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Last Night Wasn’t Perfect…

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But it was better.  And in the trial and error life of parenting… those are pretty good results!

Mark told you a little about how Mason’s first night in his crib was in his last post.

Let me tell you a little bit more…

So.  I’ll start this by making a confession.  Why this has become a “confession”… I’ll never fully understand.

They say that there’s pressure on parents, especially new parents, to act like everything about raising a child is sunshine and roses.  That the feelings and the know-how just flow seemlessly and any potentially negative event is just a drop in the pond.  I hear some new (and not so new) parents rant their frustrations with the inauthenticity of it all.  I’ve ranted about the inauthenticity of it all and revelled in times when a parent, new or seasoned, has been raw and honest about their difficulties.

But one thing I never realized before this past month or so was that the opposite pressure is there too.  Strangely… the pressure to complain, to wax on about the exhaustion and the lack of time to oneself, the sleepless nights, and the list of baby ailments.  It’s like being part of the club means you have to tout your war stories.  Show you know what it means to “rough it” with the best of them.

This is one of the reasons… that I never really wrote on this blog about how Mason has been sleeping 9, 10, sometimes 11 hours a night since my birthday.  It’s one of the reasons that I feel more comfortable telling people about it now… because he’s had a week of NOT sleeping such luxuriously long hours at night.  I’m in the club now, I can admit to previous good luck right?  There was  a rare occasion, before, when we would sheepishly mention our fabulous little sleeper, and would get a congratulatory response, and there always followed our sigh of relief, at telling our dirty little secret and getting a positive response.  But a great deal of the time, another parent’s response is something like… “Oh, well, you know that will change.”  or “Well we’ll see how long that lasts.”  Or I hear of parents who are consoling each other by saying things like, “Don’t worry, they’ll get their’s too.”

Instead of having to defend your good fortune, or dare I say, express pride in your parenting skills, rather than attribute it all to luck… it’s sometimes just easier to smile knowingly when a parent makes a reference like, “Some day we’ll sleep again, right?”

To wrap up this little tangent… Parenting is hard.  Parenting is also amazing.  Parenting is not the same for everyone.  There are a great many similarities, because we’re all humans raising baby humans.  But as many as there are different people in the world, there are different parenting styles, different temperaments of babes, different phases and patterns, and different moods for each hour, month or year of your child’s life (and yours)!  We would benefit far more from each other’s support, rather than each other’s watchful expectations.  We would also benefit far more from giving ourselves permission to simply be proud when we’re proud, and to struggle when we’re struggling.  Life, as well as parenting is a series of ebbs and flows.  Forcing a smile when we’d rather bawl, or pretending to gripe when we’re really feeling rather satisfied is just that desire to belong surfacing in a twisted way.  If we all excused ourselves from the pressure to fit in, we just might be able to fully enjoy and learn from all the amazing, beautiful, different palettes of life and beliefs and parenting examples there really are out there.

I lavished in the nights where Mason slept from 8pm till 7am.  They were glorious and they were frequent.  Right now… they are sorely missed.  I have a strong gut feeling (accompanied by the prayers that I’m correct) despite my lack of experience in this area, that this shift in sleeping habits is a result of teething.  Not that I think he’s going to pop out a couple of teeth at the ripe old age of three and a half months.  But let’s look at the bullet points:

  • People I’ve talked to and most readable material agree that the teething process can start  a month or more before teeth actually emerge.  (Often between months 3 & 5)
  • Drool abounds during this time, and now, more often than not, an outfit change is spurred on by a drool soaked collar rather than a diaper mishap.
  • I know babies like to stick things in their mouths in general… but Mason’s hands are constantly in his mouth, as are blankets and burp cloths and plush toys, our fingers and hands.  And he’s starting to chomp a little bit more rather than just suck on things.
  • He has been SUCH a consistently good sleeper since the beginning, and for the past week has been getting progressively more agitated in the night.  A couple nights of waking up once, a couple nights of waking up twice, and then two nights ago he was waking up EVERY HOUR between 11pm and 3am.
  • Most nights this past week there’s been at least one time in the night that he’s gotten so upset that he needed to nurse in order to calm down.  But most of the time when he’s woken up at night,he isn’t wet, he isn’t hungry, he isn’t even fully awake.  His eyes are closed tight and he just cries and cries, flailing arms, kicking legs, tossing his head.  The poor baby just seems SO uncomfortable and calms with some soothing, but there have been times when it’s taken both Mark and me holding his limbs still and a pacifier in his mouth for him to be able to fall back asleep.

Granted… we did just move him into his crib, so the fact that instead of just rolling over and reaching into the bassinet to replace a fallen pacifier has now turned into getting up to walk down the hall and replace a fallen pacifier is something to be noted.  But we expected a couple of those each night for a while.

Last night, we finally got our hands on some essential oils I’ve been wanting to try.  My friend Jenna (whose blog I will link to once she writes her first post 😉 ) has just started using essential oils as alternative medicine for her 1 year old in the past month, and has been blown away by them.  We used some on him last night before he went to bed… and while we didn’t get our nine or ten hours of sleep back… it was FAR better than it was the previous couple of nights.  We did have to jointly pin him down once, but he didn’t have to nurse the whole night for the first time in a week, because he didn’t fully wake up the whole night.  There were a couple other times he started to rustle and fuss and I had to go put the pacifier back in his mouth.  But I’m super excited to keep trying this oil, and hopeful that one day in the not too far future, we will be a household who is once again, blissfully asleep during the hours when the sky is dark.

Now off to collect my babe.  He’s become fascinated by his mobile.  Which makes his mama, who made it, very happy!

staring up at the mobile

 

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My baby’s growing up!!!

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This is Mason’s first night sleeping in his crib in his own room…

It’s bittersweet.

I’m both excited for a new little milestone

And feeling so sad that he won’t be sleeping right next to me!!

Wish us luck that he has good sleep tonight!

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November Twenty Nine ::part 1::

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Guess who got the most amazing birthday gift that a little almost two month old baby could ever give his momma…. Can you guess….? I’ll give you a hint… communal naptime picture the light gone from the sky… compare with our normal expectations… Last night was a very good night! We slept four hours straight! last hint…. sleeping mason

yes siree!

We got NINE uninterrupted hours of sleep last night!

We actually woke up in the morning before he did!

With that fantastic morning discovery, and sweet birthday whispers from my wonderful husband… such loveliness to wake up to, hmm?

And after some breakfast for both Mason and I… he’s even now, smiling in his sleep during an abnormally long morning nap.

Other birthday excitements (I feel like my sister Kelley 😀 who likes to celebrate her birthday all month long!):

  • Friends coming to bring me a highly anticipated Tupelo Junction lunch this afternoon
  • A birthday package arriving in the mail sometime soon, the contents of which Mark is keeping a secret
  • Some wearable, smellable and cook withable family gifts to enjoy
  • Memories of a recent friend birthday dinner at a very delicious vegan restaurant here in Santa Barbara, Adama (butternut squash lasagna… mmm).
  • And Friday night’s first date night since Mason was born (more on The Melting Pot in a different post)!

        ……… sleepBirthday Me

An Ode to REM

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REM is an American rock band formed in Athens, Georgia, in 1980 by singer Michael Stipe, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills and drummer Bill Berry. REM was one of the first popular alternative rock bands and a pioneer in the of the music genre. REM was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

Many memories flood my brain when I think of REM but the first is my brother, Scott. I don’t know if he would agree but I have always seen them as his favorite band, especially in the 90’s. He may dispute this memory, but I clearly remember listening to him and his friends sing “Stand” outside of the Junior High one Summer after playing at the football field.

Scott is by far not the only one to love REM and sing their songs with friends. I remember playing, re-playing, and singing to “Losing My Religion” amongst other songs by Whitesnake and Duran Duran during one sleep over. Big skeleton from my closet….

Other ways that REM has touched my life are by lending a cd to a friend so she could listen to “Everyone Hurts” on repeat after she broke up with her boyfriend. And at the opposite end of the spectrum Meredith and Nick had “Nightswimming” as their first song after their wedding. I like to think that we all have a favorite REM moment or two and that they make the world a better place.

However on September 21st, 2011 R.E.M  announced to their fans that they were retiring after 31 years and 15 albums. I was reflecting on their long career and this got me to thinking of a very strange coincidence; not only did I lose the band REM but I’ve also recently lost R.E.M.

Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep) is a normal stage of sleep characterized by the random movement of the eyes.

R.E.M. sleep is the good stuff. The average person goes in and out throughout the night and this is usually the stage that has heightened dreams and increased brain activity. You could say that your brain is excited and your muscles are immobile and relaxed. Ruby (beagle) is a great example of R.E.M. sleep and its benefits. She sleeps a lot and often will be in puppy dreams where her eyes are fluttering, she’ll make tiny woofs and at the same time seems so relaxed and happy. Oh I am jealous of Ruby sometimes.

Elaine and I haven’t gotten much sleep since Mason was born last week. Newborns
sleep a lot but they also have regular needs throughout the day/night such as eating every 3 hours, diaper changes, loose arms in the swaddle, and lots of touch and soiled clothes. I count my lucky starts that Mason isn’t a sleep terror, but sleeping in 2-3 hour chunks isn’t the same as 8-9 continuous cozy hours. Even Ruby’s sleep patterns are affected and she’ll often release a huge sigh during a 3am diaper change and scream session. On a good sleep run the whole family gets 3 consecutive hours of sleep and often mental and physical high fives are exchanged.

Excluding Mason, we’ve all had to say good bye to a large portion of our R.E.M. sleep. As you can see sleep deprivation can lead to many health risks, but the only symptom I’ve noticed is that it has made me stupid. Forgetting words, the current day, conversations, to-do lists; GONE. Now things are better than last week but I think the baseline for productivity has also dropped significantly. Yesterday we went to the park and it felt like an amazing victory. Pictures of our accomplishment are below and it is followed by some delirious conspiracy theory.

There are some conspiracy theories that I subscribe to but I don’t know if I’ve ever created my own, but here I go… REM (the band) was created in 1980 shortly after I was born and was present in my life until the end of September 2011 around the time where I began sleeping very poorly and now hardly sleep. So does my R.E.M. sleep depend on REM the band? You make the call

Peace & love,
Mark
PS- Just in case you get in touch with REM (the band) please tell them to get back together. It might not help my sleep but it won’t hurt it either.