Sleep Training Begins Tonight

Our sleep situation has gone from bad to worse.  It took me over an hour to get her to sleep last night and even still she was up every hour until about midnight and then she was up for long stretches.  It’s all a bit of a blur to be honest.  She’s taken two naps today and both times it’s taken me over 30 minutes to get her down.  As much as I’d like to continue nursing her into a deep sleep, I just can’t leave my two year old alone downstairs for that long.

Today I feel completely out of sorts.  I am extremely sleep deprived as these kind of shenanigans have been going on for weeks.

Sweet baby girl, on the other hand, doesn’t seem bothered by the lack of sleep at all. In fact she’s really happy.   I don’t get it.  And because she’s so happy it makes the thought of sleep training her even more unappealing.  I mean, if she’s happy that’s all that matters, right?

I wish it was that simple.

She is extremely attached to nursing to sleep, and I need to break that association.  Not only is it getting harder to unlatch her without waking her, but no one else can put her down.

So starting tonight we are breaking that habit.  And it is not going to be fun.

Here’s the plan:

The new bedtime routine will begin at 6:30 with a bath.  I’ll then nurse her in our room (where her crib is), put her in her pjs, read two books, get her in her sleep sack and sing her her bedtime song (hers is Lavender Blue) while turning out the lights and turning on the sound machine.  And then –  and this is the tricky part – I will lay her in her crib – probably around 7.  She will look up at me, smile, and fall asleep.

There will be no crying.  This whole thing will cause me no anxiety whatsoever.

OK, seriously though, she will cry.  My plan is to do gradual checks.  I’m thinking I’ll play it by ear depending on the cry.  And gradually leave more and more time between checks.

With our son we had to do the full out let him cry because every time we went in he got more and more upset.  I hope this isn’t the case with her.

I don’t intent to cut out night feeds, but only after 4 hours from her last feed.  Any other wakeups I will check and console, like I did at bedtime.

Ugh, I was really hoping to avoid this whole sleep training thing.  I just think the longer I wait, the harder it will be.  I also know, having gone through it with my son, that it works.  The first few days are the hardest but then once she’s used to the new routine bedtime will be a lot less painful for all of us.

Wish us luck!!!! We’re going to need it!!

 

 

 

Anxiety, Moving to a Toddler Bed and Daycare

It’s 6:45 pm and I’m sitting on my couch eating goldfish crackers and drinking wine.  The crackers because we have no food in the house and the wine because it’s been one of those days.  Weeks really.

I felt very anxious today. I haven’t been sleeping because my sweet baby girl has not been sleeping (sleep regression? teething? who knows..) and I know that right there is the root of my anxiety.  I can only do so many nights of really really bad sleep before I start to crack.  I could feel the cracks forming this week and today they got bigger than me.

I was laying in bed with my daughter trying to extend her nap and I could see on the monitor that my son was up jumping, jumping, jumping in his crib.  I had put him down for his nap 30 minutes prior and he was exhausted.  And yet there he was jumping and yelling.  The red bars on the monitor were making me so angry.  And somehow that anger turned into anxiety.

I needed a break today.

So yeah, my son jumps in his crib.  A lot. It’s kind of what he does before he sleeps, which is totally crazy.  And then yesterday when I was changing his sheets I noticed that a piece of the metal grid thing, you know that thing that’s under the mattress, well I noticed that a small part of it is broken.  Not surprising.  I’m actually surprised he hasn’t broken the whole crib yet.  Which I feel could happen really at any point.  He’s not  baby anymore – he’s 2 years and 4 months old – and he really gives his all when he jumps.

So my husband and I have decided that it might be a good time to move him to a toddler bed.  More specifically – a mattress on the floor because I know he’ll try to jump and I don’t want him to hurt himself.

To say I’m nervous about this transition is an understatement.

Our plan is to talk to him about it for a bit before we do it.  We’re going to take him shopping for his bed and let him pick out a new comforter.  We’re then going to move everything out of his room except for a beanbag chair, some books and some stuffed animals – basically anything he can possibly climb or run into and hurt himself on is going.

I’m worried this move will mean the end of naps.  I need him to nap.  But we’ll cross that bridge when we get there I guess.

I also want to move him to a new bed soon because he’ll be experiencing a big change in a few months.  We found a really really great daycare/preschool that he’s going to go to in September.  When we did a tour a few weeks ago my husband and I both got a bit emotional about it.  It’s kind of perfect.

As amazing as it is, I still have mixed feelings about it.  I know it’ll be great for him in a lot of ways, but as hard as some days are, I’m really happy having him home.  He’s so amazing.  He’s talking more and more every day and man that kid is funny.  He’s also sweet and fun and I just love that I get to spend so much time with him.

The downside of having him home is that he demands a lot of my attention and I don’t always get a lot of quality time with my sweet baby girl – which is what I was worried about from the start.  She is such a sweet thing and she adores her big brother.  She is extremely social – she can be super fussy but as soon as I start talking and playing with her she perks right up.

But the biggest issue with having him home, and this comes back to my anxiety, is that I am feeling extremely stretched thin.  I need time to myself during the day and right now that’s just not happening.

 

Houses and Homes

Both babies are napping and I really should be napping too, but sometimes I need this time to think, have a tea and just relax.  Even though I’m exhausted.  Baby girl was up every two hours last night (!) and therefor, so was I.  Plus, my son is no longer in daycare, so I can’t just lay around with her.

But yes, all that to say, I’m tired but need me time more than I need sleep right now.

I wrote a while back that I was needing to think about three things: my marriage, our home, and my job.  Today I am thinking about our home.

I want to move.

I’ve been wanting to move for some time now.  We bought this home 6 years ago thinking we’d only stay 5.  It’s a townhome and it was great for the two of us.  But now that we are a family of 4, it’s just not doing it for me.  Plus, our new neighbours are so noisy and we just so happened to get bugs shortly after they  moved in.  By bugs I mean, cockroaches.  I hate to even write that word because it’s so fucking nasty.  I hate them so much.  Not only are they nasty but they scare the shit out of me.  Too many times I have opened a cupboard  to find one in there.  We bought some industrial stuff and that seemed to work for a bit, but they just keep coming back.  Which isn’t surprising.  If we have them, our neighbours have them.

So yeah, I’m so done living in a townhome.  I want a standalone house with more space, more windows, a backyard, and a big bright kitchen.

I want to be in our family home.

So we’ve been looking and although there are some that have come close, we haven’t found the perfect home yet.

We also have some work to do in our current place.  Like renovate all the bathrooms and do something about the bugs.  Both of these things are currently in motion – we’ve contacted contractors and an exterminator.  So yeah, that’s all happening.

But in the meantime, I want to be happy in my home.  I’m here all the time seeing as I”m on maternity leave and I need to feel comfortable in my space right now.  So there are a couple of things I’ve been working on:

  1. Keeping it super clean.  This is easier said than done with two littles, but it’s super important, especially given then bug situation.  So I often prioritize cleaning over all of the other things.  I have a cleaning schedule that I try to keep to and that works most weeks.  But I’m considering getting a cleaner come in twice a month because I just can’t keep up.
  2. Going minimalist.  I’ve been wanting/trying to do this for some time now.  It’s so hard with kids because people keep giving us shit.  By shit I mean toys.  We have too many toys.  Toys which are currently scattered all over the living room floor.  I do put quite a few away and rotate but ideally I’d like to just get rid of like half of them.  In all other respects we’re pretty minimalist. I try to do a big declutter once a year and that helps to keep things in check.  It also helps that neither my husband nor I like shopping.  I hate spending money and I don’t like buying things that I don’t really need.

I really can’t wait to move though.  This is the longest I’ve stayed in one place and I’m getting antsy.  I also really really want a back yard for the summer.  It would just make my life a lot easier.  I can take my son outside to do some much needed running around while the baby naps.

Speaking of which, they are both still napping – though baby girl has been waking after 45 minutes, and if she does this again that means I only have seven minutes left to myself.  Fingers crossed she’ll go longer!

Overwhelmed

Today I was feeling very overwhelmed.  Both kids were losing their shit at the same time and I could’t be two places at once.  I’m pretty sure my baby girl is teething and she didn’t sleep well because her big brother was freaking out and he woke her up.  My two year old has just been totally insane the last few days.  He’ll be super happy one minute and next thing you know toys are flying across the room and he’s biting the kitchen chair out of frustration.

When my husband got home from work he tried to help but my toddler only wanted mom.  He screamed when my husband tried to get him milk.  Only I could get him milk.  And the baby only wanted to be in my arms.  I was nursing her and my son wanted me to colour with him.  My husband said he would and the toddler screamed “MOM!” and then threw his crayons.

WFT dude?!

I put the baby girl down for a nap at 4 and took my son out for a walk and it was nice, but I couldn’t relax.  I felt so tense and frustrated.

While I was putting the kids to bed I felt angry.  It took the baby 40 minutes to fall asleep even though she was super tired (probably because she was super tired) and I could feel the anger rising.  I noticed it and tried to just breathe, but my breath was sticking.

I still feel like I can’t get a deep breath.

I know I’m lucky because today was not how every day is.  Usually my baby girl is so sweet and happy.  My little guy is usually a lot of fun.  He loves to play and laugh and he makes me laugh so much.  Rarely are they both freaking out at the same time.

And I know that I should have taken more time to myself this morning while she slept.  Instead I cleaned the bathroom, organized my sons toys, and I don’t remember what else, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something that nurtured me.

Now that they’re sleeping, I’m going to do some relaxing yoga, have a cup of tea (who am I kidding, it’ll be another glass of wine) and then head to bed.  Hopefully I’ll get a good night’s sleep so that I can handle whatever comes my way tomorrow.

 

Tired

I kept my two year old home again today.  Normally he goes to daycare in the mornings, but after what happened on Monday I just don’t really want him with her anymore.  So I kept him home.

We had a great morning, but holy shit I’m tired.  Toddlers are serious energy suckers.  And my three month old is teething – early I know, but my son started getting teeth at four months so I’m not surprised – so she’s bit a little fussy and wanting to comfort nurse a lot.  Which is also very tiring.  Her sleep has been weird too – last night she finally settled at 10 pm only to get up twice in the night and then start the day at 7.

So yeah, I’m a little tired today.

But happy.

I love spending time with my son.  I think he is just the coolest, funniest, and sweetest little person.  He’s also great with his little sister so I don’t feel like there’s any jealousy and if I need to tend to her he’s pretty good about it.

I’m also happy that they are both napping.  Well, my son is jumping and jib jabbering in his crib, but he’ll be asleep soon (I hope!).

So I think, I can do this.  I can have him home.  Maybe I don’t need to figure out another daycare option.

But the real question is, do I want to do this every day?  I get very little time to myself to recharge and I need that.  And today was a good day, but not every day is like this.  A lot of days are filled with crying and tantrums and just chaos and very little room to breathe.

I need days where I can just breathe.

I went to talk to my neighbour today to see if she would be willing to come by a few mornings a week to help out.  She can take just my son to the park, or stay here with the baby, or even just watch both of them while I go for a walk/get a massage/grab a coffee/feel normal.  And then maybe she’ll stay on full time when I go back to work.

If I go back to work…

No, I have to go back to work …. eventually.

A lot to ponder, but first, coffee.  Thank god for baby naps and coffee.

The Crazy Things I Did as a New Mom

Sometimes I think back to the first few months of my son’s life and think: what was I thinking?   I was not myself and I did some crazy things.  Some of these things are  just funny, and some were stemmed from my severe anxiety – so not so funny.  Here are some of those things:

  • In that first week I would put on movies at night so that I wouldn’t fall asleep while he slept on me.
  • I yelled at my husband because he fell asleep on the couch with the baby on him.  I yelled while they were both sleeping – the baby woke up crying and I scared my husband so much he jumped, yeah, with the baby on him.
  • I had a timer next  to the chair I nursed my son in to make sure that he nursed for 20 minutes – and no less – on each boob.
  • I used to let my son sleep on me for every nap for an entire year.
  • When we finally got him sleeping in his crib I checked on him every 10 minutes.  I finally stopped when I realized I was waking him up.
  • I would wake up frantic looking for my baby thinking he was in bed with me when really he was sleeping soundly in his crib.  This went on for months.
  • When we were introducing food I would scream for my husband every time my son gagged even the slightest on his food.
  • I  made him broccoli pops.  They’re like popsicles, only with broccoli and water.  Nothing else.
  • I cried because I took my son out in the rain.
  • When he was 4 months old I flew with him and while landing I was more concerned with shoving the pacifier in his mouth so that his ears wouldn’t pop than supporting his head.
  • I was so sleep deprived I poured orange juice into my coffee instead of cream.  I dumped it out and made a new coffee only to do the exact same thing again.

I’m happy to report that I am much more sane the second time around.  I honestly don’t think I’ve done anything ‘crazy’ – but she’s only 3 months so there’s plenty time still.

Feeling Robbed

My baby girl is 10 weeks old today and is just an absolute dream.  I feel so full of love and gratitude for her.

My days with her are so easy.  She sleeps well and on her own, she smiles, she coos, she nurses well – like I said, a total dream.  And I’m so different this time around – I’m not anxious or sad or angry.

I do feel something not so great though.  Like reverse nostalgia.  I see now how I guess ‘normal’ babies are and I can’t help but feel like I got robbed my first time around.  I wish I could have had this kind of experience with my son.  Don’t get me wrong, I felt a ton of love and gratitude – overwhelmingly so – but it was so fucking hard.

I can’t even compare the two because everything is different, but the biggest thing is the sleep.  And not just how long and where they sleep, but just their overall approach to sleep.

My son, two years old, still has to let out steam before he goes to sleep.  Sometimes its in the form of jumping in his crib (ok, always), sometimes its yelling, sometimes its crying.  And if I go in to comfort him it just makes it worse.  And he very often still wakes up crying.  I hate it so much.  And he’s been like that his whole life.

She falls asleep beautifully and peacefully ON HER OWN and wakes up smiling.  Smiling!

I have space to myself during the day which I didn’t get with my son because he had to sleep on me.  And when he wasn’t sleeping he needed to be held.  I feel so sad right now thinking back to that time.  I wish it had been a better experience.  But I’m so glad I didn’t let it influence our decision to have another baby because I can’t imagine the world without her.

Whenever I speak/write not so happy things about my son I always feel the need to say – I love him so much.  And I do.  God I love that kid.  He’s so funny and energetic and smart. He’s watching us all the time now and learning so much.  He has such a big personality for such a little guy.  He’s also ridiculously good looking. And I’m not just saying that because I’m his mom.  He has the most beautiful smile and the best laugh.  But oh man that kid stresses me out.  Always has, probably always will 🙂