Monday, April 21, 2008

The Napping Wars: Update

To recap- the Napping Wars began a week and a half ago. We wanted Lily to nap regularly at about 1 or 2pm everyday, and she would not have it. Apparently if you condition your kids to go down at the same time everyday from a younger age, they will just do it. Lily used to nap a bunch so I did not see a need to regulate them. But as they started to dwindle, I didn't do anything to re-regulate them. And boy have I been paying for it!

As I mentioned before, my girlfriend Mary Beth, aka The Mother of All Mothers, encouraged me to put Lily down at about the same time every day for a week, and Lily would eventually fall asleep on her own. The first day she cried for about an hour. Maybe more. I popped my head in to tell her that I loved her about every 20 minutes, but that really seemed to vex her more than comfort her. The next day was a bit better, I think she cried for about 50 minutes. She went out with her Grandpa and Aunt Bre to Uncle Josh's soccer game a few days after we started the Napping Wars, and being out in the sun, as well as being very stimulated- though not overly stimulated (there's a FINE line here people), she went down for a nap pretty easily.

Somewhere in the midst of the war, I made the mistake of trying to force her to nap twice in the same day. She looked tired in the morning- rubbing her eyes and yawning, so I put her in her crib, much to her chagrin. She cried for about forty minutes. But she did fall asleep eventually. And then I put her down for a nap again a few hours later- and same thing, lots of crying, but also some napping. I read articles on the internet, I even bought a book- "The Happiest Toddler on the Block". They talked about toddlers who wouldn't sleep through the night, which has not been our problem for a long time (thank the good Lord for that!), but they said nothing about getting your child to nap. I really needed help. But all kids are so different! I didn't think there was any help to be found. So we just kept on. Consistency was the key they all said.

Lily started only crying for twenty minutes, which was a GREAT improvement. Then one day it was only ten. Ten! So amazing. Then we went back up to twenty. And now she was crying for twenty, then sleeping for forty, and up and crying again. And in that very short window of time that she was down, I would have to feed Topher, and change his diaper, and as soon as he was all set to go- Lily would be up and at 'em again. No time for myself, or the laundry, or anything really. Things were looking pretty dire.

And then miracle of miracles- she cried angrily for ten minutes two days ago, then cried sadly for another ten- and then she was out. For two hours! And this did not negatively affect her night time sleeping in the least. In fact, she seemed to be sleeping for longer! Then yesterday she was with her Aunt Bre again, and she did the 10 minutes of temper tantrum crying, then 10 minutes of sad crying, and then she was out- for 3 hours! And wouldn't you know it- she still went to sleep at 8 pm! She woke up at 6am, which terrified Chris and I this morning, but we could hear her playing happily in the monitor, so we just let her play, and play and play... It was 7:30 and she fell asleep again! Till about 8:15 when we went into her room to make sure she hadn't died or something. She is SO GREAT! God is really really Great. What a blessing.

And just now, we were hanging out in the living room, and she started rubbing her eyes. So I got her ready for her nap. They say to have a routine, but not to have the same routine that you have for night time sleeping. Makes sense. When we started the Napping Wars, I tried some really stupid routines that made Lily pretty angry. I made sure we weren't watching tv cause I didn't want her to be overly stimulated. So I would grab a book, and a stuffed animal, and we would read for a bit, and then I would sing about ants going marching down one by one, and then I would put her down, and literally run out of her room. Not too effective. I was telling Chris that I wished she was a bit more materialistic in that I wished she had a favorite stuffed animal or blanky that would sooth her. And Chris then informed me that when he puts her down at night, he lays her in her crib, stroke her face, and puts her white blanket up to her face, and she holds it there. So she does have a favorite blankie! And I had no idea! So now I make sure she has that with her when she naps. She had it the day she slept for two hours, and yesterday when she was with her Aunt Bre, and she has it now. And she's been asleep for over an hour- after crying for three minutes. THREE MINUTES! That's it!

So if there is anyone out there going through the Napping Wars- good luck. There is hope. As long as your will is stronger than your child's. And you are consistent. And patient. Very, very, very patient.

Friday, April 18, 2008

"To Sleep Perchance to Dream..."

I'm pretty sure I have mentioned before that I do not cry very often, but I think I preface every time I cry with that 'fact', so if I've mentioned it often, maybe I do cry a lot... Somthing to think about... For now I am going to blame it on the crazy hormones post-baby. (Which has literally been my excuse for the last two years!)

Anyhow, I have not gone to my two-week post-partum appointment yet. i was supposed to have it last Friday, but my sister and brother in-law came in for a surprise visit, so I cancelled that one. I rescheduled for this past Wednesday but I missed it. I was going to drop Lily off at my girlfriend's, who lives about 10-15 minutes away from the doctor's office. I had to drive past the doctor's office in order to get to her house, and that was about 14 minutes before my appointment. This meant that I should have been 10 - 15 minutes late for my appointment. But of course I hit a butt-load of traffice getting to my friend's house and then getting to the doctor's. So I missed it. Suck! I contemplated bringing both Lily and Topher to the appointment with me, but there was NO WAY I could manage the two of them. Just getting them out of the car to be somewhere is out of the question. Chris could do it. Sometimes I think that he should be the one staying at home with the kids. But then I have no idea what we would eat or where we would live cause I probably would not bring home as much bacon as he does.

So, the first nights with Topher were AMAZING. His first stint of sleeping for four hours straight came in that first week. Then there were three or four more of those stints. Lindsay, my wonderful sister-in-law, gets really pissed when I tell her that because Gabe has just now started sleeping that long, and he is a whopping 4 lbs heavier than my dinky little baby. I guess I just have turkey-like breastmilk.

Or at least I did... Two nights ago Topher woke up every two and a half hours. No fun. So I got about five hours of sleep that night. Then last night he got up after about three hours of sleep at 12:30am, and then he would not go back to sleep. He would pretend to go back to sleep. But as soon as I would lay down, he would spit out his binky, kick off his blankets, and fuss. I would normally let him fuss for a while before doing anything about it, but Chris just went back to work today (dang I miss him!) and he had to get up at 4:30am. If his life didn't depend on him being alert at work, I probably would have woken him up a time or two last night, but alas, I suffered alone. Though when I talked to Chris this morning, he said he heard the little guy and woke up two or three times, so he didn't have the best sleep either- but he had SOME sleep!
So around 3am, I was getting pretty frustrated. I was trying to find the silver lining in the situation. I came up with 'This is my personal alone time with Topher. No Lily, no other distractions. Just me and my baby boy." But come on! There is a time and a place for that- and it's not between 12 and 3am! Around 3:30, after gently placing his binky in his mouth for the 98th time, I put my head down and prayed for the Lord to make my baby fall asleep. And I felt like bawling like a baby. But I was so tired I couldn't even do that. But tears of frustration rolled down my face as I lay there, and boy did I feel like a weenie. And then Topher spit his binky out again and so I had to get up again. This seemingly endless cycle finally stopped at 4am. What a long morning!

Now moving on to Lily and her sleeping woes. For the most part, Lily is the champion of the world when it comes to sleeping. I think she was out of our room by the time she was three weeks old because 1. she was sleeping for four to five hours at a time and 2. Chris went back to work and he was still on the night shift then so we didn't want him waking the baby up when he got in. But not only did she sleep well at night, but she also slept well during the day. I took her to work with me all the time, and she would nap once in the morning and once in the afternoon, and sometimes again in the evening. It was so wondrous! I got so much done in those days! Then she lost her evening nap- not a big deal. And then she started losing her morning nap. And now we have to pray and wrestle to get her to take at least one proper nap a day. She falls asleep in the car a lot, but now that she is in the front-facing car seat, as soon as you get her out of that thing- she wakes up. If Chris is watching her and she falls asleep in the car seat, he just undoes the whole thing and brings it into the house so as not to disturb her. He's so strong!

So I asked my girlfriend Mary Beth, who is Mother Supreme to two very well-behaved, beautiful and smart little girls, when she started enforcing a regular nap-time for the girls, cause I know they are napping at 2pm every day. My heart sank when she said 'when they were six months old.' Dang it! For some reason I just never thought to put Lily down at the same time every day since she was napping ok on her own. But Mary Beth was very encouraging and told me to just do it now, even with Lily being as 'old' as she is. And she told me to be patient cause there would be a lot of crying and screeming involved for about a week. But consistency was key she said.

We started yesterday. Lily cried for about forty-five minutes, with Chris going in at the half-way point to reassure our daughter that we love her and that we just wanted her to take a nap. She still didn't fall asleep on her own at the end of the forty-five minutes, but she was alone the whole time, and hopefully starting to think about napping. Hopefully. Today was better/worse. I went to the office for the first time with the two kids. Not too bad, especially since Topher slept pretty much the whole time we were there. Poor kid must have been pooped from not sleeping last night... (tongue in cheek people!) Lily fell asleep in the car, and of course when I got her out she woke up. But it was 1 pm, the time Chris and I said we would try to get her to sleep at, and so I put her in her crib despite her cries and protests against it. And she cried for ten minutes and is out cold. Did I cheat? Maybe a little. Did I mean to? No. Not really. Did I win the battle today? Yes. I think so. But have I cheated myself from winning the Napping War? Possibly. I will keep you posted. Consistency... consistency... consistency...

And so that's why I am able to sit here and write at all. Both of the babes are sleeping. Maybe I will join them shortly. I do not care to sleep perchance to dream. I just need to sleep! But I gotta give my props to the Lord. This whole 'having two babies under the age of one and a half and being a big baby myself' thing has really made me trust and hope in the Lord for the simplest things. I NEED Him to get me through the day. And those long long nights! And He does. He is so good!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

checking in...

i have a baby at breast which means i am typing with one hand, which means there will be no capital letters, and this will be a pretty short post. but i just wanted to check in to let you know that i am alive and as well as can be. yesterday was the end of tax season and topher's due date. craziness! he's already been around for one day short of three weeks. time is a flying. ok. topher is not paying attention to the task at hand. milk is everywhere except in his mouth. gotta go! but i will be back... one of these days...

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Push Presents

I realize this is the calm before the storm- but what a calm this is! Topher is chillin in his bassinet/crib here beside me. Chris is out playing basketball with his buddies. Lily is hanging out with her Grandpa Wes, Aunt Bre, and Cousin Gabe. And I am on the computer acting like a person who doesn't have two kids under the age of 1 and a half! I am enjoying this calm by writing again. But there will come a time when I will probably never get to see the computer ever again...

I updated my profile a little. It used to say that I was a 'Pregnant Bookkeeper', but as we all know- I am no longer pregnant and hopefully will not be for an undetermined length of time! And my profile also used to say that I was a 26, which I am not. I know there isn't a huge difference between 26 and 27, but I definitely feel like I am on the butt-end of my twenties!

Topher just farted. So cute! Every sound that Topher emits is one that puts a gigantic smile on my face, as well as Chris'. Actually, the same goes with Lily. Today Lily started diong this crazy thing where she was pretending to be a lizard and sticking out her tongue at everything. It was so darn cute! And she doesn't know what a lizard is, so she wasn't really pretending to be one, but it was still so cute! Anyway, watching new life discover life is so incredible to witness. Finding their voice, their hands, crap under the couch and putting it in their mouths... all so special. And, it is so great being able to experience this with my husband who is thoroughly enjoying not working (and growing a beard all the while). I know I am so blessed that Chris has the job that he has, that he is able to be home for three full weeks.

So, I mentioned before that Chris DOES NOT SHOP. This morning, he very non-chalantly said he was going to go to the supermarket to pick up milk, as if it was something he always did. He took Lily with him of course, cause those two are literally joined at the hip now, and he managed to get her to fall asleep on the way to the market, stay asleep while shopping, and to stay asleep for an extra 30 minutes when they got home. Then I went to work for two hours today with Topher, and Chris went shopping AGAIN. Only this time he went to get a car seat for Lily. We already have a front-facing car seat for the Lilster, but he wanted one that we can put in and take out of our car, and other people's cars if they were to take Lily anywhere- like Chris' dad for example, who takes Lily every Tuesday night while we have Bible Study, even during tax season. (Wes is a great grandpa and a great dad-in-law. I scored so big marrying Chris Watson!)

Anyhoo, Chris went out today and got Lily a cute little pink seat, and he also got me my 'Push Present'. What is a 'Push Present'? It might have another name, I just read that one in a magazine a few years ago, but anyway it is the present a husband gives his wife for having his baby. I am ALL ABOUT 'Push Presents' and I tell all of my pregnant friends' husbands to get their wives presents for having their babies. 9 times out of 10 the guy will say 'But she's having my baby, that's present enough.' And then I punch them. If I were as diligent about spreading the message of the Good News as I am about the 'Push Present', there would be more souls going to heaven... something to think about...

Anyhow, right before we went to the hospital to have Lily, Chris surprised me with my 'Push Present' cause he didn't want to bring it all the way to the hospital only to have to bring it back home again. He got me a set of the 'Lilly the mouse' books. So cute, so sweet, so thoughtful. It occured to me that he hadn't gotten me anything for Topher's arrival, but I figured it was cause he was so early; although the thought also crossed my mind that he might not get me anything, and I was ok with that too. But then Chris actually brought it up the other day ago and said he was going to get me one thing, but it wasn't going to work out, so he was stuck. So I just flat out told him that I would really like it if he got me a piece of jewelery. He was surprised that that's what I wanted, but glad that I said something. And I am glad too cause today he presented me with a homemade card, a beautiful necklace with an Aquamarine (the birthstone for March, which works out great cause both our kids were born in March!) charm on it, and a digital camera (cause our other one broke.) Perfect.

So that's what a Push Present is, and if you know anyone who is pregnant- tell their husband to get something sweet and meaningful for their wife. Though they can't possibly match the priceless gift of life that their wife is bringing into the world- it doesn't mean they shouldn't at least try.