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The Joys of a New Mattress

So the sleep training… yeah, about that…

 

We had quite a few successes in trying to train Squeaks.  He was quick to settle down during his naps, slept well during the day, and cried very little.  I felt huge successes when I could put him down awake during the day.  Even at night, we could put him down and he would settle relatively quickly.  We hit the wall when he woke at night.  After a solid week with zero progress, we rethought how to deal with our nights.  Two things quickly became apparent:

1)   He still needs to eat once during the night.  He just does.  That’s okay.  Once a night seems pretty reasonable and I know he’ll drop it eventually, but he just needs to eat.

2)   He’s sick of sleeping on his back!

 

Over the last few weeks, we watched him struggle to balance his body on his side, fall asleep, roll over by accident, and scare his own pants off.  Ugh.  It was the most pitiful thing in the world tocrib watch.  So, mom and dad would go into his room almost every hour to help him settle back onto his side.  Soon we realized that not only was he tipping because he’s a six-month-old tippy little guy, but because he had been sleeping in his pack n’ play that had slowly become more and more bowed.  Even when he was successful at getting into a comfortable position, the slope of his bed would send him rolling.  And I thought I was frustrated.  The poor little guy was just trying to get comfortable.  It felt like we were sabotaging him.

 

So Squeaks got a new bed!  Well… he got his daddy’s old crib and a brand new mattress!  His fabulous early ‘80s crib carries all of the nostalgia of being a family hand-me-down and the new mattress is firm and flat.  Oh what a difference it has made.  The last few nights have been glorious.  Squeaks has decided that he loves sleeping on his belly—something that he could never do comfortably in his pack n’ play and he sleeps much, much sounder through the night.

 

He still wakes up at 4:30 for a bottle, but whatever.  He’s been sleeping for 10-11 hours a night, wiggling around in his own space, and seems like a happier baby during the day.  Amazing!  Now we’re off to practice our crawling!  The milestones are flying by!

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Ferber Who?

Five months ago I didn’t know who Richard Ferber was.  As far as I’m concerned, that’s fine.  This parenting thing is so much more “fly by the seat of your pants” than I thought it was going to be and I am grateful that I did not go crazy reading every book in Barnes & Noble before he was born.  But now that he’s here, and five months old, and has his own room, wFerbere have decided to sleep train our little buddy.  Right now I’m typing to distract myself from his whimpers and cries.  It is going to be a long couple of days, but we have decided that it is best for everybody.  I know that this is a controversial topic and I’d love to hear from anybody who has had either positive or negative experiences.

If you had asked me six months ago if I would ever let my child “cry it out,” I would have said, “No Way!”  But after a lot of deliberation, a discussion with the pediatrician, and chats with a number of friends, it sounds like this guy, Richard Ferber, might be on to something.  Squeaks and I picked up his book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems, this morning and I had most of it read by this afternoon.  As both a mother and a teacher, I believe very strongly that it is my responsibility to teach my son.  In this case, it is up to me and his father to teach him how to go to sleep on his own.  At the suggestion of a colleague (supported by what I read this morning), Squeaks is in bed without a swaddle or a pacifier.

So the tears begin…

I’ve decided to start with his afternoon nap as to not be completely exhausted on my first go at this.  Ferber writes that after 30 minutes at regular nap time, if the child has not gone to sleep, he should be taken from bed and we should try again at his next nap time.  I have a feeling that I’m in for 30 minutes of screaming.  That’s okay.  He’s sad, but he’s not in true pain, in any danger, hungry, or sitting in his own poop.  I have no idea if this training is going to work for our little guy, but we have decided that it is worth a shot.  Updates are soon to come on our successes and failures.  I have a feeling that writing about it is one of the few ways that I’ll be able to get through.  Thanks for reading :-)

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A Few More Reasons Why My Kid Totally Rocks:

Squeaker is growing up so fast. I know all parents say that about their kids, and I’m saying it about mine.  He still rocks for all of the reasons I’ve previously mentioned, but as he has recently regressed in his sleeping habits, I want to remind myself of all the things that make him amazing.

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1)   He’s great at spoons!  It only took a matter of days before he got the hang of how a spoon works.  So far, his favorite foods are mangoes and sweet potatoes.  We try new foods every couple of days and he absolutely loves it.  He opens his mouth wide and shakes his head excitedly back and forth as the spoon nears his little mouth.  Trying all sorts of foods is a fun and exciting thing that we get to do together as a family.  My kid rocks at spoons!

2)   He is SO chatty.  I have noticed that he is especially chatty when he is comfortable and with people he knows well.  He yells and mimics the sounds his dad and I make.  He’s moved on from squeaking and hits lots of different notes.  Sometimes he’ll “chat” with himself for long lengths of time.  The other day he stayed in his crib and told himself stories for a good 20 minutes.  This new habit totally cracks me up.  I can’t wait until we can understand his stories!  My kid’s vocal chords rock.

3)   He gets VERY excited about his green ball and his green duck.  His ball rattles and is easy to grab.  He goes nuts for it every time.  Yesterday we played with other toys all day and right as he was getting cranky at the end of the evening, I gave him his green ball.  He was so excited I thought he was going to jump out of his skin.  His reaction was wicked adorable.  Similarly, his green duck dangles in front of his face in his car seat.  It seems to be his mission in life to eat ducky’s feet all of the time.  The other day he fell asleep with ducky’s foot tightly in his grips.  Too cute.  My kid rocks at toys!

4)   Finally, all he wants to do is stand.  He wants to stand on the floor, on the counter, in our laps—everywhere.  He’s totally uninterested in any other pose.  He’s got a pair of thunder thighs and the strongest legs.  I love watching his face as he “stands” and tips from side to side in my arms.  Huge grins cross his face and you can see how proud he is.  It’s adorable!  My kids legs rock!

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Sleep Regression

Ugh.  Seriously kid?  Seriously?  Every 2.5 hours?  The Squeaks has regressed.  For the last week he has been a pretty terrible sleeper.  He wakes up every 2-3 hours looking for food.  I’m pretty sure we were spoiled rotten by his 6-hour stretches.  One bottle in the middle of the night was so very doable.  This, however, is ridiculous.  Dad and I are so bleary eyed.  It has been hard for me to even think about writing this blog because I worry that I cannot string a group of words together.

My first thought is that he’s probably ready to venture into the world of solid foods.  I’m hoping that eating a little cereal will help him sleep longer and more soundly.  Last night we gave it a try for the first time.  Didn’t

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clear it by the doc first.  It feels like we are breaking a few rules, but we are desperate.  Of course, there is a learning curve on using a spoon, and Squeaks has not quite mastered the concept, but he’s trying.  He seemed to like the food pretty well and even though he was deliriously tired from not napping all day, he still seemed to enjoy himself.

He’s been a pretty happy baby all day today and the food didn’t seem to upset his belly.  The food, however, did not keep him asleep!  He woke up 3 times last night and was wide-awake by 6am.  I am starting to come down with a cold, which I am sure is partially exacerbated by my lack of sleep.  This family is feeling a little desperate.  Sleep is not high on Squeak’s to-do list.  Hopefully he’ll eat more and go back to sleeping a little bit longer at night.  If not… we’re in trouble!  Anyone have any ideas?  We have regressed.

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Strollin’

            It is time to get in shape.  The weather is finally looking better, Squeaker is old enough to be on a relatively predictable schedule, and I’m sick of looking like I just had a baby.  Between feeling this way and moving to a new town, I figured I’d go out on a limb and try a Stroller Strides class.  For any of you who don’t know me, I’m not very good at getting out and meeting new people.  I don’t like new social situations.  My husband is the social butterfly—I like my friends just as they are.  No more.  Thanks.  I’m sure that this social anxiety is what has kept me from any sort of mom’s group, but my desire to get back in shape has pushed me to try it.

On Monday, I went to my first class.  I can’t move.  Every muscle in my body is aching to the core.  I’m hobbling around my home and am struggling to carry the Squeaks around with me.  It was WAY harder than I thought it’d be.  The class focused on using bands to strengthen muscles and constant movement for aerobics.  Yikes!  I haven’t been to the gym in almost a year!  Let’s just say I have my work cut out for me.

So, the workout was awesome.  Then there was the social experience.  I hate small talk.  Hate it.  But you know what, I’m glad I have to do it sometimes.  I’m convinced I won’t make any real friends at this class (I don’t know why, I’m just convinced it won’t happen), but, the girls were nice, the kids were adorable, and everyone seemed very supportive.

Going to this class was hard for me.  I’m sure this post oozes with my discomfort, but I’m glad I went!  I am going to keep going.  I think it’s good for me to do these things even when I don’t want to.  Writing about it here helps me hold myself accountable.  The goal is to be healthier and I might just make a friend or two along  the way.

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A Move to the ‘Burbs

So far, the hardest thing I’ve had to do with little one in tow is pack a city apartment, renovate a house in the suburb, and move into said house.  Yikes!  Now that I’m on the other end and my poor little guy can get back to his regular program, it’s time to write a HUGE thank you to my parents for all of their help and support this week.  I am not totally sure I would have made it without them.  About a week ago I realized that I was packing about a box a day.  I’d finally get Squeaker down for a nap, and then the rip of the tape gun, the clank of pots and pans, or whatever else I was trying desperately to get into a box, would inevitably wake him up.  Packing became impossibly hard.  As moving day approached, I cracked.  I broke down in a way that I hadn’t since the first week of Squeak’s life.

Looking Out the WindowMuch like that first mental break, my mom came to the rescue!  3,000 miles away and she was here within 24 hours.  It was amazing.  She entertained the baby, helped me pack, and let me take naps when I started to run out of fuel.  It’s amazing to see her with my little boy and know how good of a mom she must have been to me when I was this little.  Thanks mom!

My dad recognized that I needed the help and flew her here to help me.  I cannot be more grateful.  My dad was working tirelessly to improve our new home, update fixtures, repaint dated rooms, and cleaning our new ‘forever’ home.  My parents were here for me in so many capacities and I just have to express my gratitude.

Now that they are gone and it’s just the three of us again, the house seems quiet and big.  It’s going to take some time to get used to all this space.  It already feels like home and I’m finding new places for all of our things.  Squeaker and I can go for long walks around the neighborhood, we can stomp around without worrying about the neighbors, and we can grill our dinners right outside the kitchen door.  I think this will be a great place to lay down our roots and give Squeaker a good home.  Anyway, thanks Momma!  Thanks, Pops!

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Droppin’ Feeds!

For the past few nights, Squeaker has slept in 5+ hour stretches!  Pre-baby, I did not understand how this could possibly be a good thing, but after months of uncomfortable pregnancy sleep and 10 weeks of being in various states of consciousness–I feel like I’ve won the lottery!  I have found sleep to be one of the most contentious topics in new mom land.  Where does he sleep?  Where do I sleep?  Where does dad sleep?  Is it okay for him to sleep in a chair?  Can he sleep swaddled?  Is he allowed a blanket?  And I felt guilty every time I discussed our sleep habits with friends or the pediatrician.  I always felt like I had to justify our choices.  The undercurrent of all these conversations was always: is the kid going to die because you did it wrong?  It’s a pretty heavy unspoken implication.  Seriously though, is my kid going to stop breathing if I do it wrong?!?!

Let’s just say that I think my family has made it through the darkest hours on this front.  I’m the first to admit that we might have been doing it wrong.  I don’t know. I have, however, forgiven myself for every time he sleeps in some way that “the books” and “the experts” would say is less-than-optimal.  Sometimes he sleeps in bed with me.  Sometimes he sleeps in his car seat.  But lately, he has been sleeping in his crib!  This is a BIG deal.  He has started to go down in the evenings (usually around 11pm) and sleeping consistently until 9:30 or so.  We would feed him at least 3 times in that span.  Usually my husband would give him a bottle once and I’d nurse him twice during his “sleep hours.”  Lately though, as my husband and I pass each other like ships in the night, blearily passing off key details about poops and ounces of milk, the details have changed.  “He hasn’t woken up since we put him down at 11,” or “Just keep sleeping, he hasn’t woken up yet.”  Eight weeks ago, this seemed completely unattainable.  I am feeling good.  It’s 8:00am and I woke up on my own.  No cranky baby, no alarm clock.  I just woke up.

So, to those of you out there that have done this before–you were right.  It does get better.  It does get easier.  To those of you who are about to do this for the first time–It does get better.  It does get easier.  Eventually, they drop feedings, and you will sleep again.