Do They Have Sleep Training for Moms?

Tonight looked something like this:

Sometimes bedtime can be a joy – Lila is cool, stories, snuggles, songs.  Lucy falls asleep in my arms.  It is not 80 degrees in the house.  Cal isn’t doing anything he is not supposed to be doing and B-Cat isn’t screaming for her 35th helping of crunchies that night. Tonight was not one of those nights.  Three out of four of us may have been in tears at one point, there may have been a forceful teethbrushing session with an uncooperative toddler and B-Cat may still not have her desired amount of crunchies in her bowl.

Lucy’s six month check up was a week ago and I staved off any discussion of sleep training or modifications for Lucy stating that things were good.  She went to bed between 8-9pm, she slept until 1-2am, ate and then slept until 5-6am.  Would I prefer a 7-7 schedule?  Sure, but I also like feeding Lucy.  I like cuddling with her.  I miss her during the day.  I can’t feed her at lunch time anymore.  It is unclear if we’ll have more kids and everyday I am aware that this may be the last time I do X with a baby.  The doctor told us that if we were happy, that was fine and there was nothing showing that children who were “sleep trained” performed any differently in life than those who were not.  Sweet.  Lucy and I would keep on doing how we do.

Then Lucy got a cold last week.  And was up every 90 minutes.  I realized that we just can’t keep doing what we’ve been doing. So I’ve been researching sleep (do you know about ISIS Parenting?  It is the most amazing thing in the world.  I love the webinars, I love their attitude and I just love the information.  Follow Nancy Holtzman on Twitter.  She is a treasure.) Lucy is still in our bedroom.  This is partly because we dragged our feet on getting a crib and figuring out how to put two kids in one room.  The other part is my refusal to accept that Lucy is already at the point where she isn’t my little baby who can be cuddled and snuggled and sleep wherever.   (Honestly, maybe back to my hippie flag waving, but I’d co-sleep with her if there wasn’t already a husband, beagle and cat in bed with us.  I love bringing her into bed with us.)  But it is becoming clear that being in our room, nursing her to sleep, not having a dark quiet place for her to fall asleep, this is all preventing her from sleeping through the night.

So tonight I fed her separate from bedtime and didn’t nurse her to sleep.  We both cried a bit about it as I held her and tried to offer the pacifier instead as she worked at falling asleep.  We put together her crib and she’ll start sleeping in it tomorrow night. I’m still really torn.  The logical part of me knows that this move is what is best for her, especially with another child and two full time working parents.  The emotional part of me?  I’m just not okay with it.  I don’t know how to balance the two.  Maybe all the crazy emotionalness will go away with sleep, but I think the realization that with or without my permission Lucy is going to grow up (and do it quickly) is one with which I just need to get on board.

PS – Lucy’s crib is still in the office until she is a more reliable sleeper so she won’t wake Lila up.  There is a spare bed in the office.  It is entirely possible I sneak in there to sleep and listen to her breath more than once or twice a week.

Feeling My Age

I am the youngest person in my office by a good couple of years.  This keeps me feeling pretty young.  Andrew and I are on the younger side of the parental crowd at the day care center, not so much so that we feel out of place but we feel just right.  But there are times that I truly feel my age.  (Which is sadly very close to 35 these days.  Really.  Really. Close.)

The other day while feeding Lucy at day care one of her day care teachers was talking about her upcoming birthday.  She was turning 25 and she was talking as if her life was over.  All the things she hadn’t done before turning 25.  How it was a quarter century.  She hadn’t even been to Europe.  Needless to say, I felt pretty old in that moment.

Other times that have made me feel old lately include, in no particular order:

– my inability to follow what the hell is happening on True Blood (I blame the introduction of fairies)

– the new Kanye album (I’ve tried, I am officially too old to enjoy it)

– my reaction to the “semi-formal” clothes the kids wear these days

– staying up past 9pm on a Friday night seems pretty ridiculous.

– the fact that my cat – who I adopted in law school – will be 12 on Friday.  A pre-teen.  (And a moody one at that.)

I know I’m not that old. But I’m not that young either.  And I’ve only been to Europe once. . .

Pregnant Sleep Habits

Talking about the sleeping habits of pregnant women is really to talk about the lack of sleep.  The lack of sleep is very frustrating – made only more frustrating by the fact that many people tell you “sleep while you can” before the baby arrives.  (Not surprisingly people don’t tell you this when you already have a kid.  I guess they 1) assume you know what you are getting into and 2) know you probably aren’t sleeping already.)   Sure pregnancy is making it difficult for me to sleep, but I think there may be other factors contributing to my lack of sleep.  I think this pictorial representation may help to clear up why sleeping is sometimes difficult.

So as you can see, things tend to be a little uneven in bed.  A has a decent amount of personal space.  (A would like it noted that his beard connects to his hair and that he does not have a goatee as this picture may suggest.)  Cal likes to sleep curled up in a puppy ball behind my legs.  This is great until I want to roll over.  Or if I get warm.  Or if Cal decides he no longer wants to be in a ball and stre-e-tches his legs out.   B-Cat likes to be nested in my hair.  This is not so comfortable for me, she tends to drool.  She also likes to pad my hair until she gets really comfy.  This isn’t bad when she does it around 10pm when I am settling into bed.  But when she goes exploring at night and returns around 2am, it can be a bit more disruptive.  Oh, and A’s a snorer.

So you see, I can’t put all the blame on BE2 (though she should shoulder some part of it), it’s quite the community bed in our house.  A has suggested that we move the pets out of the bed, but at this point, I’m not sure I’d be able to sleep any more with them out of the bed than I do with them in it.  Only 6 more weeks of pregnancy to go (followed by at least a few weeks of newborn sleep.  I mean I seem to recall it just being a few weeks with LC, right?) and then my sleep should return to normal – or as normal as our family bed will allow.

Driving On With or Without Murphy

Because I tend not to be one to suffer in silence, I’m usually pretty vocal when A goes away and I’m left with the solo parenting duties. I thought this time would be different – it was three nights and three mornings. So much less than the Taiwan trip at the start of the summer and I was no longer in the misery of the first trimester of pregnancy. I was sure I’d be just fine to just drive on through the week. While thinking this, I read Brandy’s post over at Mannly Mama about Murphy’s Laws of parenting. I should have been forewarned there. (For the record, Brandy has a 3 year old and a newborn and still blogs every day in awesome style. I know, amaze-balls.)

Tuesday evening went well enough until LC refused to go to bed. I tried to ride it out – sometimes she just fusses a bit before putting herself to sleep. I decided to jump in the shower and take 5 minutes to see if she would calm down without intervention. No such luck. I also tried to talk to her through the baby monitor, which is advertised as being able to soothe babies without having to enter the room. For the record, this most definitely made things worse. Perhaps the only thing worse than being in a dark room by yourself wanting your momma, is being in a dark room by yourself wanting momma and a disembodied voice telling you to just go to sleep. A little cuddling and soothing and explaining once again why Dada was not there, she went down. An hour after we started.

I headed to bed, where I made the mistake of not listening to my body which was exhausted at 8:45 and stayed up until 10-ish. I had just rolled over, with the pregnancy pillow finally in a comfortable position, when A called to let me know he was safely in NY. In the middle of our chat, B-Cat let out a horrific yell from the bathroom – I ran in to find that she was fighting with a cat (I hope it was a cat) through the open bathroom window. (There was a screen between them.) All this cat ruckus woke the dog who decided to run upstairs and request to be let outside to explore. (Cal never wakes up after going to bed in the evening. He has the most dependable bedtime routine there is, so this getting up was unusual.) Gathering everyone back in bed, I went to sleep, the sweet sounds of House Hunters on the tv to help lull me to sleep.

And that is exactly where I was at 2am when the baby monitor lit up and LC started to wail. I waited 10 seconds to see if it would pass, but alas, no such luck. Rolling over, I picked up the video monitor to see if (fingers crossed) she was lying down and crying, in which case she was much more likely to cry it out and go back to sleep in a few, or if she was standing up. Of course, she was up. Up to her room I went, where a complicated system of backrubs and cuddles commenced. After she had been asleep on my chest for 15 minutes, I attempted to place her back in the crib. As soon as she sensed that her cheek was now on the cool sheets of her crib and not on Momma’s chest, she catapulted into a seated position and started to wail again. Complicated system restarted. As I attempted to transfer her to the crib again, I heard a familiar sound on the stairs. Yes, Cal was up again – and wanted to go out. And he wanted me to know this. Cold sheets combined with doggie whines meant LC was not sleeping again.

I gathered everyone up and we all trudged into my room. “Dog-goo? Dada?” LC narrated as I tried to arrange everyone in bed, as well as building a pillow wall on A’s side of the bed so that LC could sleep without falling out of the bed. After all, she was happy sleeping on my chest, she would surely be happy sleeping next to me in bed. And she was. FORTY FIVE MINUTES LATER. She decided a bed filled with Meow (what she calls B-Cat), Dog-goo, Momma and at least a thought of Dada was the perfect place for a slumber party. She didn’t want to chat about boys, instead we chatted a great deal about Meow, milk and apples. Around 4am, she quieted down and fell asleep.

This was not last night.  Note the perfectly asleep baby when Dada is around
Until 6am when the sun came up. We have blackout shades in LC’s room, but not ours. (Buying and installing them is perpetually on our to do list.) I was lying on my side, with my back to LC – so as the sun came up she felt she had no choice but to climb on me, pat my head and say “Momma? Dada? Meow? Dog-goo? Milk? Apple?” I tried to insist it was still sleepy time, but she had me. The sun was up and so must we be. I placed her on the ground and told her to give Momma one minute and then we’d go get milk. I walked into the bathroom, only to find the floor wet. Really wet. While pondering why the bathroom floor was wet, I slipped, fell, bruising my foot and my knee. Awesome. Sitting on the ground, wet, confused as to what had happened and wondering how one makes it through the day with about 5 hours sleep, I steeled myself and said, I can do this. I got up, made a mental plan and committed to getting to work in plenty of time for my 9am meeting, instead of cancelling and working from home for the day like I really wanted to do. (And by work from home, I mean take LC to day care in my yoga pants, then come home and go back to bed for 2 hours.)
LC and I rallied, discovered I’d left the diaper sprayer in the upstairs bathroom on (hence the leak to the master bath), mopped up the water as best I could, got everyone dressed and fed and we were out the door. As I stood in the Starbucks line waiting for my ½ caff venti skinny caramel macchiato (and wondering just how much I would stunt the growth of my unborn child if I went all caff. . . ) I checked my email to discover my 9am meeting cancelled. Murphy’s Law indeed.

Pets Have Idols Too

As I mentioned on Facebook earlier today (wait, you didn’t know we were on Facebook?  You should follow us over there.  Go ahead, we’ll wait.) Anyway, as I mentioned on Facebook and Twitter (what?  Oh yes, we’re on Twitter too.  Lots of adorable photos of LC there too.)  Ok, so we were talking about in a variety of places today that Idol’s theme tonight was The Year You Were Born, a household favorite around here.  Last year we discussed the amazing Idol duet A and I wanted to do from the Year We Were Born.  Even though they are all too young to take part in the American Idol competition, I thought it would be fun to explore what Cal, B-Cat and LC might choose to sing as a song from the year of their birth.

B-Cat – though a lady never reveals her age, I think B-Cat is proud of how good she looks for having been born in 2001.  B-Cat is a complicated individual so it is hard to find one song that best represents who she would be as an artist.  Looking at the choices of top singles of 2001, she might go with Fallin’ by Alicia Keys (B-Cat is fascinated by gravity), Ride Wit Me by Nelly (she is from St. Louis) or Lady Marmalade (she is very into girl power).  Ultimately though, I think she would choose Walk On By by U2.  B-Cat’s cool like that, just walk on by everyone, nothing to see here but enormous vocal talent.

Cal – born in 2008,  Cal is a fun loving dog who knows when it is time to take things seriously.  Pocket Full of Sunshine from Natasha Bedingfield may show off his personality, but I don’t know if it would be a good example of his musical point of view. I think Cal would need something to show off his full range.  Maybe Rihanna’s Take a Bow?  Ultimately I think Taylor Swift’s Teardrops on my Guitar would be a great way for Cal to show his vocal talents and really perform the song so that it represent HIM and no one else.

LC – LC is a happy, easy going baby.  She loves to play with her friends and I think her spirit may be encapsulated in the song Fireworks by Katy Perry.  She always loved a good dance song when she was an inside baby (we’d rock out on our commute home) so she could play to the judges with J.Lo’s On the Floor.  Ultimately, I think she’d choose Born This Way from Lady Gaga because she likes the message and the song.  A lover of humanity that LC. 

Marching Once Again

Looking around the blog lately, have you noticed anything new? Look a little to the right.  No, not my right, your right.  See it?  Exactly!  The March for Babies ticker with an adorable photo of me, LC and A.  This year’s Puget Sound’s March for Babies will be on May 5 and LC’s Team is  looking forward to raising money for the March of Dimes

There are many places to read about all the ways March of Dimes touched our family, not to mention how they could help prevent another premature birth for any future children we may have.  As we get closer to the March, I hope to be able to highlight some of the other families touched by the March of Dimes and who would be benefited from your support of LC’s Team in this year’s March.

Let’s start with Kieran Wittstruck, the National March of Dimes Ambassador for 2012.  Adorable Kieran was born at 31 weeks and weighed only 3lbs, 1oz.  He is a healthy 5 year old boy who lives in the Emerald City and runs his own cat spy agency called MEOWS.  (B-Cat is intrigued, she always thought she would be a good spy.) 

LC’s Team is aiming to raise $500 this year – $100 for every day LC spent in the ISCU.  We are confident that we will be able to reach this goal, but won’t be able to do it without support from someone like you.  Click over to our page, look at the adorable photo of LC, and pledge what you can to help support LC’s Team and the March of Dimes.  (If you’re in Seattle, we’d love to have you join our team and walk with us – you’d get to meet Cal too!)

Last Minute Items

As it gets closer and closer to the holiday, I keep thinking of more and more things I need to get done by Christmas Eve.  Today I realized that there were some gifts that I thought about, but hadn’t actually purchased.  When a chewie shortage arose at our house, we had to use Cal’s stocking stuffer bag of flips, so I need to buy something to replace that.  B-Cat is hard to shop for since the dog steals her toys and her IBD means she can’t have treats.  It’s LC’s first Christmas so that clearly means she needs homemade gingerbread, sugar cookies, popcorn stringed garlands, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and I need to find matching pajamas for us to wear Christmas morning.  Oh, and that “reasonable” list of gifts to knit from a few months ago?  I’m 1.5 projects in with 3.5 projects to go.

It won’t all get done.  I’m pretty much ready to say that LC is too young for cookies and that gingerbread is a late Phase 3 item for this Christmas project.  Matching pajamas would be nice, but at this point I would settle for a slightly seasonal set of pajamas to go along with the snowmen ones we already bought LC.  The good thing about the passage of time is that it makes my to do list shorter – either through accomplishment or necessity.

Holiday Favorites

Having a child about to enjoy her first holiday really makes you think about what is important about the holiday and what you want to be sure they experience.  Of course, there is the whole true meaning of the holiday, reason for the season, etc.  That’s important and as this photo of LC playing with her Little People Nativity set shows, we take that part seriously.  (So seriously that the Angel Gabriel is riding a camel on top on the stable. And she may be pounding one of the Wise Men into the ground.  Alas.)photo (1)

But I’m talking about the other holiday stuff.  "Jingle Bells. You know, Santa Claus and ho-ho-ho, and mistletoe and presents to pretty girls.”  So what are some of my favorites I want to share with LC this year?

Tradition:  decorating the tree.  LC sat by us while we did this and did try to eat the Duke basketball ornament, but I’m not sure the specialness of my favorite tradition was truly appreciated.  For now I will just be happy that she has not attempted to take down the tree or eat any lights.

Christmas song*:  I am excited to take LC to midnight mass and listen to the carols at our church.  There is always something so warm and cozy about Christmas night mass and the carols.  I love O Come All Ye Faithful.  Sure, part of my excitement is that I expect that LC will sleep through the entire mass for the first time in a long while, but I know how special sharing this with her and A will be this year.

Ballet:  Ok, so there is probably really only one Christmas ballet, but I cannot wait to bring LC.  (I may have tried to get A to let me take LC to the Nutcracker this year, but he suggested that the $60 tickets might be wasted at this point in her life)  My mom used to take me to the Nutcracker every year.  Last year when we found out we were having a girl, A asked me what I was most looking forward to and it was taking her to the Nutcracker.

Food:  Egg nog.  In many forms.  A wise man once said, ‘Tis the season. . .We only get thirty sweet noggy days. Then the government takes it away again.”  In my coffee, in my cookies, straight up.  A hates it, so I don’t even have to share.  I guess LC needs to wait to enjoy this benefit of the holiday season, but for now she’ll have to take my word for it.

Photos: Exploitative photos of Cal and B-Cat at the holidays have already brought a great deal of joy to us.  We will not let a baby slow us down.

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* Maybe my favorite Christmas song is Please Be Home for Christmas by the Eagles.  Ok, it’s not even that.  It’s Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses.  O Come All Ye Faithful is a close third though.

Agile Pets

Cal is a very agile dog.  He has been doing agility for over a year now and has moved up to the highest level of classes offered at the Seattle Humane Society.  He excels at many obstacles, especially that weave poles.  His weaknesses on the courses are 90% of the time due to handler error, with the exception of the turkey incident from last weekend.

 

However, having spent all this time and energy with Cal, I just learned that we may be neglecting another agile pet.  Cat agility is apparently not just a thing, but becoming popular. This article, which is very enjoyable, pointed to many exciting YouTube videos, which I will share with you now.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that. . .

 – a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

– Seattle weather is like child birth.  No matter how many days in a row it has rained, when the sun comes out you forget all about it.

– there are some people you will never please and eventually you will stop trying.

– even if you lose all the baby weight, you will still not fit in your clothes because your hips and boobs are just not the same anymore.

– just when you think you’ve figured out how to keep the cat in the house, she finds another way to sneak outside.

– when people say something to upset you, it is more about them then it is about you.  (I don’t know if this is universally acknowledged but A told me it yesterday and I heard it on Oprah once.  So for me A + Oprah = universally acknowledged.)

– when you think the baby has a schedule down, she decides that schedule is no longer to her liking.

– even if you look good in maternity skinny jeans, the same may not be true post-baby.

– middle America controls American Idol voting blocks.

– no matter how miserable and rainy your day has been, an infant wearing pandas on her feet will always make it better.   (sorry for the grainy cell phone pick, I just had to share the feeties!)