Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This is great...

I thought this was very appropriate timing as this morning James got his first, official bump/bruise on his forehead. He toppled over and bonked his head on the hardwood floors. This book is probably beneficial, not to mention funny, preparation for raising a boy:

Thanks to Abraham Piper over at 22 Words

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


It's working, it's working, it's working!

If you have babies, young children, or even teenagers that are having sleep issues, this book is a fantastic resource.

Once Dr. Stafford got us started, James almost immediately started sleeping through the night. However, his daytime naps were still a fight, didn't last longer than 40 minutes, and sometimes only 20. That first hour and a half nap, I think, was a 'crash'.

Dr. Weissbluth's advice for too-short naps is to implement an extremely early bedtime temporarily (between 5:30 and 6:30) and then during the day, don't let your baby get overtired before putting them down for a nap. I already knew not to let James become overtired, but I had my sleep cues mixed up. Here's a chart, copied straight from pg. 63, to help discern if you're entering into the 'overtired zone' (NOT a good place to be):
Becoming Drowsy:
  • decreased activity
  • slower motions
  • less vocal
  • sucking is weaker or slower
  • quieter
  • calmer
  • appears disinterested in surroundings
  • eyes are less focused (staring off)
  • eyelids drooping
  • yawning
Becoming Overtired:
  • fussing
  • rubbing eyes
  • irritable
  • cranky
I kept waiting until he was fretful and rubbing his eyes before starting to put him down, but that only led to LOTS of crying. He was too overtired to settle himself down! This morning, he woke up at 6:45 (happily, I might add) and I watched for the drowsy signs. He was playing on the floor (again, not something he would have been happy about before) and I saw a yawn and then staring off for a moment. He started playing again, but I didn't want to risk it, so I scooped him up, stuck in his pacifier, and rocked him for about 2 minutes. It felt so weird, because he looked awake and alert. But, wouldn't you know it, I laid him in his crib and he fell asleep 3 minutes later. And get this. WITH NO CRYING.

Unreal. I can hardly believe that this is my child.

Every baby is different, and I'm sure that some babies' cues are black and white and others' are not as easy to read. I wish I had learned to read his sleepy cues earlier and saved him a lot of uncomfortable overtired-ness! Momma's sorry, sweet James. Part of being the first-born, hate to say. :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mother From The Black Lagoon

It took me a few days to get over my approval addiction to tell you about this. Plus, I know this is one of those stupid parental dividing things that everyone has an opinion about. ::Deep breath::

We let James cry himself to sleep.

There. I said it.

For the last 7 months, he has woken up at least 3 times a night. Not to nurse, not to play - just to wake up so we could bounce him back to sleep. I had accepted it as my lot in life. He's my baby. He's not the greatest sleeper and that's okay. This is what being a parent is all about.

And really, it was working fine until Christmas. When I went to Florida for a week, James slept with me every night. Jim wasn't there and I wanted a break from getting out of bed, so I made an executive decision. We were in a new, different place. When we got home, he would remember his crib and forget all that nice, sweet snuggle time right next to Mama... I'm a terrible executive.

Let me pause for a second and fill you in on my take on co-sleeping: I think it's absolutely fine. Great, even. It's a perfect fit for some families and I don't think it messes with kids' heads or make them clingy or anything like that. If everyone is getting a good night's sleep, more power to ya. I'm all about what works for your child.

Okay, Play. James is not a great co-sleeper. He still wakes up every 2 hours and needs to be picked up (not just snuggled closer to Mama) and rocked or bounced back to sleep. The slightest movement wakes him up and it's back to bouncing. Infuriating.

So we get home from Florida and does he go back to sleeping in his crib? Absolutely not. The second we would lift him up over the rail, he would arch his back and cry. So long story short, the last few weeks I'd been sleeping with him for most of the night in the guest bed in his room. Well, not that I'd been doing much sleeping. James' sleep had gotten even worse. Every 2 hours became every 20 or 30 minutes that I would have to pick him up and bounce him back to sleep. Teething compounded the problem. He wouldn't sleep in his crib. He wouldn't sleep with me. He wouldn't even sleep rocking in the recliner. He was fretful and unhappy during the day and SO WAS I.

Out of desperation, I made an appointment with our doctor. I was sure that there was something internally wrong with him that woke him up every 20 minutes. Reflux? Ear infection? What was it?!

Nothing whatsoever wrong with him.

"You have a perfectly healthy, robust baby. He's just very tired, needs rest, and can't put himself to sleep. You need to gather your courage and a pair of earplugs and let him holler."

I burst into tears. I knew that's what he was going to say. Everyone had been telling me that. I was so sick of hearing it. I didn't feel right about leaving him to cry. I had read about babies' heart rates skyrocketing and vomiting and feeling abandoned. I wasn't going to do that to James. I was going to meet his needs even if it was at 3:00 in the morning. Dr. Stafford comforted me and talked with me about the best way to do it. He told me success stories, encouraged me, etc. I cried the whole way home and begged God for some guidance and peace about what to do. By the time I reached our driveway, I was determined to give it a try.

For that first nap, he cried for over an hour straight. Of course I checked on him, but I didn't let him see me. Stafford said that would just start the whole thing over again. He finally fell asleep and I felt every single muscle in my body relax. He slept for an hour and a half. He NEVER sleeps for over 40 minutes by himself. When he woke up I went and got him and was greeted with a huge grin.

That night, we put him to bed at about 9:00. He fussed (not even a full blown cry!) for about 15 minutes and slept until 4:00 am! I nursed him, put him right back into bed, he fussed for about 15 minutes and slept until 7. I didn't know what to with myself. I hadn't had this much sleep in 7 months!

It worked. I still don't think it's for everyone and definitely not for tiny babies. I feel like my well of patience is so much deeper after these full nights of sleep. I'm not as cranky and frustrated. It's still a process and I'm sure there will be bumps in the road (ex: Of course when we decide to do this, he gets his first respiratory infection), but it was the right thing for James.

And I'm enjoying my humble pie.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Hidden Ebenezer.

This won't be a habit, as my journals are enormously private, but I had to share this entry that I found from almost exactly a year ago today. Let me tell you about some tears, a-flowin'.
January 17, 2009
Jesus, I felt life fluttering in my belly this morning. Just that soft tickle of a presence. I laid there in the grey light of our bedroom, Jim still asleep. I tried to keep my breath as shallow as I could so I could feel it ... It's so wonderful, God.

God, you are so, so faithful.

Monday, January 11, 2010

When fears are stilled, when strivings cease...

I've been in and out of a funk lately. One day I'll feel, "Whew! Glad that's over with" and then the next minute, "Ugh... why?? Why do I feel like such POOP?"

It's so confusing because my body is feeling so great, fantastic even, but I've been having these bouts with frustration, anger, and downright irritability. I'm pretty sure some of it has to do with the cabin fever/fed-up-with-winter-ness I've been feeling, but I think there's more.

I sat down this morning and just laid it all out there. After a bit of praying and reading and thinking thoughts (for I'm a bear with a very little brain), I realized that it's just good ol' fashioned striving. When I think I can do it by my own strength and not that of the Holy Spirit, frustration brims up to my ears, and I end up punching pillows... because OBVIOUSLY, I cannot do it on my own. I cannot have patience. I cannot be loving. I cannot suffer for long times. I cannot be peaceful. I cannot have peace on my own. It just doesn't happen. I'm sinful and icky. Add a helpless, needy baby and it's a recipe for punching pillows.

BUT!! IN CHRIST, my hope is found! My fears of not being good enough or strong enough or patient enough are stilled. In that hope, my striving ceases. And, hey! There's peace!!!

And my pillows (and family) are spared.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Here Goes.

I've hesitated to blog about this because I didn't want to seem "sales pitchy". But I can't contain it any longer.

Back story: My Crohn's returned when James was about 4 months old. My weight dropped below 100 lbs. Then below 95 lbs. The high calorie diet wasn't working. Tried weaning, he won't take the bottle, etc., etc. I was desperate and feeling worse every day.

Early in my pregnancy, my friend Susan told me about a vitamin and nutrient shake called Reliv that greatly helped an issue that she had. [Yes, it's a multi-level marketing company (MLM), which was why I was really uninterested at first]. I told her I'd keep it in mind, but that my Crohn's had gone into remission and we wanted to see if it would stay away. When my flare up hit, I decided to give it a go. It's just vitamins and nutrients. Safe enough for babies. Nothing to lose. I started 2 shakes a day on November 17.

Now: I haven't felt this good in a long, long time. I have energy, I feel hopeful, happy, and focused. I feel like the old Sara. And NO Crohn's pains. It started out gradually. Still at least a dozen pains a day - bad ones. Then fewer after a couple weeks. Then if I did have one, it was mild. Then at the end of the day I'd have to think if I'd had any at all. I'm still struggling to gain weight, but I've put about 5 lbs. back on.

I'm not naive. I scrutinized the way I felt every day and wrote down things that were the same and things that were different. After a while I just couldn't deny that I was really feeling better. Its just the nutrients that my body needs to work and repair itself like it should. That's all. Simple.

I'm just really excited that I'm feeling better. It's an answer to prayer, that's all.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bullet Update. Cause I'm Too Tired.

  • Christmas was fantastic this year. I told Jim last night that it was the first Christmas I ever remember that didn't fly by too fast. That's a big deal.
  • Went to West Palm Beach and it was a balm to my weary soul. Why can't the sun shine like that here in the month of December??
  • Still need to gain weight. Tried to wean James cold turkey. After two excruciating days, failed. Miserably. It's not that he doesn't like formula, it's that he ABHORS ANY BOTTLE THAT COMES NEAR HIS MOUTH. He takes to his sippy cup a lot better, although he chews on it more than anything.
  • Good news is that he's eating solids again (he was on strike for about a week with a stuffy nose) so he's not nursing quite as much.
  • My soul is happy. Wish my body would take note.
  • I'm ready for spring.