Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Camden's Glasses...

I keep failing to get this post up. Not like it's a big long one or anything... I have no good excuse.

Camden's been saying for a while now the he needs glasses. We've been saying, no...you don't. Last eye exam, his eyes were perfect. And he's always said he WANTS glasses. So, when he says that it takes a few moments for his eyes to adjust when looking up from a book or down to a book...we tell him that's normal. But we go for the exam. He's due anyway.

And yes, he (barely) needs glass. But get this...he needs READING glasses. My TEN-year-old needs READING glasses. I can't get over it. It's been a couple months, and I still think it's funny.

And yes, they did already get broken and have to be replaced. (Thank goodness for the warranty!) It wasn't actually his fault, either. Ryan put the glasses, in the case, NEXT TO Camden's backpack one evening, so Camden would see them in the morning...instead of putting them IN the backpack. The first person to notice was not Camden but Aiden... He can definitely open the case and get them out. Snapped them right in two. Camden actually cried. (Don't tell him I said that!)

What's not funny? How cute he looks with them on!! I mean, I already knew he was a good looking kid (and I don't just say this because I'm his mommy...I say it because it's true. Too true.), but he looks even better with the glasses, if that is even possible!

Check him out:

They also came with magnetic sunglasses to go over the frames. Not sure how often he'll be using those, though. He literally only needs the glasses when he is reading (which is really quite often) or in school.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home again, home again

...jiggety jig.

We're back home from having Christmas in Kentucky. It was a very hectic time, but, as always, it was worth it. It might not have been so hectic if we had those three days that were spent waiting in NC instead of relaxing in KY... Yeah, that big snowstorm that came through VA and WV kept us home three days longer than planned. Our route goes right through where snow made for some really bad snow conditions, especially through the WV Turnpike, which was closed the day we were supposed to be on the road. Some people were stranded for 26 hours... I'm glad we made the decision to be stranded at home and wait it out. So, instead of leaving on Saturday, me and the kiddos left the house Tuesday morning. Ryan had to stay back to work and fly in Wednesday evening. I was nervous about the long drive by myself because Aiden really is not a great car-rider, especially on those long trips. But someone must have been hearing my prayers because the trip went way better than expected. That little boy who never sleeps more than an hour on these trips (that can take over 12 hours....) slept for a full (exactly) THREE HOURS right in the middle of the drive. Wow. Camden and I kept things silent for fear of waking the little guy up. We managed to stop in WV to have lunch with Ryan's dad and then again in KY to drop some luggage off at my mom's before driving another couple hours to my dad's. We weren't sure if we would make it to his house or not (that's where we were supposed to stay during the time we were stuck at home), but we made such good time that we managed...Aiden started to get cranky shortly before arriving. We left the house at 7:30am and arrived at our final destination at 7:30pm. But we made it, at least!

During our five days of visiting (not including the two days of travel), we managed to be in five different cities and see all of our family and some of our friends (but not all we had hoped to see). I told you it was hectic! The boys got plenty of gifts, as did we. It seemed to be the year of books for me and Ryan. We both came home with a ton (that we had asked for, of course). Now...we just need to find the time to read them all!! ;) We also enjoyed seeing the grandparents open their gifts. Among other things, they all received copies of a photobook of Aiden's first year and some pottery item that the kids made for them (either with handprints or thumbprints included, of course). But mostly, it was just wonderful to be with everyone. It's also the only time I get to see my extended family, since we live so far away. While some might say they would just as well stay at home rather than be so rushed and drive so much (most places we visited were about two-hour drives), I wouldn't do it any other way. Family is too important, so we make the trip...and look forward to living closer and being able to relax a bit during the holidays one day. Driving all over Kentucky, I was also reminded of how beautiful that state is. I kept wanting to stop the car to take pictures... All of the fields with cows grazing, the horse farms, the sunsets we got to see, everything. Beautiful.

Here are our pictures from all the Christmas celebrations (and some other events that happened to take place in December). I didn't take as many as I normally do, and somehow I missed pictures of some of the people we saw (sorry about that!). You'll notice Camden is missing from quite a few. He WAS with us for Christmas, but everywhere we went...he quickly disappeared to play outside or in another room with other kids. Aiden's always stuck with us, so there is no shortage of pictures of him. It was a lot of fun with him this year, especially because he really figured out the whole gift-opening concept. Hopefully next time we travel, he'll also figure out that he doesn't need to wake up at 4am every morning...

Now...next year...we are definitely getting started earlier. I'm putting it on my calendar. We still have yet to get the boys' tree ornaments (!!!I feel so terrible!!!), a tradition we have where they each get an ornament every year, symbolizing something that was important from that year. We have one picked out finally for Aiden on etsy (it should not be so hard to find a star ornament...), and we had one to get for Camden, but Hallmark sold out long before we knew about it. Christmas totally snuck up on us this year! We barely got our family photo album ordered in time... Camden's Christmas pjs had to be shipped to Mammaw's house, so he didn't get them until we were there (just in time to wear them on Christmas Eve, at least). Cards barely made it out in time. And we were just behind on so much. Next year, right? Seriously, it's going on the calendar in August or something. Once I get around to getting the new calendar out and writing in it...

Ok, enough talk. Here are the pics.
2009 December

I hope everyone else had a very, very Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sixteen Months

A little late. Not unusual. I'm going to stop apologizing when I get things up later than I mean to b/c...well, things get posted late more than not, so....let's just roll with it. I don't think any of you really care, right? ;)

Aiden turned 16 months old on Dec 6th. This past month wasn't a HUGE month with lots of changes really. That could be due more to the fact that he was sick a lot and we were so focused on what was wrong and how to fix it than other things. (I also noticed that while most months I take about a thousand pictures, this past month...there were less than two hundred, even with a holiday. So, yeah...our priorities were a bit different during November.)

  • Aiden just loves his Guess How Much I Love You book. Actually, it's Camden's from when he was a baby, but we use it for all bedtime readings (naps and nighttime). Aiden has definitely come to expect it by now and will ask for it before we get it ourselves. He also asks for it just about any time he is in his room. We keep it on the shelf, and he'll point and beg for it. He's loved the book for a while now, but NOW, he will act out some of it, too. He will stretch out his arms and say something that sounds more like "shisshh" but is supposed to mean "this much" (like they say in the book...I love you this much.) He'll also reach his hands up high and say the same thing. And when we get to the page where Big Nutbrown Hare kisses Little Nutbrown Hare, Aiden makes a kiss noise (he also does it on the last page b/c both Ryan and I kiss him again at the end).
  • Bunny is becoming more important, as well. When Aiden wakes from a nap or in the morning, and we pick him up, he turns back to the bed and signs "bunny" and reaches for him. I've also noticed him cuddling with Bunny a lot more than he used to. He'll hug and kiss him, and when he's lying down, he'll hold him close, too.
  • Another favorite book is Kiss Goodnight. Aiden will read that, say "kiss," and make kissing sounds all throughout it (but not when he kisses one of us...go figure!).
  • Aiden likes to put lids on things - lotions, pots and pans, ANYthing that has a lid...he has to put it on (even if you want it off).
  • Puppy dogs...well, the barks from puppy dogs. We don't actually go up to any of them but can hear them from the house (our neighbors have dogs in their fenced-in yard). Aiden will bark and make the sign for dog. He also is starting to turn his bark sound into the word "puppy" - hard to believe they can sound alike, but if you heard him bark...you would get it.
  • Drawing. He figured out that when you put pen to paper...something stays on the paper! I've always let him try to draw on cards before we send them out, but he never really made the connection. Now he does, and he wants to do it ALL the time! Markers aren't such a great idea yet, though. He will try to take the lid off...even if you have already taken it off, which means he's just grabbing and pulling at the marker itself. Or he'll try to put it up to his nose. I think he does this because he knows he's not supposed to; he'll look right at me as he tries to do it.
  • Stuffed animals that talk/walk/play music/etc when you push buttons on them. He has all these toys that you turn on by squeezing their hands/feet/bellies, and we would have to always push them for him. But he now can do it himself, and he is quite proud of that accomplishment! He loves playing with these toys even more than before. (And it's nice for us because he can do it without us!)
  • Not sure this qualifies as a favorite, but Aiden sure does it quite a lot! Pinching and scratching! (Definitely not a favorite for the rest of us!) If he doesn't want you too close, boy, he lets you know it. We're working on squashing that behavior. If I'm holding him and he does it, I put him right down. He'll get upset (because he wants to me to hold him), but I won't pick him back up until he signs that he'll be nice...and after he signs it, he actually is nice. If we tell him to have gentle hands, he'll gently pat or rub our faces. So, he is getting it. We're also trying to get him to say or sign "no" or "stop" more often - so that he can use that as a way to express he doesn't like something instead of hitting or pinching. (I would certainly prefer that.) He's learning to test those boundaries, that's for sure. Another thing that's not our favorite...us telling him "no" tends to get the opposite response we want - laughing! We can use our meanest voices and faces (even Ryan!), and he somehow thinks it's funny. That's not what you want...
  • Clacking his tongue against the roof of his mouth.
  • Pointing out people's ears, mouth, eyes, noses...you name it. He likes to actually touch them when he shows where they are. And watch out if you try to get him to do it with you because when pointing out where your nose is, he'll try to point in it if you let him (not that he's trying to pick your nose, he just likes pointing where the opening is). When showing you where HIS eyes are, he squints them and makes the cutest face.

Least Favorites
  • Diaper changes. The nasty rash he got all over his body last month also included the diaper area. And it's not so much fun to be wiped and all that where you have a rash, especially when it happens multiple times a day. So...diaper changes have become a little less fun for him.
  • Not being able to fit a lid on something. He'll get all the pots and pans out, and if he has the wrong sized lid for something (which means it won't fit right), he gets really annoyed.
  • Taking anything away from him (he has a tight grip!).

New Developments
  • As I mentioned, acting out parts of his nighttime book and stretching out his arms (Guess How Much I Love You). He doesn't just do it when we're reading the book but at any point throughout the day he'll do it.
  • When I nurse Aiden and I'm switching sides...moving him from one to the other...I'll say "switch!" so he knows what is happening. Now, he says "shisshh" (yes, just like when he's trying to say "this much," but he's trying to say "switch." They do sound alike even when you say the right words.). And he's even made up a sign for it. I guess he gets it from me picking him up and moving him over - he'll put his hands together (as if he picked something up) and move them from side to side quickly as he says "shisshh." Sometimes if he's emptied one side, he'll look up and say it and do the sign all on his own. Or I'll tell him to let me know when it's time to switch, and he'll tell me when it's time.
  • SLEEP! I mentioned this in the post I wrote a few weeks ago about The Sleep Lady. Aiden has improved so much with his sleeping - going to sleep, staying asleep, etc. He has even went without nursing once or twice (during the night)!! The first night he did that, I woke up the next morning and was REALLY confused! I haven't NOT nursed during the night since before he was born. We'll see if this can become something consistent soon! He's pretty much waking just once or twice, but going right back to sleep most times (as soon as one of us goes into the room). Ryan is taking over most of the nighttime wakings now so that Aiden will be more likely to not nurse. I think this has been harder on him because he isn't used to waking at night. He says he is tired a lot more, and...well, I know how he feels! I think he sometimes forgets that I really do get it and that I've spent almost a year and a half going no more than two hours without being woken up. When you sleep through that, you don't really understand what it really feels like. So, it's a new feeling to him these days. I hope to soon be saying that Aiden is sleeping through the night - as in not waking between going down at nighttime and getting up the next morning with no waking in between (not the technical definition of, what, five hours of sleep...ha). We're really pleased with how he's been doing so far!
  • This one's for you, Mammaw Melly...Aiden now will blow kisses!! One night I blew him a kiss from his doorway, as he got ready to read his nighttime story with Daddy. And...he blew me a kiss right back, making the smacking sound and all!
  • I'm pretty sure Aiden's vocabulary is about to explode any day. He really watches closely and intently when you sound out words. He'll watch how you move your mouth and will try to mirror it. Sometimes he thinks it's hilarious if you slow down the word so he can better see how to move his mouth. He'll try to make the "lalala" sound and other words. He does already say a handful of words, but we think we'll be hearing a lot more really soon!
  • Aiden was away from BOTH Mommy and Daddy for the first time. He stayed with MaMaw Sharon while we went out to see the Phantom of the Opera. We were away for 5 hours (even seeing a matinee). He went down for a nap and amazingly slept for two hours (!!!) without waking, and then he played with Camden and MaMaw until we returned home, not fussing or asking for "milk" or anything like that. Of course, very shortly after I was back in his sight, he was signing "milk" like crazy! (And even though it ruined his dinner, I let him nurse, of course.) We all survived. We had a nice date out, acting like adults, and the boys had a fun time with their grandmother.

(He's actually trying to get the hat back on here.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Must See

I didn't do a whole lot of Cyber Monday shopping, though I bought a few things on our list. I did snag one really great deal on amazon.com, though. This cd/dvd was highlighted as one of their main deals for that segment of time. I clicked to find out more and saw a video of one of the songs. I was sold before seeing a quarter of the video. The whole album is good, but I wanted to post this video. You might have seen/heard it, but in case you haven't, check it out. It's beautiful.

"The act of playing music with people of different cultures, religions, economics and politics is a powerful statement. It shows that we can find ways of working together and sharing our experiences with one another in a positive way. Music has the power to break down the walls between cultures, to raise the level of human understanding." ~ Mark Johnson, founder, Playing for Change

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleep and Skin Setbacks...

So, as I mentioned, Aiden got sick and then was visited by the teething fairy again (two upper canines this time). The past two and a half nights, he has been back in our bed, after becoming inconsolable in his own bedroom. We held out for a while because we really don't want him to get back into the habit of being in our bed and nursing more often (after he's been doing SO well!!), but it couldn't be helped. The first night, he was sick and didn't nurse much like I worried...could have been the Motrin helping, though. The next night, he did nurse more than he has been. And last night, he was in his bed until about 4:30...but had been up a lot before then, so we finally gave in because WE needed some sleep, too! Hopefully he'll sleep better tonight, and we'll get back to where we were. On the flip side, he's been napping better the last couple days. Probably because he is so stinking exhausted from being up a few hours in the middle of the night the past few nights. You can even see in and around his eyes that he's lacking some much-needed sleep. :( Poor guy. It can be tough being him sometimes.

On another note, not sleep-related but skin-related... We're still having problems with his eczema flare-up. The rash is actually looking worse again in some areas, even though we're applying his lotion extra - each morning and night, and we're using the steroid cream still. We're attempting to see if the latest health/skin issues could be related to him starting to drink straight cow milk. We're taking him off all dairy for the time being to see if things clear up. After my post about him being so sick lately, a number of people have commented on facebook (my posts are exported there), and it seems a lot of other mamas and kids that we know have had milk issues that affected colds and skin problems. And we've read about these being related sometimes, so we're going to see if that's the case with Aiden. We began thinking there might be a link with the milk a little while back. Maybe there is; maybe not. It's worth a shot, though. Something has got to be the culprit...and something has got to make things better. Nothing else is different in his routines with eating (other than the milk), skin-care, laundry-care (we do cloth diaper, too, but we have been using the same detergent since we started almost a year ago), or anything else that should have any relevancy.

Have any other ideas - bring them on. We're getting desperate here.
Here are the pics I took of Aiden the other day when he had his fever and was just not his normal active self. This is really the first time he's had a fever (well, he had one a really LONG time ago, when he was just a few months old, but it wasn't but a degree or so high and was from teething), and this really took it all out of him. Thankfully, whatever he had seemed to last just a day. After that..teething set in again, so he's still quite clingy with mommy, just for a different reason.

Anyway...here's the most adorable and pitiful thing ever. Makes me want to just hold him tight, kiss him all over, and rock him in my arms!

You can see he really doesn't feel well. :(

If you really know Aiden (and his sleep habits...), you know something like this NEVER happens! He just laid there...and fell asleep (while we were watching The Little Mermaid - I broke some big "no tv" rules because there is only so much you can do when all the little sick guy will do is lie there on or next to you all day long).

Friday, December 4, 2009

What's Up with Aiden??

Ok, so I've mentioned a couple times that Aiden's been sick a lot lately. In case you're wondering what in the heck has been up, we'll try to briefly tell you.

First, he has had a ton of colds over the last few months, but we're starting to wonder if he really is dealing with allergies. When he gets sick, it lasts for a long time, a few weeks or so; he's always been like that. Then he'll be well for a couple days before catching the next bug. We could put him on Zyrtec to see if that helps next time he gets sick, but we're hoping to try some other preventative measures first. A friend mentioned Zyrtec making her child, close in age to Aiden, very sleepy (as in he slept ALL DAY and night), and when we were in to see Aiden's dermatologist the other day, one of the doctors told me that for this age, Zyrtec is actually more often used to help with sleeping... I would rather not induce sleep with my toddler with medication. I would rather not use medication unless necessary anyway, so we'll go for all the other home remedies first and see how that works.

Then...Aiden up and got a minor infection that quickly turned major. He has such sensitive skin, and sometimes we forget that because we take such good care of it and it is almost always so soft. When he gets any type of rash (esp in the diaper area), it immediately turns into an infection. Normally, we can treat it and it goes away, just as immediately. But this last time, that didn't happen. It got worse each day. After calling the doctor, we were told to keep doing what we were doing and to add in another cream on top of the one we were using - and to call back in a week if it wasn't better. That was a Thursday, and we were in the office on Monday...because the rash had continued to worsen each day and had spread over his entire body. It had become a bacterial infection by that point. We were given two antibiotics (Aiden's first time taking any antibiotics) on top of an ointment to use on the rash. BUT...he still continued to get worse. Ryan and I were getting very worried. Another call to the doctor's office at the end of the week had them telling us to just give the medication more time to work. But it didn't seem to do that. The next week, we emailed the dermatologist (before we were seeing the regular doctor) with details of dates and recent pictures. He called in a different cream.

That seemed to do the trick. We saw improvement overnight and were really impressed. And relieved! He explained that the infection had also combined with his eczema had made the rash worse. We've been doing some more research on eczema and have read a number of interesting things. For one, an infection such as what Aiden had can very quickly get worse and spread over the entire body. (Hmmm...sounds familiar.) They are more prone to these infections because of how sensitive their skin is and how their body reacts to them. Also, children with eczema can get sick more often because their system is putting energy into dealing witht he skin issues. So, basically their immune system is weaker, leaving them more prone to getting things like...(dum, dum, dum)...colds. Or allergies. Or asthma (which has not been an issue, and we hope doesn't become one).

Aiden's dermatologist had us come in this week for a follow-up, and we're glad he did because after the rash cleared up...it came back. Not as bad as it had been, but we were worried that it was back at all. It happens that this time, the rash is just from his eczema flaring up - not the infection returning (whew!). But the eczema flare-up isn't disappearing as quickly, even with the cream, and it's very irritating to Aiden. The rash from before would wake him up often when he was sleeping, and just drove him crazy! He's had some similar problems with itching this time, too. But hopefully it will be under control again soon.

And THEN...he must have picked up some virus at the dermatologist. The clinic is inside Duke Hospital, so there are all sorts of things he could have been exposed to, even though we took our own toys and all (he still touches things in the waiting room and exam room...). He woke up the next day with a fever of 102, which later went to almost 103. No other symptoms other than throwing up first thing after his morning nursing and then lying around all day and snuggling with Mommy (Aiden is not typically a snuggler - he's too busy!). He was quite the Mama's boy, wanting to be held almost every minute he was awake, which was understandable. He ended up back in our bed last night, too, because he would scream if I tried to put him down to sleep. He just wanted to be next to me; he did sleep rather well in the bed and didn't wake as often as I expected him to (but that could have been the Motrin helping with that, of course). I wouldn't have minded too much if he had, though. We were worried about him getting dehydrated b/c he wouldn't eat or drink anything and only nursed a couple times. I hated seeing him so under the weather. He kept signing to me "hurt," but when I asked "where"...he would just sign "where." (He hasn't quite figured out that he's supposed to show me where!) That was a little heartbreaking - to know he was hurting somewhere but not where. Today he's doing better, though: no fever, playing some, eating and drinking a bit more. So, maybe it was just a 24/48 hour thing and not something worse.

I'll have to post a couple pictures I took yesterday while he was sick. He just looked too pitiful. I even broke some big rules and put some movies on, since all we were doing was sitting on the couch... I'm on the laptop right now, though, so I'll have to get on the other computer to upload the pics.

Maybe after this we can focus on being healthy for a little while? That would be nice! I'm not sure how Aiden feels about all of this, but I feel like we've been quarantined in the house for the last five or so weeks... A break would be nice. Our fingers are crossed!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sleep Lady

So...we've been trying a new approach to teaching Aiden to sleep better at night. I haven't written about his sleep much lately. For those of you that have been reading the blog for a long time, you might remember me posting about all of his sleeping troubles earlier on and some of the things we did to try to help, mostly taking tips from the No-Cry Sleep Solution. We had some successes with that approach during different times (sometimes developmental milestones would interrupt and making things harder, as would be expected), but it's not currently working. In fact, Aiden has been having more and more difficulty getting to sleep at naptimes, and he has still been waking up at least every two hours at nighttime (after sleeping for about three hours the first stretch). Sometimes he wakes more often, even hourly, and once about four am or so hit, he was almost always waking hourly or more often, wanting to nurse a lot from that point on. I do appreciate the NCSS approach. Even though Aiden hasn't been a great sleeper, we wouldn't change much about how we worked with him. I think a lot of it is just how HE is (esp when Camden was a great sleeper, and I've tried to do things similarly with both of them). From birth, he would fall asleep after nursing for five minutes. No matter what we tried, we couldn't get him to stay awake to nurse and go to sleep on his own afterwards. I think that hurt him and set him up to want to nurse to sleep even more. We haven't been nursing him to sleep for a very long time; we've always tried to ensure he does not fall asleep that way. But I think his personality has not been very conducive to being an easy sleeper. I have changed my way of thinking about babies and sleep a lot since this little one arrived!

In case you're wondering, I've been against Cry-It-Out from the start for many reasons. I just don't think it is good for a baby to be left to cry, raising their stress hormone levels (which isn't good for many things), and reinforcing an idea that you are not responding if they cry out to you. As a child gets older and can understand more, that might change some, but I still don't feel it's right for us. Do I think CIO is necessarily going to scar a child for life? No, not really (depending). But I'm not comfortable with it, so I choose not to do it.I know many people like that approach or feel it's right for them. I'm not here to argue against it or say it's the "wrong" way. It's just not our way.

Well....I actually did recently try it. And it totally backfired. I tried it for two days for naptime because things were getting so difficult, and I was at the point where something had to give. And when Aiden got to the point he was really crying, not just fussing or crying a little bit, I went into his room where he CLUNG to my neck and would not let go. He was nearly impossible to get back into the bed, screaming when he saw me putting him into it and just holding me tighter. If I mentioned going bye-bye for the next few days, he would grab onto me and cry. He totally got what it meant, and he letting me know that he was NOT ok with it. I was not ok with it, either. So, for a week or so, his mattress was moved to the floor so that I could be nearby and he could still fall asleep. It worked better, but we didn't want to leave the mattress on the floor.One thing I noticed during that time, though, was how uncomfortable the crib mattress is. Have you tried laying on one of those things? Aiden has gotten used to sleeping on our tempurpedic mattress every night, so I can see how going from that to his crib might not be the most fun experience. You try it. I wouldn't want to do it. So, we're on the lookout for a crib mattress topper made from memory foam. That might help even more. (Maybe he'll sleep straight through once he has a comfy bed...who knows!?) And yes, I am aware that would not be safe for a newborn to use (there is a reason those mattresses are so firm), but it's perfectly safe for a child his age.

Enter The Sleep Lady. A friend of mine, Melissa, who feels similarly about teaching her little one to sleep (without crying), told me about this approach, and I was very interested, to say the least. Google "The Sleep Lady" (Kim West) - you'll find all kinds of wonderful things said about her! I requested the book from the library, and we've been working with Aiden based on what she recommends. Basically, you gradually make changes in how you put your little one to sleep. You start by sitting next to the crib, reassuring the child that you are nearby, touching them if needed (but not constantly or consistently). If they cry and you need to pick them up, you do it - but then put them back down when they are calm. After three days, you move the chair farther away, to the middle of the room. Three days later, even farther. Etc, etc. Eventually, you are out of the room and baby is going to sleep on their own. It's not guaranteed the baby won't cry, but he certainly isn't left to cry on his own, and you are there for reassurance. You just don't rock the baby to sleep.

Night one.... It took nearly an hour for Aiden to fall asleep. He played for a while, walked from one side of the crib to the other. When he started to really get tired, he tried to fall asleep standing up. He stood right in front of where I sat and placed his head on the crib railing, trying to sleep just like that so he could be as close as possible to me. It was rather endearing. I finally put him down after he almost fell over a couple of times (he was seriously falling asleep standing up!), and he went right to sleep. There was a little fussing, but no actual crying. That night, he woke a few times but went back to sleep on his own. He nursed once in the middle of the night. In the early morning, Ryan brought him to the bed. I had conflicting feelings about how we should handle that. On one hand, he wakes often to nurse, and we both need our sleep. We also want him to learn to sleep in his own bed all night. On the other hand, oh how we love having him there to cuddle. (Yes, Ryan, too.) And it's nice waking up with him and being able to relax in bed together for a while before having to get up (versus getting up to get him out of the crib). Anyway, Ryan brought him to the bed this first night...and I quickly decided that was our last night co-sleeping. I'm not sure if it was because he hadn't nursed much that night and was suddenly next to me, being reminded that milk was within reach...but he demanded to nurse for the next two hours, getting very angry if I stopped and unlatched him. So, that was that. From then on, he has stayed in his bed.

After that, Aiden actually got sick, so we didn't stick to moving the chair away. She even recommends staying where you are if the child is sick and not moving until they are better. And we weren't comfortable pushing something new on him while sick. But he has continued to do really well. We've had some nights where he was up at 4am and had a hard time getting back to sleep (as in up for an hour or two), but on average, he might wake once around midnight and go right back to sleep as soon as one of us shows up. He wakes to nurse around 3am and goes back to sleep after that (in his crib). We thought about stopping the night feedings altogether, but Aiden insisted he nurse once. I mean, he actually is HUNGRY, and it's obvious the way he eats. But then he will typically be back to sleep until around 6am. He is waking a bit earlier, but he is also sleeping a lot more, so he feels more rested earlier. If we get to sleeping straight through, waking an hour early won't be as big of a deal. Now, like I said, not every night is like this, but he has improved so much - and it happened immediately! He might fuss a bit some nights, but he is not actually crying at all. (If he does cry, we get him and comfort him, but that's rarely needed.)

We also haven't been doing well about staying at the "designated" spot when he wakes up during the nap or during the nighttime..but this is mostly because of him being sick and uncomfortable. Part of him being sick has to do with a really bad rash, and it's made it hard for him to sleep some nights/naps, so we have been standing by him if needed. He's still doing remarkably well, though.

Naptime is improving, as well. As I type this, I am sitting in a chair outside of his bedroom door...and he just layed down and went to sleep. I have been sitting here for about half an hour, but that's fine. It's not expected that he immediately goes to sleep. That's not the point. The point is for him to learn to do it on his own, as I gradually get farther from his room and eventually am not needed nearby. (Do you immediately fall asleep when your head hits the pillow? I know it takes me much longer than 30 minutes... And actually, since he's in his room now, my insomnia has kicked in, and it's becoming harder for me to get to sleep. But that's a different issue.) When I put him in bed for naptime, he'll play some. Then he usually dirties his diaper (thanks). Plays some more (with a new, clean diaper on, of course). Drops his Bunny and blankets onto the floor. Walks around - sometimes jumps around. And then goes to sleep. It's such a nice change from the frustrating routine before where we would both almost be in tears before he fell asleep! And naptime length is getting better. He will often wake after an hour but go right back to sleep when I show up. He's actually had a few naptimes that lasted about two hours with no waking. Shocking!

Another amazing improvement? Sometimes at night, while Ryan and I are still awake, we have heard him wake up over the monitor...and then put himself back to sleep. No crying or fussing at all. THAT is incredible.He's never done anything like that before.

Some things I really like about this book and the approach...
  • Kim West (The Sleep Lady) is an LCSW. I like that she has a social work background and this isn't just based on her opinion or made-up nonsense.Me having a background in social work doesn't have anything to do with this, except for the fact that I get that her background actually has merit and is relevant to this topic.
  • You do not have to read the entire book! You read two intro chapters and then skip to the chapter based on your child's age. Three short chapters. That's all! She has chapters for various ages up through five years, I believe.
  • She encourages you to reassure your child and do what you are comfortable doing with your child.
  • If the child cries and you want to pick him up, do it! You don't have to cut any of the snuggling or close parts of your routine out. You might just do things at different times so that you aren't doing too much for the child once he's in the bed.
  • It's a gradual process so that the child learns you are nearby and he can still go to sleep on his own. While it is stated that there might be some crying...we have not experienced actual crying. My friend, Melissa, hasn't either.
  • We have learned that Aiden can do much better than even we expected. We have been very pleasantly surprised with his abilities to go to sleep on his own.
I'll keep you updated. We've been doing this for a while, but like I said, Aiden's been sick, so we haven't been as firm in the approach as we might have been if he wasn't. I plan on posting some about what all he's been dealing with the past month of being sick soon. We have an appointment with his dermatologist today, where we hope to find out some more, and I'm waiting until after that to post. But regardless of all of that...we are beyond thrilled with the results and Aiden's improvement in getting (and staying) asleep so far. (Thanks, Melissa!!!)