheet of 105 diapers that would become the database was created while bouncing and typing one handed. And any time you see me at a Monday night #clothdiapers twitter chat I am probably bouncing and typing with one hand.
The majority of my video editing is done when he is asleep on me. Or at least it used to be. It was another activity I could do one handed. My husband bought a trackpad mouse for me when I also purchased new video editing software. This revolutionized my bouncing and working. My set up is as follows:
Trackpad mouse on left of keyboard. Keyboard in center. Laser mouse on right. Then I have a monitor in front and my laptop connected which acts as my second monitor when I need one. If Everett is nursing/sleeping on one side I can use my other hand and the mouse on that side. It increased my productivity.
I never expected to be bouncing Everett to sleep after he was a year old. Then again, there was a time I didn’t expect I would ever co-sleep with a baby over a year old, or even nurse a baby that long. Funny how your expectations change. Even a few months back I assumed when I wrote this post when he turned a year old that it would be a farewell…..
These days I am on the ball 1 hour or two a day. I only have to give him a quick bounce at 12:30 for his nap. Some days he lets me lay him down, others I have to hold him or sleep with him. Luckily 12:30 is his brother’s nap time also so it doesn’t hold me back from playing with him. Each night around 8:30 he gets bounced to sleep. Same as naps, sometimes I can lay him down and others I am stuck with him. And when I lay him down he wakes an hour later and I get him again. If he would sleep in a carrier on me I could have had an easier time of all of this but he rarely did and never does now.
I have to remind myself, and my husband, that my first son was rocked and nursed to sleep until he was probably 18 months old. And he slept with me until about 20 months. Now? He is a fabulous sleeper! He goes to nap when I tell him and sleeps for 2-3 hours, and he sleeps all night long every night. Because of traveling for the holidays and some big changes coming soon in our lives I won’t be trying to change his habits anytime soon. And when we do I will be using the same method I used on Fletcher. That turned out just fine.
In a few years I will look back fondly on the thousands of hours I have logged while getting to hold my little baby. I will miss that time where he wants me to hold him and where I am his entire world. I don’t regret “spoiling” him because he is a baby. I’m thankful I found a solution that works for our family and keeps him happy. Overall, he is actually a pretty darn good baby.
If I could change one thing it would be……. the color of that damn ball. Now it is a part of my home decor and the orange really clases with my green couch and red chairs.