Thursday, March 27, 2008

An Easter (Quasi-) Miracle

After months of 10+ wakeups per night, 10+ mini nursing sessions per night, much fussing, a seriously sore back (and boobs for that matter), and a bed that was no longer parents-only, I decided that I needed to seriously buckle down and attempt to sleep train Tristan. This past long weekend seemed perfect. I had four nights that were followed by days that either my parents or Russ were around to support me if I needed to pass out from exhaustion so I mentally and emotionally prepared myself for the torture ahead.
I chose to follow the Baby Whisperer's "Pick Up / Put Down" method, with a few adjustments. I really don't think Tristan is getting enough calories during the day to sustain him through a long period at night so I figured I'd feed him if I felt it had been long enough (and/or I was so freaking tired that I didn't have the energy to listen to him scream). I really wasn't expecting him to start sleeping through the night within a couple of days; my main goals were to get him to sleep without nursing, rocking or bouncing him, have him go a decent amount of time between nursing sessions, and keep him out of our bed. So far I'm fairly happy about our progress. Although I don't have set times for naps and bedtimes yet, I'm trying to put him down for his nap 2 hours after he wakes up from his previous wakeup time and he's been taking 5 or 20 minutes (yes, one or the other for some reason) to fall asleep. We sing a couple of songs, then I lay him down on his tummy (because I've always been an evil parent who puts children to sleep the wrong way). Usually he starts crying within a couple of minutes at which point I pick him up and hold him until he quiets down, starts pushing me away, or a couple of minutes of crying passes. Then I put him down and start all over. Three days ago he started rolling over in protest which annoyed the hell out of me and made me have to hold him straight, but thankfully he isn't doing it as much anymore. Now he likes me to shush really loud while holding my hand on his back. Whatever works.
He seems to be getting used to going to sleep this way, which is good because I used to hate taking forever to get him to sleep. He hasn't slept in our bed since last Thursday night and he usually goes 2 to 4 hours between wakeups during the night. I've been giving him a "dream feed" at 10 PM where I basically pull him out of the crib and feed him while he's still asleep. When it goes as planned, he sleeps 2-3 hours before the dream feed, goes down without a problem afterwards, then sleeps another 4 hours afterwards. I usually feed him at this point, but when he doesn't go a full 4 hours I'm in for a screaming fight to get him back to sleep. Now I know that I shouldn't be excited about getting 4 hours of sleep but after what I've been through it's freaking awesome. Hopefully things will continue to improve. If he starts to regress I may have to be a little stricter with making sure he eats enough during the day and not feeding him at night, but for now I'm pretty happy with how things are going. Just don't ask me about it after a night of him screaming angrily in my face for an hour.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


A couple of things I forgot when writing about Roanen...

-Lately he has been paying more attention to Tristan, and will regress into baby talk, but only so Tristan can understand the conversation too. He loves making him laugh and always imitates him through dinner which works well to keep him from screaming bloody murder.

-Whenever I'm knitting he'll come up to me and say "That a screwdriver?", referring to my knitting needles. When I say no, he always slyly says "It BE like a screwdriver" and tries to take it away. Not only is he good with regular english, he's evidently mastering ebonics as well.

-When I started putting him on the potty to pee he would always get up after an unsuccessful attempt and say "It's not working", referring to his penis. Now everytime he actually pees he yells "It works!"

Monday, March 17, 2008

In Honor of St. Patty's Day I Give You O'Roanen, Our Irish Child

(you know, as in the frustrated exclamation of "Oh, Roanen!" that is so often heard around here)

I will now curse us by announcing that Roanen has actually slept through the night IN HIS OWN BED WITHOUT WAKING UP for 12 out of the last 13 nights. It will now never happen again. Actually it was 11 of 13 nights, but one of the wakeups didn't count because Tristan was screaming so loud at midnight that he woke him up. Anyway, this started one night after we finally had the area's version of "Nanny 9-1-1", the Phoenix Centre (for "troubled" children and families) pay us a visit at Russ' request. Basically we're getting an assessment done by a therapist and we'll have an in-home worker help us out with Roanen's freakout issues. The main problem we were going to address was his fighting bedtime and the nightly trip into our bed (because those are the issues Russ has with him - I don't particularly enjoy his fits but they don't make my life miserable either) and now Roanen decided to partly fix that on his own. The problem now is that when the in-home worker comes to help us she's planning on basically using the Ferber method to get him to fall asleep on his own (much to my anti-crying-it-out dismay) and I'm worried that if he gets upset at bedtime he'll regress in the middle of the night. I was ok with the idea when it was first presented, but the more I think about it the more sick I feel about it. Since it will be a while before the worker is able to come in the evening, I'm hoping to try some gentler methods in the meantime to get him to sleep without someone being with him, kind of like we did with Josey. I'm desperate to avoid the crying, especially since the reason we originally asked for help was because we knew if we tried something like that he wouldn't stop crying. I would honestly take having to sit with him for a while at bedtime over hearing him get upset at being left alone in his bedroom. Ugh. I'm depressed thinking about it.

Also filed under "happy" - he has peed on the potty several times, mostly in the morning. I'm not full-out training him because that would be ridiculous at this point between Josey's preschool and Tristan being Tristan, but we've taken the potty out and every once and a while I ask him if he wants to sit on the potty and get a jellybean. Unlike Josey, he doesn't seem to pee much at night so if I catch him first thing in the morning he'll usually have a mega-pee that somehow manages to flood the floor around the potty. Whatever. So what if I have to soak up a huge puddle (one-handed, of course, due to Tristan freaking if I put him down) every morning. He's peeing. I'm happy.

Taking after his father, Roanen has earned the new nickname of "Chatterbox". He pretty much constantly has a monologue going, usually consisting of things like "That's a-MAZING!", "Wook at that! Oooooh, that's WEEWY WEEWY PWETTY!" and "That's a taw biwding. What a bootiful biwding!" Almost as cute as Josey's exclamations of "Wow Mommy, that's weewy wuvwy!" My boys appreciate beauty. That's why they like staring at themselves in the mirror :)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Stories, by Josey

(as "written" on a scrap of paper and read aloud)

"There was a boy who didn't have eyes and he was on a dragon's back and he killed the dragon with his sword. The dragon couldn't eat him because the boy cut off his head. Then the boy took the dragon's head and put it in a big big big big big big big big garbage can. WE END."

(When asked, I was informed that the boy didn't have eyes because he was an alien. And how could he see where the dragon's head was so he could cut it off? "He just REMEMBERED where it was!")

"Once there were two boys who lived in a house all by themselves and they could play when they wanted and eat what they wanted and they even made supper by themselves. And then they decided to go to Grammie's house and on the way they saw another Grammie so they went there instead. WE END."

Not sure about the "WE END" part. Possibly a misinterpretation of me saying "the end" at the end of every story. He's still a genius though.

The Trisser-Wisser

Yes, we do call him that. And no, when we decided to name him Tristan we did not think "Hey, Trisser Wisser would be a great nickname". His buddies in high school are going to love it. But I digress.

Tristan is 6 months old as of yesterday and I finally feel like time is really speeding up. I think it has to do somewhat with the fact that he's so much smaller than the other boys were at 6 months. Whereas Tristan weighs 15 lbs 1 oz, Roanen at this age was 17 lbs 1 oz. and Josey was 17 lbs. 5 oz. He looks so tiny in comparison and it's hard to believe I can give him solid food now. We started off today with some organic whole grain oatmeal cereal and he ate about 1-1/2 tablespoons without a problem. I didn't expect there to be any issues with eating though seeing as how I give birth to children with sleep problems, not food problems. While his daytime sleep has improved from a zillion 10-30 minute naps in the swing or in my arms to a couple of 30-60 minute naps and one 2-3 hour nap in his crib, his nighttime sleep has deteriorated from a 6 hour stretch at the beginning of the night to a 1-1/2 to 3 hour stretch. This is followed by a refusal to fall back to sleep in his own crib. When I bring him into bed with us lately he wakes up every half hour or so and needs to be not only nursed back to sleep, but switched to the other side every time. I tried the "pick-up/put-down" technique last weekend to get him down for his nap and he screamed for an hour before I gave up and nursed him to sleep. Even Roanen only took 45 minutes the first time I tried that. The annoying part is that when I hold him until he's asleep then put him down he often opens his eyes and looks around, then settles down and goes to sleep, which means that he's obviously comfortable in his crib and can put himself to sleep. That's evidently a key to getting babies to sleep through the night, so why are we having problems? I'm still stupidly hoping that he'll just start sleeping longer on his own. Ha!

Aside from the sleep issues, he's super happy most of the time. He's always smiling at everyone (although he's shy and gets upset if a stranger holds him) and everyone comments that he's so bright and alert. He still has his screamy moments, usually between dinner and bath, but he can be distracted fairly easily and he's also been fantastic in the van. I honestly don't remember the last time he cried in his car seat and it's such a treat after the way Roanen freaked in vehicles. Definitely much easier on the nerves. He's really grabby and leans waaaaay out of his bumbo when he's trying to reach for things so we have to watch him really closely because he's fallen out a couple of times. He vocalizes a lot and yesterday he started making "ba" sounds. Oh, and he's really ticklish, especially on his inner thighs and armpits. I can even make him laugh in the middle of a screaming fit by tickling his armpits. Because I like screwing with his emotions like that.

Happy 6 months Trisser!

Look, Ma! I found the best parts!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


In order for me to actually blog I've taken to writing a little bit at a time elsewhere so I can copy, paste, and post it when it's done that way I don't feel pressured to write something amazing and cool while frantically trying to stay within my dialup limits. Not that this is amazing and cool. Anyway, this is the latest on Josey:

Josey is two weeks away from starting his 7 week, thrice-weekly, 3-1/2 hr a day preschool class. This has turned from a super exciting thing to a minor annoyance thanks to the gas prices, which so far are turning "free" playgroup into a ten-bucks-a- day deal, and will add an extra $30 a week to preschool. Dropping him off and driving home again is now completely out of the question so I'm going to have to find something to do in town after playgroup and on the days when there is no playgroup. Hopefully the weather will improve to the point where I can go for walks with the other two boys, but I think that's going to get old after a while. That being said, I still think Josey is really going to benefit from some structure and social interaction without me around. His behaviour lately (ok, not just lately) is pretty bad and he wanders around the house like he's bored. Good thing he got a gazillion dollars worth of toys for Christmas. The past week or so he's been colouring and making crafts a lot more and that seems to occupy him for longer periods. He's figured out that he can draw things other than people (although people are still his favourite thing to draw) and he's been drawing a lot of pictures of dragons with lots of fire and people with swords "killing" the dragon. He also likes copying pictures from books, like cars and random things like fruit and houses. He likes asking me how to write words and will copy things like "TO GRAMMIE" onto pictures. He also loves doing pre-K activity books and can now recognize letters of the alphabet in both uppercase and lowercase, as well as tell me the sounds of quite a few letters. He doesn't really like being taught these things as such, but he will listen to me a little then pretty much figure it out on his own time. I keep getting surprised when he all of a sudden easily knows something that he struggled with a couple of days earlier, like identifying and writing numbers. It's hard to believe that just over a month ago I overheard Josey "reading" to Tristan like this:
"TRISTAN! We're going to read this book. It's about FOOD. Now THIS is an APPLE. M-L-H-P. That's how it's spelled. Apples are CRUNCHY and JUICY. And THIS is a BANANA. Um...Y-O-S-G-A. Banana's have peels and they're yummy. This is an ORANGE. O-S-B-B-A. Oranges have lots of JUICE in them and sometimes it's yech but they're very JUICY."
And so on...

Anyway, we went to the preschool meeting last week and the teachers were telling us that they hoped to teach the kids to recognize their names and write the first letter. Meanwhile, Josey was at the blackboard writing all the numbers from one to ten, drawing a picture of himself and signing his name. Genius.

Once again we're having pee issues. I can't even believe I'm having to say that about my 4 YEAR OLD. When he started his mini preschool programs he immediately stopped having accidents and I figured we were finally done with pee pants. That lasted for quite a while, but in the last couple of weeks he's been "forgetting" again when he's outside playing or busy doing something. The punishment this time around is losing his Vtech video game for 2 days every time he's wet. It sucks that this is happening. Seriously. He's not even remotely close to staying dry at night either, but that's really the least of my concerns right now. They make pull-ups for kids that weigh over 100 lbs so we're still safe at least for a couple more years.

The End.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Miss Me?

Yes I'm still around here somewhere. You see, I have these three little distractions that don't allow for frivolous blogging. I actually do have lots to blog about, but I don't want to frantically write something random down and forget a bunch of stuff so I'm waiting until I have time to get it all out (ha). So I'll be back sometime. Maybe.