Lately I’ve been feeling sort of down about the fact that I don’t get to spend as much time with the girls as I want to. I think a big part of it is that when Audrey was 6 months old (like Caroline is now), I quit my job at UGF to prepare for our PCS to Virginia. That meant I got to spend 6-7 months with her instead of being a working mom, and I loved that time so much. I am really sad & feel guilty that I don’t get that time with Caroline at all and I guess I’m just feeling like an insignificant part of their lives. It seems like both of them are growing so fast and I feel like I don’t get to actively participate.
To add insult to injury, last night at bedtime, Audrey bumped her head and started crying. The first thing she said was, “I wanna show Miss Leonor (daycare teacher)!” and she said it twice more. Same thing happened this morning when she scraped her knee on the way to the car. Ugh. It was like a dagger to the heart & I teared up on the spot.
Caroline’s also stopped nursing because she gets so frustrated that let-down is slower than getting milk from a bottle. Of course my mind sees this as a, “well, if I was able to spend more time with her and we could nurse more, she wouldn’t get so used to the bottle” issue which makes me feel awful again. For now it’s back to exclusive pumping which is something I did NOT want to do again after Audrey, but if it’s what needs to be done in order to get breastmilk into her, then there is no question. However, I’m not so thrilled about this being my fate for the next 6 months…
It has been hard not to beat myself up about these things lately. My mind constantly says, “Well, of course Audrey calls out for her daycare teacher first. Why wouldn’t she? You’re never there!” or “What did you expect from your previously amazing nursing baby? You are not able to nurse her as frequently anymore. Of course she isn’t going to want to anymore!” So frustrating, disheartening & depressing. I know there are perks to being a working mom (right?), but sometimes it’s just hard to see them.
Yesterday was quite the busy day for the girls in the family! It was Take Your Daughter to Work day so Audrey accompanied me in the morning and we had a great time. Caroline also happened to turn 6 months old yesterday (!!!!!!) and so I took her for her 6-month appointment and shots in the afternoon.
We’ll start with Audrey’s and my adventure in the morning. It was so much fun to bring her in & of course she was spoiled rotten. She was sugared up and given lots of little trinkets (crayons & a coloring book from one of my coworkers and then tons and tons of bead necklaces and a tiara from some of the academic programs I work with). I got the bare minimum amount of work done and then the rest of the time was spent doing fun things like escorting her around campus. She had a few other little friends to play with as well, and she was so tired by the time we got to the car that she fell asleep before we even got to school. Of course, we couldn’t take our beads off when we sat in our car seat so I think I spent a good 5 minutes trying to buckle around them!
Once we got to daycare, I swapped Audrey out for Caroline & off we went to her 6-month appointment. She is such a little chubby snuggle bear. I just can’t get enough of her! Stats are:
15 lbs, 5 oz (52nd percentile!)
25 1/4 in tall (47th percentile)
16.3 in head circumference (32nd percentile)
Let me just say that I cannot believe we have a child in the 52nd percentile for weight! It is so crazy to me since Audrey never hit that. I love all of Caroline’s little chubby rolls, and the doctor says she is right on track with weight vs. height, so at least her chub isn’t TOO chubby! She seemed to take her shots a little bit tougher than she did previously but it resulted in lots of nice snuggles at home afterwards (but a little longer to get her settled in for the night).
Here are the pics of the day:
(“Sleep Caroline” is what Audrey thinks we are singing when we sing “Sweet Caroline” to our baby Bear, and in some cases, her interpretation of the lyrics is right on.)
In our seemingly never-ending quest to get Caroline to develop good sleep habits, my friend suggested a book called The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight. This book is all about gentle ways to get your child to learn good sleep habits. With Audrey, we’d read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child & I did like that book too, but it’s currently “hiding” in a box somewhere so I decided to do a quick download of this one to my Nook so there was no delay in starting. Once I started reading it, I could see so many aspects of Caroline in it right away. It is a fascinating book about infant/baby/toddler sleep & sleep crutches/habits, but it doesn’t read like a textbook and I’ve actually enjoyed it. We started the “Sleep Lady Shuffle” last night which is basically a slow process of getting Caroline to self-soothe and not need us in the room with her in order to fall asleep. Days 1-3 involve putting her down drowsy but awake (not rocking her to sleep), but sitting next to her crib and patting her if necessary. If she gets really wound up, we are able to pick her up over the crib but need to put her back down once she is calm. We stay next to her crib until she falls asleep for the first three days, but every three days we move further away from the crib until eventually we are out of her room completely. In addition to trying this, we also said that we weren’t going to automatically go in & feed her when she cried (and usually with her first wakeup of the night, we would) because at this age, healthy babies can go 10 hours without a feeding.
Honestly, I was skeptical about how she would handle this but just like her move to the crib, she was surprisingly resilient. I definitely expected to be sitting in her room with her for HOURS while she fell asleep but it took less than 15 minutes. I kept patting her & saying, “shh, shh,” replacing her pacifier when she dropped it and letting her fuss a little bit. I sang to her, too, because she LOVES people singing to her. I never picked her up, I just let her know that I was there. Once she was asleep, she stayed asleep for almost 2 hours before waking again. It didn’t really surprise me because she loves sleeping on her tummy and she was on her back when she went to sleep this time around. Anyway, when she woke up (around 8:30), I went into her room & laid her on her belly and repeated what I’d done before. She snuggled into her little lovey and fell asleep within 5 minutes. She slept until 2:30am or so and then Brian went into her room for night-time soothing. She was a little harder to get back down this time & he had to go back in an additional time, but then she settled down without being rocked and without eating (and all before 3am!). She slept until almost 7am and woke up playing, so I’m deeming night 1 a success! Hopefully this will last & continue to get easier and easier.
Sometimes I think she is SO ready for things and we’re the ones holding her back. Like, maybe she’s been ready to self-soothe for a while, but we weren’t giving her the tools to do it and she was just waiting for us stupid adults to catch up to her. This book has already been a good reminder that she isn’t going to develop great sleeping habits on her own & that it’s up to us to help teach her. Audrey is a GREAT sleeper but it also came from tons of hard work on my end and Caroline is going to be the same!
Filed under baby, Motherhood
I’m beginning to think that Caroline lives to disprove everything I say about her (example: the post I wrote about being past my guess date and then her arrival the next day). Only a few days after I posted about how her sleep has dramatically improved, she is back to being a difficult sleeper. It is so frustrating & I had hoped that my feeling of sleep-deprivation would have dissipated by 6 months. Audrey was SO easy, even when she teethed, so this is a special form of torture. Plus, I seriously feel like a new mom sometimes in that there are some facts & insight that I just cannot remember from when Audrey was little. I’m not sure we know how to function on no sleep, especially because now there are two of them to corral rather than just one so even when we finally get Caroline to relax & sleep, Audrey is still a maniac (I mean that affectionately).
In all honesty, though, I am not sure what to do to fix this. I can’t figure out if it’s a problem with her not knowing how to self-soothe or if something else is going on. She’s never been a consistently good sleeper so there is nothing to compare this to. It’s hard to pinpoint whether this is par for the course with her or if it’s something like teething. All I know is that we are going crazy! Her naps are just fine when she’s home on the weekends but her night-time sleep is awful. I had to soothe her back to sleep with an hour of nonstop swaying and singing yesterday evening after Audrey woke her up. Usually she is easier to put down but not last night. The last few days she’s also been up (like clockwork) between 1130-1145 pm (right when we are starting to get into our deep sleep) and 330-345 am. I could deal with these wake-ups if it didn’t then take us another hour or two after each of them to get her to go back to sleep. Is it teething? Is she getting old enough to need something more substantial than just breastmilk? Does she need a hard lesson in how to self soothe? Who knows. With Audrey I used the book “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” and I need to bring that back into our lives but I’m pretty sure it’s awaiting a transition from the old house to the new house because it wasn’t with the rest of my baby reference books (I took it off the bookshelf to consult right before the move weekend). We have always had a lovey for her, but now we’re really working on making sure that her lovey is an “active” part of naptime & bedtime in hopes that it helps her self-soothe.
I really want to avoid CIO (cry-it-out) as long as possible because it doesn’t really mesh with how I want to deal with things but at the same time, oy, this is crazy. It’s to the point where I think letting her cry by herself in her crib for a little while is better than two high-strung, stressed out parents trying to calm her down…seems like a little bit of a conflict of interest there ;). I am usually so patient with her and I try to be so understanding of how strange it is to be an infant and to be bombarded with all sorts of new experiences but even I can’t maintain that patience on no sleep.
Anyway, does anyone have any thoughts? We decided to slowly start her on solids yesterday (she is almost 6 months) and when she is really inconsolable we’ve given her some Tylenol. I think we might try to give her more light in her room at night just in case that’s part of the problem too…but anything else? Please, someone come save us!
She was really cute, though, when she tried her bananas for the first time…
Filed under baby, Motherhood
We have been in the process of potty training (the best we know how!) Audrey & she is not scared to use the potty at all (or to flush lots of things down it), but she will ONLY go #1 in the toilet…that is, UNTIL YESTERDAY! She finally went #2 in the potty and we could not be prouder (sidenote: I cannot believe I am blogging about this). It feels like the major hurdle of potty training is over now that she is not scared to go #2. We are contemplating a potty training bootcamp weekend after we are settled in the new house just to finish the job. AHHH, so proud. She was SO proud of herself too & kept saying “I get m&ms!”. Yup, bribery works. She also keeps talking about how she gets to wear her princess underwear now…we’ve been telling her that she can only wear her Tangled underwear once she does EVERYTHING on the potty. Princesses and m&ms are definitely the way to bribe a two & a half year old girl (and, dare I say, some 27 year old women as well)!
And then later in the day, she was running in from playing outside and fell into the toilet soaking her shirt. Ah, toddlerhood’s adventures.
Doesn’t she look like such a big girl in the picture? I can’t believe how fast she is growing and how different she is even from when Caroline was born.
Filed under Kids, Motherhood
This past weekend was Caroline’s Baptism day. I have to admit, part of me dreaded it because it meant lots of preparation on very little sleep/energy/time. However, I let myself be a little lazy this time around and ended up just buying most of the food. I am a firm believer that some things are just worth spending money on & I think sanity is one of them. Between that & help from family, things were as stress-free as possible!
It was nice to have an opportunity to celebrate Caroline with family & friends. Despite her lack of desire to sleep normally, she is such a sweet little baby who love love loves to snuggle and she deserves her own celebration! Audrey usually steals the spotlight, so I was happy that this was Caroline’s occasion (even though Audrey was very much present ;)). As a new mom (am I still a new mom?), I love Baptisms more now than I did before having kids because they remind me of the true power, responsibility & honor that we have been given as parents to be responsible for raising a new little life.
Caroline did such a great job & didn’t cry at all. I was so proud of her! Everyone else placed bets on the fact that she would cry, but I held out and said, “Nope, I think she will surprise you all!” and she did. That’s my girl! She was so curious the entire time & just watched everything. Audrey even decided to give her own play-by-play of the Baptism by saying things like, “That water?” and “He touching water!” So funny.
We are very blessed to be the parents of such two beautiful little girls and to have family/friends that love them so much! I LOVE watching everyone interact with Audrey & Caroline because the amount of love our family & friends have for them is so evident. A & C are definitely going to be surrounded by people who have amazing influences on their lives and we couldn’t be more grateful.
Here is a picture of Caroline all tuckered out after her big day (courtesy of Mark Busch):
Despite my best efforts, in each of my last two pregnancies, I gained an obscene (in my mind) amount of weight…45 lbs! This was despite constant exercise (daily walks/runs of 4-5 miles) and pretty healthy eating. I started at the exact same weight both times and ended at the exact same weight (to the pound) each time. I will just take this to mean that despite it being a little higher than the “normal” pregnancy gain, it must have been what my body needed. However, seeing that number on the scale is horrifying and getting back down to normal pre-pregnancy weight really sucks especially because it seems to involve a lot of waiting for the body to get back to normal. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not patient and I do miss my skinny girl clothes.
Sidenote: this is part of the reason I do not understand why people don’t breastfeed if they are able! It is best for baby AND BURNS A BILLION CALORIES (20 calories per ounce)! I mean, if you don’t love nursing or pumping, don’t you love burning calories by doing nothing? I do. I did the math once and I burn about 800-900 calories from nursing/pumping on a normal day. INSANE. This is a good thing since I have zero time, energy or desire to commit to the treadmill at this point in my life.
Anyway, I regress. Out of the 45 lbs I gained with Caroline, I’ve lost a little over 30 lbs of it. Right now I’m at a plateau (no weight loss since Valentine’s Day, ew) and I’m getting so frustrated! I mean, if I’m honest with myself, I haven’t really been watching what I eat lately, either. Hopefully I break through that physical & mental plateau soon because I am determined to be at pre-pregnancy weight by May or June, so right now I need to re-focus and hope that it continues to fall off in a healthy and consistent manner. Unfortunately with Audrey, I only lost that last 5 pounds of pregnancy weight after weaning her (which I know is normal), but hopefully this time is different and I can lose it all in the next 2-3 months.
I should be okay once I get out of the mentality that because I’m burning lots of calories by doing nothing that I can eat as much dark chocolate with sea salt as I want (false). Such a weird thing because I never had that issue before but now I do! Sleep deprivation = no self control.
Another thing I am pushing myself to do is to remain healthy in other areas even though it means doing things I hate doing (aka: running all over creation and missing work). Today was a dentist appointment and a dermatologist appointment for a skin scan. I am so paranoid about skin cancer, especially because I had a few bad burns when I was younger and I know how deadly (and yet preventable) it can be. This was my first ever dermatologist (rather than physician) skin scan and I was so nervous! My usually low BP was so high. Luckily everything is normal so poor Brian won’t have to hear about my “cancer” anymore (that’s my nickname for this mole on my back that I’m extra paranoid about). So on the up-side, I am skin cancer-free BUT not cavity-free…doh! My first cavity in 8 or so years…
I’m off the chopping block in today’s doctor appts & next up is poor Caroline and her 4-month shots this afternoon. Fingers crossed that she does a good job like last time. I can’t wait to see how chubby she is these days!