Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet One's sleeping story

For a good chunk of her first year, Sweet One always slept as good as I could have hoped. Around two or three months old, I started waking her up around 10 or 10:30 to feed her and then she slept until 6 or 6:30. I knew how lucky I was. Not once did I take it for granted. Then at around nine months old it stopped. I think it was brought on by many things which include teething, a couple trips out of town, her first fever and my mistake of not giving her enough solids for fear of her weaning. A doctor told me to feed her when she woke up which I now believe made the situation worse. I still think you're an ass, Doc. The first few months with a couple wakings per night was not terrible but as time went on she was barely sleeping three hours straight. I was miserable and barely staying afloat. Wishing at times that I could run out of the house and not return. Some nights I would cry myself back to sleep. I thought it was never going to end and I was getting scared that I'd fall into a deep depression.

I started trying to get her to sleep better by taking the soother away cold turkey. I'm sorry to take something away from you that you love so much, sweetie! This didn't help as much as one resource led me to believe it would.

I then focused on helping her learn to get herself to sleep. Starting by being in the room with her as she fell asleep, but not holding her, seemed to work but after awhile every time she woke up in the night she'd cry until I poked my head in the door and then go right back to sleep!

The final step was what I had dreaded even before she was born: I had to let her cry it out a bit. I decided that I only felt comfortable letting her cry for 5 minutes before checking on her. So I let her cry and did as I planned. She became quiet quickly. Then after I left she cried again for another 5 minutes. I checked on her and felt guilty when it took her longer to settle down again. It's harder on me than it is for you, Sweet One. This is for your own good. I left again and after 2 minutes she fell asleep. The second day of this took less time and then the third well, there was no crying.

I'm glad to say that now Sweet One is sleeping from around 6:30 until 6 or 6:30, sometimes waking up at 5:00 or shortly after for a feed. I do not think that had I left her cry it out earlier that it would have necessarily fixed the problem earlier. She needed to know that I was nearby before she could handle it all on her own. I am surprised at how quickly my daily life felt easier after only two or three nights of a good sleep. Now it is close to a full month of good sleep.

So that's my story of Sweet One's sleep. I just thought I'd share it since I had quite a few posts where I was falling apart from her lack of sleep. Sorry if you're bored. I've read so much out there in the blogosphere about sleeping troubles that I can now realize that 3 months of hell isn't that bad at all compared to what some moms have to deal with. As hard as those three months were, they are now becoming a faint memory. I'm surprised how hard it was to remember some of the details in timeline. There are things I wish were this easy to forget! Sweet One is practically an expert at putting herself to sleep, I barely rock her anymore before her second nap and bedtime. Sometimes she fusses when I'm trying to rock her for a few minutes as if to tell me that she'd like to be on her own! Please let me rock you, just a few more minutes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Housebound again

Over the past few days we had gotten out for walks again after being snowed in for a few weeks. It was fabulous! The sun was shining and during one of the walks I was almost too warm. I anticipated going to the local trail and enjoying a nice long walk today. But then I woke up. It is almost 3:00 pm and we've had 3 inches of snow today. Just when I thought I wouldn't need something to help me get through the snow, it all starts again. Well, maybe I'll win the snow stroller with their second contest!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

As she walks

I believe that my job as a mother is to prepare my child to be able to firmly stand on her own two feet. As I watched her today, walking everywhere she possibly could, I couldn't help but get a few tears in my eyes. At times she would walk straight for me and then veer off to somewhere else. It made my heart ache a little to think that there was something else more exciting than me! She looks too little to be walking already; it's too soon. I want to be able to protect her as long as I can but I know there are things she will have to do on her own. I let her walk wherever she wanted. Sometimes I was close by and at other times I watched from a distance as she plopped down on her bum and then got back up with courage and determination. Learning to do this on her own and trusting herself to do it. She knew that with every step she took she was accomplishing something. Words fail me as I recall the beaming look on her face. Thank God these are not the steps that will take her from me as she leaves the nest.

That is what I want to remember today by. Not the fussing that happened when she wasn't walking; the food thrown on the floor, the whining and all the behavior that is so out of the ordinary for her. I'm hoping the teeth will break through soon! (Little fukkers.)

I also do not want to remember today by the fear that is gnawing at my stomach as we await a decision that will have to be made due to someone else's error in the payroll at church. It has the potential to kick our asses.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Her own victory

I was head down looking through one of her bins trying to find a slightly bigger pair of jeans that could fit her cloth butt. She was crawling around in the area above the stairs where the doors to the rooms are. I had just put her down from the changing table and the sense of freedom she regained had her off as quickly as she could, the sounds of her hands smacking the floor a clear sign that she was enjoying herself. The smacking continued. The space between each smack seemed to get shorter. I looked up and there she was: chubby legs moving in small steps with the biggest smile on her face going through the doorway and back into her bedroom. She was holding a Canadian pen above her head like a victory torch. Her first journey on her feet uncoerced by either me or Big Love.

I gave myself a bit of a creative exercise today and revamped the "About Me" section of my page. I have no ability to change up the page itself and so changing a section or so will have to do.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Seeing the sun isn't helping

Sweet One's sleep has improved drastically over the past 2 weeks - sleeping up to twelve hours a night. There's so much in my head to yabber about this and yet I can't get myself to do it. She even lets Big Love put her to bed and that in itself is an accomplishment. I am starting to sleep through the night, too.

The sun has shone for a few days and we got out for some walks. But my brain still feels blechgh. Usually the having the sun shining makes everything feel much better. While carrying her to the stroller yesterday, Sweet One could barely contain her excitement.

I have a beautiful bathroom and a month or two ago I said I was going to have a bath right after it was completed. I haven't taken that bath because I really don't want to have to see this body, all gooey, shmushy and blubbery, for the entire time I'd be bathing. Big Love even bought a $16 bottle of wine yesterday so that I could enjoy in my first bath but I'm not sure my ego can handle it! (We usually don't spend that much on it but he wanted to make sure I'd have a decent glass of wine to enjoy.)

I feel like so much doesn't feel right - my body, my brain, my clothes, my lack of personal goals. Not sure how to get out of this funk and after three days it doesn't feel like it will just pass.

Sweet One took close to a dozen steps on her own. Over the past few days she'd take two or three here and there but today was the first time she covered as much ground as she did.

Still no new teeth. The second tooth she got was on September 19th and she's gnawing on everything she can get her mouth on. I'm hoping those fukkers make it through soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

New Show: Life Unexpected

I just finished watching the pilot episode of Life Unexpected and I loved it! It airs on the CW Mondays at 9pm and I can't watch it then because of 24 and The Big Bang Theory, both shows I watch with Big Love. Luckily they re-air it Wednesdays at 8 and I desperately hope they continue to do so. I love the characters already! Not since Gilmore Girls have I liked a show this much after the first time I watched it.

I know my life isn't too exciting when I get this excited about a new show! But what am I gonna do?

Monday, January 18, 2010

My little butterfly

If you help a butterfly out of a cocoon its wings will not be strong enough to survive once it is out and it will die.

That's what a friend told me yesterday when I was telling her how bad I feel for Sweet One as she is teething. At a year old she only has 2 teeth - the second arrived on September 19th and it wasn't far behind the first. It has been months of gnawing on anything she can put in her mouth. Recently, she has even been putting her hand on her gums when nothing else is within her arms reach. Today I got a good look at her gums and there seems to be 4-6 little buggers on their way down. Maybe getting a whole bunch at once will make this drawn out process a little bit more worth it.

I wish so much that I could stop it from aching for her. I can't imagine how much teething might hurt since I don't remember the process myself but I'd love to spare her the pain. And then I thought that perhaps this is the little stuff that is preparing me. Physical pain that is guaranteed to have relief once the process is over. Down the road I'm sure there will be so much she has to go through as she grows up and I won't be able to fix it at all. I'll only be able to be there for her, if she'll have me, and let her know I love her.

As a side note, I did not win the snow stroller.
As another side note, houses of similar vintage as ours are very poorly insulated in this area which makes A LOT of huge icicles from the heat escaping out the top. When I returned from going to a movie this afternoon I looked at our house and realized that the entire length of our upper gutters was ripped off as the weight from the ice was too much for it to bear. Too bad Sweet One wouldn't chew on one of those!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

When Mormons come a-knockin' on my door

In my world, Mormons were not part of the general population until I started my Masters degree in 2001. I have two points of reference for Mormonism. There were a number of them in the music program and a few of them became good friends. I didn't know a whole lot and most of what I did know made Mormonism seem extremely bizarre to me. Luckily, a couple of my friends had absolutely no problem laughing off the stupid things people say about what Mormons do and then telling me their own take on it. My other source is from watching Big Love. I figure that's enough said about that!

This afternoon I was in my bedroom which looks out onto the street, installing the new hardware for the curtains I've been working on and hyped up on a slightly higher dose of caffeine than I'm used to these days, when I saw two young men walking door to door. They had to be Mormons. I got quite excited and told Big Love (no, I do not have my own sister wives) that I was going to chat with them. A friend had told me awhile ago that Mormons have their underwear provided by the church and I was curious to know if that was true. With the caffeine running freely in my system I was getting overly excited about having new people to talk to in my day. I made up songs such as "Come to my house, Mormons. I won't slam the door. I'll visit with you for a little while if you come to my house, Mormons."

It wasn't until about half an hour to 45 minutes later that Big Love announced the doorbell rang. (Our doorbell rings in the kitchen which is absolutely stupid because you can't really hear it in any other room of the house.) "Is it the Mormons?" I called. "Probably," he said. He still did not believe that I was going to visit with them. I went to door, still wired on caffeine and now a little nervous about actually doing this. I had a huge smile on my face and I said:

"Hi! Are you Mormons?
Yes, we are.
I will let you know right off the bat that I had some good friends who were Mormons. Once I was in a car with one for over an hour and he told me the whole story and I didn't convert.
Oh. Ok.
But I'm curious. Does the church give you your underwear for free?
Um. (At this moment they looked like they weren't sure what they were getting into.)
Someone I know said that the church provides Mormons with their underwear and so you don't have to buy it.
No, I buy my own. (Slightly muffled, perhaps a little uncomfortable answering this question.)
Oh. Thanks! (There were two Mormons at my door. One was African American and the other was your traditional looking white Mormon boy.)
Where are you from?
I'm from New York, answered the first.
Cool! My friend got to do his mission work in Paris.
Wow. That's cool, he said.
How come you get stuck in this craptown?
They both looked at me and said, there are very nice people in this town.
Yes there are, but the little town itself kinda sucks. Are you stuck just here or do you get to go other places?
We go all over this state, said the second boy.
Oh. Where are you from?
I'm from Utah, he said. At which point my eyes opened twice as much and I very excitedly asked,
Really?! Do you have sister-wives?
They both looked completely confused and mumbled a what? as they tried to figure me out.
You know, like on Big Love.
The first boy basically told me that the show wasn't true. I told them that I had just read a blog posting by someone who has Mormon friends and she mentioned something about sister-wives.
How long ago was that?
Um, I read that post three days ago or so.
Well, maybe they're a breakoff because they'd be kicked out of the church for that.
That makes sense."

I'm a little fuzzy on the exact order of things that were discussed. The second boy did ask me if we were religious at all and I explained that yes we were ... blah blah blah. He seemed to have a look on his face as if he was trying to decipher whether I was on something or not. At one point the first boy said that going to Paris would be too hard because you'd have to learn the different language. He mentioned he knew spanish to which I mentioned that it was similar to french.

"You know the world leche for milk?
Leche, yes. (He pronounced it properly.)
Well it's the same word in french, just pronounced differently. I was reading about the La Leche organization. You know, for women who are going to feed their babies with their own .... equipment. (Now I didn't want to traumatize them too much and say boobs. And then I tried to smoothly change the subject.) Where I come from, people have been known to answer the door naked with a beer in their hand when Mormons came to the door. Have you ever seen that?
Well, yeah. They did have, um, robes on, said the first boy.
That's good. At least you weren't exposed to anything that would traumatize you.
Where are you from? asked the second boy.
We're from Western Canada.
That's quite the transplant, he said. To which the first boy said, I knew someone from Canada. It was a strange place, I think it started with S.
Oh, that could be Saskatchewan. How did you know her?
Her father fought in Vietnam and when he got back they were so mean that he left and went to Canada.
That's too bad. I knew draft dodgers. Some were my high school teachers. Well, we're going to take my daughter for a walk now.
Ok, said the second boy. Is there anything we can do for you?
Oh, no thanks. I'm sure you've provided me with enough entertainment for today. I hope you have a good rest of the day!"

And off they went. Probably trying to quickly get their bearings after chatting with the crazy housewife who obviously doesn't get out enough so that when the two Mormon boys at her door make for a nice break from the norm in her day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Two more brain farts for today

National Delurking Day. Neat! Please, play along and leave me a comment. Come out of hiding and say hello and you will completely make my day. Obviously I have counters because I'm beyond curious to see who may give two shits and where people are from.

Two - Thursday night. One of the bigger days in the tv week for me as Grey's Anatomy is on. HOWEVER. After years of never seeing a bad episode this season is becoming, in my opinion, a bit of a dud. The final episode before Christmas SUCKED ASS as it jumped through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's in whatever 47 minutes it could. A lack of cohesiveness was so evident. I love Grey's Anatomy people, ever since the first episode I watched as I got mildly drunk in my apartment trying to deal with the fact that my father was visiting (all visits with him over the past 6 or so years have left me drunk before and after as well as in tears and emotionally beaten up). (I am laughing at just how much detail I can recall from different moments in my life, kinda scary. A good memory is not always a good friend.)

OK - I said they were brain farts and in true Mamabird style, that's what came out. Now I'm off to sew a few more curtains for my bedroom.

Missing - my cat and going for walks.

I've been missing and thinking about my little cat a lot more over the past few days. Sometimes I hear noises like he used to make. Yesterday, Sweet One wanted to sit at the piano and as I approached the bench I saw his little footprints. I was looking at a posting from The Storque and there I saw a black cat looking at me. The sun has been shining all day (so far) and when I see it touching the floor I remember that my cat would have been finding every sunny spot her could. Moments before he died he crawled into a sun spot on the couch.

I want to get out for a walk. Sweet One has had a rough day because she missed her morning nap due to the timing of her 'year old' doctor's appointment (still small at 17lbs 4oz but this doctor says not to worry and that the last doctor's assholishness was due to a cultural barrier in communication). I was thinking that if I had a backpack we could get out and so I will get one for her soon ... or maybe I'll win!

Ok, this beautiful little girl is asking for some Mama-time.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

If I can't find stroller skis, I'll try to win this

I was looking online again with the smallest of hopes that I may be able to find something that would a) allow me to get outside and go for a walk with my daughter regular during the winter and b) that I could afford. I did find this website that makes Snow Strollers so I definitely have something that matches the a) requirement but alas, at this point it does not fit in with b). HOWEVER, because I'm posting a link to their website I am getting another entry in a contest to try to win one of these. I'd love it SO much. (The fact that this is a Canadian product makes it even cooler in my opinion.)

Sweet One and I did go out for a walk for a bit and while her insulation chamber kept her nice and warm, the walls of snow in front of sidewalks (the rare ones that were actually cleared) made it quite challenging to walk. Oh, if only I could win one of these I wouldn't want to jump off the roof of my house!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Sweet One's first email

This email was in my inbox today for Sweet One. It is from my dear friend who lives in Montreal. Next to Big Love, I'd say she knows me best. With my immediate family being far away I was so happy the day that my friend said she'd be honored to be known as Auntie.

Hello Mamabird and Baby Birthday Girl!

How unbelievable that you should turn 1 today. You have no idea how much your mommy loves you (especially when you sleep for more than 4 hours;) and how many people all over the land think about you and it makes them smile and feel hopeful! You have changed many peoples lives since your arrival. I will always remember the first time I got to hold you, wrapped up tight in that blanket, you certainly were small! Now, you are doing all sorts of things...including climbing stairs, eating big people's foods, babbling, and it looks like in no time you will be toddling around on those adorable legs of yours. Thanks to your mom for keeping your Auntie updated because I love to hear what's new with you. Maybe soon we'll have a chat on the phone...

Happy Birthday to You! Eat some strawberries for you still love those? And give your mom a little snuggle...Moms are suckers for those.

Love you and your mom!

A year already?

Last night as I was rocking Sweet One before I put her in the crib I found it very difficult to want to put her down. It was the last time I would rock her before she became 1 year old. How can it already be that a year has come and gone? As with many other new mom's, the arrival of the first birthday is a little surreal. Could it seriously have been a year ago that I was drugged up, cut open and had this amazing little girl taken out of me? At this exact moment she would have been with us almost a full hour. My world changed completely and I still look at her wondering how on earth this ever happened. Despite how hard the past three months have been, I know and feel how lucky I am that she is healthy and happy. (Except for now because she didn't nap long enough and I'm letting her cry a bit, hoping it will help her learn to nap longer than 30-45 minutes.) Happy Birthday, my dearest Sweet One.

The last three nights have been much better with more sleep happening for everyone here in the nest and so my outlook on life is a little better.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stroller Skis would tackle this snow

I stepped outside this afternoon at about 2:30 to shovel the walk. The snow has not stopped falling in at least three days! Luckily, it is light and fluffy which makes all the clearing much easier. As you can see, the snow was up passed my ankles and Big Love had been out there around 7pm yesterday to do our third clearing of the day. The greatest thing about when I went out to shovel today was that the sun had decided to make a meager appearance for the first time in many days and there is nothing that makes my life better than the sun shining on my face. I didn't even care that there were wind gusts and a temperature of 17F/-8C and a windchill of 1F. Bring it on! I was
outside and the sun was with me. The only real challenge was finding places to put the snow!

Just prior to going out to shovel I was goofing around online and googled "stroller skis" with the expectation that absolutely nothing would show up. Much to my great surprise, I found this. I got so excited but the feeling quickly passed as I was unable to find any place online that had them available. If Sweet One and I could only go for walks! (The majority of people in this town do not clear their sidewalks!) My desperate plea is that if anyone out there knows where I can get my little hands on a set of these, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! You would be providing me with my very own holy grail and bettering the lives of not just me or Sweet One, but also Big Love because then he wouldn't have to deal with two girls who have been cooped up in the house all day long - for many days on end. In the 10 day weather forecast, Thursday and Monday do not have snow showers in them and the rest do. (I am not joking when I say that it has snowed non-stop here for three or more days!) There is a beautiful walking trail (featured on the blogsite) but it does not get cleared and if I only had a brain, er I mean these stroller skis, I could walk to my heart's content.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Today I said to God: "You're an asshole"

It has been three months now of Sweet One not sleeping through the night and not napping. In fact, the naps seem to be getting shorter lately! I'm desperate every night I rock Sweet One before putting her in her crib (drowsy, but awake) and I beg for God to help all my efforts to get us to where I need us to be. Sweet One is tired all day long and she looks it. I'm beaten up by this and barely holding on. I feel completely isolated in this with no real hope of improvement ever coming. I don't ask for much. But this one thing I'm so desperate for the universe to serve up on a golden platter for me. My frustration and exasperation with this is clouding everything I do all day long. Our bathroom is near completion and I can't put together the energy to blog about that when it is by far more exciting. The snow has not stopped falling for a few days and as I was out doing the second shift in shoveling this afternoon I was standing in beautiful, fluffy snow up to my knees. (I can't wait until Sweet One considers that wonderful!) But all of this is moot. Each day I wake up only to try to get through another day with both of us exhausted. This morning after she had a half hour nap I ended up lying on her floor crying. I don't feel like I can handle this anymore and I am doing absolutely everything in my power and knowledge to try to fix this. It doesn't work. I can't seem to make it work. And so for a little while longer I'm going to think God is an asshole for not helping me out here. It's easier than being angry at Sweet One.