Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly End of the Year

The last full night of 2009 was a very weird one for us. It was good. It was bad. And it was ugly.

The Good
The Pookie slept over seven hours in a row! I put him down just after 7:00 in his crib in the nursery. He made some coughing noises around 9:00 when I was going to sleep, but that was all. He didn't actually wake up and fuss until 2:20 - 2:30 (on and off fussing before I actually went in). We were absolutely amazing by this, since he hasn't slept longer than 3 hours on his own before, and usually he's up every 2 hours or less.

Although it seems incredible, don't celebrate for me yet. Keep reading...

The Bad
Around 12:30, the Pumpkin came into our room. This was a bit frustrating, because she had been pretty much sleeping through the night for the previous week. She had been waking up early, like 5:00ish, but then lying in bed quietly with us. I had hoped we were done for a while with the middle-of-the-night wakeups, but apparently not quite yet.

The good part about it was that she went almost immediately back to sleep, so there was minimal disruption to our night.

However, it was really uncomfortably hot in the house. I got up to turn down the thermostat and check on the baby, who had been sleeping over 5 hours at this point. I went in, put my hand on him and felt him and saw him breathing, so I went back to bed.

Not so bad, I know. Keep reading...

The Ugly
When the Pookie finally woke up, I went in to feed him and planned to put him back down in his crib. When I lifted him out of the crib, he felt all wet behind his neck and back. My first thought was that sure was sweating a lot, even though I had turned the air down two hours ago.

Then the smell hit me. I quickly realized it was vomit. I picked him up carefully, turned on the light and surveyed the major puddle of drying vomit my child had been sleeping in.

Very gross.

He seemed totally fine otherwise, though it's odd to me that he slept through the vomiting and laid in his own vomit without really waking or fussing about. Especially since he seems to wake up and fuss about EVERYTHING ELSE!

He was fine through my nursing him, my cleaning him up with a quick sink bath, my putting him in a clean sleeper, my changing the sheets while he was entertained by a music-playing toy and my nursing him back to sleep. I ended up putting him back to sleep in his swing because of the time of night and to keep him more upright. It took an hour and a half, but I was pretty well rested and able to deal with it all fine.

Edited to add:We don't know why he threw up. He didn't have a temperature and doesn't seem sick. But it was really hot in the house, and the nursery is the hottest room in the house. Was it the heat? Was it the banana he had at dinner? Was it the soy I now have in my diet to replace the cow's milk? Did the pacifier gag him in some way? Is it some sort of stomach bug? We have no clue, and our doctor's office said that they aren't worried unless he throws up again or shows other signs of sickness.

And on a bad mother note: I'm not sure which is worse: waking up every 2 hours or less, or cleaning up vomit in the middle of the night after sleeping 5 hours with very little disruption! Actually, I do know what's better for me, but it's not better for the baby to sleep in vomit for hours. ;-)

Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful New Year's Eve and that your 2010 is filled with a lot of Good, very little Bad and no Ugly!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Our Family Christmas

We had a wonderful Christmas! Our first Christmas as a family of four (plus 2 pets). It was special and meaningful and fun.

The Pumpkin is at a great age for the holiday. She is really starting to understand and remember and "get" it. Leading up to Christmas, she helped Londo pick out a tree, she helped us decorate, she read books about the birth of Jesus and about Santa Claus, and she generally participated in the holiday preparations and fun.

We are also starting our own traditions for our family. On Christmas Eve before we went up for bed, we each opened a small present and then hung our stockings up near the fireplace. After putting the kids to bed, Londo and I finished wrapping the presents together down in the family room. It was neat to realize that now WE are the parents and that it's OUR responsibility to get everything taken care of the night before Christmas while OUR children are asleep in their beds with sugarplums dancing in their heads.

On Christmas morning, Londo got up with the Pumpkin and took her downstairs while the Pookie and I slept an extra half hour (not only had we both stayed up a bit late getting ready for Christmas, but I was up with the Pookie for an hour at one point in the middle of the night and I was freaking tired!). He entertain the Pumpkin with the present she'd opened the night before.

When the Pookie and I came downstairs, we took down our stockings and opened them. Then we went into the front room/parlor/future library (when we can afford nice shelves) where the tree is and opened our presents. The Pookie hung out with us in his exersaucer and was pretty entertained by all the hubbub of opening presents. The Pumpkin sat in one of the chairs with us and was a champ at tearing the wrapping paper off and tossing it on the ground. Once a present was opened, she go, "Oh, thank you!" in this delighted voice, even if she wasn't sure what it was.

After presents, we had a delicious breakfast of omeletes that Londo made. Then the kids sat around playing with presents while I put together the apple pie I was bring to my parents' house. We all got ready in our red and green and headed over to my parents'. At my parents' house, we exchanged presents, ate a delicious meal and enjoyed time with family. For the dinner, there were 13 adults (including my almost 96-year-old grandma), one teenager (my 15-year-old niece), 6 pre-schoolers/toddlers (3 of which are my kids' cousins) and two babies (mine and my sister's boys). It was a full house and full table! It was wonderful.

Next year, we'll go down to the inlaws for Christmas. I know I'll miss waking up in our own beds and doing our own traditions, but we really love to visit the inlaws and we always enjoy the holidays there. Too bad there is no teleportation devise so that we could wake up in our house and beam over there for Christmas dinner.

We had a fantastic holiday and are looking forward to many more. Although winters are tough for me, the holidays are definitely a bright spot. I hope you all had happy holidays as well!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dairy-less

Today is the first day of me giving up dairy. Again.

That's right, again. Way back when I was in college, I started having regular stomach aches and was burping a lot. More than normal. The doctor I saw was no help, but the nurse! Ah the nurse suggested a few things to try, first and foremost giving up dairy to see if it was lactose intolerance. At this time, I'd never heard of lactose intolerance, nor had any of my friends and family. And it turns out that I didn't have the common symptoms that most people associate with it nowadays. But the nurse was smart enough to suggest that my problems might be that and what I needed to do.

So I cut out dairy from my diet for two weeks. It was not easy, not just because I love ice cream, milk in my coffee and chocolate bars. The byproducts of milk, such as curds and whey, are used in so many things, from processed meats to packaged breads. Lactose is even used as a filler in many supplements (note to self: check the non-active ingredients of the fish oil, vitamin D and iron supplements I take). Amazingly, my stomach issues cleared up. Over the course of the next couple years, I discovered Lactaid milk and ice cream, Lactaid pills, soy milk in my coffee, dairy-free cookbooks and the level of dairy I could consume without having any issues.

So why am I still not off the dairy? Well, when I was pregnant with the Pumpkin, I discovered that I could tolerate pretty much all levels of dairy once again. I quickly jumped back into the world of dairy and loved every second of it.

So why am I giving it up again? It's not for me. It's for the baby boy. And for me. The Pookie seems to be pretty gassy and always has been. He's still waking up a lot (A LOT) at night and seems uncomfortable. Soon after waking, he has a few farts and then seems to feel better. This may very well be totally normal for a baby with a developing digestive system, especially now that he has started solids. Unfortunately, he seems to prefer to be nursing so he can relax and let the gas out. As usual, I. Am. Tired!

I started wondering if the gas could be related to dairy, either how his system handles it or how mine does, since burping and gas was one of my lactose intolerance symptoms. I've noticed that the level of lactose I can handle has gone back down so I need to eat less dairy products that I have been. Maybe it's affecting him?

Maybe it's not. Maybe it has nothing to do with dairy or diet or anything like that. But I can go without dairy for two weeks (again) and see if there is a difference. Doesn't hurt to try.

Well, it hurts a little. Because that veggie omelet I had this morning would have been better with cheese, and the toast would have been better with butter. At least I still like soy milk for my coffee.

(Next diet change to start after the new year will be the Pumpkin's diet, in case dairy or fructose malabsorption are an issue for her. She is currently doing that picky toddler eating/non-eating where she is mostly living on yogurt and air, so I figure I can mess with her diet since it's currently so limited anyway. I've always wondered if she's had an issue with her diet and have been wanting to try and see if we need to change her diet. I suspect our diets affect our bodies a lot more than most people give credence to. So we are going to try!)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Question of the Week - Swiping Good Stuff

My family does Secret Santa every year for Christmas for the adults. For those who don't know, Secret Santa is where each person draws the name of another person, and that's the person for whom they buy a gift. Everyone is supposed to keep it a secret until after the presents are opened, which is on Christmas for us.

This year, my dad got me (and I got my dad). He got me a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt with the logo from where he used to work. This may sound ho hum as a present, but it was actually extremely thoughtful and very meaningful.

You see, years and years ago, my dad had a similar pair of sweatpants. It turns out that they were very comfortable. So comfortable that my sister "borrowed" them from him and didn't give them back. But one year she forgot them when she left for college. So I tried them on. And discovered just how amazingly comfortable they were! And didn't give them back!

All through college, I kept these pants. All through grad school. When the bottoms of the legs got holes in them from my heels walking on them (I'm really short) and I kept tripping on them, I was so upset thinking I had to get rid of them. But Londo suggested that I just cut off the bottoms so they came to my ankles (like normal pants), and that gave them new life.

Over a decade later, I'm still wearing these sweatpants, but they are falling apart. I have known that they can't take much more wear or washing. Soon, I will have to retire them forever. As it is, I wear them only occasionally to help extend their life.

My dad knows all this and long ago resigned himself to the loss of his pants. I have requested another pair, but that they had to be the same kind so they have the certain aspects that make them so comfortable. Alas, the company he worked for has not had them in many, many years.

Until just a few weeks ago! He happened by the company's store and checked in (as he always does), and lo and behold! The pants! Almost exactly the same! And matching sweatshirt! AND he happened to have me for Secret Santa! It was a Christmas miracle!!

So this week's question of the week is:
What is the best item you have "borrowed" from a family member?

Those pants were definitely the best for me, but a close second is another pair of pants I "borrowed" from my poor dad last winter. We were on vacation in Florida and I had forgotten those sweatpants or really any pants to sleep in. My dad let me borrow a light-weight pair of navy blue pants. And when I was packing to go home, I told my mom that if my dad was looking for the pants that he shouldn't bother. Hehe. My dad and I have been joking about that for a year. Hey, is it my fault that my dad finds the most comfortable pants and then lends them to me or leaves them around where I can find them?

How about you? Have you shared clothes with someone only to not return them? Have you snuck into a parent's closet and swiped a coveted item? Have you sneaked items out of the kitchen because you just can't find one just like the one you had growing up? What have swiped from family?

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

To all who celebrate, merry Christmas!

So far, we are having a wonderful Christmas--our first as a family of four. I hope you all are having a great day.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Question of the Week - Holiday Songs

There are a lot of holidays this time of year, and many holidays have music associated with them. I'm Christian, and I'm sure everyone has been innundated with Christmas music this time of year. Personally, I love Christmas music. Londo worked in retail many winters, and it took him years to get over how sick he was of Christmas music. Luckily, he's finally enjoying some (and even a lot) of Christmas music over the last few years. This is good, because I could listen to it just about all day long, and throughout the year, too.

This week's Question of the Week is:
What is your favorite(s) holiday song?

It doesn't have to be Christmas music, and you can be any religion and still enjoy other holidays' music.

My favorite Christmas song is Hark, How the Bells, although I don't ever hear it with the words sung on the local station that plays Christmas music this time of year. I learned it when I was in high school chorus and have loved it ever since. My second favorite is The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire).

For other holidays, I absolutely LOVE Adam Sandler's Hannukah Song. And around Halloween, I can't get enough of The Monster Mash.

How about you? What gets you in the holiday spirit? What do you enjoy listening to during other peoples' holidays?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I Can't Count Them Without Remembering

I have two children. Two wonderful, beautiful, healthy, happy children. My two little kids who bring me so much joy (and so little sleep). My first child, the Pumpkin, is 2.75 years old; my second child, the Pookie, is 6 months old.

But every time I say my "first" and my "second," I think, "well, not exactly..."

I've already written my miscarriage story, and it helped a lot to write it and put it out there. Time has helped heal the wound of the miscarriage, though I know I'll ever completely get over it.

Still, I'm surprised by how and when it comes up in my mind. I expect it around the anniversary of the due date. But I hadn't expected to think about that baby who wasn't (which is how I think of that baby) every time I call the Pumpkin my "first" child or the Pookie my "second" child.

I was very careful never to label my pregnancies with the Pumpkin or the Pookie as my first or second, because they truly were my second and third pregnancies. But my children really are my first and second children, because the baby who wasn't simply... well... wasn't.

Yet, every time I count them in that way--my first, my second--I think, "well, except for..." And I'm surprised. And of course a bit sad. And I wonder if I will always think of the baby who wasn't when I count my children. And I worry that I won't.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On the Contrary

I recently mentioned some of the fun we are having with the Pumpkin being Two. Well, I'm finding the contrariness to be confusing at times.

Usually, it goes something like this:
caramama: Pumpkin, I've got to put my shirt on.
Pumpkin: No, that's not your shirt! That's Daddy's shirt!
caramama: It's my shirt. It's just a button down, like Daddy's shirts.
Pumpkin: NO! That's DADDY'S shirt!
caramama: It does look like Daddy's shirts, but it's mine.
Pumpkin: NOOOOO! IT'S DADDY'S SHIRT!
caramama: Fine. Whatever.

But the other morning, she asked for apple-flavored yogurt. I got her the yogurt out of the fridge, and she opened it and stirred it up. (I LOVE that she can do so much by herself these days!) She took a bite and the conversation that followed went like this:

Pumpkin: That's not apple. That's pear.
caramama: That's apple, honey.
Pumpkin: No, it's not apple. It's pear.
caramama: It's apple.
Pumpkin: No. It's pear.

And I stopped arguing because why bother. But maybe I should have been tipped off by the fact that she didn't start getting louder but just asserted that it was pear in a normal voice. Because a minute later I walked over the the table and happened to look at the yogurt.

Guess what? It was pear! I laughed and told her she was right.

The real issue is now going to become when is she actually telling the truth and when is she just being contrary to be contrary? Especially since the "truth" is apparently so nebulous at this age. And by "this age" I mean 33 as well as 2. Hehe.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Growing Boy

The Pookie is growing. He turned 6 months yesterday, and that's a big milestone in the life of babies. A big milestone for growing. There is a 6-month growth spurt. There is a developmental (growth) spurt around the 6-month mark. And there are teeth growing in--well about to come in anyway.

Growing, growing, growing. And growing physically requires more to eat. And growing developmentally requires comfort. And growing in teeth requires pain-easement. And in a breastfeeding relationship, all these things generally boil down to nursing for nurishment, comfort and to ease any pains.

And do you know what my baby boy loves above all else in the world even when everything is hunky dory? To NURSE! Yes, he does.

So can you guess what we are doing all. the. freaking. time? You got it. Nursing.

But remember how Mommy goes to work all day long? Yeah, it's causing some problems. The two major ones being:
1. I'm not pumping enough to cover what he is eating during the day. This means my precious freezer stash is running precariously low. It also means that I am going to have to start pumping more at work and/or at home. Ugh.
2. The baby boy basically wants to nurse all night long. Nothing else will do.

I remember when the Pumpkin went through these stages where she'd nurse all night long. It was frustrating and tiring and hard on me, and it is right now as well. But I know that it's just a phase, and I can already see he's grown physically and developmentally. The teeth haven't come in yet, but they will. This phase will end.

Until then, we are working on other methods of nurishment and comfort for him. We've started him on solids, using the baby-led weaning/feeding method we did with the Pumpkin. So far, we've given him avacodos and bananas. He has no idea what to do with the food, but he'll figure it out. He seems to enjoy tasting the foods, even though he doesn't swallow anything.

I'm also starting to try and help him discover his hand/fingers to suck on at night, instead of my nipples. He used to take the pacifier at least a little, but is now rejecting it completely. So instead, I'm hoping he learns to self-soothe with an arm and hand unswaddled. We'll see.

On the bright side of all the growing, he is now rolling over back-to-front and front-to-back with abandon. Although not yet crawling, he is shifting, rolling and squirming all around. He's getting really close to staying sitting up on his own. He's really capable with his hands and manipulating all sorts of things with hands and fingers.

Also, his careless babbling has now become very deliberate attempts at making noises and trying to talk ("di DI da da DA"). And he is usually laughing and smiling and generally pretty easy and happy. As long as he's well-rested and well-fed. He loves watching his sister and his dog, and he's starting to be fun to interact with for them too!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Question of the Week - Don't Jinx It!

Today, the Pookie is 6 months old! I can't believe it's been half of a year since we've had him in our lives and we've been a family of four (six, if you count the animals). Happy Half-Birthday to the Pookie!

--------------------------

On Friday, I was talking on the phone with Londo. Something about the Pumpkin's sleeping came up, and Londo mentioned that since she turned two, she has mostly been sleeping through the night in her own bed. I've discussed before how she doesn't always and what our parenting stance is on that, but I'd say about 2/3s to 3/4s of her nights since she turned two have been her sleeping through on her own.

Anyway, Londo dared to say the words out loud! And added that she's been sleeping through all the time lately! I quickly said, "Don't say it! You'll jinx it!"

Londo responded, "I don't believe it'll jinx it. It's not like this is football. She's either going to sleep well or not, regardless of whether we talk about it."

Now I'd like to point out three things:
1. Londo totally believes that random things people do or say WILL jinx a football game, team or player.
2. Friday night? The Pumpkin woke up from bad dreams before midnight and spent a rough, unsettled night in our bed. Therefore, the jinx happened (and I totally blame Londo).
3. Now that I've written about it, I am fully aware that I've jinxed it and she'll certainly be up tonight.

So this week's question of the week is:
What jinxes do you believe in?

While I roll my eyes at wearing a sports hat a certain way because it will affect a game, I totally believe that talking about good sleep means the end of it. I've just seen it happen time and time again. Of course, with my bad sleepers, it probably would happen anyway, but I try not to chance it.

How about you? Do you think you can jinx something? What do you do to ensure your favorite sports team wins?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Night of Leonids

His snores
keep me awake.
I lie there with my eyes
open, body aching,
waiting for sleep
to fall.

My thoughts keep me
awake. Will the baby wake?
Will he need to eat? How much
time do I have
to sleep?

Outside, meteors are
streaking through the sky.
I see nothing.
I am up. I look out
windows. But I don't see
any sudden fireworks of
starlight.

I want to go out,
walk down to the lake
in the hopes of seeing
comet debris hit the Earth's
atmosphere, of seeing
falling stars to wish on.
To wish for sleep.
I lie back down.

The words keep
me awake. I debate
getting up to write them
down. My muse is so
fickle in these days of kids
and work and responsibilities--
more fickle than even
sleep.

The cat keeps me
company, happy to
be up, nocturnal. He
purrs and rubs and follows
me. The house is
silent and dark. I've
written the words. Maybe now
I can fall asleep and dream of
falling stars.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Contrary Nature of Being Two

Ah the Twos. Each age and stage has certain characterists, good and bad, that seem to affect just about every child in the world. Each child has their own personality and interests that shapes the experiences of the age/stage. But I think we can all agree that there are many things that are simply common to an age/stage across the board.

I often think of a post that Becoming Mommy wrote when her son was one. They were at a party and she spent the whole time chasing her son around. An older girl at the party asked her mother what was wrong with Becoming Mommy's son, and the mother answered that he was just being One.

Well, my daughter is absolutely being Two these days. The contrariness, the tantrums, the unwillingness to do things that she didn't have a problem with before, the headstrong determination, the willfull disobedience... I could go on and on. But those of you who have or have had a two year old know exactly the Twoness of her behavoir. Those of you with younger kids? Prepare yourself. You'll get it to some degree also.

What's really surprised me during this age/stage is my ability to handle it all relatively calmly. Or maybe it's the fact that I've usually been able to handle it pretty well while my usually-laid-back-roll-with-the-punches husband gets so frustrated. If someone told me pre-kids that I'd get less frustrated than my husband at the tantrums and whining and contrariness, I would have called them crazy. This is not saying that he's not handling it well, because he is. But I believe he would even tell you that some of this behavoir drives him up the wall, especially the contrariness and tantrums and when she doesn't answer when he asks her something.

While I don't love the behavoir, I think that I understand it and am perhaps "closer" to it than other people might be. I've always been emotionally sensitive. I really feel my emotions deeply, and when I'm upset, I understand the rage that rises and I remember letting go of tantrums. I remember how hard it was to calm down. I remember being told no and not understanding why and really wanting it anyway and getting SO VERY FRUSTRATED that I couldn't. I think it's my memories, my understanding and my sympathy/empathy with the feelings that keep me calm in the face of some very frustrating Twoness.

That is not to say that either my husband or I just let her freak out over everything or get away with her boundry-pushing. We enforce the boundries, even if it means she screams in protest. We also enforce politeness as much as possible.

Because if the child is going to yell no at everything we ask her? The least she can do is yell "No, thank you!" (Incidentally, it can be hard not to laugh when your child is deparetly yelling "No, thank you!" over and over again, even though you have to wash the shampoo out of her hair despite how politely she is telling you not to.)

And if the child is going to demand that she wants yogurt--that she NEEDS yogurt for dinner? The least she can do is say, "Please have yogurt."

And if the child is done with her food and wants it away from her immediately? The least she can do is set it aside without shoving it or throwing it on the floor.

And if the child is going to throw a tantrum because we won't let her bang and destroy play with our computers? The least she can do is let us know when she is done having her tantrum and ready to talk to us again using her words.

I actually have strong feelings about tantrums, including the fact that children should not be sent off on their own or reprimanded for having these strong emotions (the book Playful Parenting has some really good information and advice on how to handle tantrams without making a child feel guilty for having strong emotions). I get down to her level on the floor or whereever and let her know I understand that she is really upset. I stay nearby when she is having a meltdown, and I tell her that when she is ready, I'll be whereever I am nearby. I tell her that when she wants a hug, let me know. But I also tell her that I can't understand her unless she calms down and uses her words. I stay as calm, patient and understanding as I can be.

I generally don't let the contrariness get to me either. Let me give you an example of why. She's been learning the difference between school days and weekends over the last few weeks. The other day SHE asked ME if it was a school day. I said that it was. And she said, "No. It's a weekend." I replied that actually it was a school day. And she said, "Actually, it's a weekend." I think we had one more iteration before I just gave up and said whatever. A little while later, we go downstairs and she says to her daddy, "Daddy, today is a school day." So even though she was arguing with me just to argue with me, it did sink in that it is a school day. So I just tell her the right answer and let it go when she argues more than a couple times.

I understand these emotions and boundry-pushing behavoir. But that still doesn't make dealing with the Twoness easy. It helps that the Pumpkin is incredibly loving and happy and fun to be with most of the time. It really helps that I know it won't last forever.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Thank Goodness His Feet Don't Smell

In theory, I've known that babies like to pull of their socks. The Pumpkin did pull of her socks sometimes. But the Pookie? That baby is CONSTANTLY pulling off his socks! I can't count the number of times in a day when I, Londo and/or the nanny put those socks back on his feet--just to watch him reach for them and pull them right back off.

It's comical, how often he does it. Lying down, sitting up, nursing, playing with toys, even sometimes being held--that boy grabs hold of the toes of the socks and yanks those suckers right off.

I probably wouldn't care so much, except it's winter and we keep the heat down in our house. When he doesn't have socks on, his feet get cold. And we can't have that. What would the grandmas say? I would certainly be blacklisted from the Good Mothers Club. So we put those socks back on his feet most of the time every single time.

Once his socks are off his feet, there are a few things he does, like try to stick his feet in his mouth or just grab his feet and start to roll like a turtle on his back. But my favorite thing he does is pull a sock off and then stick it right into his mouth. Apparently he thinks I told him to stick a sock in it. hehe. It's a good thing I wash his socks occasionally all the time.

I know what the solution is. The sleepers with feet attached. No need for socks when those are on, since they cover from neck to toes. We do have a few of those, including one with monkeys and one with frogs which both have the face of the animal on the feet--very cute. But what fun are those footed sleepers for him? He tries to yank the feet off, and he gets no where.

Besides, it drives Londo crazy to keep having to put on his socks. Because if I come in the room and Londo has the baby but his socks aren't on? I scowl and ask where his socks are, which makes Londo sigh and go searching for them both, because they are hardly ever both in the same place. When he's not looking, I snicker with the Pookie. I've got to have a little fun at my husband's expense somehow!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Question of the Week - Bedside Tables

I am a curious person by nature. Will you let me peek into your lives by answering this week's question of the week?

What is on your bedside table?

Since we got new bedroom furniture two year ago, I have a pretty small bedside table. All that is on it right now is my alarm clock, a box of tissues and about 3 or 4 cups of water.

I used to keep more on it, but because it's small and because my daughter loves to take things off it when she's on our bed, I have really minimized what's there. I used to keep books on it, but now I put them on a shelf next to it. At night, I also have my glasses on it, and sometimes my nightgaurd (I have TMJ). I used to keep my hand cream and lip balm on it too, but now those are in the bathroom out of the Pumpkin's reach.

How about you? Is your bedside table overflowing or minimalist? What do you need handy in the night and in the morning?

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Naming of Toys

Lately, the Pumpkin has been very into names. When you ask her what her name is, she tells you her nickname (the one we use regularly). If you ask her what is her full name, she will tell you her full first, middle and last name. She will do the same for the Pookie, Londo and me, although sometimes she says Daddy or Mommy as our first names with our middle names and last name.

I once wrote about how she named a stuffed duck toy Mr. Duck. That was the first toy that the Pumpkin named. Around that time, I asked her what her baby doll’s name was, and she said Baby. I wasn’t sure she was really naming the baby doll so much as just calling it a baby. (It turns out, she was indeed naming the doll, and that cute name has stuck.) But those names seemed pretty basic to me, like she was in a very early stage of understanding names.

Along with her recent understanding of peoples’ names, she has also started coming up with more imaginative names for her toys. A few weeks ago, she was playing with these four little toy dogs she has and she named them. The red one is Fireman. The purple one and yellow one are Crumple and Sissy, although which is which sometimes changes. The green one’s name, however, keeps getting changed. I’m not sure why. Sometimes the name sounds like Cyanide and sometimes it sounds like Dinny or Binny. But the other three names are absolutely consistent. In fact, the little dogs were put away for a week, and when she rediscovered them, she still called the red one Fireman and the purple and yellow ones Crumple and Sissy. And I still have no idea where she got those names!

And now, she has named her other baby doll. Last weekend, she was watching a show with flowers who are animate. One flower’s name is Marigold. Well, she suddenly decided that to name her other baby doll Marigold. I love this name. It’s so pretty, and I’m really fascinated that she took a name she heard and applied it to her doll because she liked it. So now if you ask her what her baby dolls’ names are, she tells you that one is Baby and one is Marigold.

I remember loving to name my toys and stuffed animals, which is why I’m probably so excited about this stage in her development. I’ve always loved names and think the naming of things is important. It’s pretty awesome to see the ability to name things develop in my little girl.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Getting Girly

In the last few months, my daughter has started to become more girly. She is a highly active, spirited child who usually prefers physical play to sitting down and doing anything quiet. She would rather climb and jump and race cars around and throw and kick balls than play with dolls and have tea parties and read books.

At least, that used to be true.

In the spring, the Pumpkin discovered tea parties. She LOVES to have tea parties. We sit down with her special tea set, she pours the tea and cream and scoops in the sugar and stirs it up. When my mom got her an adorable (and handmade) toddler table and chairs, we put it in her room for her tea parties. Just about every morning these days she asks if we can have a tea party. We now always have some birthday cake (the Melissa and Doug wooden set) to go with the tea party. I'm having a blast with these, and we often give a cup to the Pookie or the dog, too.

At some point over the fall, the Pumpkin's interest in dolls took off. At a friends birthday party, she got a gift of Disney's Belle princess doll. She absolutely loves it. She loves it so much that we got her a Belle costume for Halloween. She also got a Tinkerbell doll from my mom recently, and she is really into her now too. In addition, she actually started to play with the doll I got her last Christmas and the one my mom got her the Christmas before, as well as with the bassinet and high chair for the dolls that my sister got her last Christmas. She puts them to sleep and rocks them and feeds them. She used to have no interest in dolls at all, but either because of her age, her current development or from being in school, she is really getting into dolls.

And the last sure sign of girliness developing? She's starting to play dress up. Inspired by a visit to my sister's house where she and her cousin (who is a year older) played with dress up dresses and accessories, I suggested playing dress up at our house. We had a Barbie dress up dress that my FIL got her once, plus the Belle costume from Halloween. I pulled out some old beads that I'd had from a Marti Gras-themed party, some feather boas (I have three from various things, no need to get into why), my tiara from my wedding and a silly hat I've had hanging around for a long time. Oh, what fun we had dressing up! Her favorite part is putting all the bead necklaces on herself and others (including me, Daddy and the Pookie).

One of my favorite moments recently was when my sister came over with her kids and our girls were playing dress up and I suggested we have a tea party while we were all dressed up! The baby boys sat in my sister's and my laps while we helped the girls set up the tea party in their finery. It was the kind of thing I had hoped for when I found out I was having a girl.

Now, we are still encouraging playing with cars and trains and balls and trucks. She is still highly active and spirited, an amazing climber, runner and jumper. But it's nice to get to play with some girly things too.

I myself have always had a foot in both sides of the typical gender-stereotyped play. I absolutely LOVED--okay, still LOVE--Barbie and many other girly toys. But I also always loved to climb trees, pretend to be GI Joe characters and dig in the dirt. As an adult, I love high heels, jewerly and makeup; but I also love football, poker and action movies.

Girls and women in this day and age are very lucky, IMO. We can wear pink and blue, show both the feminine and masculine sides of ourselves. I think this makes us well-rounded as humans. I only hope that it becomes more acceptable for boys to show both sides as my boy grows up. For now though, I'm enjoying playing with dolls and having tea parties with my little girl.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Question of the Week - Book Club Books

Because I'm so sick, I was not able to go to my book club last night. I'm so disappointed! This would have been my second time at the book club, and I went through a lot of trouble to finish the book--I had left it at home when we went to the inlaws, so my hubby and FIL drove 45 minutes to a nearby library to get it for me! The book was Three Junes, by Julia Glass, and it was absolutely fantastic! I was dying to talk in depth about it with other intelligent people who had read it. But I was simply too sick to venture out or be around people.

I just started going to this book club last month. Even though I'm an avid reader, I've never been part of a book club before. A woman at work had invited me to her book club last year, but I was having such a tough time with my pregnancy and the winter that I couldn't do anything extra. After having the Pookie, I realized I needed to do something for myself, something just for me to enjoy myself. I asked the woman if she was still part of the book club and if the invitation was still open. She is and it was, so I joined! The first time I went, I came home and raved to Londo about how great it was. "They used big words that I forgot existed and talked about the book and traveling and even opera!" It. was. wonderful.

So I was pretty upset to miss the book club last night. The next one isn't until January, because we are all busy around the holidays. I bemoaned this fact to Londo, who (wonderful man that he is) said that he and I should do our own book club in December! We looked through some books last night but didn't find the right one yet. We're going to the bookstore this weekend and we'll browse through and find a book. I'm really excited about reading an intelligent book and having a deep discussion with my husband, who was also an English major in college (where we met). In fact, he had a literary focus while I had a creative writing focus, so he's good at the deep thinking about books.

This week's question of the week is:
What book would you recommend as a book club book?

The one I recommended to my book club when asked at the last meeting was The Blessing Stone, by Barbara Wood. It was one of those really fascinating books that provides perspectives that you might not have otherwise thought about. Years after reading that book, I still think about it a lot.

How about you? Do you have any books that really spoke to you? Any books that you've thought about for years later? What books do you wish others had read so you could talk about it in depth?

Monday, November 30, 2009

So Sick

We have all been very sick. Now, the Pumpkin is pretty much better, the Pookie is a lot better, but Londo and I are still struggling with this dreadful cold that is apparently going around. I have not been this sick since before I was pregnant with the Pumpkin. In fact, we left the inlaws a day early because we were so sick.

I am miserable!

I hope you all are doing better than we are.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Question of the Week - Counting Our Blessings

It's Thanksgiving week here in the US. And although it may be boring to ask, I really think it's important to think about and share what we are all thankful for--and I really want to know. But let's liven up the question a little bit.

This week's question of the week is:
What is something unusual and/or funny you are thankful for this year?

Because of course we are all thankful for our children, our partners, our family, our friends, our health, yadda yadda yadda.

I am thankful for the roof-top carrier that goes on top of the car to put luggage in. Otherwise, we would either not be able to do the trip to the inlaws with the two adults, two kids, the dog and our luggage, or we would have had to buy a minivan by now!

Oh, and I'm especially thankful for Z0loft! Here we are in mid-November, and I'm actually feeling pretty good! (The tired and sleep deprived are not from my SAD this time!) When I told my doctor that I'm so thankful for the meds, he said, "Well, they couldn't have done it without you." I like him partly because he has a similar totally corny sense of humor to mine.

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I Love Being a Mom

Anyone who has read more than one of my posts knows that I don't find being a parent absolutely wonderful all of the time, or find it easy to parent babies and young kids, or that I think having kids means unicorns and rainbows and roses all of the time.

But do you know what? I love being a mom.

Not only that, I love being a mom of two.

Not just any two, I love being a mom of MY two.

I really, really do.

I love the tough times as well as the good times. I love that I'm the one teaching them life-long skills like how to use the potty, how to get dressed, good eating and health-care habits, how to talk and tell jokes. I love that I (or Londo) am the one they want when they are crying and upset, when they get hurt or sick. I am the one watching them grow and develop and learn. I'm the mom; I am their Mom, Mommy, Mama.

And then there are the moments that really make my heart swell to 10 times its size. The moments that I turn to Londo and say, THIS is why we have kids.

Last weekend, I had the Pookie sitting on my lap facing out. He loves to sit and watch what's going on, and he loves to laugh (much like his mother). Meanwhile, the Pumpkin, who loves to act silly and make people laugh (much like her father), was jumping up and down in front of us and leaning in the Pookie's face going "goo goo goo goo." The Pookie (and consequently Londo and I) started cackling and laughing so hard. And the Pumpkin looked up at us and kept saying, "Look! I'm making Pookie* laugh!"

I love being the mom of these two kids!

*She said his real name.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Monsters and (Not Really) Being Scared

Over the last month or two, the Pumpkin has talked about monsters and being scared, although she never actually seems scared. It's more like she is playing with the idea of being scared. I think it's a combination of her current development stage and Halloween, and I also recently bought the book Where The Wild Things Are, which she seems to like.

We talk about monsters being scary and friendly. In fact the other morning at breakfast, she demanded asked me to be a scary monster, then a friendly monster, then a scary monster and then a friendly monster. My scary/friendly monster impression consists of me holding up hands like claws and saying in a scary/friendly voice, "I'm a scary/friendly monster." She gets a kick out of it.

When this talk of monsters first started, she used to say that we needed to watch out or hurry because a monster was coming! (She also has said this about sharks and dragons and other things which were going to "get us.") But she doesn't really sound worried about it. Just pretend worried.

When it started, I used to say, "That's a friendly monster/dragon! Let's invite him/her to have dinner with us/play with us." And she would. We have had monsters and dragons for dinner and tea parties--they are pretty good guests. She accepted them as easily as other pretend friends she "plays" with (we've had Dora, Boots and Benny to tea parties, and we often have Diego in the car ride to school). She seems to act the same way about scary monsters as she does friendly ones.

She has pretended to be a monster herself. My favorite is when she puts a blanket around her shoulders and/or head, holds her hands up like claws and says in a funny voice, "I'm a monster! Grrr!"

The Pumpkin has never really been scared of things. In fact, we had to work really hard to get her to realize that some things are dangerous (edges of things that are high up, for example). In one way, it's nice that she's not scared, even of monsters. In another way, I do worry about how she will develop later when she needs to be cautious of certain things.

For now, I'm just having fun playing monsters with her.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Poetry

I used to write poetry.

I used to paint
what I saw, what I felt,
with words.

I used to ohsocarefully decide
where to make
line breaks,
where to place the words and
punctuation marks.

I used to consider my word choices
for days,
weeks,
making sure each word, each phrase,
was just so.

I used to read and analyze and discuss
poetry and literature
using BIG words to describe
deep concepts intended or
unintended
by the author.

I used to draft
write
re-write
revise
my own concepts and thoughts,
my own emotions and feelings
until I conveyed what I wanted
the way I wanted.

I used to agonize over rhyme
schemes, the rhythm of phrases, the
sounds of words,
the structure of content,
figures of speech,
poetic license.

I used to so strongly
need
to write poetry
from my heart, from
my head, from my
soul.

I used to need to express thoughts
in that manner.
In this manner.

I realize now
I still need to write poetry.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Question of the Week - Instrumental

We are a musical family. I have numerous posts in which I describe songs we sing, ones we've made up and ones to calm the Pumpkin down. We also sing songs to get the Pumpkin to do things she would otherwise balk at, like cleaning up toys, brushing her teeth or whatever we come up with words for doing.

I guess I thought it was normal to live in a musical. However, over the last few months, I've had a few people comment on how much we sing and how much the Pumpkin sings. She really does sing all the time, and like her parents, she often makes up words and even music. I remember my parents singing all the time, too, although my mom was one of the people who pointed out that the Pumpkin sings all the time, so maybe we didn't sing quite this much when I was a kid.

The Pumpkin also likes to play the various toy instruments we have, including piano/keyboards, one piano with xylophone, drums and maracas. Londo and I both played instruments when we were growing up, and we've always said that our kids will play an instrument. We'll let the pick which instrument, but there will be music lessons. We plan to buy an upright piano for the house by the time the kids are ready to play music.

You see, Londo and I both come from musical families. My mom teaches violin, as her mom did. My mom's dad was a violinist in one of the top symphonies in the country. My mom played cello in a few local orchestras when I was growing up. My sister is in orchestra management and has played flute and piccolo in some orchestras as well. My dad's mom was very musical and had a grand piano and numerous instruments in her house. Londo's mom plays the piano at their church and also has a room devoted to her grand piano and other instruments. Is it any wonder the Pumpkin is such a musical child?

This week's question of the week is really two questions:
1. What instrument (if any) did you play growing up?
2. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?

Here are my answers:
1. I played the violin and piano for years. I also took voice lessons and sang in my high school chorus and chambers group. I tried to teach myself the guitar once, but didn't stick to it.
2. I always wanted to play the harp. My mom always said I could, but I never gave her the final go-ahead to get me one. I wasn't sure I'd stick to it, and it would have been expensive and heavy to lug around. Maybe some day I'll learn it. For now, I can't wait until we can afford a piano for me to brush up on again.

How about you? Are you or were you musical? What instruments did you scratch away on? What instrument do you wish you could play like an expert?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

On the Extrovert/Introvert Scale

For those of you who know the Myers-Brigg personality test, I'm an ENFP. E stands for Extrovert, as opposed to Introvert. It's about where you get your energy and what you need to feel refreshed, and it should not to be confused with outgoing versus shy. Though I am on the E side of the scale, I'm so close to the middle that I'm probably an X (the Myers-Brigg designation for when you are right in the middle).

Years and years agow, when I told my sister that I was an ENFP, she expressed surprise that I'm an E. I told her, "Just because you are WAY over on one side of the E on the scale does not mean that I'm slightly more of an extrovert than I am an introvert." She laughed, because it's true. She is extremely extroverted. (We are both very friendly, outgoing people.)

My daughter, the Pumpkin, is not only super outgoing but she is most definitely an extrovert. The extreme kind like my sister. I realize that I never shared a story about her that I'd always meant to, which I will do now. This story might show more of her outgoing personality than her extrovertedness, but it really is an example of both. Excuse me while I digress...

Last July, the Pumpkin had to have her blood taken to check for nut allergies. (I never wrote up the post about the outcome of that, either. I will get to it soon.) Thanks to good advice, I called ahead and made an appointment. This was my first time away from the Pookie, and I was going without Londo. I was still a bit out of it and totally forgot to repack my diaper back for the Pumpkin, including things to occupy her in a waiting room--but that was partly because we had an appointment. Unfortunately, even though we got there on time, there was a wait. In fact, the waiting room was just about full.

So there we are in the waiting room with nothing to entertain the 2 year old except a pen and piece of paper (which worked for all of 10 seconds). The Pumpkin started climbing in and out of her chair and running across the room. She was basically quiet and good, just needed to be up and moving, and I stayed with her. But even that got boring.

Then, she turned to a woman sitting in a chair. Having recently learned how to introduce herself, she said, "Hi! I'm Pumpkin*."

The woman had been watching her with a smile, so I didn't stop her from going up to the woman. The woman said hi back to her and told her her name. Then the Pumpkin showed her the squiggly lines picture she drew on the paper I had. They had a little exchange. Then, the Pumpkin was off again.

I looked around to gauge the room. There were a few people in watching my girl and smiling. A few had chuckled at the exchange with the woman. No one seemed annoyed.

The Pumpkin went up to another woman. Introduced herself and asked the woman's name. The woman replied and commented on her picture. The man next to her commented to me about how outgoing she was and how old was she. I answered, and the Pumpkin went to him and exchanged introductions.

I gave a general apology to the people around or the room or whoever in case we were disurbing anyone. A couple a few seats away spoke up and said that it wasn't bothering anyone, that she was being friendly. Now, everyone in the room is watching her, and she keeps going up to people and introducing herself. Someone else spoke up, saying that they didn't normally have entertainment in the waiting room, so it was a nice change.

She was as happy as I'd ever seen her, the center of attention and chatting it up with seemingly-nice strangers. It made it easier when I got called into the back. I apologized to everyone in advance for the screaming they were about to hear, and got words of encouragement back. When we left, with her sobbing into my shoulder as I carried her, we got sympathetic looks. But most importantly, the interaction she had prior to the bloodwork was good as a distraction and for her extrovertedness to get recharged.

That's my daughter. The extreme extrovert.

My son, the Pookie, however, is different. He is definitely more introverted than his sister. Since he was a baby, I've noticed that he would get overwhelmed and overstimulated at times. When my husband and the Pumpkin would be running around and playing in the family room, I'd notice that the Pookie would be getting more and more fussy. I would take him upstairs for some quiet time.

Although my daughter did amazingly well at stores, restaurants and parties as a baby, the Pookie does not do as well. This past weekend, I took him with me to a baby shower. At first, he was fine. Doing cute things and seemed happy. But as a lot of people were watching him, talking to me about him and trying to play with him or get his attention, he started getting more and more fussy.

Being more used to his sister, I had forgotten. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I tried to feed him, but that wasn't it. I tried to walk around with him, but that wasn't working. I brought him in a back room, put him in my sling and tried to get him to sleep, even though he had just napped. He started to calm down, but didn't fall asleep. I finally realized that he had been overstimulated.

I brought him back out as the presents were being opened. It was much calmer in the room then, and we sat in a chair behind the couch and everyone else. I had him happy and giggling in no time.

These two kids of mine, coming from the same parents, really do have their differences. Just like my sister and I do.

*She used her real name (or rather nickname that she goes by).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Apparently It DOES Need All the Parts

Last night, I went to bed without doing any dishes. That means that I didn't even wash the parts for my pump, which I used every day (twice a day) at work. Which means that I would have to wash them in the morning, while I'm hurrying around getting myself, the Pumpkin and the Pookie ready for our day. This is not an unusual scenario, and I bring it up only to point out that I was in a hurry this morning. Also, I'm not especially great about cleaning my pump parts.

So this morning, I quickly washed up all the little and big parts that need to be washed for the pump. I noticed that there was some gunk in the crevise of one of those parts (the connector piece, for those who care, which connects the bottle, tubing, shield and valve). So I took the nipple cleaner piece from the bottle sponge (you know what I'm talking about, right?) and tried to dig the gunk out. It was in pretty good--it had probably been there a while. I finally was getting it out when... Snap!

I broke a piece of plastic off the connector. I examined the entire connector. Was that piece really needed? It didn't wall off anything completely. It was just kind of hanging down. Surely the pump would be okay without it.

No, it wasn't. It turns out that these things are designed to work a certain way and needs every piece to be where design. Who knew? (Don't answer that!)

When my first pumping session this morning went abysmally with really no suction on one side, I quickly came up with a plan. I happen to work a few blocks away from a baby store. I could buy the parts, but I was pretty sure you are supposed to sterilize them before first use. Aha! They will surely have those sterilization bags, too!

After lunch, I drove up there, bought the connector pieces (they come in a pack of two), another set of valves with membranes (because those pieces are as old as the one that broke, and I might as well get some new ones) and a package of the microwaveable sterilization bags. I got back to work, got the pieces and some water from the bathroom in the bag, used the microwave in the kitchen and got myself all set up.

Now, I'm happy to report that I've got a good amount milk to make up for the lack there of from my morning session. I will also pump again later this afternoon, which will be my real afternoon session. Let's hope this crazy morning of delayed/poor pumping doesn't affect my supply (and that my nipples hold up, though my pumping experience has been MUCH better this time). Because the baby boy LOVES to eat!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Question of the Week - We Love to Laugh

I call my baby boy Smile Guy because he smiles so much. He also laughs a lot, and we're finding more and more ways to make him laugh every day. It was really easy to make the Pumpkin smile and laugh, too. We love to make these kids laugh. There is just something about the sound of kids and babies laughter that can make everything feel right with the world.

This week's question of the week is:

What do you do to make your kids laugh?

Still being a baby, the Pookie laughs at physical sensations. You'll surely get a chuckle from him if you put your hand on his belly and jiggle side to side. He cackles when you tickle the back of this thighs or kiss his jawline. He laughs with gusto if you lift him in the air and lower his face to your for kisses. Heck, sometimes he even giggles if you just look at him and smile!

We make the Pumpkin laugh mostly with silly songs or silly faces. She doesn't yet get jokes, but she does love it when we use the wrong words in songs. She also laughs for joy when she's swung around or running around playing.

How about you all? How do you get your kid going? And isn't it just the best sound in all the world?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Clarifying Sleep, Not Sleeping and the Family Bed

I'm going to clarify a few things about the sleep situation in my house.

Yes, I probably do complain about sleep a lot. However, I doubt anyone has noticed when months go by when I don't even mention sleep. That is because the sleep is really good at those times. I'm not normally supersticious, but I am about this because it feels like the few times I've mentioned good sleep happening, it's gone right out the window (it would probably happen anyway, but just in case it's karma...). So you should all know that if I'm not talking about sleep, than the Pumpkin is sleeping through the night in her own bed consistently, the Pookie is getting sleeps in reasonable chunks and Londo and I are well rested. (It happens! I swear! It's happened all this week, except for the hour early wake ups because of the time change!)

To understand some of our parenting decisions around sleep, you have to understand where Londo and I are coming from with some childhood history.

caramama's baggage:
I had trouble falling asleep when I was little. My mom doesn't remember it being an issue, but my dad does and I DO! I have vivid memories of two different scenerios that would happen when I was 4 or 5 or 6 and had trouble falling asleep:
1) My dad would lie down with me to help me settle down and fall asleep. Probably half the time, he would fall asleep first and I would lean over him with a big smile until he opened his eyes and we would laugh. I would finally fall asleep and he'd go back to his own bed. (This is what my dad remembers.)
2) I would call for my mom from my bed, and my dad would yell to leave mom alone because she was trying to sleep and that I should just go to sleep. It wasn't that easy, just go to sleep. (My dad does not remember this.)

Guess which scenerio I preferred? Not having anyone come to me when I couldn't fall asleep was very upsetting. I was a sensitive child, and this was actually a bit traumatic to me. As an adult I totally understand, but as a child, I felt a little abandoned that my parents wouldn't come when I felt I needed them. Meanwhile I have very fond memories of when my dad would lie with me, even if he'd get upset and tell me to settle down.

Early on, Londo and I discussed my feelings on this and how I didn't want to do CIO. He agreed and was/is completely on board.

Londo's baggage:
As a child, Londo was scared of the dark. He has a very busy brain, and when it gets going it's hard to settle down. When it would get going in the dark, he would get scared and have trouble being by himself. (This is my understanding of it.)

Londo's parents always let him come into bed with them if/when he woke in the night. It didn't matter the reason or the age. It was always an option to him. He didn't always need to go into their bed, but he felt safe and secure knowing he always could.

Early on, Londo and I discussed his feelings on this and how he wanted to always let the kids in our bed if they needed it. I agreed and was/is completely on board.

Parenting the Pumpkin at night:
The thing about my lovely daughter is that she has had issues with falling asleep and sleeping alone since she was born. Before she was born, we had decided that we would set her up in our room in the cosleep that attaches to the bed. She would sleep in there with us for at least the first 6 months. As a breastfeeding mother, I knew it would be helpful to have her right there next to me for the feedings. As a father who was planning to share as much of the night-time parenting as possible, Londo also found it easy to have her, a changing table and a chair for rocking right there in our room.

Without once again going into my daughter's history of sleep, I'm just going to sum it up by saying that when there is a sleep regression, growth spurt, teething, developmental spurt, etc., it seriously affects my daughter's sleep. It doesn't matter where she is sleeping and how well she had been sleeping. We've had periods where she slept through the night in our room, her crib in the nursery, a big girl bed in the nursery, and the big girl bed in her big girl room. Slept through with no problems. But then, for whatever reason, she also has periods where she is unable to sleep no matter where she is and what we do to help. Luckily, it's gotten better as she's gotten older.

For those of you who have never had a child who really had serious, long-term difficulties sleeping, I don't think you will truly understand or even believe me when I say that it's just the way she is and it's not due to our parenting styles and decisions. And you don't have to believe me or agree with me.

For those of you who have had a child like mine, I'm guessing you might have nodded your head in agreement to what I've written. I hear stories of hope from Charisse, posts on how to cope from Cloud and words of understanding from mom2boys* and others. It's always nice to know that my child isn't the only one like this and that there are other parents who struggle through some of the nights as we do.

And that's why I continue to write about the sleep issues in my house. It's in a large part to share my stories so others out there with difficult sleepers will know they are not alone. Partly it's also to vent and complain. Even though we try no-cry methods to get her to sleep and even though we let her come in our bed when she can't sleep, I am still going to vent and complain about the rough nights. And that doesn't mean that I or Londo have any desire to change our parenting decisions. I'm a woman. I get to complain when I want. ;-)

Independence
A final point I wanted to write out is something that Londo and I were discussing the other day. We definitely lean towards the "attachment parenting" style by instinct. Luckily, we both have the same feelings on the matter and are usually on the same page. In addition, we are both research-a-holics, and we researched the heck out of parenting, attachment parenting, co-sleeping and all sorts of other related things.

We believe the research that supports attachment parenting. (Check out this site for an overview of the science supporting it.) We believe that providing a secure parent-child relationship in which we are there for them to meet their needs in these ways allows them to go off on their own when they are ready and in the ways they are ready. We believe the research that says attachment parenting and co-sleeping does not make kids over-clingy, but instead provides them with a feeling of having a safety net, thereby allowing them to feel free to explore and adventure on their own.

We do not feel the need to push our children to independence. In fact, the Pumpkin is EXTREMELY independent in almost every way. We believe that self-soothing is a skill like any other and that different children are capable of different levels of self-soothing at different times. We can encourage its development, but we can't force it. Just like communication skills or physical (movement) skills. We do not believe that the skill of self-soothing is tied to a child's ability to be independent. It's simply another skill that children will learn within the time frame that is right for them. We believe that as parents, it is our responsibility to help her with this skill and be supportive of her during the time period she is unable to master it.

I believe that other ways of parenting are great also. I never believe anyone who says that [whatever way they believe in] is the only way to parent. Each person, each parent, each child is different and unique. We all have to find ways that work for us and our families. This is the way that feels comfortable to Londo and me and seems to work for our children.

Finally, Londo was saying to me the other day that this is really a short time period in our children's lives and our lives. Soon (too soon) the kids will be shutting doors in our faces and running off to be with their friends instead of spending time with us. He said that he wants to enjoy the time with them when they'll let us snuggle with them and sleep with them. When the Pumpkin comes into our bed in the middle of the night these days (it's maybe once a week), she almost always immediately cuddles up to my husband or me and falls back asleep. That's some sweet snuggling time, and we are cherishing it while we can.

But I'm still going to complain at times. Cause dudes, I'm tired. ;-)

*Corrected mom2boys's name! Oops! Sorry. I even proof-read, but I have been crazy at work and home. And did I mention tired?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Girls Go Trick-or-Treating

The rain doesn't bother me. I hardely ever even use an umbrella. I rarely do anything with my hair, and I have plenty of hoods and hats that work to keep the rain off my face. I don't mind getting a little wet, especially when I'm dressed in casual clothes.

I think this is a hold over from my childhood, because I've found that usually uninfluenced kids aren't bothered by the rain. Of course, I'm sure that's not true for every kid, and how often are kids uninfluenced by mom and dad who don't want to get wet. But my girl? She does not seem to mind the rain, especially a light drizzle. She has no issues (at least right now) wearing a coat and hood, and she loves to hold her umbrella (it's Winnie the Pooh and super cute).

On Halloween, it rained. Luckily, it started raining after our neighborhood's pre-trick-or-treating block party. We met up with the Pumpkin's two friends she used to play with every day when she was home with the nanny. She hadn't seen them since she started pre-school, so it was really great to get together with them. As coincidence would have it, one of her friends dressed up as Snow White and the other as Sleeping Beauty. The Pumpkin was Belle*, so we had three very adorable princess! We took lots of pictures.

The Pumpkin and her friends ate pizza standing in the street with the other families, as the sun was setting. The Pookie and Snow White's baby sister hung out in their strollers. The adults chatted and corralled the 2.5 year olds. As the party was winding down, we headed off to trick-or-treat together.

The Pumpkin thought the whole thing was pretty neat. She loved to look at all the other kids in their costumes. She enjoyed dressing up and telling people that she was "bee-ale" (how she pronounces Belle). She was so happy to see and spend time with her friends. And she was really thrilled with knocking on people's doors and getting candy!

She's at a good stage for repeating what I tell her to say, so she would say "trick or treat" and "thank you" and "happy Halloween" every time I'd prompt her. She was great about picking out one piece of candy. Knowing we would go through her candy once we got home and that we'd keep a close eye on her before then, I let her pick out any candy from the bowls--even those with peanuts and other nuts.

We got to about five or six houses with the girls when the drizzling rain started. Londo had the baby in the stroller covered with a sweater and the canopy over him, but we were both a bit worried about him because he's had a cold over the last week. Londo has also been sick, so even though he had a rain coat, he didn't want to stay out in the rain. Londo and the Pookie went back home to hand out candy.

The Pumpkin and I put on our rain coats and were ready to continue begging for handouts. Our friends, however, were not as prepared or not as comfortable with the rain. They all headed back to their houses. I looked at my girl and asked if she wanted to keep trick-or-treating. The answer was an emphatic yes!

The Pumpkin and I walked, hand in hand, through the rain. Just us two girls. It was dark now, but warm outside. There were others around, going door to door as we were. We admired the spooky decorations. We said hi to the other kids and parents. We collected her loot with good manners. We laughed and talked.

The rain lightened and even stopped, but we had made it back to our house. We waved to Daddy on the porch and got candy from him, too. We smiled at the Pookie in the swing just inside the glass storm door. We told them both about how we went trick-or-treating.

I love Halloween. I always have. But now, with kids? I love it even more. Rain or no rain, I will go out with the kids and enjoy every second of it for as long as they will let me.

*I didn't buy any accessories. I figured she could just wear the tiara I had from my wedding day (why yes, I was a princess on my wedding day). She wouldn't wear it, though, so I put it on my head and wore it around all night. I'm glad I didn't spend money on a crown she wouldn't wear or other accessories she would have taken off and lost.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Did Your Kids Get the Memo?

My kids did not get the memo about the time change. Or maybe they got the memo, but since they can't read or, you know, understand the concept of time, they didn't pay it any attention.

The Pumpkin, who will often lie quietly and wait until 7:00, made it until 5:40 this morning. Her body thought it was 6:40, that would have been pretty good prior to the time change. The killer this morning was that Londo got out of bed to get ready to go to work at that time, so she figured it was time to get up.

And Pookie? He heard his sister up and he is very used to getting up with me about 6 or 6:30, so he craned his neck to look at me and give me his big I'm-awake-aren't-I-cute smile with eyes wide open. I turned my head to the other side, and the Pumpkin was leaning over smiling at me. And that was the end of that.

I might have been able to drift back off to sleep for a while with one awake and the help of the TV, but no way with two awake and looking at me with their adorable little faces!

Maybe next spring they will make the time shift more easily. Maybe the government (or whoever is in charge of these things) will stop this ridiculous daylight savings, because it is NOT saving me any daylight. It is just making my mornings longer, because I still wake up when it's dark out. And it's making our evenings more of a struggle because everyone is tired an hour before we go to bed. We had just gotten things in a pretty good nighttime routine, too...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Question of the Week - Kids Shows You Like

Over the last 2+ years, I've had the opportunity to enjoy (and really NOT enjoy) many different kids shows. When turn on a show for the Pumpkin, we generally put it on Noggin, which is now Nick Jr., and sometimes Sprout. Back in my day, there was Saturday morning cartoons and some on after school, but that was it. There were 4-6 channels (depending on the TV getting in Fox and/or UPN in addition to the networks and PBS), and you were lucky to get Sesame Street AND Mr. Rogers!

With all the variety out there, plus On Demand offering up so many shows with a push of a button, we really can pick out the shows we like and want the Pumpkin to watch, rather than just settling for whatever is on.

So this week's question of the week is:

What kids show do you actually enjoy watching?

I think my favorites are Backyardigans and Wonder Pets. I was not into Wonder Pets at first, but once I saw a couple episodes, I have really started to get a kick out of them. And Backyardigans is so well done and interesting! I'm fine with Dora and Deigo and Ni Hao Kialan. I still really like Toot and Puddle. Oh, and now I've discovered Jack's Big Music Show, which is great for us who love music.

How about you? Any that you actually leave on once the kid leaves the room? Do all the songs get stuck in your head like they do mine?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Pumpkin Confirms What We Thought

We try to use positive reinforcement in our parenting toolbox, especially for things we want the Pumpkin to do but don't want to force for whatever reason. When she sleeps through the night in her own bed by herself, as she did last night, we always praise her for it.

This morning after the Pumpkin woke up, I was in her room with her and we had the following conversation (as best as I can recall), which was very enlightening:

Pumpkin: I did a good job sleeping! I slept in my bed all night. But I lost my daddy [he lies with her until she falls asleep and then comes back into our room]. He went in Mommy and Daddy's room. And Mommy is in Mommy and Daddy's room.
caramama: Daddy went back into Mommy and Daddy's room to sleep in his own bed, right? Like you sleep in your bed?
Pumpkin: Yeah. Daddy sleeps in his bed and Mommy sleeps in his bed [she still confuses her male/female pronouns]. And then I come in to sleep in Mommy and Daddy's bed, too! And then we all sleep in your bed!

So, it seems that she wants to be sleeping with everyone else. She didn't mention the Pookie, but he still sleeps in there with us, as does the dog and often the cat. When she wakes up in the middle of the night, she feels like she "lost" or can't find her Daddy, so she comes to find him and the rest of the family in Mommy and Daddy's bed. It only logically follows that she should then sleep with us in there too.

I just can't argue with it. Someday, but not when she clearly is just missing us and doesn't want to be sleeping alone. We'll continue with the positive reinforcement for now, but we aren't going to push her out of the family bed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Question of the Week - Costumes for Halloween

Things are crazy busy for me right now, but since I love Halloween so much I had to post the question again.

This week's question of the week is:

What are your kids (and/or yourself) dressing up as for Halloween?

The Pumpkin received a Disney Belle doll recently, and she completely loves it! And before the doll, she kept saying she wanted to be a queen for Halloween. So I bought her a Belle costume. It's just the dress, so I'll have to figure something out to put over her sneakers and a necklace. I'm going to let her wear the tiara I wore at my wedding as her crown.

For the Pookie, we have this outfit that looks like a little vasity jacket with pants. I'm going to put that on, leave it open and put on a onesie that says "Captain Adorable" on underneath. I''m really excited that I came up with this idea, and I can't wait to see if it looks as cute as I think it will!

We had our party this year, so hubby and I both dressed up for that. Londo was The Grim Rapper, wearing a black robe over baggy jeans and white Air Jordans, carrying a scythe and wearing a lot of bling. I was The Wicked Witch of the West Si-ide, and I wore jeans, a white fitted tank, red boots, huge hoop earrings and other bling, with a crooked witch's hat and black cape. I think we looked pretty cool!

How about you guys? What are the kiddos this year? Are you dressing up?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Caro Figlio- Working on Your Skillz

My little smile guy, you are 19 weeks old... 4.5 months old. I honestly cannot believe it. Time truly does fly. (Or as I like to say, the days pass quickly even though the nights last so long.)

We can all see just how badly you want to start doing things. Physical things! Verbal things! You are almost ready to start doing so much. It is frustrating for you, but you keep at them. Even when you are upset and fussing, you keep trying. But so often you have a look of concentration on your face as you try. Very cute.

All that work is starting to pay off. Just yesterday, you rolled over! I had you lying on your tummy in the cosleeper while I washed up. I heard you grunting and looked over to find you on your back! That wasn't how I left you! So I put you back on your tummy and watched as you did it again! Very cute.

You are so close to rolling from your back to your stomach, too. You are really close. You get all the way over, except one arm is under you and it keeps getting in the way. You don't know what to do with it yet, and you end up rolling back onto your back. Very cute.

I remember your sister at the same period, and I figure it's just something baby's have to work out. Where to put their body parts when they are doing stuff, and how to move them to get them to the right places. But you keep trying, and it's really cute to watch. Especially because sometimes you make these big grunty noises like you are doing karate and revving up before you try to get yourself over. Very cute.

When we do tummy time, your strong neck holds your head up for a really long time. You look this way and that, at the different toys that are around you. You look like you are doing the modified cobra pose, and any yoga master would be jealous. You also are starting to wiggle your body a bit, like you are in the beginning stages of figuring out how to work those limbs to start crawling. Very cute.

When we put you in the bouncy seat or in the swing, you try so hard to sit up. In fact, we are about to put away the bouncy seat, because it just seems to frustrate you. You don't want to be lying back! You want to sit up! You even grab at your pant legs and try to pull yourself up. You are good at pulling up to mostly a sitting position (especially using an adult's hands), but you can't stay up on your own yet. You wobble around like a drunken baby. Very cute.

When you are lying on your back, you love to grab your feet. If you have socks on, you grab the toes of those suckers and pull with all your little might. You roll around like a turtle on his back. You also turn to grab things either when you are lying down or sitting up. You are very grabby lately! The other night at dinner while you were sitting on my lap, you reached over to my plate and grabbed a handful of peas. It was my fault for not having the dinner plate farther away, but you made a mess! And most things are ending up in your mouth. Very cute.

I can see that you really want to be sitting up and playing with toys. You just aren't quite there yet. But you are feeling them, holding them, making noises with them, and really starting to check them out. This morning, your big sister put her baby doll in your arms, and you held onto it. You then tried to put its head in your mouth like a little zombie baby eating brains. (It reminded me of when your sister used to slobber on your dad's head when he bent over to kiss her belly and we'd call her zombie baby.) It was a perfect move for Halloween time. Very cute.

You are cooing and making babbling sounds all the time. I heard you say "mum" the other day. I don't kid myself that you were trying to say "mama," but I'm excited because it was the first babbling with M that I've heard you do. Mostly you make "Ooooo" and "Ahhhh" noises. In the last couple of weeks, you've really ramped up all the babbling. Very cute--except at 5:00 in the morning when you want to talk for a half hour or more, keeping me awake.

You smile and laugh all the time. I just look at you sometimes and you smile or giggle. You love it when I shake your legs or belly side to side and show me by letting out big chuckles. When you are grabbing your feet, I tickle your thighs and you laugh. I also love to make you laugh by coming in slowly and then kissing your jaw line. I kiss from one side of your face to the other, and you laugh the whole time. Very cute.

I that establishes that you are a very cute baby. You are growing so fast, and I'm enjoying every adorable minute of it.

Ti amo,
Mama

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pre-School is Pretty Cool

The Pumpkin has been going to pre-school for almost two months now, and things are going really well! She seems to love the environment, the activity, the other kids and the teachers. Drop-offs did indeed get easier, and now she just calls out, "Bye, Mommy!" as she goes off to play and I leave.

(Of course now I've totally jinxed it, just like I did when I wrote about how the Pookie was doing pretty well with sleep... RIGHT BEFORE THE FOUR MONTH SLEEP REGRESSIONS!! What was I thinking? It's all a mess now, and I'm exhausted again still.)

Over the last week or two, I've been working to refine our morning routines. Ideally, I need to wake up at 6:30 to start getting ready hopefully before the kiddos wake up. Unfortunately, the Pookie is in a sleep regression (see paragraph above) and I'm not able to get up at 6:30. I generally get up when the Pumpkin comes in the room in the morning, generally after 7:00. In fact, if it's before 7:00, I tell her she has to lie quietly until after 7:00, and that actually works!!! But then it's all rush rush rush to get myself ready for work, the Pumpkin ready for school and the baby entertained and his bottles ready for the nanny. We're getting better, and I have hopes that soon we'll even leave as early as I really need to so I can get to work at a reasonable time!

She's not napping at school. She was occasionally in the first month, but then we switched her to the next group which has late 2 year olds and early 3 year olds. Apparently she's not the only one not napping, unlike the first group with younger 2 year olds. But we are okay with this. We long ago gave up on naps on the weekend, and we learned that it is easier to get her to bed at night. So now we've moved up her bedtime and she goes to sleep pretty quickly and easily. It's a nice change for all of us!

She comes home with art projects all the time. When I ask her on our drive in what she thinks she's going to do at school today, she happily exclaims, "I'll do art!" We do some art at home, like coloring or Playdoh or those markers that only draw on special paper. Though I love arts and crafts, it seems like such an effort to set up and clean up the more messy projects. But she gets to do it as school, so that's okay.

Yesterday, I went with her on her first field trip! It was to a farm where we got to pet animals, take a hayride and pick out pumpkins. It was a lot of fun, but it was especially neat for me to see how she interacts with her friends at school. As far as I can tell, she gets along with everyone. She makes silly noises with one boy, holds hands with another girl, runs off with another boy and generally plays with whomever is by her. Londo and I are pretty much the same way, but it's neat to see that she is as well. The mom of the girl who was holding hands with my girl is going to invite us over for a play date, and I'm so excited, partly because it means a new friend for me too!

So we are having a good experience with school so far. Of course I worried about her starting school, but the Pumpkin has adjusted beautifully. It was definitely the right move to make for her.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Question of the Week - Driving You Crazy

The DC area is notorious for its traffic. It's horrible, and there is no time of day or night that you can be assured of no traffic. Sunday late afternoon, we ran into traffic on the Beltway after going to the Redskins game. (A whole day that Londo and I went out without any kids! That was the first time since the Pookie was born! It was awesome... except that the Redskins suck.)

But it's not even the traffic jams that drive me crazy. I can deal with city driving, highway driving and when parkways turn into parking lots. It's really the crappy drivers in the neighborhoods that make me want to road rage (don't worry, I don't actually road rage).

This week's question of the week is:
What is it about driving/drivers/cars on the road that drives you crazy?

For me, it's the crappy drivers who have this sense of entitlement. They are somewhere between selfish and oblivious. You know the ones. The ones who always assume they have the right of way, even if they don't. The ones who don't bother to read the clearly posted signs or obey basic traffic laws.

I don't mind the speeders, the slow drivers or even the aggressive drivers, just so long as they are aware of what is around them and not obliviously assuming the world revolves around them. If you want to speed, do it safely without riding up my bumper and get on your way. If you want to drive slow, get into the RIGHT lane and let people pass you. If you want to slip into the just-barely-a-car-length spot in front of me, do it without making me slam on my brakes or worry about my safety and the safety of those in my car (I'VE GOT CHILDREN!).

But if you want to do a rolling stop and then keep going through the four-way stop without waiting for your turn? I will honk loudly. If you do not know how to use the traffic circle and don't bother to read the signs CLEARLY STATING to YIELD to the traffic in the circle? I will honk and perhaps gesture rudely. If you are parked on a road and open your car door just as I or other cars are passing you? I will likely yell at you, and you better hope that my window isn't down. And if you speed down a road where children (especially my children) are playing? I will want to do all sorts of things that I won't. Because of the children.

How about you? What drives you nuts about other drivers? Aren't there just too many things to name?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Cute Things She Says Shorts

I love all the cute things my girl says. She's 2.5 years old now, and I've missed recording so many of the adorable ways she says things. So I'm going to do some snippets of things she's said recently and some from way back.

--------------------------------
I read a lot of books child development and communication. A few of the communication books mentioned that when a child wants something, sometimes you can just acknowledge the want by saying that you wish they could have/do that, and that is enough to satisfy them.

I like this technique and have used it a bit. For example, if she says she wants a cupcake, I'll say, "I wish you could have a cupcake! But we don't have any in the house. I want one too." Or something like that.

So the other morning, this was the conversation:
caramama: Oh, Pumpkin, we still have to brush your teeth.
Pumpkin: I'll do it all by myself!
caramama: Well, Mommy has to do it.
(I have to at least "take a turn" or else she just sucks on the toothbrush and doesn't get any brushing done. She knows this, but often wants to do it herself only.)
Pumpkin, said in a perfect imitation of the tone I use: I wish you could, Mommy. But I'm gonna do it by myself.
caramama (trying not to die laughing): Well, what if we do it together?
Pumpkin: OK!

And we did it together while singing the WonderPets' teamwork song.

--------------------------------
The other morning I called out to her, "Pumpkin* pie?" She replied, "Yes, Mommy pie?"

She did it again this morning when I said, "I love you, Pumpkin pie." She said, "I love you, Mommy pie."

I just love that!

*I used her real name with "pie" after it.

--------------------------------
Back in January or February of this year, she used to say "Where oh where is _____?" when she was looking for something. She ddn't just say "where is ____." She'd say "where oh where is ____" or sometimes just "oh where is ____." I think she got it from the song "Where oh where has my little dog gone?" which I sing to her on occassion.

--------------------------------
Just recently she seems to have the names of colors right. But she used to not say a few colors correctly:

-Yellow: When she was very young, she'd say "lello." But over the last year and a half, she's been calling it "yea-yo."
-Orange: She'd always called it "or-jas" with the soft j sound like you say "je" in French. And it was always plural.
-White: For a long time, she would call things that were white "black." She would just mix up the name for white, although she always got black correct.

--------------------------------
Until just a week or two ago, the Pumpkin would say the word ravioli as "laliloli." It was sooooo cute!

--------------------------------
Last January, I tried to teach the Pumpkin to say Obama and who Obama was. She did not get it. Instead, she started occasionally calling me O Mama or O Mommy. Londo incouraged this behavoir. And though I tried to get her to, she would not say O Daddy.

--------------------------------

I know there are more. Hopefully I'll remember to write them down and share them another time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

And I Thought Some Parents Were Lying

As I'm sure you all well know, the Pumpkin was and is not a good sleeper. I have gone on and on about it. It's a central theme in my life, and has been for 2.5 years. There are more and more nights when she sleeps through the night, in her own bed, by herself (minus the sick nights we had over the last week). And lately, with her lack of napping at pre-school, she is not taking long to put to bed. My experience with putting my child to bed and her sleeping at night has probably jaded me in my opinions about kids and sleep.

But today, my post isn't about the Pumpkin. I just started it that way to give the frame of reference.

Today, on the Pookie's four-month birthday (can you believe he's four months already? I can't!), I'm going to tell you how the nights had been going, and then tell you about this crazy thing that's happening over the past few nights. And yes, I know that I'm going to completely jinx myself. I figure we're about to start in on the four-month sleep regression anyway, so I should document the current happenings before it all goes to hell.

To put the Pookie to bed, I do the follow:
1. Bring him upstairs in the bedroom and dim the lights.
2. Change his diaper.
3. Swaddle him in the straight jacket Miracle Blanket.
4. Nurse him, rock him, walk him or any combination there of to sleep.
5. Hold him for at least a half hour, possibly an hour and a half(!), until he is in deep sleep.
6. Put him down in the cosleeper next to my side of the bed.
7. Quietly sneak out of the room and pray that he stays asleep.

Historically, he sleeps for 2-4 hours--usually right about 3--when I first put him down. When he wakes up, I usually bring him to bed with me (this is often when I'm going to bed or within an hour of me going to bed) and nurse him back to sleep lying down next to me. And I fall asleep. Cause I'm seriously tired, people. I tend to not wake up until he wakes up again, and then I nurse him back to sleep and I fall asleep. Unless he has a fart or poop or I think he's going to or his diaper is very full, and then I get up (or occassionally wake up Londo) to change his diaper, reswaddle and then nurse him back to sleep. So he pretty much sleeps with me most of the night.

Over the last week or two, he has spent many nights waking up every hour or less. Until I give up somewhere around 4 or 5 or 6 in the morning and stick him in the swing, where he'll sleep for a solid 2 or 3 hours more, and I actually get to sleep by myself for a few hours. Oh, and he's also taken to nursing for an hour or more while sleeping. I guess since it's right there, he thinks hey, why not!

Did I mention I'm tired? And sore! And exhausted! And my poor nipples need a little rest too!

And none of that even takes into account the Pumpkin's coming to our bed and coughing all night long so my sleep is even more disrupted!

But... but... but... get this: Now, the Pookie doesn't have to be in deep sleep to be put down in his cosleeper!

Not only that, but... get this: The Pookie can actually fall back to sleep on his own!!!!

I'm not kidding! It really does happen for some kids! It looks like the world isn't full of people with their pants on fire!

For most of his naps, I just nurse him to sleep and when he seems asleep enough I put him down. It hadn't worked so well at night, but three nights ago, I thought I'd give it another try at night. And it worked! I nursed him to sleep and 5-10 minutes later, I put him down! And he slept about 3 hours!

Two nights ago, he woke right up. But we had an overall tough night, I believe because of gas and poop that didn't get all out until the next morning--all over the swing, which was especially fun to deal with.

And last night? I did it again! Not only that, but once the other night and twice last night I was able to put him in his cosleeper after nursing him lying down. I've been going to be in the 9:00 hour, so I think I'm not so exhausted that I just fall completely back to sleep when I nurse him to sleep. I'm able to either stay awake-ish or wake back up and put him back in his cosleeper. And it works!

But it gets even better. Last night when I first put him down, I had to get the monitor from another room and plug it in and I ended up jostling him somewhat awake. His eyes were open and he looked at me. I ducked out as quickly and quietly as I could. When I went downstairs and turned the monitor on, Londo and I heard him fussing a bit. I thought it was all over. For the Pumpkin, it would have been. I headed back upstairs, but it was quiet when I got up there. I listened at the door, and I heard some more fussing. But then? Nothing! He had fallen back asleep! By himself!

I think this is what people mean by "self-soothe."*

And at least one of the two times I put him back in the cosleeper last night, he was not fully asleep. His eyes were that fluttering-open and he was tossing and turning his head. But? HE FELL ASLEEP! IN HIS COSLEEPER!

So we may have one of those previously-believed-to-be-mythical-by-Londo-and-I children who self-soothe! I have hope for regaining some of my sleep prior to his turning 3!

Now, if only he could teach his sister...

*The Pumpkin has never really been able to self-soothe. When she sleeps through the night, it is completely because she doesn't wake up enough to have to get herself back to sleep. When she wakes up enough to require getting back to sleep, she comes in our room or calls for one of us. She just has not developed this capability yet, and we are working on it with her.

The Beginnings of a Ski Buddy

After lunch, my daughter and I went back up the "magic carpets" to the top of the bunny slopes. She wanted to keep skiing! With me...