Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Ubiquitous Sleep Issue

My brain is fried and blank.

Little Guy has overcome so many transitions since March 2007 and he's done a great job. Have I listed them a thousand times already on here? Oh, well.

1. new baby sister (March 2007)
2. big boy bed (August-turned 3)
3. started nursery school (September)
4. stopped using pacifiers (October)
5. potty training--(started first week of September-finished two weeks ago)

And the final hurdle before we can leave him alone? Falling asleep in bed BY HIMSELF. I know there are a lot of advocates for co-sleeping and for "parenting" kids to sleep by staying with them in their rooms or beds, but that's not for me. And I know that for sure because I've been doing it for a year.

Little Guy has always had a few sleep issues. Starting with his eczema at 3 months due to food allergies, to standing up in his bed at a year old and yelling, to throwing his pillow and "Baby" out of the crib at 18 mo., to begging for endless songs at two. And there have been the amazing, fabulous, wonderful times where, after books and songs, he would lay in his crib, talk and sing to himself and go to sleep.

Alas, when Zen Baby was born and I was still in the hospital, I made the mistake of sending M. home to be with Little Guy. To that now, I say, "Why?" I clearly needed him with me, post C-section; Little Guy was two-and-a-half and staying at our house with grandparents and everything was fine. But I got all hormonal and crazy and missed him incredibly and imagined him wondering where we were, when in reality, he was watching Curious George with Mema and eating potato chips every day. But when M. showed up, it threw a wrench in the works and got Little Guy all clingy and nervous that something was going on and I wasn't there, too. Enter--laying with him to help him go to sleep. It started out with M. doing it all the time but somehow shifted to me and now it HAS to be me. Some nights it's fine if he falls right to sleep after books. Some nights, like tonight, he took two-and-a-half hours to fall asleep. And that's excruciating. And it takes away the only free time I have.

And I know it's not only about me. I think he's to the point now that he wants to try to do it on his own because sometimes he kicks me out of his room but then calls me back in. Also, I hate that he thinks he needs me in there when really he doesn't. So, I would never just make him quit this cold turkey, but eventually he's got to let it go. And then there's the new and great phenomenon in which he kicks me out of his room and then gets out of bed, goes downstairs, or runs out his door and runs around upstairs and then runs back in bed when he sees me. So we started a sticker chart this week. He gets a sticker in the morning if he stayed in bed. It's working well so far. Last night he stayed in bed and went right to sleep. Tonight he took so long to fall asleep probably because he fell asleep on the couch at 2:30 today and I let him sleep for an hour. I knew better but I did it anyway. But the good part is, he stayed in bed all that time because he wanted his sticker. (Stickers never worked for potty training. Hm.)

So for now, I'm happy with overcoming the stay-in-bed obstacle. Once that's sorted out, we'll see what happens with staying with him. (I have graduated to sitting on the floor at the foot of his bed, though, instead of actually lying on the bed with him.)

And that's why my brain is fried and blank.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

And We Have Lift-Off

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Retro Valentine

February 1983. I was 7 and my sister just turned 4.

Happy Valentine's Day

These are the cupcakes I made for my first class party--Little Guy's Valentine party at preschool.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Portrait of a Disaster

Last week, I got the kids all dressed up and we went to get studio portraits done. Little Guy had them done twice before, once at three months (Sears) and once at early two (J.C. Penney's), and Zen has never had them done. I figured now would be a good time since she'd be able to easily sit with Little Guy and he would be good and cooperative about following the photographer's directions. The first two portrait experiences I just mentioned went pretty smoothly. My sister was there both times to help get Little Guy comfortable and smiling and I loved the results. The second time, Little Guy had just turned two and was in a very willful mood and it took so long to get him coaxed onto the photography platform that we almost bailed on the whole thing. But once he got up there, he did great and the photographer was so patient and good with him. I was very appreciative and impressed so I thought I'd go back there for these. Mistake.

We were the first scheduled for the day and got there before the photographer. We were not early. But the kids were happy and calm and still neat in their clothes, so I didn't mind. The photographer starts turning on the lights, checking phone messages, and various other morning tasks. Finally she leads us back into the studio where she starts up the camera and shows she is thoroughly confused about how to start it up and use it.

Then she pulls the white backdrop over the little platform, proclaims it "filthy" (which it was), and says she doesn't have time to put the clean one up that she just brought in because the next people are scheduled for 10:20. My appointment time was 10:10 and we got there at 10:00. At this point, it's about 10:08.

So she pulled the black one over and we tried to put Zen on the platform. Then she told me to take off her tights. I thought they looked cute but off they went. I stepped away from the platform and Zen started to cry. We gave her juice and Cheerios and Little Guy got up on the platform with her but she was still pretty fussy. The photographer was over-aggressive with her in trying to get her to laugh which just made her cry more. Little Guy followed every instruction to a T.

I sat down on the platform with them and the photographer focused so I wouldn't be in the picture and there were a few seconds where she could have gotten a decent picture but didn't even press the camera button. This all happened in about three minutes. Then we heard voices in the waiting area and the photographer started telling me to reschedule and that Zen needs a nap! I told her she had already taken a nap, but thanks. She tried to get me to reschedule for the following Tuesday and told me what a great photographer she is and I would love what she does. I said Little Guy had his first dentist appointment that day so, no. And she said, Ok, so bring them after that! Ummm, no.

So after being practically kicked out after a five minute session, she still tried to get us to reschedule as we walked out through the waiting room. So I said, "Well, even if we were to reschedule, what would be a time of day when we would have some time to get the pictures done?" It was horrible and I was so disappointed.

Since then I've had two separate recommendations for the another studio so I guess I'll try there sometime this spring. But we'll never go back to that studio in the mall.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Big Boy, but still Little Guy

I really have to go finish the little fondant heart guys I promised Little Guy I would make for his class Valentine cupcakes. Then I have to make sure M.'s work clothes are dry and unwrinkled for a major presentation he has tomorrow (he's still at work practicing). Then I have to call my brother. And, of course, Zen, who never wakes in the night, is crying in her crib off and on. Plus, I only slept three hours last night (finished Kira-Kira and then couldn't sleep and then Little Guy wet himself on the way to get me to tell me had to go the bathroom at 3 am.)


I just have to say that I hope I never forget the image of Little Guy, in his red, sports balls footie pajamas, having just fallen asleep on a cold, windy night, clutching two Lego guys, one in each hand.

His behavior has drastically improved, by the way. I think it might have been one of those things where he was on the verge of a developmental change, i.e., he poops! In the toilet! Without tears! Without tantrums or fits or writhings or self-created constipation! And he's also falling asleep much better than he had been. Very calm and low-key. No fighting the system. He'll be three-and-a-half on the 23rd of this month. I'll take it.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Eleven Months

Really. Wow. Little Guy's first year felt like three times the duration of Zen's first year. I can't believe she will be a year old in one month. ONE MONTH!

So, she doesn't crawl. Little Guy started crawling a week before he turned eleven months. (He didn't walk until 15 months.) She gets around by doing the army trench move. Like this...

But without the gun. Instead she wields Tinker Toys, train tracks, huge Legos, and other contraband she swipes from Little Guy's playing field.

A few hours ago, though, she pulled to standing using the toddler couch for support. So, it wasn't actually to standing straight up because the little couch is so low, but she was on her feet. Then she climbed right over the back. It'll all even out soon.

Tiny Snowbug

In light of today's temperature high of 69° and tomorrow and Wednesday's forecasted highs to be 73°, I thought I'd share our sole encounter with snow this winter.

The tiny snowbug.

I made what I thought was going to be a little snowman, but Little Guy stuck his antennae in and there he was. Ahh, good times.

And for perspective, here he is next to the boots of a three-year-old.

I know I'm always complaining about it not being cold enough (or when it gets very cold, for not lasting longer) but I got a taste of spring today, and, folks, it was good. You know how different seasons have their signature smells? It smelled like spring today. It smelled like possibility and excitement. Really. I get that way about the smells of seasons. Thursday it's supposed to go back down into the forties which is seasonable--nice and chilly. Last year at this time it must have been in the thirties because in the picture of Little Guy in the valentines we sent out last year, he's way bundled up in his swing outside.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I'm still working on Arrowsmith-I'm liking it, but it's just one of those slow ones. Once that's done, though, I'm hoping to go on a binge of sorts and read fun stuff from my stacks. I have Pulitzer 9 ready to go, though. I bought it through Alibris from a used bookstore in Virginia, a few hours away in a town I've never been to. It seems like a nice store to visit if I'm ever in that part of the state, though. I think my book might be a first edition. Not that it has any value monetarily, but since I've been so immersed in the first quarter of the 20th century, I love the thought of reading the very same physical book that people of that time period read as well. (My maternal grandmother, the oldest of the four grandparents, was 13 when this book was published.)

If I can break off my obsession and stop the Pulitzers for a little while, then here is what I hope to read:

A visit to the used bookstore the other day yielded The Tea Rose and A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (much-loved by many book bloggers), The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidie Newton by Jane Smiley for the Book Awards Challenge, The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip, also for the Book Awards Challenge (that is still going on, right?)

I also still have on my shelves and in piles, The Historian, The Book Thief, a two-in-one edition of Maisie Dobbs and Birds of a Feather, the first Stephenie Meyer, Twilight and Night Watch by Sarah Waters. Plus Kira-Kira which I still have out from the library and that I feel like I'm hoarding away from a legitimate kid that wants to read a good Newbery winner. And, of course, there are others.

Oh yeah, and Atonement which I got for $6.00 from Borders because I had a $5.00 Members Rewards coupon and the cashier scanned her 30% coupon for me. It's the bad movie cover, but, who cares, maybe I'll get rid of it on BookMooch one day if I ever start using that site.

Which should I read first?

Friday Fill-In

1. Once I was an employee.
2. I'm afraid of being sick.
3. Today at work I researched the topic "resistant to potty training," made Ritz crackers with peanut butter, and packed honey Teddy Grahams for preschool snack.
4. What's happiness and contentment all about?
5. If I make a mistake I beat myself up about it relentlessly.
6. When I woke up this morning, I thought 5:30 am is too early for a 3 1/2 year old to be waking up for the day, but he says he has to poop. Potty training is now disrupting his sleep.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to the fact that M. said this morning, "When I come home tonight, consider yourself 'off' for the night!!!!, tomorrow my plans include taking Little Guy and his friend to a birthday party and continuing to babysit the friend after the party and Sunday, I want to eat hors d'oeuvres with my mom and half-watch the Superbowl with M. and my dad!