Thursday, September 22, 2011

All That and a Bag of Chips

We needed someone to watch Baby a few weeks ago.  I would love to hire a teenage babysitter, but haven't found an affordable one in our neighborhood (seriously, the girl across the street charges ten dollars an hour!  No thank you.).  We needed someone to pick Baby up from daycare, then play with her until myself or my Husband got home from work.  (It was his first day of a new job and he wasn't sure when he would be done, and I had Back to School Night until 8).

We recruited Husband's brother, Uncle M, who lives about an hour away.  Baby loves Uncle M.  He has a ton of energy and can always make her laugh. He loves running around and playing with her, so we hoped she would do okay in his care.  I know he was really nervous about watching her, but we were pretty confident it would be fine.

I left three lists (only three, you should be proud) on the counter of things they could do together, things she could eat, and emergency info).

According to daycare, Baby was super excited when she saw Uncle M coming up the walk.  However, when she realized he didn't have Mommy or Daddy with him, she became a little nervous.  Her lower lip started to quiver, but she didn't cry when he packed her in the carseat.  He said they sang her favorite song the whole ride home (itsy-bitsy spider.  She LOVES it), like he'd seen me do with her. 

Then they got home.  Apparently Mommy and Daddy had left a couple of bags of chips in Baby's range of sight (we don't give her chips).  She saw the Sour Cream and Onion chips and told Uncle M that she wanted those (she can be quite the communicator with her little pointings and "yeah's").  He said he fed her some, and then she wanted more.  And more.  And ate the whole bag.  Uncle M said he didn't want her to cry, so he did what she wanted.  Plus, she acted like she had had them before and seemed to know what she was doing. 

After that they read books and watched the news on the TV where she laughed at the impending hurricane. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Latest Trick

Baby is a little climber.  She is also innovative, determined, stubborn, opinionated, and the cutest little thing you will ever see.  Yes, I'm a proud Mama.

Baby's latest trick is actually quite the accomplishment.  

We have an island in the center of our kitchen with an attached breakfast bar.  Underneath the breakfast bar are tucked three high barstools.  Baby discovered that she can move the barstools and push them around the kitchen.  They slide quite nicely on the hardwood floor.  (I really hope she isn't scratching up the floor, but so far I haven't noticed any  marks).

Yesterday she noticed that there are wooden bars at different levels on the sides of the barstools.  Can you guess where I am going with this?  Baby figured out how to climb up the barstool and sit on top of it.  She pushes it out from under the breakfast bar into the center of the kitchen.  There she will precariously step up the sides of the stools while gripping the seat part (there are no backs to these, they are just your regular circle barstools), she will get her stomach onto the seat, then carefully get her knees underneath her.  Eventually she will work her legs around until she is sitting on her bottom, swinging her legs.  Right in the middle of the kitchen.  When she's done, she carefully climbs down by reversing the process, then pushes the stool back to where it goes. 

She gives her Mommy and Daddy heart palpitations.

Oh, and today she fell off one of our kitchen chairs, which just happens to be much lower to the ground and has a back.  Go figure.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Moments Like This

Last night was yet another battle for bedtime.  I'm trying a new strategy.  I have a whole list of them, in case you were wondering.  I've done lots of research and consulted many other moms.  I think I probably set up a few bad habits in the early months (I blame jaundice, croup, and all the other illnesses Baby had where the doctors said to constantly nurse her and not let her cry).  Then I never went back and corrected them. 

Where was I?  Oh yes, the newest strategy. 

I read somewhere that if a toddler constantly wakes up and gets out of bed, then a parent should lead the toddler back to bed and lay him or her down to sleep.  Quickly, efficiently, and without a word.  Repeat as necessary and the child should get the idea that she won't receive any extra attention for said behavior. 

Baby doesn't get up out of bed.  She's really good about that.  We put her in her toddler bed and she stays there.  She knows better than to get up and wander around.  Instead, she will sit up and scream and sob her little lungs out.  She knows Mommy and Daddy can't stand this.  We've tried letting her scream it out.  This usually ends in coughing and vomit, frayed nerves for Mommy and Daddy, and an overly exhausted child who will wake up screaming again when she's had her sufficient energy boost of sleep.

The other night I decided to try the say nothing method.  I would hear her start to cry, go into her room, lay her back down, and walk out.  She would lay quietly for about two seconds, then sit up to cry again.  Repeat process about twenty times until she gets the idea that she has to lay down.  Eventually she just lay on her side and sobbed herself to sleep.  (She woke up two hours later, but that's a different story.)

The next night I repeated the process.  She kept popping back up and I kept putting her back down (this does hurt one's back after a while, mind you).  I started just standing right by her door instead of walking back and forth down the hallway so I would be ready for her. She was really trying my patience and I was getting very frustrated with her not going to sleep.  During one of her pop ups, she sat up and didn't start crying.  I was standing right by her door, in the dark, but she could probably make out my presence.  She sat there for what must have been a minute just staring.  Eventually I heard a sweet little voice say, "Mommy?"  I didn't move, and she slowly climbed out of bed, ran to me, and gave me a huge hug.

I knelt down and hugged her there in the dark. For some reason this brought back memories of times when my mother hugged me and made me feel loved.  She was always there for me and had a shoulder for me to cry on whenever I needed it.  I desperately hope Baby and I can have this same relationship.  I cried, there in the dark, holding my child who refuses to fall asleep.  My sweet, sweet, crazy child.   

Then I put her back in her crib where she stayed...for the next couple of hours.         

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Toddler Bed

Baby doesn't sleep through the night.  Never has, and at the rate she's going, probably never will.  I've resigned myself to this fact and adjusted accordingly.

I recently went on a play date over a friend's house.  She has a daughter who is three months older than Baby.  We played in the daughter's room and I couldn't help but notice that her crib had been converted into the toddler bed.  I was amazed and grilled my friend on all the details. 

Here's a synopsis of our game of twenty questions (give or take a few questions):

Q: When did this happen? 
About three months ago. 

Q: Why?
S (her daughter)  had been having a hard time sleeping through the night.  She would go to bed, then wake up screaming and need to be calmed back to sleep.  This was something new.  Normally S would be perfectly fine through the night and had always been a great sleeper. 

Q: How long had she been waking up at night?
About three months and Mommy was a walking nightmare.  Something needed to be done. 

Q: What made you decide to change into a toddler bed? 
Another friend had been in a similar situation and found that changing the crib into a toddler bed solved the problem. 

Q: Doesn't S get up from the bed in the middle of the night?
We have a video monitor, so we can see what she is doing.  She has only gotten up a couple of times in the beginning.  Then Mommy came in and gave her the evil eye and told her to stay in bed.  Since then, we haven't had any problems. 

Q: Wow, I would be afraid of Baby just getting up and running around.
We were afraid of that too, but it didn't happen.  We let S pick out a few of her stuffed animals to take to bed with her, and after that she is happy to stay there. 

Q: So did the toddler bed solve the problem of night wakings?
Yes, you should try it! 

Well, I went home and told Husband about it.  He wasn't too interested.  Then I was talking with another friend at work who also has a February baby a year older than my Baby (she claims February babies are all the same and I'm starting to believe her.  Her son has similar sleeping habits to Baby).  My friend had actually done the toddler bed trick when her son was about the same age as Baby and highly recommended it. 

Now I was starting to take things more seriously. 

I went home and began to fiddle with Baby's crib.  It really didn't seem too hard to convert.  If I just unscrewed here and here.... before I knew it an entire side of Baby's crib had been disconnected.  I probably couldn't reconnect it if my life depended on it, so I made an executive decision to just replace it with the toddler rail (I had to call in the help of family members to do this part), and voila I had a toddler bed. 

Baby loved it.  She figured out how to crawl in and out of it and squealed with delight.  I, on the other hand, felt guilty because I had instituted a major life change on my child without consulting Husband (we really try to work as a team with Baby).  After sulking for a little bit, he got over it. 

Surprisingly, Baby does not get up and run around when she awakens from her toddler bed.  Instead she will just sit there and cry.  Or scream.  I think there was only one night when she kept getting up from the bed after we had laid her down, and then we just kept bringing her back and telling her to go night night.  I think she got the idea because she doesn't get out of the bed.   

Does the new toddler bed solve the problem of her night wakings?  Not in the least.