I Did What?

My children were in full on rampage mode this week. I swear they were out to take me down. By the time the evening came, and it was time for dinner I was crispy. Dinner time is currently not a fun time with either child right now. Everly acts as though our table is a debate club meeting. She argues the points of eating, or not eating the pieces of food on her plate. This child will argue that black is white, just for the entertainment, so it gets pretty exhausting. Matthew treats dinner like a fight club meeting. Pieces of food go flying across the room, plates get thrown, tables get smacked, and there is a great deal of yelling. Despite being able to use both a fork and spoon, he opts for his fingers, as he can throw food farther that way; he clearly has not discovered the advantage of a spoon catapult. I typically don’t even try to eat at dinner time. My GI has told me to not eat while my body is heavily stressed, as it can just cause a flare up. I consider dinner with my children to be a heavily stressful event.

We have read books, and blog posts, and have watched podcasts that are all aimed at dinner time woes. Turns out we aren’t the only ones. Other people have “dinner with schmucks” on a daily basis too. My kids didn’t respond quickly, or super noticeably to any of the behaviour training methods suggested. So right now, the plan is to maintain our boundaries around dinner time, reinforce the behaviour that we want to see, and not glamourize the behaviours that we don’t.

So anyway, there I was at the dinner table with Abbot and Costello… I was sick (literally), and tired (what’s new), and they were feral (again, nothing new here). So I took out my phone and whispered, “Pinterest take me away…” For a few minutes, I flicked though glamour, and beauty, and helpful DIY projects. I zoned out completely. Bliss.

Suddenly, Everly yells, “hey mom, there are two Jessica’s at the table.” At she stares back at me with a slack face, mouth slightly open, eyes popping out while slightly downcast. “Two Jessica’s,” she says again, and then laughs her little butt off, thinking she has made the joke of the century. I didn’t get it at first, I was like, what the Hell is she talking about; and then she made the face again and boom (!). I realized that it was an impersonation, she was mimicking me, looking at my phone.

I’m not going to lie, my first thought was holy fuck, do I really look like that when I am concentrating on my phone screen. Does my mouth hang like that, do my eyes do that weird popping downcast thing? Likely she exaggerated the look, because let’s be real, she’s three and that’s what she does; but still, even toned down, it was not an attractive look. I said, “oh, you were copying mommy while I was on my phone.” She replied back, “yep, mama, two Jessicas,” and then she did the face again. This time putting her hands on the table top in front of her so that it thrust her whole body forward towards me. I couldn’t help it, I started laughing so hard. I was crying I was laughing so hard. She kept doing it over and over. Matthew started laughing too, his sister is always his favourite source of entertainment. And then she sat down and they both finished their dinner like civilized human beings. I sat in silence and watched them. My phone face down on the table.

After they were in bed for the night. I had a really good long think about what that moment really meant. I realized that I didn’t want that face to be the one she made when she was doing an impression of her mother. Wait… am I doing the face now as I type. Shit, I totally am. And I am sitting in a coffee shop. Stop the face, stop the face… But in all seriousness, the face needs to stop at home. My children are more valuable to me than my smartphone, so I think it’s time that I started acting like it.

When I think of all the times that my phone has got in the way of parenting, it’s very humbling, and even embarrassing. Matthew almost took a tumble down the stairs once while I was checking my email. I’m super busy, yes. And I am trying to run a business while being a full time mom, yes. But there is no reason for me to be checking my email while walking down a flight of stairs with my toddler. And I really don’t need to be on Pinterest during dinner time (even if I do crave escape). There’s a right way, and a wrong way to incorporate your smartphone into your parenting, I’ve been doing it the wrong way quite a bit.

I want my kids to value real life human relationships over digital ones. I want them to see nature up close, not as a close up on a screen. I want my kids to know how to spell, and use correct grammar (even if I sometimes fail to do that on this blog- oops!). Above anything else, I want my kids to know that they are the most important thing to me, not a piece of screen. Time to seek more balance. And maybe it’s time to bring show tunes to the dinner table? It sure works in the car.

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Thank you to a friend of mine for sharing this image on Facebook. It just fit so perfectly!

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F-Word

My daughter has started to use the F-word; no not fuck, she’s been saying that for years. The f-word I am talking about is FAT. It all started when we introduced her to the movie The Nightmare Before Christmas. There is one scene, where one of the Christmas Town children is running away from one of Santa Jack’s terrifying deliveries. The child is plump, and as a result, he can’t run very fast, so he sort of waddles. Evie pointed to the screen and in a completely observational tone announced, “he’s fat, he can’t run fast.” B and I looked at each other. This was the first time she had identified “fat” and had applied the label.

Initially I was at a loss for words. B waited for me to take the lead. He’s learned to do this now in these sensitive situations. He might have said the “wrong” thing once or twice and caught Hell for it. So I said, “yes, Everly, you’re right. The boy can’t run as fast because he is carrying extra weight on his body.” B looked at me surprised. If I could have looked at myself, I would have looked surprised too. He wasn’t expecting that answer, and honestly, neither was I. I’m certain he expected me to sugar coat and unicorn horn the situation. I decided not to.

Why? Well, I didn’t see the harm in her stating an observation. She was not judging this child on his character. She didn’t say he was ugly, bad, or that there was something wrong with him as a person because he is heavy; she just said he couldn’t run as fast, and she is right. People who are carrying that much extra weight, generally can’t run as fast as someone who is closer to their ideal weight.

In the days and weeks following. Fat popped up again in various situations. The little boy running down the hall was brought up a lot. “Remember mom, when that little boy was fat and he couldn’t run, remember that?” “Yes Everly, I do.” “I’m not going to be fat mom, I want to run fast.” I almost interrupted at that statement. But decided to hang back, because again, she wasn’t saying that she didn’t want to be heavy because it was unattractive or made her less of a person. She just wants to run fast, and she has realized that to do that, you typically need to be a lean, mean, running machine.

And then finally, the day came where we saw a heavily obese person in public, and she pointed. Oh yes, she pointed, and she opened her mouth and spoke. Cringe. Cringe. Cringe. The man in question was wearing a white shirt, a very large white shirt, that hung down to nearly his knees. He was very broad shouldered as well, so the effect was a roundish square of white. She said, “Look mom, that man’s so fat, he’s a marshmallow. Hi marshmallow! Hi marshmallow!” All the while, she had a huge smile on her face, it was kind of like she saw Santa (she really loves marshmallows).

My reaction was delayed, I was focusing so hard on not laughing. I am a terrible person, I know. Terrible, terrible. But the guy really did resemble a marshmallow. Had he been at a comedy show and in the front row, I’m sure the reference would have been made, and then everyone would have laughed. And that would have been okay. Why? Our society is so difficult to understand. It is no wonder that kids struggle with social rules, and don’t understand why they get in trouble for speaking without a filter in some situations, but not others. I can barely keep track myself. Which is why, on occasion, I have really put my foot in my mouth. Oops!

When I found my voice, and feet, I quickly averted our cart from the man’s general direction. I scanned the files in my mom brain, the MAM working double fast. What to say? I started with the standard, “that wasn’t very nice Everly.” To which she replied, “but why mom, he did look like a marshmallow, a big, white, huge marshmallow,” again, the glee on her face plain for all to see. I sincerely do not think she was being mean spirited. I said, “well sometimes we might notice things that hurt other people’s feelings, and just because we notice them, that doesn’t mean that we say it out loud. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings do we?”

And, consider her mind blown. She looked so confused. She said, “why would the man have hurt feelings, it’s fun to look like a marshmallow.” Ahhh my sweet, little innocent soul. I hugged her on the spot (at this point we were waiting in the check-out line). I almost said, “I don’t know,” just to keep her innocent that much longer, and to end the conversation that I felt was quickly enter the realm of “stuff I don’t know how to handle yet because she should not be asking me this already should she?” I explained to her that sometimes, people who are carrying extra weight are sensitive about it, and they don’t like people making comments that bring attention to their extra weight; it hurts their feelings. This opened a dialogue that involved her asking me why these people wouldn’t just get rid of the weight then if it makes them sad. And as best as I could, I tried to explain this monumentally huge issue that plagues our society. It was a hard conversation to taylor to the understanding of a three-year-old; however, I feel like she understood at the end of it. There was a lot of quiet reflection, and with Everly, that usually means heavy processing.

This conversation left me dreading that moment, when she asks if she is fat, or says that she is fat. And by that time, she will understand the connotation of using the word in that manner. I NEVER refer to my body in a negative light while in Everly’s presence. I grew up with female role models who were fixated on body image (their own, their friends, celebs, etc…), and how your body affected your worth as a female. It was hostile to say the least. You might think that I would have adopted this way of thinking, and started to hate on my own body, but I didn’t. Maybe it had to do with the fact that I had other things, bigger things, happening in my life all the time. Loosing an eye, makes you realize how inconsequential thick thighs are. It’s been my mission to create a space of body acceptance and love for my daughter, and B is totally on board, which is fantastic.

I’m not going to be able to protect her from the media, or from her peer group. As a result, I feel very strongly that we have to establish an open dialogue about what makes a body beautiful, what gives you worth as a human being, and how the two are very rarely related. My goal is for my daughter to find beauty in wellness. I want her to learn that her body is beautiful in it’s health, and ability to enable her to live her life to the fullest. I want her to respect her body and treat it well. Even now I tell her that we only get one, and we live in it for our whole lives. Obviously at 3 she doesn’t fully grasp that concept, but I am quite confident that it is never too early to teach a child to care for what will be theirs for their entire life time. We tell them to be gentle with their toys, and not throw them in the toilet, so why would be allow that with their bodies. (Side note: I feel that a sedentary lifestyle and heaps of processed food is throwing your body in the toilet).

This goal does not involve the word fat, nor does it involve language around attaining desirable physical attributes. We don’t lecture her about “bad food” or “being lazy.” She eats McDonalds, or watches a movie laying on the couch once and a while, she’s three and not training for the Olympics after all.  It’s about balance right, and making sure that the majority of the time you are doing the right thing. We strive towards intelligence, strength of character, and being physical within our world. I tell her that there are certain foods and activities that will help us to achieve this, and we aim to incorporate those into our life, so that they become our lifestyle. Since the summer, Everly has been saying that she wants to be an orthopaedic surgeon when she grows up, or as she calls it “a doctor that cuts bones.” When she argues about eating veggies, or says she wants to play with the ipad instead of going to the park, I remind her that doctors need strong brains, and strong bodies to help their patients.

And yes, we have started saving for post-secondary already, I hear that becoming a bone cutting doctor is not cheap!

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Books and Pioneers

My parents read to me when I was little, they read a ton. Some of my most favourite childhood memories involve reading. My dad read to my sister and I every night for the longest time. When we had bunk beds, we would use our duplicate books to tandem read; my dad and I taking turns. Green Eggs and Ham just doesn’t sound the same to me when it is read by one person. My mom read to me all the time before she started her battle with addictions. She introduced me to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was in grade two, and I devoured the content. Everly and I have been reading chapter books for the last few months, and it just seemed obvious that we should start on the Little House books.

We began with Little House in the Big Woods (of course), and now we are about half-way through Little House on the Prairie. And I have a confession… I believe that I am enjoying the books more than she is. I think she likes the fact that I am reading to her, as she lays very still and listens, but she’s not quite as invested in the story as I am. I came to the realization when she fell asleep last night without being read to. I was like hey? we were supposed to hear all about how Pa was going to make the fireplace. (side note… I feel that I could actually become a pioneer with how descriptive this book is. I feel that I could make cheese, and prepare for the winter. You might want to disagree with me, but please don’t, just let me have this). Anyway… she fell asleep, and I was sad.

There have also been times where she has fallen asleep beside me, and I have kept reading, because I was so into the story that I didn’t notice! Oh and don’t even get me started on the death and resurrection of the brindle bulldog Jack. I sobbed for both occasions. She wasn’t sure what to make of my emotion at first. She hasn’t yet been moved to tears by a movie or book. She may be a tough nut like her dad… Maybe I should pop in a DVD of Old Yeller, and find out just how tough she is, maybe a little Where the Red Fern Grows???… okay, maybe not, maybe that would be mean, and that would make me ugly cry something fierce.

I have been enjoying this time with her immensely. It makes me feel connected to my own parents. I feel that I am carrying on a legacy. I hope that one day, if she chooses to have children, that she will remember these moments, and be inspired to carry on the tradition with her own littles.

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One Year

Babeh Babeh is one year old today. I just can’t believe how quickly this past year has gone, or how much has happened. He’s been keeping us all on our toes. So many happy days, and a handful of really scary ones. His last surgery went well, there is a 30% chance that he will not need the second surgery, and we are crossing our fingers! He hasn’t lost any more weight, which is wonderful because he was very sick at the end of May and had surgery in June. He has been discharged from occupational therapy services, and is on follow-up status with physiotherapy and infant development. He is sleeping through the night, and napping once a day. He eats what we eat, and meal time meltdowns are minimal these days. He is still very clingy. Very clingy. Very, Very. Clingy. LOL. He has been my lesson in ultimate patience. He has made it up to 5 steps at a time. He can nearly rise to his feet on his own without support now too. He’s darn fast in crawling or bum scooting. It’s actually pretty surprising! He says: mama, dad, hi, dance, ball, dog, car, balloon, bird, “dat”” (as in what’s that), and just recently started saying “what” (this new word is likely a direct result of how often he hears this word during the day, because he is always fussing and I am always saying WHAT???). Last Tuesday he pointed to Evie twice and said “Ah-E,” but he hasn’t said it since, so I am guessing soon his tormentor will have a name, ha ha. When you ask him where mama’s nose is, he points to my nose, and the same for my eyes! Right now we are working on mouth… he really enjoys fish-hooking. He can feed himself with a spoon, and has started to stab food with a fork, but his table manners still leave much to be desired! Boys are such messy eaters, my goodness. He loves to dance and climb. He will climb anything, fortunately he has been receptive in learning how to climb down as well (might have taken one or two bails, but eventually he realized that I was trying to help him and not take away his fun). He likes cheese, raisins, and all kinds of fruit, we joke that he is a spider monkey. He will sit through almost an entire board book now (yay!). He likes Thomas the Train and Yo Gabba Gabba when he has TV time, the second kid totally has more TV time. Originally I felt guilty about this, but I have since gotten over it. Life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff, and all that hullaballoo. Matthew is the perfect completion to our family.

These photos were incredibly challenging. I might even go so far to say that this was the most challenging mini session that I have done EVER. He constantly wants to be attached to me, and he constantly wants to move. Yeah, that kind of gives you an idea of what I had to work with. He has low tolerance for anything that gets in his way of meeting those two needs. There aren’t a lot of smile for grandma shots, but that’s not my kid; Matthew is not a smile for grandma type. So I guess you could say that this session captures him almost perfectly, ha ha ha. Happy Birthday Babeh:)

And how much he has changed in one year. He is about 5 days old on the left. He weighed 7 pounds, and was 22 inches long. And one year on the right! 17 pounds heavier, and 9 inches taller!

The one year compare shot. Babeh on the left, and Evie on the right. Matty is weighing in at 24 pounds, 2 ounces, and he is 31 inches tall. Everly was 21 pounds, 3 ounces, and 31 inches tall. He really slowed down! They are only 3 pounds apart, and I never thought they would be the same height at one year. Everly was only 19 inches when she was born, Matty was 22. Evie made up for being 3 pounds less, by growing 3 inches more :) Ahh my babies.

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11 Months

Matty is 11 months old today. He officially turned 10 months on the 7th. It has been an eventful month. He has had highs and lows. The most exciting high would have to be his FIRST STEPS! He took 3 solo steps on Monday June 4. Out of nowhere, he just let go of one couch and walked to the next! He took a a little fall towards the end of last week, which has made him a bit nervous, so he’s been cautiously sticking to 1-3 steps at a time. I am perfectly, perfectly happy with that! LOL. Once Evie took her first steps, it was about two weeks until she was walking more than crawling, and about a month that she was a full-time confident walker on all terrains. My guess is that Babeh will reach that milestone late into next month. He is so much more cautious than his big sister!

The scary low, would be when he was unresponsive during a fever, and we had to call 911. He had strep throat, an ear infection and a virus that caused a full body rash. Towards the end of the fever period, it was suspected that he had Scarlet Fever. Babeh was sick; it was a really rough week. One that really challenged me as a mother. It took five days for the fever to finally break. When we had our happy boy back, I swear I did a jig.

He is talking quite a bit these days. He says: ball, hi, mama, dada and dog. He has started pointing to things while saying “dat,” he wants to know what everything is! He started a really fun trick this past week- I ask him, “where’s mommy’s nose?’ and he points to my nose! Tee-hee! Oh the little things. He is generally a very happy, and social little man. I’m very proud of him.

I can’t believe that in one month, he will be a whole year old. I don’t know where the time goes.

And the monthly compare shot! Evie (ON LEFT) was 30 inches tall and 21 pounds, 3 ounces. Matty (ON RIGHT) is 31 inches tall, 23 pounds, 13 ounces. He’s slowing down… actually he lost a bit of weight at the beginning of last month, so it was good to see the scale go up!

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Jessica Bender:

The fabulous Hello Little Wren Blog just did a lovely piece on Everly’s Third Birthday party! While you are there, check out some of her super fun DIY’s… We will be trying those cupcake liners!

Originally posted on little wren:

I had a little getaway in Victoria this weekend to visit one of my best friends Jess and her wonderful family. It’s a trip I have made many, many times before… I have been going over pretty much once a month since my god daughter Everly was 6 months old… and this week she turns three – three!

I can’t believe how fast the time has gone! She is turning in to quite the little lady. It’s amazing that I’ve been able to watch her grow, yet scary at the same time. I can remember her when she was just learning to walk and talk… heck I can remember her when she was learning to sit up, and was convinced she was a genius that could say ‘hi’ at three months (I still maintain she’s a genius, even though she may or may not have actually been saying hi)

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30

I turned 30 on Tuesday March 13. I remembered that I had a list of goals somewhere of things I wanted to accomplish when I turned 30. I dug it up. It was written in  2002, I was 20. I would have been in my second year of university. I had just met my friend Lauren (we had a 100 level Psych class together and also both worked at Gap). We were talking about goals and she shared with me how she had written a list of things to do before she turned 30. I thought that it sounded like a great idea and did it myself. I wrote the list in a spiral bound notebook with a purple gel pen, yes complete with sparkly gel ink. No I did not, however, dot my “i’s” with hearts. When I looked at the goals on my list I laughed out loud. Oh what goes on in the mind of 20-year-olds. There are a few things I would have liked to see on the list, and a few things I am embarrassed are on the list. So without further ado, here is the list, complete with annotations (of course).

Things to do before I’m 30:

1) Graduate Uvic with a GPA of 6.5 or higher. This one was a check! 7.25 was my GPA in fourth year. I finished overall with a 6.75. I may have slightly crapped the bed in third year as far as GPA goes, B+ was most common as I had other things keeping me busy, lol! I had met a really fun group of girls and well, let’s just say that I had many late nights- but I wasn’t studying! Looking back I get a little annoyed with my third year self, but then in the grand scheme of things what does it really matter.

2) Get my Audi Roadster. Fail. I laughed when I read this one. The movie About a Boy and the reviews in a car magazine shot down my dreams for this one. The movie demonstrated how kid-unfriendly this vehicle was for his son “Ned.” The car magazine highlighted the car’s poor visibility. Good visibility in a vehicle is important when you only have one working eye! My husband was quick to point out that we have a BMW x5 and it’s German so he figures this one should still be a check.

3) Live somewhere other than Victoria. Check. I spent 3 months living in Melbourne, Australia and I loved it. Actually I kind of wish I was there right now. It is the end of summer there, ahhhh summer.

4) See the British Isles. This one gets a 3/4 check. I have been to Scotland and England, but still have yet to get to Ireland. A chunk of my husband’s family tree comes from Ireland, so I hope that makes us more likely to visit one day.

5) Visit Australia. Check. I lived in Melbourne to complete my fourth year Practicum at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. After my three months there, I spent 3 weeks traveling from Sydney to Cairns. I loved Australia and I would go back there in 10 seconds if I had the opportunity.

6) Own a designer purse. Check. Oh 20-year-old me, the things that were important to you. This one made me groan when I read it. I was in the phase of reading Confessions of a Shopaholic and well, let’s just say that I could relate to Becky. My first designer purse was a little over the shoulder style by Kate Spade, I still have it despite the fact that it is out of date. Kate Spade introduced me to a world of bags, and from there I was hooked. Coach was next up, and then on to Marc Jacobs (swoon). My bag now- JuJuBe. Ha- diaper bag. Although I must say that it is a bad ass diaper bag! Hmmm, maybe I still have the bag lust. Oh well, ha ha.

7) Go to Thailand. Fail; but I am not sad about this fail.This was an “everyone and their mother” goal, as in “everyone and their mother was going to Thailand” so of course I had to go too and see what all the fuss was about. Now that I know more about traveling though Southeast Asia, I really have no desire to anymore. Well, if I could stay in one of those ecoresorts with the huts on the water I would go, but that’s about it. I am not a backpacker. I think I was the only 19 year old who traveled through Europe with a suitcase on wheels, lol.

8) Own something from Tiffany & Co. Check! This goal had deep roots. Ever since I was 13 years old and saw Breakfast at Tiffany’s I was smitten. “Oh, golly gee damn!” I needed to own something from Tiffany & Co. and have it engraved on site. Well turns out that the turnaround time for engraving the bracelet that I picked out was longer than I had days in New York City, so it was never engraved. But now I think it was fate, because the bracelet I got had a dangling heart and I think that the letters “E” and “M” would be the perfect addition. There was a reason it was not engraved; my heart was not yet complete. When I return to New York, my first stop will be Tiffany & Co. for some engraving and I will be able to tell E and M all about it. How fun is that. Oh and the bracelet I got, it’s actually worth more now than when I got it, because the price of silver has gone up so much, nice! I totally knew that would happen, it was my plan all along. The bracelet was an investment piece.

9) Get married and plan my own wedding. Check. I married the person I was with when I wrote the list… 6 years later :)

10) Live in my own house. Fail; but again, not sad about it. When I wrote this list, it was conceivable that I could buy a condo and have it paid off by the time I was 30. Yeah, things have changed a wee bit. I consider something my own when I have paid for it. I am in no rush to rent from the bank right now at these prices. B has made me so aware of what is going on in our real estate market and honestly the thought of buying something right now makes me nauseated. One day maybe, but definitely not in the near future!

11) Have children and design their rooms myself. Check. I had no idea what I was getting into with this one. No idea. I can’t imagine my life without my kids, wait, wait a minute now, I think I can… hmmmm… ahhhh… okay, okay I wouldn’t trade them for the world, they’re awesome. Designing their rooms was too fun. I can’t wait until they get a bit older and need “new” rooms, lol!

12) Have a designer wallet. Check. Ha ha, said walled was acquired during the “Coach” phase. It is going on 6 years old now, so if you really think about it, it was actually a pretty good investment.

13) Stay in South America to do a tour of countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru). Fail. This fail I am sad about. I really wanted to do this one, but time and money ran out on me. I will get there someday, this goal will make it to the next list! Fear not South America, I will be visiting.

14) Have at least one picture of everyone that I love and have loved. Epic check. This one gets a big fat check with stars. I currently have 108, 049 personal photos on my computer, and I only went digital in 2003. I have been an avid photographic record keeper since 1999, and I have the albums, and rubbermaid totes of printed photos and negatives to show for it. Oh wait… and then there are 753 photos on my iphone. When I wrote this, I didn’t picture myself becoming a professional photographer, I was in school getting a Bachelors Degree in child development, I was going to save the world, one dying child at time. I like what I do now much better.

15) Stay at a spa or B&B. Check. Funny enough, I can actually thank my former job at the Victoria Native Friendship Centre for this one. While working with them I stayed at a few spas. You know what? For the life of me I can not figure out why on earth this was a goal. Maybe I thought it was glamorous or romantic. Weird. My next list needs to have justifications so that I remember why, ha ha. I have a feeling that my 30’s are going to be much more of a whirlwind.

16. Visit New York City. CHECK. Insert some Jay-Z and Alicia Keys here. Ahhh, NYC, what can I say about that place. Nothing bad. You know when you go on a long trip and then come home and walk around your hometown and down your street and you feel “at home?” Well that’s how I felt straight off the airport shuttle bus in New York City. I walked down the street and felt, “these are my people.” NYC was such a magical place, I never wanted to leave. Ask my Aunt who came with me… I barfed on the plane I was so upset. When I see New York on tv or in movies, or even read about it in books I feel homesick. I didn’t know that you could feel homesick for somewhere that you had only spent a week in. Oh but you can. Let us pause here while my heart cries because now I am feeling homesick for New York City. I will be back.

And there you have it, my goals! I am currently working on part 2 of this post… Things to do before I turn 40…

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10 Hours

So my last post on our sleep training was February 6. We lasted what, four days? Yikes. After those few days I said screw it and I went right back to what I was doing before. I thought it couldn’t get worse than M getting up every 30-60 minutes, but oh dear God yes it could! One night it took me two hours to get him asleep in his crib, and he slept for… Wait for it… F.I.V.E. minutes, yes five minutes and then he was up again. I took another 30 to put him back down and he slept ten minutes. Done. Done. Done. Done. I quit.

So we went another week doing what we did before, keeping M in bed with us and nursing on demand. If you haven’t realized this by now, M is very demanding.

When I visited our local health unit for his immunizations, I told the nurse about our sleeping and solid food aversion struggles. She immediately felt that M was hungry and that’s why he wasn’t sleeping. Yes, we thought that too, but what is to be done if he won’t eat food? Well formula was to be done.

The F word. Formula. I felt like an instant failure as a breastfeeding mother, and I shared this with the nurse. And that nurse being, “so smart and so slick, thought up a lie, and thought it up quick.” (thank you Dr. Suess). Okay maybe she didn’t lie, but she definitely worked an angle. She said that since M wasn’t taking solids he was at risk for developing anemia and would potentially need iron supplements, she said that formula has added iron and would be somewhere to start for a tiny boost. She recommended a brand and I left feeling like it wasn’t the end of the world.

So I researched formula for a few days. I asked our pediatrician what she recommended and I asked the pharmacist. They all told me the same brand, and it was one that git rave reviews on the internet, so that’s the one I went with. I didn’t think it would be our cure, but I figured that after 7 months of trying the same thing, it could not hurt to try something else. What’s the definition of insanity again… Doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results? Yeah that was me.

So we started with half and half bottles for his last feed on that Wednesday, he slept a little longer, but nothing huge. Same thing for Thursday night. I pumped before bed both of these nights and did not get a ton of milk, so I wasn’t completely sold that it was the formula making him more full, I felt it was more that the quantity he was taking in was keeping him full. I was just “too empty” in the evening. It’s been a struggle for me to make enough milk for this kid and I have been doing everything I can to just hold out until the time for solids. And of course now he wants to be difficult about that (but that’s another post).

I figured that the extra milk was definitely a turn to the right direction. And wanted to take our plans to the next level. I thought about our sleep training experience and analyzed the shit out of it. I came up with one conclusion- I was the problem. So I did the best thing I could think of and made plans to remove myself from the situation.

I made plans for myself and Everly to sleep over at my parents’ house for the weekend, leaving B and baby Matthew to work things out. We decided that the goal was to get M sleeping in his crib and weaned off the night feeds. Since B had never slept with him, nor fed him in the middle of the night I was sure he would have a better chance at success. I knew that M would not have those sleep associations with his dad that he had with me, and my hope was that with his dad he would make new habits! I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant to let go of control, but I had the self-awareness to see that under my control things were no working and it was time to pass the job on to someone else. If only our politicians were able to do this!

Matty’s first night with B he slept from 8:00 to 12:00, 12:00 to 4:00 and 4:00 to 8:00. When B texted me this information I was floored. The little jerk. The next night was even better, M skipped the 12:00am feed and just did 4:00am and 6:30am. By Sunday night B felt it was safe for me to come home. That Sunday night M slept from 8:00 to 6:00, ate, and went back to sleep until 8:00. He had slept 10 hours in a row, his longest sleep stretch of all time. That was such a milestone of success in this house. I was over the “Goodnight Moon.” That Monday night he slept from 8:00pm to 8:12am. And we had officially entered The Twilight Zone.

The two weeks the followed this successes were the time in my life I would like to refer to as “Sexy Sleep Bliss.” It was heaven. M would go to sleep by 8:00pm, hello evenings back to ourselves, and then be up for the day at 8:00am. Sometimes he slept right through and other days he woke up at 6:00-6:30 to eat and then go back to sleep. I didn’t mind that at all. I was able to get up, have a shower, and eat a hot breakfast (the ultimate luxury). Life was good. It’s amazing how much different you feel when you are getting 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night!

And then… (insert the sound of a scratching record here) Matty started getting teeth. Oh glorious, glorious Murphy and his Law, praise be to Murphy. I would seriously like to get a hold of that Murphy and introduce him to some medieval forms of punishment. My local wax museum has given me a few choice ideas. The first tooth erupted on March 5, and we are currently waiting on its neighbor, who is slow out the gate despite prime conditions.

This teething time has been not so ideal. He is up at least twice a night now, usually three. I started nursing him at these night wakings as well. I felt guilty denying him and letting him cry when I know he is in pain. But I have always put him back in the crib awake. So, I am hoping that all hope is not lost, and once this second tooth pops out he will go back to “normal” and by normal I mean the recent sleep habits that allowed me to feel human. Yeah, that’s kind of selfish to say, but really it is in his best interests for me to be getting enough sleep. I’m a much nicer person.

I was hesitant to blog about our sleep success, I was being very superstitious! I was worried that the minute I published the post, he would slide back into his old routine. So I figured why not talk about it now, when we aren’t getting any sleep anyway! Lol. The saga continues…

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Progress.

The weekend was a bit of a gong show. Friday night we stuck to our plan, but Saturday and Sunday we slid backwards to our old ways. We had some fun events planned during the day on both days, and they ended up conflicting with our routine. I know that you are supposed to stay as close to your schedule as possible, but we are not a sit at home all the time family, and we don’t plan on becoming one. I feel that it’s best that our kids learn to be adaptable. Everly is, and with any luck Matty will be too. So he slept in our bed. But you know what, he actually slept pretty decent. Last night he did some three hour and two hour stretches, that’s bliss in this house!

Tonight is back to our sleep plan!

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Fourth Night

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Nuff said…

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