Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nap time. What is that?

Nothing puts me in a bad mood quicker than Asher refusing to nap.

I need his nap times to get work done, clear my mind, take a shower, fold some clothes. And for my sanity. You get the point.

And he needs his nap times to stay healthy, grow, rest his little mind. Well, he forgot to read that memo. For the last month nap times are a battle. A constant, miserable-for-everyone battle.

We are now sleep training because I'm at my wits end. At this moment, he's been fighting a nap for 48 minutes. And I'm banging out this post with lots of frustration.

I used to nurse him to sleep. That doesn't work anymore (and I want to get away from this due to weaning). Rocking him doesn't work. Strolling him no longer works. Even car rides don't work every time. And I don't want to get in the habit of going through such extreme measures to get my child to take a freaking nap. He can be in a deep sleep on my shoulder and as soon as I go to move him to the crib - he's up and screaming. And I mean screaming at the top of his lungs, can't catch his breath. I used to repeat the process over and over. Now, I just let him cry. At night, we don't seem to have this issue. It's just naptime. I don't think he's ready for just one nap a day. He needs his rest darnit.

I need my child to understand that when we lay him down, it's time to rest and we'll be back to get him and he'll feel good and we'll carry on with our day together. But he ruins that. He ruins the happy vibe. He makes himself annd me miserable with his antics.

I've read the books and the research. Rusty and I have talked about what we feel comfortable with. So, we have started what some refer to as sleep training. I call it tough love. We put him down for a nap when he's good and tired. He can fuss if he feels like it, but we will not coddle him. He can fuss for up to an hour, at which point we scoop him back up and move forward with the day napless. It's not pretty, but it's our current attempt to teach him to sooth himself to sleep.

And he's still screaming, in case you were wondering. He'll get quiet, lay down and then realize "oh crap, I'm about to nap" and get back up and start screaming. I've even watched him fall asleep sitting up in between rants (thank you modern technology).  In about 9 minutes I'm going to pick him up and he's going to be a pain in the butt for the next few hours because he hasn't slept a wink. Holler. This day will be fun.

Anyone have any advice? I'd love to hear tips and sleep training success stories. If you think we're cruel or disagree with this approach, please be kind and refrain from cursing at us. We've tried other routes, and this is what we feel is best for us during this phase.

He's slowing down. Maybe he'll go to sleep after all. He has 6 minutes left in his 'nap' hour. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Momma meltdown.

I've made the executive decision tonight (within the last two minutes) that I need a 'Momma meltdown' section of my blog. This is where I will strategically bookmark all the posts that make me sound like a crazed woman. Here will reside all the posts where I'm saying exactly what's on my mind. Saying what other moms may be afraid to say aloud, much less publish to the web. This is where I will write to vent to calm down to step away from the situation at hand. This is where you can go, fellow mommies, to hear someone telling it like it is.To not feel alone. And maybe even think Wow, and I thought I was inappropriate. This Kira person is worse than me. See? It will be great for us all. Stay tuned, my friends.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My creek.

If you grew up hanging out with me, then you went to my creek. I loved my creek. I spent countless hours journeying upstream, downstream, building dams, racing leaves, crossing bridges, jumping rocks, catching crayfish, watching snakes.

So many afternoons, I'd venture down the street, my ever-loyal cat Tiger following me. We'd sit on the big rock and agonize over whatever drama seemed so important to a pre-teen. Hearing the babble of the water always calmed me.

Then there were the days I'd pack a bag and head upstream, determined to hike all the way to where the creek met the river. I'm not even sure that even happens in our county, but I was going to find it. Each time, I'd go a little further. I'd find a new split in the creek bed and choose one way to keep strolling. The next time, I'd try the other.

There were times the bank was taller than me. I'd just plod along in the water. Unafraid. Tiptoeing around deeper pools. Using random rocks as my stepping stones. Stopping to note the size of the crayfish or minnows along the way.

I cleared so many pine straw clog ups. I built so many little barriers behind which to create a little play puddle. I'd roll up my pants and wade in. I saw snakes. I remember thinking - snake! My alarm lasted a few moments and I was back to my rambling.

We went back to the creek a few weekends back with Asher. My sister and I went straight to our favorite spots. We disagreed over the placement of the footbridge. I was certain it was relocated; she was certainn it was not. We smiled at the bamboo forest. We walked Asher over and around the rocks. We let him see the waterfalls.

Thinking back, I was such a brave kid. I was so curious and so full of wonder. I loved nature. I needed it. It never occurred to me to be scared of the things that could have hurt me at my creek. And there were so many things.

If I walked barefoot in the stream now - if I dared - I'd be so careful to look for a snake that I'd miss the feel of the smoothed pebbles under my feet. If I made a leaf boat and raced against it my sister's, I'd probably just let it remain stuck in that waterfall. As a child, I'd reach in and set the boat free to continue its adventure. If the bank got too tall today, I'd likely turn back.

As a mother, I cringe at the thought of Asher visiting the tiny creek in our Raleigh neighborhood and trying his hand at creekhood. Granted, Raleigh isn't Louisburg but even if the situation was identical, I'd be so worried.

All of this to say, I vow to make a big effort to not let my fears interfere with Asher's adventures. I want to remind myself of all that I learned and felt and explored as I stumbled around that creek as a child. I want my child to have memories like that. I want him to go back to a special place with his children and tell them about all of his quests. I want him to have his creekhood.

Sweet sweater.

A dear friend made Asher this little sweater. It fits perfectly. And it's seriously so precious. So, we had a little photo shoot to honor the gift. This one is going to the keepsake box when he outgrows it.

Thank you, Miss Beth. We love it and we love you.

Dear two front teeth.

Bring your asses already, won't you?

I can see you there. Especially the corner of you, Big Left Tooth. Is is really necessary to take your sweet, sweet time? We all know where you need to be. Now get there already and leave my sweet boy alone.

Seriously? Teething is a beast. It amazes me that some babies don't have any problems with it. Or so they say. Asher becomes this miserable, screaming, gnawing pile of mess when a tooth is a few days from poking through. I know the time has come when he desperately (and I mean desperately!) chews on everything. The coffee table. The shopping cart. The high chair. You name it. It's not like he's doing it to taunt me with the grossness. Or for baby exploration and slobbery fun. It's like this crazed desperation to press, press, press comes over him. Bless his heart.

I just put him to bed an hour or so ago with Tylenol and Gumomile. (The combo of these two tend to knock him out better than Motrin and Orajel.) He's already been up wimpering in pain three times now. So pitiful. Bless him.

Time to crawl into bed with Rusty and go ahead and clear a spot for Asher between us. I have all ideas he'll be there before midnight. Sometimes he just wants to feel us near him. He'll toss and turn and clearly be agitated, but having us there helps him stay asleep better. And, hey, I'm all for sleep.

So teeth. Bring it. Fast. And be done. And thanks.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Asher is driving us to breakfast

-- Posted via iPhone

Playdate picnic.

On Friday, we had a little playdate action at Laurel Hills Park. We fed the ducks. Had a picnic. Chased crawling babies around the field. And tried to do a photoshoot of the adorable-ness. Here are a few highlights.

And yes, my child alternately stared at the grass or ate fistfuls of the grass throughout all the photos.

Quite proud of me-self.

And tonight, post brownie baking, I redesigned and edited my blog. All on my own. I'm so proud. What do you think? I quite like it, I do.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And this one time, on Valentine's Day.

Visit to Duke Pediatric Cardiology

At Asher's 9-month check up, Dr. Willey heard a heart murmur. She explained that this is fairly common and described in detail how babies hearts can grow and murmurs can come and go. She said we'd just keep an eye on it and check again at his 12-month check up.

I then asked her if she would take a different course of action if she knew that our family had a history of heart conditions. Of course, I couldn't think of any name of anything off the top of my head. But I mentioned the few details I knew about my cousin and my cousin's daughter's (you follow me there?) open-heart surgeries briefly. Dr. willey then said, I really think everything is just fine but let's just send Asher to a cardiologist just so we'll all feel better.

Enter today. We went to the Duke Pediatric Cardiologist, Dr. Milazzo, as recommended by Dr. Willey. We had a great experience. Everyone loved Asher and he gabbed with everyone. He talked to the nurses, the doctor and I was so proud of him for being so darn well-behaved and precious. We had to hang out for a while throughout the appointment and Asher did great!

I came prepared with a scary long list of family heart conditions all typed up. I felt like I was being a little over the top at first, but they were really very appreciative of all the details. I then felt like a great mom, over the top and all!

Dr. Milazzo did hear the murmur and said it was a tad louder than most. That in combination with the long list of family heart conditions I provided sent us to the echo-cardiogram machine. Asher watched Elmo on TV while they did the test. And, they let me lay down on the bed with him which was nice.

And the result: The doctor says all looks well. Everything is normal. He checked for the conditions on the family history I provided, and no evidence of those as well. So, that's great that we can have that peace of mind, as well. I know this is a lot to be thankful for. And thankful we are.

I know from watching the experiences of those that I love that these things can happen surprisingly. That an ordinary check-up can lead to a nightmare. I know to always be thankful for the health of a child. I'm also thankful for the goodness of God and modern medicine for healing my loved ones.

Thank you, God, for watching over our little one. And for watching over all of us.

Asher has a perfect little heart. But, we already knew that, right?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Trip to the park.

It's so lovely out. Today, we took a trip to Laurel Hills Park for a little play time. Can't wait for the even warmer spring temperatures in the days ahead. Oh, how I love spring.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sick baby

Trip to see doctor this morning. I braved the crowds of sick coughing children running wild around the waiting room during sick walk-in hour. (Thank you zoloft for your help in the matter.)

Glad I went. Asher had a bad night and I had a hunch something may be wrong. And it seems our Asher has a sinus infection. Poor kid. He loves the cool sticks Dr. Willey gave him. He's been playing with them nonstop.

Exhibit A:

-- Posted via iPhone

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: lillebaby EveryWear Style carrier

The quick review:
LOVE it. Highly, highly recommend the lilebaby EveryWear Style carrier.

The review for detail lovers: I wanted to be on the baby wearing team. I wanted to strap Asher onto me as often as possible, in as many places as possible. But, for this to work, we both needed to be comfortable. I've tried three other carriers, including the Baby Bjorn. They never quite seemed right. And Asher didn't last long in them.

Enter the lillebaby EveryWear Style. I've been using this carrier for the last two months. I've put it to the test at Disney on Ice, the mall, Target (countless times), around the house (on terrible teething clingy days) and around the neighborhood (just to name a few places). I even subjected my sister (a carrier skeptic) and my husband to the testing and they both approved.

Here is the skinny on the pros and cons of this carrier.

  • Can wear baby on the front facing in, front facing out, hip and back.
  • The carrier seat converts when your baby is facing out so that he is more comfortable ergonomically. 
  • There's a sleeping/nursing hood.
  • The one thing that stood out to me in comparison with the very popular Ergo, is that the lillebaby allows you to face your little one out. For a nosey baby like mine, this was crucial.
  • Baby and momma both comfortable for hours at a time.
  • Cooking dinner with a fussy baby = totally possible.
  • Easy to get the baby on and off safely by yourself.
  • Great pockets to tuck away a diaper, some hand sanitizer, chapstick, phone.
  • There are a lot of straps. I'm sure I didn't take full advantage of the little strap hideaway pockets, but who has time to figure that out while strapping on a baby? In the end, I just ignored them. They made for good teethers.
  • The directions can be a little overwhelming at first. Because, well, there are a lot of straps. Once you run through the positions once, you're ok. Just keep them handy.
So, mommas, you really should go and check out this carrier. (My other carriers are now on Craigs List to find new homes. If you're reading this review, ignore those listings.) The lillbaby does it all. It is truly a great product and I'm so excited to keep finding more baby wearing opportunities with Asher.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

About time.

Finally. After nearly 11 years Jax has mastered going on a walk. Formerly we had to stop so he can check his Pee-mail every 10 feet (seriously). All those messages from all the neighborhood dogs were too urgent to ignore.

But now. Now he walks right alongside the stroller and only stops to potty when completely necessary. I can actually break a sweat and get some good walking in.

Thank you Jax. About time. :)

-- Posted via iPhone

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

I would totally suck as a single mom.

In fact, some days I kinda suck as a mom-with-very-involved-husband-baby-daddy. Like today.

There are days where I'm all, I am an awesome mom. I just fixed homemade baby food. Read books. Practiced sign language. Did laundry. Went on a walk. Sucked out a nostril or two. Sang nursery rhymes. Practiced walking. Massaged teething gums. Took pictures. And then did it all over again.

But then, all it takes is a few hours of nuclear meltdown from Asher to make me feel like a failure. Actually, it doesn't even take full nuclear meltdown. Just a tantrum will do it. (And yes, I think my nine month old tantrums. He may not fully realize he's doing it, but he's doing something. Why else would he be stomping in the crib, screaming at the top of his lungs and his eyes be absent of tears? All of this only when I leave his sight, of course.)

So today, the poor kid is sick and I wanted to poke my eye balls out and rip my ears off if he cried for one more second.

Backstory: I had his nose perfectly clear after a 15-minute steam bath of play fun and date with the nasal sucker. I had him perfectly asleep snuggled up against me. I thought, I rock. This kid is going to get a great night's sleep and wake up feeling better. Night two of single parenthood (Rusty's sick as a dog) handled like a pro.

Then, I go to put him down in his bed. Screaming fit. Repeat all of that (minus the bath) three times and he's been asleep now for maybe three minutes in his crib. Five bucks says I have to stop this post to go start up round four.

Nights like this I wonder how my mom did it. My dad worked 24-hour shifts as a fireman. How on this lovely earth did she take care of me (and Joni!) by herself for 24-shifts? And work as a teacher with a classroom of kids all day? Mom, I applaud you more now than ever.

When these bad days happen, I feel my frustration come over me. The cloud of impatience arrives and I'm 100% ok with letting him crying it out (where did THAT come from?). I then shake my head in shame at myself. How can I be trusted with more kids if I cannot even handle one for a few nights when the poor thing is sick?

I hope that no one loses respect for me after reading this. I am already slapping myself on the wrist for not handling things better. Being a mom is so freaking hard. I just thought I'd have more patience. And maybe others have these issues but just don't speak out about it. These probably are things best left unsaid. But, I needed to vent. There. I did it.

Oh, and he's still asleep. My turn. Night night.

Asher over the weekend.

Here are some shots I took over the weekend at Ball Airport with Asher and my family. The weather was gorgeous. The kid was chillin. My dad's camera was rockin and rollin.

Oh, and the wagon is the one we played on as kids up and down the driveway at Cille's house. My dad restored it for Asher.

Good times.

Warning: Photo overload.

Please note: snaggleteeth.

A beautiful moment. At Target, of all places.

I'm tired and weary. Asher has had a little bit of a cold since last week, and he's top-teeth-teething. And then Rusty started feeling poorly this weekend (causing us to miss our date night). Boo.

Anyways, on Sunday Rusty began to feel worse. Apparently so did Asher. They both are not sleeping well and obviously feeling crummy. Last night really tried my patience, and my anxiety. I had a fussy refusing-to-sleep baby and germs to keep at bay around the house. Phew.

So, today, Joni came over to keep Asher and I made a Target run for more drugs and such. (For them, not me.) I was walking around focusing on my list (had my budget blinders on) and came upon an older woman. She looked tired, too. And her hair maybe a little frazzled. We were both in the juice aisle. I waited patiently for her to make her choice before zoning in on the same area of the shelf.

She got her drink, walked about ten feet away and then turned back around to me.

She said, "It's so quiet in here."

Admittedly, I thought, Oh no, here we go. Should I ignore her? What if she's crazy? Who knows where this is headed.

I said aloud, "Yes, it is."

I paused to listen and realized the only sound was the hum of the nearby food freezers. It was quiet.

She then said, "There is so much tragedy out there in the world. Turn on the TV and you see tragedy. And then here we are in here, and it's so quiet. I think it's important to stop and realize that."

I thought, Wow. She's so right. Talk about perspective.

I told her, "Thank you for saying that."

She said, "You are welcome. God bless you."

I replied, "You too."

Then I reflected on what just happened. It's one of those lovely moments I read about in my little daily devotions. It's one of those times that you think about the bigger picture. About the gift of life and all that you have to be thankful for. The gift of perspective. And it's a beautiful thing.

And now, my prayer. Thank you, God, for this day and everyday. Thank you for the sweet angel in my juice aisle today. Thank you for that lesson you wanted me to hear. Amen.
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