Saturday, January 31, 2009

Searching for a Title

That appropriately conveys the massive failure of last night's sleeping experience. Perhaps:

The Words, They Were Written Too Soon


Jinx, Jinx, Jinx!!


How Life Likes to Remind You That You Still Have No Idea How to Parent

or simply

Ha Ha Ha (The Sleep Gods Laugh)

All seemed well. Finn went to sleep without any crying after I lay down with him in bed for about 10 minutes. We were anticipating a night even better than the last. We've turned a corner, he doesn't need the paci, doesn't even miss it, hurrah, we are wonderful parents!! Ha.

It's 10:30 pm. I turned off my light a few minutes earlier, way too tired to comprehend the words of the book I am reading. Sooo ready for some sleep. Then, somehow, something woke up the sleeping beast. Who, upon awakening, apparently only remembers that he has a mother and not a father, because the mantra of "mommy, mommy, moooommmmeeeee" is chanted/cried over and over again and aired over the monitor. M. goes down to settle him down. But instead of quiet, I hear lots of crying and "Nooooo" over the monitor, so it's mommy to the rescue. But it's not that simple. Because Finn is tossing and turning, playing with the damn fire truck and Thomas the Tank Engine that he somehow conned us into letting him bring to bed. Asking for water, for a snack, to watch the movie Cars. At one point, he said to me, "Mommy, I need stuff." Hopefully you get the picture here - wide awake toddler doing his best to NOT settle down.

At different points in time, whoever was in Finn's room would get totally frustrated and leave, with the child still awake. We would huddle up in bed, until the next round of cries started over the monitor, and then it was the other parent's turn to enter the fray. I gave up for good at 12:30, turning off the monitor. But M. went back down one last time, and somehow had the patience to sit with Finn until he fell asleep. He believes that he got back to our bed at around 2:00 am.

Then, Finn was awake again at 6:00 am. I raced down to his room as soon as I heard the noise (monitor was back on) just to try and buy us more time and keep him from fully waking up. I managed to comfort him back to sleep for another 45 minutes or so. The bottom line is that no one, not even the cat, got more than 3 or 4 consecutive hours of sleep. It's going to be a fun day, eh?

M. and I are both feeling a bit guilty, because we definitely lost our tempers at different points. I was just so MAD! I had been so tired, so ready to drift off the sleep. And the crappiest part was that, even when I was back in bed and off duty, I COULDN'T fall asleep. All the fuss and frustration had completely erased my sleepiness. And my sleep is precious these days! M., I'm sure, was able to sleep solidly as soon as he got back to bed at 2:00 am, and probably during some of the little jags in between wake up calls. But not me. That is the beauty of pregnancy sleep. I can usually only count, depending on when my first wake up of the night is, on 3-5 hours of solid sleep. After the first pee trip of the night, I toss and turn from then on, stealing little snatches of sleep if I'm lucky. Lots of reasons for this, of course. Increased blood flow and congestion has screwed with my nose. Combine that with the super-dry, hot air in our chimney of a bedroom, and I'm guaranteed to have at least one crusty nostril when I wake up to pee. And then I fixate on it. Even if air flow is only blocked by about 20% in one nostril, it bugs me (usually it's more, of course). I feel like I can't take a deep breath, like I'm whistling. And because it's so dry, no amount of nose blowing really takes care of it. I can't even lie propped on my back to drain anything because lying on my back makes me REALLY uncomfortable unless I'm basically sitting up. The same thing happened with Finn, too - probably something about the way I carry my babies super high, I suppose - the position of my uterus must cut off some kind of vital blood supply while I'm even semi-reclined.

If I do manage to either ignore or fix the nose problem, I spend the rest of the night trying to manage hip pain. I'm getting to the point in pregnancy where, when I flip over to give the hip I'm lying on a break, it still continues to hurt. And no amount of "pillow between the legs" helps. And soon enough, the other hip starts hurting too. So I flip from side to side, trying to get comfortable, until it's time to pee again.

All these symptoms are held at bay until my first wake up, usually some time between 2:30 and 4:30 am, and I can get solid sleep before then. Which means last night, my best hours of sleep were completely interrupted by Finn's shenanigans, and I was left with only the crappy, tossy-turny hours. Which totally pissed me off, and I'm afraid it made me have some not so pleasant feelings toward my child. I wasn't very nice to him at various points, though I did try to maintain some level of patience.

The one silver lining is that Finn, while he asked for many things, never asked for his paci (though it was clear, from how often his fingers touched his teeth/mouth, that he was missing it). And while M. was ready to give Finn the paci at around 11:30 or so, I convinced him not to. So, while the night may have been mostly sleep-free, it was also completely paci free, for better or worse.

I don't really have any tricks or tactics up my sleeve to try to help tonight go more smoothly. I guess we'll just do what we've been doing, and hope that it gets better. And for sure, I'm not writing/talking about any successes - no need to shoot myself in the foot.

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Big Binky Bye-Bye

Ok, we don't call it a binky in this house, we call it a paci, but the aliteration just wasn't there with paci.

M. and I have been talking about getting rid of the paci for a while now. Finn only uses it at night, and for naps on the weekends, but he's still quite dependent on it. He will ask for it when he's upset (though we don't give it to him), and occasionally try to sneak it out of his bedroom. With a new baby on the way that will be encouraged to use a paci at any old time (I'm all for a great nursing relationship, but have no desire to be a human pacifier), we are afraid Finn would start demanding to use it more often, or try to take the baby's paci. We just returned from a vacation (sleeping in a strange environment is not the time to take away a comfort mechanism), and we have about 4 weeks before the next huge upheaval (starting at a new daycare), so we decided to go cold turkey on the pacifier use this past Wednesday. No big lead up to it, no cutting off the tip and having Finn throw away the "broken" paci's, etc. We just told him he couldn't have it when he asked for it, and that was that.

So far, things have been going well (knock on wood). The first night, it took Finn an hour to fall asleep. He cried off and on, but when M. or I were in the room with him (we went in a couple of times to lie down with him), he was fine - just not very sleepy. He didn't have that "trigger" of sucking on the paci to tell him to be tired, so he was a little wired. He woke up early the next morning at 5:30, but M. got him back to sleep until we were ready to get him up for daycare. All in all, not a bad night of sleep for everyone.

Last night, night 2, it took only about 20 minutes to get Finn to fall asleep. M. had to go back in his room after I put him down, but the crying wasn't terrible. He slept all the way through the night, until 6:20 or so.

It's crazy how easy it has been, we have been dreading this for soooo long. Fingers are crossed and double crossed that things continue to go well. I have a feeling naptime this weekend will be a challenge!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Bare Bones Update

Oh, where to begin? Lots of goings on lately, but I haven't been good about blogging about them. Most probably would have bored you, anyway. I mean, I could have droned on and on and on about our search for a new daycare, our angst-ridden decision-making process over whether to move Finn to the new daycare permanently or just temporarily... snore, right? Or I could have described, in excrutiating detail, the small steps we've been taking to get ready for the baby (crib set up, closet shelves installed, nightlight purchased and delivered, etc). But you are spared, tasks are completed, and my mind has moved on. Except I will briefly say that we DID find Finn a new daycare that we like a lot, and we have decided to move him there permanently. Boring, angst-ridden posts about breaking up with his current daycare and his first day at the new school (March 2nd) will follow, I'm sure.

We just returned from a trip to Wisconsin, an extended weekend with M.'s side of the family. We hadn't seen them since last Christmas. It's hard living so far away from them, because we really want Finn to be close to his cousins and the rest of the family. So, we braved the cold weather to make a trip before we are rendered (temporarily?) immobile by the birth of the baby. Finn was immediately comfortable playing with his cousins Ty (age 7) and Bo(age 4). Despite the age difference, they all seemed to enjoy playing with each other. Finn was a little slower to warm to the adults, and even by the time we left, he was refusing to give good bye hugs. But overall, much fun was had (lots of good food, Wii playing, hockey watching, and general good humor), and nobody lost any digits from frost bite.

We returned from highs of 3 degrees F to a surprise winter storm (well, a surprise for us, at least) here in Maryland. Just when I needed a full day at the office to slog through my crowded inbox, my work was shut down at 1pm so that crews could clear the roads and parking lots. Of ONE INCH of snow. Puh-lease. My Massachusetts upbringing is totally scoffing. The roads were barely wet. Still, I had to go hang out at a Panera (free Wi-Fi!) for an hour and a half with my laptop just to give Finn a chance to finish his nap at school before we went home. Poor kid is so behind on sleep from our trip, there was no way I was going to interrupt another nap. Then, thanks to his Cars movie obsession, I was able to fit in a oouple more hours of work while Finn was parked in front of the TV (bad mommy!).

The snow did start up again early this evening, and has already turned to a sleet/freezing rain/hail/wet snow mix. I'm sure tomorrow morning the roads will be VERY icy, but I'm betting that the post will have weather closing regret from yesterday, and they will make us all come in to work at the normal time. So silly.

I have many more ideas for blog posts - they seem to come to me at 3:30 in the morning, when I wake up to pee and can't fall back to sleep (stupid aching hips!). Hopefully I will get better about the execution phase, eh? Maybe then I can move beyond the blog posts that read like a dear diary accounting of what we've been up to, and get in some more quality ramblings.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We Have...

Poop. In the potty. And I don't quite know what to do with it.

So strange, because on Thursday night, I actually dreamed that Finn pooped in the potty. I don't know why - we haven't been pushing the potty training much at all (you may remember from a previous post a few months ago that I am reluctant to give up diapers just yet). It was not a topic that has been weighing heavily on my mind. But I had the dream - I even told Outnumbered Gal about it at work on Friday.

Finn has been regularly peeing in the potty a couple times a day for a few weeks now - usually when his diaper is changed at daycare, and then at night before bed. But we've never entered #2 territory - that has been deposited solely in his diaper. Last night, I plopped a somewhat resistant Finn on the toilet before bedtime, expecting the usual liquid issuance. He said something about poopy, but I just nodded and said "Mm hmm," because he has been known to mix up poopy and pee-pee - lots of instances of "I pooped," then finding that there's only pee in his diaper. Plus, as I mentioned, he had never pooped on the toilet before. But to my surprise, there was suddenly poop. And then some more. And then, as he made me read him a book (twice), there was even more. I was a bit flabbergasted and at a loss as to how to handle it. I mean, I pictured this as a momentous occasion, one that would require all kinds of celebration and treats in order to show Finn that THIS was GOOD, that we ENCOURAGE this.

But it was just before bed, and I was home alone (M. is out of town). I couldn't ply him with treats and rewards, or shout and dance around the house - it was bedtime, after all. When one is going it alone at bedtime, the last thing you want to do is get your child all riled up before turning out the lights.

So I did the best I could, oohing and ahhing and telling Finn how proud of him I was. I'm not holding my breath that we'll get a repeat performance any time soon, of course, as I think it was complete chance (or perhaps the THREE helpings of baked beans he had at dinner Wednesday night) that caused this. But it's a start!

One for the (mythical, as yet unstarted) baby book? Do I mark it down: First Poopy on the Potty - January 9, 2009??

Another question: How exactly doth one properly clean up a child that has just pooped on the potty? I'm going to start keeping a container of wipes near the toilet (regular TP just does not get the job done), but this kid has some super strong butt clenching muscles. I'm basically forced to gingerly pick him up under his arms, holding his body as far away from mine as possible, and rush him to his changing table so I can do a thorough cleaning job. Not exactly convenient, you know? Is it better to help them clean up while they are still sitting on the potty? Also, if I have trouble getting Finn clean, how on earth can I expect him to ever do the job himself?? Good lord, I'll be wiping his hiney for years at this rate.

PS - sorry for the non-parents about such a poop-heavy post!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Welcome to the Dark Side

Well, we did it. We have given Finn regular access to the television, the source of all the world's evils, or something like that.

Up until now, Finn as a conscious being has seen very little TV. Yes, I did sustain myself and the many long hours of breastfeeding during my maternity leave by parking myself in front of the TV, but Finn was pretty oblivious then. Once we moved to our current house, the TV went down into the basement, while most of our days were spent up in the main living area with all of Finn's toys, the kitchen, etc. In addition to getting M. and I out of the habit of ALWAYS having the TV on, it had the extra bonus of making sure Finn was exposed to no adult programming and commercials because OMG, they might give my baby ADHD! And yes, I write that sarcastically, but only for show because there is a part of me that thinks it's true.

Finn's now 2, seems to be developing on track, seems pretty bright... so we didn't see a lot of harm in starting to introduce him to some of the children's programming and movies that are appropriate for his age now. But most importantly (and selfishly), the main motivation for bringing a TV into our living room now is the impending arrival of Finn's brother or sister. Seriously, there is still an imprint of my rear end on the arm chair where I did most of my daytime nursing of Finn. We spent hours and hours of every day in that chair. How the hell am I going to nurse another baby AND entertain Finn, when my ass will be firmly planted in a chair for much of the day? My answer - the TV. Yes, I guess I will become one of "those" moms that uses the TV as a babysitter.

Thanks to my parents, we are now the proud/reluctant owners of a new 26" LCD TV that fits nicely in an alcove of our living room. Finn has taken very quickly to the TV, demanding it be turned on as soon as we get home from work, or as soon as we wake up on the weekends. I'm hoping it's just a temporary obsession due to the novelty, and the demands will taper off a bit (I mean, come on, what about all those new Christmas toys that are sitting, unloved, not getting attention? When is it their turn?). We don't have a cable box for the TV yet, so I've already grown weary of the "Bob the Builder White Christmas," "Elmo's World Wild Wild West," and "Cars" DVDs that we own (although the Cars movie is quite cute, actually). OMG, does Elmo have an annoying laugh or what?!?!

So far, though, Finn is not proving to be much of an independent TV watcher. I was hoping to at least get some peace and quiet (read: no constant demands to pick up a heavy 2-yr-old) when cooking dinner. Nope, Finn wants to watch TV, and he wants to watch it on my lap. I think it's partially because he still scares pretty easily - he doesn't like being alone in the living room (though the kitchen has a pass through that lets him see me while I'm cooking), and sometimes he gets scared by what he sees on the TV (for example, he is scared by the tractors and the thresher/harvester-thingy in Cars. Hell, I'M scared by the thresher, I don't blame him on that one).

So for now, the TV is less of a "babysitter," and more of a way for me to sneak in some good cuddle time while Finn sits on my lap. Dinner is no less of a challenge than before - in fact, since I try to just keep the TV off while I'm cooking (easier than trying to juggle cooking and keeping Finn company in front of it), it's just brought me more complaints from my demanding neo-TV addict. We'll see whether it ends up serving the intended purpose once the baby is born or not.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Holiday Review and a Look Toward 2009

2009 began quite early for us. 5:38 am, to be exact. Someone decided that, since he couldn't immediately find his pacifier when he first stirred, he was done sleeping for the day. Ugh. I have a feeling the damn paci is not long for this world.

That auspicious start to the day was followed by several whining fits. By the same paci-addict, of course, not M. or myself. I blame the 2-year-old molars that are definitely working their way to the surface of Finn's gums.

We spent an hour or so in the morning of New Year's Day checking out new daycares (from the outside only, of course, as none were open). The largest, most anxiety-ridden item on my big "Before The Baby Comes" To Do list is finding a daycare. Yes, we already have one that we like, a lot. But it's near my work, which would involve about 2 and a half hours of driving each day if I were to make 2 round trips to take Finn there and pick him up during my maternity leave. That's just not going to happen. So, we are looking for a new daycare closer to home. Possibly only for the 3 months of my maternity leave, but we are leaving ourselves open to the idea that we may keep Finn there permanently and have the baby go, too.

I've been putting off the daycare search because the mere thought of it riddles me with all kinds of guilt and other negative emotions. I hate the thought of disrupting Finn's life and schedule by moving him away from his friends and teachers to a brand new environment. Right at a time when his entire world is going to be turned upside down by the addition of a sibling. And, if we aren't completely satisfied with the new daycare, or we can't get a spot for the baby when the time comes, we will move Finn back to his old daycare when I go back to work. Two transitions in a 3-4 month period, possibly. Oh, the guilt. And even if it's only one transition (meaning we get a spot for the baby and switch to the new daycare permanently), I feel guilt. I LOVED going to visit Finn every day during my lunch hour, I did it for over a year. I knew every baby and teacher in the infant room intimately, and Finn and I had a lot of quality bonding time. Putting the new baby in a daycare near our home would mean I can't do the same thing this time around. And that doesn't even address the guilt I feel over my need to send Finn to daycare during my maternity leave. Why am I spending the money (especially when part of my leave will be unpaid) and uprooting my child when I could just keep him home with me? Stay at home moms do this kind of thing all the time - adjust to life with a newborn AND take care of a toddler or two, all day, every day. But I know myself. I had a hard enough time keeping my sanity during my maternity leave with Finn. I REALLY think that it would not be fair to Finn or the baby (or me) if I have them both home with me during my leave. So, yeah, did I mention I feel guilty? Maybe I was Catholic in another life?

Thankfully, we were able to cross several daycares off our list just by viewing them from the outside (our main goal yesterday, as I have no desire to tour all of the 13 or so options I had on my original list), and we have at least a few good places to pursue. Our drive yesterday morning gave me renewed energy and hope to tackle this big task.

Yikes, so I'm re-reading what I've written so far, and I realize it all sounds so negative. I'm actually quite full of good feelings about this year. Finn is going to make a wonderful big brother, we will find a great solution for childcare for both kids, we have lots of fun things to do to get ready for Baby M (seriously, have I mentioned how much I love folding and organizing baby clothes? Because I do. And I love that I have an excuse to do it all again.), my job may bring new opportunities for me later this year, and we have a huge surprise coming in April. Sunshine and roses here, people, REALLY.

In other news, I somehow became hugely pregnant. According to my OB appointment today, I am measuring right on track at 24 weeks. But seriously, my belly is going to need its own zip code soon. It now officially sticks out farther than my chest. With 16 weeks to go, I'm a bit worried about just how big it will get. But aside from that, I feel good, the baby is super active, and I'm loving this part of the pregnancy.

I'll end with a few pictures from the holidays. We took tons, but many just didn't come out very well. I'm contemplating looking in to a new camera soon, because I think we are not realizing the potential of some very good photo opportunities with our rinky-dink Olympia. Sorry for any blurriness or red eye below!

Testing out snow for the first time this year, not so sure how we feel about it:

Digging a sled ride from Bumpa after warming up to the snow:

A family picture taken on Christmas Eve:

An adorable picture of Cousin Penny:

The three cousins, Penny, Finn and Ned, in their Christmas finery:

Finn getting ready to hang his stocking by the chimney with care, in his new bathrobe from Grammy:

After the mad rush of opening stocking presents, Finn and M. taking a break:

The "big toy" of Christmas day, Finn's GeoTrax modules from Grammy and Bumpa:

Is there a doctor in the house?:

I cannot stress to you how INTO Frosty Finn has been during this winter season, and during our final day of snow play before heading home, Finn finally got to meet the epic, mystical Snowman (hind end thanks to M., abdomen thanks to Bumpa, and head courtesy of me):

PS - Resolutions, schmesolutions! My typical New Year's resolution is to lose weight, get in shape, etc - all various versions along the same theme of being able to buy smaller clothes, damn it. Now that I am luxuriously pregnant this year, I don't feel the need to torture myself with a resolution. So freeing! I highly recommend ditching resolution-making. Happy New Year to you all, I hope the coming months have many good things in store for you!