Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sleep Habits of a toddler

*Note* - This is one of my most popular posts to date.  I consistently get a good number of folks who find my blog daily in searching for hope for their sleepless toddlers.  Please take heart - it will get better.  Make sure to check out my update on this post here.

We love our son. Don't get me wrong. He is a wonderful child who is exciting and joyful and sweet all in one. And he is advanced in so many ways (for example, he went poo-poo on the potty on Sunday and can easily say things like "i love you", and can count to seven). But, for those of you who look at our son and think "wow, what a kid", please take a minute and consider his sleeping habits.

Our son has never been a good sleeper. Its part of his personality to be totally engaged in the world and connected to others that the idea of turning off to sleep, particularly in his own bed, is a bit challenging. On his first birthday he was still waking up 4-5 times a night. It wasn't until he was 14 months old that he was consistently sleeping through the night, and, by consistently I mean once or twice a week and the rest of the week waking up 2 or less times a night. :)

We've accepted this. It has been a long, very challenging road to get to this point, particularly for a narcoleptic married to a shift-worker. But, it is what it is and we're grateful for the experience.

The last few nights have been very tough. Little man doesn't want to go to sleep and so he'll stay awake being held forever, trying as hard as he can to not go to sleep. Its as if he knows that when he goes to sleep he will have to be put down and he doesn't want mommy to go away so he fights it. And, he's a very strong willed little guy. Putting him down to sleep leads to exasperated pleas of "no mommy" followed by hours (yes, hours) of crying and more "no mommy"'s. No matter what we've tried it isn't working. He had been waking up at 3:30 on the dot for the last week and a half or so, until two nights ago when he woke up at 12:45 (an hour after I went to bed, mind you), and wouldn't go back to sleep until after daddy came home and took him downstairs. I think it was about 5am when he finally went to sleep. DUring those hours we tried nursing in bed, cuddling, crying it out, music, night light, no night light, laying in mommy's bed, walking around, and I'm sure a few other things. He was terrified to go into his room. By the time daddy got home Logan was jumping on mommy like a cowboy on a horse, while she tried to get some sleep. Obviously that wasn't succesful.

So, in wondering what might be causing this temporary regression ( a girl can hope!) I did some googling and came across a sleep habits article on, and found it to be hilarious.

(Thanks in advance for your suggestions, and we are willing to listen and try, but unless you've got the secret from mars or something we've probably already tried it a hundred times already...sleeping just isn't our sons thing)

"Make sure your child is able to fall asleep on his own.Don't forget how important it is for your toddler to fall asleep by himself every night. He shouldn't depend on rocking, nursing, or being sung to to fall asleep. If he does, he'll never learn to settle himself back down when he wakes up at night. That situation is less than ideal for you, too — if he does wake up, he'll probably cry for you."

Now, I understand the point of this section of the article, and the sentiment is fine. But the practicality is pretty nil when you are working with a toddler who doesn't want to sleep or won't for whatever reason. Lets take it line by line

"Make sure your child is able to fall asleep on his own"- I'd settle for "make sure your child is able to fall asleep". This obviously comes from someone who either doesn't have anything to do besides raise their kid OR who doesn't have a son like mine. He can't fall asleep with someone, let alone without someone.

"Don't forget how important it is for your toddler to fall asleep by himself every night. "- Alright, no problem. I won't forget. but why again? Because if he doesn't fall asleep by himself he won't sleep at night? Or, he won't sleep without me at night? Newsflash...he isn't sleeping WITH me at this point, so how is making himself fall asleep without me any different? And, lets say he could fall asleep but had to have me to help. What's so important about that? For his sake? He will be a healthier toddler if he can go to sleep on his own? He will be a happier toddler if he can go to sleep on his own? Or, is it just that it is easier on the parents if he goes to sleep on his own? Thats the only TRUE benefit I can see of having a toddler be able to sleep on his own.

"He shouldn't depend on rocking, nursing, or being sung to to fall asleep." Why not? Because then he won't be able to fall asleep ON HIS OWN? Gotcha. Rocking, nursing, and being sung to all require someone else present, or at least an acceptable machine that mimicks humans, like a radio. What is so bad about that? Especially since we are talking about a toddler? And, lets say we weren't. In the grand scheme of things is requiring music to fall asleep such a bad thing? Lets ask the millions of people who listen to the radio before falling asleep (By one study, up to 60% of adolescents use music to help them fall asleep future research opportunity #1). Anyway, unless its a convenience factor for the parents (or logistical issue, as for parents with more than one kid), is it REALLY harming him to do any of those things? I can tell you one thing, up to this point, with out rocking or especially nursing, I wouldn't have been able to get NEAR as much sleep as I have been able to get.

This one is my favorite.

"If he does, he'll never learn to settle himself back down when he wakes up at night." AHHH!!! NEVER??? Really??? For the next 800 years (I don't want to put a limit on my own sons life...hehe) my son will never learn to settle himself back down? He will ALWAYS need me or someone else to help put himself to sleep. Future research opportunity #2: How many adults in this world NEED someone to put him/her to sleep? My guess is virtually none. Whenever I face a difficult situation with my son my hope is always: in 18 years this will be better...for 18 years he won't be nursing 18 years he won't cry if I'm not holding him...based on a reasonable assumption that when he's an adult he won't need me to do something. I don't know exactly where that line is going to be (weaning, for example), but I definitely know that when he's 18 he won't be doing it so there is relief in sight, at least 17 years from now! I guess I was wrong in assuming that about his sleeping habits, because clearly this article tells me that my son will NEVER learn to settle himself back down at night.... (all you long-term mothers out there...let me know if your child was one of these people who NEVER learned to settle himself back down). (disclaimer: I don't mean to make fun of anyone who suffers from a sleep disorder or other condition that prevents the ability to fall asleep easy...I'm simply making a point that just because my son doesn't sleep well on his own now doesn't mean that he will NEVER sleep well on his own in the future...I too have a sleep disorder and it is no fun. I also haven't researched this to see if it is an actual problem...I'm just going off the educated guess that because no one I know, lest those who have a sleep disorder, has difficulty going to sleep on their own because they didn't learn when they were a toddler).

And finally-"That situation is less than ideal for you, too — if he does wake up, he'll probably cry for you". No kidding. And trust me, I don't want my son crying for me all the time. But is it really the end of the world? I don't like being woken up in the middle of the night but isn't that part of being a mom? And for those of you who think I must not know what its like...remember, I can count on my hands the times since my son was born that I've slept more than 6 hours and haven't been woken up by him crying out for me. It is difficult. It is extremely tiring, and I acknowledge all rights for a parent to insist on crying it out and determining whether that is the best thing for them and their child.

I just thought this little paragraph written by a site designed to give parents advice is clearly not acknowledging that the range of "normal" in babies and toddlers is at all normal and there is not one solution for even the majority of babies. And, most importantly, that we are talking about TODDLERS here, and to assume that their behaviors now will never change is funny...imagine..."if you don't make your child use the toilet now they never will"...or "if you don't make your child stop drinking from a bottle now they never will"...or "if you don't make your child take a bath every night now they never will". Come on people...they are toddlers. Enforce discipline as you must but remember that this is the time that they are learning how to grow up and become adults, not being adults now.

I could go on forever but I'm going to stop :)

And, by the way, I'm thinking our little no-sleeper is just hitting the 18-month sleep disruption phase a little early. He hits everything a little early...except sleeping through the night :)

Either that, or its the ear infection he has. Or the four eye teeth that are coming in. Or the wind that was howling a couple nights ago making odd sounds in his room...or...whatever. He'll be ok in time. He will be sleeping through the night in his own bed in time. Even if its when he's 18 That I am sure of.

Either that, or I'll be able to be dillusional when he's in college up all night crying for his mommy because I'll be at home, in my bed...asleep, thinking that he's sleeping through the night JUST fine. :P

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Babysitter/Daycare request

Wow, I'm a blogging maniac this week!

Anyway, I thought this would be the best way to get this out there, since a lot of my friends on blogger live in the plano/allen/mckinney/frisco area.

I have a great friend at work who has a 4-month old boy. She lives in the Mckinney/Frisco border area really close to Julie R. She hasn't had much luck finding good, quality daycare with someone who loves her baby and isn't $5000 a month.

She's willing to pay a good price for decent, consistent daily care for her son and he is by all accounts an easy baby. (I'm so jealous when she tells me his stories since he doesn't seem to have a problem getting him to sit without holding him or sleeping through the night).

Anyway. If any of my stay-at-home or work-at-home mommies might be interested, or know someone that you would trust to watch their own baby in that area, please let me know and I will pass along the information.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Pray Pray Pray

You know how when someone struggles with something and they ask for prayer it almost always gets worse before it gets better.

I'm not giving the devil any credit here, but I know that when we commit to seeking God and turning to him to provide us with what we want the enemy tries to stop us with discouragement. He tries to throw it in our face like "see, God doesn't listen to you or he doesn't care".

Its horrible that my issue is what it is, and I apologize in advance for this more negative post.

I asked my small group to pray for me this week, since more and more people are asking about when we are agoing to have another baby and how, since we would love to have another baby but it just doesn't happen right away for us, or hasn't yet, that I know it will probably start to bother me at some point.

Now I have people praying for me (and J) to help get us through this time when we are not yet allowed to have another baby and of course, what happens? I hear of a pregnancy in a close friend.

Don't get me wrong...I am THRILLED for her. Absolutely completely excited. WOOHOO! We have sons that are 3 months apart, and I love it when we can get together. WE went through our first pregnancies together and would love to go through another with her.

But its that age old problem those of us with less than perfect fertility face. Thrilled for them, heartbroken for us. And, actually, I'm not heartbroken. My wonderful husband always does a good job keeping my head and heart in the right place and for the most part since we've wanted to be pregnant again nothing has really affected me. But this one did. For a few minutes I was sad.

My point about this blog is to urge us all not to give up praying about this...I'm not giving up and giving in to what the enemy would try and have me believe and feel and distract me from the track I've been on toward an extremely passionate relationship with Christ.

I'm so grateful for those of you out there that continue to pray for us and encourage us. Its such a blessing to know we can share with you and we have your support :)

Monday, January 07, 2008

Shameless ploy for making friends :)

I had an interesting conversation with my MIL in which I realized that I have a problem. A big problem. And honestly, I don't know how to overcome it.

So, I LONG for close friendships. I feel like I'm a great friend (how egotistical is that?)...but really, I would love to be a great friend to people, and I would love someone to be a great friend to me. More than one person really.

And I do have a few close friends, but most of them are relatives. I have a difficult time making close friendships with non-relatives. And even some of those have been suffering more recently since I live so far away from most of them. Now, I do need to put more effort into those friendships, but I really want close relationships with my other friends. More than just a "hi how are you on Sunday" type relationships. I want to call them, and hang out, and have them call me, and come over. All that type of stuff. I want to have girls nights and be invited, not just because all of the girls are invited, but because they really want to hang out with me and couldn't imagine their event without me there. Does that make sense?

I love people. I love accountability that comes with friendships, and I love being in relationships with others.

So what's the problem? I don't know how to get to that point where we have a close relationship. With family, its different. I was raised, right or wrong, that family sticks together. So, there is automatic acceptance and dedication to the relationship, after all, we are family! That obviously isn't the same with friends. We all have other commitments, family, church, kids, and of course, other friendships, and in my mind, no one else has room for yet another friend. Now I know this is ridiculous. Surely I can't be the ONLY person out there without any close non-related friends right?

So anyway, I feel like I'm intruding on someone elses life if I call or even if I talk to them. And I'm an extravert, really I am. But the truth is that I just don't know how to do it. They already have close friends and don't need me as a friend. And then, I was also taught growing up that the phone is to be used with a person. You don't just call and chat, you call with a purpose. So, I feel that I can't just call to see how you are doing...or, I guess I could call, but once you tell me you are ok then my purpose is done and I need to hang up, so not much relationship building there.

How do you get to the point where you call up someone and say "lets go shopping", or "do you want to come over and watch desperate housewives?" (or, for my small group friends...will you help me with my dishes!). It may sound silly to you all, but I seriously have no idea how to do that.

My reaction then (and historical problem) is then to focus on my former relationships as if they are important enough to replace new friendships, and I get stuck lamenting over what once was (and again, usually those took a LONG time to build, or, they weren't close friends in the first place). This has gone on since pre-school...I can still remember my best friends from pre-school and ever since if you can believe it.

I moved schools a lot (not really that much I guess, one private pre-school/elementary school, two public elementary schools, a j-high that was different from the ones my elementary school friends went to, a high school with those friends, and then graduated at a completely different high school). As I went to each new school it became harder and harder for me to make friends. I was stuck in life how it was (I read about Lot's wife looking back and completely understand how I'm stuck in a proverbial pillar of salt), I knew other people already had relationships building and didn't feel I could intrude on their history, and finally of course, I guess deep down I wasn't sure the friends would stick around (or I wouldn't stick around) long enough to let the friendships last too long.

So, the thing I learned about myself is that I think I pick fights with people who are intended to be deeper friends. Not fights really, but dissension. I'm not all that big about subconscious and all that, but really I think deep down I may be trying to test the friendship early on...those who work it out with me are willing to do the hard work a good friendship will require, and those who don't aren't fit to be my friend.

Of course I know that is ridiculous, but if I look back at several of my relationships with females, I see that pattern. And I'm so sorry if I've caused heartache that way. I haven't purposefully done it, I promise. And I'll be working on it.

I guess that's what makes blogging so good...people can choose to read or not. I won't be offended if no one reads it, I probably wouldn't know...and I can pretend people care if people aren't reading. :)

really if you like me, or you think you can help, let me know. I'd seriously like to know how you all have made friends. And, if you are in need of a friend or have just thought, like I've mistakenly thought about others, that I already have close friends...or if you are good at the whole making friends thing, give me a call (or email or whatever we do nowadays to make friends...I'm obviously clueless about it so I need all the help I can get) :)

Saturday, January 05, 2008

One and only disclaimer post

I told Leigh I would write a disclaimer post, and even though its 11:30 pm and I still have (want) to do a devotional, I can't seem to go to sleep until I get something written, might as well be this one I guess.

Here's the thing. I'm not too fond of disclaimers on blogs. Not on my blog anyway. I'm afraid that disclaimers make things less serious...maybe they water down the message. The problem is that with the topics on my blog, specifically the pregnancy, birth, and parenting stuff, woman automatically become offended. Not necesarily because they should, but because by me writing down my opinions, it automatically insinuates that I think if you don't do what I say I think you are less than me.


And I hope this "disclaimer" can help you, my readers, to get me and my message without feeling needless guilt or that cringe of defensiveness we as women get when we feel we are attacked or criticized.

I love women. I love people really. I may not like what people do, but I love them nonetheless. I am known to defend the actions of others to a fault and when those defenses aren't deserved. I am the stereotypical devils advocate (although I won't actually advocate for the devil, so don't ask).

So when it comes to women, whether childless or not, pregnant or not, mothers or not, my only goal is to be supportive and loving. Showing true love. The actionable type, not just "ooh...i love you", but what can I DO to show you Christ's love. All women are valuable, whether or not they agree with me or like me. And I don't think support is only putting on a happy face and telling you that you are always doing right either. I think support is telling you the truth in love and helping you to be informed so that YOU can make the decisions you need to make that are right for you and your family. I have been blessed with a gift that enables me to mind-boggingly get the approval and acceptance of those who are in positions of power and authority so that I have influence to get changes made when they need to make, so I can support you by fighting for what you need.

Key word...need. I believe that love and being a "servant" is giving you everything you need to be the person God created you to be, not just what you want. So sometimes, we will disagree. I can only speak from my perspective on what you might "need", and I realize that. I realize that I am NOT God, and I do not know everything, not even close. Because of that, I will rarely take a stand against decisions made by women.

In fact, my fight is not against women at all. I wish I didn't have to fight. But I feel like there is a true struggle to get the truth out there, and I KNOW that there is a fight to get the Truth (big T to represents God's truth, the ulitmate truth of the universe) accepted in the public eye. So, while God may or may not see things as absolutely as I see them from time to time, and I know I will be mistaken, I do believe that His truth is absolute and real and can sometimes cause disension.

My struggle then is for women (and men too I guess) against those that try to suppress the truth, whether intentionally or unintentionally. At this point that has led me to be suspicious of doctors and hospitals and angry at times. It has led me to be suspicious and resentful against men and women who make legislation or even just public policy that inhibits access to the truth. I will continue to provide factual information and my resulting opinions about that information on my blog whether it makes people "happy" or not. Hopefully, someone will be encouraged from my writings to do their own research and make wise decisions for their families.

Realize that I don't have animosity or anger at women who disagree with my decisions or opinions.

Here is an example situation that happened to someone I know.

A woman was in a difficult end-of-pregnancy phase including weeks of bedreast and lots of discomfort. If you have ever had a not-so-easy pregnancy and/or labor, you can imagine how stressful this can be. So, when she was finally allowed to labor, during a contraction the monitor showed a 'potential complication' on the monitor. I can't tell you what actually happened because I wasn't there, but the mother was told that her baby had stopped breathing. As you can imagine, my guess would be that any mother who was already tired and stressed (and this being the first baby) would hear that information and panic, eager to do whatever it would take to get that baby out and healthy. Fill in your own blank on what you would do in response to hearing that information, whether it be some sort of intervention (water breaking, meds, etc.), an emergency c-section, or just freak out and cry and get more worried about your poor innocent baby. I won't tell you what this mother did because it really doesn't matter in my opinion. I care about what she chose because I care about her, but it would never change my opinion of her.

Most importantly because she wasn't given a fair chance. Many of you have already done this, but if you haven't, let me help you out in more deeply understanding this situation. Take a step back, hold on a second, and think about what that doctor told her. Her baby had stopped breathing. Remember that she had not yet given birth.

Hopefully in your sane, non-pregnant, non stressed, non tired mind you were able to read that and immediately understand that her baby did not stop had not started breathing yet! It was still in the womb. It is possible that there was some other complication she should have been worried about (by the way, in the end, she had a beautiful, healthy baby), but she should not have had to panic that her baby was not breathing.

Am I angry? You betcha. And I wish more women were angry for this type of situation. I wish more people knew that this is what happens to women. I wish more women and men were prepared so that they could help support their family/friends when they face similar situations rather than just leaving them in the hands of doctors. I'm angry at the doctor who said this and others in the medical community who let it happen. (I'm guessing what happened is that the monitor didn't pick up the baby's heartbeat for a minute, and since the baby is alive and didn't suffer any type of complication from L&D that it was a mistake on the monitoring, not actual baby distress, and I'm guessing the dr. didn't go into more explanation about what was REALLY happening because it was easier to explain to a "common folk" that way rather than assuming she was smart and could handle more factual information, but I wasn't there and I don't know for sure, ). I'm frustrated that this type of situation happens all the time. I'm frustrated that MOST people who are available to support a woman who faces this just say "it will all be ok, we love you" rather than reminding the dr that babies don't breath and urging the doctor to spend enough time evaluating the entire situation and instructing the mom on what she needs to do and what is REALLY going on and getting the mom's fears really reassured rather than a superficial reassurance.

And I don't really think this is anyone's fault, especially the "lay people". I think its all caused by a lack of information and tons of misinformation. We don't teach each other enough. We trust "the experts" too much without realizing that they too are only human, will make mistakes, and can't possibly know everything about each individual person and pregnancy.

But I am not angry with her, nor will I ever be disapointed in any woman for how her L&D turns out or the decisions she makes. I will never be disapointed in a woman for choosing interventions or to have medication. I fully respect a woman's right to choose for herself and her family what is best to help her labor and deliver a healthy. I believe every birth of a child, no matter how it happens, is absolutely wonderful.

What I wanted to do for this person was to rush over there, hug her, cry with her. Hold her face wipe her tears, tell her she could do it, remind her that her baby will not breathe until it comes out anyway, and tell her how to preven that type of situation in the future. (different positions, move this way or that, etc.) I wanted to talk to that doctor. I still want to calmly but firmly tell him the impact his simple mistatement/misinformation had on her during her labor. I wanted to be there to keep everyone who were distractions away from her and prevent her from drowning in negativity and fear. I wanted to be there to truly support her in the ways I've learned over the past couple years.

And, in my mind, none of that would include any sort of condemnation or ridicule or disapointment in the decisions she made. She would make all of the decisions. I would simply provide information and then do the things that needed to be done to facilitate the birth, as perfectly as she saw it happenening.

And afterward, we would rejoice in what she accomplished, no matter how it turned out, and in the beautful miracle God provided.

As I see it, this could be anyone's story. It happens to be rooted in truth in someone I know, but it could be your story. It could be my story.

So, here it is, my disclaimer. Please "hear" my heart. I am hear to support you. I believe in you as a woman. I believe that God will empower you to give birth to your child and he will empower you to care for your child afterward. And, since theoretically you are interested in reading my womanly posts because you or someone you know are moving toward having a baby/mothering a baby, you have the opportunity to prevent yourself/others from becoming "that" woman, I am hear to try and pass on wisdom and knowledge that I have learned, "truths" about what you/others are about to go through, what is "normal" and "natural", so that hopefully you will read what I write and go do more research for yourself. Even if you prove me wrong, at least you were able to learn the truth and make good decisions for yourself.

If you read something of mine where I am being critical about a certain practice or policy, I have no opinion on whether it is "right" or "wrong" for you in your specific situation. I do not judge you and your decisions. I do not think that you should not be able to make that decision. Read what I have written, process it without becoming defensive, and go do your own research. Follow medical advice and "get a second opinion", then, get a third and a foruth. Ask questions. Its ok. In this "information age" you are given the opportunity to do research for yourself and make your own educated decisions. You are intelligent enough, and you and your baby are worth it. Ask what God wants for you and your baby and your family as you bring a child into this world. Believe that He does have purpose in all of this. And, at least in your specific situation, He does have a "best way" for it all to happen (which may or may not be the same as the "best way" for everyone else).

All the while, I'll be sitting out here in cyber space cheering you on from my little corner of the world.

I'm sure this doesn't express exactly how I feel. I'm sure in written form it won't come across exactly right. I'll just have to trust that you will hear my heart and the Lord will have to take over from there.

By the way, it is now 12:48am. :)