Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Daughter is a Junkie

I don't know how it happened, but the babe has become a Baby Einstein movie addict. It only took a week. We realized we had four DVDs hidden away and pulled them out the weekend before last. The babe automatically thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Every morning she'll come downstairs and stand by the TV/DVD player and say "moooie". I must admit that I usually give in. It's really early (by my standards) and I don't want to do anything other than get my breakfast and a cup of tea.

My husband and I have decided we'll let her watch up to three a day (plus her sign language DVD, if necessary). So far I have managed to do one in the morning, one in the very late afternoon (when I'm making dinner), and the "sign and sing" DVD while my husband and I are trying to eat dinner undisturbed.

I'm not counting on these DVDs to make my child brilliant. But I understand her need for some entertainment in life. And if this floats her boat, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. At least I'm not one of the parents who hits the "repeat play" option on the menu bar (although I understand how easy it would be to go down that slippery path).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bye Bye Bottles

They say you should have your child weaned off bottles by the time they're 18 months. The babe hit the one and a half year mark on June 7th and she was still loving her bottles. Every time I tried to introduce milk in a sippy cup, she'd take a sip, look at me like I had rocks in my head, and make the sign for milk while saying "miil" with a questioning look on her face. I wasn't too worried about it as I didn't think it was the end of the world to still be using bottles.

This past Wednesday, a full moon, I decided it was time to give it another shot. I poured her morning milk into a purple sippy cup and handed it to her. She actually drank it. For the late morning milk, I tried again, and she drank it! I have not given her a bottle since Tuesday night, and it feels pretty darn good.

This afternoon, while she had a nice long nap, I packed away her Born Free bottles and put them in the closet. We're really growing up now!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brush Your Teeth

Brushing the babe's teeth has always been a painful experience for us both. She fights me, bites down on her tooth brush, squeals, fidgets and generally acts impossible. I had recently resigned myself to just letting her jam the tooth brush in her mouth and chew on it. I was feeling guilty that I wasn't being a good mother and was letting her teeth rot. I made myself feel better by focusing on the fact that they were her baby teeth and were going to fall out anyway.

The other night I had a break through. In the past we had tried to show her how to brush her teeth by brushing at the same time. She seemed to find it amusing. The real break through came when I gave her the tooth brush and let her "brush" my teeth while I brushed hers. And you know what? It worked!

I just have to get used to having her jam the tooth brush around my mouth. I now understand why she never cooperated with me as it is very awkward having another person navigate your mouth with a tooth brush. But I am happy to let her brush my teeth if it makes me feel like I'm doing my job as a responsible Mom (and her teeth are getting clean, of course).

Here's to brushing teeth.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Seven Days and Seven Nights

I have been holding my breath for seven days and seven nights. I haven't been able to write for fear I would jinx our experiment.

About a month ago a friend from NYC called me to ask for advice on how she could get her eight month old son to sleep more. She and her husband were getting close to their wits end. She (like I) had done all the reading about the different "methods" of sleep training, and she (like I) was very uncomfortable with the highly recommended "cry it out" or Ferber method. She told me she had read all of my posts on sleep training and she was wondering what had happened as there was no end to the story.

I told her there unfortunately was no end and that I had stopped writing about it as I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that we hadn't found a solution, that the babe was still ending up in our bed half way through the night on most nights, and that I was so exhausted that I didn't think I could take it any more.

Approximately three weeks ago I hit my limit...again. Luckily it came right before a trip to Canada. I convinced my husband that it was time to tackle the dreaded "sleep training" we had done so much to avoid. As you may recall, we are both big wimps and couldn't handle the thought of the babe crying for hours on end. But when you hit the limit, you hit the limit. So, we agreed that upon my return on June 1st (when the babe would be discombobulated anyway), we would officially start sleep training. We were prepared for the worst.

I have been holding my breath all week because the whole process has gone so smoothly my husband and I are in complete shock. The babe has now officially slept through seven nights in a row (this has never happened). We have been putting her in her crib awake for naps and night time sleep, and telling her we love her, and walking out the door. The first night (which actually happened at my folks place in Ottawa) involved about 30 minutes of crying, the second night she was so exhausted from traveling there were just a few whimpers, the third night she let out only a few short cries, and by the fourth night she was saying "bye" to us as we put her in the crib.

I haven't slept this much since September/October 2006. It has been amazing and I can't believe how blessed we are. I'm not sure if she was ready and we had the timing exactly right, or if she liked that my husband cleaned up and rearranged her room so it's less of an office/guest room/toddler's room and more of a room just the babe.

Whatever it is, we are so thrilled. It has saved me so much time at night not having to sit and watch her fall asleep in the dark before I transfer her to the crib. It has made me a less angry and resentful Mother and wife. It has saved my sanity not having to get up in the middle of the night to get her settled in our bed. And it has been so nice to be in a king size bed without a toddler kicking me in the head.

I'm not saying all sleep training attempts will be like this, I'm just saying it's worth a shot. There is only so long you can sacrifice your sleep, and in the long run, biting the bullet is what's best for every member of your family. Lesson learned. It only took a year and a half!