Cure for Insomnia

So, I’ve generally not had trouble getting to sleep in my life, but when I do, I have stuff I think about that helps me relax and go to sleep. [OK the 3 months after WCB was born don’t count – hormones were involved.]

When I was a kid, I used to think about each of the bedrooms in the house, and if I was sleeping in that bed, where would the door be? and what would be on the left? and what would be behind me? etc.  If I ran out of bedrooms in our house, I’d do my grandmother’s house, where at Thanksgiving we’d sleep folks in almost every room… I don’t think I ever stayed awake for all of her house. Something about the methodical-ness and the complexity of the thoughts seems to help me drift off.

When I was a teenager I used to think about…well, that was the hormonal period.  ‘Nuf said.

As an adult, one of my most common was “When I have a child, I will…” and the senarios I’d dream up would help me drop off.  Funny – this one doesn’t work any more.  It leads to fret and worry – NOT conducive to sleep. At least the hormonal anxiety is finally gone. Ick – I don’t like being ruled by my chemicals.

Recently I realized I have a new method for falling asleep.  I write blog posts in my head.  And fall asleep usually around the 2nd or third composition.  Somehow “writing” in my head about all the things that have happened to me and WCB (et al) relaxes me and sends me off (methodical and complex again!).  Funny how a lot of these late night posts never seem to make it to the blog…of course the 20 lb, zillion-mile-an-hour-whirlwind in the house might have something to do with sucking up all my time. 😉

Blogging as a cure for insomnia…I’m sure it has been done before.

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The speed of change

MAN – what they don’t tell you is how just when you think you’ve got it, it is time to do the next step/thing.  As a matter of fact, the FACT that your child has gotten comfortable with something is the *sign* that you need to move on to something new.  Sigh.

So -WCB is finally sleeping “through the night” in her own crib*. Um, well, for the following definitions of “through the night” and “in her crib”:

  • WCB has learned to go to sleep in 5-15 mins after lights out, and can be transferred from mom’s arms to crib in about 45mins (although it is often an hour to 1.5 hrs later as I fall asleep at about the same time that WCB does and then OLM has to be wakened by Daddy-N to put WCB to bed).  
  • WCB sleeps completely through the night 1-2 times per week, has only one wake up 3-4 times per week and has multiple wakings per night only 1-2 times per week.  
  • Upon night waking, she can return to sleep in her crib with between 2-10 mins of pats and/or “hold my hand” 4 times out of 5, and needs to sleep a chunk of the night with an adult only maybe 1-2 times a week. 
  •  MOM spends 65-70% of her sleep time IN HER OWN BED, in chunks of 4-6 hours at a time – whoop!
  • Daddy-N has successfully taken several “Friday nights” with WCB to give mom a break (usually to pack, do bills, or be sick). And WCB is OK with this.

SO – can we celebrate? Noooooo – now we have to teach her to fall asleep in her own bed.  And to go through her bedtime routine/go to sleep with a Daddy (with no mommy at all). That’s September’s project.  And part of me asks – why?  What we have is working SO WELL!  And the answer is – because we are GOOD parents. We want her to develop independence, adaptability, and good sleep habits.  If we were bad parents, we’d only do what was convenient for US – not what was best for WCB (or at least a compromise between the two that allows us to stay sane).

Similarly, WCB has pretty much gotten used to stage 2 foods served to her 3 times a day.  She can eat easily dissolved crackers/cookies by herself.  She drinks ALL her formula bottles without much trauma (I wish I could tell the lady that was me back in Month #2 that this would EVER happen).  So now we have to give her chunkier foods and teach her to use a sippy cup [both of which changes she is resisting, of course].   She likes her food and formula tepid to warm – cold food is not food.  So we have to get her used to cold foods. She can’t move on to the Toddler room in daycare at age 1 unless she can feed herself fairly independently.  That’s about a month away – so MORE stuff to do in September….Sigh.

She’s walking like a trooper and investigating EVERYTHING – so now we have to get her used to shoes. And limits, and gates, and child-proofing of drawers and cupboards.  She can climb out of the big bathtub (smart girl!) so now we have to teach her the word NO!  Sigh.

Being a parent is hard.  And mean.  Being a toddler is hard. And stressful.  And there are no vacations. Change is constant, and FAST.

Good thing we love each other  🙂  Cuteness RULES!

*part of the yet-to-be-written “SLEEP SAGA.”  I’ll get there, I’ll get there – just let me get this room clean, and change this diaper, and pay this bill, and…

Language Research from Daddy-N

Daddy-N is a news-aholic.  And WCB has been an opportunity for him to research child development stuff galore.  He came up with this cool stuff recently about language development.  In order to respect copyright law, I am unable to paste the specific paragraphs/sections he refers to in his post, and the referenced web page has very sparse navigation options.  I have done my best to direct you to the right parts of this very long article he is talking about.  Enjoy! OLM

 I got curious and googled some on infant language.  Thought I’d share some interesting excerpts from Daniel Kies‘ work below.  WCB seems way ahead of the curve discussed in the chronology listed in this excerpt [5 paragraphs above this section, both physically and linguistically – but there are some interesting findings that could be helpful.  I’m often certain, for example, that WCB is trying hard to tell us things sometimes that we’re just not getting.

I think we should try to pay more attention to one of the points under Communication before Language  [10th – 13th paragraphs under the Crying, Cooing, & Babbling header] that “prosodic” features like pitch & intonation are used much more by infants than the actual consonants and vowels chosen.  They give the example of how for one child “MA-ma” meant “mother” and “ma-MA” meant ‘father” – perhaps WCB is already saying “mother” intentionally by some variation of her “da’s,” and there might even be a distinction already between Daddy-O & Daddy-N somewhere in there.

On the other side of the language equation, the other day I had a profound revelation about just how much language WCB understands, even though she won’t be able to make her own language on the same level for a long time to come.  I told WCB, “you have a sock on your tunnel!” – and she turned to look exactly at the sock on her play tunnel.  Surprised, I decided to test her, and said, “can you bring me the sock?”  And she immediately got the sock and handed it to me!  (And no, I wasn’t using hand gestures or in any way indicating my meaning with hand signals.)*  I find this fascinating especially given that she hardly ever wears socks, and the tunnel is pretty new to her, so both words have sunk in with little apparent effort.

Thus this excerpt about interacting verbally with little’uns [under Preconditions for Language Learning – 3rd-5th paragraphs under the Social Preconditions header] is worth paying attention to soon, as well. It implies that we need to focus on semantic expansion rather than just grammatical expansion when we repeat things back to her. 

*Isn’t Daddy N a proud papa? I think he’s just dying to talk with her. I know *I* wish I could know what she is thinking with that serious little face – or wanting with that frustrated-sounding “DAHT daht DAHT!”    OLM

New Mommy Disease

Today, a guest post from Uncle L – his words of wisdom for the family and support structure for new mommies. Enjoy!  OLM

New mommies brains leak out their ears – example:

I had to threaten to take her child to get her to shower.   Really.  Mothers of newborns are exhausted and irrational.  This is not a failing or a weakness.  This is a fact of life and human nature.  Start by squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon, OR getting gutted like a fish, if that’s your choice, then sleep maybe 4 hours out of every 24, and that in 20 minute increments, and see how well YOU do.

It’s even worse for first time mothers.  No confidence at all.  Women who can facilitate a meeting between the Socialists of America and the John Birch Society or plan the invasion of a small country are going to approach first time mom-ing with all the aplomb and savoir-faire of a pubescent boy trying for his first kiss; that is to say, none at all.

So what’s the reaction:  to convince herself that she must do absolutely everything with her own two hands (and boobs) and that any consideration of her own needs is selfish and to be pushed aside.  Stir in the “my milk isn’t coming in” trauma and sprinkle on just a hint of post-partum depression, and you’ve got a recipe for pretty severe personal neglect.

Somewhere around day four or five, I leaned over to kiss her goodbye and got a whiff.  So I sniffed again.  After all, it could have been me.

“Sweetie, when did you last shower?”

“Um, I don’t remember.”

“Was it before, or after you went to the hospital?”

“Oh – at.”

“Today you should take a shower.”

<Insert plethora of excuses here . . .>

“Ok – I’ll put it this way.  If I come back tomorrow and you have not showered, I’m going to pack a diaper bag and a six-pack of formula, and take your baby away.  I will not return her until you have showered.”

<Insert quiet, exhausted splutters of outrage and vague threats here>

“At the moment, you are not fit to care for WCB.  She’s completely dependent on you, and you are clearly making bad decisions.  Her best interested are not going to be served by an exhausted, in pain-filled stinky mommy.  Besides, you always feel better after you’ve showered.  Daddy –O and Daddy-N will help me, and you know it.  So make some time to shower in the next 24 hours and such ugly scenes will not come to pass.”

<Insert small smile under incredibly baggy eyes here.>

When I got there the next evening and asked, she told me she had showered. 

So I sniffed, because while she is generally honest to a fault, OLM can lie like a Louisiana politician when she thinks it’s in good cause.

The moral of this story is, new mommies, at least first timers may not take care of themselves.  You, as part of the support team, have to help them do so. 

Oh, you can also threaten to just wait until they pass out and then spray them with the garden hose.

 

Quote for the day – Kleenex

 

WCB: “Achoo, cough cough cough…snooork”

Oneluckymommy: “That’s ok, dear, mommy is just one big Kleenex anyway.”

[Said to WCB as she wiggles and crawls face down all over mommy while making horrible sinus sounds.]

WCB can go from freshly scrubbed to “Dirty-faced kid” in a 10 minute car ride.  And of course – she just LOVES having her face washed.  You’d think we were using a cheese grater from the howls we get.

How *does* a toddler get snot in her eyebrows, on the back of her elbow, and behind her ears anyway?  Oh, and did you know that it dries mostly clear when NOT gathered in clumps beneath the nose?  So it is like “stealth snot” encountered only, of course, when you take her out of the car seat at whatever destination you just cleaned her up for.

Important mom tip: It is impossible to measure your self-worth as a mom by the cleanliness of your child’s face.

Watch what you say around little ears

Learned a new word a while back from “My Level of Awareness” – lagniappe. I’d seen it before in writing, and had loosely translated it (using context clues) correctly as meaning – “a little something extra.”  But I’d never sent the pronunciation before.  I had it all wrong – I had it as lang-YAP, when it is actually LAN-yop.

 

Similarly, I heard ouvre pronounced for the first time on NPR. My pronunciation – ooo-vruh.  Theirs – well – MUCH more French – like “uhoov” with some gargling at the end.

 

This has happened to me many times throughout my life (don’t ask me about omnipotent).  I am an avid and speedy reader – as in I still managed to read at least a novel a week in the first month after pregnancy, and am back up to a novel every 1-2 days now that WCB is more self-entertaining.  I encounter words in my reading on a regular basis that I have never heard – some of these so often that they have entered my spoken vocabulary – with whatever pronunciation I had worked out at first hurried glance.  You can imagine the hilarity and embarrassment when someone who KNOWS the word hears me say it, well, all wrong.

 

I know I have a rich vocabulary.  WCB’s dads do too.  They also have had this pronunciation issue – Daddy N especially since he likes to read books with lots of foreign words.  We already use our advanced vocabulary around WCB – all the time.  It probably behooves us to take a moment and check our pronunciation of difficult, strange or suspect words.  As good parents, we don’t want to perpetuate this issue with WCB, now do we?

 

So – I vow to make a note and look up the pronunciation of at least one suspect word a week.

 

In my spare time.

 

Really. I mean it.

 

(WCB – you are doomed to repeat the vocabulary mistakes of your parents…sigh.)