Tuesday, December 4, 2018

How's the baby sleeping?

Since when I finally got around to posting I hit a popular divisive topic in mommy wars, staying at home vs. working, I figured why not make it a two-fer. Next up: baby sleep!

One of the common questions you get when you have a baby is "How is she sleeping?". Remington sleeps great! As long as she is in my arms or snuggled next to me she sleeps pretty well, when she is also nursing, she sleeps wonderfully.

In answer to what I know people actually mean when they ask that question, no, I do not kiss her goodnight at 7pm, put her in her crib, and see her in the morning. She's not so much a fan of that.

When it comes to baby sleep, you have two options. You can have your baby cry it out, therefore making them think they've been abandoned in a Russian orphanage and preventing them from ever experiencing emotions, or you can respond to their every cry, therefore creating an overly attached pathetic mama's boy or girl who will never be able to fall asleep unless their mother rocks them EVER and generally cannot cope with life. So, clearly, it's an easy decision, you just have to decide which way of ruining your child best fits in with your lifestyle as a parent.

Right now I'm doing option 2, but being on my third child, I know things can change at any moment, and I might switch to option 1 at any point. First, I was ruining my child by having her sleep in the rock and play. If you're the parent of a child under age 5, and you have access to the internet, you know that's a huge no no. Both Remington and Royce slept pretty well in the rock and play until about 5 months, when they began to outgrow it.

Shortly after arriving home from the hospital, Remi slept swaddled in the rock and play. She woke about every 2 hours to eat. Babies are supposed to slowly increase the time between feedings as they grow. Parents love to brag on social media about how long of a "stretch" their baby did. I believe Harvard offers early admission to any baby who hits 6 hours by a month old (no personal experience).


As I've learned, babies often don't read the books or pay attention at pediatrician checkups, so Remi hit six months and had never increased her "stretches" past the 2 hours. I'm not really much of a sleep trainer because I'm lazy and it all sounds like a lot of stressful work. I don't do the "eat, play, sleep", I'm solidly in the "when in doubt, whip it out" camp. Definitely a bit of an attachment parent when it comes to sleep, but I can never get in to that club because I abandoned my first two to daycare at only 12 weeks old. 

Additionally, around five months, she started doing the thing where she would wake up to eat, I'd put her away in the rock and play, and then she'd wake up 20 minutes later, angry to be all alone. This was also around the time she got hand foot mouth/ear infections/pink eye. She had been starting to put herself to sleep occasionally, but after her illnesses that was out the window.

The day she turned six months I packed up the rock and play and put it in the basement. I also posted to insta stories Eric bringing the mini crib up the stairs. Her actual bedroom is really far from our bedroom so with her waking so much there was no way. I was ready to transition her to the crib, just still in the same room as me.

I put her in the crib that night after she went to sleep. She woke up screaming pretty quickly. And I just decided I was done. I did a little refresh on safe bedsharing, and we haven't really bothered with the crib since. As many of us know, Eric is a SUPER deep sleeper, so we are both more comfortable with him sleeping separately when we have tiny babies. Since we came home from the hospital with Royce and Remi I've nursed side lying in bed. Dalton was a whooooooole different story because #firsttimeparents.

I also stopped looking at my phone at night. I'm not even sure how I got back into that habit because I didn't track much with Royce. Now I put it on do not disturb and don't look at it again until morning. I know she wakes and nurses at night still but I have no idea how many times, how long the all important stretches are, nothing. That was all crazy making. I wouldn't say I feel like I've just gotten back from a week at the spa but I feel much more rested than I have in six months.

"But my cousin's neighbor's mailman coslept and his daughter wouldn't sleep alone until she was 17." Yep I'm aware that everyone who's never coslept personally knows someone who it caused "issues" for. And there will come a time where it won't work anymore and we will have to figure out something else. But one of my goals in parenting is to do what works until it doesn't work. I spent a ton of Dalton's infancy worried about the so called "bad habits" and it was a huge waste of time because the fact is I don't know what will happen or how she will develop or what will work for our family when she's 2 or 4 or in elementary school, but I do know this works right at this moment.

I honestly don't really think much you do when your kids are babies matters. Vaccinate them and do your best with car seat safety and don't give them recreational drugs. Aside from that, just survive the year and the babies will be fine. The important thing is to try to do what makes you, as the parent, not lose your mind. For some people, cosleeping and nursing all night on demand would make them lose their mind. They definitely shouldn't do it. For me, right now, cry it out would make me lose my mind. So, I am not doing it. Just do whatever sounds the least horrible to you and if someone else does something different, both your babies will be fine.

Of course, I talk a big game, but I stress over it and wonder if I'm dooming her to never being independent. When my friend's son was around Remi's age, she was cosleeping and stressing and I was pregnant at the time and told her not to worry, he would sleep on his own when he was ready (apparently, full disclosure, I don't remember this but my pregnancy brain was pretty bad). Well now he's a year and sleeping better and I'm texting her for reassurance that I'm not ruining my kid. She said "but you're the one who told me they sleep on their own!". Ahhh right but that was when I was pregnant and full of wisdom and confidence. Now the kid is here and even though it's not my first rodeo I still really don't know what I'm doing.

So unimpressed with my ineptitude 

Which sleep method did you ruin your kid with?

Saturday, December 1, 2018

How's life as a SAHM?

It's been forever! I thought I would blog more while on leave of absence but at the moment my laptop is out of commission. I just had a giant DD coffee and it's Saturday and I don't feel like I'm about to pass out so...here are some responses one of the common questions I get.

~How's life as a SAHM? 

So this is kind of fraught because this is a huge "mommy war" trigger area. I'm in a weird in between position, where I'm not working right now, but I don't fully identify as a SAHM either. I didn't quit my job, I'm on a leave of absence, I have a hard return date, and despite the fact that many people insist I'll just quit, that's not going to be happening for a variety of reasons both financial and personal. I feel guilty talking to my working friends because I'm not back at it, pumping in the trenches, navigating a 3 month old in daycare like them. But I also don't totally identify with SAHM friends either because this isn't a permanent fix for me, and I have also had nearly 4 years of being a mom and working full time.

Labels aside, it's awesome. And that's where I feel somewhat uncomfortable, like I'm being a traitor and fueling the mommy wars. But here's the thing: being a parent is hard. It's hard because you love your kid so much it hurts and just want to do everything right for them, but there is no "right", and there is no instruction manual, and kids sure don't make it easy, and that's confusing and challenging every single day. I haven't seen any way that changes whether a parent is working, not working, a mother, a father, whatever.

That said...yeah, things are easier for me without a full time job. There's a reason TGIF is a thing, and a "case of the Mondays" is an entirely different thing. I don't set an alarm. Sure, that doesn't mean I get to lounge in bed until I feel like it, but I think it's safe to say there aren't too many people past college age who do. Almost 100% of the time I still sleep later than I did last school year, waking up before the kids to shower, get ready, prepare a crock pot dinner, clean, etc. Also, "getting up" just means going downstairs in my pajamas and drinking coffee. It doesn't mean jumping in the shower before the insane rush to get ready for daycare and out the door by 7 and cramming my breakfast down my gullet during hall duty.

In her short life, Remington has already had pink eye, a double ear infection, and hand foot mouth.
Random pic of her being adorable hiking at Free Forest School

Conveniently, I think? All at the same time. She would have had to been out of daycare for a full week! Not having any family in town, Eric and I would have had to take turns taking off, dealing with sub plans, guilt trips from coworkers, losing sick days we had already used up for maternity/paternity leave...all in the first quarter of the school year. It's a LOT easier to just be like "My baby is ill. I will care for her." End of story. Side note I also got HFM and had to take Advil in order to eat for two weeks straight. Baby weight lost from that: 0 pounds wtf.

With a six month old, of course not working is significantly easier, because no mother should be at work 6 months after giving birth unless she chooses to. Maternity leave in this country should actually exist. I can lay down with her during naptime when I'm exhausted from night wakeups. Breastfeeding without having to pump 3+ times a day, wash bottles, wash pump parts, count ounces feels like a dream come true. Honestly any time I feel like I'm going to lose it with frustration I picture the unheated cluttered closet I used to pump in. The door didn't close all the way, I would be balancing my pump and laptop and lunch on these rickety shelves covered with crap and sitting in a tiny hard plastic kid chair. So yeah, not every single moment is rainbows in sunshine but a much, much higher percentage are.

Like this!

And I'll just say it - it's a LOT more fun. This is nothing against my job, and I really do miss working with the students. But let's get real. Paperwork, observations, spending hours grading, standardized tests, STRESS...yeah I don't miss that. Getting to be in the woods hiking with my kids, or at story time, or at a playground, or just playing at home, on a weekday morning is literally the absolute best thing I could possibly ever be doing. I hate myself for sounding so cheesy but it swear it's true! YES they drive me crazy and I feel like I'm about to lose my mind at least every day when they are fighting over a book and we have 50,000 books or an empty paper towel tube (not making that up). But again, kids drive you crazy with fighting and tantrums and being kids regardless of your sex or your employment status. That's not a SAHM thing, so I don't feel it's relevant. Or if it is, with the argument that I experience more of the frustrating moments being home with them, ummmm....have you ever BEEN working at a job? It can have one or two frustrating moments. That's why it's called "work" and comes with the perk of a paycheck. My job can be fulfilling but my kids bring me more joy than anything else in the world. Apparently I can't write about this without being super cheesy. But, it is Christmas season, the time for cheesy sentiments, right?

~ How do you take your kids so many places? (Not a humble brag I swear people ask this!)

Because they legit cray.

For real though, they get antsy and turn the house into a jungle gym if we stay home so it's honestly easier for me to just take them somewhere designed for their insanity.

Remi loves chilling in the ergo, isn't mobile, and sleeps on the go, so now is really the time for it. I'm not a good literal stay at home mom. When the van was broken, or when HFM hit us (but not the boys so they were nuts as ever), and we had to stay home, my patience declined quickly. We do playdates with friends most days, seek out free/inexpensive activities, and ask for memberships to places for holidays instead of gifts.
At the zoo with Casper and Wyatt

Baby besties (Remi has several besties)

Everyone is happier this way. I also have the ticking clock feeling sometimes. I only get two years of being able to go see the train garden at Christmastime on a Monday! Must do ALL THE THINGS!

~ Do you miss work? 

LOLLLLZ just kidding no one would ever actually ask that.

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