Tuesday, November 26, 2013

And then I tried something new...

Anyone tired of hearing about sleep on this blog?  Haha. That makes it unanimous. I wish it wasn't something that consumed so much of my time/energy. But alas...that's just life with babies. And really, as tired as I am, I'll take it because sleep struggles come part and parcel with snuggles and laughter and playtime ;) (good thing!)

After four months of trying various sleep training methods and trying, night after night, to night-wean my girl, I have officially given up. Every time I gathered up a bit of energy and determination and tried to teach my daughter to sleep through the night, I was left feeling exhausted. Kayden, who for the first 6 months of her life was only up twice a night like clockwork, started waking more and more instead of less and less.  But the alternative to feeding her on demand through the night?  Being awake with a crying baby for 2-3 hours every night only to have her wake 3 hours later expecting to be fed again. I just can't do it anymore. I need to be able to function and it's far easier to just get up for a quick feed than to deal with a tired, crying baby in the wee hours.  And really, why try?  She will eventually sleep through the night. I've done what I could to encourage her and four exhausting months later I'm ready to try something different. Or rather, I'm ready to stop trying.  

In addition to sleep training not working, the kids sharing a room hasn't been working out wonderfully. It has been a pain. It works well...until it doesn't. And then we have a three year old waking up a 9 month old and we spend the next two hours with an overtired, crying baby while an overtired preschooler struggles to sleep. No more, people.  It's time for this house to get some serious shut-eye.  Behold, my solution:

In a rush of frustration and exhaustion, I made Kayden a bed right beside my bed the other day. If I'm going to stop fighting the night-time feeds, I'm going to embrace it and try to make them as relaxing and restful as possible for myself.  Forget when they say my baby "should" be sleeping through the night by.  Forget when they say my baby should be not needing night feeds anymore by.  Forget what "they" say about co-sleeping stunting babies' ability to put themselves to sleep.  My baby puts herself to sleep just fine for naps and at bedtime.  The fact is that she wakes often during the night and if she's still doing it after four attempts at sleep training, then she must need SOMETHING from me through the night.  So I'm going to forget what "they" say my baby needs or doesn't need and I'm going to follow my instincts. And I'm going to do what I need to do to survive.  And right now that means rolling over and being able to "shh" my baby while still half asleep...or feed her without getting out of bed.  And I have to say, as much as I resisted this idea of "co-sleeping," it really is quite nice to not have to walk through the dark, cold house a few times a night :)  We'll see how this goes...if all goes well, we'll all be feeling alot more rested in the weeks to come! 

As a parent, especially a mother, you hear so many theories about what babies need or don't need and by what age.  And don't get me wrong, a lot of it can be very helpful.  I'm all for moms giving each other advice and helping each other out!  That's why I'm constantly asking for advice and for what has worked for other moms. Sometimes you just need fresh ideas. But when your baby doesn't respond to the things that worked for other moms, then it's important to recognize when you need to just start ignoring what you hear and focus on what comes naturally.  Then it's time to get creative and figure out what works for you and your family and your baby.  Unfortunately this will likely involve some trial and error.  Let's hope this latest sleeping arrangement trial doesn't involve the word "error"... ;)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

quiet, but not gone.

This blog is sadly neglected.  It's not that I don't have anything to write.  I do think of things.  It's just that, when I sit down to write it, it's all gone.  Like, completely not there anymore.  I open up good 'ol blogger and it's just gone.  I guess that's what long days with kids (and long nights with kids) will do to you.  I find that my memory is just not there anymore.  I chalk it up to sleep-deprivation but I hear it never comes back once you're a mom so who knows.  Maybe it's gone for good.

I do notice that alot of the things that I think of during the day are just not enough for a complete blog post.  I think of plenty of things that I think I should blog about but then realize that I've got about a facebook status worth of words about that topic.  So it either goes on fb or just doesn't get said.  Usually the later.

For example:
Levi calls coyotes "kye-roots".  It's super cute.  Cute that he talks about "kye-roots" at all but extra cute that he says it like he does.  I've stopped correcting his pronunciation on these sorts of words.  It is just too fun to listen to him talk and once he realizes the real way to say it, he will never say it the cute way again.  For example, the word "music" used to be "moogit."  Adorable.  Simply adorable. But now, if I say "moogit" to him, he just looks at me funny.  *sigh*  My boy is growing up.  So I'll soak up all the "kye-root" talk while I have it :)

Next random thought I had: As I was driving home from visiting my parents today, I was thinking about parenting (surprise!).  Specifically, how there's a difference between how I thought I would be as a parent vs. how I actually am.  Or maybe more how I thought parenting would be vs. how it actually is.  Before I was a parent, I would sometimes see how other people would parent their kids and I would mentally make note of whether I would be "that type" of parent or not. I would see how parents reacted to their kids and either think "that's how I would like to react to my kids one day" or "I would do that so differently." Everyone does it. It's not necessarily good but, as long as you're not running the parent down in your mind because of what they're doing, it's not necessarily bad either. As someone who wants to be a parent ever-so-badly, you are just always taking notes.  But anyway, I'm not justifying it, just saying that's what I did.  I would spend lots of time thinking about what kind of mom I wanted to be and what kinds of things I would do as a mom...and just thinking about what parenting would be like.  And when I did that, in my mind I was a pretty good mom! Well, potential mom.  And then parenting hit.  And in the first few weeks/months, I felt like I was running off of pure adrenaline.  I'd wanted to be a mom SO bad that I had "years of desire" fueling my every action, my every moment.  I had patience coming out the wazoo.  I had motivation and ideas and went the extra mile for everything.  And then I got tired.  So.very.tired.  Sleepless nights.  Long days full of tantrums.  Lots of beautiful moments, but lots of bleary-eyed, less-than-perfect moments too.  And I suddenly understood why those moms who I watched back in the day did what they did.  Why they sounded the way they sounded.  Why they didn't go the extra mile every time.  Why they reacted the way they reacted (and didn't necessarily have the patient answer that I would certainly have had in that situation).  When you're thinking about being a mom, you see everything through rose-coloured glasses.  But when you get there and you're knee-deep in dirty diapers (literally) and haven't slept in who knows how long and have one kid crying on the kitchen floor because his lunch is being served ON the table and not UNDER the table (yes, actually) and another one crying on your hip...things just look different.  That adrenaline and idealism wears off and you find out exactly what it's like to be there.  And you make choices from that place.  Now, the reason I've never written this before is because it's hard to put into words.  What am I talking about, really?  It's a bunch of mumble-jumble, most likely.  I'm not saying that I hate being a mom.  I'm not saying that I'm a bad mom or that I'm making decisions that I'll regret.  I'm just saying that I now understand where those moms were at.  They were acting from a place of having spent years in the "trenches."  Sure I would have handled some of those situations differently at the time, but I would have also been coming in fresh...having had a full night's sleep and with a clear mind, not one smeared with peanut butter and kid-snot.  I thought I would be one of those moms who was so very polished.  Who had a weekly menu posted in her kitchen, crafts and quiet-time activities planned long in advance for the kid who no longer thinks he needs naps, clothes folded and put away at the end of every laundry day.  And in reality, alot of the time I actually feel a bit like a chicken with my head cut off.  I feel like I'm playing catch-up instead of anticipating and being ready for things.  I forget every little thing (even though I used to have a memory like a vault, people). I'm scrambling to come up with supper at 4pm each day.  And sometimes I have a preschooler who is freaking out and I just have to sit back because I have no clue as to what I should be doing or how I should "gently guide him out of his frustration." I'm not the mom I thought I would be.  But you know what?  That's ok.  Because I love my kids. And I love their daddy. I make sure they're fed and clothed and taught and happy.  I may not have the perfectly clean, perfectly organized home that I always thought I'd have, but you know what?  Kids don't need polish.  They don't need to know that their mom has everything planned and scheduled and organized.  They need to know that they are safe.  And loved.  And no matter how tired I am, how impatient or forgetful I am, or how worn down I sometimes feel...my kids have that.  They feel safe and secure and loved and THAT is what matters.  So I guess I had a round-about way of saying that.  Sorry.   That's what happens when I sit down and don't know what to type.

I think I'll leave it at that for tonight.  That got a lot longer than I thought it would.  Apparently I do have more than fb status-length thoughts.  Huh.  Who knew?  Now the real test will be whether the thoughts are coherent enough for anyone to follow what I just wrote...?

Friday, November 8, 2013

Nine Months Old

 Aah!  My girl is 9 months old already!  All the "big girl" things are starting to come into sight making my baby feel suddenly so much less "baby" and more "big girl."  Things like first birthday, weaning, walking...they're all in the not-so-distant future once you hit 9 months.  Kayden still feels very much like my baby, though, thanks to the fact that she's quite quiet and doesn't move around at all yet.  It's stretching the "babyness" out just a little more for me :)

 Like I said, Kayden still isn't moving, nor is she trying to move at all.  She's just content to sit and watch and play with whatever is around her.  Sometimes she looks as though she'd like to just go over to where the action is.  But most of the time she'll just sit and play or watch and we won't hear a peep.

 Levi continues to love his sister.  Here (above), Levi is trying to get Kayden to look at the camera.
 She didn't like that very much.  Not sure why not.  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't mind at all if my brother grabbed my neck/head and tried to force my chin up at an impossible angle. 
 He does have the best intentions most of the time.  And when he's not trying to be helpful, well...we'll just chalk his antics up to curiosity.  "Hmm...I wonder what Kayden will do if I put this chair on top of her?"
 We see this look (above) from Kayden alot when Levi is around.  She'll be a tough girl from having a brother around all the time.
 Kayden.  What a little doll.  If only I had a dollar for every time someone has commented on how content she is.  She really is so happy and content 80% of the time.  The other 20% of the time she is either being mauled loved on by her brother, or is hungry, tired, or hurting.  Kayden's favourite things these days are, by a long shot, animals.  She will squeal and flail and get so very excited when she sees any type of animal.  Dolls and stuffed animals are also being enjoyed these days.  Pretty much anything with a face and/or fur, she loves.  Kayden also gets excited when she sees anyone from her family.  Daddy, Mommy and Levi all get happy reactions from her.  She's a bit shy with most other people, at least initially.  She doesn't cry right away, though.  She will watch the person for a while and either render them unworthy of her fear...or else she'll not be able to hold it together any longer and just burst into tears.  It sometimes takes us off-guard because she seems good to go and then a few minutes later all of a sudden she'll be crying.  But she's easily consolable.  A hug from Mom or Dad and she's ready to face the world again...as long as there's a shoulder to bury her face in when needed.

 Kayden's eyes are still blue so I'm thinking they'll be staying that way, or at least not turning brown.  They have a teeny tiny bit of hazel in the middle and, depending on the day, they are either blue or grey.  They are quite dark and oh-so-beautiful. 

 Kayden still doesn't have much hair.  It has started growing a bit but thanks to our sleep training nights, she has rubbed off what stubble had started filling in on the back.  So there's still a prominent bald spot back there.  But the rest is quite light so it's not terribly noticeable.  She just kinda looks bald all over!
Kayden is still on the small side of the scale, I think.  My home measurement brings her in at 16.8lbs.  She is shorter than Levi was at this age so I'm thinking she might be the one who rivals her mother in height.  Kayden is still chubby though!  You can see her cheeks but her legs still have rolls and her fingers have dimples.  I love the pudginess!  She's wearing 6-12 month pants and 9-12 month tops.  Sleepers are 12 month size.  If she were in disposable diapers, she could probably fit into 9 month sleepers better than she does but that cloth diaper just adds bulk!
 Kayden loves to grab absolutely everything and most things take their turn in her mouth.  She's very much in the "exploration" stage.  I've noticed lately that she will pick something up and then right away drop it.  Then she'll pick it up again.  I don't know if it's just to hear the noise it makes when she drops it or to see it fall?  Or maybe she just likes the fun of picking it up again?  At any rate, that's what she does.  She also turns things over and looks at them from all angles.  She's so curious.  She loves to stand up with our help but isn't pulling herself up on her own yet at all, nor is she standing next to things without our assitance. 

Kayden doesn't have any "words" yet.  She'll make an "uh!" noise and babble a "bababa!" or "dadada!" noise regularly (and many other noises, of course) but it hasn't evolved from there yet.  I imagine she doesn't see much need for words as her brother fills all empty space with noise and talking every waking hour!
Kayden has now lived in two different houses, as we moved to the farm in Kayden's 9th month.  She is now a country girl!  She has had her first pet kittens this month.  Kayden has started giving "hugs" this month.  Well, sorta.  She'll grab your neck and just hold on so tight.  LOVE it.  She will also just push her face into me (or Nathan) which I like to think is kind of a hug too. :)  She had her first trck-or-treating experience and made the cutest skunk!  Ironic that she was dressed as a skunk just days after we had our first skunk visitor on the farm!  She smelled much better than the animal variety! 

She has been eating so many more solids this month.  She loves everything she puts in her mouth.  She doesn't have teeth yet but does amazingly well with gumming things.  She just ate a piece of fruit-to-go and has eaten pieces of bun, crackers, and whatever table food we're eating (in addition to the typical purees, which she doesn't seem to love unless it's raspberries mixed into baby cereal, prunes, or a pureed veggie soup that I made for the family).  She would much rather be eating what everyone else is eating...and who could blame her, really?

Sleep has been worse again this month.  Shortly before we moved, I thought I would give sleep-training another try.  I used to nurse her to sleep before bed but not before naps.  This month I changed up bedtime routine a bit in hopes of longer stretches of sleep for her.  I also tried to wean her off of night-time feeds, knowing that she wasn't actually hungry in the night, rather just nursing to put herself back to sleep.  We went through 10 days of her crying for 2 straight hours every.single.night.  So often you hear that by night 3 the kid will just sleep.  NOPE.  We had crying every night, plus multiple wake-ups aside from that, and it wasn't getting any better.  So finally I couldn't do it anymore and just started nursing her again.  It's not ideal to have to get up every 3-3.5 hours but it sure beats being awake for 2 hours every night.  So she's actually sleeping worse these days than she was as a newborn but hey.  Everyone says it...one day she will sleep!  At least she puts herself to sleep REALLY well.  I lay her down for a nap or at bedtime and IF she cries, it's only a few minutes.  Kid #1 was a night-waker AND cried for hours before falling asleep so I'm incredibly thankful that I at least have a baby who can put herself to sleep well.

Anyway, that's Kayden at 9 months. What a beautiful daughter we have.  It's an absolute pleasure and joy to be her mom.