Posts Tagged ‘ sleep ’

Dear Fia, You Are Three…

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

 

Dear Fia,

I want to share the first half of this Winnie-the-Pooh poem by  A.A. Milne:

When I was One, I had just begun.

When I was Two, I was nearly new.

When I was Three, I was hardly me….

They say three years old is one of the most magical years of childhood. I can believe it. You are gushing with creativity, curiosity and imagination. You are forming into a little person. Yet, the world is still so big. You know your space in it, but you don’t know how vast that space is. You know you’re loved, but not how much. You know you’re safe, but not from what. It is magical for me too. I want bottles with each year of your life in it. Someday when I’m old and gray I can open up your three-year-old bottle and breathe you back into me.

It is hard to fathom three years have passed since that snowy day at Columbia Presbyterian. In some ways it seems like you’ve been with me forever. In other ways, it’s like you are this gift that I’ve only just begun to know. Both are delightful scenarios because while the feeling in my heart is timeless, I get to keep on loving you for years and years to come.

I said to you the other day, “You’re my sunshine.” You looked right back at me, shook your head and said ever-so-earnestly, “No Mama. I’m your daughter.”

You charm me (and maybe manipulate??) in a way no one else can. When I put you in your crib for a nap or bedtime, hug you many times, and walk away, you always stand up and say, “Mama, hug!” as if I hadn’t yet. But I always have more hugs for you. “Hold you tight,” you say, squeezing me as hard as you can. Then, “One nice kiss.” You kiss my cheek. Lately, in keeping me there with more manipulation, you say, “I love you soooooo much.” And hug me even tighter. I don’t want to let go either. Like I said, I need a bottle…

When I finally get you to lie down, the tickling begins.

“Tickle my forehead.”

We started the “tickling” about 6 months ago. Now it seems to expand weekly to every body part. Last night it went like this:

“Tickle my back.” (shirt raised, butt in air). Okay, done.

“Tickle my stomach” (roll over, lift shirt up). I had a slight hangnail.

“Mama, your nail is sharp.”

“I know, so no more tickling. Night night.”

“No Mama, go cut your nail,” you order, pointing to the clippers and emery board on the dresser. Huh? How did you…? Oh, never mind. Just do what she says. I do. Tickling resumes.

“Tickle my knees.”

“Really Fia?”

“Yes Mama,” you reply, as if this wasn’t becoming a tad ridiculous. You pull up your pajama pants and I tickle each knee.

“Okay honey, goodnight.”

“No Mama, what about my elbows?”

Seriously?

But even if I’m exhausted, I never tire of this routine. That’s because someday, when you are a teenager, (with a STRICT curfew), I will yearn for these days. Another mom who has a 16- and 18-year-old told me, “As exhausted as you are now getting them to sleep and waking up at 6 a.m., it’s a lot better than waiting up for them to come home. Trust me.” I do.

The mere thought of it breaks my heart. So when I’m really desperate for you to go to sleep, I channel my new mantra: How lucky I am to have this and not be staring at the clock, hoping you are okay.

At three, you also delight in letting us know if we forgot something. The other day you and I went on our thrice-weekly grocery run.

“I need to get baby food.”

“Oh-O-o-kkay!” you say, brimming with enthusiasm. “I-I-I will pick it out.”

We shopped for all sorts of things. We pay and are in the parking lot when you start giggling and announce with glee, “Mama, you forgot the baby food! Silly Mama!”

You were right. And strategic in making sure we already left before you called me on it. “Logical Consequences,” as my father would say. We head back in, and you continue to repeat “Silly Mama!”

The old adage, “Would you rather be right or happy” may apply to you someday. But for now, you are both right and happy.

Woe to the person who shuts your door all the way. (Which by the way, began when your favorite TV show made you afraid of the dark.) One time I had it almost shut and the air conditioning blew it the rest of the way. From the wailing I heard, I thought your crib had collapsed. I ran in and found you sobbing. “Mama, you aren’t supposed to shut the door!” Tears were streaming down your little face and once again I was reminded what my love for you does. It takes me to my knees. Not because you will be scarred for life from this, but just seeing you so genuinely upset (and feeling betrayed) tugs so deeply at my heartstrings. To anyone else this scenario may sound absurdly dramatic, but feelings aren’t facts. However, they are real.

Since then, I have paid the price. Not a day goes by without this:

“Mama, you need to leave the door open this much, not this much. This much,” you say, as if you’re explaining and demonstrating with your little hands for the first time. Sometimes you insist on getting out of your crib and showing me, just to make sure I really am not an ape.

“Fia, I know honey.”

“But Mama, you left it open.”

“Fia, that was months ago.”

“Mama forgot! Silly Mama.” And we’re back to the glee in being right. Nothing will slip past you, my girl.

You are so articulate. It doesn’t hurt that you have a screenwriter for a father. But still, you understand the meanings of big words. After Wayne–our transexual cat–freaks out batting around a tennis ball, you’ll shout, “Wayne is cantankerous! And feisty!” (Apparently the cat takes after his mom). When Emmett hurls himself into a wall you’ll yell, “Mama! Emmett is being rambunctious!”

I keep saying it can’t get better than this. But apparently it does. Right now you are three and you walk with me. But what I hope for most of all is this, from Winnie-the-Pooh:

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you.”

 

 

 

 

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Milestone Monday: NO FREE PASS FOR MOMS

Monday, September 24th, 2012

There is no free pass in motherhood. A while back I wrote about why the boob rocks and how I would get extra sleep every morning because Phil had to get up with Fia. I would lie in bed with Emmett, he’d nurse and we’d both fall asleep for at least an extra hour. I was so thrilled–almost giddy–about this scenario.

Anytime I needed a break from the chaos or wanted to relax, Emmett and I would just disappear under the guise of nursing. Don’t get me wrong: I did put him on the boob. But it went beyond survival for us/him. It was more like the perfect excuse to escape when the going got rough.

Wow, kid #2 is easier on the mom, I thought with glee.

Well, I should have known better than to brag. Or get too far ahead of myself. Because when it comes to babies, they really love to f-ck with you. Just when you think you’ve got it down….

Emmett is now 8 months old and I’m more exhausted than ever. Granted, it could be because I listened to my friend Cassandra’s advice to “Mom-Up” and sleep train him, thus getting rid of my night village. (Damn you C!) So now, he sort of sleeps through the night. You know, the usual–consistently inconsistent. (That should be the slogan for babies, btw).

The mornings though are when I really get screwed. He is so excited about moving (almost crawling), not to mention he is an incredibly active baby, that now when he wakes up, there is no sleeping. He nurses and is ready to M-O-V-E. This boy waits for no one.

What sucks even more is he and Fia have swapped time zones. Em wakes up at 5 or 5:30 and she sleeps until 7. So I’m up before the sun, done nursing in 20 minutes, and attempting to think about the day ahead while Fia and Phil snooze away.  Phil has very little sympathy. Why should he? He bore the brunt of early mornings for months while I smugly enjoyed what I thought was mother nature’s free mom pass. Ha.

Cassandra, I now hate your term Mom-Up. I want to Mom-Down. Somehow though it just doesn’t have the same ring.

Emmett–be glad you are so damn cute and happy. If you weren’t, your mom would ignore your early morning wake-up call.

I know this is one of many examples of the tables getting turned on moms, so please feel free to share your own sad tale. I may as well brace myself for more.

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Fia Friday: The Pocket Crib

Friday, August 31st, 2012

In my constant quest to get my daughter to sleep past 6:03 every morning, I’m trying to come up with ways she can entertain herself. When friends tell me, “My baby plays quietly in her crib in the morning,” I want to spit. But one can always dare to dream…

The other night, after she was asleep, I put some books in her crib. I figured when she woke up, maybe she’d read them. Instead, I was awoken by two huge thumps. I raced into her room, terrified she fell out. Nope. She was just chucking the books out.

“No books in my crib!!!” she screamed.

OOhhh–kkkay. Didn’t know we had crib rules dictated by a toddler.

I told my friend Elizabeth about it, who did just about the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. She offered to make me a “pocket crib.” I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded cool. And considering I can barely sew a button, it’s like she just offered to climb Everest for me.

Two days later, we had it. Fia and I made a big production out of stuffing it with books, animals, and a sippy cup. I explained to her how she can read her books and play when Mama is still sleeping. Unfortunately, she hasn’t grasped the concept so I’m still not that mom who can say, “My daughter plays quietly in her crib.” But for naps, she sometimes reads a book or two before falling asleep. I’ll take what I can get.

Elizabeth is now custom-making these by the way, so feel free to visit her website.

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Pacifier Anger: My Nanny Is Pissed At Me

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The pacifier remains my ace-in-the-hole and the thorn in my side. If Fia is whining or acting bratty, I can threaten “no more bagdee” and she immediately reverses her behavior. I’m an army drill sergeant using a pacifier instead of a bayonet to get the results I want.

But Cleo, having nannied for 30 kids thus far (Emmett being #30) told me it was time to get rid of Fia’s paci, at least for naps. She declared that when Fia turns 3, we will get rid of it entirely. Clearly, this is not a democracy.

In theory, I’m totally down with it. In reality, I cringe. I wanted to beg Cleo to reconsider, as that stupid sucking thing is my last remaining bargaining chip. But I know she’s right. She even pointed out that Fia’s teeth are starting to buck a little. Of course a small part of me is like, “So what? She’ll get braces and we’ll keep the paci until she’s 5.”  But I know I’m being selfish. I have to remind myself this is in Fia’s best interest, not necessarily mine.

After our recent trip to Emmett’s baptism (where we gave Fia the paci for the flight and threatened to dispose of it every time she kicked the seat in front of her–which happened exactly once), we sadly said goodbye to bagdee during naptime. I wept.

Two weeks into pacifier sobriety, I had a shoot at my house. They wanted to see me in action with my kids. Fia came home from preschool, and without even thinking, I put her in her crib and stuck the pacifier in her mouth (it was in the crib from the night before). I even made a joke to the camera about how she still takes one. I was in such tunnel vision that I seriously forgot that she’d been without for two weeks.

Part of it was because I had been traveling for a family emergency, so I hadn’t been participating in naptime. And of course Fia didn’t volunteer it. Instead, she happily settled in without a peep and slept for almost 3 hours (another reason I love that thing. The naps are doubled in time).

Cleo was in the hallway and asked twice, “She went down without a fuss?”

“Yup” I said nonchalantly. I didn’t know why she seemed so surprised.

At 4:30 that afternoon I came in from an errand, and Fia is sitting at her highchair with the pacifier in.

“What is that thing doing in your mouth?” I asked sternly.

To which Cleo tersely replied, “Well, I guess since mommy doesn’t care if Fia takes the pacifier at naptime, she may as well have it all the time.” Then she stormed into the dining room.

It took me a second to put together the puzzle and then grasp the magnitude of crisis I was facing. Cleo was pppiissssseeeeeeddddd at me. Furious in fact.

“Oh my god, Cleo,” I stammered, as I followed her around the table. “I am so sorry. I totally forgot. I was so distracted by the shoot. I seriously just spaced.” She was pretending to dust the table but in reality was hitting it angrily with the cloth.

“You are really mad at me, aren’t you?” I asked.

“Yes, I am,” she replied, practically in tears. “I’ve tried so hard for two weeks to break the habit and then when you come in and give it to her, all my efforts go to waste. Plus, then Fia doesn’t listen to me.”

She was absolutely right. I really did feel terrible, though I did chuckle later at how irate she got. When I told my Aunt the story, she said, “Good for her for doing so. I’m with Cleo. And I agree: you gotta get rid of that thing.”

I finally got Cleo to believe it was an honest mistake and we both had a good laugh at how pissed off she was. Meanwhile, Fia is sitting there in hog heaven sucking on that stupid thing. I took it out of her mouth and explained how mommy made a mistake. Fia continued to remind me of it all evening. “Mama was bad. And made Cleo mad.” Mea Culpa.

So now, every morning, we take her pacifiers out of the crib and put them on her light stand. That way bad mama won’t mess up again. Fia can gaze longingly at them during naptime and I can dream longingly of sticking them in her mouth, knowing I’m being carefully watched.

I’ll admit over the weekend, when I couldn’t get Fia to nap, I tried to conspire with Phil.

“Can’t we just give it to her this one time?”

“No, absolutely not,” he said. I think he actually glared at me. I am in enemy territory. My only ally is a 2 1/2 year old. And she is the reason I’m on lockdown. Sigh.

 

 

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Emmett’s 6-month Check-Up. Is He Too Hyper?

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

Emmett had his 6-month appointment this week. I told the doctor about how hyper/active he is. It’s even hard to change him or put on pants. She observed for a few minutes as he kicked and laughed and did his high pitch cooing. God he is cute. I’ve said it before, thank the universe that at least he is happy with all his hyperactivity or I’d be committed.

I also explained how nights have become horrendous, or I should say, horrendously funny. He wakes up, starts to kick around, typically seems to have a gas bubble (I wrote about his 31 farts in a row), then starts to laugh and laugh and laugh. But without holding him or swaddling him, he won’t calm down on his own.

She was somewhat concerned with his extreme level of activity. Not only from a sleeping standpoint, but also weight. He is dipping back down again, off the curve. She isn’t overly worried, but suggested I take him to an occupational therapist to see if there are some things we can do to calm him. She used the word “sensory” which of course scared me. When I hear “sensory” I think “spectrum” and “autism”. But she reassured me that I need not worry. He is so alert, makes eye contact, loves to be held and hugged that perhaps we just need to work on ways to calm him more.

I spoke to the OT and they can’t get us in until end of August. But she did recommend the swaddle and baby massage. My pediatrician said the swaddle is okay too, as long as he can’t get out of it. Her main concern was if it was a loose one, he could wriggle out and get the blanket over his face. I told her about the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle I have that is zippered, as well as the miracle blanket. As long as he’s in a swaddle that he can’t get out of and that won’t tangle him up, then he will put his head to the side.

So we’ll see. In the meantime, here are his 6-month stats:

Weight: 15 lbs, 13 oz (18%)

Height: 26 inches (40%)

Head Circumference: 17.5 inches (70%)

(By the way: isn’t the kimono hilarious? It’s from our good friend Delia who buys all our stuff at Lucky Wang.)

 

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