Tag Archives: lack of sleep

Last post about Sleepless in America, promise

I finished Sleepless in America by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka today.

I must admit the last few chapters I was pretty disenchanted, but I pushed on. Here is my review:

I did like this book. Kurcinka has clearly done her research on sleep. I liked reading about circadian rythm, how a person’s/child’s personality impacts sleep, and how different environmental factors impact sleep.

I do feel like I am walking away from this book with a better knowledge of sleep and how to help my daughter get the sleep she needs.

I also liked that she helps parents approach the process of getting their child to sleep in a gentle and sensitive manner. You aren’t left feeling like you are coddling your child if you help them into sleep. You are not told to leave your child crying desperately for you.

Kurcinka really does a great job of helping you to see the problem of sleep from your child’s eyes and reminding you that they are a little person just like you.

That said, there were some negatives to the book.

Kurcinka claims that we should take what works for our family and throw out the rest.

However, her entire strategy seems to revolve around a schedule. I know that I am not alone in being the parent of a child that refuses to have perfect and predictable schedule. There has to be some other way to get your child to have good sleep.

So I guess I’m left with taking her advice and holding onto the tips that will usher my child gently into sleep and tossing the doesn’t-work-no-matter-how-hard-I-try schedule out the window.

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More on the sleep stuff: Temperament

So, yesterday I was reading more out of my Sleepless in America book and holy cow it was like finally I had a little revelation about Stephen and myself.

In the five years that we have been married, my bedtime routine has been the source of many frustrated sighs, are-you-done-yets, and just-go-to-sleeps.

Anyone that knows Stephen knows that he can pretty much fall into a very deep sleep almost anywhere. I’ve often been annoyed at his ability to just fall asleep so easily in the middle of the day or after a day of chaos. And Stephen has often chided me, “You just need to calm down,” or “You should try praying,” or “Everything doesn’t have to be perfect Lisa, you need to let it go and just go to sleep.”

Usually these statements just leave me feeling more frustrated.

All this time I’ve thought to myself and been made to feel as if I was crazy, had OCD, was being too particular and that I just needed to relax. The thing is, I’m not really that OCD about anything else (I did go through a phase where I had to wash my hands four times in a public restroom and use two paper towels or two presses of the auto dryer, but I was able to make myself stop finally).

So as I’m reading yesterday, I am happy to discover that there are plenty of other people in the world out there just like me. Thank God! I’m not crazy. According to Kurcinka, I’m just intense and sensitive.

“A child who is temperamentally sensitive not only notices all of the sights, sounds, and smells around him, as well as the tension level, but also must sort this information and decide what it means. Telling him to ignore the strange smell of a new detergent on his pillowcase is like telling you to ignore someone pricking you with a needle. He can’t do it, even when he wants to…”

“The highly sensitive child is keenly attuned to her sensory world and struggles to block out disturbing stimuli. As a result, she must sort through huge quantities of sensory information before she can feel safe and calm enough to sleep. She can hear the drone of the traffic outside the window. The slightest ray of light can awaken her in the morning. The story of the princess who could feel a pea under twenty mattresses is not a fairy tale to a highly sensitive individual. And the breathing of her buddies at the slumber party really does keep her awake.”

“I had always assumed that my son had gotten his spirited tendencies from my husband’s side of the family until one night I shared a hotel room with my mother. I watched as she very carefully pulled all of the blankets, except for the sheet, out from the foot board and then folded them two feet up from the end of the bed. Then she pulled a small pillow out of her suitcase–one I knew she’d had since I was a child– and tucked it under her chin as she crawled under the covers. When I asked her about her tactics, she said, “I can’t sleep if my feet are too hot, and I need my pillow.” When I asked why she had to bring her own pillow along, she patiently explained that the hotel’s pillows did not “smell” right. When your sensitive child declines the new nightgown you bought her because the lace “scratches” her neck, or complains that she can hear the television even though her brother is listening to it with earphones–believe her. Truly, the world is a much richer source of stimuli for this individual. She is not trying to stall. She needs you to understand that her sleeping clothes have to feel right. And that she needs help blocking offensive sounds, smells, lights, and textures.”

The “nest” for the sensitive child has to include pleasant sensations AND block disruptive stimuli. What may surprise you is how negligible the offensive sensations may be that still upset your child. If there’s a choice, give him the bedroom away from the street, on the quiet side of the house. Take special note of the weight, texture, color and smell of his bedding. It’s very important to him. Often he needs a heavy blanket, or just the opposite, no blanket at all. He needs to know that the doors and windows are locked. The room needs to be the right temperature. The light has to be just right, either completely dark or slight enough that he can discern the shape of objects yet not so bright that he is distracted by them. When it comes to night clothing, plan to cut out the tags and check the waistband for the correct fit–that’s if he will sleep in pajamas at all. Forget pajamas with the little feet in them. They’re cute, but it’s unlikely that he’ll like them. He may prefer his favorite pair of socks and even a “night cap” that provides just the right input for his system.”

“And if you think this is all a bit unusual, check with a few highly sensitive adult friends. You’ll discover that they have a very defined approach to “nesting” for the night, from a ritual checking of the doors to the turning off or on of lights, the massaging of a special lotion on their face and hands, or to the sensation of their partner’s hairy chest against their cheek. Those individuals who are less sensitive may find all of this information verging on ridiculous, especially if they can fall asleep on an airplane during takeoff, the couch in the middle of a family gathering, or, for that matter, any flat surface. Their ease in blocking sensations is an example of temperament, not willpower.”

I can’t cuddle and sleep. The sensory input is to much for me. After about five minutes the limp arm on my shoulder, ribcage, hip, etc. starts to feel uncomfortable and annoy the heck out of me.

I really can’t sleep if my PJ bottoms get twisted or are catching on the sheets and feeling pulled. For this reason I hate flannel and jersey sheets. Sometimes I can’t even stand the feeling of pajamas on me. It just will annoy me the whole night and I won’t be able to sleep.

The pillowcase cannot be wrinkled under my face. It has to be perfectly smooth. My cheeks can feel those wrinkles and they bug the heck out of me. I also cannot stand pillowcases with embellishments like ribbon or lace or different textures across them. The textures will annoy me. If I try to take a nap during the day with one of the couch pillows the zipper side cannot be near my face and niether can the pretty textured side. One time when I was sick last year I fell asleep on the couch with one of our couch pillows that had this really thick binding all around it. I woke up an hour later really grumpy because my ear hurt from being pressed up against the binding.

I sometimes can’t fall asleep if my legs are prickly. Or I have to wear pajama pants to bed so that my prickles don’t actually touch me.

The sheet has to come out longer than the blankets and fold over them creating a smooth even edge at the top. They have to come to just the right spot on my shoulder so that I don’t feel chilled on my shoulder and they also are not touching my face. This is a very fine line. Also, even in summer I have to have at least a sheet covering me. I can’t sleep just on top with nothing.

I have to find the right position. I can’t just fall asleep in any old position.

My hair cannot be touching my face or my neck, but it also cannot be in a pony tail.

I have to have a pillow between my legs or it feels like the bones in my knees and ankles are grinding together.

I have to vent either in written or spoken form if it has been a particularly rough or busy day. Otherwise my thoughts will grow louder and louder in my brain keeping me awake.

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Tension, tension, tension!

“All too frequently, your child’s reluctance to go to bed is actually a reflection of how her world is feeling at that moment. Sleep is very sensitive to our emotions. And while it is well documented that emotions can disrupt sleep for adults, what is not as well known is that they can also disturb the sleep of children–even infants. That’s because emotions ‘arouse’ the brain and body. As a result, our muscles tense, preparing us to take action.”

I just finished the section on tension triggers and it makes so, so much sense!

When did all this sleep/behavior trouble start? When Stephen and I decided that we were going to move among other things.

“It doesn’t have to be a traumatic event such as an accident or major illness to increase arousal and agitation for your cild. Getting lost in a store, being held down for a painful medical procedure, experiencing a bad storm, hearing a terrifying news story, or having a teacher or coach who yells and shames, can be enough to keep your child awake at night for days, even weeks… It can be difficult to know what will significantly upset a child. During the last six months, has your child or family experienced any painful or distressful event? The residue may be lingering in your child’s body, pushing her across the line into tense energy… Major changes can also pose a problem. A move, a new baby, a divorce are obvious creators of tension, but what may not be as obvious are the little changes that actually have a big impact on tension… which disrupts your entire family’s sense of order and predictability… Switching beds or bedrooms, going on a family vacation, the start or end of a school year, or even the shift to daylight savings time can impact your child.”

-Being held down for painful medical procedure? Check (shots)
-Moving… check
-Switching beds… check (we transitioned from the Pack N Play to her crib after the move)
-Switching bedrooms… check (we not only changed to a new bedroom in the move, but started having her sleep in her own room after the move)
-Family vacation… check (well a sort of one day only thing for my sisters graduation, but I noticed it had a huge impact)
-Daylight savings time… check.

“Anthropologist Mark Finn from the University of Missouri has been studying children living on a remote tropical island for more than thirteen years…What he discovered is that children’s (even infants’) stress levels peak when the key adults in their lives are stressed. What may seem inconsequential to adults–a fight between Mom and Dad, Grandma fretting about bills, or Mom leaving on a business trip–causes a child’s cortisol levels to rise… It appears that, without meaning to, you can communicate your stress to your child via your touch, voice tone, and gesture. When you slam the door, throw down the car keys, or yell, the force and tone convey to your child that something is amiss and that he needs to be on alert. Immediately, stress hormones are released into her body. Your stress also preoccupies you, making it less likely that you’ll pick up your child’s cues and respond patiently. The result is a child who feels more anxious and insecure and, as a result, fights to stay awake.”

I am horrible when it comes to masking and dealing with stress. I am sure I’ve transmitted how I’m feeling to Bean. I just tend to be a pretty emotional person in general. If I am worn out or stressed about the tiniest thing it is pretty obvious. Stephen is way better at this stuff, but then again not. He’ll say that he’s fine and not stressed, but I can tell. He does act different. He isn’t fine.

“Ironically, the less sleep your child has the more stress hormones his body releases to keep him going. If your child isn’t sleeping or behaving well, think back on the events of the week. Did you have to wake him from a nap? Did he skip a nap or stay up late for a special event? Did he spend a restless night in a hotel or at a slumber party? If these things occurred, you can assume that your child is experiencing high tension.”

When I run errands all day or the day is just really exciting because people are here and there is stuff going on, Bean often skips naps or doesn’t nap for very long. Consequently, she is sometimes harder to get to sleep and get her to stay asleep that night because she is so overtired and having a hard time shutting down.

“Lights, noise, crowds, and colors are all sensations that can stimulate the brain. Some children seem to easily block those sensations and drop off to sleep in the midst of them. Others get revved up and just can’t fall asleep. But high levels of stimulation are the norm for most families, and, as a result, it is easy to miss this as a cause… Do a life check. Did battery-operated toys arrive as gifts for your newborn? … Have you ever noticed that, after a day of shopping your child can’t sleep? Stop, look and listen. How many different sensations is your child’s brain trying to process at once? Does the stimulation level in your child’s life leave him cringing, too tight to sleep? If your child is especially sensitive to stimulation, it doesn’t mean that you should never go to an amusement park for fun, or a restaurant for dinner. It’s just a reminder that if his day has been filled with hours of television-watching, crowds of people, and a barrage of stimulation, it’s likely that he’ll need more help settling down for the night… Sometimes it’s the pace and sense of rushing that can be keeping your family awake. Even when you’ve been looking forward to the activities and thoroughly enjoy them, there’s a line where you and your child cross from calm into tense energy…  Often we become so accustomed to this level of tension that we are not even aware of it. Take special care to pay attention to the needs of a younger child who gets toted along… The stress of a too-busy life can get you and your child not only during the day, but at night as well. Recognizing this allows you to find the balance between a busy, yet satisfying day and one that leaves everyone in a frenzy.”

Bean is defnitely very easily stimulated by the world. When we are in public she deals with this by becoming quietly observant. However, she does start to dart her head around trying to take it all in. Sometimes even just Stephen’s presence is enough to send her over the edge of excitement and overstimulation. As I’m carrying her upstairs for a diaper change she’ll be in a frenzy to keep her eyes on him. If she hears his voice and he comes home during a nursing session I can just throw in the towel because there will be no use trying to keep her attention on the task at hand. Papa is just too exciting. This is one reason I am so glad we don’t have cable or the ability to watch TV right now. I think we would have even more problems.

“Pschologist Tom Anders found in his studies that children nine to fourteen months old wake more frequently than six-month-old infants. The reason, he believes, is the huge surge in physical devopment at this stage. It’s during this period of nine to fourteen months that most tiny toddlers begin to pull themselves up to standing, and begin walking. The joy of these new skills raises arousal levels and so enthralls the child that even in the middle of the night he wants to practice… So, if your child is waking in the night or battling to stay up, ask yourself, is she within six weeks of her birthday or half birthday when growth spurts tend to occur? Or have you noticed any significant change in her skills?… What skills is your child working on right now? What is he able to do that he couldn’t do six months ago? The quest to grow may be keeping him aroused.”

Yes, yes and yes. Stephen and I have come into Bean’s room in the middle of the night to find her trying to sit up, crawl, roll over and pull herself up onto the side of the crib. The other night she was saying “Ma ma ma” a bunch in her sleep. During the day her new discoveries are often a huge source of tension in her little body, especially when she can’t quite get to or do the thing that she wants.

So often though I’ve just been frustrated. I take her attitude personally as if she can somehow control it. Instead of seeing things through her perspective. This new exciting world to her. Each day it seems she discovers a new toy, finds a new way to do something.

“When you are able to tune into the ‘culprits’ that are creating tense energy in your child’s life, you won’t feel so out of control. As a result, you’ll respond more empathaetically, recognizing that your child is not trying to be difficult. Your awareness will also allow you to be kinder to yourself. You are not a bad or ineffective parent. It’s tension that is keepig your child on alert, unable to sleep and acting up. The ‘force’ is no longer invisible. It’s concrete and manageable, and you are now ready to take the steps to reduce it, so that everyone can sleep.”

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Sound familiar?

I just re-picked up Sleepless in America: Practical Strategies to Help Your Family Get the Sleep it Deserves by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. I first read this book when Bean was about a month old. I actually didn’t read the whole thing. Just the first chapter and then the chapter on infants. I was a little disappointed at that time because it basically said everything that Happiest Baby on the Block said. I didn’t understand why so many AP (attachment parenting) parents were such a fan of this book when it was just reitterating the same exact information and offering no new tricks or advice. Way to blow $20.

Well, with all our sleep issues lately I decided to give the book a second chance. I’m through the first five chapters and already finding so much stuff that falls in line with my parenting style (which is somewhere between AP and not AP). I love that Kurcinka admits that not every strategy works for every child. I love that she has so much research in here to back it all up. I just am loving this book right now.

What I’m not loving? That my yuckiness is pointed out so blatantly before my eyes. A yuckiness that I believe is a result of not getting enough sleep.

Here’s a checklist of behavior that unfortunately fits me nearly perfectly:
-Be short-tempered, easily “set off” by the kids
-Feel irritable and cranky, nothing is much fun
-Burst into tears
-Become frustrated easily
-Find it difficult to alter plans or deal with surprises
-Become controlling and demanding
-Feel overwhelmed, anxious, or jittery
-Experience head- or stomachaches
-Have difficulty falling asleep even though you’re tired
-Wake up in the morning to an alarm going off or a child waking you, rather than on your own
-Become ill more frequently
-Crave carbohydrates, sugar, and/or caffeine
-Drop things, stub your toe, turn your ankle, or stumble
-Feel sluggish, heavy, unable to make a meal, pick things up, respond to a child
-Experience overwhelming sleepiness at certain points in the day
-Feel as though you are in a fog
-Mix up words
-Forget things
-Make a list and then lose it
-Perform poorly, especially on things that require quick thinking or action
-Miss “cues” from your children and others
-Miss your exit on the freeway
-Have difficulty making decisions or thinking things through
-Argue with your partner or your children
-Take your child’s behavior more personally
-Demand that things be done NOW!
-Be more easily hurt by the comments of others
-Be less flexible
-Allow the “tone” to creep into your voice

While some of it is kind of funny, most of it is just yucky. I hate that I act this way. Maybe not in the public eye, but I do act this way. Out of the whole list there were only a few things that did not describe me: hitting, throwing things, inability to be creative (can’t really see that one ever happening), feeling frenzied, frequently ill, and feeling guilty about lack of energy.

So yeah, we definitely have sleep issues around here. Yes, I knew that already. Hopefully this book will help.

Nuggets I like so far:

“Anything that upsets your child’s sense of well-being will raise her arousal and pull her system in the direction opposite of sleep. That’s why it is important to look at the advice you have been given. Scrutinize it carefully and determine whether the recommended strategies create a sense of security that calms your child’s body, thus gently nudging her toward sleep, or leave her feeling anxious and insecure, pushing her away.”

Ah yes. All the well intentioned advice us moms (and dads) get… “You just need to let her cry it out. She’ll sleep like an angel.” “Don’t spoil her.” “If you bring her to bed with you, you’ll never get her out.” A few paragraphs later Kurcinka shares some good tips for responding to the advice so that you don’t start debates or offend your friends and family or make anyone feel guilty for doing what works for their family.

“It’s very likely that your heart has fought the use of strategies that leave your child feeling tense and threatened, but you might not have known what else you could do. Or you may have felt trapped, reluctant to ignore the warnings of others, or pressured to use strategies that so many others have. And it is true. Children may cry as they go to sleep. The key is in knowing the differences in the cries. Lay one child down, and he may cry for a few minutes. A mad cry, as though to say, ‘This is hard work! I don’t like it. I don’t want to rest,” but in less than five minutes, he falls blissfully asleep. As his parent, you realize that a bit of fussing was just what he needed to release the tension from his body and that he will now sleep well. Lay another child down, and he screams as though he’s pleading, ‘Help me, please help me, I can’t stop!’ And, indeed, he can’t. His heart racing, eyes wild, hair mussed, he is unable to bring his body back into balance and calm himself. If left unattended, he will cry for hours, overwhelmed by the rush of stress hormones in his body. He cannot stop until someone helps him, not because he’s trying to be manipulative but because of the tension and level of arousal in his body. Or, if he does finally ‘crash,’ as a parent, you are left wondering, as Robert did in class, does he fall in exhaustion or in despair? When you practice sensitive care, you recognize the difference between the cries of these two children, and respond to each appropriately. If, however, you allow the advice of others, no matter how well intentioned, to stop you from listening to your child’s cues and to your own heart’s reaction, you lose your rudder, that deep sense of direction that tells you what your child needs and how to respond. Children can learn to fall asleep and to stay asleep with strategies that gently and respectfully get them there. You don’t have to leave them screaming in the night.”

Ah yes! This is totally us around here! I will now admit freely that I did try “crying it out” again about a month ago during nap time one day. Such a disaster. Let’s just say that Bean is very persistant and she would have gone on for hours and hours and hours if I let her. Crying it out does not work for her and I really don’t have the nerves for it honestly. However, sometimes after I’ve already rocked or nursed her to sleep and I put her into bed she will roll onto her tummy lift up her head and cry for a couple seconds before resettling herself and falling blissfully asleep as if nothing happened. I was exasperated over these two completely different situations. Was I being a bad, non-AP mom and letting her “cry it out” sometimes even though I knew that these situations were, in fact, completely different?

“Stop and reflect. How are you approaching sleep now? Does your nighttime routine match the kind of nurturing care you are providing your child during the day, or are you doing things at night that you would never consider trying during the day? If someone asked you to post your ‘nighttime policy’ at your door or on the Internet, would another family want to send their child to you for care? If you were a child, would you want to sleep in your home?”

This section was especially hard hitting because she took the advice that many parents have been given when it comes to dealing with their babies and applied it to a “nighttime policy” for elderly in assisted living situations. Would you want your sweet grandparents left crying it out, soiled in poo or puke, and thirsty in the night? I don’t think so.

“Perspective is a powerful force. It changes our attitude, our behavior, and the physiological reactions in our body. When we are willing to stop and consider the other person’s perspective, we begin to work together. When your child doesn’t sleep, it can feel as though her behavior is intentional. Why, you may wonder, is she doing this to me? Why is she goading me and disturbing everyone around her? This perspective leaves you feeling angry and helpless, ready to fight with your child or to shut the door and walk away from her. The reality is that when your child isn’t sleeping, it isn’t about you. Rather it is a reflection of what’s going on inside of her body. When she doesn’t sleep, it’s not because she won’t, but because she can’t. Think about your own restless nights, when sleep eludes you. Tossing and turning, you find yourself checking the clock every two hours, your dreams leaving you troubled and tired. You do not choose for this to happen to you. Rather, something is on your mind, your body is humming with energy. As a result, you do not sleep because, like your child, you can’t.”

Oh man. So often I take things with Bean so personally even though she’s only 7 months old. Even tonight as I was putting on a particularly complicated pair of PJs (seriously who designs sleepwear for babies with a million snaps and four ties!?!), I was getting really mad because she kept wanting to roll over and look in the mirror or play with the carpet and gosh darnit I needed to get these PJs on already! Why wasn’t she listening to me? I said, NO! So dumb to get upset over PJs, I know, but it had been a long day and I was exhausted and frustrated.

Anyway, like I said I love this book. I’m even thinking about ordering her other one about raising a spirited child because I already have a feeling from her personality that Bean will be spirited, to say the least.

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Week Twenty-Seven

She is very tired in all of these pictures yet three hours later she still has refused to go down for a nap. I just might have to break out the big guns and go for a drive.

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More on the sleeping stuff

So when I set out to “stretch” Bean’s night time feedings, I actually wanted to go really, really slow.

Since, on average she was waking up at 4am most nights, I knew she could go at least that long. My goal was to stretch her to 4:30am this week and increase in half hour increments each week after that.

Well, Saturday she woke up at 3:30am. So Stephen paced with her until 4 and then I nursed her to sleep. Sunday she woke up at 4am and Stephen lasted about 20 minutes before handing her off to me. I was sort of getting frustrated because he wasn’t lasting very long with the soothing and distracting. Plus, I was kind of mad because for all these months I’ve been getting up and staying up through at least the feedings and longer if I wasn’t able to fall back asleep.

Anyway, on Monday she woke up at 5:20am. Since this was past our goal of 4:30am we didn’t even try to stretch her any more that night. Tuesday she woke up at 5:40am and again we didn’t try to stretch her at all, just fed and then back to sleep. She actually slept until 9am after that one feeding.

So I was like, “YES! It is really working!!!” I was so excited that she was getting it all on her own.

Well, last night it was starting to seem like we were going to have a big regression, but in fact it turned into a nice little breakthrough.

Bean woke up at 4am. Stephen changed her diaper and paced the halls with her until 4:18am. Then he came in the room and said, “What do you want to do? She’s wide awake and she’s not going back to sleep. I’ve stretched her for 18 minutes. I’m sure we can expect a regression here and there. It’s not that big of a deal.”

I was pretty frustrated. I said, “Well, we know she can make it until 5:30am, so I don’t want to feed her before then. I know it is a long time to stay up, but we have to stay consistent.”

Stephen indicated that he would be “dead” at work today if he stayed up. So I decided that I would try my hand at the soothing and distracting expecting that I probably wouldn’t be able to make it last much longer considering our previous attempts at me doing this.

I paced and swayed and rocked. This time was different. She didn’t flail and cry and thrash. As 4:30am approached she was still wide awake, just looking around at everything. I decided to head downstairs and see if she wanted to play with some toys for a bit. She wasn’t interested, she just wanted to cuddle with me. So I picked her up and walked around swaying her and rocking her.

My arms started to get tired so I sat down on the floor for awhile with her in my lap and rocked back and forth. I decided to start humming some lullaby that I can’t remember the words to. Slowly her body began to stop being so tense. She eased into the curve of my arms and started going limp. My arms feeling rested, I picked her up and rocked and swayed some more until she became a deadweight and was fast asleep.

I made my way upstairs and began trying to put her down in her bed. She rolled over as soon as she touched the mattress and began to cry. Into my arms again, but this time she was back out in a couple of seconds. We repeated this back and forth until I was feeling desperate for a rocking chair and thinking I was going to definitely not make it. Finally, 5:30am approached. I had been rocking and rocking on my feet for close to an hour now. I decided to try and lay down with her in our bed. As soon as the rocking stopped she was awake again. I got back up and paced some more. At 5:35am I had reached my breaking point. I just couldn’t stay awake much longer rocking a heavy sleeping baby. I decided to lay her down. Again she rolled and cried. I decided I was going to go get Stephen and see if he could be more successful with the transfer from arms to bed because I’m so short that every time I would try to put her in the crib her leg would hit the railing or I’d have to jossle her in some way to get her up above it which was the precursor to the waking.

But, miraculously, by the time I reached our room a second later, the crying had stopped. She had found her comfortable position and drifted back off. I laid down in bed thinking it wouldn’t last, but it did!

At 8:45am I began hearing her stir a bit. I got up and even though she wasn’t actually awake yet I scooped her up and began our day.

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Back… for realz.

OK so we finally, finally have the real live, fast Internet set up in our apartment and it is awesome. No more driving to Whole Foods, Panera or Ruth’s house. No more mooching off some neighbor’s wireless network that is really slow and patchy. The Internet is ours!

Last night as I was laying in bed and trying to fall asleep knowing that the Internet would be back this morning I kept thinking of this huge list of things I wanted to write about and do. I’m not sure if this post will live up to everything I dreamed up, but here goes anyway.

Bean is six months old today!

She is so, so close to crawling. Mostly she just rolls around, does the fish out of water swimmer/army man scoot, and bounces on her bottom while sitting to get where she wants to go. She is pushing up and pulling up and man she wants to go, go, go. Sometimes she gets really, really frustrated that she can’t quite figure it out which leads to a meltdown and is not fun for Mama. But mostly she is her smiley cute little self.

You may have noticed that I dropped off on the measurement pictures. I sort of forgot to do the five month one and I’m probably not going to get around to doing the one for this month. Bean had a well baby check the Friday before we moved though and these were her stats: 16lbs 10oz, 25 inches long, and I can’t remember her head circ.

Not allergic!
At that appointment I found out that miraculously I am no longer allergic to nuts. My doctor said that a combination of avoidance and pregnancy are probably the culprit for my recovery. I am so, so happy to not be allergic anymore. Last night I enjoyed ice cream with a heath bar in it and some of Stephen’s with Reese’s. I also had a cookie yesterday that had some kind of nut in it. In both instances I had absolutely no allergic reaction and I definitely didn’t die. 🙂

Where my day goes
In an effort to be able to account for my time a little better so that I don’t always have to say at the end of they day, “I did nothing today.” I am starting to keep a log of what goes on.

I am also doing this so that I can kind of figure out what Bean’s schedule is during the day. I know she has one, just wanting to know what it is so I can plan my day out a little better.

So are you curious as to where my day goes? Well I hope you are because this is it:

Monday, March 23
5:20am – Bean up, fed and diapered then put back to sleep.
8am – Both of us up. Went downstairs, did dishes. Ate blueberry muffin. Tried to give Bean some solids, but she wasn’t in the mood and was just making a mess so I put it away.
8:45am – diaper change, clean up, got Bean dressed
8:50-9:15am – fed Bean. Tried to put her down for a nap, but she cried and woke back up as soon as I set her in the crib.
9:15-9:45am – checked e-mail/Facebook/blog (which was really slow going and I just got frustrated) while Bean played on the floor.
9:45-10:05am – switched out laundry, folded dry stuff. Unpacked and put away two boxes of linens while Bean played in her walker.
10:05-10:20am – put away dishes and started a new load while Bean played on the floor. She was starting to get fussy so I gave her some teething tabs. I played with her a bit, but she was obviously very tired and needing a nap.
10:35-10:45am -nursed Bean until she fell asleep.
10:45am – Bean took a nap and I took a shower.
11:20am – done showering and getting dressed/put together. Started to make a sandwich, but Bean woke up. Changed her diaper. Went back to sandwich making. Phone rang and had to answer it. Finally got to eat my sandwich at around 12:15pm.
12:35am – fed Bean some carrots mixed with breastmilk and mashed up brown rice.
1pm – Bean done eating. Cleaned her up and changed her diaper.
1:20pm – put away dishes, switched out laundry and folded dry stuff.
1:30pm – sewed a few quilt squares together, but Bean was getting fussy and needing another nap.
1:50-2pm – nursed Bean until she fell asleep
2-3:15pm – Bean took a nap and I planned our menu to try and incorporate all the veggies we got from Abundant Harvest.
3:15pm – Bean up, changed her diaper. Folded laundry and started some more.
3:30-4:30pm – walked to Whole Food to get a few groceries and a snack
4:30pm – played with Bean for 15 minutes
4:45-5:05pm – Bean nursed until she fell asleep
5:05-5:50pm – made dinner, when it was done I checked on Bean and she was still asleep.
6:10pm – finished with dinner, checked on Bean and she was still asleep. Worked on my knitting project.
6:45pm – Stephen home from work. Bean up. Changed her diaper then fixed Stephen’s plate for dinner.
7-7:05pm – Bean fussy so I gave her some teething tabs and nursed her a bit. Then she played on the floor with her toys.
8:30pm – we drove to Coldstone and used our buy one get one free coupon.
9:15pm – Got home, changed Bean’s diaper and nursed her until she fell asleep at 9:53pm
9:53pm – worked on my knitting project some more. I am almost done with the first sleeve!
10:45pm – Went to bed.

Yeah. So see, I do get stuff done and that is where the day goes.

Another apartment peak

We bought this desk and filing cabinet on Saturday. The desk was delivered on Sunday. I love having a space for all of our office stuff and my computer. There is so much storage in this desk, it is great. I’m glad we didn’t go with the IKEA one because this one is much, much nicer. I also love that it all folds up and the stuff can be hidden away. I love that this piece has a classic feel to it, but also kind of modern and not too fancy looking. I love that the printer we got for Christmas is finally set up and working. Now I can print out all my recipes and menus!

Church
Sunday morning we woke up bright at early at 6:30am and drove to Carpinteria so we could attend church at Reality.

I love this church. We had been once before while we were still living in Bakersfield. It is quite a trek to get there (45 minutes each way), but with amazing ocean views, that really isn’t a burden…

I seriously could not stop looking out the window for the whole drive. There were light showers, the sun peaking through the clouds and streaming down and even a few rainbows along the way. Not to mention the gorgeous ocean crashing along the shoreline below. Plus, it is actually only about 10 minutes longer to go there than it was to go to Westbrook from our house in Bakersfield.

It only took that one visit for us to be sold. The teaching was great and the worship amazing. Not because the band was particularly talented, but because the congregation really wanted to be there and was very into it.

This is also the church where our former youth pastor is going and getting ready to be sent out to plant a church in San Francisco. So it was really cool to reconnect with him a little bit on Sunday. Plus another thing was that Stephen ran in to like 3 different people he knew from back when he lived in Santa Paula. So it feels familiar to him in a lot of ways.

Our plan is to continue attending there for now and then when they start up the new site in Ventura to switch to start getting involved there. We’re also just kind of taking a break from over-involvement at this point. It is tempting to want to throw ourselves head first into home groups, prayer for the Ventura site, playing music etc, but we know we just really need to have some time to get adjusted and get to know the place where we live. It has been sooo nice to just be able to be home and relax and not be rushing off to various activities lately.

Nighttime/Sleep Parenting
There have been many things going on in the world of sleep (or lack thereof) with us lately.

First up I’ll talk about nap time. Bean has started this new thing where when I put her down in the crib, the floor, etc. for a nap she immediately starts crying or fussing. Most of the time it lasts a couple seconds until she adjusts her comfort position, usually by rolling onto her side, and then she stops and goes on with her normal nap. Sometimes though she just completely cries herself awake and thrashes around and I pick her up and she doesn’t go back to sleep. Then she’s totally grumpy and fussy until she’s finally hungry again and I can nurse her to sleep again. I’m not quite sure how to handle this.

She also has become quite the mover during sleep. I find her in some of the strangest positions when I go to check on her or when I go to get her after she wakes up. It is hilarious. This is not the best example, but the only time I’ve taken a picture is right now:

So I put her to sleep on her back near the corner of the blanket. During the course of writing this post she has managed to move to the middle and wind up on her stomach. Which brings me to another quandry. The whole “back to sleep” campaign. She almost always turns onto her side or stomach while she is sleeping now. Am I really supposed to stir her and turn her back on her back? Really? Because nap/sleep time is going to be a whole heck of a lot more difficult if that is the case.

Finally, on the subject of sleep, Stephen and I are trying to work on “night weaning” Bean. I know this probably doesn’t sit well with the “on demand” crowd, but I really need my sleep. I just seriously can’t handle much more. I am so, so much more grumpy when I don’t get enough sleep. I have been snapping at Stephen a lot lately for completely dumb stuff. I notice that I’ve had trouble constructing sentences properly, I am way less alert especially when doing mundane things like driving (I’ve nearly run several red lights because I just was having a hard time paying attention), and I have no motivation or energy to get stuff done. I just really, really need a good night sleep to be a better person in general. So what we’ve been doing is that when Bean wakes up Stephen goes in and tries to comfort her, distract her, etc for at least a little while to stretch her a bit every night.

When we started this over the weekend she was waking up between 1 and 4am almost every night and then every 1-2 hours after that. I’m the type of person that once I’ve been awakened it is really hard for me to go back to sleep. I’m a really light sleeper. I also don’t do well with alarms or knowing that something is going to happen. So basically when she would wake up that first time I wouldn’t go back to sleep after that because I would lay in bed thinking about how she was going to be waking up again in 1-2 hours and also I would have a hard time falling back asleep because of various sounds (Stephen breathing mostly). So I was pretty much surving on on 3-5 hours of sleep every night. I also have a hard time napping or sleeping in past my internal clock wake up time of 8am unless I’m really, really exhausted (as in didn’t sleep at all the night before).

Also I should note that we know it is possible for Bean to sleep through the night. She was doing a great job of it early on, but teething and a couple of colds really messed up her sleeping/eating patterns. So she just mostly got into the habit of eating and waking up several times a night. I noticed that when I began feeding her throughout the night she would not nurse as many times during the day and she wasn’t that into it or serious about it. She was more interested in what was going on around her, constantly popping off, playing with my shirt/hair, etc.

Anyway, it seems to be working out pretty well. Yesterday she didn’t wake up until 5:20am and this morning she didn’t wake up until 5:40am. And both times she went back to sleep until when I would normally get up for the day (this morning she slept in until 9am!). I’ve also noticed that she’s quite a bit more serious about nursing during the day. It’s pretty much, “don’t bother me I’m eating”-you’d-think-she-was-starving-because-she’s-so-desperate-for-food kind of nursing, not goofing off at all. Since she knows I’m the one that nurses her and has the milk, it really works out better for Stephen to be the one to wake up and try to stretch her. If I do it she goes into a total meltdown and thrashes and screams until I give in and nurse her. I think she feels rejected if I don’t nurse her right away. I know you’re all probably thinking, “Oh no way. That cute little baby is never upset.” Let me tell you, she can get pretty pissed when she doesn’t get her way!

If you thought I was “crunchy” before
So yes, not only am I getting all of our produce through Abundant Harvest, I am also going to start a garden and I am even composting! We are really blessed in that this apartment has a pretty big backyard/patio-ish thing with plenty of room for a garden. I’m planning on starting it this weekend after a trip to the nursery.

This is my compost bin…

And this is my “transfer” bin that I keep on the kitchen counter…

Though I am going to have to come up with something else for that because this is actually my “barf bucket” from when I was pregnant and since Stephen was the one to clean it out all the time he finds its presence on our kitchen counter “disturbing”.

Menu Plan Monday
Except it is on Tuesday. So this is my planned menu that will hopefully use up all of our veggies for the next two weeks…

Last night
Chicken Tacos
Salad

Tonight
Salmon cakes with creamy ginger sesame sauce
Carrot and leek recipe from Ruth (hint hint sister, you should post that one!).

Wednesday
Chicken pot pie
Salad

Thursday
Pasta primavera using TJ’s frozen fettuccini alfredo, AH carrots and asparagus, and garlic chicken recipe
Salad

Friday
Grilled Steaks marinated in garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil
Red Chard with Carmelized Onion

Saturday
Leftover pasta from freezer
Salad

Sunday
Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries and roasted citrus drenched asparagus

Monday
Roasted Winter Vegetables with Roasted Garlic Sauce using sweet potatoes, carrot and rutabaga
Garlic Chicken

Tuesday
Some dish I am going to come up with using chicken, rice, carrots and garlic

Wednesday
Chili, corn bread and salad

Thursday
Leftover pasta from the freezer
Salad

Friday
Leftover split pea soup from the freezer
Salad

Other
Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting

Anyway, that about does it for everything I think I wanted to say. Sorry if this post is a bit long and rambling and overwhelming. I just had been bottling things up for way, way too long! I’m so glad to be back!

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Filed under Faith, Family, Homemade, Menu Plan Monday, Natural Living, Parenting, Ramblings