Posted in Parenting, Sleep (and lack thereof)

Happy Blunder

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My merry band for the day.

Hiya folks!  Wow, I’ve away for longer than planned.  Sorry ’bout that, I’ve been pretty busy with crochet and not sleeping.

To say that Elliot hasn’t been sleeping well would be an understatement.  By the time he was 4 months old, he had been sleeping 12h per night 75% of the time from the age of 8 weeks.  I could put him down awake in his crib for naps and bedtime, let him fall asleep on his own without a fuss and come back to a happy baby once he’d awoken.

Then we were hit with a growth spurt, a wonder week, the cutting of a first and then a second tooth and, finally, a pretty bad cold (think nasal aspirator at every diaper change and needing to be held in an angled position to be able to sleep).  Needless to say, we created a monster.  By the time his cold was over, my husband and I were taking turns sleeping in the rocking chair with him because the only way he would fall asleep and stay asleep was in our arms.

Enter sleep deprivation.

Now, I’m not one to make blunders all the time, but when I do happen to mess up, it’s usually pretty epic.  And when I’m lacking precious hours of sleep, I’m more prone to blunders.

So this morning, I got the kids ready for daycare.  Their bag was filled with a change of clothes, their snowpants, mittens…everything they needed to tackle a normal Quebec winter day.

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Here’s what we woke up to yesterday morning!

Anyway, I got the kids in the minivan, removed the snow that had accumulated overnight and left.  About 15 minutes later (halfway to daycare), I realized I didn’t remember locking the front door before leaving, but I wasn’t about to turn around just for that.  So, I kept going.  I was just about to unbuckle the kids when I realized that I hadn’t brought the daycare bag…with their snowsuits…on a snow-covered day.  Yay me.  So, I drove back home.  Upon arriving home, I realized that not only had I forgotten to lock the front door, I had forgotten to close it altogether.  Yeah, that’s how sleep-deprived I am.

So, I decided it was a better idea to stay home with the kids than to risk driving another hour just to get the kids to daycare.

We made the most of the day.  The kids helped me pick up the toys that were littering the floor.  Then, my daughter washed the washroom sinks while Charles vacuumed the floors.  I entertained Elliot while I folded some laundry and helped the other two with their tasks.  Once the baby was down for his nap, we rocked some shortbread cookies and had some subs delivered for lunch.  While Amélie was down for her nap, I went to see Elliot to try to prolong his nap.  After 15 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to get him to fall back asleep, I walked in on the 4 year-old who decided to take it upon himself of doing some dishes to help me out.  I swear, that kid makes my heart melt just as much as induces headaches with his constant stream of “whys”.

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Hard at work mixing their ingredients.
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The little bugger surprising me with some dish washing. (And yes, he is wearing an apron lol).
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The fruits of their labor.  Amélie made the trees and Charles rocked out some snowflakes.

All in all, I really can’t complain.  My morning may have started off shaky, but the quality-time I got to spend with the kids was worth it.

What was one of your biggest blunders?

Posted in Sleep (and lack thereof)

Bedtime and One Sleepy Baby

I was planning on trying to sneak a quick nap in my day today because, well, I’m tired, but my son decided to throw a wrench into my plans.

You see, out typical day goes something like this:

Wake up: 7:00

Breakfast: 7:30

Snack: 10:15

Lunch: 12:00

Nap: 1:00

Wake up: 3:00

Snack: 3:30

Supper: 5:30

Bath: 6:15

Bed: 7:00

I know, it looks quite boring, but what can I say, I’m a creature of habit.  And apparently, so is he

Anyways, we’ve been running with this for the past month and a half or so (ever since he dropped his morning nap) and it has been working well.  But for the past few days, the routine is off.  Well, actually, the initial wake up is off which, in turn, screws with our routine.

You see, the little guy has been waking around 5 am.  Grrr… waaaaay too early in my book if you ask me.  To be honest though, it hasn’t been that bad because he generally chatters for up to an hour, falls back asleep a bit and wakes around 7, but this morning, it was 6:15 and he was starting to get pissy in his crib.  So I got him up.

He was actually in a super good mood.  I mean, he “tidied” up our Xbox game collection, played hide and seek, “helped” me pick up in the spare room, played lets-climb-up-onto-mommy’s-bed and brought book after book after book for me to read to him.

But then as he was sitting on me and looking at the pictures in the millionth book he brought me, he started having a hissy fit.  I was like ‘OK, what’s up Dude?’.  I picked him up and rubbed his back to calm him down and within about 30 seconds, he was completely knocked out.

It goes without saying that I was rather surprised.  I mean, I think he was a newborn the last time he fell asleep in my arms like that.

Some of you may be wondering right about now why it’s a problem that he fell asleep when he did.  Well, it’s because it was 11:50 when it happened.  We were about to sit down and have some lunch.  I did have a glimmer of hope that he would wake up when I’d set him down in his crib, but he didn’t.  He remained resolutely asleep, which means that I would be eating my own lunch while he was napping and he would most likely wake up once I would be close to falling asleep.  (As it turns out, he slept from 11:50 to 1:15 and I was indeed on the verge of falling asleep for a short nap when he woke up – oh well…).

So, I guess the questions is, what’s up with him?

Just thinking out loud here:

I don’t think it’s the Christmas/New Year parties because we’ve only been to three and my partner and I have been very anal about leaving early enough to make sure that the little Dude would be in his crib by 8:00 maximum.

Of course, it might be teething…again.  That usually screws around with his (and our) sleep.

Perhaps he’s waking up so early because he’s not spending enough energy during the day.  I mean, he’s waaay too bundled up to be able to play outside (besides, it’s friggen cold these days – almost 40 below today), but we are playing around the house as much as possible.

In the same line of thought, maybe his nap is too long in relation to his bedtime or to the amount of energy he spends in one day.

Maybe it’s because of the Holidays and the fact that his normal daycare days aren’t happening seeing as both his father and I are off until the 6th of January.  I suppose we’ll see next week if everything goes back to normal.

Is it possible that his early wakings are due to the fact that he should be going to bed later?  I mean, we’ve been keeping a 7:00 – 7:15 bedtime for the past 5-6 months or so, but every time he’s gone to bed later for a reason, he has still woken up at 7:00.

It does make me wonder though…

How old are your little ones?  What time is bedtime for them and at what time to they typically wake up in the morning?

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Posted in Sleep (and lack thereof)

Sweet Dreams

I’ve got a curious little fella.  I mean, really curious.  From the time he wakes from his two-hour nightly sleep spurts to the time nighttime comes again, he usually refuses to fall asleep.  He yawns, his eyes become glazed over and his eyelids start to shut.  Sometimes, this means sleep, but other times, he refuses to let sleep claim him.  As soon as I think he will finally fall asleep, he forces his eyes open wide again and then, it’s almost impossible to get him to sleep.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love to see his eyes open, staring at my face, his hands grasping the strands of hair that are within arms reach.  I love to see the faces he makes, love to see his lips curl into a smile.  The problem is, when he stays awake for too long, he gets overstimulated, which in turn causes him to become overtired and an overtired newborn (well, my overtired newborn) is even harder to get to sleep!

In the days following our return from the hospital, my son would fall asleep consistently at the breast.  It was so simple: I would nurse, he would fall asleep, I would put him to bed, then put myself to bed.  However, this no longer works systematically.  So I’ve been reading and have tried different things to get my little one to sleep.

  1. Distinguishing night and day: Now I know that newborns don’t know the difference between day and night.  As far as I understand, this comprehension can’t come in until a baby is about six weeks of age.  However, I’ve implemented some things to help my son make the distinction more easily.  First, his day naps happen in his moses basket wherever my boyfriend or I are.  This means he sleeps in a bright place with usual household noises going on around him.  We do not whisper when we talk or tiptoe around, we go about our business.  This seems to reassure our little one as he knows that we are nearby.  When night comes, we move him to his crib.  His room is kept dark with only a nightlight bright enough to allow me to see him when he wakes during the night for a feeding or diaper change (or pyjama change when his father or I had trouble putting on his diaper properly…).  This *knock on wood* seems to be working so far.
  2. Swaddling: My mother-in-law swears by this method, but it hasn’t worked for me.  My son HATES, I mean REALLY HATES being swaddled.  He always screams out in anger and frustration when he loses the use of his arms because they are pinned down against him by a blanket.  I would say that the only time during which he actually agreed to be swaddled, was in the 24 hours following his exit from the womb.
  3. Burping him:  Oddly enough, this seems to be one of his preferred methods of falling asleep these days.  When we finish a feed, I put him over my shoulder and switch between lightly tapping and rubbing his back.  Generally, within about five to ten minutes he has not only burped but has fallen asleep against me.  Now, perhaps it is because he is in contact with his mother, perhaps it is because he is being held in an upright position, perhaps it is because it helps his stomach settle, I don’t know what the reason is, but I am very happy that this method works – most of the time!
  4. Singing/Rocking:  Pretty self-explanatory.  Sometimes it works, most times it doesn’t…
  5. Holding him: This usually helps a lot.  Sometimes, my son seems to only want to be held.  He needs this contact with his mother (and sometimes his father).  The only problem is that when he is sleeping in my arms, I can’t allow myself to fall asleep and usually when he is seeking contact, even if he does fall asleep in my arms, he will almost assuredly always wake up as soon as I put him in his moses or crib.
  6. Secret weapon: the pacifier: There are times during which nothing seems to work.  Sometimes, my little one only needs to suck.  I am becoming better at recognizing these moments – though I am by no means ever 100% right – and will offer him a pacifier to help him get to sleep.  I usually try out this method when I am zombie tired and need to sleep, even for 30 minutes.  However, I refuse to give him a pacifier to fall asleep in his crib at night and I usually use this tool as a last resort.
  7. Ultimate secret weapon: co-sleeping: When I learned I was pregnant I swore I would never co-sleep with my child.  The idea has always scared me to death.  There are waaay too many thing that could go wrong for my liking.  However, it has happened to me.  Though unintentional, my co-sleeping experience has opened my eyes to the fact that it can be a good idea.  Though I would definitely not do it every night, I think that it is something I may do again in the future when my son will be going through another growth spurt.  The way I see it, it is less dangerous to co-sleep when I haven’t slept in over 24 hours than to risk falling asleep nursing my son on the couch or in the rocking chair that is in his room.  Of course, though I know that this method is not recommended, I follow all safety guidelines that have been set for parents who choose to do this.  I sleep in the spare bedroom on the firm mattress bed with my son between myself and the wall.  I sleep in my pyjamas so that I don’t have to use a blanket; our mutual body heat keeps us warm.  Of course, I would NEVER even think of doing this if I had consumed even one glass of wine in the evening.

Sleep Tight

Posted in Sleep (and lack thereof)

Words to fear: #1: Growth Spurt

As I write this, my little one is sleeping, which is a big relief, as he spent the past 48 hours going through his second growth spurt.  It is, as always, a trying time for him and for me.  Now, what’s so scary about a growth spurt?   I mean, even the perpetually worried mother that I am is now able to recognize them.  I know, intellectually, that they happen and are necessary.  I know the signs, I know what happens, heck, I even knew that he would have one during his second or third week of life.

But you see, the thing with growth-spurts, I learned, is that when they happen, my son is feeding every hour to two hours (that is, when he isn’t cluster feeding).  This means that if he eats at 7pm, by 8pm he’ll be famished again and seeing as my son seems to love his mother’s breasts, he typically spends a good half-hour draining one breast before (finally) falling asleep on it.  This means that I have about a half-hour to rest/eat/shower between feedings.

If it were only that, it wouldn’t be too bad, but my boy’s growth spurts include large blocks of cluster feeding.  You see, generally, my little angel cluster feeds from about 7pm to 11pm every evening.  This means that he is PERPETUALLY at my breast.  For those who think I’m exaggerating, I’m not.  This seems to be some sort of bonding ritual between he and I as well as being a way to ensure my milk supply is up to par.  You see, he will have a good feed and fall asleep.  I will then proceed to lay him down for sleep and he will wake up and start wailing as soon as I set him down.  I will pick him up and he will automatically turn towards my chest and try to get to my breasts through my shirt.  So I start again, I put him to my breast again, tickle his cheek to make sure he keeps sucking on it and get all the milk he needs until he pulls his head away and falls asleep, then I put him in his moses or bed only to hear him cry it out again as soon as my hand leaves his head.  The cycle continues: drink, sleep, lay down, wake, drink, sleep, lay down, wake… until he finally falls asleep for good (which means for two hours or so).  On normal days, I can handle this, but during a growth spurt…whew…he keeps at it ALL night.  I find that the nightly cluster feedings to be so hard because neither I or he can seem to get a wink of sleep.  He gets cranky and so do I.

Knowing this, I decided, yesterday evening, that I would keep my boy in my arms when he fell asleep so that at least he could get some Zzzz in.  I chose to feed him lying down, in the bed that we have in the spare bedroom (because it is against a wall, has a firm mattress and, most importantly, didn’t have a coughing and sick boyfriend in it).  My son sucked away at my breast and fell asleep.  I turned him so that I had his back against my chest and rubbed his tummy.  I was happy with my success at allowing him some rest and smiled as I felt his every breath against my chest.  I closed my eyes as I gave him a kiss…and woke up two hours later!  I had my first (unplanned) co-sleeping experience.  More on co-sleeping in another post.