December 30, 2013

sleep training









My husband and I are currently in the middle of sleep training our nearly seven month old baby. She was a great sleeper the first few months of her life. She could fall asleep and stay asleep in the room with music playing while family and friends visited. Most of the time she slept in a cradle next to our bed. Sometimes I would nurse her in bed, and we would both fall asleep together. If I wasn't asleep I was still able to move her to her cradle without any trouble. Right around 3 months was when she started crying hysterically anytime I tried putting her in her crib. So we began to co-sleep, which was never something I planned on or intended to do. It just seemed like the easiest thing at the time. 

This worked out just fine for a few months. I enjoyed spending so much time together snuggling and resting with her. Then it got to the point where she needed to nurse almost all night long. She would cry if I removed my nipple from her mouth and wake up during naps if I got up to use the bathroom. We were hardly sleeping at all. She was also starting to move around more and roll over. I was afraid she could potentially fall out of bed. Spending the majority of my days laying around was also beginning to take a toll on my mind and my body. I needed time for myself and also time to physically work on getting back some of the strength I lost from pregnancy and co-sleeping.

After a lot of thought and research I decided to start sleep training her. Unfortunately, my husband has done very little to help me out with this. In his defense, he works odd hours at a full time job and is also a full time student. I started out trying the no cry method and used a slightly tweaked rocking technique from The Happiest Baby on The Block. I would rock her in her crib almost constantly to get her to fall asleep. Eventually she would fall asleep, but after about twenty minutes or so wake up crying. For three nights in a row we got little to no sleep at all, and late one night I gave up and brought my baby back into bed with me. 

I co-slept with her again for a little while until I got up the nerve to try Ferber's CIO method. From my understanding this involves creating a bedtime routine and making sure your baby is ready for bed; meaning tired, fed and of course wearing a fresh diaper when you put him/her down. Then you put your baby in the crib while briefly checking in at intervals. This method is supposed to help your baby learn to soothe itself to sleep, so that he/she will eventually be able to fall asleep on their own without crying. It also gives your baby the comfort of knowing you are still nearby. 

I had/have a few issues with this. One issue is that I feel and act crazy when she cries. I'm sure that it's a combination of hormones and some sort of ancient biological instinct to protect my baby when she's crying. So I have to continuously remind myself that she's not in any danger of being attacked by a wild animal, and that this is going to help her/everyone sleep better in the long run. Another issue I have is that my husband has gone in and picked her up a few times while she's been crying. So did a family member during the holidays. As far as I know this is not good, because it teaches her that if she cries long enough eventually someone will pick her up. So it reinforces her crying. Another issue I have is that when I go in to check on her it usually makes her cry even harder, which is obviously the opposite of my goal.

We have had some success with this method. She has had quite a few nights of sleeping ten hours straight. We've all woken up fully rested and able to really enjoy our day together. There have also been many nights and naps that took over an hour for her to fall asleep. That means over an hour of crying. There was even one night that she cried almost all through the night. We started this newer method just under two weeks a go, and it's still very inconsistent and challenging for everyone. 

I am now at the point of trying out a less severe version of the straight CIO method. I will not put my baby down and just leave her to cry. There have been a few times that she just needed her diaper changed again, and then she was able to fall asleep. So now I will let her cry for a little while, then check in only once to see if she needs a fresh diaper. From what I have read periodically checking in on your baby could potentially reinforce the idea that more crying means more visits from mom and dad. So they may end up crying more for that reason. I'm hoping that this method will be the winner. 

There are several other factors that make me wonder about the success, or lack of success, with my sleep training attempts. I wonder what set backs occur trying sleep training during the holidays, in a new environment and with all sorts of new stimulus. She actually did sleep great once she was finally able to fall asleep at her grandparents' house. I also wonder about teething while sleep training, because she has been showing some signs. 

I would also like to add that even though lately my baby has been crying herself to sleep most nights, she is still the same smiley happy baby with us when she is awake. Overall, she is actually sleeping way more than when we co-slept. I am also sleeping more. My husband and I finally have some much needed alone time together. I have been able to find some time just for myself again, too. 


December 10, 2013

it's that time of year again










It's December, cold and covered in snow here in Chicago, so it really feels like that time of year. This is our first Christmas with the baby, and we have plans to spend it with family and loved ones getting cozy by the fire, eating, telling stories, giving and receiving gifts and relaxing. I'm not usually into the holidays. In fact, I've always been a bit of a scrooge, even when I was a youngster. Always. I think having a baby has made me look at things differently. I want to make the holidays a special time for my daughter.

I am not making any new years resolutions this year. I say this almost every year, but I really mean it this time. They never seem to stick anyways. Instead, I am just looking forward to what the year brings and watching my beautiful daughter grow. I am hoping to become a little more productive this year. It's been hard for me. Ruby is quite demanding of my time and energy. She wants to be right next to me all of the time, even when she's sleeping. So I've spent more time than I ever could have imagined just laying around inside with my baby this year. It's been quite a change of pace and lovely.

with that said HAPPY HOLIDAYS, SEASON'S GREETINGS, HAPPY HANUKKAH, HAPPY KWANZAA, HAPPY NEW YEAR, MERRY CHRISTMAS and all the rest...



November 23, 2013

look-a-likes

Edie

 Jennifer
This one has been bothering me for a while, and I finally figured it out! She should have played her in Factory Girl.

no shave november

I love a man with a beard. I also love a way for anyone to get involved in a charity, because let's face it (pun intended) not everyone has the time or money to donate. So no shave November is a way for any man, or woman, to help raise awareness and money for cancer. 

I myself have been unknowingly participating in no shave November this year. Although, it has everything to do with my new bare bones shower routine since becoming a mother, and no longer showing off my legs due to the cold weather moving in. I could have lied and said it was because of my mother and grandmother who are both cancer survivors, or because of my uncle who was taken by cancer, or my old friend Frankie who lost his leg to cancer. 

The true way for a Northern women to actively participate in no shave November is to put down the razor, and then sometime near the end of the month wear shorts or a skirt out to a public space of her choice. I haven't been to the MCA in a while. Maybe I'll put on my favorite dress and go before the month is over, or maybe I'll just go to the grocery store.


October 29, 2013

national cat day







I keep hearing about how it's national cat day today. Since I like cats, have a few of my own and actually have a few minutes to myself today I just thought, "Hey why not post some cute cat photos on that one blog of yours?" So here they are! 
meow

October 5, 2013

trumpy






I took Ruby on her first flight. We went to Philadelphia to visit my friend Abbi, her husband Josh and to meet their baby Linnea who was also born in June. Abbi and I both have birthdays at the end of September, so she offered to fly us out to celebrate. Even though I was nervous to fly with Ruby, I couldn't resist. Ryan stayed home, so it was just the two of us. Ruby did amazing on the flight, and everyone sitting near us commented on what a good baby she is. 

Abbi and I have been friends for about twenty years and have been calling each other Trumpy for the majority of our friendship. The first Thanksgiving after high school we volunteered to prepare and serve dinner to senior citizens at a church in Minnesota. We met a little boy named Trumpy that day who was also volunteering with his aunt. While shredding carrots with Trumpy we got to know him pretty well and his name has lived on with us ever since. 

My friend Pete came from New York to see me and meet Ruby while we were in Philly. I got to explore a little bit of the Northern Liberties neighborhood, which I really like. I made dinner for Josh and Abbi one night, they threw a karaoke/birthday party, we spent a lot of time relaxing with our babies and the whole trip went by much too fast. Ruby and I miss them and can't wait until the next time we get to see them again.


September 16, 2013

a man needs a maid (and a cook apparently)








My husband recently told me that he'd like me to do more of the cooking. It was during a nasty argument. I could go into more detail, but I feel I've already said too much. Honestly, I would love to cook more often. I just need a little bit more time and energy. I'm just a little busy taking care of our new baby and trying to finish school. I would also like a kitchen and dining room a little something like these to do my cooking and serving in. 

September 12, 2013

Last Child in the Woods









"The quiet wisdom of nature does not try to mislead you like the landscape of the city does, with billboards and ads everywhere. It doesn't make you feel like you have to conform to any image. It's just there, and it accepts everyone." -Erin (Last Child in the woods)