Head Down!

I seriously have about 10 blog topics running through my head at all times.  I’m usually experiencing a situation and thinking to myself, “How would I write about this?”

Only to find that I sit down to write, and there is nothing there.  Yeah, I know… get a notebook already!  I wish I could just blog the moment an idea comes.  But whatever.  I’ll settle for this.

Baby girl turned head down Saturday night.  I was so busy at work, I honestly didn’t notice until I got home and crashed into bed.  She did her usual “mommy’s trying to fall asleep” mambo, and all the kicks were in all the right places.  I literally felt anxiety and stress leave my body in that moment.  I can’t even begin to say how worked up her being breech got me, as silly as that is.  I tell my patients ALL THE TIME not to worry, and that babies can turn head down as last-minute as an hour before delivery.  I had even already discussed the possibility of a breech vaginal delivery with my midwife, so it wasn’t as though I had a golden ticket to a c-section.  I just… couldn’t stop thinking.  And worrying.  And hoping.

Every single night when I went to bed, I would dream that she had turned down again, and every single morning when I woke up I would wait for those first kicks only to be disappointed.  Now that she’s turned?  I find I don’t have anything I can complain about!

Ronan has been having more sleep troubles again.  He hasn’t fallen asleep before 11pm yet this week.  We keep going back and forth between growing pains, teething, and him feeling unsettled because his home life has entirely changed – dad is home all day now!  My lovely friend, Stephany, pointed out to me something that I had entirely forgotten; when children are going through a big developmental leap, they tend to have trouble sleeping.  The moment she said this, it was like a window opened up in my brain.  D’oh!  I should have thought of that.  So keep your eyes open for updates.

Also?  I made an amazing cloth diaper purchase the other day.  I can’t wait to get them in the mail!  We are still using Flips on Ronan with much success, and want to start baby girl out in something more fitted until she’s big enough for one-size diapers.  I only got 12, and I know that’s aiming a little low as far as laundry is concerned, so I’m going to buy a dozen prefolds as well.  Time to move up (or down?) in the cloth diapering world!

I am 30 weeks pregnant and Ronan is 21 months old.

Sweet Naps

I have done everything possible in the last hour to avoid writing a blog.

I don’t even know why.  There is NOTHING coming to my mind about what I would like to write about today.

Then I realized that I could celebrate a breakthrough last night.  Only I don’t want to jinx it.  I’ll just put it succinctly… I got some sleep last night.  And Ronan did too.  That’s all I’m going to say about it for now.

Birthday party anxiety is ramping up.  Way up.  So far, I have 14 people RSVP’d and are coming to my tiny little house.  My tiny, little, dirty house.  I’m planning on working on that today – you know, since I’m all rested up.

What does any of this have to do with the title of my blog?  I love it when Ronan is napping.  I swear, God invented naps to preserve mothers’ sanity.  I could genuflect over naps alone.

Goals for today?

  • New baby gate at Target
  • Kitchen tidied and cleaned.
  • Floors swept/mopped.
  • Living room tidied.
  • Laundry DONE!
  • Bonus goal: Clean master bathroom.
  • Bonus goal: Clean and organize baby room.

I’ll admit, my expectations for today are a little unrealistic, but why not aim high?  We’re getting the trip to Target out of the way early.

And right here, I’d like to do a little celebratory dance… just days from my son’s first birthday, we FINALLY have him paid off.  *dance*

Updating things.

One of the things they tell you when you start changing things is to only change one at a time.  That way, you’ll know what it is that you did that caused the improvement.

I never listen.

We started Ronan on his reflux medicine, but around the same time I started trying a new ‘going to bed’ method.  It’s the one where I lay down next to him, and I MAKE him stay laying down, but I don’t help him fall asleep at all.  There is a little bit of fussing, a little bit of crying, but no rocking, singing, nursing or anything.  He just has to go to sleep on his own.

The first night, it took an hour.  The second night, it took 20 minutes.  Last night, it took 2 minutes.  And his sleep stretches have gotten as long as 5 hours.  You know, for us, that is as good as 12.

I don’t know what’s made the biggest difference.  We’ve noticed a big reduction in the amount he’s been refluxing, and how upset he gets when it happens.  Maybe it’s a combination of both.  All I’m hoping is that saying this out loud wont jinx us.

Please, don’t let it jinx us.

**I just put Ronan down for the night, and it took him about 30 seconds to fall asleep.  Holy moly, YES!  Also, I started using “California Baby” soap products tonight because of eczema and a nagging skin rash he’s had for a while.  Lets see if we can FIX everything.**

Edit: 10:09 pm.

Ronan is still awake.  He woke up after about an hour.  He has been up since then, despite all of my efforts.  Nothing ever gets better.  Nothing improves.  I should probably just let him cry it out, because that would probably be better than the impulse I have to hold a pillow over him.  What the hell did we ever do to deserve this?

Snap… Back to Reality.

Have you noticed something has been missing lately?  Have you kept track of how long it’s been since I wrote a blog about Ronan’s sleep habits?

Well.  That is because we didn’t want to jinx a good thing while it lasted.  I was afraid to blog about how great Ronan has been, because I thought, like speaking a wish out loud, it goes away when acknowledged.

I guess it doesn’t matter either way.

For the past three weeks, Brock and I have been living in a state of partial bliss.  Ronan has been going to sleep easily around 6pm, and staying in bed until morning.  Now, don’t get too excited for us… he hasn’t been STAYING asleep.  He still wakes every couple of hours.  But when compared with him staying up until nearly midnight, this has been a HUGE accomplishment!  He’s also been going RIGHT back to sleep after every wake period.  There have been TWO HOUR NAPS!   Simply amazing.  Brock and I had some alone time.  We watched some movies from start to finish.  We had the chance to enjoy each other… without rushing.  And we felt like perhaps we’d made it over the hump.  Maybe things would look up from here on out?

Wow.

Could we possibly have been more wrong?

I know I’ve said this before.  I know I’ve always said, “At least it can’t get any worse than this.”

I must be tempting fate, really.

For the last week, now, Ronan has been an absolute bear.  All day, fussy and grumpy.  All night, waking and screaming.  Crying every hour.  Unable to be consoled, and unable to fall back asleep on his own.  Trying to GET him to sleep is an absolute nightmare.  Without changing ANY of our routine or habits, he now stays up and fights sleep until 11 pm.  Naps are difficult, frustrating, and short.  We’re right back in the snarling pit of exhausted hell.  What changed?  Hard to say.  Is he teething again?  Growing pains?  Developmental leap? Is there any way to know?

We have an official diagnosis of GERD – Gastroesophogeal Reflux Disease – and have started treatment of Prevacid.  It takes 2 weeks for the medicine to kick in and make a noticeable difference.  Could this have been the problem all along?  Should I have stuck to my guns, and fought harder to prove that his problem at night isn’t just behavioral?  I can’t beat myself up.  We’ve done everything we possibly can.

I hope this is just a passing phase.

I might die if it isn’t.

Dear Ronan: 10 months old.

Hello again, sweet boy.

Another month has gone by.  I feel like I wrote my last letter to you yesterday.  I only wish the time would go by slower so I could spend more days with you.

This month, you got to meet Nana and Grumpa.  They loved you SO much… and you loved them!  I still can’t believe how quickly you warm up to strangers, with a smile and then with play.  They bought you some amazing gifts for Christmas  – a ball pit, and a giant teddy bear.  I don’t think you could have been happier.

You’ve been doing some major growing this month, son.  You’re 31 inches tall!  And 21 pounds.  Everyone that meets you tells me how BIG you are for just 10 months old.  You’ve been cruising around the house, holding on to every object you can find, trying to walk but not quite ready yet.  You’ll be running around with us chasing after before we know it.  You talk all the time, just like your mum!  A little blabbermouth.  Daddy loves it.  You make him laugh all day.  And in just a few days, you’ll be experiencing your very first Christmas!  We are so excited.

You still don’t sleep, my baby boy.  It gets harder and harder as you get older and older.  You get so frustrated with us, and can’t communicate, so you pinch.  I dearly hope that’s something you grow out of.  Daddy handles you with patience better than I do right now, so he’s been loving you to sleep every night.  You love your daddy so very much… always full of smiles and laughs when you see him.

Ronan, you clap and cheer!  You crawl so fast, and you LOVE to throw things.  Flint is still your favorite toy, and you laugh when you chase him.  You HATE getting dressed, and you would rather crawl around without a diaper on than anything else in the world.  Bathtime is always so much fun.

You are an amazing little human, Ronan.  I’m lucky to be part of your life.

Love,

Mum.

Updates and Replies

No post yesterday.  I didn’t feel up to it.

Today, however, is pretty great.  I had this huge outpouring of support from my “unattainable dreams” post, it that has made the biggest difference.  I can’t even begin to say.  I want to reply to every single comment, and that would be silly to do in comments (I don’t even know if people have noticed that I always reply – does it notify you?) so I’m going to do it here in my post.

Also, I installed a captcha plug-in to stop SPAM messages, but it stops people from being able to comment.  If you can’t comment, email me at mandy at tempestbeauty dot com and let me know.  I will try to get it fixed, perhaps try a new captcha thingy.

In other news, this is how yesterday went.

Nap from 10 am until 12pm – 2 hour naps… SO NICE for mum.

Nap from 2pm until 3pm – 50 minute nap is typical.

Nap from 5pm until 6pm – Kept him up longer than usual, and let him have a short LATE nap.

Bath, lotion, story at 8:30pm – Nearly an HOUR later than his usual bed time.

Sleep at 9pm.

He woke up at 10, and fell right back asleep.  Woke at 11 and nursed… but DIDN’T GET UP.

He woke every 2-3 hours to nurse, but he stayed in bed ALL NIGHT.  I consider that a success!!  A small one, but success none the less!

Now, on to the replies.  They will come in order.

Kristin:  First of all, I love you and I miss you.  You really should come visit me and meet my son.  Soon please.  Where are the crackers??  Anyways… we have tried skipping naps before… seems to make him more tired, and harder to put to sleep.  Brock thinks it works, I think it doesn’t.  We’ll have to try it again. 🙂

Lindsay W:  I can’t even tell you how right you are!  And how much your support means.  Thank you.

Stacey:  We went through a few weeks of trying to figure out if it was medical, and the doctor eventually told us he thinks it’s entirely behavioral, we’ve spoiled him, and that we just need to let him cry it out.  I don’t, however, take parenting advice from pediatricians, only medical advice.  I take parenting advice from parents that have the same parenting attitudes as I do… and well behaved kids. 🙂  I’m glad to hear it gets better… at least I still have that to look forward to.

Alena:  We tried the later bedtime!  We’re gonna try it again tonight, see if it continues to work.  Thank you!

Holly:  PLEASE keep reading and commenting!  It’s MORE than okay!  This is EXACTLY why I’m doing this… to help other moms realize that parenting problems are universal, and to get help with problems that I have.  Thank you SO much for what you’ve said.  You made my heart feel better.  I LOVE that Kai still comes to sleep with you… and I will be totally happy if Ronan does the same thing.  I imagine those early morning cuddles being one of the best parts of your day.  And, yes.  Last week was amazing.  I couldn’t remember how amazing it felt to have that much sleep every night.  Brock and I even stopped bickering over stupid things.  I miss it already.

Beth:  Of course you are right.  Sucking it up is a learning process… and I suck at it so far. 🙂

Gemma:  You are totally awesome.  I started doing that the other night.  It makes him scream, and get mad, but I just have to be more stubborn than he is.  Once we lie down, we’re down for good.  It’s been working 🙂

Wulf:  Thanks. 🙂

Cate:  We’re trying!  You’re right, I totally miss those few hours… but, again, you’re RIGHT!  We weren’t getting them anyways!  We were just battling.  Guest room… yeah.  Sometimes I don’t mind.  Sometimes… I could spit.

Michelle:  I just love you. 🙂  Thanks for understanding so well.  I really needed the judgement free support.  You are exactly right… sometimes you just need to vent, and it doesn’t help to get trashed on for doing it. Brock is such an amazing daddy… he just doesn’t seem as able to deal with the shitty stuff.  But he steps up to the plate when it’s his turn.  And I love him for it.

Dahnya:  We have an unusual situation… because Brock DOES work M-F 8-5.  So he has to get up early every morning.  And when I work, I work Saturday and Sunday overnight shifts.  Which means that 2 nights a week, Brock DOES have to deal with the baby.  Alone.  Because I’m at work.  And the shitty part of that deal is, the two nights that he’s dealing with the baby where I could POTENTIALLY get some sleep, I’m at work instead.  So I never get those two nights of great sleep, and he still feels like he’s working his crapper off with the baby.  I can’t be upset, because I know how hard it must be for him when I’m gone – at least when I’m home and dealing with the baby, if it gets to be too much, I have him there to help.  He doesn’t have that. 🙁  He also doesn’t agree with crying it out, and I’m thankful for that.  Most of our parenting choices are made together, and we stick to them together.   Thank you for your support.  So much. 🙂

And really, in the end, just THANK YOU to all of you.  You are so amazing, and so supportive, and I don’t know how I could make it through some days without knowing there are people out there who just care.  Thank you.

My Entirely Unattainable Dream.

I sit here and sit here staring at a blank screen.  I do not have writers block.  When I decide to write something down, I get it out no matter what.

I sit here and sTBRonanSleepingtare at this blank screen because there are problems in my household, and I aim to write about them.  However, I know what kind of comments my writing will inspire, and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to put up with them.  In my dreams, there is a place where people are supportive, and caring without judging, disapproving, or saying “I told you so.”  And even if the choices I’ve made as a parent seem entirely foreign and quite frankly stupid to you, I’d love you to just be able to comfort, commiserate, and care.

For one blessed week, we had sleep in our house.  A whole week went by where Ronan went to bed at night, and only woke once in the night to eat.  He didn’t scream upon waking, and he didn’t wake to play.  He slept, and I slept, and Daddy slept.  After a whole week, I thought we’d beat the battle, the demon had been slayed, and our son had finally become a good sleeper.  Better days were ahead, bad nights behind us.  That’s what I thought… what I’d hoped.

Instead, we’ve had a massive regression.  I’m not entirely sure what happened, and even though there are other people in this household that would like to lay the blame on me, I don’t think I’m the cause of the problem.  Perhaps that’s just my way of trying not to feel like I’ve messed everything up royally.  Whatever.  It’s my blog.

Ronan goes to bed around 7pm.  I say ‘around’ because we try to be very flexible and guided by his cues.  If he’s acting very tired around 6:30, we’ll put him down early.  We want to get him in bed during his sleepy time in order to get him to sleep easily.  We don’t like to let him get over-tired, which causes a battle.  This is a lesson learned the hard way.  During the day, Ronan has at least three 50 minutes naps.  Every now and then, he’ll get a 2 hours nap, which is great, but difficult to repeat.  At night, Ronan has a bath, then baby lotion, then pajamas, then a book.  His routine has been the same every night for nearly 5 months now, so he KNOWS when it’s bed time.  Usually right around the time we get the lotion on, he starts to cry.  He’s not hurting, or hungry – he’s upset.  He knows that we’re about to try to put him to sleep, and he’s mad about it.

Typically, putting him to sleep for the first time at night is easy.  I no longer nurse him to sleep, so he doesn’t have that sleep association.  We’ve worked very hard at being able to get him drowsy but still awake, and to put him down.  We can put him down in his crib, or in our bed, and he will usually fall asleep.  Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 tries, sometimes it takes 15, but we persevere.  I don’t want him to have to be rocked to sleep every single time he wakes up.

So.  The child is asleep around 7pm.  And… he wakes up around 8pm.  We go up and give him his paci, pat him on the butt a few times, and he’ll go back to sleep on his own.  Why does he wake up in the first place?  Why can’t we make it beyond that 50 minute sleep mark?  I don’t know.  However, the 8pm mark is the easy one.  It’s the 9pm mark that is the cause for distress in my home.  At 9pm, Ronan wakes up for the night.  He’s had a great 2 hour nap, THANKS MOM, and he thinks it’s time to play.  It doesn’t matter WHAT I have done to try to discourage this behavior… I can spend hours in his room rocking him, bouncing him, nursing him, laying him down in his crib, walking with him, singing to him, cursing at him, crying to him, begging him and any other number of activites trying to encourage him to stay in bed – inevitably he wears me down to the point that I can’t take him any more, and quit.  Because I’m about to lose it.

Have you ever lost it at your child?  It’s not a proud moment.  I set him down in his crib, and he starts screaming, and I walk out of the room.  I close the door behind me, and I go downstairs to try to compose myself.  Usually, I tag Brock in, because I can’t deal with him any more.  Usually, Brock gets him up because he’s not willing to get that upset over sleeping.

It’s at this point, from 9pm on,  that Ronan will not go back to sleep until after midnight.  MIDNIGHT.  From midnight on?  He wakes every 2 hours and screams to eat.

No one in my house gets sleep.  Brock has started sleeping in the guest room, which fosters feelings of unfairness – I don’t get nights in the guest room.  And then I get bitter.  Mad at dad, mad at baby, mad at me.  And I don’t know what to do to fix this.  I don’t know where we went wrong.  I hate this feeling, and I just want one good night.  JUST ONE.  Put him to bed, and he stays there.  I don’t even care about the stupid night feedings.  Wake up and eat, just QUIT SCREAMING AT ME.

I take a deep breath.

I close my eyes.

I remember that a few years from now, I will miss every moment of his babyhood.

I tell myself ‘this too shall pass.’

What more can I do?

A Dark Day for Mommy.

I had one of those days yesterday.

I’m sure you’ve heard of them.  You know, the ones where a stay-at-home mom can’t get anything right?  Where she doesn’t shower, get dressed, or leave the house?  It’s true, the rumors you’ve heard – it DOES happen.

There was a melt-down around 11 am.  Ronan was exhausted.  He was crawling around the living room floor and whining.  He’d crawl up to me, and bury his face into my leg, and moan.  He was literally screaming, “I need to SLEEEEEEEP!” in baby talk.  So, I picked him up, took him to his room, and nursed him to sleep.  We don’t do that very often, and it’s usually a nice and easy path to a good nap.  This time, the moment I laid him down in his crib, despite nursing, he was wide awake.

Now, Ronan has this neat trick.  We’ve been trying for almost 2 months to put Ronan down “drowsy but awake” every single time we lay him down.  We’re trying to encourage him to learn to fall asleep without being held or rocked.  But if he’s TOO awake when you lay him down, he just arches is back, throws his arms up in the air, and starts trying to get up.  So, we pick him back up, rock him again until his eyelids start to droop, and put him down again.  Typically I have to do this 2 or 3 times before I get him to stay down and fall asleep.  I usually keep my hands on him for a little while so he doesn’t feel like I’ve just left him.

Yesterday?  I put him down the third time with his eyes already closed, and he jacked them WAY open, turned over and grabbed on to my arms.  I picked him back up.  Rocked for another 5-10 minutes, laid him down, and he flipped onto his belly and started crawling.  The fifth time, as soon as I put him down he started crying.  The sixth time, I rocked until I was SURE he was asleep.  Then, when he arched his back and pushed away from me, I tried to hold him down.  Yes, I kept my hands on him forcefully as I said through gritted teeth, “You’re EXHAUSTED Ronan.  GO. TO. SLEEP.”

And then I realized what I was doing.  I was trying to hold my WIDE awake child still and will him to sleep.  I had spent over 30 minutes trying to get him to sleep for his 45 minute nap.  I was getting so upset I couldn’t see straight.  I started crying and crying.  I brought him downstairs and told him spitefully, “Fine.  Stay up forever.  I don’t care.”  I felt like a horrible mommy, and thought that someone should immediately come and take him away from me; his dad, social services, maybe even the goblin king.

After that, a funny thing happened.  Ronan would crawl over to me, and pull himself up on my arms.  He’d lay his head on my shoulder, and smack his full-on open mouth against my cheek.  He’d laugh and smile at me.  He’d make me laugh and smile back at him.  And everything was okay again.

09

What can I say?  The kid can be frustrating beyond belief sometimes… but he’s still so amazing I can hardly believe he’s mine.


Finding my Groove, and Sleep Saga Continued.

I think I’m starting to hit my groove at work.  That doesn’t mean I’m starting to LIKE it any more, but really that I’m getting used to the whole she-bang.  It’s about par for the course, it usually takes me about 6 months at a new job to not feel like a total idiot.  It took a little longer this time, but I’d like to believe that a massive lack of sleep had something to do with it.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love getting home in the morning and seeing my two boys still sleeping in bed?  I stand in the doorway and watch them sleep for a few minutes before I do anything.  It does my heart good.

I didn’t want to jinx it by writing about it sooner, but Ronan has been sleeping GREAT for over a week now!  He wakes up once (and sometimes twice) a night to eat.  That’s it!  It seems to keep getting better and better as well.  He’s starting to learn to comfort himself back to sleep.  And by comfort, I mean he throws his body around in all directions until he conks out again, resulting in some hilariously awkward positions.  I must take pictures.  But anywho.  Perhaps the saga of the sleep-bitching is over.  Please, let it be so.  I knew the day would come when his ability to sleep would outgrow his desire to wake every hour.  I’m glad it got here sooner than later.  And I’m glad I never let him cry it out.