Monday, October 31, 2011

a tale of horrors...but hey, there's cute video!

It's fitting that Halloween is today and things are finally getting back to normal. It's been a horrific nightmare being without Internet for nearly TWO WEEKS!

You never realize just how much you need your computer until it's not there. And given the bizarre virus my computer contracted, I'm glad just to have my documents back. Mind you, all of my videos are gone, but E's baby pictures are still in tact. If I go into detail about all the vacation video, holidays, E's first bath and sled ride, etc. are lost - I'll lose it.

I knew was convenient, but boy am I spoiled. I had to physically drive to the store for diapers. That's happened maybe two times ever since E was born two years ago. I also had to set foot in a toy store to get his birthday gift because I couldn't order it online. I was dying without my "recipe box" on I couldn't do work from home without my remote desktop so I had to drive into work on a Saturday last week to accomplish a few pressing things. Naturally I was bummed about not keeping up with the blog, too. Even though I only use the computer when E is asleep, it's amazing how much I accomplish with this tool.

I did manage to paint our kitchen a lovely shade of "cornbread" in all that freed up time.

Needless to say this is the longest I've ever gone without a post. And there's so much to say. Where to begin?

How about with my schnookie, who's been sick on and off for almost three weeks. Remember that sleep issue post? Thought it was teeth? The jury's still out but in the last two days whatever it was has come back. So last night, the joyous task of jumping out of bed for a squealing toddler at 2:30 a.m. was all mine. And at 5 a.m. And at 5:30 a.m. And at 6 a.m. Finally we "woke" up for the day at 6:45 a.m. No, the sun was not actually up yet. But his fever was gone as was his will to sleep. Sigh.

Today he's been damn near chipper despite running on fumes. Wish I could say the same for myself! (Thankfully he is napping as I write this.) Did I mention I've gone back to real coffee? Yes, I should be napping, too.

We went to our final "Mommy and Me Montessori" class this morning where we ate pumpkin muffins and sang an early happy birthday to E. I had plenty of time to bake this morning before class! It was a very sweet way to end the session. I'll have to do a whole post on my views about Montessori, at least in my limited experience with it.

With his party lurking around the corner, I'm embarrassed to say that I'm struggling to gear up. The invites literally went out with one week to reply. (And less than that for those couple that I couldn't quickly find addresses for.) How embarrassing! Luckily it will be a small party - only E's good friends and family - so I'm hopeful that everyone will be understanding. It's been a whirlwind ever since PumpkinFest the first weekend of October. The winter is fast approaching. I wish the time would slow down!

After finally getting my computer back up and running, my husband figured out how to reconnect my wireless Internet. (I LOVE HIM!) So I'm back in the saddle. You'll find all sorts of random pics and video today given the hodge podge of activity in the last two weeks. I'll definitely be adding video more often.

The nightmare is (hopefully) over. Time to gear up for some trick or treating with our little monkey tonight.

We went to Clark's Elioak Farm in Howard County, MD.
It was the perfect fall day with E's aunt and cousin.

Ooo! Sheep!

Cousin D dutifully points out the baby goats.

Hay wagon ride!
Mouth full of apple, just like Dada.

E helps make homemade cinnamon pancakes.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

first oreo

I don't remember when my first bite was, but it sure made an impression. E got his first taste and seems equally delighted. (Okay, technically they're not oreos because they are an organic brand, but still. It's an oreo.)

Hmm, what's this?

Right away, he had to shovel it in because it tastes so good.
Anyone else know the feeling?

What's this white stuff?

Pure oreo rapture.

Monday, October 10, 2011

a visit to the lake and pumpkins!

This tulip poplar leaf was floating on the lake. Too pretty to pass by.

Daddy taught E how to toss sticks in the water.

There was no keeping him dry today. He had a point:
Why are we going to the lake if we can't get wet?!

The weather was too beautiful to be inside today so we ditched our Montessori class in favor of a walk at the lake, Loch Raven Reservior to be exact.

After E was good and soaked from trying to wade in the lake with the Canada geese, we headed over to our local nursery. Watson's is a wonderful mom-and-pop garden center so we support them any chance we get by purchasing most of our plant material there instead of a big box store. The good news? They had a great selection of pumpkins!

Despite the fact that E loves to walk in a stream or lake, he really hated getting the sticky pumpkin pulp on his hands. He's the opposite of his mama!

And in case you were dying to know, here's his most recent talk list:

ack = snack
guck = truck
uck = duck
bive = five
rrr = grrr (as in, I'm angry)
ug = hug
k = lake
k = bike
k = music (accompanied by sign language)
k = book (also with sign language)
dis = this
dat = that
nk = drink
up = up (as in, pick me up)
elp = help (and baby sign language)
t = eat
ess = eyes
sis = shoes
ess = kiss
iss = juice (as in his first taste of orange juice that was definitely memorable)
us = bus
ock = rock (like ones he picks up outside)
f = teeth
atch = Chatch (short for our cat's name)
ba ba ba = him singing a little tune :)

I'm sure there's more, but those are the ones I can think of right now. He's on his way!

The toddler busy-ness continues...

Why are we doing this again, Mom? For your amusement?

am I dreaming? part deux

You'll have to read the first am I dreaming? post to really appreciate this one. But all I can say is hallelujah! I woke up this morning and it was light outside. My toddler was still sleeping! Given the success of our big weekend event at work, we've deemed this a PumpkinFest Miracle.

I tried the new game plan on day three (yesterday) when he woke at 6 a.m. - rock, snuggle, and sing in his room until the sun was up. Our house was calm and we had a great morning together. He even had a two hour afternoon nap (still not his usual three hours, but better than one). His bedtime routine was our usual snuggle story time followed by daddy tooth brushing. Then he went to bed at 8:30 p.m. And he slept until after 7 a.m.!

I don't want to jinx it. But maybe the stars have aligned once again? Could my good sleeper be back?

We are in no-man's-land about the two year molars. I don't think they are in yet, so I'm sure we could be dealing with this for a couple of weeks. I'll be sure to ask the pediatrician when we go for our two year check up.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

am I dreaming? toddler sleep issues strike

My wonderfully sound sleeping baby has had two brutal nights of toddler sleep regression. Please tell me this is a bad dream!

Now, I know there are some people that may be rooting for this news from me. After all, my kiddo started sleeping through the night at 2 months and never turned back. You might be thinking "Ha! Finally!" I get it, we've been very fortunate in the sleep department. But now this. 

A 5 a.m.wake up call. Seriously? Doesn't he know I am overseeing a HUGE special event this weekend and I need to sleep?

And what to do?

I'm sure we did EVERYTHING wrong in our sleepy haze. Well, we tried to provide comfort, let him settle down, and put him back in bed. After several unsuccessful attempts, we calmly told him (from outside his door) he needed to do "night nights" because it was still dark.

And then we did the unthinkable. We let him cry.

I stood outside his door as he cried, yelled, banged, pulled on the door, and whimpered, begging for us to comfort him. It felt wrong. I knew it was wrong, letting my baby cry like that. I felt like we were punishing him because he couldn't sleep. We've been such loving parents to him. He must be crushed to think we turned on him when he needed comfort. I feel HORRIBLE about this.

But I had all those obnoxious, well-meaning voices in my head saying "he's going to have to learn he has to stay in bed". I hate myself for not trusting my own instincts.

We know our baby. We've worked hard to establish a loving, trusting relationship with him. Not to mention happy, safe, relaxing sleep routines.

Naturally, I turned to the internet to see if other people have experienced this with their toddlers (he'll be two next month) and what potentially causes this. Here's what I gleaned from my "research":

Maybe he's too little to be in a bed. For his safety, we had to take one side off the crib a couple of months ago and replace it with a rail because he was trying to climb out. But some people say toddlers lack the self-control to stay put once they realize they can get out. I don't think this is the problem. At least, not yet.

Maybe he's hitting a milestone. Some sites suggest that when babies are focused on a new skill (like younger babies before they learn to crawl or walk), their sleep patterns regress. I had heard of this before and this could make sense since he's starting to talk. Maybe he's just so revved up that he can't unwind.

Maybe he's having bad dreams. Toddlers' memories get stronger so they can replay images in their heads and remember dreams. He's not in a scary environment, but then, remembering the neighbors dog jumping up on him or our cat chasing the local fox might seem pretty scary to him. This bad dream explanation would make sense since his afternoon nap is cut short and he is waking between 5-6 a.m.

Maybe he's cutting his 2-year molars. YIKES! The WHAT? Yeah, somehow I didn't get the memo on this one and wasn't smart enough to put two and two together. He's been drooling alot and I thought I saw some little bumps around his chin a few days ago. Why didn't I realize that was a rash from the drool? Then today at the store, he bit his snack and winced, then stuck his finger in his mouth. Yeah, I'm thinking this is what the problem is.

So there we were. Cliche ignorant, tired parents debating what to do and failing miserably. I feel sick to my stomach about this - him screaming and crying in pain. I should have trusted my gut to comfort him.  Here are more reasons not to let your toddler "cry it out":

-You have to de-sensitize yourself to your baby's cries.
-You have to ignore your instincts as a parent. Why would we want to do that again? To follow inaccurate theories from people 50 years ago?
-You potentially overlook health issues or illness (in our case teething).
-He's got two years of great sleep habits under his belt, so this is just a temporary sleep disturbance. Figure out the cause and address it. Making him cry will not improve things if the problem is physical. In effect, you'll be punishing him for waking that is out of his control and losing sleep over it as he cries.
-He'll start to fear going to sleep because it will no longer feel like a safe, peaceful environment. (This will then impact naps and betimes.)

New game plan: Wake up as soon as he does, no matter how early. Rock, snuggle, and sing. Hope that he falls asleep in my arms and that I fall asleep, too. Hope that he forgives us.

Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!

Yes, peas are delicious - and funny!
Our little guy at 15 months, February 2011.