Category: Being Mom

Sleep Training Or Lack There Of

screwing my kid up

 

 

I really feel like I need someone smarter and more experienced than me to tell me what to do next with this kid. Honestly, things just don’t occur to me – like when to give solids or when to start weening him off the night bottle. I just never really gave it much thought. If it wasn’t for the BabyCenter emails Mike would still be in a swaddler eating 2 ounces of formula like he did in the hospital. Not because I don’t want him to grow up, but because it doesn’t dawn on me that things need to change. And my little bug is just so go with the flow he doesn’t usually make me think otherwise.

I joke with my Momma friends that each day is a day I wonder how I am going to screw him up. Today I’m pretty sure not starting sleep training earlier has screwed him up.

If you have been following me on Facebook, it isn’t a secret that Mikey isn’t sleeping. Well. He sleeps, just not like he should be (apparently) at this age. He goes down at 8P, wakes up HYSTERICAL at 11P and after we rock him back to sleep, he is up every hour or two after that. Some nights. Other nights it’s different, but this foolishness has been going on for 3 weeks. We’ve tried EVERYTHING – temperature, sheets, music, no music, white noise, no white noise, gas drops, Ibuprofen ….

Guys. I’m tired.

So. Tired. 

Yesterday we finally went to the doctor, who was very nice, but confirmed nothing was medically wrong with our boy. He was probably having a night terror and when we pick him up, he wakes up and for the rest of the night he cries because he knows we will pick him up and snuggle. Doc asked if we were sleeping training. Um. No. Don’t we start that when he is 10 or 15 or something?

It never dawned on me, or us for that matter, to sleep train. Don’t babies cry at night? It wasn’t a huge inconvenience to my schedule so I never gave it much thought. Until now.

Doc told us to let him ‘cry it out’ with the night terror since it will pass and he won’t remember it and you shouldn’t wake him up. For just the run of the mill waking up, he recommended the Ferber method. S. and I both have mixed reactions to that, but decided last night to give it a try.

Mike went down around 8P and he fussed a bit since he wasn’t totally asleep. 5 minutes later, I went in, patted his tush and he was out. See? Not that hard. Around 2A (!!!!) he woke up hysterical and S. and I decided to give it 15 minutes. I patiently watched the video monitor and rushed in at the 15 minute mark when he was still going strong.

But wait.

What was I suppose to do at the 15 minute mark? Pick him up? Pat his butt? Shit. I didn’t think that far ahead. So I picked him up and rocked him. Probably not the right thing, but I wasn’t sure what I was suppose to do. S. and I agreed to start researching other sleep training methods to start on Saturday night. Mike’s Bubbe is in town Friday night and it is just too much to try to get him on a schedule until it calms down in the house.

Look, it’s not that I don’t like to hear my baby cry. I hate it, but I have it in perspective. Short term pain for long term gain, as long as he is safe. I am just not sure the Ferber Method is the right one for us. Co-sleeping isn’t right for us either. There has to be something in the middle right? What has worked for your little?

 

The ADHD Momma

adhd quote

When I got pregnant, an ex-coworker invited me to join a new mom’s group on Facebook she created when she moved and had trouble connecting with other mommas. I invited a few more friends, who invited a few more and now it’s a busy group with a huge variety of women and parenting styles. But one thing has always been a constant.  When one of us posts a ‘venting’ message, everyone responds with encouragement.

Today, someone brought up the fact that she doesn’t multitask well and having two kiddos doesn’t help matters. She reached out today for tips on getting organized and being productive without totally going bat crap crazy. When I started thinking about some things that work for me to share with her, I realized I had a ton of tip and it made me sound like I had my life together and I was Super Momma when in reality I am always one task away from bat crap crazy. The reason I have to be so organized is because of my ADHD, which lately has been a curse.

I know a lot of people say they are ADHD, but according to my doctor, I am off the chart ADHD. I was diagnosed at the age of 21 when I started my first ‘big girl’ job that required sitting and deadlines and multitasking and I would end my day in tears because I wanted to do all those things SO BADLY but something was holding me back.  My mom brought up some things she noticed when I was growing up and after a trip to the doctor and multiple medication tests, I found that a high dose of Concerta and behavior modification work well for me. It’s been a struggle to stay on top of my ADHD since Mike has arrived, but S. and I have worked out a few strategies to keep us all sane (and me married!).

The main idea in keeping my ADHD under control (aside from medication) is to simplify. Here’s a few things we’ve done:

Amazon Prime: For less than $100 a year, we get free two day shipping on just about everything. This keeps me from having multiple shopping lists and I since we aren’t paying shipping, I can order one or ten things at a time when it is top of mind. Since Mike is out of the carrier car-seat, getting him in and out of the car is a PITA, so the less stops I have to make the better. Sure, we might pay a few bucks more for 120 rolls of toilet paper, but it comes to our door! I don’t have to carry it up stairs while juggling a baby or stop at Target during peak hours. Here are a few things we’ve gotten from Amazon: flea and tick medicine, bottle nipples, Clorox wipes, two fire extinguishers, infant ibuprofen, bath towels and baby wipes.

A daily family to-do list: We use a small dry erase board on our fridge. Every day we add to it what needs to be done. Some things stay on there day after day (put out S’s clothes, pack lunch, put out trash) and some are weekly (pack day care bag, empty trashcans) and some are more random (cut Mike’s nails, change light bulb, thaw chicken). During the day if I find free time I am not wandering aimlessly through the house looking for something productive to do and when S. comes home he isn’t asking me what needs to be done. I feel like this keeps our evenings and mornings less stressful.

Work task planner: I searched high and low for the exact planner I needed for work. I finally found something that I am hoping works for the new year. It’s a full size, spiral bound, dated, lined notebook from Franklin Covey. So each morning I jot down my daily to dos and if something comes up that needs to be done in the future, like a follow up call, I make a note on that day’s page.  I have tried multiple apps and organizers, but there is something about writing things down with a pen that just works for me.

Google Calendars: S. is the keeper of our calendar because I can never ever remember to put stuff on there. And when I do, it is the wrong date or time. I tell him as soon as I know something and he puts it on the calendar and we review it either nightly or weekly. Which leads me to ….

Family meeting: It sounds way more official than it really is. Typically it’s S. and I in bed on Sunday evening with our laptops looking at the calendar. This way we can make changes on who is doing what and also plan our meals and money for the week. It is a blessing that I fell in love and married someone so organized who is so understanding and forgiving of my scatterbrain.  I know it’s hard on him sometimes when I keep saying I will do something when it is clearly never going to happen.

I have said many times to many people that my ADHD is sometimes a blessing and some times a curse. It’s something I have to keep on top of and be flexible enough to make adjustments to our lifestyle to make it all flow. What tips and tools do you have to stay organized?

Getting My Head On Straight

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? It’s not from being lazy, it’s been the crazy holiday season! I have lots of posts and update swirling around my head, but a mix of my ADHD being out of control and Mike going through a bout of ‘Milestone Madness’, it’s been difficult to sit down and do what I WANT to do, which is write. 

A quick, 144 character, Twitter style update until next time:

new year org, sleeping when possible, snuggling the baby, kissing the husband, playing with new toys, ready to be back to ‘normal’, say tuned! 

 

Friday 5 – My First Link Up!

I’m linking up with Joy over at the Sowell Life for Friday Five, my first link-up! It seems like a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other and for me to have a bit of a writing prompt since I have had some creative writing blocks when it comes to writing about mommahood.

 

For this week’s 5, here are 5 things I didn’t expect when it came to becoming a mother:

1. I thought I was going to be the kind of mother who could run errands with my baby and just bring a diaper, wipe and bottle. In reality, I am carrying an overflowing diaper bag with 2 changes of clothes, a book, my carrier, 3 pacifiers, etc, etc, etc. I get it. I’m ‘That Mom’.

2. I thought it would be hard to give my baby to someone else to hold and snuggle. I know this time is so short and I thought I would be selfish and want to keep it to myself as long as possible. Well friends, after a few hours of snuggle time (while multitasking life) I would hand him to the janitor at the Dairy Queen across the street. First of all, I need a break. Second of all, he is my pride and joy (cliche, but true) so seeing him with other people and their reaction to him [more like noticing how amazingly perfect he is] makes me happy.

3. I knew being a momma would be life changing, but not like this. Life has gotten hectic and my head has gotten muddy, but damn if this isn’t what I am suppose to be doing right now. Everything seems to have fallen into place and fits perfectly.

4. It’s not as bad/hard/exhausting as people said when I was pregnant. Yes, there are sleepless nights. Yes, sometimes the crying is a bit much, but it just wasn’t that difficult for me. Perhaps we have a good kid, or perhaps people giving ‘advice’ and sharing ‘war stories’ is God’s way of setting expectations.

5. Being a momma automatically puts you in a club with instant friends.  I have a lot of Facebook friends (I worked for a global association for a long time, so a lot of my ‘friends’ are actually members) and many seem to be coming out of the woodwork by commenting or liking my status. It’s like they are seeing me in a new light – just like I am seeing myself in a new light. If I knew having a baby would expand my circle, I would have had him a lot sooner!

There you have it – my first link-up!

Abandoning Mike at Daycare

We survived our first week at daycare! Well, it was only 2 days, but regardless, we survived, and dare I say – thrive?

I was spending all day Tuesday obsessing over leaving him the next day with G. Would he wonder where I went? Will he feel abandoned? What if he cries the whole time? I secretly wanted to just coast by and toss him out of the car to avoid dealing with it, but alas – that is frowned upon.

So I took him, showed G. all his stuff, kissed him 3 times and walked out the door tear free. I got in the car and had this feeling in the pit of my stomach. I just left my child with someone who I would consider a stranger who the state says doesn’t keep sharp objects out, knows CPR and doesn’t have any complaints from parents.  I knew after that day it would get easier … I just had to get through the day.

It was a beautiful day, with terrible traffic. I rolled down my window and turned the radio up a bit. Then a bit more. Then even more. No baby, I can blare the radio like the old days! I pulled into the Walgreen’s parking lot and realized I didn’t have to schlep a 17lb baby in with me for a Diet Coke.

I got to the office and spent the majority of the day focused on work and meetings. Yes, I felt like I was missing a body part, and yes, I wondered what he was doing at that moment, but I resisted the urge to call. I didn’t want to interrupt his day, or G.’s day. I trust her, I really do.

I busted out of the office at 3PM like my ass was on fire. I missed my baby and wanted some snuggles. I may have ran a few red lights and hit a squirrel. I got to G’s house and he was having a fine time fiddling with G’s assistant’s hajab. I got a few smiles and learned he had a fabulous day watching the kids interacting and eating. He got what he needed and I got what I needed. I happily (okay, KIND of happily) dropped him off on Friday and so far, so good.

Momma’s Must Haves

Momma's Must Haves

Since I’ve been a Momma for just over 8 weeks, I’m considering myself an expert. Just kidding. I am flying by the seat of my pants just like everyone else.  I’ve had a few friends recently get pregnant (congrats!!) and ask me what I would recommend goes on their registry. Here are my top 5:

1. WubbaNub: I am a big pacifier fan, and thankfully so is Mikey. I read about these on another blog and decided to use some of our gift card funds to pick up a few. Mikey loves them! It’s a soft animal literally attached to a Soothie pacifier. I’ve caught Mike holding the animal in his sleep and we have yet to lose one – which makes the price tag a little easier to swallow. The only other complaint is how to wash them, which I am still working out. FYI – Babies R Us has them for cheaper.

2. Summer Infant SwaddleMe: S. took the Dad’s class and was a swaddling expert. Me on the other hand … not so much. Especially when we were in the hospital for 5 days and exhausted. Welcome the SwaddleMe. They are soft cotton pre’made’ swaddles with velcro. So you put the baby in the ‘pouch’, fold one side over, then fold the other side over and velcro closed – ta da! Instant baby burrito. Mikey was a HUGE fan of these and it helped him relax and stop crying. He looked like a glow worm.

3. adan + anais Muslin Burpy Bib:  I am obsessed with adan + anais products. I got one of these burpy bibs as a hand me down and was really impressed with it’s size. Mikey has some impressive spit ups and somehow this burp cloth catches it every time. Plus, it has small hidden snaps so it can snap around his neck covering a large area – critical if you kid spits up like mine. The muslin washes great too.

4. adan + anais Muslin Swaddle Blankets:  Guess what! Prince George was photographed with one of these blankets! First of all, finding lightweight blankets for summer babies is damn near impossible. We got a few as gifts and they were heavy or fleecy. I passed these a few times at Buy Buy Baby, but couldn’t justify to price – until I couldn’t find anything else. Best. Purchase. Ever. I’m not sure why they are marketed as swaddle blankets. I use them as blankets, car seat cover, nursing cover (when I was nursing) and a changing pad. It’s HUGE and they wash great. Plus I love their prints.

5. Baby K’Tan: I will be the first to sing the praises of the ErgoBaby carrier, but it is hard to wear and work on a computer.  I liked the concept of a sling, but slings seem be confusing to put on and time consuming.  I did some research before I went back to work and found a lot of positive reviews of the Baby K’Tan. It’s really easy to put on after the third try and it has a variety of positions. Mikey’s favorite is the hug position, facing me.  I can quickly put the sling on and slide him in and within 5 minutes he is snoring and I am working uninterrupted. What else do I love? It is 2 pieces and the big one fits in the pocket of the other piece. AND when I am wearing it, that same pocket is available for his WubbaNub or house keys. Or cookies.

There’s a Bad Moon on the Right

Before I launch into my latest musings, I apologize for the long absence. It’s not like I am busy or anything! The DC metro area is in the middle of a killer heatwave and I am spending my time sweating in a dark room (keep the curtains closed!) eating take out (it’s too hot to turn on the stove!) with a fussy baby (no excuse for this one).

The other day I was rocking with my fussy baby and trying to conjure up a nursery rhyme or lullaby – and I couldn’t think of even one. Wait. I am lying. I know one verse of All the Pretty Little Horses. Since I am scared to death of horses, that song is a no go. Why don’t I know any of these songs? I had (and still do have) a cool mom. She was a younger mom and while other moms played kid friendly songs, I was rocking out to Madonna and Michael Jackson. I wouldn’t know a nursery rhyme if Mother Goose asked me herself.

Mikey does like the sound of my singing (he is the only one, which I totes understand), so I tried to sing a couple songs I knew and I couldn’t get through the first verse of any of my favorites – I couldn’t remember the lyrics! I blame my Catholic upbringing for this one. Like any good Catholic, I can recite the whole Mass in my sleep, as long as someone is reciting it with me. Left to my own devices I am lost. I can sing any Jay Z song – as long as I am singing with the radio.  Plus, Jay Z might not be appropriate for Mike in a few months. I can imagine his first word being ‘hustling’ and having to explain that one to our friends.

I am forever grateful for Pandora’s Rockabye Baby station – hit songs (why should I suffer?) set to classical music. I set it, sit and rock and sing along to the parts I do know. Which is funny when a Jammy Jam comes on like Summertime by Will Smith.

Some of Mike’s favorites? Take Me Out to the Ballgame, Three Birds by Bob Marley, Always Midnight by Pat Monahan and Mine by Taylor Swift. He’s got eclectic musical tastes already!

What do you sing your little one?

My Son Hates Breasts

Phew! I’m still a Mom! I keep waiting for Mike’s REAL Mom to come pick him up. But alas, that’s me and he is still here in all his snugly glory.  We had a huge win the other day at his 2 week appointment – he SURPASSED his birth weight an in less than a week we chunked him up from 7lbs 4 oz to 8lbs 12 oz. How did we do that? Not breastfeeding.

Here’s the thing. When companies claim things about their products that are not true, they get sued. I wish there was someone I could sue for marketing breastfeeding as this:

Beautiful right? Happy baby, happy mama? I am sure it is like this for a lot of mamas and babies (I do question her spit up and stain free white robe though). It was kinda like this for me in the hospital; minus a good latch, add incredibly sore nipples. Mike even tried to latch on my face while they were sewing me up! But hey, breastfeeding is natural right? We’ll work it out. In fact, at the hospital we learned how to supplement formula and Mike was in HEAVEN. Suddenly he didn’t have to work too hard for food. Which ironically, I don’t like to do either. I can’t be bothered with chicken bones or breaking open my own crabs.

Flash forward to our first night home. Here is what my breastfeeding experience looked like:

Back arching, mouth open, hands flaying, legs kicking … and mama crying. Every. Single. Time. The next day we went to our pediatrician to meet with the lactation consultant and Mike was still not gaining weight. But we worked on a scheduled plan, made an appointment for the next day with a different consultant and went home to try again. And by try, I mean cry for half an hour and give a bottle. Every. Single. Time.

The next day, we were back at the lactation consultant’s office and she noticed I had … wait for it … small nipples. Insert a flash of hope! The answer to my prayers! A quick fix! I got a nipple shield and Mike seemed moderately interested. Until we got home. 3 days and nights of screaming and crying to be followed by formula.

3 days later, we were BACK at the doctor’s office for a weight check and to see the lactation consultant. This time, I cried. She was so nice and caring about the situation. She made great points like breastfeeding has to be right for both mama and baby and clearly it wasn’t working for us. She also mentioned that it is to the point where Mike is so frustrated he freaks out at the sight of my breasts.  My breasts scare my son.

And Mike still wasn’t to his birth weight, so breastfeeding REALLY wasn’t working for him.  When Plan A doesn’t work, go to Plan B. When Plan B is a wash, go to Plan C.  Plan C for us was to be a formula family and supplement with a little pumped breast milk, which I call his multi-vitamin.

And guess what? No more tears. No more dreading feeding time. S. is able to take part in a stress free feeding experience. Sure there are a lot more bottles to wash and formula to buy (which is insanely expensive).

The strange thing is I am not sure why breastfeeding was so important to me. I always said if it works great, if not, that’s fine too. It’s about the baby being fed, not about me. But when it came down to it, it was heartbreaking that things weren’t working. A few days have gone by and a little Zoloft eased the blow (more on that later) and we are happy with the situation and snagging all the free formula samples we can.