Monday, November 26, 2012

Early Days of Sleep Training

Sleep training seems to be making me much more tired than Levi. Not really, but certain moments feel that way. This one for example, it's 8.30pm and I am fully jammied and in bed, yawning and ready for sleep. Last week I blamed jet lag from our England trip but I have no real excuse now except that we are sleep training Levi and it's hard work!

He has been doing well adjusting to this new adventure. We are only two days in, but at the same time we started sleep training  we began to have him sleep in his's like we are trying to kill two birds with one tearful stone.

The 'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child' book I am reading makes the point that children respond just as much to "cry it out" as they do to routine behaviours so this has been the backbone of the plan we created for Levi. We accept that we might have to let him cry for some very short periods of time as he learns to settle himself and also deals with his own opinions about going to sleep if they differ from ours (!), but I am not prepared (at this time, but not saying never) to let him cry for any extended periods.We are trying to use nap-time and bedtime routines to create an expectation of sleep in Levi. We will be using quiet play and story time prior to naps when we see signs of tiredness so that we can get him settled before he is overtired.

The book also makes the point that it's important for him to be soothed in a way that allows his to get as much sleep as he needs through the day so he is in a good place to sleep well at night. This means that whether nursing, rocking, using the swing etc. is right for getting him soothed, that is what we should be doing, but that if those methods are used after he is sleeping he should be moved or put in a position to have 'motionless sleep' which allows his to fall into a deeper and more restful sleep state.

That last point makes me uncertain about how the swing might continue to be a part of our napping routine. I had been so wanting to stop using it altogether, but as Levi gets used to the environment of his own room and sleeping alone, he isn't yet taking the long 2-3 hour naps he was in the swing, and it's showing in his more emotional demeanor in his awake time. He is also not sleeping long stretches at night and I think it is because of the poor nap quality/time of the naps in the day.

It might seems like I am going to be a slave to his naps, and for a while maybe I will be but I am making that choice intentionally for this short time to give him consistency as we teach him and work with him to create better sleep habits. This doesn't work for everyone and especially with multiple children I am not sure how you would do it but I guess we'll figure that out if we need to in the future. For now, we have one precious little man, and we want him to be a good sleeper :)

Tonight it took me an hour and a quarter to get him to sleep, I gave him a bath, then we played quietly in his room with the lights dim, I read him some stories in the glider and as he nursed I sang some songs and lullabys, and then I laid him down. He wasn't asleep and he struggled for a while to settle. I gave him some space and offered comfort over the next 45 minutes or so and eventually he finally settled to sleep at around 8.15pm. I am not sure how long he will stay sleeping this time, or what the night will hold but I am really hopeful and prayerful that he is able to find his groove and do a good stretch before he wakes. He needs it, and so do I. 

Tomorrow I am hoping to find even more of a rhythm and hoping that Levi will be right there with me.

In other news, the desserts I posted about in the previous post both turned out great. They both fall into the category of simple and delicious which makes them perfect for this time of year when there is too much fun to be had to be slaving away in the kitchen for hours unnecessarily!

And full disclosure, I have been letting the leftovers console me through this sleep training business...we'll talk about post-baby weight-loss, or lack thereof in another post! ha ha!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful for dessert

You can tell it's the holiday season because there are flour, chocolate and pumpkin fingerprints all over my kitchen! While I would never want my baby boy to be sick, it has given me the opportunity to whip up some lovely fall desserts.

Firstly, I made this Pear Crumble Pie from my favourite blog Annie's Eats, it was simple and smells amazing, it was supposed to be for a dinner last night, but we decided to reschedule so that we kept our germs to ourselves, so now it jumped up to take the spot on the table of our Thanksgiving Eve dinner with our special friends, Tim and Sarah. I'll let you know how it tastes!

I am typing this as I am waiting for my Thanksgiving day dessert to finish baking, it's taking longer than expected which always makes me nervous but I hope that it turns out ok. It is this Pumpkin Chocolate Dessert cake. I like recipes like this one because I can make it the day before and just finish off the glaze tomorrow before serving. I dislike spending too much time in the kitchen on holidays!

Levi continues to smile through his sickness, he doesn't get that good sick attitude from J or me, we are both a bit pathetic when we are under the weather but he is a star. He seems to be feeling much better today, our humidifier purchase yesterday seems to make a difference to how well he slept - we are all appreciative of that -  and today he is napping better too so I know his nose is less blocked which is a very good thing because over the past few days he has developed a hatred for the nasal bulb syringe!

I just love this time of year, and this year especially I have so much to be thankful for. Due to early pregnancy last year the holiday season was a bit of a bust. A mix of nausea and uncertainty tainted the festivities so this year I have to make up for it. We sort of missed the boat for thanksgiving/fall entertaining with being gone for a few weeks and Thanksgiving being so early in the month, but I hope we can get some fun Christmas parties and entertaining on the books soon :) Me and my kitchen are ready for cranberry season :)

Ok, gotta get my cake out of the oven before Buggy wakes up.

Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving, I encourage you to take the opportunity to show those you love how much you appreciate them. I know I don't do that enough, and I know that I am most thankful for the family and friends that I have been blessed with.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

sick sick sick

Poor sweet boy is really under the weather. It's probably the most pathetic thing I have ever seen, Levi has watery eyes, and a pretty constant stream of drool out of his mouth, not to mention the occasional snot dribble too. When he tries to smile, it just makes even more drool come out, it's so sad but I love him even more for trying to be happy eve though he is feeling rough.

It is also one of the most helpless feelings when you have to just watch your infant be poorly. There is so little you can do to help them. I have given him a few small doses of pain reliever/fever reducer but mostly we are using saline nasal drops and the bulb syringe to clear out your nose and mouth and help you breath more easily.

Levi and I sat in the bathroom last night with the shower running to let the steam clear his nose a bit, it seemed to give him some relief, at least in the short term.

He seemed slightly better today but who knows. I am praying that this cold doesn't go to his chest. I am totally freaked out by the reality that this cold could become a big deal for such a little man.

At the moment Levi is snoring away, fully bathed and PJ-ed and I am hoping down for the night. I mean, I am under no illusion that he will sleep through the night but I am trying to make a positive from this crazy jet-lag teething sickness and start trying to put Levi down at 6.30/7pm. It worked last night, and while he was up a few times (that's an under statement, but it makes me feel better to think it was just a few). We had wanted to start him having a more set time to go to sleep for the night so I hope this is the start of that piece of our routine.

It's tough though because it will mean we are more restricted in the evenings. For example, tomorrow we are having dinner with some couples from our pre-natal class. I am not 100% sure we will make it with our sick kiddo, but if we do I am hoping we will still be able to settle him, even without the bath and story time. I guess, we'll see.

This is life as a mum. It's my life. There is good and bad and this part is the bad. Poor thing, I hope he feels better very soon. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The best laid plans

We are back in Seattle. We survived the flight home. Poor little buggy did great despite the teething until the final descent into Seattle when I think his ears must have started hurting. He wailed inconsolably, we were officially "those people" on the plane. I tell you though, if anyone had looked at us with a negative thought during those painful 20 minutes I was ready to start throwing down some mama bear! It is the most horrible feeling to have your child screaming when there is nothing you can do to make him feel better and you have an audience of less than sympathetic passengers. We were blessed to have a Mrs.Doubtfire-esque Scottish Grandmother next to us who was so sweet for the entire flight, but especially for the those painful final moments.

We arrived home and Levi's drooling and gnawing from the teething seemed to take a weird turn, the drool was matched with sneezing and coughing and nasal congestion. By 7.30pm Seattle time it was clear that Levi had a cold to add to his list of discomforts. Apparently, jet-lag and teething were not enough for him to contend with.

We had family bedtime at about 8pm Seattle time, and let's say last night was a bit of a doozy. Levi didn't sleep longer than 2 hours at a time, and woke up coughing and spluttering and obviously in pain every time. Nursing was tough too because he can't really breathe so he was also getting sad about that.

By 4am we admitted defeat and had an hour where we were all awake and trying to help our little guy with teething toys and gum gel to some relief. Then we all fell asleep again.

To clarify, we all fell asleep in our bed. Levi in his bassinet. Our plans to go cold turkey with him napping and and sleeping at night in his crib in his went out the window when the cold flew in, and our resolve not not reintroduce him to naps in the swing also disappeared because it keeps him upright and that helps his congestion and lets him breathe more easily. He is asleep in there, rocking away as I type.

I guess the best laid plans have to change, because after all, we make them with the best in mind for our children and when our children's needs change we have to be flexible.

So no crib-mageddon has been moved until after Thanksgiving.

It's been tough since we left my parents at the airport. I miss them so much and I am sure Levi does too. We Skyped this morning and he was so cute talking and cooing and giggling with them. He had been feeling so sorry for himself, it was so sweet how much he cheered up when he saw them on the computer. Grandparents can work magic from miles away!

So here we are, family pajama day as we spend a very low key day at home recovering from jet lag and keeping our germs to ourselves. The only possible outing will be a trip to the store to get groceries...This would be the second for my sweet hubby who ran out earlier and picked up eggs bacon, juice and bread for breakfast which he then proceeded to cook for us. It's good to be home...and sad not to be at home too.

Here are some picture we took just before we left for the airport.
We miss you guys already!!!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Dear Levi, 12 weeks old

Sweet boy time is flying. You are growing so fast. You are in 3-6 month clothes all if a sudden with your recent growth spurt, and we especially noticed it in your feet which outgrew your socks overnight!
You are starting to fill out. Your cheeks are getting chubbier and even though I didn't believe you could get any cuter, I have been proved wrong.

You are still so alert and fifth your sleep but with your lovey to rub on your face you have been known to settle yourself to sleep.

Your days sleeping in the co sleeper in our bed are coming to an end. Not because I don't love having you there but simply because you have outgrown the bassinet. When we get back home we will be moving you into your own room, so I am making the most of each sweet morning I can wake and watch you sleeping next to me.

We celebrate your 12 week milestone in London. You have flown quite a lot already for such a little guy. The long flights to Florida and back and the even longer trek to London. You were a fabulous flier and did us proud by sleeping and not really fussing at all. For now you are still small enough for us to change you on our laps when you needed it but those days will soon be over too.

You love your activity gym and will kick your legs and talk to your reflection in the mirror for ages. You can now reach and grab the toys and in the past week have figured out how to bring them to your mouth where you suck and chew to your hearts content. Speaking of, you have recently also become a drooler. Your non spit-up days are also far behind us so we have made good use of the burp rags in our possession.

Your tummy and gas still bother you but they seem to cause you less hassle than they used to. I started doing some massage on you at each nappy change and it seem to help. At the least you like  it and beam at me the whole time.

You have mastered the pee fountain in recent weeks too and we are now much more cautious to leave you nappy-less for any length of time.

You are a pretty laid back little dude for the most part, but you always have something to say :) You certainly let us know when something is not to your liking or standards and have made it very clear that dirty nappies will not be tolerated for more than 30 seconds before you melt down. On the otherhand, you are generous with your smiles and have just started to laugh which was a real treat for Nana and Grandad to hear in person.

Each day with you is a gift, even the fussy poopy ones.
Love you bugaboo, Mama x

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Adventures this side of the pond

So far our time with my family and friends have been wonderful. Levi has been a real trooper and coped so well with all the travel, the time change and all the new faces. He has been napping well during the day and sleeping some long stretches at night too which has made for a much more pleasant trip for all of us. I am not sure how that will translate when we get back to the USA and we face the reverse time change but I am hopeful it won't be too crazy.

We have done a day trip to London, going on the tube the Docklands light railway, trains and buses and having the baby in the front pack was much easier than I anticipated. We managed to time lunch and coffee breaks to fit with nappy changes and feedings and Buggy napped in the carrier as well as being happy in there facing out when he was awake. We also went on the new cable cars high above the river, they were a bit scary because they are so high up and swaying in the wind, or when your husband stands up to wander around and take pictures! I was relieved to be back on land again.

We have eaten lunch in many local pubs and enjoyed lots of traditional British grub. I am sure that I have gained 10lbs before we get home. We are on our second tin of Quality Street chocolates too and I am responsible for much more than my fair share of those. We have enjoyed curry night with our friends and have had nationally award winning fish'n'chips!

We spent the day today in the Kent countryside where we ate at another pub for lunch before heading to Hever Castle, home of Anne Boleyn. We ended our time there with a cup of tea and scones with jam and clotted cream. Cultural and Delish.

I wish that I had some more to share than just the play by play of our trip but honestly, I have had little time to think beyond our daily schedule. jet-lag seemed to hit me the hardest, a week later and I am still struggling to sleep at the right time and stay awake after 3pm! I brought three different books with me to read but so far I have only managed to crack one open, and even then I only got through a chapter before I was needed for nappy changing or feeding or something. I am hoping that when Levi is in a bit more a schedule at home I will be able to actually finish some/any of the books that are on my reading list.

Here is a picture of my two sweet boys at the castle today. I love how much they love each other. Plus check out the super cute boots that I picked up for Levi yesterday!!

Monday, November 5, 2012


On Sunday we were thrilled to dedicate Levi at my parents church and in the Christian community that I grew up in . We will have him dedicated in our home church in Seattle too, because that will be the community that our family is a part of day to day, but it felt special to have the chance to also have my old church community celebrate his arrival. So many friends and family were able to come and be a part of our day and I loved that he had been dedicated in the same church that I was baptised in, and that Jeremy and I had had our marriage blessed in.

Levi was a star, he smiled the whole time, even when the minister held him. I confess, I was a little nervous about how he would hold it together. His little body is still confused with all the time change and he has been a little more emotional since we got here, but I had nothing to worry about.

After the service, we had family round to the house to continue the celebrations and introduce Levi to our extended family. It was lovely to see my cousins, aunts and uncles again and special to have such a sweet little reason to gather.

Things will continue to be busy here as we visit friends and see some sights. We always wish there was more time once we get here because even though it feels like we are gone for a long time, the days fill up fast.


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