Monday, June 27, 2011

Sleeping is for the Cows

So, I wish this sleep update would be all about my boy, Noah. But really, he's doing great! He usually sleeps a 3 to 5 1/2 hour stretch first and then a 2 to 3 hour stretch. Not bad for 7 weeks old. I'll take it!

The real reason I'm writing this is my darling daughter, Abigail. She's struggling, poor soul. Please forgive any typos or things that don't make sense in this. It's been a long night.

I have heard from several people that having to retrain a toddler to sleep is fairly common. I just never thought it would happen to me and with a newborn! Whew!

Anyway, I guess the reason I was so self-assured that toddler sleep training would never be a big issue for me is that we have always been very consistent with bedtime and nighttime. The routine has been the same for years (literally) and my daughter has never gotten away with much at bedtime or during the night.

My husband is a little easier on her at night but we've still never let her sleep in our bed or anywhere else but her bed, for that matter. Yet we have spent many nights over the past two or three weeks saying "No, you cannot try to fall asleep in our bed" after she has asked to do this repeatedly. Where do kids get this stuff?

"We" (by that I mean Daddy) have recently told her that if she can't fall asleep right away she can turn on her light and read a book. Big mistake! I knew this and was hesitant to start it but she was having a hard time falling asleep when she napped during the day and I wanted to be sympathetic. When I hear her "reading" at 1:30 am, it's not okay with me. Someday she'll share a room with her sister, hopefully, and she'll need to learn that if she can't sleep, she needs to just lay still and relax and not disturb others.

We are having a hard time explaining the difference between waking us up for an "emergency" (in my definition is blood, poop, or puke) and waking us up for attention. Last night the first visit to our room by Abigail was to tell us that she had falled out of bed. Seriously. The girl walked all the way out of her room, down the hall, up the stairs and into our room to tell us this instead of just getting back in bed. Wow!

Then it was the "potty" break. She does this frequently and during "quiet time" too. She says she has to do #2 and therefore needs our attention to clean up at the end. She and Daddy sat in the bathroom for 15 minutes last night and . . .nothing. I probably could have told you that before she even started but I'd hate to be wrong and have a mess on my hands.

I finally just said to her last night, after her 3 or 4th trip upstairs that she had to stay in her room, with the light off, closing her eyes and not reading. I think my husband thinks I'm harsh but honestly, you can't sleep with your eyes open and turning on lights only stimulates you and makes it harder to fall asleep. She then proceeded to lose her paci and cry for it since she couldn't turn on the light to find it. Manipulate much?! Wow! She's a smart kid.

Anyway, after that episode I told her that if I heard her crying for her paci again, I would take them away . . . for good. No more out of her then.

I have spent the morning, on and off, reading about helping your toddler sleep and sleep training. They are all pretty unified in one thing . . . consistency. Which is great news, actually because that's something I'm good at. We'll see how the next few nights go. I'm also going to try to respond less - and hopefully with less emotion and frustration too.

In the meantime . . .

I'm sleepy! Sitting down anywhere for any length of time is not good because I'll be asleep.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Things I'm learning . . .

I have so many blog posts that run through my head . . . mostly at night! I hope to really sit down and write a good one soon. Perhaps Noah's birth story. In the meantime bullets will have to do.

Things I'm learning as a mother of three children who are 3 and under . . .

  • It does no good for me to get upset/emotional. Remaining calm when one is misbehaving or whining or crying is much more helpful. It's not always easy and some days I'm better at it than others.
  • It's hard when your 3-yr-old who shouldn't be napping does nap. Whew. I'm tired. Got up with her 4+ times last night.
  • You have to clean and cook in 5 minute segments because that's all you'll have.
  • It does no good to soothe yourself with a box of natural oreos . . . you'll just be annoyed at your fat and out-of-shape self later. (Thanks Weight Watchers).
  • It is almost comical how long it takes me just to get the kids ready to go outside to swing. I almost wish I had a witness! :)
  • Mommy guilt is a daily battle for me. Am I doing the right activities for each child and their particular age? Are they getting enough social stimulation (when it's so much easier just to stay home?)? Am I parenting in the right way? Do they pick up when I'm just annoyed that there are so many needs to be met?
These are the sweet days, however. I'm doing my best to enjoy things . . . even the hard moments. This poem is always on my mind . . .

Babies Don’t Keep
by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton

Mother, O Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She’s up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I’ve grown as shiftless as Little Boy Blue,
Lullabye, rockabye, lullabye loo.
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
Pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo

The shopping’s not done and there’s nothing for stew
And out in the yard there’s a hullabaloo
But I’m playing Kanga and this is my Roo
Look! Aren’t his eyes the most wonderful hue?
Lullabye, rockaby lullabye loo.

The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow
But children grow up as I’ve learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep.

So . . . I'm going to do just that. Now, which baby do I choose to rock is the question?! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I dare you not to cry!

Let Me Hold You Longer

a poem by Karen Kingsbury

Long ago you came to me,

a miracle of firsts;

First smiles and teeth and baby steps,

a sunbeam on the burst.

But one day you will move away and leave to me your past

And I will be left thinking of a lifetime of your lasts.

The last time that I held a bottle to your baby lips

The last time that I lifted you and held you on my hip,

The last night when you woke up crying,

Needing to be walked,

When last you crawled up with your blanket

Wanting to be rocked.

The last time when you ran to me still small enough to hold

The last time when you said you’d marry me when you grew old.

Precious simple moments and bright flashes from your past

Would I have held on longer if I’d known they were your last?

Our last adventure to the park, your final midday nap

The last time when you wore your favorite faded baseball cap.

Your last few hours of kindergarten, last days of first grade,

Your last at bat in Little League, last colored picture made.

I never said goodbye to all your yesterdays long past

So what about tomorrow? Will I recognize your lasts?

The last time that you catch a frog in that old backyard pond

The last that you ran barefoot across our fresh-cut lawn

Silly, scattered moments and bright flashes from your past

I keep on taking pictures, never quite sure of your last.

The last time that I comb your hair or stop a pillow fight,

The last time that I tuck you in and pray with you at night.

The last time when we cuddled with a book just me and you,

The last time you jump in our bed and sleep between us two.

The last piano lesson, the last vacation to the lake

Your last few weeks of middle school, last soccer goal you make.

I look ahead and dream of days that haven’t come to pass

But as I do I sometimes miss today’s sweet precious lasts.

The last time that I help you with a math or spelling test

The last time when I shout that “Yes! Your room is still a mess!”

The last time that you need me for a ride from here to there

The last time that you spend the night with your old tattered bear.

My life keeps moving faster, stealing precious days that pass

I want to hold on longer, want to recognize your lasts.

The last thing that you need my help with, details of a dance,

And the last time that you asked me for advice about romance.

The last time that you talked to me about your hopes and dreams

The last time that you wear a jersey for your high school team.

I’ve watched you grow and barely noticed seasons as they pass

If I could freeze the hands of time, I’d hold onto your lasts.

For come some bright fall morning, you’ll be going far away

College life will beckon in a brilliant sort of way

One last hug, one last goodbye, one quick and hurried kiss,

One last time to understand just how much you’ll be missed.

I’ll watch you leave and think how fast our time together passed

So let me hold on longer, God, to every precious last.

*It didn't help that I was scanning my husband's family pictures when I found this poem today. It's a great reminder that even though these days are long and sometimes challening, they are also the good days, the sweet days. I'm cherishing every moment (almost!) and I hope I continue to do that!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A No "TV" Day

We are having something amazing happen in our home today. It's a no "tv" day with the kids. I didn't plan it . . . it's just happening.

I never wanted to be one of those moms who constantly plopped her kids in front of the TV. In fact I don't watch much TV. However the circumstances of my pregnancy led me to find lots of children's programs on Netflix streaming. I remember feeling terribly guilty during my early pregnancy for letting my daughter watch Dora episode after Dora episode but I could hardly help it.

I was unconscious for most of it. So exhausted on the couch that I hardly noticed she kept pushing the play button after every episode was over.

After the extreme nausea and exhaustion was over, we did better with the TV but still not great.

Then late pregnancy came. I hate the feeling of "how can I make it through the day with my two kids". The TV saved me when it came to those days - especially in the last few weeks. They at least were safe and not getting into anything.

Then we had a new baby. I was feeling better but still tired, etc. It's now 4:15 and they haven't watched a speck of TV today. It's nice.

I'm not saying that I'll be in this state every day. After all, it takes much more effort and creativity on my part but I love the progress we're making. I hear lots of playing and that's a wonderful thing!!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The after effects . . .

I am experiencing something wonderful. After my most difficult, painful, nauseating, tiring, etc, etc, etc, pregnancy to date (and I think we're done with all that), I am experiencing a new phenomenon!

I feel great!

Yes, I'm tired and yes, I have three kids 3 and under but physically, I feel great. I can finally carry out what my ambitious mind desires! :)

It's Tuesday at 2:00 pm in the afternoon and I have only one load of laundry left to do and one load of laundry left to fold for the week. The kitchen is clean and mopped and most of the other rooms are in decent shape. It's wonderful!

If I were sleeping all night (or more than 3 hours at a time) I think I would feel like flying! I certainly hope this feeling never goes away but I will probably slack off in time and get used to feeling good again.

But for now . . . can I get a "yeah" for not being pregnant?! Woo hoo!

Friday, June 10, 2011

1 month

Dear Noah (aka Noey - as your sis calls you),

You are one month old today. You are a joy to me! I have received some of your wonderful first smiles in the past few days and they thrill me to no end. Your daddy is so proud of you. Each day it seems he tells me something he's planning to do with you. I hope you like camping because I'm sure he'll be taking you as soon he can! Yesterday he told me that he plans to build a go-cart with you! Be warned! :)

Abigail can be in the most sour of moods but if she sees you, she instantly perks up and starts cooing in her motherly tone (hi baby Noah, hi little buddy). It's pretty cute.

Elsie doesn't know how long you're going to hang around but she does enjoy giving you "kisses" and exploring all the ways to upset mama by being rough with you. Her favorite is the good ole' eye poke! We're trying to keep her from totally beating you up before you can fight back!

We love you so much, Noah. Welcome to our family.

Love you my boy,


Monday, June 06, 2011


Andrew took this picture of me and Noah on May 29th.

My boy is growing and I so want time to slow down! I know I can't keep him small forever but I'd be okay if he stayed small longer! I am definitely having issues knowing that this is more than likely our last child. With the other two I'd try to get them to nap in their cribs, get stressed if they didn't sleep at night, and easily lose patience with the older ones if they took away time from the baby. Not this time. I am spending as much time with my precious baby as I can. I don't mind getting up multiple times at night because I get to see him.

I'm also making sure to be purposeful with my older two babies as well - what precious girls they are! I really thought I'd be terribly stressed with three but I feel so easy going and relaxed (not two words I would have EVER used to describe myself) that it's crazy.

Well, all kids are napping and I have clothes to fold so this post will be short but I just want to say that I'm definitely experiencing some baby bliss. My kids bring me such joy (and yes, stress too, of course) so I want time to slow down so I can enjoy their littleness!