Posts in (no)Sleep
On (Still) Not Sleeping Through The Night

Not Sleeping Through The Night 14 months

I just folded up the pack-n-play and moved it out of my bedroom, and with that, I’m committing to Project End Zombie Motherhood (PEZM). I’m tired of being a tired mother. I'm tired of waking up four, five, six times per night. I'm tired of feeling like a zombie. And we’re about to get serious on sleep’s ass. 

Okay....so before you all get your tie-died nickers in a twist and start with the “but oh, babies are only babies for a short time and they should cuddle in your bed and puppy dogs and rainbows and and soft hemp sheets” let me tell you that you probably don’t appreciate the difference between not sleeping through the night (waking up once or twice for a quick feed) and NOT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT (waking up 4-6 times and being AWAKE! for half an hour each time.) Its like living in a perpetual state of newborndoom for fourteen months. NOT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT for 14 months is really really really terrible. Let me assure you of that. Something’s gotta give. And that something is sleep.

Trust me. I’ve had a lot of ambivalent feelings about sleep training. I'm a card-carrying AP mother (cloth diapering, home-made baby food, baby wearing etc. etc. etc.). We did the family bed till one year. Then co-sleeping with the pack-n-play in our room when it became evident that Stella sleeps better in her own space. And I’ve read every Dr. Sears book out there. And I subscribe to Attachment Parenting International (although that’s probably some kind of masochism because their e-mails and articles serve no purpose other than making me feel like a crappy parent. But that’s a whole other post for a whole other day.) And I know that by letting my child cry, I’m causing her brain damage, teaching her the the world is a fundamentally untrustworthy place and probably setting her on the road to attachment disorder and blah blah blah. 

But we’ve tried a lot of things. And those things haven’t worked. So. Onward, PEMZ.

What I’ve come to realize is that most days, I’m so tired that I can’t keep organized. I can’t think normal thoughts. Cooking dinner becomes a challenge of epic proportions. NOT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT for 14 months means I can’t function properly. Can’t summon the energy to play babies for more than five minutes at a time. So. We’re doing this thing. Fore everyone’s benefit. Bye bye NOT SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. Bye bye Zombie Mother.

And here’s the plan so far:

Stage 1 - Git in ur rooooommmm! (Currently underway)

  • Stella will be sleeping in her room. In her own crib. The whole night through.
  • She naps well in her crib already, so this shouldn't be a biggie.
  • We have a cot in her nursery as well, so if she needs a parent in her room, we can accommodate that.
  • Wake ups will be responded to, but not the moment she peeps. We’ll give her a few moments, but if she’s escalating, we’ll go get her.
  • Nighttime nursing will continue on demand as normal. 

Stage 2 - All night on your own (Beginning Tonight)

  • As above, but when she falls asleep, the parent will sneak back into the bedroom.

Stage 3 - Night Night, Milkies

  • No more nursing at night. Last orders are at 11 pm. Bar re-opens at 6:30.

Stage 4 -  Lose My Ever Loving Mind Because I Don’t Know How We’re Going To Make It Trough These Nights And I Don’t Know What Our Strategy Will Be (Coincides with Stage 3) 

  • I have no idea what we’re doing
  • Someone help me
  • Oh gawd
  • Brain aneurysm
  • I need coffee
  • Hell
  • Ballz
  • Wah
  • {halp}

 

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On Not Sleeping Through The Night

This afternoon I started to write a post about the fact that now, at almost 15 months old, Stella is STILL not sleeping thorough the night. It went a little something like this: “wah wah wah, my baby doesn't sleep.Wah. She wakes up four times per night. Wha wha it used to be way worse wah I can't believe I survived. But then it got a bit better than someone-please-punch-me-in-the-throat-bad but is still pretty terrible wah. Feel sorry for me please also validate me wha.” 

This verbal onslaught was meant to be interpreted by you, dear reader, as "Oh my LANDS, you are such a good and patient parent, the picture of Attachment Parenting maternal magnificence and I certainly couldn't have managed without throwing myself of the balcony or becoming a gin and Cheerios kinda mum."

From there I went on to describe my plans for what is, essentially, cry it out YOU WILL SLEEP NOW HOLY MOTHER OF ROCKS my child, but is not REALLY cry it out because I am an attachment parent and I love my child too much to do bad dirty evil CIO, and even though she is crying until it is over (out). Yes, I do love my daughter more than those CIO bad, evil, neglectful Ferberzian cigarette smoking spanker parents. And anyway, here are a million ways in which I will justify my sleep training plans to the entire internet because oh please  AP granola eating tie-died hippies I want to be in your club and also can you tell me that I am a good parent (please don't hate me - owwwww my feelings.)

And then I tried to tie this little ball of blathering bullshit up with a string of SEO keywords and top it with a snap happy bow of a search-engine-friendly title in hopes of reeling in unsuspecting bleary-eyed googlingparents, vulnerable in their sleep deprivation, clickety click click, a million hits per day. 

Needless to say, the original post was a pile of shit. Not that this is much better. But whatever. It's 9:30 PM and I'm drinking a bottle of fancy Japanese hipster beer and so I'm hitting publish. Enjoy. 

Not sleeping through the night

Gha. I'm such a douche.

 

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Baby Jet Lag

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Baby's first trip on the A380.

NOT SLEEP PROBLEMS AGAIN! 

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve probably started to bang your head against you keyboard just to relieve the sheer tedium, because every second post on Expatria Baby details, with despondence and self pity, the many and sundry ways in which I do not get enough sleep. 

But before you navigate away from this page, hear this: I am writing in the spirit of optimism and I bring you the lessons that I have learned from a year of jumping across eight or fourteen timezones ever six weeks.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Sleeplessness

 Having realistic expectations is crucial for surviving baby jet lag. Think of baby jet lag as a nice little trip down memory lane: lucky you! You get to revisit the nighttimes of newborn hood. 

  • There will be a lot of, “wut? I slept two hours in a row. What more do you want from me?” And a little, “it’s 3:30 AM, so WAAAAAHHHHH! WAAAAAHHH! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!”  Just resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to be awake a lot and then figure out strategies to deal.  
  • The first night will go relatively smoothly; your baby will be tired from the trip and will allow you to get a few consecutive hours of sleep
  • Nights two and three will be torture. You won’t have slept on the plane and you’ll be so tired that you will feel like vomiting
  • On the fourth night things will finally start to improve, but expect jet lag to continue for at least a week, or more likely two (especially on the return trip).

IMG_0424Baby sleeping on top of Japan

 

So You’re Leaving On A Jet Plane With Your Baby

You’ll read about adjusting your clock twenty minutes each night before your departure, and making sure that you maintian your typical bedtime routine, but that is total BS and does make one lick of difference. There’s actually very little that you can do to prepare, except for this:

  • Make a huge deposit in your sleep bank in the days leading up to your trip. Get as much sleep as you can. Go to bed early. Nap. Have your partner look after the baby in the mornings so you can get an additional thirty minutes of sleep. Trust me, being over-tired prior to the trip will cause baby jet lag to feel about as terrible as coming off heroin*.

 

*I’ve never come off heroin before, so think of this more as a literary flourish and less as representation of reality. 

IMG_0622Sunset and wing. At least it's pretty when we're awake. 

Up In the Air 

Again, there’s not much you can do to help prevent baby jet lag en route; baby jet lag is going to happen. But here’s what you can do to help yourself feel like you're doing something.

  • Encourage your baby to sleep as much as possible: be boring; do low-energy things; avoid making friends with the rambunctious four-year-old Korean girl behind you; keep bright lights and screens turned off; and never under any circumstances shift position while your baby is sleeping. Otherwise, AWAAAAAAAKKKKE! 
  • If you are breastfeeding, drink lots of water. You’ll be a pee-pee machine but you’ll also not be dehydrated. And you'll need that hydration to continue being a milky cow. (Fun fact, in addition to messing with your sleep schedule, jet leg messes up your milk production schedule.)

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Baby AWAKE over the pacific. 

 

Final Destination

The key here is getting enough rest, at whatever time that may be. Fight for as much good quality sleep as possible in a bed (i.e. not a car seat or stroller or other random place) because being overtired will only serve to exacerbate  baby jet lag. DO NOT be tempted to keep the baby awake so she’ll “sleep at night”. Ha! You’ll only set yourself up for a, all night scream-a-thon. 

  • Switch to the local timezone immediately, and help re-set your baby’s time clock by offering food, milk, naps at the appropriate hour in the new timezone. 
  • If you can, wait until you arrive at your final destination before putting your baby down for a nap and / or bed. I’ve resorted to repeatedly hitting myself on the head to keep my girl laughing until we arrived home and she could sleep. Trust me, it’s totally worth the effort and your sanity will thank you. 
  • Keep naptimes about the same length or just a little longer as they would be at home. DO NOT let your kid sleep for hours in a row, tempting as silence may be...
  • If you arrive in the daytime or evening, get outside for a little natural light. A good little tool for calculating the best times to get daylight is here. Natural light is the best medicine in combatting baby jet lag.

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Sleeping over Russia.

 

How To Cope At Four AM - The First Three Nights

Try as you might to resist baby jet lag, your kid’s sleep schedule is going to be effed, and there’s not much you can do about it save for maintaing your sanity. My rule is that anything goes for the first three nights. After that, you’re on your own, baby (just kidding, but I am a little less sympathetic to midnight play sessions after night three or four.) Here are my tips for preservation of mental health: 

  • Disregard typical rules combatting jet lag. Sleep when the baby sleeps. And that includes taking naps. You’ll need the extra ZZZZZZZZs to avoid jumping out the window at four am with your kid JUST. WONT. SLEEP. HOLY. EFFING. BALLS.
  • For the first three nights, do anything to get your kid to sleep. Nurse to sleep. Rock to sleep. Co-sleep to sleep. Pace around the house while listening to podcasts to sleep. Whatever it takes. Do it. Sleep begets sleep and over-tiredness begets screams. 
  • As soon as your baby falls asleep, go to bed too. In the first few days, sleep is a precious commodity. Don’t waste it. 
  • Your baby may be anxious about being in an unfamiliar cirb or strange room. I often put a blanket on the floor and snooze there until baby falls asleep. (This is the lazy man's way of dealing with middle of the night wake ups.)
  • During night wakings, bring baby into bed with you and play for a while, keeping lights low, and activity levels quiet. She’ll probably be up for a few hours, but if you can get her to look at books and play quietly while you doze, then you win. 
  • If your darling babe wakes up at four am raring to go, consider just getting up and starting your day a few hours early. Once you’ve had your coffee, it won’t be so bad. 

 

A Few Hacks

Here are a final few tips that I’ve learnt in my year of living bi-continentally:

  • It’s not only sleep schedules that get thrown off: poop schedules get all crazy like. So if your 11 AM pooper is obviously tired but not settling, check the dipe. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way. (See undetected poop explosion.) 
  • Homeopathic remedies CAN help sleep SOMETIMES. You have to do a fair amount of research and find the remedy that fits your child’s sleep symptoms exactly, though.
  • If you’re crossing multiple timezones, DO NOT plan a vacation that is less than two weeks. You’ll need the second week to recover from the sleep problems of the first.
  • Twitter is very entertaining at 3 AM and sympathetic to exhausted parents. 

 

And there you have it. Baby jet lag is quite terrible. But if you’ve made it through newborn-hood, you can totally handle even the worst case of baby jet lag. Happy travels and sweet dreams! 

 

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Small Style, Suburbs Style

Stella and I are back in North America, reveling the suburban pleasures of front lawns, barbecues, corn on the cob and we couldn't be happier. (Well, technically we could be happier, were it not for Awakegate 2011 which makes me pretty unhappy around the four AM mark and leads me to seriously contemplate the insightfulness and veracity of a certain not-for-children-chindren's-book.)

Anyway, due to the aforementioned Awakegate scandal, energy levels are pretty low and we have not invested significant thought or time into our outfits, and in fact this episode is a bit of a repeat, but we did sit on the front lawn shucking corn and watching the neighbourhood go by, and so I thought, "Great! Small Style." So, here we are, linking up with Morgan at Mama Loves Papa and sharing our moment of suburban bliss. 

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Sleep? HA! Lady, you've got another thing coming. And that thing is being awake. 

IMG_6270Despite my serious lack of zzzzz time, I still think you're pretty cute!

 

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Pointing! It's a new thing! 

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Stella Wore:

Tee - Bobo Choses

Leggings - Old Navy

Sandals - See Kai Run

Bow - Adorn Me Girl (which I got with a sweet Mama Loves Papa discount. Thanks guys!)

 

Now, I'm going to look at other cutie pies at Small Style and you should too!

 

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Yet Another Post Wherein I Bemoan The Fact that My Child Is A Terrible Sleeper

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I'll bet you didn't think that it was possible for a baby to be awake for twenty-four hours straight, did you. 

Well, Internet, I am here to tell you that, yes, indeed, it is, as has been demonstrated by Awakegate 2011.

We traveled 10907 KM, through four airports, three flights and 20 hours of travel time, and Stella slept maybe for an hour. In three little mini naps. So it's not even like I got a solid chunk of time off.  Nor did Stella did not sleep in the car on the way home from the airport. She did not sleep when we arrived back at my parents' house but was riled up and raring to go. And, in what is surely no surprise to anyone, she was up half the night.

So wakeful was Stella that strangers came up to me as we waited for the shuttle train in Chicago and remarked, "that child STILL has not slept?!!?

Unfortunately for the passengers on flight 0012, we did hit a wall of tiredness around three hours before the end of the Pacific crossing. There was much screaming and thrashing and kicking and whining, but, sadly, no sleep. I thank my lucky stars that our neighbour passengers were all Japanese grandmotherly figures who, as a group, have a love for foreign babies that knows no bounds, are more than happy to play inai inai, BA! (Or, what is more likely, are far too polite to shoot me and my dear sweet screamypants angry and accusatory eye-daggers.)

The way Stella sees it, sleep is fur chumps anyway. Who wants to be unconscious when there is a plane-full of people to wave at! And aisles to walk up and down! And up and down and up and down and up and down! And feet to kick! And peekaboo! And waving! HELLO! HELLO! HELLO! HI! LOOK AT ME! I AM CUTE! KAWAIIIIIIIIIIII!" 

IMG_0892Gold Lounge Baby

Still, we are happy to be back in cooler climes, reveling in open windows, green grass, the cool summer breeze and enjoying the sound of early morning birds.*

 

*Contrary to appearances, this is not a veiled complaint about being awake during the wee hours. I am genuinely happy about hearing joyful morning chirping. 

 


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Stella Stellina

So, remember that time when I posted about the fact that Stella was sleeping through the night (albeit in a modified form of that concept), well, internet, I'll have you know that YOU WIN. IT NEVER HAPPENED AGAIN. 

After a particularly bad couple of nights, I awoke this morning feeling extra stabby with a generalized sense of wah! and a little GAAAAHH, I really want to blog about the fact that I experience insane jealousy whenever I see a baby sleeping soundly in public and that my child wakes about five hundred times per night, and that is total BS, because when we went to the baby factory, I distinctly remember ordering the Snoozy Dreamcakes model. But, in the spirit of restraint and maturity, I WILL NOT write about this, instead, I will post this video I just made to remind myself that yes, she sometimes does sleep. 

Oh, and she just started giving hugs. So. 

 

 

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Small Style, ZZZZZZzzzzz Style

This week has been a major challenge in the Sleep Department which, incidentally, does not make it much different than most weeks. Thus, my entry for Small Style, which as always is hosted by the very awesome Mama Loves Papa, is a little weak here at Expatria Baby due to sleep deprivation and caffeine jitters. Forget stylish outfits, we're just happy that we've got clothes on our bodies at all. 

I put together this haphazard little outfit in a bit of a haze; I gathered up some randomness that Stella had pulled out of her drawers, dusted it off, determined that it was relatively clean and of the same colour family, and then slapped it on her octopus body. Then this morning, I chiseled off most of the dried on food and made her wear it again. Because I am an overachiever like that. Ha.  

So, here you go: pictures of my kid in a re-used outfit with a lot of snot on her face.

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Ha! I win the game of night-time screaming chicken! I WIIIIIIIIIIINNNN!


(Speaking of snot, on my last visit to the [American] pediatrician, the nurse took one look at my kid, grabbed a tissue and announced, "Here you go, baby, let me wipe your nose. I can't stand babies with snotty noses".  

Seriously, lady? LIke you think I don't wipe her nose a hundred times a day? That thing has been running [like a rabbit] faster than a character from a John Updike novel. Excuse me for not whipping out the tissues every five seconds. Every two minutes is going to have to suffice).

 

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If you look to the right of this picture, my dirty secret is revealed: I allow a cat house in my house. In fact, we have two. Shame. 

 

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No one will notice me yank your tail if  I make it look like I'm not paying attention to you, right???

 

 

***UPDATE***

So, this was all right before Stella barfed on her shirt and then spilled half a bottle of gyoza dipping sauce (basically soy sauce and vinegar) all over her pants. Sigh. 

 

Shirt - Joe Fresh

Leggings - Tea Collection

Shoes - Joe Fresh

Bib - I can't remember, and the wee one is napping, so there's no way I'm going anywhere near her room, so we'll all have to live with a mystery. 

 

Well, people, I'M OUT! Go look at the other babies. DO IT. 

 

 

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Insomniac Baby

Internet, I would like to complain for a while about the fact that my child does not sleep. Feel free to click away from this page, for I fully acknowledge the triteness and monotony of this topic: every parent has sleep problems, but come on, MINE ARE THE WORST, and PLEASE FEEL SORRY FOR ME, and AREN'T I SO STRONG AND AMAZING TO MANAGE LIFE EVEN THOUGH I HAVE AN INSONMIACSCREAMYMONSTER CHILD?

Anyway, I would like to say the following things:

  1. We are STILL waking up three to four times a night even as Stella's first birthday approaches. GAH.
  2. I am sleeping on a mattress on the floor in Stella's room and have no hope of ever sleeping in a grow-up room again. Ever. 
  3. Crying it out does not work; her will is sosososososososo much stronger than mine. 
  4. Yelling at your kid to "shut the front door and go back to sleep" does not work. I tired it, just FYI.
  5. All my old tricks of getting Stella to go back to sleep no longer work, which is so incredibly frustrating that last night I actually tried earplugs to drown out the noise, as I figured they would take the edge off just enough to prevent myself from screaming HULKSMASHNOSLEEP, ripping off my clothes and jumping through the bedroom window. While the earplugs did prevent a werewolf-like episode from occurring, they did little in the way of noise-reduction / sleep inducement. 
  6. When she tires of screaming, Stella starts singing to herself, waiving, and practicing handclaps (which would be cute, except, you know, 2 AM!) When this does not elicit the desired response, she goes back to screaming.
  7. When I am over tired, I am a massive bitch. (Poor, poor Mr. Chef.)
  8. I am incredibly thankful for Twitter, because I can complain to the internet in real time, and it does not judge.
  9. I hate 6 AM. I hate 5:30 AM even more. 
  10. A propos of nothing, I also got peed on last night. 
  11. I guess I should be thankful that she no longer wakes up 8 or more times per night. There is that. 
  12. Also, there is coffee. 

 

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Grateful

Parenting is a two-person job. Regardless of whether that second person is your spouse, your co-parent, your nanny, a dear friend, or your mother, there are occasions when being good parent means bowing out for a little while.

Like, for example, last night. Around 3:30 AM, up again with an eleven-month-old screaming baby who STILL won't sleep for more than a couple of hours at a time, I found myself close to the edge. Seething. Other babies sleep, why won't you. I am exhausted. We are not doing this any more. Get back in your crib. (Hissed to a crying baby, punishment in my heart. Love fast asleep.)

Time to tap out.

On nights like these, I am reminded how grateful I am to have a partner like Mr. Chef. He said, "go sleep in the other room. Get some rest." He comes home from work, tired, and cleans up my disaster of a kitchen. And doesn't complain. He calls me, between meetings, and asks to speak to Stella.  He holds us up when we need him to. 

IMG_2096 - Version 2

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Milestones: THE BIG ONE

OMG Stella met that most longed-for superawesomeamazingwonderful milestone last night, a milestone that most babies reach when they're like eight weeks old or something, but whatever, she's my little snowflake, and she may be eleven months old, but all babies develop on their own schedule anyway *she says defensively* but last night for the first time, STELLA SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT! 

Now, before you fall over and DIE from disbelief, we're only talking the medical definition of sleeping through the night; she stayed unconscious for five and a half hours. But still, SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT! AS IN ASLEEP AND NOT CRYING! I tell you, when she woke me, and I looked at my clock amazed by the fact that it read MIDNIGHT! I almost got up and threw her a party, but figured that would not have the desired effect of helping her learn that nighttime is for sleeping, so instead I had a silent party in my head, complete with silent noisemakers, and silent balloons, and a silent, imaginary clown. But unfortunately, I was too tired to stay awake for it.

I will also add that my excitement was tempered somewhat by the fact that she then proceeded to wake up four more times between midnight and four am, at which point she decided that HELLO! It's time to get up! There is waving to be done! And raspberries to be blown! And who is going to do the scooting if she doesn't get started on it now! The early bird gets the worm, and it’s four AM, so LET'S GO!

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Still. Sleeping through the night. Yeah. I'll take it, whatever form it comes in. 

 

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Small Style, Home Again Home Again Style

UPDATE: I am trying to post on all other small stylistas posts, but Blogger won't let me *tears*. There may be a problem with Blogger, or I may simply be inept. The latter is highly likely. ANYWAY...everyone is adorable!

***

Stella and I spent Easter Sunday in the air, somewhere over Siberia, or perhaps Alaska. So, unfortunately there were no Easter dresses, no Easter bonnets, nor were there any Easter baskets, for that matter. I take comfort, however, in the fact that my fellow Small Stylistas who are linking up at Mama Loves Papa undoubtedly outdid themselves with cuteness on Sunday and have pictures galore to share.

Stella and I are still suffering from jet lag - that coupled with a baby who generally refuses to sleep is a difficult combination. Yesterday we woke up for the day at midnight. That's 12 AM. MIDNIGHT! Today we made it all the way till three AM. Progress.

Needless to say, I can barely find the energy to put pants on my body, much less put together cute outfits. But we soldier on. BECAUSE WE HAVE A NEW TEE SHIRT (it's the small things, isn't it).

After last week's Small Style wherein Paul & Paula's KleinA was sporting the cutest Bobo Choses pants, and I was all, MUST OWN BOBO CHOSES. And so, I set off on a fool's errand to try and locate Bobo Choses cuteness on my last day in Canada. Which happened also to be Good Friday. And all most businesses are closed. However, an Easter Miracle saved the day, and my firend guided me entirely by chance to the one and only baby boutique in the city that was open. Hooray! Here are the results:

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I'm pretty sure these buttons are for eating. Now, if I could just remove them...

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No, they're for answering. Like the phone. HULLO?

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Okay...the LENSE CAP is for eating. Of this, I am sure. 

Tee - Bobo Choses

Cardigan - America Apparel

Shorts - Baby Gap

Legwarmers - Baby Gap

 

Also: OMG I JUST REALIZED THAT THIS IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE LAST MONTH MY BELLA BOO WILL BE LESS THAN ONE YEAR. WAAAHHHHHH! GOODBYE INFANCY! WHAAAAHHHH! WHY SO FAST WITH THE GROWING? WHY? 

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Bang Bang Bang

Well, another weekend, another road trip with the baby. You know, we had been in one place for about two weeks, so BETTER KEEP MOVING. This time it was a quick little jaunt - a four hour drive up to Canada on Sunday and a return trip on Monday. In the snow. LIke lots of snow. So much that it stayed on the ground for like, a whole day. ARRGGGGHHHSSSMASH I AM SO ANGRY IT IS APRIL 19TH AND NOT FEBRUARY 19TH WHAT IN THE HELLS NATURE, WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME.

My mum, Stella and I drove up to Canada for a family reunion / anniversary of my late grandfather’s memorial.  It was wonderful for Stella to spend time with family that I rarely have the opportunity to see, and as an added bonus, the two four-hour drives gave me some time to whittle away at the masses of video that I have sitting on my hard drive. 

Stella has been going through yet another series of sleep problems, and on Saturday, after several nights of minimal sleep / maximal crying, I took a much needed break and left baby care to my parents. Although my dad has a dubious record when it comes to baby-wrangling, he did a bang up job this time by introducing my child to one of her little life’s greatest pleasures: rhythm. Here you go:

 

 

 

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Parenting Advice From an Engineer 

I was just complaining to my dad about the fact that Stella is still waking up about 500 times per night which is causing me continued feelings of supermeggaaweful tiredness. This was how he suggested I handle the problem: "Well, you know what you do about that, you see, sound doesn't travel in a vacuum, so you just evacuate the room of all the air, and then you'll have a great night's sleep!" People, DO NOT TAKE PARENTING ADVICE FROM THIS MAN. 

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On the Terribleness Of Plane Travel

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Traveling by plane with a baby is a total bitch. Yeah, I know, what an insightful revelation. But just hear me out. It’s not so much the traveling part - sure it’s annoying to sit with a squirming infant in your lap for 13 hours, getting up only to change diapers in a tiny, germ-infested space, then going to the bathroom yourself with someone sitting on you lap, after which you attempt to wash your hands one handed. And it's annoying not to be able to sleep on the plane. Or watch the fabulous inflight entertainment system. Or even read a magazine. Or eat your dinner. (As an aside, I now have a new appreciation for solo plane travel. My total wet dream is to be crammed into an economy seat for 13 hours straight with nothing to do but commune with my iPad. I’ll even take a middle row seat! Between a guy who smells like cabbage and a middle-aged woman who, slightly drunk and over-sharey, falls asleep on my shoulder!) Nor is it the waiting in airports, rushing to the gate with mountains of carry-on luggage bouncing along precariously behind you, missing connections, dealing with delays, and randomly pacing the terminals with tired swollen feet, an aching back and a baby in a sling, positioned exactly at ear level protesting loudly about the injustice of having to be carried around. These are minor complaints. The real reason that travel by plane is a torturous hell is because of the whole flying-across-multiple-timezones-thing.

Internet, prepare for many many many words wherein I complain about baby jet leg.

Normal human jet leg sucks a lot. I know. But there are remedies for that - like melatonin, Ambien, or even a glass of good ol’-fashioned red wine. Yeah you’re tired for a few days. Sure, you’re waking up at 4 in the morning. But you can self medicate. Or, if you’re of the more flowery, granola persuasion, read a book to pass the pre-dawn hours. But when you have a jet legged baby, there is no reading of books. There is no drugging yourself into a dozy stupor. There is no moping in bed, restlessly tossing your body around, attempting to demonstrate to your partner how bravely you endure your trials, while at the same time being annoyed at how he doesn't recognize your suffering. There is, however, lots and lots of crying. And pacing the floors at two in the morning. In a cold cold house. Too bone tired to think about turning on the heat.

And then there is the daytime aftermath where everything turns to shit. The baby is too exhausted to be entertained. Too tired to sleep. Here,lets go outside and get some sun to reset our circadian rhythm and counteract the effects of jet lag. WAHHHHHH! THAT IS THE WORST IDEA I’VE EVER HEARD! IT INVOLVES A COAT! I DO NOT WANT! YOU CANNOT MAKE ME FOR I WILL SCREAM! YOU ARE A TERRIBLE TERRIBLE PERSON! WAHHHHHHHHHH! Okay, well, how about staying inside and going in the baby carrier while I vacuum the floor. The vacuum always calms you down. WAHHHHHHHH! THIS IS AWEFUL! WORST THING IN THE WORLD! HATE! SCREAM! HHHHHHAAAAATTTTTE! Okay. Maybe a story? WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I WANT TO EAT THE BOOK. Nom nom WAHHHHHHHHHH! I CANNOT EAT THIS BOOK AND THEREFORE I HATE IT! Alright, the miracle cure-all. Have some milk! WAHHHHHHHHH! TERRIBLE! DO NOT GIVE ME MILK! TORTURE! HATE HATE HATE HAAAAAAAATTTTTTEEEEZZZZZ ZZ Z ZZZZzzzzzz...gingerly put baby on bed...hold breath...exhale...WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?! HHHHHHAAAAATTTTTE!!!!!!!!!!!!

We spent about a week like that.

Now 13 days post-travel, we are sleeping better at night, where better is defined as fewer than five night-time wakings. However, Stella is not napping. She is exhibiting all the regular tired-baby signs: rubbing of eyes, staring off into space, whining, yawning, the whole deal. But try to put her in bed for a nap? This results in an hour-long screaming fit. And then 20 minuets of sleep. Believe me, the ROI is totally not with it.

So we now have a new approach to daytime sleep. It’s called Whatever Parenting. Sleepy? Try sleeping. No, don’t want to? No problem. We’ll go play. Or read a book. Or do the dishes. Or more likely, watch the Kardashians. I’m letting the baby call the shots - if she’s tired she’ll sleep. If she’s hungry she’ll eat. I’ve decided that the battles are just not worth it. Be damned parenting books! I’m doing whatever works! Whatever Parenting. Join the movement!

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The Silence

Well well well, here I am being all ambitious, committing myself to regular posting on my blog, and then finding that a week has gone by in silence. Here's why:

  1. Transcontinental Plane Travel - baby was a complete darling through most of the trip, loving the attention of strangers (especially 55-year-old women, her preferred demographic) and charming everyone we came into contact with, including a huge, shaved-head, goateed man who may or may not have been a fascist sympathizer. We will be having a conversation about choosing appropriate playmates in the very near future. So, yes, baby was perfect, until the last leg of the journey when our flight out of Washington was delayed due to snow, and we ended up sitting on the tarmac, seat belts buckled, waiting for de-icing, when she finally hit her good behaviour threshold and all hell broke loose. She became That Baby On The Plane. And there was nothing I could do, for the seatbelt sign was illuminated. And although I do regularly flout rules and regulations, I could not find it within me to defy the Seat Belt Sign. Fellow passengers, I am sorry.  
  2. Buckets O'Snot - Immediately upon arriving at my parents' house, the baby got sick, and has been leaking out her head-holes at an alarming rate. Also screaming. Particularly at around 2:35 AM.
  3. Jet Lag - Also see point two, above. These two, combined together, have resulted in many a morning that begin at 1:40 AM. And I don't think that I need to inform any of you that 1:40 AM is not really an ideal time at which to start your day. On the bright side, however, I have discovered that my baby shares my interest in reality TV, a fact that really does warm my heart. For it is well-known that the No TV For Babies Policy is not enforced between the hours of 1:30 and 5:30 AM.    

Thus, you see, I have been walking around in a haze of fatigue and mucous these past days. Happily, though, Middle Sister arrives today and Younger Sister arrives on Thursday. Built-in babysitters. Hooray! 

 

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How is your day going?

As my poor husband found out earlier today, don't ask. 

Let's just say that it started this morning at around five o'clock. That is, after about an hour of cluster feeding. Which was preceded by hourly wake-ups since about one AM.

When I finally stumbled into consciousness, I realized that it was raining. And since we have no dryer, my laundry was outside getting soaked. It's winter now. Laundry takes two days to dry. And it will be raining for all of eternity starting now.  

I made a to-do list. It has 15 items. I decided that rather than knocking them off one by one, I could make much better use of valuable nap time by browsing apps on the iTunes store. Note that I didn't actually buy anything. I decided to put that off until tomorrow.  

Then I discovered that my computer is probably possessed. And I'm not sure what to do about this fact. Since I am not really a Catholic and cannot call on a priest for an exorcism, I will probably do nothing and hope that whatever is effed will just fix itself. A tried and true method of dealing with problems.  

Then, after wrangling an over-tired cranky baby, it was finally nap time. Just as she was drifting off...KABAM! Shitastrophe. Poop everywhere. More laundry (see above for my feelings about THAT fact).  

It's 11:42 - the morning is almost over. And the only accomplishment I have under my belt is this sorry excuse for a blog entry. And that wasn't even an item on my to-do list.

Boy-o-boy, do I ever need a vacation. Good thing I'm leaving on Thursday!  Oh crap...that to-do list. Laundry! Rain! Shit...I didn't include PACK SUITCASES on my to-do list. I am utterly screwed.  

 

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