Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What Does your List look Like?

I found this on my friend Mariluh's blog, and had to participate. I am a sucker for lists. So even though this has very little to do with miss K, I am going to subject you to it anyway. Things I have done are bolded:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondla
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been inside an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
69. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (does a magazine count?)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I am counting fish here)
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90 Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Added by Mariluh's friend Gizmola:
100. Eaten lunch on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
101. Lit candles at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
102. Been stopped by the cops for making out in my car
103. Been threatened with arrest (for doing donuts in the snow at a local high school)
104. Had surgery

105. Played on the beach at Malibu
106. Been a bridesmaid
107. Caught the bouquet
108. Been engaged
109. Broken off engagement
110. Acted in a play
111. Directed a play

And added by Mariluh:
112. Been to Las Vegas
113. Been to Euro Disney
114. Been to Disney World
115. Been to Capri

116. Seen a snow capped mountain only from afar
117. Been to the Atlantis in the Bahamas

This is what I would add:
118. been given a kiss that makes you weak in the knees
119. participated in an international student exchange
120. kept a juicy secret for a good friend no one else knows
121. shared a juicy secret with a good friend you haven't shared with anyone else

How many can you check off? What would you add?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Inner Ramblings of a Toddler

I am taking this moment to forward you all to a great blog you most likely already know about. But if you don't, you should.
One of this week's entries over at BabyRabies literally had me rolling on the ground laughing this weekend. My husband thought I was nuts as I was still clutching the laptop when doing so :)
She wrote a post this week documenting what she could only imagine were the inner thoughts of her nearly 2 year old as the day went by. I could not have said it better myself:
Toddler Mood Swings by BabyRabies

And as a Keira related update to last week's post, I hit my limit again with parenting her to sleep since her teeth had broken through and she shook this cold (finally! a month later). She was sliding back to a point where she got upset if we tried to leave the room, would try to climb out of the crib if I came in to sit next to her (meaning only Regan could go in to check her and was sleeping on the floor many nights in a row), and refused to go back to sleep after about 5am. So I went back and did my sleep training checks, only going in every 10 minutes to pat her back and whisper "sssh sshh sleepy sleepy" (our inane, yet remarkable "sleep" phrase). The first time we did this it took her an hour to fall asleep. the next time, it only took 1 check. And pretty clear since then.  2 out of the last 3 mornings she has slept in until 7am! Praise be to baby jesus. Once again she is happier, easier to handle and goes to bed with very little fussing. We can hear her waking up 2-4x per night still, but now instead of screaming murder until we come in, she cries out for maybe 30 seconds, then fusses for a little while before falling back asleep. We are all happier and better rested.

I know I am overdue for some real updates and fun pictures. I have been having some uploading issues so I can't share any new photos with you. Suffice to say she is doing many adorable things lately, including taking over cat feeding duties, expanding her counting vocabulary, and working on her own version of the alphabet. Plus she likes to "drop it while its hot" to many a rap singer. Though a good ol' country square dance is also not outside of her expertise. Life is exhausting and grand all at the same time.

Keira is 15 months old

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sleep, perchance to Dream

I have written I don't know how many sleep posts over the past year, and never finish them. why? Because Sleep is still an illusive thing around these parts. When K was born, they told us "6 weeks is the height of the blurry period, and it all gets better from there". 6 weeks came and went, and Colic settled into our daily lives. We were up from 10pm-2am rocking her straight with an iphone blasting white static in her ear, or she screamed bloody murder. However, she was a great napper. So we counted our blessings and braced ourselves for the short battle to come.

Well then they told us "colic only lasts to 3 months 90% of the time." So we grit our teeth and made it to 3 months. She gave us some reprieve, moving her screaming fest from 10pm to 7pm. Now we still rocked her for 3-4 hours, but at least it was only until 10pm. In exchange her previously 2+ hour naps dropped and dropped until they were only 30 minute cat naps at a time. Then it turned out we had an overachiever who wanted to be in the top 10 percentile of colicy babies. If you are going to do something, do it 100 % I guess. So we kept on pushing through. the 4 month wakeful period came, where she wanted to wake up at 2am and play for hours on end. the colic did start to wane and by 6 months was gone. We thought maybe, maybe now we can get this under control.

Then they told us "most babies sleep through the night by 6 months." Well ours didn't like being told what to do, and instead decided to go backwards; she went from 5-7 hour stretches at night down to 2-3 hours, then down to 45 minutes at its shortest span. I was literally sleeping sitting up.  In amongst all of this we tried every conceivable sleep training method. They all worked for a few weeks, but then would regress to the point of me breaking my back by bouncing her to back to sleep every few hours. The naps remained 30 minutes long on the outside.

I came to a realization. They were wrong, They never told us not all babies are made equal; some are bad sleepers; some are restless; some simply don't need as much sleep as others. They were talking out of their asses as far as I was concerned.

We gave in to co-sleeping around 8 months, just to get some sleep. I relegated myself to the spare bedroom, where I spent many an evening with my arm propped on a pillow, K curled into my shoulder and my laptop on my lap until I could fall asleep my self. Yes I slept more, yes I got treasured mamma bear moments looking down at my innocent baby lightly snoring against my arm, and I felt giddy inside at those moments. I wouldn't trade them. But I never saw my husband. This was not a permanent solution.

So around 11 months, we thought, one last shot. We needed our sleep. We needed to not resent our child. We needed to start enjoying the daytime we had with her, instead of dreading the countdown to bedtime. To this day a baby cry anywhere makes my heart jump through my throat,  as it reminds me of the monitor going off at 2am, 2:30, 3:15. get my drift. Its my own personal version of Post Traunatic Stress.

We shelled out the bucks for a sleep consultant. She demanded we set up a strict routine throughout the day of designated eating, activity and sleep time. routine, repetition and consistency was key. For 6 weeks we were to go nowhere during nap times/bed times. No more car/stroller/carrier naps. No more pushing through just to get something extra at the store, or to catch the last hockey period at M&A's house. While we did not care for the demeanor of this sleep consultant, it did ultimately work....sort of.

We finally broke the bad sleep association habits Keira was so stubbornly holding onto. Some nights she even happily goes into her crib, grabs her lovies, roll overs and talks herself to sleep (more often then not this is still punctuated with crying, but at least its not constant). We still deal with, on average, 2-4 wakeups per night. Sometimes she just moans for a minute or two, rolls over and goes to sleep. Sometimes needs a check-in and she goes right back down; sometimes its a diaper change (she appears to be very sensitive to this); sometimes she is sick (like the past 3 weeks) or breaking a tooth ( all.the.time). Once in a blue moon, she will sleep straight for 10 1/2 hours, like she did in my birthday (and not since).

We tend to trade off now, and invariably at least 1/2 the nights in a week one of us will spend some time sleeping on the floor next to her crib. This is our cosleeping compromise. She can know we are there, but she has to sleep in her own space.

Sometimes she fights going to sleep really hard. Her naps are still erratic, ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours; sometimes its 1 nap per day, sometimes its 2. She has a tendency to start waking up at 5am, even though we never get her "up" for the day until 6:30am.
Oddly enough, I feel zen about it though. I finally let go of the notion that she will sleep through the night anytime soon. And then it all became easier to handle. Without the expectation, I learned to roll with the punches. I guess that is what being a parent is, rolling with the punches. They don't come with instruction manuals, and that is in part why they are so awesome.

I alternate between laughing at clueless new parents who think their babies will be STTN by 6 weeks, and wanting to throat punch them when their babies actually do.

Here are a few things I picked up along the way:

1. whoever coined the term "sleep like a baby", didn't have one. Its loud, messy and sporadic.
2. the medical definition of sleeping through the night is five consecutive hours. Most normal people don't measure STTN this way. But it does mean when talking to other parents you never know what what their definition of STTN is. try not to compare yours to what little timmy is doing.
3. babies do not develop sleep habits until 4 months of age. So until then, do what you need to do to get them to sleep.
4. that being said, routine and consistency is key, so start early and start often.
5. practice the illusive "drowsy but awake"
6. some babies are good sleepers. some babies are bad sleepers. try not to compare your child to others. try not to beat your head against a wall if they don't respond to the popular sleep techniques.
7. I don't consider myself an "attachment parent". Heck I followed Ferber and other CIO methods, and to this day let K cry at bedtimes/naptimes if need be. But I beg of you, do not practice CIO on a child younger then 6 months. They are crying for a reason, not to manipulate you. It is their only form of communication. It means they need something
8. when you feel the need to throw your crying baby out the window (these days do exist), it is ok to put them in a safe place, step away and take a breather. This is not CIO; this is sanity building so you can go back and do what needs to be done without contemplating infanticide.

so let's end on a positive. A photo that looks peaceful and zen in its simplicity. Let's pretend K is this calm all day (and night) long:

Keira is 1 year and 3 months old

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

I think I am winning the bet

sorry for the hiatus. My camera was stolen, then 2 weeks later, my laptop literally fell out of the back of my car. I was in a pretty deep funk. Then we were hit with the stomach flu and cold to boot. I basically crawled into bed and hid.

back before K was even a glimmer in our eyes, R and I would discuss what our hypothetical children would look like. R wanted blue eyes and blonde straight hair, similar to mine. I craved blue eyes and a mass of dark curls, like his.
We both got the blue eyes (thank goodness, or I would have had some 'splaining to do, considering we both have blue eyes too).
But despite R's attempts to flatten her hair with water every 30 seconds and beat it into submission, I think I am winning the battle: