Moving Up and Out

It would appear that it’s time to ditch the cot. Why? Because my Kid thinks it’s greatawesometheofbest fun to climb in and out of it.

1. Climb up onto the rails:

cot1

2. Fling yourself *over* the rails and land on the mattress with a thump:

cot2

3. Grab a book and try to look inconspicuous and well-behaved when your mother peers over the rail of your cot:

cot3

4. You could try pretending to read. Just pretend that your mother doesn’t know you cant read yet. Also, you might need to pretend your book isn’t upside down:

cot4

5. If all else fails, try hiding and/or acting adorable:

cot5

So it’s time to shop for a Big Boy Bed – any suggestions on where to look or what to look out for?

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Thursday Challenge

photo1471A Thursday photo meme, found here.The theme for this week is ‘SOFT‘.

Here’s my interpretation of it.

This picture was taken in May this year. The Kid would have been six months old. In the mornings, he’d wake up, I’d bring him back to bed with me, feed him a bottle, and he’d fall asleep and I’d leave him to sleep in my bed for an hour or so, while I made The Boyfriend breakfast and packed his lunch for work.

On this particular morning, I came back into the bedroom, and this is what I saw. The Kid sleeping with one hand thrown over his head, and his other hand tucked under his chin. The duvet pulled over his head. It made my heart completely soft with love.

I don’t know about other mommies, but I’m certainly of the firm belief that I love my child the most when he’s asleep. When his face is softened by sleep. His lips are all pouty, and he sleeps with complete abandon and trust. Faith that all is right with the world, and that there’s nothing that mommy and daddy can’t fix.

That, dear readers, is what makes my hard heart completely soft..

Just Some Thoughts

It always seems, like the troubles you’re having right now with your kid(s) are the only ones there have ever been. How quickly you forget the newborn sleepless nights, the waking up three or four times to feed. The nights spent lying on the couch, breastfeeding and clock-watching. The colic that seemed endless.

When people around you with babies complain about the same thing, you find yourself thinking ‘oh, that wasn’t so bad’. How quick we are to forget. And dismiss other people’s problems as trivial. But when you were going through it yourself, it was the end of the fucking world.

How quickly you forget the post-natal depression. And the fact that at one point in time, you despised your baby, and didn’t feel like a mother. Rather you felt like a babysitter. A pair of breasts to feed a little demon. How quickly you forget the denial, and the fervent wishes that you could go back and change things. Not be a mother. Not have a  screaming child at 3 in the morning.

How quickly you forget, once your child is sleeping through the night, what it means to be sleep-deprived. And once you’ve achieved sleeping through the night, how simple it seems. And how you try to explain your method to other mothers. Who just don’t seem to get it.

Yes, parenting is hard. Parenting is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. But I’ve learnt one thing. Whatever drama you’re facing now, that seems like the end of the world. It’s only temporary.

There’s something far worse waiting around the corner.

About A Mommy

A meme, about being a mommy, ripped from Mama Mia.

1. How long have you been a Mom? 2 days short of 11 months.

2. How many children call you Mommy? just the one.

3. Girl? Boy? or both?: 1 boy.

4. Did you know what you were having? We’ve had this discussion before.  I couldn’t wait to find out whether it was a boy or girl. The Boyfriend’s Parents were thrilled at the idea of a boy, and The Boyfriend’s Father kept saying ‘when my grandson arrives….’ even before we’d found out. None of the doctors could tell me conclusively it was a boy/girl. Eventually I went to a sangoma. She told me it was a boy. She also told me I would have to have an emergency c-section because there would be a problem with the umbilical cord. She was totally right.

5. How old were you when you became a Mom? 22, and turned 23 the following month.

6. How long were you in labor? 12 hours or so. But it was very mild. My labour never progressed past the 1st stage. I was induced twice, but labour failed both times, because the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s shoulders, preventing him from descending into the birth canal, so there was no way he was coming out naturally. Eventually had an emergency c-section. Read the story and see the pics here.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being a Mom?When the day is done, The Kid has been fed and bathed, and we’re both lying on the floor in his room, and I give him a massage while he drinks his bedtime bottle. He goes all sleepy while I rub his little limbs and his forehead and face. He loves being massaged, and the bonding time is great for us too. I also love bathing with him,  and having him lie on my chest while I rub his back.

8. What’s your least favorite thing? The shitty nappies, the crying when he’s tired and cranky. The teething. How early he wakes up.

9. Do you want more kids?I highly doubt it. Everyone keeps telling me I still have to have a girl, but I’m all like ‘this shit’s hard work, yo. One’s enough’.

10. Do you plan on having more soon? Hell no.

11. How many times have you been pee’d on? Once or twice, it’s not really a problem anymore. But I did learn one thing. Pee in the eye is better than pee in the mouth.

12. Barfed on? More than I can count. The occasional projectile as well.

13. Is your child named after anyone?  Not in particular. but there is a bit of a family tradition with the initials being ‘T.R’ – as are mine, as are my father’s and as are my son’s.

14. How did you come up with their name? I was pretty restricted by TR, and The Boyfriend really wanted The Kid to have his surname (we’re unmarried) so I cut a deal that I could choose the first two names, and he could have the last name. Which is just as well because he was coming up with some crazy-ass names like ‘Dutch’ and ‘Stone’. I know,  do you feel my pain?

15. When your child gets in trouble, who is the bad guy? I suspect it will be pretty evenly matched. I’m very strict, and it takes a lot to make me melt. But I guess we’ll find out soon enough. A tiny terror is definitely in the making.

16. What is the longest you have been away from your children? 2 days I think. I missed him occasionally, but it wasn’t unbearable, because I knew he was safe with The Boyfriend’s Parents, and I really needed the time to unwind. Although, I do remember the first time I was parted from him, The Boyfriend’s Parents came to take him off our hands for a few hours one day, so I could get some sleep. I was really excited about getting some shut-eye until I realised I couldn’t, because I was anxious at being separated from my kid.

17. Bedtime routine? Warm bath with bubbles and lavender oil, some splashing and playing with toys. Then a massage, while he has his night-time bottle, I dress him, swaddle him, and place him in his crib. And generally dont hear from him until 6 am the next day.

18. Are your toes painted? Not right now, no.

19. Last movie you saw in the theater? It was The House Bunny. Dont bother.

20. One thing you will not give up just because you’re a mom? My studying and/or career.

21. One thing you did give up now that you’re a mom: Partying every night of the week.

22. Best Mom perk: Seeing my son get so excited when he sees me after waking up from a nap. The fact that he shares his food and dummy with me – he insists I have some – even shoves it in my mouth, no matter how disgusting, I have to share. Sharing is a good quality to learn, and I’m amazed he’s learnt it so young.

23. Snack, you sneak bites from your child? See above.

24. When the kid is napping, you are: Studying/reading blogs/sleeping/having a smoke/showering/tidying up.

25. Where is your child(ren) now? Having a nap.

26. Favorite place to buy maternity clothes? Meteor Rose.

27. If I could do it over…I would have taken more pics of my belly, and The Boyfriend and I interacting with the bump. I would have kept a proper pregnancy journal. I probably wouldn’t have smoked. I would have enjoyed my pregnancy more, instead of trying to pretend it wasn’t happening.

28. Did it turn out the way you expected? Totally not. Being a mother is hard. People always tell me ‘oh, but it’s rewarding, doesn’t that make up for it?‘ Only someone with no children can say that. The fact that mothering is rewarding, doesn’t make it any less difficult, any less hard work, any less emotional and life-changing.

I tag: Angel, Briget, Can’t Hardly Wait, Jodi, Kicking You From The Inside, Neener,JentyCamiKaos, Zoeyjane, Stephanie, Katrina, Pia, Sweets, Cath, Jackson’s Mommy, Lisa, The Mad Momma, Wenchy.

and any other mommy/daddy who wants to do this.

Sleepless Night

1 month old

1 month old

The other night, after I blogged about ways to soothe your baby, mine did not want to sleep that night. Refused point blank, and cried, and cried and cried. No matter what I did. Tried giving him a bottle, putting his nightlight on, playing soft music and generally leaving him to cry it out.

Which, as every mother knows, is the MOST frustrating thing to do, because it is impossible for you to fall asleep while you can hear your child crying. So, eventually, sometime after midnight I landed up running a really hot lavender scented bath, lit two candles and lay in the bath with my son.

He at first thought it was playtime, because bathtime normally is. But, then I lay him on my chest and rubbed his back, and he eventually fell asleep in the bath. Then I dressed my sleepy baby, gave him a warm bottle, and put him to bed. He slept. But only for another 2 hours or so. He woke up crying unconsolably again.

I lay on the couch with him swaddled in his blankets, put his head on my chest, and wouldn’t let him lift his head up. Until eventually he fell asleep from sheer exhaustion from trying to fight me.

Why, after sleeping through since 5 months of age, did he suddenly now have one bad night, out of the blue? I reckon it’s because The Boyfriend’s Parents disturbed his routine. Normally he stays with them from Saturday night and gets back home Sunday afternoon, and he is bathed and put through his bedtime routine here. But this time The Boyfriend’s mother bathed him and gave him dinner way before she brought him home to us. She messed with his entire routine.

That just goes to show the importance of routine, I guess.

But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t get much sleep that night, it was a rare opportunity to spend some quality time with my baby at night. Lying in the bath, with him sleeping on my chest, rubbing his back, feeling his heart beat against mine, and watching the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed was something I haven’t been able to do since he was about 2 weeks old. He hasn’t slept on my chest since he was very, very new. Even though I was tired and frustrated, feeling his little weight on my chest was worthwhile.

And it’s a kind of bonding that dads dont really get to experience. Because, let’s face it, when babies are inconsolable, or completely miserable, the only person they want is mommy.

And sometimes. Just sometimes. Those mommy moments aren’t as bad as they seem.

It Is Possible…

Many people have commented on the fact that I’m lucky that my ten month old son sleeps through the night, and that he has done so since he was about 5 months old. And when I say ‘sleeps through the night’ I mean he sleeps from 6:30pm until 6:30am. 12 hours, solid.

Lucky? Really? I dont think it’s luck. It took me a lot of hard work, patience and persitence to get there. A lot of tears and sleepless nights. Believe it or not. Sleep for babies is one of the things that most mothers know so little about. And one of the things there is so much controversy and conflicting advice.

So I thought I’d share what worked for me. Repeat: what worked for me. You and your baby might be different, but then again, maybe not.

It’s a common mistake to think that if your baby sleeps too much during the day, he will not sleep well at night. In fact, I’ve discovered that the better he sleeps during the day, the better he sleeps at night. In other words, sleep begets sleep. It’s also important not to keep your baby awake for too long, because then he becomes overstimulated and is grumpy and miserable. He’ll hit a second wave of energy, and just become overtired, making it harder to get him to sleep.

A baby of eight months has an awake capacity of two hours*. Staying awake longer than that means they go into the ovrstimulation zone. Try putting your baby down for a nap every two hours, and you will notice the difference. He wont sleep for too long – 45 minutes is the longest mine sleeps, with one of his day time naps being about 1-2 hours.

Watch his behaviour for signs of tiredness –
* rubbing eyes,
*arching back,
*crying,
*irritability

when these are present – it’s naptime. Try swaddling securely, after a feed and placing him in the crib with the mobile to look at. This will make him drowsy and he will soon fall asleep. In the beginning, there might be crying and wriggling out of the swaddling. Just go back in, and re-swaddle and leave him in the crib. It takes some patience and getting used to – but now my son takes about 5 minutes to fall asleep.

A good bedtime routine is important. Make sure there is no boisterous play at least an hour before bed. Dinner, and then a hot bath. Followed by a feed, and then swaddle and place into crib. I cannot stress how important the bedtime/wind-down routine is. I do the dinner-bath-bottlefeed-swaddle-crib routine everyday, no matter where baby and I are. Babies of 8 months should be going to bed between 6-7pm. Keeping them awake longer doesn’t mean they’ll sleep later. It only makes both of you more cranky.

Ensuring your baby is getting sufficient nutrition is another good thing to do, if you want him to sleep through the night. Switch to the follow-on formula (ie: Step 2) after 6 months. Dont introduce solids until your baby has at least 1 tooth. Allow him to drink as many bottles as he wants during the day – dont worry about over-feeding – it’s impossible to feed a child that isn’t hungry!

Eventually your baby will drop night feeds, if he is getting sufficient milk and solids during the day. Most wakings at night are hunger-related, so ensure that he gets plenty during the day!

These are articles that I read that changed my view of babies and sleep:
How Much Sleep Does My Baby Need?
Getting your baby back to sleep at night

The Best Sleep Advice You Never Heard.
Swaddling Your Baby.

What I Wish I’d Known About Establishing Good Sleep Habits.
What I Wish I’d Known About Getting A Baby To Sleep.

Baby Sleep Basics: Birth – 3 months.
Baby Sleep Basics: 3-6 months.
Baby Sleep Basics: 6-9 months.
Baby Sleep Basics: 9-12 months.

So, as you see, I’m not ‘lucky’ as such. Just practical.

Let me know if any of the tips I provided have helped you.

*It obviously differs with babies of various ages. Find out how much sleep your baby needs, here.