Eighteen Weeks of Lydia

Lydia is eighteen weeks now!

Nothing too huge this week. Many of the positive changes from last week have carried over, and I would say it’s been a pretty good week. We had the reunion for our homebirth class this past Sunday, so I got to see a bunch of non-Lydia babies too.


Last week, I checked sleep off my list of things to worry about. That mostly still holds. She’s been pretty much fine about napping when she’s tired and falling asleep in my arms, but nights have been later and somewhat fitful the past few days. My theory is that she’s working on her physical skills and doesn’t want to stop practicing them at night. 

So, she’s been going to sleep late and waking up at night not just to feed but to squirm around. I’ve actually broken out the swaddling blanket again, which seems to work relatively well. The time I used it, she didn’t fight it or anything, and it got her to stop moving around and go to sleep.

Last night, she was sleeping quite fitfully for a while, maybe half an hour? Then she peed. This sort of thing makes me update towards just waking her up to potty her, which will probably only work if I feed her at the same time.

I hear people talk a bunch about the “four month sleep regression”. Maybe this is that? Hard to know. I just hope it doesn’t last forever. Then I’d have to start troubleshooting again.

The good thing about her staying up late is that it usually means she sleeps in later. I’ve heard that this shouldn’t work for babies, but for whatever reason it seems to with her.


Eating is similar to last week, which is more during the day than before. The other night I got tired way before she did (Will was out), so I basically had her feed while I dozed and she mostly didn’t for quite a while in the evening. Not sure how long, but it felt like hours. I try to feed her at night whenever she wakes up, but sometimes I think that’s not actually the issue so it doesn’t work all that well.

Elimination Communication

EC is going well. I have mini potties set up in the places we usually hang out when I’m at home, and it does make me inclined to offer more often. I don’t think I’m using more than a handful of diapers during the day, though nighttime is still iffy. She can hold it a long time though, especially at night.


I’ve been using the Double Hammock Carry more this week. It’s more comfortable than the Rucksack Carry, but takes longer to do. I used it to clean the house before our class reunion and that worked really well. 

I did buy another wrap, so I’m excited waiting for that to come in the mail. It’s a 2.7m rebozo length one, which is shorter than I was thinking I’d get, but I liked this particular wrap, and that’s the size it came in. I’ll see what carries I’ll be able to do with it.

I forgot to bring my wrap to an event a few days ago and used the backup Moby wrap we keep in the car. It actually worked better than I would have thought, and she had a nice nap in there.

Motor Skills

The biggest thing this week is that she seems waaay more active. I’ve been putting her on the floor to play more, and she does quite a bit.

On her back, she’ll squirm backwards very effectively. She still hasn’t rolled back to front.

On her front, she can rotate 360 to face whichever direction she wants, which is new. She doesn’t make it look effortless or anything, but it works. She can also sometimes hold herself up so her stomach is off the ground. I started noticing that when I put her down on her stomach she’d hold herself up like that for a second or so. Now, I’ve seen her do it for as long as three seconds, and sometimes she’ll actually push herself up from being slumped on the floor to do it for a bit.

I find this very exciting, even if she does want to get up at night to practice :-).

No idea whether this means she’ll crawl early. My current prediction is that she’ll making her first crawling movements (which may be backward) somewhere around six months. Will thinks it’ll be earlier. 

We’re going to put the baby gate up at the top of the stairs soon.


She seems to be happier playing independently on the floor now that she can do more. Though happier is maybe an overstatement. She will often grunt and otherwise vocalize while she’s on the ground, in a way that makes me wonder whether I should go help her. Not exactly crying, but not quite happy either. Definitely struggling and straining. I try to communicate with her about what she wants and read her cues, but often I’m not quite sure. In practice, my usual strategy is to let her play and grunt while paying a lot of attention to her, until I decide that she wants something. Then I pick her up, offer her things, try her on the ground again, and eventually just go back to holding her. 

I figure it’ll get somewhat clearer what she wants here as she gets older. 

Oh, about that cold Will and I had a while ago. Lydia seems to have it more now than before. I’m confused about why that would be true, but her nose has been running a bit the past few days. Another variable in the increasing night waking we’ve had the past few days, but who knows.


Pretty good week for me, I think. I cleaned the whole house for the reunion we hosted, which is pretty unlike me. (We usually hire cleaners, but they were booked and calling a bunch of new places sounded harder than cleaning.)

I’ve been getting more writing done than I have in a while.

I’ve also had a few times where I got really, really tired, though I think it’s not a chronic issue. Sometimes, when I try to nurse Lydia to sleep, all that happens is that I get really drowsy :-).

How It Feels to Be the Subject of an IFS process

Will and I recently hosted a webinar about IFS, and when I was reading the feedback forms, I noticed that two people asked very similar questions about how it felt to be the subject of an IFS process. I wanted to give my best attempt at a description, though I imagine it’s somewhat different for everyone.

During an IFS process, I go into a trance-like state. I’ve had some hypnosis work done on me, and it’s a little like that. Also similar to how I feel during guided visualizations I’ve done. If you know what it means to be “in your head“, that’s not the state you’re going for. It shouldn’t feel very much like you’re in the driver’s seat at all. More like you’re witnessing your thoughts, emotions, and visualizations unfolding.

Sometimes, I’m aware of vivid visual imagery. That being said, my imagery isn’t all that vivid compared to what Will experiences. I’m usually pretty aware of what’s going on physically in my body. It feels sort of floaty. Answers to the questions the facilitator poses come quickly, or I don’t trust them. If I pay attention, I can feel my head wanting to nod or shake before all of my mind has even processed the question.

It occurs to me to describe the state as feeling spacious. I think what I mean by that is that, since I’m not identifying with much, my thoughts are flowing more and I’m not self-censoring them.

There are moments when I can tell a process is going somewhere interesting. One of the most important signs is when I get an answer from myself that seems surprising. Or when I get a thought that causes a strong pulse of emotion. Recalling memories I haven’t thought of in ages that don’t seem obviously related is a very good sign too.

There are also a few protectors that make regular appearances in me when I’m the subject of IFS.

  • Anger: I’ll get frustrated that the person trying to help me doesn’t actually understand me. When the facilitator tries to paraphrase what I’ve said, it won’t sound quite right and I’ll complain about it. This part judges other people for not being able to read my mind effectively.
  • Confusion: I’ll find myself wanting to answer “I don’t know”, which can slow things down quite a bit if I don’t identify it as a part.
  • Skepticism: Am I doing it right? Am I just making this up? Does this even work at all? I’ve experienced powerful work on both ends, but these questions still come up for me, even now.
  • Analysis: As I mentioned above, being in an analytical frame of mind isn’t appropriate for doing IFS work, but it’s always a strong attractor for me anyway.
  • Silence: I’ll have a strong impulse to shut down and not say anything. This can happen for a bunch of reasons, though it’s not as strong in me as it used to be.

Other people I’ve worked with have a different set of usual objections. Going deep is vulnerable, and there are many reasons someone wouldn’t want to do it. Some people, for example, are reluctant to cry in front of others. If you are afraid to cry, your brain may be looking ahead ten steps and preventing from letting you talk about something that even might lead in that direction.

Baby Summaries: Weeks 13-17

I’ve been posting weekly summaries of how things are going with Lydia over at my old blog, More Meaning than Magic for the past month or so. Starting this Wednesday, I’m going to be posting them here instead, so I wanted to link to the previous ones to provide context.

Week 13

Week 14

Week 15

Week 16

Week 17

Here she is with some of the other babies from our homebirth class:

IMG 3122

She’s the baby with the pink socks who is grabbing the baby next to her.

Analytical Parts in IFS

When I do IFS work, one of the first things I have to do before I can really get somewhere with the person I’m working with is to disengage the person’s analytical part. I usually start by doing this implicitly. I choose my questions with the intent of bypassing the analytical mind, and that tends to work pretty well.

Questions about emotions, visually imagery, and feelings in the body are good for this, and there are some other rhetorical tricks that also play into the process. For example, if someone doesn’t respond to the question “what does that part look like?”, I sometimes have better success with, “if that part looked like something, what would it look like?” For some reason counterfactuals often let the analytical part relax.

On the other hand, “why?” questions are very likely to activate the analytical part. [Read more…]

Reflective Relationship Webinar Notes

Last month, Will and I hosted a webinar on how we stay close and happy in relationships. Two of our friends posted awesome notes. Here they are!

Michael Smith’s summary

Jasen Murray’s notes