toddler life.

i have oh-so-many intentions of blogging more often than i actually do it. i am constantly thinking about situations and topics that would make for a good post and then by the time i sit down at my computer i end up doing design work instead. and, of course, the design work needs to be done but, really, when i have so much on my mind i’d rather be writing a blog! well today, i decided to put some of that design work aside and do just that (YAY!).

now, what am i going to write about …

for 10-ish days we’re dog-sitting my parents’ doberman Lola, so things are a little hectic around here. having her, plus our hound, plus a wild toddler (with a little too much energy) equals a crazy house! it’s definitely a change from when we watched her last fall when they went away. both the dogs are the same but i’m working more and my son has grown and changed so much since then, oh, and my hubby is on midnights (happy happy joy joy, right?) … she’s only been here 3 days and i think i’ve swept 10 times (not exaggerating) and vacuumed at least twice (and the dog hair still appears to be everywhere). our hound sheds more than any dog i’ve ever had and Lola is a close second.

oh, and add to that the fact that little man has been having a sort of nighttime sleeping hiatus (the fun we have around here, eh?). the past two and a half weeks have been rough. every few months he seems to go through something like this – whether it be from teething, a new developmental milestone or just being a toddler, it’s hard. on all of us. and of course, this all happens when hubby is working overnight. i now know how single parents feel at nighttime when their children just won’t sleep and they have to work in the morning. patience wears thin. very thin. especially when you’re going on only 4 hours of broken sleep from the night before. doing that more than 2 days in a row makes you go a little nutso, and by a little, i mean a LOT. the middle of the night seems to be when my patience is at it’s lowest. i think it’s even worse when i’ve literally *JUST* fallen asleep and all of a sudden the monitor clicks on and i hear a soft little voice calling out to me, “moooooom, mooooommmy, mom”. i love that little man of mine but my sleep is a close runner-up for things i love most.

when he was younger it was easier to be awoke in the night by his faint little cries. i wasn’t working at the time and he was still nursing so a little milk sometimes solved the problem and if that wasn’t the case, i didn’t mind sitting with him to help him relax again. the fact that he now has oh-so-much energy and enthusiasm (and tantrums, did i mention tantrums?) during the day likely adds to the frustration i feel at night; i’m much more exhausted than i was when he was a wee babe! but, alas, you do what you have to do to help your child feel safe, comforted and loved.

the amount of pure, raw energy that my son possesses never ceases to surprise me. he is a little ball of crazy! he’s always running (and i mean constantly), jumping, screaming and squealing. ALL. DAY. LONG. i’ve spoke to friends, colleagues and parents of toddler boys and i know that his behaviour is (fairly) normal. he does not sit and colour for more than 3 minutes. the crayons become a toy and then dumping them in and out of the container is the new thing to play. or peeling off the wrappers, or trying to eat them, or hide them, or colour on the floor with them. he does not sit and read a book for more than 5 minutes. the stories are changed to a short version with words left out so that we actually can finish “reading” one or two (two, ha!). the only time he’ll sit and listen to a story is at naptime or bedtime, otherwise, pffft, why would he sit down when there’s things to do?! he does not sit and watch an entire movie. he’ll sit for (maybe) 10-15 mins and then get up and play with his toys, but don’t you dare turn that movie off because he’ll tell you he’s watching it. and meal times? forget about sitting for more than a few minutes unless the iPad is on with one of his “shows”. it’s he only way i can get him to eat anything lately, and honestly, i don’t care because he’s actually eating something. i know this too shall pass and one day i’ll be able to sit down and do a fun activity or craft with my son, but until that time comes, i’ll let him be the wild, crazy, funny and loveable little man that he is.

are you tired? i’m tired.

i was sitting here at my computer sending out an email proof for a photobook (for my friends over at Renaissance Studios) and my mind started to wander, like it tends to do, especially when my toddler isn’t around to distract me. i can see him on the monitor, sound asleep, looking rather comfy in his new grobag sleepsack. it reminds me that i probably should get more sleep instead of the 5ish hours i’ve been getting all week since my hubby started midnights. i feel like my free time lately has been spent doing everything except what i’d actually like to be doing (like working on little man’s halloween costume, or sorting through our closets and storage area, or just relaxing, crocheting something new which i haven’t done in over a year).

i need a rest. a day to myself (mostly); a day where i actually go to bed at a decent hour (instead of sometime between 12:30 and 2am). a day where i don’t check my email (hahahahaha). a day just for me. but then when i think about taking a whole day to myself i feel guilty and i know i’ll miss my son … ok, so maybe i just need like half a day – that would work, i think. half a day for me! it’s very tiring working part time at a retail store, designing wedding photo albums, doing freelance graphic design, keeping our house looking (somewhat) decent, not letting the laundry pile up too high, chasing around my 20 month old son (eep! where has the time gone!), oh and squeezing in some time to spend with my amazing husband. it seems as though my 24 hour day is really only 12 hours, 5 of which i’m sleeping, 2 where my son naps (or should be) and then there’s maybe 5 hours to do all those aforementioned things. i know i may be exaggerating a little but it sure doesn’t feel like it!

being a parent is tiring more than anything. i love my son, a bigger love than i ever thought possible, but i also love my sleep (and really, who doesn’t). and, i need sleep to function a little better than i have been lately. hubby and i haven’t really had much time to ourselves since he started midnights last Sunday (and he worked OT last night, is there right now working and will be working more OT again tomorrow night. long weekend? nah). he’s at work when i’m sleeping and i wake up shortly after he gets home. he sleeps until around the time the little guy wakes up from his nap and then it’s the 3 of us until wee man goes to bed and then the routine starts over. i’m sure things will get easier as he gets comfortable in his new schedule but this first week has been long. add to that me being at work, hubby doing a few photoshoots on the side (check out his work here!), oh and it’s Thanksgiving this weekend too so pile on the turkey, pie and visiting … aaaaaand being with our son, who seems to be a bit of a mama’s boy lately. i don’t really mind this, except for when we’re at the grocery store, like today, for example, when any time i stepped more than a foot away from the cart (2 feet maybe to grab an item off a shelf – don’t go shopping on Thanksgiving weekend, it was a zoo! but i didn’t have much choice as our cupboards were looking pretty bare) little man would shout, “mom! mom! moooooom!”. let me tell you, an hour and a half of that, plus him pulling every item he could reach out of the cart wore my patience thin. oh, and add in his defiance towards his car seat. sorry sweetie, seatbelts and carseats are not optional, especially at your age.

i feel like i’m falling asleep while i type this so perhaps i should turn in for the night; or at least go upstairs and crawl into bed and maybe read (or shop around on Etsy, hehe). i miss the days when little man would just cuddle up and snooze on me; where i could crawl into bed and if he fussed just bring him in to sleep curled up beside me. i miss his newborn smell, his little coos and big sighs BUT i love, so much, the little boy he’s becoming. he may not be a baby anymore but he’ll always be my baby.

i really should be doing something else right now …

i wasn’t going to blog tonight but well, here i am. i have a thousand other little things on my mind right now …

• i’m tired
• i don’t want to finish the laundry but there’s little boy clothes in the dryer and bed sheets, towels and more just waiting to be washed
• i need to tidy the back laundry/storage room
• the fall wreath should go on the door
• where can i get some orange & yellow mums for the pot on the front porch
• i wonder if hubby will notice the little sticker face (with moustache) that i added to one of the pumpkins on the front step
• the dishes are piling up but i don’t want to make any extra noise because little man had a tough time going to bed tonight and i wonder how long it’s going to take him to fall asleep (he’s still up right now, turning his glow worm on and off and talking to himself, babbling and saying mom! mom! and it’s almost 10pm)
• will he wake up in the night and need comforting
• will i be able to get to sleep at a decent time tonight
• why is there dog hair on my keyboard
• why does our hound lose more hair than any pet i’ve ever owned
• the house needs to be vacuumed/dusted/swept
• i wish we had more storage space
• speaking of that i need to organize the laundry room (yes, again)
• i need to make time this weekend to read up on the new products coming into work (before my shift on Monday)
• i hope i’m happy with my hair appointment tomorrow morning
• i should be on the treadmill instead of sitting on my ass typing this right now
• i need to go through our things and make some donations
• why can’t i just win the lottery, move to the country and be debt free?
• i hope the little guy is asleep by the time hubby gets home from work tonight (he rode the Triumph soooo it’s a little noiser than, you know, anything else we own, well, except for our son)
• maybe we should visit my parents this weekend and get them to take our dog for a few days before we dog-sit their dog next week
• where is the dog?
• i should work on my new business cards
• i want ketchup chips right now, mmm
• maybe i should have a cider?

i could go on but i don’t want to bore you (or myself) any longer. it was a long day today and i’m hoping that tonight goes smooth … little man has 4 more teeth coming in (he currently has 12 so this will just leave his 2 year molars yet to come, oh joy) so he’s been extra whiny, cuddly, picky, hyper, crazy etc. plus, i like to say he’s going into the terrible two’s at 19.5 months. he’s into everything! it’s a fun age but a tiring one nonetheless. because he’s so busy during the day, he’s been extra snuggly at bedtime, which is fine by me. i love the way his little hand grabs my face and pulls me close so that i kiss his forehead and when i pull back after kissing him he reaches up again and rests his hand on my neck. i need to think about those times when he’s been wild and crazy and just running through the house screaming for no reason other than the fact that he can do just that. ahhh life with a little boy.

as much as i’m exhausted both mentally and physically from working part time, designing wedding photobooks, doing freelance design, chasing around my toddler, spending time with my amazing husband and trying to keep up with friends and family, i wouldn’t trade it for the world.

mom! and other ramblings.

i’ve been slacking lately on this whole blog thing (oops!) … with going back to work things have been a little busier than i anticipated (plus we just got back from a week down in Orlando) and the little man is growing so fast i feel like i can’t keep up with anything! quite often the thought of blogging crosses my mind; sometimes when i’m putting the little guy down for a nap; or while i’m grocery shopping; or during a busy day at work; even when i’m on vacation. alas, i haven’t given in to the urge to blog lately, until today (lucky you!). there are many things i think of (on a daily basis) that i think would make for a good post but then by the time i get downstairs to the computer i end up doing laundry or just sitting down and relaxing – this only happens when my son is napping or in bed for the night.

crap, the little guy just woke from his nap “mom, mom! MOM!” – i’ll ignore him for a few moments and see if he falls back asleep. he usually naps for 2 – 2.5 hours and he’s only been out for one and a bit; what the heck! hubby just got home from work (i can hear the dog at the front door shaking with excitement and the floorboards creaking above me) shhhhh!! … and now the little dude is babbling to himself and likely standing up at the side of his crib. i wonder how long he’ll do this for; he needs to go back to sleep!  urgh, he’ll likely have his grumpy pants on later (as is the case when he doesn’t get a full nap in). although, listening to his rambling is pretty cute – it’s mostly just jumbled words and sounds with the occasional “real” word popping out here and there – mom! puppy! bahpa! (grandpa) daddy! two! aunt eeeaah! (Eva) yeah! … hmmm, it’s been going on for about 10 minutes now; i sincerely doubt he’ll fall back asleep at this point. sigh. of course, on the day when i actually decide to sit down and write a blog. figures, eh?

a long day … zzz …

today was a long day for me. although i was pretty happy that i didn’t have to go into work! (it’s still odd saying that) … i planned to get up early, do some laundry and tidy up a few things around the house. that did not happen. apparently i was exhausted and woke up with just enough time to run through the shower before the little guy started to stir! we did our morning bath-day routine and headed downstairs for milk, breakfast and to let the puppies out for a pee (we don’t actually have any puppies per say – we’re watching my parents’ almost 5 year old doberman while they’re away – they had a not-so-pleasant experience with the house sitter last time they went on vaca so hubby and i said we’ll just watch her from now on! – and our almost 6 year old coonhound are both big sucks, so they’re our puppy-dogs). while the 2 hounds ran around (wildly) outside i swept the floor and got my son’s breakfast ready.

we played and watched some cartoons. he had a snack, some more playing, lunch and then he went down for a nap. more sweeping ensued (a lot more). out the dogs went (again) for some more roughhousing (which really, i don’t mind because it tires both of them out! i can’t easily take both dogs and my toddler for a walk, so this is second best). down to the basement i went to work on changes for a few photobooks and edit some business cards for a client (oh and finish up a little laundry). back upstairs for lunch (kinda late, as usual). then i packed up some dinner foods for the little guy and went up to his room to wake up from his nap. we packed up his gear (diaper bag, snacks, milk etc) and headed out the door to my in-laws place where hubby was working on his dad’s ’63 Triumph (he’s been rebuilding it from the ground up for the past 3 years). we visited there for a bit, had dinner and then i packed him back up to head home and do our night time routine.

both of us were pretty sleepy so we just snuggled on the couch and watched some cartoons while he had his bedtime milk & snack. hubby stuck around his parents’ place to try and figure out why the bike wasn’t cooperating with him. he got home shortly after 9, just as i was heading back downstairs from putting the little guy to bed. i grabbed a few oatmeal choco-chip cookies (yum!) and a glass of water and we went down to the basement to each work on our own things on the computer. we haven’t really seen each other much today and it’s 11:30pm now. he just went upstairs to let the dogs out for a pee and get ready for bed (and i’m finishing up this blog). hopefully he’s not asleep before i get up there. he’s getting up early to work some O/T tomorrow and Sunday but thankfully will only be gone a few hours so we’ll all get to spend some much needed time together … i feel like the only times we aren’t busy (with our little guy, working, visiting family & friends, doing laundry) is just before we go to sleep. by then we’re usually both so exhausted that one of us ends up “fading fast” (as hubby says) and the conversation ends quickly. i know this time in our lives is busier because we have a toddler who’s learning more and more each day but it’s nice to have that quiet time with each other every night before we slip into (a not-long-enough) slumber.

i need more hours in the day to just do whatever i want without having to worry about working around hubby’s schedule, visiting friends & family, taking care of the dog(s), working or my son’s naps/bedtime schedule. i know the years when he naps won’t last long so i feel like i need to take advantage of my free time while i still have some (haha). before i know it he’ll be in school and i’ll be wishing he was around to just sit, cuddle and watch cartoons with 🙂

busy busy, fun fun.

as much as i love blogging (a.k.a. venting, mostly) life has been über busy lately. our little man will be 17 months old as of this weekend. holy crapola, where has the time gone?! i’ll tell you where; to late night nursing and cuddles, to walks with our hound dog, visits with friends and family, learning to sit up, crawling, standing, feeding himself, walking (and now running), talking, playing and learning. and the list goes on. it’s hard to remember what it felt like when he first came into our lives; a tiny little bundle of love; a little babe who it seemed would stay young and sweet forever. i didn’t realize how fast time truly goes by until i had a baby. i fondly remember sitting in the rocking chair in his room nursing him and just staring at those big, beautiful blue eyes (and ridiculously long lashes) and touching his amazingly soft skin. just sitting and cuddling on the couch not caring about anything but this perfect little man … but now, oh boy, now is different! good, but different. constantly running after him, wondering what he could possibly get into while i try run to the bathroom and pee as fast as humanly possible before those sweet little hands of his open the bathroom door and he peeks in to say “pee!”  … keeping up with the laundry, dishes and sweeping (urgh, the sweeping!) picktwo_parentingthat comes with owning a coonhound, not to mention the regular things around the house that need to get done, and that i’d like to get done (say, tidying the kitchen? bedroom? basement?). most of those things get left on the backburner until hubby gets home from work to help parent. which reminds me, i saw this awesome cartoon the other day that perfectly depicted how things are at our house right now (most of the time anyway) with a toddler on the loose … if you have young children you’ll understand why this is so great.

i really should be working on photobooks (for my awesome friends over at Renaissance Studios) and my freelance design right now (check out my facebook page here) while hubby puts the little guy to bed but, i felt the need to blog, vent, etc. i enjoy writing about our son and what’s going on in our lives. i plan to (one day, not sure how soon) print out my blogs and save them in a little notebook/binder etc so that i can look back and remember the good, the bad and the, sometimes, ugly. there are so many things i still want and plan to write about, like last week when our little guy pooped in his kiddie pool, not one, but two days in a row, and one of the days daddy wasn’t home to help clean up, good times i tell ya. about how he runs around the house yelling mom! mom! how he randomly will yell Da! daaaaaddy! while out grocery shopping (and his dad is not with us, but at work) and how he calls grandpa “bap ba” and grandma “mah ma”. how he hoots like an owl whenever he sees any bird (owl or otherwise). and how so many things you never imagined could be “dut” (stuck) or dirty or “dot” (hot).

and one day, i hope my son will read some of these ramblings and be able to get a sneak peek of how things were growing up, the good, the bad, and the, sometimes, ugly.

a day (sort-of) in the life of a stay-at-home mom

i have been tired lately, so tired. mentally drained. i love my son more than anything in the world (as i’m sure i’ve mentioned many times in my posts here) but being his mama (or just a mama in general) tires you out more than any job you’ll ever have. trust me. there are 168 hours in a week … subtract maybe 7 a day for sleeping (if you’re lucky) and that leaves you with 119 hours of being on the job. yup, the job of being a full-time parent. i’m not saying that those who go back to work after their maternity leave aren’t tired, but they don’t put in 119 plus hours per week with their children. it’s long days and (sometimes) even longer nights. my son relies on me pretty much 24/7, and as much as i’m ok with that arrangement, sometimes mama needs a break. even going to the bathroom with the door closed (i wish) or having the door closed and not having a little voice saying mama! mum! and banging away with a random toy would be a welcome change some days.

here’s my day today …

• woke up my son at 8:45am (if i let him sleep as long as he wants he won’t nap in the afternoon and sure as shit won’t go to bed on time, or willingly, or even at a decent hour)
• gave the little guy a bath
• got myself dressed, did my hair and makeup (somewhat) while hubby got the little guy dressed, bum changed etc
• changed the sheets on his bed as he soaked through everything last night
• fed him breakfast
• ate my own breakfast while getting him more to eat during my eating time
• checked email, Facebook and instagram
• paid a few bills
• washed his face and hands and highchair
• put him down to play for a little while
• kept him away from our dog and my parents’ dog ( a 100lb doberman who’s here for the week while they’re away) even though he was insistent on following them around and trying to whack them or bite them while squealing with excitement the entire time
• washed the dishes and all our new tupperware (oooooooh!)
• hubby took the little guy outside while he bbq’d up some lunch so i could finish tidying the kitchen
• swept the kitchen, dining room and living room floors
• brought my son inside and gave him some milk and a snack (his pre-naptime routine) in the kitchen while he played with toys and came back for more snacks, stopping continuously at the patio door to bang on it and yell at his dad who was outside trying to trim the dogs nails
• took him outside and cut his fingernails and toenails while his dad was outside
• brought him upstairs to change his bum and get him ready for a nap
• said bye to his dad and then rocked him to sleep, after fighting it for about 10 minutes, which he does everyday – laughing, playing with my hair, trying to pinch me, etc. good times.
• went down to the computer to finish up some design work on the winner of the free business card design contest that i held on Facebook after hitting 200 fans (woot woot! check out my page here), check emails, Facebook etc
• little man woke up after 30 mins instead of his usual 2 hour nap
• tried to console him and get him back to sleep … after 45 minutes and some tylenol (pretty sure he’s getting his molars so i thought maybe that was the trouble) he finally stopping whining and crying but didn’t go back to sleep
• brought him downstairs and cuddled with him while i finished up my design work for the contest winner
• back upstairs to give him a snack and drink
• swept the floor again (having 2 big dogs does not make for a nice clean floor – at least it’s only for one week!)
• let the dogs out for a pee
• packed up the kid (plus a drink & snack for him) and headed to the grocery store
• while at the grocery store he decided to play with the cinnamon buns in the cart (pillsbury ones, where you just pop the container and put ’em in the oven) … he always plays with the groceries so i didn’t think anything of it, (because it keeps him entertained, even though he has a drink and snack with him, the groceries are more interesting) until the lid popped off and 3 of the “rolls” flew out onto the floor. and of course there were no employees anywhere to be found.
• back home after an hour out and about
• gave the little guy a spoon and yogurt container to play with while i put the groceries away
• tried to keep him away from hitting and chasing the dogs around (again)
• let the dogs out, this time it was raining so i had to wipe their feet, backs, faces, etc to prevent big wet footprints and hair everywhere (mostly)
• stopped part way through putting groceries away to get the little guy started on dinner because he constantly was wanting to be picked up but it’s hard to put away groceries one-handed with an almost 25lb weight on your hip
• finishing putting away groceries
• ate my dinner that hubby made for me before he left for his afternoon shift (YAY!)
• gave little guy more to eat while i tidied up my dinner mess
• cleaned up his hands, face etc and set him down to play while i washed the dishes and swept again (sick of it yet? i know i am!)
• took my son upstairs to change his poopy bum and get his jammies on
• put on my comfy clothes and got the laundry ready to take down
• let the dogs out again
• watched cartoons with the little guy while he had his bedtime snack and we played
• put away his toys and took him up for his nighttime routine (teeth, playtime, bum change, stories, cuddles)
• after little man was asleep, brought the laundry downstairs
• had a little snack
• started the cloth diaper laundry and sat down at the computer to type this, check email, and do some photo book design work (for Renaissance Studios, check them out here!) etc etc

now i’ll wait for my hubby to get home in approximately half an hour when i’ll be exhausted but still plugging away. i turned on the ball game in the background for some noise (and well, i like watching the Blue Jays, what can i say) but now i hear that the washing machine stopped so back in i go to add the rest of the little guy’s clothes to finish washing up.

then i’ll sleep, wake up, and do it all again – with a few changes of course. gotta keep things interesting.

frazzled, exhausted, and did i mention, tired?

it’s been a while since i’ve blogged, but i have some pretty good reasons (i think anyway). i’ve been keeping busy with a little freelance design work, wedding photobooks for photographer friends, and my son, who doesn’t want to sleep without my arms around him.

as i write this, my fingers, toes, and any other extremity that could possibly be crossed, are crossed, in hopes that my 15 month old son doesn’t awake from his slumber (as i watch him toss & turn on the video monitor). these past few months have been tiring for all of us. our awesome little sleeper has turned bedtime into something we’ve all come to dread (mostly). i used to look forward to the peaceful few hours that we had to ourselves, but now i start to worry in advance; how long will it take to get him to sleep? how long until he wakes up? will he wake up 2, 3, 6 times tonight? will he soak through everything and need a bed and bum change at the crack of stupid? will i fall back asleep? will my hubby have the mental and physical capacity to function properly at work without an adequate amount of zzz’s?

little man was always a great sleeper, right from the get go. yes, he was! i know people will say this about their child when it isn’t necessarily true, but he really was. around 6 weeks old he started to sleep in 6-7 hour bouts, wake to nurse and then fall back to sleep for 2-3 hours. it was pure bliss because i knew that when he finished nursing we could all get a little more shut eye. man, those were the days: stick a boob in the baby’s mouth, he was relaxed, full, content and wouldn’t you know it, sleepy. and then he started to grow, and change, and learn more and more each day. and he started to eat people food! not just his beloved breastmilk. around 8 months old (ish) he started waking at least once a night and wouldn’t go back to sleep without being rocked (insert very big thank you to my husband who has always taken his role as daddy very seriously and believes that i need breaks to keep my sanity! go hubby!). looking back, that wasn’t so bad. in fact, i’d take the once a night wakings if it meant that we could all get a little more sleep.

mid-march is when things started to go awry. the little guy went to sleep with his usual routine; jammies, snack and cartoons, then upstairs for teeth, bum change, sleep sack, stories and then cuddles in the rocking chair in his room until he fell into a peaceful slumber. and then he decided to wake up less than an hour later. we tried everything we could think of but no luck. he didn’t fall back asleep until the crack of stupid a.k.a. really super early in the morning, the time when usually you’re coming home from a fun night out of drinking and dancing, wait what? (see my post “sleep, what’s that again?”). basically things have been kinda off since then. the frustrating thing is he’s pretty good about going down for naps. we cuddle and rock in his room, he falls asleep and i lay him down, no complaints, no fuss, no crying. just sleep, usually for 1-3 hours.

over the past few weeks things escalated. he decided that he would not sleep at bedtime unless he was being held. this honestly came out of nowhere, or so it seemed. perhaps this was coming and we just didn’t realize it, i’m not sure. one Saturday the little guy decided to wake up every 2 hours and then stay awake for 1-2 hours. urgh. and at this point i have no liquid gold (a.k.a. breastmilk) to offer him, but boy, i wish i did. Sunday night was pretty much a repeat of Saturday. not fun.

my patience level was at 10% and quickly decreasing. i was ready to break. don’t get me wrong, i love spending all day with my son, but there comes a time, usually at the end of the day, that i need a little “mama” time and he was not co-operating.

i began reading books, articles and anything i could find in hopes that someone could give us a some guidance (and maybe teach me a little more patience) but the only things i kept finding were about letting my child cry it out (CIO). i am not a fan of this method. i have my reasons, which you may or may not agree with, to each their own. here are a few good articles to read 10 Alternatives to Crying It Out, Science Says: Excessive Crying Could Be Harmful, and ‘Cry it out’ isn’t more effective than ‘no cry’.

i finally found something helpful in The No Cry Sleep Solution book by Elizabeth Pantley. (buy it here). it was close to the end of the book (pages 207-213), for those of us parents, who are “at their wits end”, who are ready to snap and who really don’t want to use the CIO method. it didn’t solve our problems but shed a little light on the situation. i also found another great article or two online (and of course i can’t find them now to add links!) that talked about babies who were nursed and rocked at bedtime and a few different suggestions on how to get them to fall asleep on their own.

a lot of what i found was frustrating because they talked about creating a routine and sticking to it being one of the biggest things to establish. well, we have a routine. a damn good one if i do say so. and we’ve had a routine since little man was probably 4-6 months old (which we’ve changed as necessary as time goes by and his needs change). the articles & books that finally helped me to understand really what was going on basically explained that the reason our son may have decided he doesn’t want to be put down is that he only knows how to fall asleep by being held/nursed/cuddled etc. it made sense when i thought about it, and honestly, i don’t know why i didn’t think of it before! of course: 95% of his entire life he fell asleep in my arms (the other 5% belongs to his dad but it’s now closer to 70-30 as my hubby has been amazing with giving me “breaks” from mama duty). i started reading more about different ways to try to get my son to fall asleep on his own because this new “don’t you dare put me down” attitude was becoming mentally and physically exhausting for us.

we decided to try one method that suggested rocking him until he was drowsy but not quite out and then laying him down to fall asleep on his own in the crib. sitting beside his bed, letting him touch us, hug us, etc, whatever it took to make him feel comforted and know that mom & dad were still there for him and not leaving him when he felt he needed our “touch”, just not holding him. the first night took 3 hours to get him to bed. 3 HOURS. we put his glow worm beside him and the soothing sounds seemed to help lull him to sleep. and so we thought, ok! the glowworm might be the trick up our sleeve that we need to help little man fall asleep on his own! along came the next night … one hour till sleepy time! the third night, one again! when we first put him in the crib, he whined and cried but only for less than 5 minutes. as each night went by the crying and whining stopped! we thought we may have figured things out and then the 4th night came along: 2 hours to get him down. the same for the 5th and 6th, etc … he would start out very sleepy and relaxed in my arms, i’d lay him down and he’d immediately sit up and then stand up at the edge of the crib reaching for me. i ignored him and started the glow worm in hopes of distracting him. this worked, sort of. and then he’d play with the glow worm, then stand up. then play with Mr. Owl (his cute little owl/blankie toy). then lay down. and repeat.

i basically was fed up and starting reading again. reaching for something and then i thought, he’s so young. he just wants to be held. what on earth do i have to do that’s more important than cuddling with my son and making him feel relaxed, comfortable, safe and loved? i decided to forget everything i had read and try going back to a modified version of what i was doing before. i rocked my son until he fell asleep and when i laid him down in his crib he stayed asleep! i tried again the next night and he fussed when i transitioned him from my arms to his crib, so i started the glow worm and patted his back; he relaxed and passed out again. we’ve been going strong since (knock on wood).

my son needs me. he’s my baby. the most important thing in my life. he’s my world.  i’m his support, his lifeline, his comfort, his safety and most of all, his mama. this cuddle time will only last for so long and before i know it he won’t want to be rocked. he won’t want to have so many hugs and kisses. he won’t need me like he does now. i think we, as parents, need to stop wanting our kids to grow up so fast, because when they do, we’ll miss these days more than we realize. xo.

the mommy truth

no one ever talks about the ugly side of parenting. sure, we all love our kids. whether you have 1, 2, 3 or 7 (or however many you decided upon) you love your children, it’s a fact. BUT there are many, many, MANY times where we don’t like them, errrr, i mean, their behaviour. it’s true and yes, i said it. being a parent isn’t always easy. i know that my husband and i have many years of parenting ahead of us (being that our little guy is still pretty young) but no one can prepare you for the roller coaster of emotions that you will feel.

when they first arrive you are elated; overcome with joy, love, fear and pure bliss for the little person you have brought into this world. you can never imagine being angry, upset or frustrated with such a perfect little being. and then they start to grow. and move. and talk. and learn. all day, every day. i love my son, more than anything i ever thought i loved before. he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me. he is my greatest accomplishment, my little teacher and tester of my patience and he just turned one in February! … but i never knew what true frustration was until i became a mother. sure, friends do stupid things, partners and siblings can be annoying but nothing can make the screaming banshee come alive like being a mother with sleep deprivation. every little thing starts to annoy you. you get to the point where you are ready to scream (and just might have to) and then tear someone’s head off (which you probably shouldn’t do). another thing that causes this is being with your child 24/7. every parent needs a break. whether it’s running to the grocery store, going for a drive or hiding out at a hotel and not telling anyone where you are (wouldn’t that be nice?).

i read an article today on the Huffington Post about kids and bedtime, and although my son is still young, it really hit home (read it here). one particular paragraph spoke to me, and i quote:

“One of the myriad problems with this parenting gig is that they save the hardest part for last. BEDTIME. Bedtime should be in the morning — when we’re fresh and kind and sweet — and decent parenting still seems like a very real possibility. But no, the hardest parts — dinner and baths and bedtime — arrive at the end of the day, when we have nothing left. When the truth is, we are counting the minutes. Counting the moments until no one is the boss of us anymore. Until we can sink into that couch, book, Internet or glass of wine — whatever our victory lap includes.”

OMG, this is so true! i have often said, why can’t our son be full of attitude and frustration and incessant whining during the day? why does it have to be when i’m exhausted and at my wit’s end and ready to just have a little me time? especially when my husband is on afternoon shift and the whole afternoon, evening and bedtime routine is mom-only.

more parents (new and old) need to talk about the reality of being just that, a parent. the times when you have to go into the bathroom and scream into a towel just to get the frustration out because there’s no one else to take over for you (yes, i did that today). the times when you say things you shouldn’t to your kids (whether they understand or not) and the times when you just sit and cry your eyes out because you are just SO tired. the times when you can’t imagine your life without them. when they make you prouder than you ever thought possible. when they make you feel like the most important person in the world.

no one has, or is, a perfect baby, toddler, child, teenager, young adult or adult. if they say so, they’re lying. every parent has gone through hard times, they just might not admit it. we need to start talking more about what frustrates us, what we’re going through, the good, the bad and the ugly. i think if that happened, we’d all feel a little more normal. whatever that is.

weaning, not what i thought it would be

i’ve been meaning to blog lately but over the last few days it’s been busy around here! we had some friends over on the weekend for a sleepover with their 14 month old daughter on Saturday night, then headed to pick up the dog from my parents house on Sunday and that night, was the last time my little man nursed. i honestly didn’t think that when the time came to bring his nursing to a close, that i would be as emotional as i was. i don’t think either of us were really ready for him to wean, however, with hubby and i having a few evenings out planned, it was kind of necessary. i tried pumping, but didn’t have much luck. since our son only nurses at bedtime, trying to pump during the day got me about 1 oz which definitely wouldn’t be enough to give him at bedtime. i’d like to think that maybe he was only drinking a little and mostly suckling for comfort and relaxation, which made it a bit easier for me. my  sister is coming over in about 2 weeks to watch the little man while hubby and i have a night out: dinner and a comedy show here in town (Danny Bhoy at Centennial Hall, woo hoo!) so we figured that if we started a new bedtime routine, minus nursing, that it might give him enough time to settle into things. i was going to change things up last week when hubby was on days but i honestly didn’t want to. i decided that i’d do it when he was back on afternoons, that way it would be just me and the little man, pretty much same as usual, only minus the boobmilk. i figured that since his bedtime routine had consisted of nursing to sleep for over 95% of his one year of life, that it would be best if it was me putting him to sleep without the milk. that way when the time comes for daddy to try, he won’t be crying to nurse … we headed upstairs around 7:30 and he grabbed a few toys from his room to play with. i set up the gate at the top of the stairs and got out his jammies & sleepsack, turned on the white noise on the radio and clicked on the monitor. i found him playing in the hallway and said, alright little guy, time to brush your teeth! this too was a new thing. for about 6 months he only had 2 little teeth (the bottom front two) but over the past 3 weeks, 6 more have come in. SIX! i figured that since there are 8 now, we probably could switch from tooth wipes to a toothbrush and a baby-safe paste. he was so good about it. he came into the bathroom, i sat him on my lap and i brushed his little teeth, all 8 of them. then i gave him a sip of water and he seemed fairly content. after watching me brush my teeth numerous times, and using his little baby silicone brush to brush his gums etc (from when he was younger) he appeared to be ok with this new thing. we then went to his room, changed him into his nighttime diaper and jammies and sat down in the rocking chair to read a story. we read two books and i told him that it was time to go to sleep now. i turned the lamp down low and we rocked in the chair, like every other night, just minus nursing. at first, he seemed fine; nuzzling his nose into my arm and fidgeting to find just the right spot to fall asleep. after maybe 5 minutes he started to whimper, and that little whimper broke my heart. on and off for about 20 minutes he’d sit back and look at me, cry and then rest his head on my shoulder. i knew it was going to be hard, but i didn’t anticipate the tears that were streaming down my cheeks as i rocked him and told him it was ok and that it was time to go to sleep. as i wiped each one from my cheek i explained that this is how things had to be and it wasn’t that mommy didn’t want to, but rather, she had to, in order for him to be a big boy and be able to be put to bed by someone else. i tried singing and humming our usual nighttime songs but found myself choking up each time i tried; i decided to just rock him in silence for a few minutes to gather my thoughts and after that began to hum. he seemed to relax and fall asleep so i laid him down in his bed and crept out of the room. i wasn’t gone 5 minutes when i looked at the monitor and saw him squirm, sit up and begin to cry. i went back in to soothe my little man; gave him a hug and told him it was ok and it was time to sleep now. i rubbed his back, sang a few more songs and tried to slip out again. this time i decided to sit in our room (across the hall) and watch the monitor to see how he’d do. maybe 10 minutes went by and he was up again. i knew it was going to be hard getting him to sleep this first night, without nursing, but i wasn’t really sure what to expect. i went back into the room and picked up my, then sobbing, son. i sat in the rocking chair, hugged him, kissed him and told him it was ok. i could see from the glow of the clock that his eyes were open, just slightly, looking up at me. we sat like that for another 40 minutes until he passed out, again. i quietly laid him in the crib and slipped out the door. waiting in our room, it took about 15 minutes for him to wake up again, and again i went in to soothe him. i hugged him and told him it was ok, and that mommy would just be downstairs if he needed her and that it was time to sleep now. he let out a big sigh and fell back asleep. by this point i had about 20 minutes before my husband would be home from work. i normally would take advantage of the few hours of time between our son going to bed and him coming home, to do laundry, check email, write a blog, etc. but last night i just sat in the kitchen and ate a bowl of cereal, trying to relax. hubby and i went to bed a few hours later and the little man woke up around 3am. my amazing husband went to tend to him to give me a little break (which i appreciate so much and feel i don’t tell him often enough). i could hear our son whimpering and crying as my hubby tried to rock him back to sleep. after a quick bum change and a little rocking he was out. it only lasted about 10-15 minutes and he was up again, sad. i went in, hugged and kissed him and told him to lay back down and go to sleep. he let out a big sigh and as i rubbed his back i told him that mommy and daddy needed to sleep too and that we’d be just across the hall if he needed us. he fell back asleep and i snuck out of the room. thankfully he slept until we had to wake him up to take him to a doctor’s appointment. i felt bad waking him up, but it was better than him waking us up again in the wee hours of the morning … bedtime today went much smoother and he took about 15 minutes to fall asleep after our new routine. fingers crossed things he sleeps better tonight. it breaks my heart to see him so sad when i know what could make him happy but can’t give in. ahh well. i know this too shall pass.