Thursday, February 18, 2010

People are really not that desperate to get in touch with m

Whenever I'm unable to check my email for an entire day, I practically fling myself at the computer the first chance I get. Email! Email! I have to check my email! What if someone emailed me? WHAT IF I MISSED AN EMAIL?

It turns out that the sale circular for Old Navy.com isn't anxiously awaiting a reply.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

About fifty million things

We’ve been busy around here lately. Not in a good way, more in a throwing up way. I’ve been writing blog posts in my head, though, and I’m going to bullet-point some of the topics now, seven quick takes style.

- Jack’s preschool Valentine’s Day party was on Friday, and when I picked him up there was a sign up by the cubbies that said “Love Is…” and the teacher filled in what the kids said. Jack’s? “Love is strawberries.”

- A week or so ago, Jack and I made a construction-paper heart and glued pom poms all over it. My plan was to hang this on the front door because our Christmas wreath is getting to be pretty sad, but Jack insisted upon giving it to his friend Madeleine from school. And he remembered a week later.

- I have figured out that Nora is not asking for milk twenty-four hours a day. No, she is asking for milk twelve hours a day and waving the other twelve. She’s also trying to say “Hi,” and sometimes says “Haaahh Dahhhh” for “Hi, Daddy.” And then we fall over dead from the adorableness.

- Speaking of signing for milk, though, last Thursday morning, after all the throwing up, Andrew handed Nora to me and I could feel her signing for milk as we got into position. “Milk milk milk milk milk milkmilkmilkmilkmmmmmmmm,” she said.

- Few things are cuter than a baby eating Rice Krispies.

- Nora can’t crawl yet, but she manages to move around in the kitchen, amoeba-like. It’s bizarre, because if you watch her she appears to be sitting still, but then she’s in a different spot. Two days ago, I was in the dining room doing important, important things (emailing), and I heard her moving the kitchen chair. I ran in to witness it, and saw she had pulled it into a position more suitable for chewing on the crossbar. After I returned to the dining room to continue doing my important, important things, I heard her crying, but I finished my important, important things before going to see what the problem was. I had assumed she was just ready for dinner but I found her trapped under the chair. It seems she moves about in the kitchen by pushing with her hands and skooching around, bottom first and she had backed herself under the chair and couldn’t get out because she can’t move forwards. Oops.

- When you are up many times in the night throwing up, the next day you might fall asleep like this:

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Doesn’t your neck hurt just looking at that picture?

- For my birthday, my mom gave me a new pet:

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- If you think I’m going to write about how Nora’s sleeping is going, you be crazy.

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baby signing

Nora can make the sign for "milk" now. She's understood it for weeks, but has recently flapped her little fingers together enough times that I am certain it is not a fluke and she is asking to nurse. The thing is, sometimes I can't nurse her immediately because I am currently, say, changing her diaper or carrying her besnowsuited little self to the car.

Few things are as pathetic as a sad-faced little baby making a plaintive sign for "milk."

Edited to add: The OTHER reason I can't necessarily acquiesce immediately to her request is that she asks to nurse ALL THE LIVELONG DAY.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sleep Part 3: GAAAHHHHHH.

Sorry for the long delay between parts 2 and 3, but it is because Part 3 goes like this:

After a week of progress where Andrew got up with Nora and I got to stay in bed all night and find out what it’s like to be the husband, some jerk wrote about how it was going well on the internet and it ALL WENT DOWN THE TOILET. See, THIS is why I believe in jinxes.

It was going pretty well, but then Nora caught a stomach bug from Jack, and started taking two hours to go back to sleep at night. For a week or so, a nightly two-hour-long screamfest became the standard operating procedure at our house. Happily, there was always only one. And after the first night, Jack usually slept through it even though they share a room. Kids are weird. And then last week, I caught the stomach bug from Nora and the screamfest became more difficult to deal with. And now Andrew has caught it from me, putting a crimp in our plans of starting over and having Andrew do all the wakeups again. And now the nightly wakeup is starting once again to inch closer and closer to her original bedtime, where last week we looking at 2:00 am, last night it was 11:30 pm.

So at this point, we are doing whatever we can to just GET THROUGH THIS because Andrew and I both feel awful and therefore have absolutely zero patience for our defenseless children. As such, I nursed Nora from 11:30 to 12:15 last night at which point I tried to put her sleeping self into her bed. No dice. Then I went into the bathroom to dry heave for awhile, and Andrew tried to shush the baby. No dice. So then I went back in and nursed her again and we both fell asleep. I woke up around 1:30 or so and tried once again to put my sleeping baby back in bed. I’m sure you can guess how that went. Andrew ended up getting her back to sleep within about fifteen to twenty minutes, but Jack woke her up at 5:45 by calling out for his bink and we are just barely holding on by a thread here, people. BY A THREAD.

Also, that tooth I claimed was poking through? That must have been a grain of a Cheerio, because there is still no tangible sign of the top two front teeth that we’ve been expecting any second for the past two months.

My plan today is to take the children to Andrew’s dad and have him entertain them while I mope around the living room feeling sorry for myself and Andrew stays home and sleeps off this disease. I sure hope Andrew’s dad is home, because he is not yet aware of this plan.

Things are grim here, folks. It’s becoming difficult to remember that this, too, shall pass. But it will. It will pass. Right?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Sleep Part 2: So, did I jinx it?

I know you are all on the edges of your seats. Well, Arwen and Emily are for sure. And Shannon and Jen! So I’ll cut to the chase: I jinxed it. But only a little. Things are worse than they were when I started writing, but not as bad as they were when they were bad. Case in point: It is currently 8:22 pm and I am NOT desperately trying to get ready for bed so as to be ready when Her Highness wakes up in ten minutes.

Incidentally, if you are not interested in an incredibly detailed account of sleep training, you might want to read something else for a while, because this is turning out to be, well, incredibly detailed. There’s going to be a Part 3, for example.

When we last left off, Nora was refusing to sleep anywhere by my arms, preferably with a breast in her mouth, for all but about forty-five minutes in the early evening, a situation which was slowly driving me insane. And then one Monday morning about three weeks ago, I was forced to let her cry it out for her nap. Yes, forced. I had to go to the bathroom, and I needed to… take my time, as it were. By the time I got out, her cries were already petering out, so I stayed the heck out of her room and she was asleep twenty minutes after I put her down. A miracle! And then she slept for two hours! So for her afternoon nap, I let her cry once again, and she was asleep in only fifteen minutes. “At this rate, we’ll be done by tomorrow night!” I thought. I thought this because I was delusional.

I can’t remember how that night went. Badly, probably. But I think she must have GONE to sleep all right, because the following night I tried letting her cry it out again. Her naps that day were both in the car, so I was working on the assumption that CIO had gone swimmingly for naps the previous day, so it would probably work for bedtime as well.

Yeah. It didn’t. We let her cry for close to an hour while I sat and fretted and worried and hated every second of it, wondering if it was the right thing to do. Andrew finally went in there to pick her up and soothe her, and I got ready for bed figuring I was in for another night in the chair. That was the low point, actually, because I sort of sprung the CIO on Andrew out of the blue so he was not mentally prepared for the ordeal, and we ended up having a quiet but testy fight when he handed her to me. We made up, but I still spent most of the night in the rocking chair feeling very very sorry for myself.

Because of some scheduling, I was not actually home for either of the next two bedtimes, which were a Wednesday and a Thursday, but Andrew got them both to sleep using his Ninja parenting skills. I can’t recall how the rest of the Wednesday night went, but I do remember that our plan was to start sending Andrew in there at night since nursing her back to sleep wasn’t working anyway, we might as well try to night wean.

Here’s the thing. I was so anxious about the upcoming sleep training, I was sick to my stomach. I hadn’t been so anxious since my thesis proposal (I was oddly less anxious for my defense). Not only was I nauseated, I was also bouncing off the walls with nervous chatter about how anxious I was until Andrew asked me to stop talking to him about it because it was making HIM anxious. Thus I spent quite a long time on the phone with my mother, and she talked me off the ledge. She also gave me a technique. She told me to try patting her and saying “Shhhhhhh,” without picking her up. “If she’s too upset to let you pat her, don’t worry about it. Just keep shushing her. Move a kitchen chair in there so you can sit next to her bed,” she said. So I passed that tip onto Andrew and went to my meeting.

Now. We planned to start this night-weaning process the following night – a Friday. I was going to go ahead and nurse her as much as she wanted and sleep in the chair one last night on Thursday. Naturally, Nora changed things up on me. She didn’t wake up until 3am-ish, but then, bucking a month’s worth of habit, refused to go back to sleep while nursing. At a loss, I finally put her back to bed and started patting and shushing. I’ll be honest, I sincerely doubted it would work, but it was 4:15 am, so I figured I’d try until 5:00 and then hand off the duties to Andrew.

Dudes. She was asleep by 4:55.

I wouldn’t have believed it had I not witnessed it. She screamed and cried and hollered. She wept. She wailed. She was upset, is what I’m saying. But then she rolled over onto her belly, screamed some more, and then even more, and then the screams started to die down. And then she STOPPED SCREAMING. She gave some shuddery little sighs, and she went to sleep. I was in shock. But I was in shock while on my way back to bed. Woohoo!

Thus endeth the second installment of How We Got Nora To Sleep In Her Own Bed And Take Regular Naps. Stay tuned for Part 3 in which I describe a week’s worth of getting to play the husband’s role during the night wakings. (Hint: It was awesome.)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Don’t tell the gods, but I’m talking about sleep

I am a scientist. As such, I hold no truck with astrology (I only just learned that Nora’s sign is … wait, I already forgot), the effect a full moon has on behavior (show me the DATA that your students are crazier during the full moon, please), anyone who claims they can predict the gender of a baby using a folksy method (your odds are 50% for every baby you guess at, so telling me that you got the last four out of six babies right is not particularly impressive), or superstitions (it’s dangerous to walk under a ladder because SOMEONE MIGHT DROP SOMETHIING ON YOU).

Except. I totally believe in jinxes. I can’t help it! I know that simply talking about the good weather can’t possibly make it rain, but knocking on wood can’t hurt, right?

So I’ve been reluctant to discuss the latest drama at my house with you. The drama involving sleep and how we’re all getting it. Lots of it. KNOCK WOOD KNOCK WOOD KNOCK WOOD!

You see, back a hundred years ago in December, we had settled into a very workable routine. I nursed Nora to sleep around 6:30 or 7:00 pm and transferred her easily into her crib. Meanwhile, Andrew got Jack ready for bed and read him stories in the living room. By the time they had said prayers, Nora was safely in her bed and slept right through Jack’s songs. They were usually both asleep in their room by 7:30 every night, and Andrew and I could do whatever chores needing doing and then enjoy the rest of the evening. We could even stay up super late - 10:00 some nights! We felt safe because Nora was usually waking up once, maybe twice a night at this point, and for each wake-up, I could nurse her quickly back to sleep and be back in my own bed, sans baby, within twenty minutes or so. Of course, sometimes I’d fall asleep in the chair and stay there the rest of the night; sometimes I’d just bring Nora back to bed with me so I could sleep while she nursed, but the chair is more comfortable than you might guess and I’m good at sleeping while she nurses, so it was not so bad.

Now, a childless person might think that having to get up once or twice a night like that might be awful, but anyone with babies knows that we could have lived like that for YEARS. I got hours in a row in my bed with no people attached to me in any way! And, most importantly, there were three reliable hours a night where Andrew and I were awake while the children were sleeping. Hours in which we could do whatever we wanted. These hours are key to my sanity, even if “doing whatever I want” translates to “doing the budget.”

But after Christmas, things started degrading. Nora stopped letting me put her back down after her second wake up, and then she refused to go back down after her first wake up. And then her first wake up starting inching ever closer to her original bedtime, cutting into our three precious child-free hours. Where she used to wake up at 11:30 or midnight, she started to wake up at 10:30 or 11:00. And then 10:00. And then 9:45. By mid January, I was rushing around like a mad woman to change into my pajamas at 8:00 – because it was ALSO taking way longer to put her down in the first place – so that I would be ready for bed when she woke up in ninety minutes and demanded to nurse ALL NIGHT LONG. And naps had gone completely out the window; if she wasn’t in the car or in my arms, she didn’t sleep.

Things weren’t working, is what I’m saying.

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As I have now been writing this post for three days now, I have decided to post what I have, leaving you with this cliffhanger of an ending. Consider it my tribute to the season premiere of Lost. “But HOW have they solved their sleep problems? And have they actually solved them or have things started to degrade again after she started writing this post? DID SHE JINX IT?” You’ll have to tune in to find out!