Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Life changes - we're moving

I've been neglecting this blog, but it's with good reason.  We are moving across the country in a month, and this is all happening so suddenly that it's hard for me to catch my bearings.

Going back "home" is something we'd had in the back of our heads since Cupcake was about 3 months old, but it was more abstract.  As in, wouldn't it be nice is we had grandparents nearby.... let's deal with that later.   But then our crazypants landlord decided to not renew our month-to-month lease and basically gave us less than a 60 day notice to leave the apartment.  Which.... is legal but kinda wrong.  It came out of nowhere, and we still don't know why she's doing it.  In fact, she's avoided us since she sent the letter, and yes, she lives right below us.  It's a stressful situation to say the least.

So here we are, going back to Texas.  Trying to figure out how to pack up our lives and move them, get new jobs, and do all this while keeping our almost one year old sane.  Or maybe just keeping us sane, she'll be okay.  We are also super excited to live near family again.  Cupcake's grandparents want to babysit, and take her out, and give us a break.  Maybe we'll get a few nights of sleep here and there?

This also means we'll have to get a new metabolic doctor, which stresses me because I really feel we got 'in a groove with our current doctor.  I fear our new doctor might be stricter, or treat Cupcake's MCAD as something scary and debilitating, which is not an attitude that works for me. Oh well, we'll figure all this out when we get there.  It's not gonna stop the move from happening.  We HAVE to leave our apartment, and Nate has put in his two weeks.

As Martin Lawrence said in the climax of Bad Boys II, "$hit just got real'.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

On having a constant snacker

I've made a great discovery these last few weeks that hopefully should help us deal with the days better.  Turns out that Cupcake is much more of a snacker than I ever imagined, and needs less naps.

In fact, it seems that half the time she looked tired and I thought she needed to nap, she was actually hungry.  I began to realize that she was tired but not actually going to sleep, and if I gave her food/breast milk, she'd perk right up.

So we've been doing a new experiment.  Cupcake is down to two naps, at noon and at 5 pm.  If she seems to be tired earlier than that, I try to feed her first.  If she's still tired after getting the blood sugar rush, then she's probably having a sleepy day.

It's a curious thing, and probably related to her MCAD.  When she's hungry, and her blood sugar goes down, she seems to crash more than other babies.  She whine, gets cranky, tired, rubs her eyes, is pretty much insufferable.   But once I give her food her entire demeanor changes.  She smiles, the color comes back to her face (I hadn't even noticed she was looking pale!), her energy comes back, and her entire demeanor improves.  It's such a change, and pretty remarkable.

It makes me wonder how many times I've tried to put her down for naps and she fought them, when she was actually only hungry.

Does your kid need to snack constantly?  Could it be FOD related, or is it just common infant behavior?  What are easy healthy snack ideas?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sleep Chronicles

It's been a busy last few weeks, both in Cupcake's life and in ours.  The main issue with Cupcake is a bizarro sleep regression that I'm having a hard time dealing with.  Please forgive the dangling preposition, my mommy brain isn't functioning very well.  Sleep deprivation is a b-ch.
Life before baby

Life after baby
 I also seem unable to organize my thoughts into a standard essay-style blog entry, so maybe I'll just try to touch the highlights of what's going on with us.

- We tried a form of modified sleep training.  Basically, my arms gave out and I just couldn't rock her anymore for as long as she needed.  The new plan was to rock her for 5 - 10 minutes (which seems reasonable, since she is, after all, a baby), then set he down on her crib.  At this point, if she cries, just sing to her and pat her and reassure her that I'm there.  She cried, and wailed, and looked very angry, but never more than 15-20 minutes.  I would stay in the room with her, not wanting the issue of sleeping of her own to get confused with separation anxiety. 

It worked, I admit.  Hearing her cry felt terrible, but she would fall asleep, and stay asleep for an hour.  Then proceeded to be in a wonderful mood the rest of the day.  I had feared that she'd hate me for doing this to her, but a baby's short term memory is bliss.  Mostly, I felt like I had no choice, since I couldn't rock her.

- I'm not sure how I feel about crying to sleep, even though we had to do it.  It seemed to me that Cupcake started waking up from naps mid cry, as opposed to the cooing she used to do.  Am I projecting?  Probably.  Reminds me of Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog, when Captain Hammer is frozen mid song, and when he unfreezes he finished the note where he left off.  Yes, I just compared my 10 month old's napping pattern to Dr. Horrible, what of it?  In any case, even though my arms were finally getting rest, I wasn't fully convinced that this was the best approach for us.  A week and half later, she was still crying 10 minutes per nap.  Is that normal?  Shouldn't she be happily self soothing by now?

- She's learned to stand on her crib.  She's known how to pull up for long time, but she finally figured out how to go from laying down to sitting, and from there the rest is easy.  So now, I can't even let her cry as an option, because as soon as I put her down on the crib, she immediately sits and stands.  It's so quick, I could blink and I'd miss it.

Which leaves me with some options, rock her to sleep until she's really good and zonked out.  Which.... no, this is what got us in this predicament.  My arms can't rock a 22 lb baby.  Not gonna happen.   Or I could take her out to nap on the stroller.  Or I could just leave her to cry and figure it out for herself.

I've tried to let her fuss it out, and it's just not working.  She cried, gets completely red and snot nosed, and just doesn't let down.  At what point do I throw in the towel?  So far I'm stopping the torture after 20 minutes, I just assume she wasn't tired and we can try for a nap again later.

- Have I mentioned that she's just kinda not sleeping during the day but stays in a great mood?  She looks exhausted, will fall asleep within 30 seconds of me rocking her, and wakes as soon as I put her on the crib.  But once I pick her up she's all smiles, plays well on her own, and largely shows no signs of being tired or overtired.  I'm trying to remind myself that at this age many babies only need one nap, so as long as she gets one nap in there, it's all good.  She'll fall asleep when she's tired enough, right?

- The sleep training has had one awesomely positive side effect.  Cupcake now sleeps on her stroller again.  After a 5 month stroller strike, she now will happily zonk out in her umbrella stroller, her neck bending to utterly uncomfortable looking positions.   Freedom.   I can now leave the house without worrying about coming back home for naps or risk total breakdown while out.  Is it related to the sleep training, or simply a developmental phase?

- Could she possibly be transitioning to one nap?  And if so, she's gone from 3 naps to 1 in a matter of weeks.  Not sure how to handle this.

- Now with the the crib standing, she's back to waking up 4+ times a night.  We'd managed to cut it to 2, by letting her fuss it out for a few nights.  We're regressing.  And the worse thing is that Cupcake seems to be sitting up in her sleep, and then her body wakes her up.  None of us, baby included, are happy with this situation, but are at a loss on what to do.  The night we let her sort it out herself, she just cried while standing for a half hour.  I was so exhausted I let her, but we share a room, so this just wont work.  Should we set up an air mattress in the living room?  Would that work better?

I'm having a some tough weeks, where I feel like I'm doing it all wrong.  She doesn't sleep well, and it feels like a direct reflection of my love and parenting abilities.  It's hard to convince me otherwise. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Blog makeover

I've been trying to upkeep this blog, reformat it some, and figure out what to do with pictures.  Because, really, pictures are always better, but I still want to respect my child's privacy.   Anyway..

 I felt inspired by Dana's blog entry What Were We Thinking?: 10 tips for starting a blog. Not only did she make a pretty nice and clean list with blog starting tips, it also made me realize that my current comment section stinks.  Really, it does.  So I've installed, hopefully successfully, a new commenting software that should allow me to respond to people more efficiently.

Also, at some point I will figure out how to work the Blogher banner ad.  They say it's simple to install, but I beg to differ.  Of course, it doesn't help that we've been going through a baby nap crisis this week (more on that soon), so I'm short on Internet time.