Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sleep, part 2

I promised to update you folks on how teaching Evelyn to fall asleep on her own was going, and it's taken me so long because honestly, it was so quick and painless that I basically forgot about it a week later. Don't get me wrong, there are times when she struggles and frequent trips back into her room are made at night, but I swear by "Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady's Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go To Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy." (Quite the title.)

Just now, I was reading to Evelyn on the couch and realized it was just about as late as naptime should be, so I put her in her crib with her lovey blanket, turned on her ocean sounds, and walked away. Five minutes later, she was asleep. I almost can't believe it myself: no nursing, no rocking, no car ride, no walking her up and down the hallway as she cries until she finally falls asleep (Hi us, a month ago! I don't miss you!). Granted, we were having quiet time, and she's used to having a nap at around this time, but SERIOUSLY. Her sleeping could hardly be better, and it truly only took about a week.

The thing I loved about this book, and why I found it/used it even though there are much more popular methods out there is the gentle bit, right there in the title. There is no crying it out, no listening in agony as your angel baby screams herself to sleep. This, like the Ferber and Weissbluth methods, emphasizes that babies absolutely do need to learn to soothe themselves to sleep, but allows you to stay right next to their crib reassuring them as they learn to do it. And, like Ferber and Weissbluth, this doctor stresses the importance of being consistent, but while still allowing you to pick up a truly screaming baby if the transition is too difficult.

I don't want to make this post too long, so I won't go into much more detail, but here are the basics: you foster attachment to a lovey, stop nursing the baby to sleep, and at first, sit next to the crib soothing and patting to get the baby used to falling asleep on her own. Then, you move a few feet away. A few days later, to the door. Then, to the hall, soothing from the doorway as often as baby needs.

We never got beyond the next to the crib thing. The first three days were a bit rough, because Evelyn was understandably upset and furious with us. She was doing her damnest to tell us that HEY, I'm tired, rock me to sleep, morons!, and we were ignoring her and just leaving her in the crib. But then, three days later, she caught on that this was the newest, coolest thing, and hello, it was like soooo last week to have to fall asleep in Daddy's arms or snuggled up to Mama. She would rub her face on her lovey, and be out within minutes. About a week after we started the whole thing, when she got too sleepy, she'd squirm when she was in our arms; she wanted to be in her crib so she could sleep.

Now that we've taught Evelyn to sleep on her own, I can't believe we waited so long. There was some crying, but it was absolutely worth it. I'd trade those four nights of difficulty for these two months of peaceful bedtimes ten times over.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Puppy Love

People ask us all the time how Cash has responded to having a baby in the house. I'll let you judge for yourself. Here are pictures of Evelyn: kicking Cash in the face, grabbing and about to yank on his collar, and biting his face. Not captured on camera are her pulling on his lips, sticking her hands into his ears, and poking at his eyes. (I do try to keep her hands out of his eyeballs and mouth, for his sake. Also, I'm always right there when they're playing together. Besides, even if Cash did get cranky, he doesn't have many teeth left with which to bite her. And vice versa.) Cash was the one who came over and laid down behind her with his head right next to her while she was playing on the floor.

Sadly, I am now dead, as my heart exploded out of my chest from the cuteness of those two snuggling each other.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bathing beauty

Good parents are supposed to talk to their babies all the time so that they develop language skills and grammar and vocabulary and all that good stuff. They suggest acting as if you're narrating everything you do. I truly do try, but sometimes it's easy to drift off into your own thoughts, especially when your little monkey doesn't respond. I was doing a good job, though, yesterday while changing Evelyn's diaper:

"Now Mommy's going to change your diaper! Oh, you made a nice big poop!

Sweet potato poop, how stinky! What a stinky diaper, good girl!

Now Mommy's going to wipe your bottom and get you niiiice and clean.

What a strong girl, trying to kick your legs out of Mommy's grasp. Oof! Strong girl. Good girl!

OH! Now you've wrestled one of your legs free. OHHHH... Now Mommy's desperately trying to grab your leg before you get your foot into your diap-- Now you're kicking your poop. Good strong kicker! Oh, there goes the poop, fling fling fling!

Now there's poop all over Mommy's arm, your legs, and the changing table. What a strong baby! Kick kick kick."

This photo was taken right after her unscheduled bath.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

6 Months

Dearest roly-poly daughter of mine,

As many times as people told me time with you would fly by, I still can't believe you're already six months old. Half a year! As much as this milestone makes me tear up, I've been finding myself thinking, "This is why people have kids" lately.

You hardly cry, can go to sleep on your own (and in fact seem to prefer it now), and can amuse yourself and allow me freedom for expanses of time that seem positively sinful. I swear, sometimes the minutes I have to get a mug of tea and go to the bathroom extend into the double digits! I do tend to exaggerate for the sake of humor on this here blog, but I swear to you I had twelve minutes to myself while you were AWAKE the other day. TWELVE!

You love it when your Dada or I make silly faces and nuzzle our noses into your belly to tickle you, and giggle uproariously at the slightest provocation. You've discovered how to string together rolling onto your back and onto your tummy to become mobile, and while I'm glad you've reached this milestone, you don't have to practice anymore, okay? Just stay where Mama puts you. Nobody wins when you manage to wedge your chubby little thighs under the bookcase.

You're getting to be such a clever little monkey. While the dog is still more capable than you are, you're definitely proving to be much smarter than he is. When we point to a dropped morsel on the ground for him to clean up, his reaction is along the lines of, "Finger! Finger! Finger tasty? Not tasty finger. Finger tasty now? Not tasty finger. Now? Not tasty. Lie down." When we're reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to you and showing you the little egg on the leaf, you actually look at the egg when we point at it. And then you try to eat it and the rest of the page, but still.

I'm not sure when in these last few months it happened, but your Dad and I've changed, too. Somewhere along the line we've gone from exchanging panicked looks when you just wouldn't stop crying at 3am to confident veterans who know better than anyone what you need. One thing hasn't changed; we still marvel at your utter perfection every night as we watch you sleep. I remember standing by your crib with Alex when we first brought you home and being overwhelmed by how tiny and perfect you were, and that wonder has only increased with every brilliant and adorable move you make.

Thank you, baby, for bringing us more joy than I ever thought possible.

All my love,

Sunday, March 14, 2010

California girl

Our little monkey loves her avocados! And by love, I mean sort of dislikes, but loves eating anything so much that she eagerly snarfs them down.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Stupid supermodels

Dear Heidi Klum,

I'm sorry to have to say this, because you seem like a nice enough person, and you're obviously living the dream of having a fabulous career and raising your kids too, but honestly? *&%$ you. It's probably not your fault, but when you look like that what, like 3 weeks after having your fourth kid? It's bad for morale. We all know that supermodels just don't have fat stores, and they don't even diet, blah blah blah. Fine. Good for you, 19 year old supermodels. Who cares? I know I'm not gonna be looking like a 19 year old ever again, and it doesn't bother me in the slightest.

But seriously, Heidi, you're ruining it for the rest of us. We Mamas are patting ourselves on the back for brushing our teeth twice a day, not dropping the kids on their heads, and being only a few pounds away from the pre-pregnancy weight. Win! We think, until your gorgeous face and stupid gorgeous bod show up. So please, for the sake of us humans, go back to Planet Perfect or wherever you're from.

Thank you,

Elena (and the rest of the moms out there)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This little piggy...

Went into the mouth. And so did all the other piggies! The market and roast beef are for suckers.


At Baby Boot Camp today, Evelyn got a bit peckish, and needed to stop for a snack. Being a handy-dandy snack dispenser, I just sat down on the curb next to the other moms who were exercising, and took a break to nurse her. We were right next to the playground, so the few people who were walking by were other mothers with strollers, or the occasional jogger. No biggie, I'm not easily embarrassed, and I've nursed her while out a few times before. No biggie until TWO fire trucks pulled up, and parked about 20 feet away from where I was feeding my little monkey. Men from the fire department piled out of the engines, and started milling around the parking lot where we were having our exercise class. I guess they were having some sort of kids' event. In any event, I believe introductions are in order.

San Jose Fire Department, I'd like you to meet my bare bosom. Bosom, Fire Department. Charmed, I'm sure.

And that's the story of how Elena finally decided to get a nursing bib.