February 12, 2010

Eating It Up

At Luke's 4 month appointment, our pediatrician recommended starting him on solid foods. I had read a little about solid food introduction and knew it was in our future, but I wasn't sure if we'd start it as soon as possible, or if we'd hold off until 6 months. So, when the doctor brought it up, I decided we could give it a try and see how it went, but I wasn't going to stress out about it. The first day, we were on our way to a conference at the beach so we only had a few minutes to try a few bites. Luke wasn't so sure at first, but we managed to get a little down. The next day, though, he gobbled it up and had no trouble figuring out how to swallow it.  

It's been great to hand off a feeding to Travis and it's been fun watching them bond over it. They have a system down pat that seems overly messy to me....but it works for them and I have to remind myself to just butt out of it. We did rice cereal mixed with breastmilk or formula for almost a month, and we are now in the process of adding in fruits and veggies. We've tried applesauce, green beans, and prunes. So far, he doesn't seem to be too picky. Although, on the first day of a new flavor, he seems skeptical.

Prunes and rice cereal. Yum. Errr. Maybe not.

Adding the solid food in has helped with lengthening his sleep at night and helped stretch his naps out. Things still aren't consistent, but we've had a few better nights recently, so I am more hopeful than last time I wrote. Last night, he only got up once to eat between 7PM and 6AM. That's all I'm really asking for at this point. I'm thrilled by that and it doesn't even bother me that I know he's getting old enough to sleep longer than that. I don't mind one feeding a night....for now. I'm sure I will change my mind about that soon enough.

In other news...we are getting another pretty snow here in North Carolina. This one has come more as a surprise which makes it more fun to me. Luke wasn't so sure when we took him out in it for a few seconds before bedtime.

Henry, however, is ALL about the snow. As soon as an inch or two is on the ground, he is out there, begging to play. Playing fetch with a snowball is by far his favorite and this just happens to be great snowball snow.

He is now wiped out in his chair and we are getting ready to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Go USA!

February 4, 2010

The No Sleep Monster

Dear Luke,
You turned 5 months old yesterday. You are a smiling, goofy baby that I grow to love a little more every day. However, there have been days in the past month when I wasn't sure we were going to make it this far. The days when the lack of sleep overwhelmed me and turned me into the worst version of myself. Days where I snapped at your father, hated your dog, and generally wanted to punch people in the face for just looking at me. I have never been a person that was prone to violence, even under the most extreme cirumstances, but I have had long, detailed-filled fantasies about literally kicking your father out of bed or punching him in the back while he slept next to me. I love your father very, very much. He is my best friend and has been an excellent partner in this whole parenthood gig. However, he has the ability to fall asleep in about 35 seconds after the time he closes his eyes. This is a skill I desperately covet, envy, and loathe in him. It regularly takes me 20-30 minutes to fall asleep on any given night. I had naively thought that the exhaustion that comes with motherhood would help shorten that time period, but so far, that has not been the case. Which means, not only does it take me 20 minutes to fall asleep when I go to bed at 10, but also adds an extra 20 minutes to every middle of the night session you and I have. And all the while...your father sleeps blissfully on. Even when he gets up to help, the minute he gets back into bed, he is asleep, and I am left to plot vengeful acts while I will my brain to shutdown long enough to get some sleep in before you wake up again.
Last week, my exhaustion and crankiness had reached new heights...heights that finally convinced me that things had to change. Before Christmas, you had started to sleep in 6 hour stretches and it seem to be getting more consistent. And then, we traveled off and on for about 2 weeks and that was the end of that. For the last 6 weeks or so, you would wake up every 1-2 hours each night after midnight, and would only be soothed back to sleep by feeding. I'll admit, I didn't try anything else for very long, since I knew that 5 minutes of nursing would get you back to sleep faster than anything else and I just wanted to go back to bed. I was just convinced this was a growth spurt and it would end any night. But as the weeks stretched on, I had to face the fact that you weren't waking up cause you were hungry...it was just becoming a habit. A bad habit that was ruining my life, my marriage, and my sanity.

Sleep training was not something I was interested in doing, but it was becoming abundantly clear you weren't going to figure this out on your own any time soon. You had gotten the hang of it for naptimes. I can regularly lay you down during the day, and you'll sleep for 45 minutes to an hour without much assistance on my part at all. You've finally overcome your twenty minute catnap stage, and I just kept hoping it would translate into sleeping during the night as well. Alas, it was just not happening...and in the meantime, I was slowly going insane. My mom keeps telling me that the sleep deprivation of new parents in the closest a sane person will come to experiencing a pyschotic break.

So last weekend, we began to let you "cry it out" when you woke up at 1AM, and 2 AM, and 3 AM, etc. The first night was the worst by far, and it has generally gotten better every night since. We are not fully there yet, as you still want to eat at 12:30, and then again at 3:30, before you get up for the day between 6:30-7. But I can see a glimmer of what life will be like when we can put you down at 7 and get a full nights sleep before we hear the funny little noises and gurgling that signal you are awake (or the more plaintive blats that signal we have waited too long to rescue you). And as much as I love your smiling face and fun, new baby tricks, I would greatly appreciate getting a full night's sleep before I get to see you again.
So, if you could get on top of that soon, I'd appreciate it.