Sunday, April 29, 2012

Every action has an equal and. . . blah blah blah

I have taught my son well. This time.

This morning, when Peanut fell over, bumping her head, he didn't run over to her and ask if she was ok and coddle her. Because he is a mimic and copies everything I do. And I'm not a coddler.

He threw himself on the floor next to her, started clapping and said, "Nice one, Peanut!"

And instead of crying, she laughed.

It's all in how you react.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sleeping Like a Baby

A few weeks ago, I put out an APB on Facebook for all my Mommy friends.

Would someone - anyone - please help me figure out how to get my baby girl to sleep.

She was waking two, three, four times a night, screeching. Loud, animal screeching that was impossible to ignore and painful to hear. She also was napping during the day once, maybe twice a day, for about 1/2 an hour each time. Not enough for an 8 month old baby.

Rocking didn't help. Nursing didn't help. Medicines didn't help. Crying and yelling with her didn't help.

So since nothing I knew worked, I changed my Facebook status to something like "New mother needs help. And sleep. Please. . . . please. . . ."

I think it was just desperate enough to get attention.

And for maybe the second time in my life as a mother, I read a parenting book. The suggestion was the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley.

Immediately, I was struck by affirmation in my mothering skills. All  this time I had been told my others - other mothers, older mothers, friends with kids - that crying it out is the only way to get a child to sleep. That sometimes babies just need to cry, and that is OK.

I have never believed them.

I feel that if a baby cries, there is something wrong. Babies don't just cry for the sheer joy of crying. They are crying because they are hungry or wet or hurting or tired or wanting to play. They don't cry just to drive you crazy bonkers. Although that is definitely the result.

In reading No Cry Sleep Solution, I finally felt that my instincts were correct, my nurturing nature justified. The book details exactly what I had always thought - my baby is crying, so my baby needs something. Find out what it is.

Unfortunately. the help stopped there.

No Cry Sleep Solution became the Won't-Stop-Crying-Why-Won't She-Sleep-There-Is-No-Solution.

Although I still felt affirmed.

Then another friend, with kids the same age as mine and sleeping problems the same as mine, recommended the 90 minute Sleep Solution by Polly Moore.

So for the third time in my life, I read a parenting book.

Again, my skills were affirmed, in that this book also agreed that crying it out is not the only way to get a child to sleep, and has been shown to not even be the best way to get your child to sleep. Good thing, too, because as much as I can't function on little sleep, I absolutely can't function when my baby is screaming.

This book struck me instantly, as it was technical instead of emotion; it uses science to explain a child's sleep cycle. And it is so simple that I can't believe I had never heard it before.

Children - and adults too, to a certain extent - are on a 90 minute sleep cycle. Pretty much, within a 90 minute time frame, their energy levels change and different body cycles kick in. Some babies need a nap every 90 minutes after waking. Some may go 180 minutes (Two 90 minute cycles) or 270 (Three 90 minute cycles).

Parents who have their children on a strict schedule (Nap at 10 and 2, Bed at 730) may not be taking into account this 90 minute sleep cycle. A baby that wakes at 630 am may need a nap by 8 or 930, but keeping them up until the 10:00 nap time might actually hinder their sleep, moving them into a different body cycle and thus keeping them from sleeping as well, or for as long.

It sounded simple to me, so, despite misgivings from others, I canceled all activities for a few days and tried putting Peanut to sleep every 90 (or 180) minutes.

And it worked.

It worked, people. It worked.

Her two 1/2 hour naps a day (!!) became two - or three - hour and a half naps. Her nighttime sleeping went from waking up three or four times to waking up once - if at all. And those nighttime wakings? No more were they banshee screeching of a baby in pain, they were baby cries of hunger that were soon sated. And they occurred almost exactly 90 minutes after putting her down, on cue with her sleep cycle.

It was so simple, so easy. All I had to do was watch the clock, and 80 minutes after she woke up, start slowing her activities down, mellowing her out. Then, at 90 minutes, walk in her room and start her "sleep time cues". (Music, White Noise Humidifier, Shhhh-ing.)

After a few days of her falling asleep almost instantly when we started her sleep time cues, I began the next step: putting her to sleep groggy, but awake. So she could learn to put herself to sleep.

It didn't always work, but the book had prepared me for this. Nothing works perfectly every time, so why should we expect parenting to be any different? But over the next week, I would put her in her crib groggy but awake at least every other time. From which she would then put herself to sleep.

And it was a beautiful thing.

I won't say that she sleeps through the night every night. But those moments of screaming are gone. If she wakes - once every couple of nights or so - it is the crying of a hungry baby, or a baby startled out of sleep and then crying herself back to sleep in a few short minutes.

Now, she sleeps like a baby. Or, at least, like we all wish a baby would

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Three going on Thirteen

So I know that when we get to the teenage years, life is going to be rough. Terribly rough. That the terrible two's are nothing when it comes to teenage stuff. (Really?! Really?!)

But, seriously. . .  does he have to start now with the "nothing's"?

"Bjorn, what did you do at daycare today?"


This is accompanied by a shrug. A shrug using his little 2 3/4 year old shoulders that look just like his dad's must have 30 years ago.

"Did you play cars?" "Nope." "Pet the dogs?" "Nope." "Read a book?" "Nope."

"Did you do anything at daycare?" "Nope."

"Well, what do you want to do tomorrow?"


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My Baby Can Beat Up Your Baby

At my gym daycare, appointments have to be made in advance to get Peanut into the infant room. Only 8 babies at a time can be in the room and they can't move up to the non-reservation needed big kid room until one year old, or walking.

So imagine my surprise when I picked up the kiddos, and found Peanut sitting in the big kid room, happily playing with toddler toys.

Because she had been kicked out of the infant room for pulling all the other babies hair. And crawling on top of them. And trying to pull herself up using their arms/legs/nose/ears as a grabber.

My little 20th percentile baby was kicking the crap out of all the other gym babies.

That's my girl.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Mommy Fail

As Moms, we know that sometimes bad things happen to our kids. Anything from teething to black eyes to tummy aches is something that we could have, should have found a way to prevent. (Could have, should have in a tent?! Could have, should have - with a mint?!)

But that's not the way it works. 

Stuff happens. Life happens. And we Mommies get to do everything we can for the kids who are our everything, but sometimes. . . well. . . life happens.

I got a call from a friend recently. Her one year old son chipped his tooth and she felt it was her fault. That she should have stopped it from happening. 

Like she felt like a crummy Mom. Which she isn't. Not at all.

So, because misery loves company, and because sometimes the best thing someone can say when they feel crummy isn't "Well, I mean, that's just the way it goes." but actually is "Wow! I would never do that!", here are a list of my Mommy fails. Feel free to comment your own, too. 

Because it's not easy being perfect. So I don't even try. Here's proof.


That time I gave my baby boy a sunburn. Inside the house.

That time I cut his fingernails. . . and missed.

That one time he locked himself in his room.

Not the first bruise, and definitely not the last.

Because I don't read Mommy books, I tend to make a few rookie mistakes here and there.

Every time I have yelled or screamed or shook my head in anger and frustration.

And recently. . . that time my daughter started sleeping through the night (of course, when I'm not home at night!) and when The Hubs and I racked our brains trying to figure out why, we realized that he was feeding her 6-7 oz of food a feeding. Whereas I was only doing 2-3. So. . . . she was just hungry. And I had had no idea.

And, last but not least. . . . . . the coup de grace for me. . . . .

Bjorn was about 8 months old or so and pulling himself up. On everything. The Hubs was working late one night and I was emptying the dishwasher. Bjorn crawled over and  - of course - pulled himself up on the open dishwasher door.

I sighed and let him do it, because while normally we don't let him use that to pull himself up (it could break off its hinge! he could reach in for a knife!), I was parenting alone that night, and let's be honest here - when you're parenting alone, sometimes you tend to let a few things slide. Like letting your 8 month old use the dishwasher to stand.

So, I'm unloading the dishwasher, Bjorn is playing around me, and I notice something blue and sticky in the bottom of the dishwasher door.

And something blue and sticky all over Bjorn's mouth.

It takes me a minute, but then my eyes get really wide and I start to do the incredible, silent freak-out.

Because there is a half-eaten Cascade capsule in my dishwasher, blue gunk around my baby's mouth and the rest of the capsule is nowhere to be found.

I immediately call my pediatrician, who advises me to call Poison Control.

The minutes are ticking away here, and all I can think is that I need to do something - give him milk/formula, make him drink water, make him puke. . . .anything!

But I am calm and poised when I talk to PC, because if there is anything serious going on here, they need to be aware of the situation and a hysterical Mom won't help.  PC is very calm, and when the 20 questions are finally over, he gives me a few simple things to do and not to do (keep him awake, don't give fluids for an hour, then give little fluids, etc.).

The capsules are little pieces of soap, so it really isn't all that bad. (But it could have been. He could have had a bad reaction. He could have been allergic to something. He could have choked on the capsule.)

A few days later, I was recounting the event to a co-worker when she told me that something similar happened to her twenty years earlier when her kids were little. Except instead of a dishwasher capsule she found hanging from his mouth, it was an open tube of Super Glue.

Yeah, Super Glue. So, no matter what has happened that you want to prevent, remember. . . . it could always be worse.