Monday, April 30, 2007
Reasons #2 & #3: The weekend brought with it some more sleep solutions for both of the kids. Disclaimer --> I realize I've been blogging about sleep issues a lot, but I suppose it’s because that’s what’s on my mind the most! If you don’t want to hear about it, go ahead and skip to Reason #4 :)
Anyway, I was kind of half-heartedly thinking about taking Keziah’s soother away for sleeping and then it just sort of happened over the weekend. On Friday night she was unusually relaxed and content right up until her bedtime so I decided to try putting her in her crib without her soother. She started crying but it wasn’t a really serious cry – more of a sleepy whiny cry – and I felt I was able to tolerate it. I decided I would give her the soother if her cries started to escalate. Well, they never did and 10 minutes later she was quiet! I snuck in to see what was happening. She was still kind of awake – rubbing her blanket in her face and lifting up both legs and slamming them down on the mattress which, oddly enough, seemed to be soothing for her. I let her be and she was sleeping soon after. She woke up once during the night at which point I just let her have the soother since I was too exhausted for a fight. The next morning around 5:30 I heard her again – just kind of fussing and doing the mattress foot-slam – but she fell asleep without me giving her the soother! Ever since then I've been putting her down without her soother. She usually fusses a little bit, but I don't give her the soother unless she's really crying (then take it away when she calms down). She has surprised me with how well she can fall asleep on her own. And dare I even mention it, the last TWO nights in a row she has slept straight through the night without so much as a peep! Makes me wonder why I didn't try this sooner...
This is way easier than waiting until she’s 2 :) So, what do you say, Kelly? Your turn next!
And we found a sleep solution for Micah that is (possibly) working. He’s been routinely waking up before 6 every morning, so we gave him his own clock radio in his room and told him he couldn’t get out of bed until he heard the music turn on. Well, wouldn’t you guess that the first couple of mornings the alarm actually woke him up! After extending the alarm for another half hour (to 6:30) we tried again. Sat. morning he still got out of bed a few times before 6:30 but I just kept bringing him back with the excuse that the clock didn't say it was morning yet. When the alarm finally went off I made a big deal about it being morning - opening the blinds, etc. I hope he got the point. This morning I heard him cry a few minutes before his alarm, but he stayed in bed until it went off - and then even a bit longer while he listened to the music :)
I would just like to know how many hours of sleep your toddlers get in a day. Micah sleeps about 9 or 10 hours at night and 1.5-3 hours during his nap. Is that enough? I really feel like he needs a longer sleep at night, but it's so hard to get him sleeping any sooner than 8:30.
Reason #4: Keziah started giggling a lot more over the weekend. Micah really got her going one afternoon. There is nothing more precious than watching your children laughing together! (Except watching them sleep!)
Reason #5: Erik had talked about taking a few days off this week so we could have some family days and on Saturday night we made the spontaneous decision to turn it into a trip to Edmonton! I'm excited about getting away - but also a little stressed about the logistics of traveling with two kids. We are planning to drive through the night on Wednesday so they can both sleep the whole way. We'll spend Thurs & Fri nights in a hotel and then drive home Sat. night. We'll hit West Ed, of course, and probably spend awhile at the waterpark. We have lots of stuff to do to get everything ready so I will sign off now in order to get started! I hope you all have a fantastic week!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Keziah is starting to give us a few little giggles here and there but I have yet to see a gut-wrenching fit of giggles from her. But Erik claims he had her going pretty good the other night when I went out to run some errands. I'm not sure I believe him :) Here he was trying to recreate it and, of course, Keziah was stale-faced!
I FINALLY decided on a baby-carrier. After a long time debating about what I wanted and then spending a few weeks with both a mei tai and a sling on loan, I finally decided on this Baby Hawk mei tai from Coastal Sling Baby Carriers. It's so pretty for one thing and very comfortable. Not as simple to operate as the sling but I'm getting the hang of it. Keziah seems a little small to stick her legs out of the side yet so I crossed her legs and tucked them inside and she seemed very comfortable.
Another phenomenon at playgroup today was Micah's sudden protectiveness of his sister. This came out of nowhere! He was concerned for Keziah several times when other kids would get too close to her or start touching her. He even said to one little girl, "that's my sister!"
Well I'm off to try to have a little nap while the kids are both sleeping. Even though I've been able to get Keziah to consistently go from 10:30 pm to 7:30 am without eating, she still wakes up frequently in between for her soother. Last night I'm sure I was up every hour stuffing that thing in her mouth. Kelly and I were talking last night about weaning our girls from their soothers already and after such a restless sleep last night, I'm feeling even more compelled. Perhaps I'm better off doing it now than having a repeat of Micah's soother-weaning escapades...
Monday, April 23, 2007
Not too much new has happened in the last month besides the beginnings of teething. Keziah's still not rolling over. She makes it from her back to her side and then seems kind of stuck there. When I put her on her tummy she just puts her arms down by her side and her legs in the air behind her as she kind of 'body-surfs' on the ground - usually while she's crying for me to turn her back over! At around 5 months, Micah was sitting up for short periods of time but Keziah is still pretty floppy so she doesn't seem in a hurry :) I'm hoping this is a good indicator of her personality - maybe a more laid-back baby this time??
Keziah is still mostly on a liquid diet. I've only tried rice cereal a few times since we introduced it a month ago and she never really got into it and it didn't seem like she needed it to fulfill any hunger. I think I'll try again in the next week or two. It took me a few weeks, but she is now taking her bottle like a pro. And after gradually mixing in formula with breastmilk, I can now give her a formula-only bottle. That is SUCH a relief for me and I've been able to leave her behind a few times now and not have to worry about pumping enough to get a full bottle.
And there's been some progress in the sleep department. After talking with several different moms lately I finally got up the gumption to just let Keziah cry. If I'm convinced that she's getting enough to eat and waking only out of habit, I feel comfortable with this approach. I've started doing a "dreamfeed" (waking her to nurse) at around 10:30 pm. She takes a really good feed when she's sleepy like this. That gives me the reassurance that her tummy is nice and full and she should be fine until morning. The first night I did this she woke up about 4 hours later. I almost gave in and fed her because I was exhausted and I knew it would be quick and easy, but I shook off my sleepy feeling and decided to let her cry. I went in every few minutes to shush her and give her the soother and after about 20 minutes she was sleeping again. It felt like a long time while I was in it, but when she fell asleep I thought, that was it? She woke maybe once more but only briefly and otherwise slept straight until 7:30 am. Any fears that she would wake up starving (or just plain mad at me!) were dispelled when I heard her cooing and talking happily in her crib. I went in there and she was all smiles. So then I knew that she was definitely fine without those extra feedings in the night. The next few nights have been similar but with shorter crying times. Last night she woke up a few times but with only minor fussing and then straight back to sleep. Hopefully all of those extra wake-ups will be eliminated eventually as well!
I FINALLY took the kids to Mill Lake this morning. Micah has been begging to go to the park and I definitely needed the exercise. Here is my single stroller that I have converted into a double :) It works quite well and neither of them seem to mind. I think I will try putting Keziah in the front once she's sitting up on her own...
You can kind of see Micah's troublesome pointer finger in that last picture. Yesterday after a long bath we noticed the sore had opened up on it's own. Today it still looks sore, but not nearly as red and inflamed. It looks like we'll be spared that awful second visit to the doctor - thank the Lord! Last night when I prayed with Micah before bed I asked him what we should talk to Jesus about. He said, "my finger!" And we did :)
Friday, April 20, 2007
And in other news... This is what happens when you haven't pooped for five days and then you finally do:
Yep, it was a long time since the last poop and I kept wondering when it was going to happen. I knew when it did, it would be a doozy! Finally it happened this morning - smack dab in the middle of Keziah's nap. I had no choice but to change her and thankfully she went back to sleep. Then she went for round two this afternoon while I was holding her. She had been so squirmy and fussy up to that point but after she finished and I changed her she was SO relaxed. I was holding her in my lap afterwards while I checked my email and she fell asleep right then and there. I lay her down in her crib just like this and she didn't make a peep. I guess she was literally "pooped" after all that hard work :)
Micah making a discovery today in the sink...
Micah has turned into Mr. Manners lately. He has really picked up on his "polite" words and uses them excessively! If he bumps into something (like a chair or the wall) he says "oh, I'm sorry!" And yesterday when I suggested that he play with his play-doh he said, "oh, thank you Mommy!"
We finally made it on a walk to the park this morning. Micah is doing really well swinging on the "big boy" swings and he keeps wanting me to push him higher and higher!
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Tuesday was fun because Rosanna spent the entire day here. She started off by taking Micah for breakfast (check her blog for pictures of this cute little date) and then she just ended up not going home :) It was nice having the company - someone to watch Ellen & Oprah with, and an extra pair of hands to help with the kids.
Yesterday Erik took the day off and we made a shopping trip to Bellingham (US). We bought Micah a tricycle at Target - at a friend's suggestion we got one with a pushing/steering handle for the parent and I think it was a smart move. Micah needs to figure out the bicycle motion with his feet, yet!
Our home renovations are still in the works - we still have base boards and moldings to replace as well as pictures to hang. We also want to paint our bedroom and bathroom but who knows how long it will be before that happens! We always have big plans for our evenings, but for some reason we can't seem to get anything done!
But, as promised, here are some before and after pictures of our living room fireplace and the dining area of our kitchen. I was worried that the wall-colour would be too dark but it still feels very bright in our place. In some lighting the grey paint takes on a bit of a purple-ish/blue-ish tinge, but it seems to work well with the dark blue countertops we have in the kitchen.
Living room before:
Some of you may be anxious to point out the crooked picture-hanging job :) That's what you get for $6 frames at IKEA apparently. The two on the right seem fairly straight but the mounting bracket on the first picture was way off. We'll have to return it one of these days but for now this is how it will hang!
Monday, April 16, 2007
This weekend went by far too fast, partly because Erik worked a half-day on Saturday so he could finish up the house he was working on. Later that afternoon we took a little family outing to the MRC pool. I've been wanting to go back with Micah ever since we had our swimming lessons back in the fall. He had a blast going down the big water slide and riding the waves in the big pool. I even put Keziah in her little 2-piece swimsuit and brought her in the kiddie pool. She seemed quite content in the water!
Yesterday (Sunday) Erik agreed to play drums for his brother Doug at their new church The Life Centre. It's a great little congregation and it was fun to run into several old friends there. The rest of the day was pretty relaxing (except for another marathon of trying to get Micah to sleep but that's another story!)
Oh and one more picture... Last week we took the exersaucer out of storage for Keziah and so far Micah's spent more time in it than she has :)
Friday, April 13, 2007
Then on Wednesday night we had adventure #2. Keziah woke up at around midnight - a fairly normal time for her to wake up. I was exhausted but decided to try to get her back to sleep without feeding her. After an hour of her crying I broke down and tried to nurse her. But she wasn't interested at all and just kept crying. At this point I solicited Erik's help because I was starting to feel overwhelmed. Erik walked with her until she fell asleep and thought she was out for the night. She woke up again 20 minutes later. I tried to feed her again and she just wasn't going for it. She just didn't seem tired at all. She'd fall asleep momentarily and then as soon as I'd lay her down her eyes would pop open.
The three-hour mark came and went and by this time I was SUPER frustrated - this just wasn't like her at all. I had given her some tylenol cold before bed because she seemed sick and stuffy and I remembered reading on the bottle that you should contact your doctor if your baby is unable to sleep. Keziah wasn't crying out of control and didn't seem like she was in pain - she just wouldn't sleep. I wondered if the tylenol was having a reverse effect and acting as a stimulant. Erik agreed that it seemed to make sense so we called the 24-hour nurse line. The man we talked to asked a series of questions and one of them was whether she'd had a known head injury. Um... yeah, she fell off the couch two weeks ago! Now I'm thinking I'd either over-dosed my child or ignored a head injury for two weeks... He thought it would be wise for us to go into emerg to get it checked out. At this point Keziah is not really crying. She's her happy normal self - just WIDE awake at 4 am. Now, I generally err on the side of optimism - Ahh, she'll be fine! But, I would hate to stay home and then discover too late that there actually was a problem and I had ignored it. So, we debated back and forth and finally took her in (leaving Micah with Erik's parents). Keziah fell asleep on the car ride (of course!) and we sat in the parking lot for a few minutes wondering if it was worth it to go in. But we figured if we were there, we might as well. Thankfully there was not a single person in line - for the first time ever! We were seen quite quickly and, as I suspected, she checked out fine. The tylenol thing didn't appear to be an issue at all and the doctor said that head injuries in babies would show symptoms within the first 12 hours. He thought it might just be her cold keeping her up. So, we felt a little dumb that we went all the way to the hospital for a head cold but at least we had peace of mind. We got home as the sun was starting to rise and we were utterly exhausted. Just as we were drifting off to sleep in our bed Micah decided it was time to wake up. Oh, the joys of parenthood.
Yesterday Keziah was a little out of sorts - probably just exhausted like I was. But I tried to keep her on a routine as much as possible and get her to bed last night at a normal time. She actually had a really great night - woke up once to eat and another time just for her soother.
Micah has also been sleeping SO wonderfully since that one bad night at the beginning of the week. I've gleaned a few good ideas from some of the books I've been reading. It's working well to read him one story and sing him one song and then say good-night with the promise that I'll come back to check on him in a few minutes. More often than not he's asleep before I get back. So, that's wonderful. And the fact that he slept through Keziah's 4-hour marathon the other night is also amazing. Hmm, is it safe to say my 2-year-old is finally sleeping through the night?
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Despite my best efforts to keep Micah awake yesterday, this was the scene on the way home from Superstore...
He was so tired that he let me transfer him to his bed (which is unusual). I then quickly made supper - half of me thankful to have the peace and quiet and half of me worrying that I was messing up our chances of an easy bedtime. I let him sleep about half an hour and then woke him up. Thankfully he was still tired enough that he didn't put up much of a fight at bedtime. I'm sure the tylenol we gave him for his cold helped :) He slept 10 hours straight without a peep. Now I just put him down for his nap and he went down very easily. I sang him a song and told him I needed to check on Keziah and that I'd be right back. By the time I came back he was out like a light. So, that's a relief!
Keziah was up a lot last night, but more fussing/talking than crying so I just gave her the soother and let her fuss a bit. I was able to stretch her to 6 hours before feeding her. So, even though I was up with her a lot, it still felt like progress to not be feeding her every 3-4 hours.
I came across a book called "Good Night, Sleep Tight" which immediately caught my attention :) From reading it so far it looks like it falls somewhere in between responding to all your babies cries and being very involved in their sleep-training (i.e. the Baby Whisperer) and letting your baby cry it out (i.e. Baby Wise). I do believe crying it out works and this author admits it too, but she knows that many parents can't handle that method and I admit I'm kind of drawn to this "gentler" approach. When I looked up Keziah's age range, the author mentioned that it was actually an ideal time to implement sleep-training because babies that age understand object permanence (just because I can't see Mommy doesn't mean she's not there) and they're also young enough that none of the bad habits are "un-breakable". The book also gave me added assurance that a 4-month-old of a healthy weight should ideally be sleeping 8 hour stretches without eating.
Basically the author says that there will be some crying, but you remain close to your child and try to soothe with your voice, touch, etc. She says soothers are OK, but not if they've become a sleep crutch. Um... too late. So, today when Keziah woke up in the middle of her nap I tried shushing and patting and soothing... I probably should've waited it out a bit longer for her to try to settle herself (up to 20 minutes according to the book), but it was so easy just to plug that soother back in since I knew it would do the trick. I'm sure if we could break the soother habit already she would start sleeping a lot better. An overwhelming thought but I am tempted to push through a few days of crying to see if it might work (easy to say right now when it's not 3 am and I'm not exhausted!!)
So, that's the update. Now I need to tackle some housework before everyone wakes up...
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
But then the night came. We tried to put Micah down at 8 pm and he didn't fall asleep until 9:45. Yep, that's almost 2 hours of our evening spent trying to get him to go to bed. Then, Keziah decided to wake up a billion times last night - OK, not that many, but you DO lose count after about 5 or 6 times. I hate that I ended up feeding her THREE times in the night because I know this is working against me... After Micah's short night, I figured he would sleep in again this morning but nope, up at 6:00.
I put Keziah down for her morning nap and went to have a shower while Micah was watching TV. I took the time to clean the shower a bit while I was in there so it was a bit longer than normal. As soon as I turned the shower off I could hear Keziah screaming in her crib. I quickly went to check on her and found her all red and sweaty from getting so worked up. There was no way she was going back to sleep, so that was it for her nap. I ended up feeding her and now we're way off routine once again. (Not that I'm a real stickler for schedule but I know that, in theory, a consistent daytime routine should make for better nighttime sleep and right now we could use all the help we can get!) She's sleeping again now but has already woken up several times in her sleep. I hate that I go in there and stuff that soother in her mouth over and over again - she's quickly learning (from me) that she can't sleep without it...
Then it was time to fight with Micah to have his afternoon nap. The CD idea that I was so proud of yesterday was a no-go today. It didn't help that he got up to play with the CD player buttons and accidentally cranked the volume and freaked himself out. After an hour I have decided no nap today. If he's not going to sleep in his bed, then no sleeping anywhere - not in the car or on the couch or in his chair... I'm going to see if we can keep him up all day and hopefully tonight he'll go to sleep without a fuss. Can a toddler really get by with only 8 and a half hours of sleep??
Right now he's playing contentedly by himself even though he's tired - I can tell by all the yawning and eye-rubbing. Despite the fact that he seems happy, I can't help but feel like my patience is running thin with him today. Just the thought that our napping days might be over...! I'm SO not ready for this.
I notice that one bad day like this makes me feel overwhelmed and so out of control. It seems like things will NEVER improve - Micah will never learn to fall asleep on his own, Keziah will never sleep through the night (or a whole nap for that matter) and Micah will never have another afternoon nap again...
I quickly forget that my Heavenly Father actually cares about these things too. The things that consume my thoughts are important to Him. It's easy to feel all alone in this - especially when Erik is at work and more removed from all of these things. I know I'm not the only mom who deals with these issues - but it's easy to compare yourself to those moms who appear to have things under control. Why do I feel like it's completely up to me to fix all of these problems? The thought is overwhelming and impossible...
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. ~ Philippians 4:6
Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. ~Proverbs 3:5
Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass ... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him ... ~ Psalm 37:4-7
Monday, April 09, 2007
Here's Micah enjoying the playground...
Last night we had some more family time with a delicious Easter supper and a little Easter egg hunt for Micah. He was quite pleased with his bounty :)
Keziah in her Easter dress - It's been in our closet for awhile (and I think she's worn it before) but it seemed to suit the occasion! I used to think these little baby headbands were kind of silly but when I tried it on her I couldn't help but think it was adorable...
Last night after supper Elissa brought in some clothes she was getting rid of. After we picked through them, we decided to have a little fun with the leftovers. It all started with convincing Erik to put on this pretty little pink number and soon enough he was wearing about 10 layers of her clothes.
Nathan kept chanting "one more, one more!" and decided to help Erik with this last sweater. Erik couldn't resist topping it off by changing into an old pair of Elissa's jeans...
Can you tell it was getting late?
Monday, April 02, 2007
It was a busy weekend of renovations. Our original plan was to complete the painting on Saturday and leave the floor for another weekend, but with the help of Erik's family the paint job was done in no time and we were inspired to finish it off with the laminate. We took a quick trip to IKEA on Saturday night to pick up the flooring in Erik's suburban and the boys are laying the last of it this morning. It looks great. Before and after pictures are yet to come since our house is still a disaster zone but here's a little preview: Erik laying the first piece of laminate and then the finished living room:
The toughest part was keeping Micah occupied. Here he is eating his Sunday morning breakfast in the kitchen - literally.
And some good news to report on the sleeping front. I've had Keziah on her 4-hour daytime routine for a week now and I've noticed a definite difference in her nighttime sleep. Last night she woke up once about 3 hours after she had gone down, but she took her soother and fell back to sleep for several more hours! So, I haven't been reduced to trying the "wake her up" technique and I'm praying that I won't have to :)
Micah is still a bit of a challenge - we've gone from having a toddler who begs to go to sleep to having one that refuses it. So, it's a bit of a mind shift but hopefully soon we'll have this sleeping thing figured out.