Sleep Training – Back On The Wagon

The last time I talked about Lewis sleep progress, we were just going back to sleeping into the crib after a cold, teething, and learning to roll to his tummy. I did start off trying to put him in “awake but sleepy,” and at first it seemed that it was going to work alright with me being able to stay there, rub his back, sing to him, and ease him into sleep with no crying. This quickly degenerated into him crying when placed into the crib and trying to crawl to me. I felt bad that maybe he still wasn’t feeling 100%, it was all new to him now that he could roll over and crawl, etc. etc. So I went back to my “bad habits” of nursing him to sleep and placing him in the crib fully asleep.

This worked for us for a few weeks, but he slowly started waking and trying to crawl when placed in the crib, waking more at night, etc. etc. Same old story that we had dealt with when he was 4 months. He also began trying to crawl in his sleep, thus waking himself even more frequently and being even more upset on waking. I started feeling exhausted, falling asleep on the couch in the night, etc. all over again. I researched crawling in sleep and such, which is when I learned that sleep regression is normal for babies at 4 months and 9 months (he is 8.5). I also read things stating that for a baby who has always had trouble sleeping and gets worse at these times, sleep training can work wonders, and also that when you have sleep trained once and baby has learned to fall asleep on their own it is like riding a bike and becomes even easier when you try again. (Sorry, I didn’t save any references. You can Google it and I’m sure some of the same sites will pop up.)

As I’ve mentioned, I hate letting him cry, but I started to feel like we needed to try the sleep training again. Chris reminded me how well it went the first time and how I said I wasn’t going to go back to nursing him to sleep. I still hesitated, and put it off for another week. In the mean time I started reading Bringing Up Bébé by Pamela Druckerman. If you haven’t heard of it, it is written by an American mother living in France, about her discoveries of the differences between French and American parenting attitudes. I’m really enjoying it and will be doing a separate post on it once I’ve finished reading it. Anyway, the section on sleep in this book gave me another little push towards trying the sleep training again.

So, we started on Friday, and of course it has been going great. Even better than the first time. Chris gets to say “I told you so” and I get to enjoy a little more sleep and feel relieved that my baby isn’t crying for hours on end like I’m always paranoid will happen.

The first night, he cried for 8 minutes. The second night, 5. Last night he cried for under a minute and then we heard him making little sounds for a while, that sounded as though he were singing himself to sleep. He’s been waking less frequently in the night and several times I have heard him semi-wake and fall back to sleep on his own. He’s fallen asleep in some interesting positions, since he does start off by trying to crawl after me/crawl towards the door. On night 2 he fell asleep with his head on his toy leopard like a little pillow. Last night he fell asleep with his head in the corner and his elbow sticking out between the bars.

IMG_6096The first time we did this I was pretty strict and “all or nothing” about it. I tried to have him fall asleep on his own for bedtime, night wakings, and naps. I’ve been more relaxed with it this time, and it seems to be working well. He normally has two naps a day, and his first nap is usually in his stroller. On Saturday I tried to have him fall asleep on his own for his afternoon nap, but he got very upset in the crib and cried for more than our planned 15 minutes. I took him out, soothed him, brought him back in, and he cried even more. So Chris and I talked about it and decided that if he needs to be nursed to sleep for naps some of the time (or maybe all the time) that is ok. Naps were the hardest for him last time around, too. It makes sense since nighttime is dark and sleepy and we have our routines, where as day time is all bright and we also play with him in his crib sometimes or put him in there to play while I get dressed, so it makes sense that it would be more confusing and upsetting. Maybe once he really masters his nights we will get stricter on the day times.

I know I felt very proud of him the first time through when he started falling asleep on his own, and here I am feeling happy and proud of him again for doing so well with this. Like always, I know things will change. For instance, who knows what will happen when he starts teething again. For now I will enjoy this and feel confident that he will continue to be able to self-soothe at bedtime!

 

 

Niska-Day, In Photos

Today was a little town-wide celebration called Niska-Day. It started off with a parade this morning, and then there was a fair for the afternoon with crafts, booths selling things, music, foods, rides, a petting zoo, and fireworks this evening. We almost didn’t make it to the parade because Lewis was having his morning nap, but luckily it is a very short walk to get to where we could watch it and we made it over in time to see most of the parade (and plenty for Lewis to enjoy it and see a variety of things.)

He had fun seeing all the people and the balloons that were everywhere, although we didn’t get a balloon for him. He also liked watching the fire trucks, the trucks and cars that had flags on them, the drums in the marching bands, and other random things like the police tape line near where we were standing. He started off in his stroller and watched happily from there for a while, then eventually wanted out and watched the rest in Mommy and Daddy’s arms.

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IMG_6014We went home, had lunch, played, and had a nice long afternoon nap. Mommy napped too. Then we got ready and headed over to the rest of the events. Parts of it, like the craft tent, ended at 5:00, which was around when we got there. Luckily for us we still got to see the petting zoo before they packed the animals back into their trailers. Lewis was excited to see and pet a hen and chicks, several goats (my favorite animal!), and a sheep.

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IMG_6035We walked over to where the rides were and Lewis was very interested in watching them spinning and seeing all the people around there.

IMG_6059Then we went and got our dinner. I had a pulled pork sandwich and Chris had pulled chicken. We also got loaded waffle fries. We brought Cheerios and some pear slices for Lewis which he enjoyed for a while but eventually he got interested in Mommy and Daddy’s food. We let him try a fry, which he thought was ok but not that great. He went back to eating his pear after one bite. He did keep reaching for the fries, but only because he wanted to squish them in his hands and drop them in the grass, not actually eat them.

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After eating dinner we tried to go get some fried dough but it was too busy so we gave up and got fried pickles and kettle corn from some of the less-busy food booths. Yum! It was a fun busy day. Lewis did great with all the activities and didn’t get fussy or overwhelmed with any of it. He seemed to really enjoy watching everything and seeing so many new sights.

 

 

 

Photo Friday

My little helper. He is obsessed with the laundry machine! He likes to play with the door, try to touch the buttons, and steal my dryer balls.

My little helper. He is obsessed with the laundry machine! He likes to play with the door, try to touch the buttons, and steal my dryer balls.

Stir-fry. Trying a new technique of absorbing food through the top of his head.

Stir-fry. Trying a new technique of absorbing food through the top of his head.

World's Cutest Smile

World’s Cutest Smile

Fun-in-a-box

Fun-in-a-box

Excited for his bath! He kept trying to climb into the tub, and I hadn't even filled it with water yet.

Excited for his bath! He kept trying to climb into the tub, and I hadn’t even filled it with water yet.

 

Frizzy bath hair and yummy washcloth. Sucking on the washcloth is his favorite part of having a bath.

Frizzy bath hair and yummy washcloth. Sucking on the washcloth is his favorite part of having a bath.

 

 

 

 

Sleep Regression And Other Goings On

We’ve been “busy” with every-day activities around here recently. I figured I’d do a random post with whatever comes to mind about our daily lives recently.

As the title mentions, we are hitting a period of “sleep regression.” It seems to be one of those things that is very common, and yet nobody warns you it is coming. It’s not until you are in the midst of it and go looking for info that you find out there is a normal period of sleep regression at 4 months, 9 months, and I think 18 months. I have heard mentioned that sometimes babies will have a hard time sleeping when they are learning a new skill, but I didn’t realize it hits at specific times. Lewis is just over 8 months, so this is the “9 month” sleep regression. The 4 month one lasted from 4-6 months for us, and at that point I didn’t know it was a thing. I just thought it was Lewis having a hard time for no reason. This time I can definitely understand why he has trouble sleeping. He is working on crawling, standing, walking, understanding language, waving hi, putting objects into containers, putting lids on things, eating new foods, etc. etc. I’d have trouble sleeping too with all that going on! The past few nights he has been crawling in his sleep and waking himself up when he runs into the bars of the crib. (I don’t think bumpers would help anything. He’s not crawling into them hard enough to hurt himself anyway, and he’d still be bumping into something and waking.) I’ve been nursing him to sleep again ever since he got sick and started teething, but we’re considering trying the sleep training again. Not sure how it will go now with him being able to crawl all over the crib and even pull up to standing if he wants to.

Teething! The first two teeth are getting bigger and bigger it seems. No real sign of the top teeth coming yet, although he seems to be acting like they could be soon. Lots of drooling and fingers in the mouth, but I’m not sure if he’s just getting used to the first two still. He is always running his tongue over them to feel them.

Weird photo, but look at those teeths!

Weird photo, but look at those teeths!

Next week will be the last session of our story time at the library. I’ll definitely miss it, and I think it has been good for him to get out and see other people, and have the chance to interact with other babies a little bit. I plan to still bring him to the library once a week to check out the books and play with the toys in the kids section. The summer session doesn’t start until the end of June, so that’s about a month with not story time. The summer session also has the advantage of being drop-in, rather than needing to register for it.

Lewis is extremely mobile now with his crawling. It is great because he is much more content to hang out and play by himself for at least several minutes at a time, but he also insists on continually crawling over to dig in the potted plants, grab Daddy’s game controllers, etc. We have a partially gated area so I can keep him more contained if need be, but we need to get a second gate to fully fence him in. I am slowly working on getting him more used to playing on his own and not needing me there constantly. He is very clingy and doesn’t like me out of reach. He’ll be playing nicely by himself but if I spend more than a few minutes trying to do something (like cook or wash the dishes) he just crawls to my feet and cries to be picked up. I have found that I can sit nearby to him and do something and he will stay happy for a while, so I can read a book, write letters, or work on my knitting at least. I also have been leaving him alone more often when I go to the bathroom or carry things into other rooms, take care of the laundry, etc. He’s happier on his own than he used to be, and knows that if he needs me he can crawl after me. The downside is that if I am away from him too long he finds trouble to get into, like trying to pull the floor lamps down on his own head.

You know it's a good play time when the floor is paved with toys and random objects! He has been working hard practicing pulling up on things and standing.

You know it’s a good play time when the floor is paved with toys and random objects! He has been working hard practicing pulling up on things and standing.

I guess that’s enough for tonight. It is past my bedtime and who knows how soon I will be back up with my sleep-crawling babe.

 

Pesky Pesticides

I don’t know what it is about this area, but people/businesses seem obsessed with spraying pesticides on their lawns. In the summer everywhere you go you see the little yellow flags noting not to enter the grass for 24 hours.

Outside our front door.

Outside our front door.

They sprayed here yesterday, and will many more times over the summer. In a way we were lucky since yesterday was cold and gray and I had no desire to have the windows open or to play outside anyway.

The signs say to keep off the grass for 24 hours, but I’m inclined to avoid it for at least a couple of days. The sprayed around noon yesterday, and when we went out for our walk at 10:30 this morning I could still smell it. Since Lewis is inclined to put everything in his mouth, especially things he picks up from the ground, I am pretty hesitant to take him out to eat whatever chemicals it is that they are spraying. (The notice we got about it says it is Fertilizer 12-0-3 with Evade and Mec-Amine-D Broadleaf weed control. Doesn’t sound like anything tasty.) I’m not really sure how long the pesticides linger, our how many days it is best to stay off the grass. What we really need is a good rain to wash everything down.

Luckily we have some alternative options for where to play. There are no parks nearby, but the town hall and library are both a 5 minute walk away, and across the street from each other.

The lawn in front of the town hall.

The lawn in front of the town hall.

The town hall has a lovely big lawn with trees and a big gazebo. In front of the library is a small garden with some grass, shrubs, flowers, benches, etc. Behind the library is a short nature trail/wooden path through a swampy area. We’ve taken the stroller through there once and Lewis enjoyed looking up at the trees and tall grasses and such. So, that’s three easy options I can think off, plus our usual walks with the stroller. I think we will go check out the town hall lawn this afternoon/evening.

I don’t know whether they spray pesticides at the library and town hall, so we will keep an eye out for the yellow flags ( and the smell!) I am guessing they probably do at the town hall but maybe not at the library since it is only a very small area of grass there. We will just have to pay attention, and maybe get a little creative with when and where we play outside. Soon the pool will be opening and that will give us another option for outdoor activity. I hope Lewis likes playing in the water!

Baby Reads

Lewis has been getting more into reading recently. We went through a phase a month or two ago where he did not want to sit for stories at all, even for a few minutes. We’re past that and now he seems to enjoy reading his favorite books and will even sit for up to 20 minutes listening to us read, which is a long time for any activity at this point!

One of his recent interests is in Books With Holes. He is fascinated by pages with any kind of holes cut out. It can make actually reading a full story difficult since he may want to stay on the page with the cut out, turning it back and forth and studying it, and feeling it with his fingers. But who cares if we finish a story? If he wants to turn one page and pay attention to the holes and pictures there that is still expressing an interest in books and learning to enjoy reading. I think the interest started with the vtech Storytime Rhymes book which he got as a Christmas present from some of our friends. This book is out in his play area and he will sit for several minutes trying to figure out the holes in it, which is great when Mommy needs to get things done!

We have several other books with holes we have been sharing with him, some from our collection and some we borrowed from the library. These include: The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Board Book) by Eric Carle has many little holes in all the foods the caterpillar eats. In Things That Go – Lift the flap by Hinkler the flap with the rocket ship is round and has a small hole in it. Pajama Time and Snuggle Puppy by Sandra Boynton both have cut-outs in the front cover. In My Tree by Lorena Siminovich and Sara Gillingham has cut-outs all the way through with the added bonus of the owl finger puppet peaking through.

in-my-tree-2-lgOften when we are reading with Lewis we are the ones to choose the stories. We keep a stack of ten-ish books in his play area and another stack by the rocking chair where we read bedtime stories, and we usually refresh these piles periodically. The ones by his rocking chair get switched out weekly, the ones in the play area a little less often. When we want to sit and read we will sit by one of these piles and choose from these books. Since we are reading the same books over and over it gives him a chance to become familiar with the stories and recognize the books. Repetition is great for baby’s learning.

I’ve noticed that he has some favorites and if I pay attention to his cues he will actually request certain books. This is especially true of his books in the play area since these are more accessible and spread out on his level rather than just in a stack to the side. If we sit near his books or if I lay 3 or 4 out near him he will look at them and then reach for the one he’d like to hear. Recently he has been choosing Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown, and the Sesame Beginnings books Bubbles Bubbles and At The Zoo which we got from the Target dollar bins. (We have Nighty-Night too, but he’s not really into that one.)

I love books and reading, so it is great to see him showing so much interest in books recently!

 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Mamas out there, especially my own sweet wonderful Mother!

Selfies with my sweet little one. <3

Selfies with my sweet little one. ❤ Look how big those teethies are getting!

We have had a very busy weekend here. Friday was Chris’ birthday and he took the day off work. Lewis hadn’t visited Chris’ work yet, so Chris took us in for a brief visit to show off our little cutie. After we walked around and said hi to a bunch of different people we went to Albany for a yummy lunch at Sukhothai. Lewis enjoyed eating some shredded carrots that were the garnish on our thai eggrolls. He also liked throwing some of my veggies on the floor and trying to knock over the decorations in the restaurant window. After our lunch we went for a walk in the park and Lewis fell almost immediately to sleep in his stroller since he had only had a 15 minute nap on the way to Vicarious Visions.

Yesterday was more of a lazy and relaxed day. We went for a walk in the morning to Felthousen’s greenhouse, which is just down the street from us. Chris told me I could pick anything I wanted for part of my Mother’s Day presents. I ended up choosing a sweet little African Violet to add to my plant collection.

Today was Mother’s Day so Lewis decided we should all wake up at 7:00, rather than his “normal” 9:00. (Although most of this past week he has been getting up around 7:30 or 8:00 so maybe this is becoming the new “normal.”) Chris was sweet and took him out to get dressed and have his diaper changed while I got to relax in bed a bit longer. He was very smart and chose a one-piece outfit for him instead of trying to struggle with multiple pieces of clothes. Lewis hates getting dressed.

Once we were all up and breakfasted we went on a walk to the store to get donuts, lunch ingredients, and some groceries. Chris cooked up some yummy turkey/swiss/mushroom quesadillas for lunch and then we headed out for walk number two. We went to TCBY and I got my free Mother’s Day frozen yogurt, and then we went to the co-op to get the rest of our groceries for the week.

Chris and Lewis also got me a couple of books and games. My favorite is Konexi which combines word game with balancing game and also has nice chunky plastic letters that are perfect for Lewis to play with and will be great for him when he is ready to start learning letters.

It’s been a lovely first Mother’s Day for me, and I hope everyone else has been able to enjoy a nice weekend too!