Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekly sleep check-in...

Because for some reason I think everyone is as interested in how much sleep I'm getting as I am. Plus, I said that I'd write about sleep when I had positive things to say, and:

*trumpets blare*

I have positive things to say.

At just over 4 months, it seems like we've established a loose routine with Anne. Ha! I say this now, and God will smite me with wakings every 2 minutes for the next 6 months. I know how it goes with thinking that you've got things figured out with kids...

Anyway, Anne goes to bed at 7 pm every night. She's exhausted and cranky at that time, and so into her crib she goes after a nice nursing session. She'll settle in and fall asleep within 15 minutes, sometimes requiring some back stroking and bottom patting and other times needing no intervention at all. She'll then *usually* sleep until between 1 and 2 am, which is 6-7 hours of sleep. This is AWESOME. Really wonderful. Sometimes she'll cry earlier, granted. 2 nights this week she cried at about 9:30 pm. The first night, she started crying hard, so I went in, and she instantly tried to latch onto my shoulder. So I nursed her, and she went back to sleep as soon as she was done. That time, she was genuinely hungry, and I could tell that she needed my intervention right away.

The second time was last night, and immediately I could tell that she wasn't really crying. She was what I call "cranking." I stood on alert outside her door, and within 5 minutes, she had put herself back to sleep. So, overall, I'm really pleased that we've made a lot of progress with getting her to soothe herself. It usually takes 1 to 2 really awful nights (check) but the result is so very worth it. I couldn't live through a year of the every 20 minute wakings.

Then, when she wakes up after midnight, I feed her right away. Sometimes, I'll feel particularly martyr-like and I'll nurse her in her room so that I can put her back in her crib when she's done. Usually though, common sense wins out, and I just bring her into our bed so that we can both just go right to sleep while she nurses lying down. *Most* of the time, she will then sleep til morning, more or less. That's really only 1 official waking, and I can so totally live with that.

Many nights, after the 1:30 am journey into our bed, she'll wake me about an hour or so later with lots of kicking and pinching. I'll try to nurse her again and she won't latch (for some reason, replaying this scene about a dozen times does not make me learn what works and what doesn't, it's all just a blur at 3 am), so I'll pick her up and gently move her to the bassinette that I still have set up next to our bed. And...

she goes right to sleep.


I do think that although she loves to cuddle when nursing (as do I) she does prefer to sleep in her own space where she can shift about and get comfy at her own whim. In her crib, she loves to flip onto her belly to sleep.

So, overall, this is working out pretty well for all of us. I've been through this before, so I know enough now to know that I know nothing, if that makes any sense. No matter how much you try to stay on a routine, there are still going to be bad nights, and many times you may never find out what caused that bad night. I just know enough to go with the flow and not let it get me down.

That, in and of itself, is a blessing.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You get all kinds...

*Catholic Librarian innocently sits at reference desk* (she *may* have been surfing Ravelry, but that's totally allowed when one doesn't have a patron)

*throat clears from behind her*

*Catholic Librarian turns*

"Can I help you?" *winning smile*

"Yes, um, hello."


"How are you?"

"Fine, thank you."

"What are you up to?"

Well. This is when the Catholic Librarian's RED ALERT: WEIRD! meter first stirred to life.

"Not much. Can I help you with something?"

"Do you just sit here and wait for people to ask you things? What does that make you? Like, as in your profession?"

*small silence while the Catholic Librarian assesses her escape routes from this conversation*

"A librarian."

"Oh right! Yeah. Librarians always knows lots of things. Well anyway, I don't really have a question, I'm just really here to waste your time."

Yes, that's really what he said.

"Yeah, I'm working on a paper? And I really find that it's a lot of pressure, you know? I mean, for a test, I know how I need to study in order to get an A. But with a paper, I don't know exactly what to do to guarantee that I'll get that A, you know?"

"Yes, it's a bit more of a subjective process."

"Yeah! You know? And really *leans against reference desk companionably* I find that more than academic, it's an emotional hurdle for me. I mean, it's just very hard. I just really needed to talk to someone about this, I guess"

Emotions? There are many things I'm responsible for handling in my job, but being someones psychiatrist is not one of them. He really seemed like he was settling in to chat, and with it being the Jewish holiday, the library was fairly empty, so no hope of rescue in sight.

"Yes, well, you sound very diligent, so I'm certain you'll do well on your paper. Good luck to you."

*Catholic Librarian gives off the unmistakable "we're done here" vibe as politely as she can*

"Yeah, um, thank you."


Christmas gift progress...

I've been hard at work on my gift knitting in the evenings, so I thought I'd do a little simple math.

Number of planned hand knit Christmas gifts: 18

Good Lord, I'm insane.

Number of completed Christmas gifts: 4


There is another one that is nearly done, though, so that's uplifting. And I've started on my Secret Santa gift.

Hope springs eternal...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Secret crafty Santa is deployed...

Last year my knitting group did a "secret Santa" project that was hugely successful, so we decided to duplicate it again this year. We each drew a name and are assigned to make a gift for that person, not spending above $20. The big reveal comes at a luncheon in December.

I'm not going to mention a lot about my project, since my knitting group reads this blog. :) But I will say that I had a tentative project in mind (a lovely one, if I do say so myself) but once I drew the name, the project just didn't feel "right" to me for that person. So, I decided to use the project I originally had in mind for one of my other friends (and it seems perfect for her; I actually had her in mind when I bought the yarn for it) and waited for inspiration to set in for my secret Santa gift. I want it to be just perfect. Because that's just the way I am, and I realize that it's very annoying. :)

A week or so went by with me searching Ravelry for patterns at every given opportunity. I adore Ravelry. If I'm not careful, I could spend all day on there and have nothing to show for my productivity save for a few printed patterns, a scribbled list of needed supplies, and heavily self-justified plans to procure more yarn. But I didn't worry, you know, like I usually would. Yes, I'm already tremendously concerned about Christmas in September. I'm as bad as the retail stores that already have trees and reindeer out in their decor. I just want to make sure that I have enough time to get everything made that I want to. I knew I'd find the right gift when the time was right. It's not like I'm not making something else right now anyway. All right, several other things.

And yesterday, it happened. I love that little excited feeling you get in your stomach when you catch a creative chain of ideas that leads to a perfect project. First, I saw something in Ravelry that caught my eye. Then I started thinking about other similar patterns, and then I happened to see someone else's project in a yarn that I'm currently very interested in trying, and away I went! Yes I know that most people don't get this excited about yarn, but humor me here. Next thing we knew, I had printed the pattern and stopped at the yarn store on my way home. I was a very, very happy girl. Nothing makes me more thrilled than standing amongst yarn without my husband or children in tow (sorry, I love them, but they don't enjoy yarn as much as I do and their whining would put a damper on my crafty high) selecting a color. Oh, oh! I love it so.

So, last night while Mike and I watched Downton Abbey (a wonderful PBS series that we picked up on DVD from the public library) I started my project and I'm just thrilled.

Anne is sleeping better (read: not great, but not up every 20 minutes, so we'll take it), so in the evenings I'm able to sit uninterrupted by Mike's side with a glass of wine and my knitting.

It's blissful.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Waiting for inspiration...

I haven't blogged about dance in awhile, so I thought I'd tackle that today. :)

I've been back to belly dance since 6 weeks post partum. It felt wonderful to dance while pregnant, and it feels even better to dance post partum! I think because I appreciate my "regular" body so much more now that the aches of late pregnancy are still so fresh in my mind. When I was pregnant, whenever we did a hip twist, I could actually *feel* a sloshing sensation. It was...weird. :) Now, whenever we do them, I think of that and smile. Dance made me feel beautiful and feminine while heavily pregnant, and for that I am so grateful.

Now, I feel back to my old self and I've moved back into the routines pretty seamlessly. We have a hafla coming up in November, and if I want to do a solo (and I do) I need to get my butt in gear with a choreography. I've toyed with several pieces of music, but nothing has stuck. I'm waiting to feel inspired. If anyone has some good Middle Eastern music to recommend, have at it. :)

I usually do a drum number, because I like that type of music so much, and I'm comfortable with it. I have several albums of pure drum music to choose from. And I may. But I was sort of feeling like perhaps I should branch out more this time and select a different type of song. I don't know. All week I've been listening to my belly dance playlists hoping for inspiration, so we'll see.

I was hoping to get a new costume this year, but so far I just haven't wanted to spend the money. As you can imagine, heavily beaded dance costumes are *expensive*. And I already have a costume that I really like. Granted, it's one of our group costumes, but last year I used it for my solo and that went well. Everyone chose whatever style they wanted in the same color, so my costume is actually different than everyone else in the group anyway.

So, I'll be armed in my green costume and hoping for some good music to come my way. Then I just need to choreograph, and hopefully Anne will sleep good for me in the evenings so that I can do that...

Monday, September 26, 2011

Busy weekend with baby clothes abounding...

I was on a mission this weekend: I wanted to organize Anne's clothes.

I've noticed already a huge difference with regard to boys and girls clothes. For one thing, due to the generosity of family and friends, I hadn't had to buy a single Onesie for Anne since she was born. Her closet is overflowing with frilly dresses and pink sweaters. People seem to love buying girl clothes. I always love buying boy clothes though! I will grant, once they move from the toddler sizes to the boys, things do get less exciting. But I think the small clothes are super fun for both genders. Anyway, I digress...

Hank was so chubby as a baby (I just looked back at his baby records; he weighed 20 lbs at 4 months old!) that he lived in sleepers and an occasional pair of sweatpants. Anne, on the other hand, has a much more extensive wardrobe. And due to a total lack of time, it was a complete mess, which I just couldn't take anymore. So Saturday morning, I set Anne up on the floor with some toys next to me and set to work in her room.

30 minutes later, her drawers and closet had been transformed, and I had a shopping list of what she needed to fill in a few holes for the upcoming winter. Mike stepped into the room cautiously. He knows what I'm like when I'm tornadoing:

"How are you doing in here, Honey?"

"Great! Ok, there is a new system for Anne's clothes. Come over here so that I can demo for you. On the far left we have short-sleeved Onesies, and I've weeded out the ones that are too small. We have a few long-sleeved Onesies (a magnificent invention by Carter's for those of us that live in the Northeast) and here is the pile of pants. She'll be wearing a lot more pants now that the weather is cooler; see, like that pair of purple stretch pants she's wearing right now? On the right are her socks, bibs, hats and hair accessories. In the next drawer down, we have sleepers, arranged by size from left to right, smallest to largest. The burb cloths have now moved to this drawer over here. In the closet, there are sweaters, jackets, a snow suit, and all clothes that are 9-12 months, since those are way too large right now. I'm headed to Carter's now to pick up some more long-sleeved Onesies."

He just stepped aside to let me breeze by since he knew I was on a mission. Upon arrival at the store, Anne was sleeping, allowing me to browse to my heart's content. I immediately snagged 2 packs of long-sleeved Onesies, 1 pack of short-sleeved Onesies in 6 months size, and 2 sleepers that she totally didn't need but that I simply could not resist. One has a cupcake on the front. I mean, seriously? How could I not buy it? I have a bit of a cupcake theme going on with her. Just wait until you see the next hat I'm going to knit her.

In church news, I haven't blogged about it, but I have actually brought both kids to Mass with me in recent weeks. I'll say this: it's not as bad as it could be, but it's not fun. Nor is it conducive to actually hearing anything that goes on during Mass. Not that the kids are loud, because they aren't (right now, that is). But my attention is just so divided, I'm sweating the entire time I'm there. Yesterday, I just had Anne with me, since I allowed Henry to stay home with Mike to "help" him put in a new hot water tank. Anne was sleeping upon arrival, which is always a good thing.

About midway through the homily, I glance over into her car seat tote and my heart nearly stops beating because I see a pair of wide blue eyes looking back at me. She was actually quiet until the Creed, when I had to take her out. She did pretty well, actually. I was happy that she contented herself just looking around, since getting out the pacifier inevitably ends with a distinctive "plink!" two pews away when my head is momentarily turned, and an usher has to come to our rescue. She did really, really well.

Next week, I start Children's Liturgy of the Word again, so Hank will be in tow to "help" me set up and take down, and Anne will stay home with Mike since there's no way I could manage her while also teaching. I'm a little apprehensive, but I know how much the parish appreciates my volunteering for this, and I do like being involved. I just so often feel like I'm babysitting (10-15 kids!) instead of passing along any real catechesis, but I do what I can with it...

P.S. Anne's Onesie in the picture above was made for her by Allison of A Broken Fortress, who sells her handmade baby items at Lila's Locker on etsy. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Big news:

Anne slept from 7 pm until midnight last night, again until 3 am, and then didn't wake for the morning until 6:30 am.

*angels sing*

I am thrilled.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Anne's 4 month checkup...

I had Anne at the pediatrician yesterday for her 4 month checkup. Like all of my babies, she's rather large. :) She's at the top of the growth chart for both height and weight. She's so wiggly now I had to be quite vigilant as we were waiting for the doctor. As soon as I set her down on the examination table, she flipped over onto her belly and stuffed the paper sheet into her mouth.

She's meeting all of her developmental milestones like clockwork and is doing excellent in her muscle strength and movement. She wasn't too happy to receive her vaccinations, but those are the breaks. She goes back again at 6 months.

She's just a very happy baby and a joy to be around.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A sign that I really do need more sleep...

Even though sleep has slightly improved in our house (emphasis on the *slightly*) I'm even more tired than usual. I think it's that my body has once again gotten a taste for what it feels like to get actual rest and is now demanding even more. Yesterday in particular I was really dragging.

Around 10:15 am I was already starting to feel frantic. I had a reference shift at 11 am, and I needed to pump, have a bite to eat and get myself ready to be over in another building at the reference desk.

I was fielding a few phone calls and so set my breastpump up since I didn't want to run out of time. Once I got off the phone, I hooked myself up and started the milk flowing. I don't usually eat when I pump (that just seems odd to me somehow) but I was desperate yesterday, so I had a snack while I pumped. Otherwise I get really hungry by the end of the reference shift.

Finally, my milk was exhausted so I shut the pump off. I start to hurriedly unhook myself and glance up. What do I see?

My office door.

It's open.Now granted, it wasn't OPEN! It was closed, but it was not fully shut and locked. It was ajar. And that means that an overzealous student could open it fully after an abbreviated knock, which is not out of the realm of possibilities. I could have died right then and there.

I unhooked my tubing and hustled over to shut it and lock it. In all of my years of pumping, I've never done that. I'm usually much more self aware than this.

It was mortifying.

What's new with the kids?

Yesterday was an incredibly long day, and it ended with me attending the parent orientation at Hank's new Catholic school, so I thought I'd detail.

I really, really like Hank's new school. There was zero mention of state standards and testing, which is just the way I like it. Instead, the focus was on the children, and the values/qualities the school tries to instill while they learn. The children are taught to be good listeners, to follow directions (both not Henry's strong points, definitely needs work on those), and to be kind and compassionate. There are certain milestones that the children are expected to master by the end of the year, but the approach is much more old fashioned and traditional than Henry's old school. It reminds me much more of the way school was back when I attended.

On each child's desk is a sticker with the Blessed Mother on it. And one wall houses a picture of each child with prayer hands holding a pair of rosary beads. I just loved it. :) It goes without saying that each classroom has a crucifix, I just also enjoyed these small details. And we opened with a prayer.

I really, really like the school. Henry is still nervous about being in a new school, but I can see it getting easier for him every week. He's starting an after school basketball thing today for one day per week through October and he's super excited about that. I think he's growing into things just fine.

And then there's our Anne. :) She's getting so big. She can really creep around now on the floor by flipping herself over. And she plays hardcore with all dangling toys. Whereas formerly she used to gaze up at her Sesame Street toy bar, I now find her under there giving Elmo a full body exam. And then it goes in her mouth. Very cute.

Last night she slept until 11:30 pm and then wouldn't go back to sleep, so she ended up in our bed again. Honestly, it's not as difficult to sleep with her in there as I thought it would be, and I do enjoy having her snuggled next to me when she does settle down and sleep. Which she has these past 2 nights.

They're both extremely precious these days.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Knitterly delights...

Because I start off on my knitting monologue, I thought I'd update you on my sleep situation. Because I know you're all wondering about it, right? I mean, what else would you be thinking about on a Monday afternoon?

The consensus is that things are definitely improved, but in the grand tradition of baby sleep, they're still far from perfect. Friday and Saturday night Anne fussed less and less when I put her down awake. That part is going really well. Both nights, she got up twice to nurse between 7 pm and 6 am. No problem. I just had a bad omen on Saturday night when she didn't go back down for a full hour during one of the wakings. Aforementioned omen came to pass last night when she got up around 10 and by midnight was still awake. Given that Mondays are really long days for us (Mike also teaches on Monday evenings) I just brought her in bed with us. We all needed to get some sleep. She actually fell asleep next to me (which she doesn't always do; I think she was teething last night, she definitely wasn't feeling good) and I felt her rooting again around 3:30 am or so. So, she's doing better in terms of the number of wakings, but those 1-2 hour AWAKE! times are killing me.

Anyway, I think we should leave it as (we're being positive!) things are going better and last night was just a bad night. Those happen to even the best sleepers. Which my kids never are.

At any rate, we had a really nice weekend. I'm getting all of my holiday knitting organized, and since this is me we're talking about, I'm making it much more structured and complicated than it needs to be. I'm already starting to panic that I'm not going to get everything done. Because what's Christmas without a little hysteria?

Since this week is "Coupon Commotion" at JoAnn's, Hank and I headed there yesterday to look for a storage container for all of my interchangeable needle tips. I have a bunch of Knit Picks Harmony wood needle tips that I absolutely love, and they've gotten all messy in my lone knitting needle portfolio thing. I figured a little organization might spur me to knit faster or something.

So, we went, and I found an awesome plastic organizer that is designed for bead work, but since you can customize how large the slots are, it's perfect for my tips:

I'm able to fit all my tips in there (see my size labels? I'm crazy) plus the cables, end caps, and tighteners. I was so excited to put everything in there. I have plenty of room to add additional tips in other materials (nickel or acrylic) if I'd like, which pretty much means that's just a matter of time. Different types of tips will interact differently with different yarns. I tend to be a loose knitter, and so I like my needles to grip the yarn real good so that I don't look down and find a whole bunch of dropped live stitches (that sounds funny, "they're alive!!") on my lap. Hence, I have wood, but sometimes a little more slipperiness would be a good thing.

Then I took my zipper portfolio case and devoted it solely to my straight needles. A lot of knitters don't bother with straight needles (like these) when they have circulars, because you can knit flat items on circular needles. I happen to like straight needles, there's something very nostalgic and happily old fashioned about them, and so I still have a lot of them, mostly aluminum and a few wood. And finally, I took a quilty carrier that my grandmother had given me and organized all my double pointed needles (like these, they're very pointy aren't they?) in there. Again, some knitters never use these, they prefer to use circulars. You can knit small round things on the straight double pointed needles, like socks or baby hats. With circulars, apparently you can do something called "the Magic Loop" and use a really long cable to twist about and still make these smaller items. This all sounds very fantastical to me, and I like my double points, so I stick with them and try not to poke myself. Essentially, I'm just making things very expensive for myself, but I like to think of it as me being very versatile and a "well rounded knitter."

I did all of this while Mike was watching football and Anne was napping. Thus emboldened by my newfound organization, I selected a Christmas project to work on after the kids went to bed. I happily cast on and began increasing per the pattern. Pretty soon I discovered that I was knitting something on straight needles that was quickly going to become too large. Basically, I'm an idiot. I needed circular needles in a size 6, and when I went to my handy little organizer case, I found the size 6 slot empty. Panic set in before I realized that those tips are already in use on a sweater for Anne. This is what I get for having so many works-in-progress going at the same time. I think I just need more needles.

Anyway, since I'm going to have to deal with that little problem another time, I decided to make my Christmas neuroses even worse by taking time to work on something that will be for myself. I'm going to be knitting a fall/winter shawl for myself and I'm super excited to get started. I decided to treat myself and work on that.

But before I could do that I had to deal with all of the yarn that came in the kit for that project, which is in hanks. What does this mean? It means that the yarn must be wound before I can knit from it. And that's where things get interesting.

I have a ball winder, but I had resisted a yarn swift because they're more expensive. So, I'd have Mike hold the yarn while I wound. While this made for a very cute and amusing couples moment, it wasn't exactly quick and tidy. Well, in doing research last week I found that there are a lot of different kinds of swifts that I hadn't known about. I saw something about an "Amish style swift" and knew that I had to investigate. I could detail my fun little scavenger hunt about this type of swift, but I'll cut to the chase because, let's face it, you know I bought one. :) (it was only $30!) And here it is:

I kind of love it. :) It's very simple, and much smaller than an umbrella-style swift that I linked to above. It's just a wood stand with a wooden cross over it that spins as the yarn unwinds. The yarn is held by pegs that you can adjust depending on the size of your yarn hank. You can see the edges of my ball winder in the far right side of the picture. Once I got it set up, I started winding and voila! A center-pull ball of yarn that I can knit with. Xanadu!

After all of this, I cast on for the shawl, but suffice it to say I was exhausted after all of these shenanigans. I knit 6 stitches and then couldn't make heads or tails of a direction in the pattern to pick up stitches along a few sides of my weird looking knit rectangle and called it a night. But it was super fun. :)

And I'll conclude with a few pictures of Anne in the pumpkin hat that I made her, just because she's so adorable:

This, shockingly, turned out *smaller* than I'd have liked it. This doesn't often happen to people with the gauge of a tank. Hopefully, her head won't grow that much more before Thanksgiving...

Friday, September 16, 2011


Anne SLEPT LAST NIGHT. As in, *real* sleep. And *I* slept. I am practically on my knees in gratitude.

I put her down around 7 pm or so, and stayed with her patting her as she fussed until about 7:15. That was about half the fussing time of the night before. She then slept until 9:30, just as I was about to doze off (of course). This has become a common wake up time for her, and being only 2.5 hours after she last ate, I really want to break her of it.

I went into the nursery with my patting hand all ready to go. Within 1 minute of the patting action, she was asleep again. I gratefully went back to bed.

A1 12:30 I heard her crying, so I went right in and nursed her. Already, I could tell that things were going better this night. She nursed and I tried to burb her to no avail. When I put her down, she was fast asleep and I worried that she'd wake herself back up shortly thereafter with the burb. Next thing I knew, it was 6 am, and she was just waking up for the morning.


It was like, one of the greatest nights of sleep of my whole life. I'm basking in happiness.

Of course, I'm still tired. But that's just because of the cumulative effect.

I'm just very thrilled right now.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Anybody have any energy that they could loan me?

I thought I'd chronicle my evening last night, since there are many lessons to be learned there. Mostly by me, because I'm constantly winging it (since apparently 6 years is just not a significant sample in his parenting thing) and I never know what I'm doing.

Exhibit A: I arrive home from work, with both children, and approximately 20 bags, and the first thing I try to do? Unload everything.

*unladylike SNORT*

Why Lord, WHY do I torture myself so? I'm trying to be busy transferring milk to the refrigerator and wash out bottles while Hank is asking me to put a Wow Wow Wubbzy on for him and Anne is crying. I get Hank set up with the tv and Anne out of her car seat tote and on the floor near me.

This does not pacify her and she continues to cry. Which she does for approximately 2 full hours, until she goes to bed, silenced only briefly by a few spoonfuls of rice cereal.

Meanwhile, I have to unload Hank's stuff and get his homework organized for us to do together later. Unpack my pump, milk, and Anne's bottles. Load up new bottles for the next day. Somewhere in this time slot, I nurse her. Then, I unload my work bag and various lunch sacks. Change into something comfy and get lots of clothes into the hamper. I have to get dinner into the oven. Look through the mail and a ton of paperwork from Hank's school. And all the while, Anne is crying, and Hank is watching too much television.

Oh sigh.

Sometime thereafter, Mike comes home, and he's grumpy. I know that he's bemoaning that he's getting home so much later than he'd like and it's cutting into time with us. We eat. Anne cries. Henry refuses to eat and gets no dessert. I clean up while Mike gets Henry started on his homework. Anne cries. Mike and I take turns bouncing Anne on one hip while trying to multi-task with our other hand. I feed Anne her cereal, and then get her dressed for bed. Mike supervises Henry getting ready for bed.

We decide not to give either child a bath that night because frankly, we have no energy.

Mike puts Hank to bed, and I enact Operation Please God Let Anne Sleep Longer Than 20 Minutes. I nurse, rock and burb her and settle her into her crib. She's a bit incredulous at this, given that she's still awake, but I know that this needs to happen. She's just about 4 months old, and now is the time to start gently coaxing her to soothe herself a little bit. Otherwise, we'll be up every 20 to 60 minutes from now until she's 2 years old. And I simply can't have that.

I pop her into the crib. She glares at me, squalls about for a minute, and flips over onto her belly. I flip her back, but she's having none of that. After a tad more protesting, she flips back onto her belly and goes to sleep as I pat her back.

I scrunched my eyebrows together for awhile, but I know that there's not much I can do about this. I'm paranoid, yes, because of the Back to Sleep Campaign to reduce SIDS. But I put her onto her back. She flipped herself over, and I remember reading that once they can do that, it's ok for them to sleep on their bellies. It's not like we can prevent them from flipping when we're not there anyway. I go downstairs to confirm this in my baby book, and feel somewhat better. I settle in to knit.

In about an hour, I hear cranking. I've been checking on her a lot because of the paranoia thing, so I head up, and as I pause outside her door, I hear her settle down and fall back to sleep.


This happens one additional time, and I start to feel hope springing up into my very heart that sometime within the next week, we may get her to sleep normally again. And by "normally" I mean that she'll still wake to nurse in the night. That's totally fine. I just don't want to be up every hour. My body physically can't take that anymore. And I know we could have her sleep in our bed. I love having her in there, and we do that sometimes to get some sleep, but we choose not to have that be our long term solution. I think bed sharing is fine for families that choose to do it, but we prefer our babies to sleep in their cribs once they're past 3 or 4 months old. I just don't sleep well when she's in the bed.

Anyway, by 9 pm I'm actually feeling happy. I've had time to relax in the evening, which hasn't happened in several weeks given the Sleep Nightmare. I contentedly knit another round on the hat I'm making. Suddenly Mike turns to me:

"Why don't we take advantage of Anne not being in our room?"

Here's the funny thing: my first thought was:

"OH! He wants to go up early to get more sleep! What a great idea!"

Yeah, that's not what he meant. :)

My knitting needles were just starting to droop and I thought about making a joke regarding my "wifely duty," but then I remembered that we're both far too tired to interpret humor correctly and he might not take that the right way. It's amazing that we're even able to *think* about doing this, really. Anyway...

Some time later, we're both contentedly reading in bed. Anne is still happily sleeping, and this is a good thing not just for us. She's way overtired and the lack of sleep is hurting her too. Within 10 minutes, we're both asleep. It's close to 10 pm.

At 11:30, Anne wakes up crying. Since it's been over 4 hours since she last ate, I go in and nurse her. She acts voracious. I manage to burp her and get her back in her crib, fast asleep.

2 hours later, she wakes again, and here's where the story turn particularly challenging. I go in to do a soothe, and somehow this only acts to escalate her furor at not being picked up. I rub her back until my hand gets sore and she's still enacting a full out protest rally in her crib. Eventually, I couldn't take it anymore, and I did nurse her. However, by this point she was wide awake, and when I put her back in her crib, I heard the familiar squirting sound indicating that poo has now entered her diaper. I change her, and now she's REALLY awake. At some point, Mike wandered in in his boxer shorts to blearily plead for me to just bring her to our bed so that we could get some sleep. I didn't want to, but I did try. Much cooing and feet playing later, I made my way back to the crib. I never left her to just cry, I stayed by her side. Eventually, around 3:30 am, she fell asleep again on her belly in the crib. She had been up for two and a half hours.

From that point, I don't remember much aside from staggering into bed and collapsing. The next time I woke up, it was 6:15 am, and Anne was still sleeping. When I was able to drag myself out of bed, I went in to check on her and she was sleeping, flipped onto her back. She woke for the morning (for the first time ever right from her crib!) at 6:30.

Although it had been a very long night, I felt victorious. Maybe there is hope that she'll be able to soothe herself back to sleep when she partially wakes in the night but is not hungry.

Oh, Please God.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

My mornings...

...are CRAZY these days, with both kids after Mike has gone to work. After nursing Anne (7:20) (and having to *wake her up* to do so, doesn't that figure?!?!) I rushed her upstairs for a quick diaper change. (7:21). As I'm changing her I note a spot on my pants. It's wet. Oh dear. As if any spot isn't bad enough, a wet spot is particularly worrisome. It could be either, (a) spit up (most likely), (b) pee, or (c) poo. I contemplate my next move. (7:23). In desperation, I put my finger to it and sniff it. It's not poo. Decision made, since it's now 7:25, and we need to leave at 7:30 to get Hank to school on time.

The pants stay on.

Sad, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Last year on this date...

...I found out for certain that I was pregnant with Anne. :) I wouldn't have remembered the date, but Mike did. Isn't that sweet? I remember the date that we conceived her though, because that's just how Type A I am with my Natural Family Planning charts. And aren't you glad that you know that now? I'm just very organized. Mike has a name for my charts that I won't repeat, but I assure you, it's funny.

Anne was looking very fetching this morning in a chocolate brown romper with purple and pink polka dots. She still has blue eyes (very striking with her curly dark brown hair) and naturally, is just the prettiest baby ever. Because everybody thinks that about their own babies. That they're the cutest. And they're all cute. But let's face it, we all still think that ours are cuter. :)

Ironically, today when I stepped on the scale, for the first time I'm officially down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Before you hate me, let me assure you that I deserve this small bone given the nights that I'm having. I'd take 10 extra pounds if I could get more than 4 hours of crappy, interrupted sleep per night. But I digress. I'm being positive from now on, remember?

And actually, it was a little warm last night, so we had Anne back in our room in her bassinette. We don't have an air conditioner for her room yet. I have to admit, I'd missed having her in there, and it warmed my heart to see her precious sleeping face next to my side of the bed. Then she started screaming, but we're being positive, remember?

I'm trying.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A new leaf...

Well, it's Monday and I'm going to try to have a positive attitude. One would think that this is a fairly elementary decision, but not lately.

I actually purposely didn't blog on Friday, because our overnight prior was so miserable that I feared I would be compelled to impale myself on a knitting needle if I dwelled on it any further. And then there was the weekend. (I'll just get this out of my system and then move on to that "positive thinking" thing...) All of a sudden (and she's not sick anymore) I can't get Anne to sleep more than 2-3 hours a stretch at night. And that would be for a "long stretch." Most of the time, she's awakening anywhere from every 20 minutes to once per hour.

So, I finally made the decision to move her to her crib, at least for the beginning of the night. She's nearly 4 months old, plus I was getting the feeling that we were disturbing her when we'd go up to bed. It actually went pretty painlessly. She seems to like it in there. I'm trying to start a little "routine" of changing her, wrapping her up, and then rocking her while I nurse her prior to putting her down. I also stopped swaddling her. She was really fighting the arm swaddle, so now I just use the swaddle to wrap her legs up, like a wearable blanket, and leave her arms out. She seems happier and isn't jolting herself awake when you put her down anymore. She's actually easy to get down.

But just wait 20 minutes, and everything is different. She's up, and crying. I'll let her cry for 5 minutes, but no longer than that. Then I go up and soothe her back to sleep, and I know that the problem is that she can't get herself back to sleep. But what else can I do? I know that the sleep gurus tell you "not to treat your 4 month old like a newborn." Point taken. But a 4 month old is still a small infant, and I want her to feel secure. I'm not just going to leave her to cry.

I duke it out as long as I can getting up to nurse and soothe her back into the crib, and then I bring her into our bed for the remainder of the night. At least this way, we're getting some sleep.

So, what I've decided is that I'm not going to talk about baby sleep anymore unless it's something positive. The situation is what it is, I have a baby after all, and getting upset about it all the time is only serving to make me even more miserable. I need to keep my spirits up in order to stay strong. Worrying and fretting and crying isn't helping anything. I just need to deal with it as best I can. I have a sleep book coming from amazon, and I'll employ any gentle suggestions that I can and deal with what happens. I will not despair, and will hope for a better tomorrow.

So, that's that. But to give you a glimpse into my nighttime life right now, I offer the following. Friday evening I was home, since I was literally too exhausted to go to my belly dance class. There's no way a girl can hip drop when you can barely climb the stairs. I got Anne down and managed to knit for a short spell, then we headed up to bed. Shortly thereafter, we heard the siren song of Anne's wail coming from the nursery, so I went in. I nursed her and was rocking with her in the chair in there, both of us dozing off when suddenly I hear crying.

I jolt and check Anne on my shoulder. She's sleeping. I hear crying again. Well, that's just silly. That can't be! Given that I'd only gotten about 10 hours of sleep cumulative for the entire *week* I assumed that I was hallucinating. It must be like when I'm confused to hear crying in my dream because I think I'm holding Anne, when actually that's Muffin, my stuffed dog. Convinced, I start to put Anne in her crib when I realize that I totally screwed up my analogy and plus I still hear crying. This can't be good. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I stagger over to Hank's room. Sure enough, he's awake, and crying. And why would that be, you ask?

Because he has a terrible stomachache. Since people who don't poo are susceptible to such phenomena. Thus, a second mini nightmare ensues wherein we have to carry Hank to the toilet and try to convince him to poo. When even stabbing gas pains won't get the child to poo, you know you've got a problem on your hands.


He did finally poo the next day, but only under extreme duress. Ok, off to employ some positive thinking...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I'm hoping that this swing is an upswing

Well, today is a better morning, and for that I am most grateful. As always, I will detail. :)

When I got home from work yesterday, my spirits were low. I was so tired I could barely drag myself and my ridiculous amount of bags into the house. Happily, though, Henry reported that he'd had a good day at school. He had enjoyed his music class and had used some of his new school supplies for the first time. He told me about the opening school Mass that is scheduled for Friday. I was relieved. Anne was under her Gymini playing with the toys dangling overhead. This is new; literally, it happened overnight. I love that about babies, very exciting all the time. :) She had napped better and seemed to be feeling a little better.

Mike came home as my in-laws were departing, bearing a pizza. We ate and cleaned up and I nursed Anne briefly. Mike helped Henry with his homework while I got the fixins' for chili into the crock pot for the next day and Anne played with her feet. Things were going well until Anne got fussy, interrupting my dinner preparations. I had to put it aside to nurse her more, but I could tell that she was getting tired. Once I got her settled, I finished dinner prep, packed her stuff for daycare and washed all the bottles. Mike gave Henry a bath and got his school stuff ready for the morning. By this time, it was 7 pm and time for the kids to go to bed. I was exhausted.

As I nursed Anne to sleep I contemplated how I was not enjoying the busyness that surrounds our weekday evenings. There's no time for family time. We were all in the kitchen together while I prepared the chili and Mike and Henry did homework, but there's no time to just sit and talk aside from over dinner, when Anne is usually fussing, unfortunately. I'm going to break out her high chair and see if that helps. Maybe she'll like being at the table with us. But anyway, our time together is just all task-oriented. There are a million things that need to be done each evening and no time to let your guard down.

I got Anne to sleep and went downstairs for what is usually the relaxing portion of my day. But last night I knew it would be abridged; I simply *needed* to get some sleep, even at the cost of relinquishing my free time. I got a glass of caffeine-free Diet Coke and some vanilla flavored Goldfish crackers and read my book curled on the couch next to Mike while he watched an episode of Band of Brothers. This is usually when I knit, but I knew it wasn't happening last night. I literally could not have knit two stitches together if someone put a gun to my head. I'm working on a lace scarf for my mom and I think it's bad form to try and knit lace while incapacitated in such a way.

At 8:15 we headed up to bed, since I was falling asleep on the couch anyway. I brushed my teeth and headed right to the bed, curling on my side. And what did I suddenly hear beside me from the bassinette?

The baby. Crying.

This is where the bad part of the story comes into play. :) I totally lost it. I began sobbing hysterically. She had barely been to bed for an hour and had always slept until at least 9:30 or 10, even in the worst depths of the sleep nightmare we're currently going through. Mike came in to find me a puddle of tears, weeping while exclaiming nonsensical half sentences about how I never have time to do anything anymore, including sleep or think, and I was just too exhausted to go on.

He soothed me as best he could and we took turns bouncing Anne for a full hour. Every time one of us would get her to sleep and place her in the bassinette, she'd wake up and start to cry. Then I'd start to cry, too. It was bad.

Finally, around 9:30, she stayed asleep. I grumpily read my book for a few minutes before nodding off. She woke again every 2 hours for the rest of the night, but I'll say this: it was better. If you can believe it, her getting up every 2 hours was actually *better* than what we've been going through for the past week or so. Because she did stay sleeping after she went back. Around 2:30, I brought her in bed with us and that helped as well. When we woke up this morning, all 3 of us felt more rested.

Henry was up at 5:45 (this is why they go to bed at 7 pm :) ) and had breakfast with Mike. Mike had him dressed, fed, and teeth brushed by time he left for work at 6:30. I got up at 6:15 and got Anne and I ready to go, and the crock pot turned on. Henry needs to be at school by 7:40, so we were pulling out of the driveway by 7:30, all 3 of us packed and ready for our day, and I was really patted myself on the back. I had made it.

I dropped Henry off at 7:35 and he seemed happy. I really do think he likes his new school, and I love him being there. They start the day off with prayer and it just feels like such a warm community to me. I'm so glad that he's in Catholic school this year. He walked up to the door all by himself and waved to me and Anne as he went in. My little boy is getting so big.

Then I took Anne to daycare and she also seemed in a really good mood. She was still somewhat stuffy in the night, but I do think she's getting better.

Thank God.

Because otherwise, I'll start crying again.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What a day

That's Henry, not looking so happy on his first full day at his new Catholic school. He does look adorable though, no? He's mostly unhappy that summer vacation is over, regardless of where he's going to school. We'll have to see how his day went today.

As for me, my day is going poorly indeed. I'm so tired that I actually feel sick. Well, I actually *am* sick, with the same cold as Anne, so that certainly doesn't help. I know that Anne is suffering, and she's not crying and keeping us up just for no reason. But nevertheless, that gets tough to deal with after a time. It was a particularly rough night last night. Thus, this morning I woke up in a foul mood.

As did Henry, once again, unhappy that he now has to do actual work during the day. I had a hard time shooing him out the door so that I could get him to school on time. I barely had time to make my lunch and eat breakfast. I didn't have time to give Anne her drops (pink eye), or use her saline spray (for her congestion) so my mother-in-law had to do that. I also didn't have time to do a bloody thing to prepare for dinner tonight. Pizza for everybody!

Once I got Hank porkily dropped off, I sleepily made my way to work. I had a first-thing-in-the-morning reference shift, which is the main reason I came in today rather than take a sick day like I did yesterday. I probably should have let my baser instincts prevail. I mean, I'm stuffy and miserable at the reference desk, blowing my nose, coughing, and talking raspily, who wouldn't want to come talk to me about their research needs?!

Not to mention that I wasn't exactly in a friendly mood. I was helping someone (who came right up to me before I could even get my computer booted up, sigh), and he was nice although I wasn't exactly feeling like helping someone. Just the quality that you're looking for in your reference librarian, right? And another student comes up and starts hovering. And I'm attuned to helping someone who just needs to ask me where the restrooms are without them having to wait for a lengthy interaction to happen before they can do that. I smile at him, which I thought was very big of me. He says he has a printing question, and so I direct him to where the printouts may be retrieved. He gives a huffy sigh, and says that he needs to speak with me AS SOON AS I'm done with my current student. We're not in charge of printing (big pet peeve) but I smile again and say I'll be right with him. He continues to hover, really pissing me off. And apparently 3 minutes was just too much for him to wait, because he stormed off right before we finished. I won't tell you what went through my head, but I can assure you, it was decidedly un-Christian.

It's just that kind of day.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The possibilities are endless...

...for the title of this post:

"Poo on the landing - another weekend tale"

"Much labor on Labor Day"

"Up all night - the story of my life."

Suffice it to say that I need a vacation from this past weekend. Going to work would have been much more restful.

Which is not to say that it was *bad*. I'm just totally exhausted and completely drained. Lots of predictable things happened. Such as Hank refusing to go poo and Anne refusing to sleep.

Yes, there was a lot of poo talk this weekend. Which is a natural result of the following:

"I just stepped on something, what was that? I do need to vacuum more often, I'm just so tired. Oh, a raisin, let me pick that up. Wait, THIS ISN'T A RAISIN!"

That would, once again, be the "old, dried poo" phenomenon coming back into play. And Anne. My word, Anne. The chica refuses to sleep more than 2 hours at a time these nights. And right in the middle of the night, she'll wake up and just not want to go back to sleep. Like last night, where she was cooing and playing with her feet at 2 am. Clearly, I should not have unswaddled her. I've never been so bone tired in my life. I'm taking her to the doctor today. She's just very congested and I want to see what's going on with her.

Sigh. I'll leave off with a funny anecdote. This one, in particular, is for my sisters. :) On Sunday, we went to visit my parents. I noticed that my mom had some new placemats with pretty cloth napkins out on her kitchen table. They were lovely, embroidered with fall leaves. I set my caffeine free Diet Coke down on one as I went to chat with her in the kitchen.

Suddenly, I feel a *whisking* sensation next to me.

"Oh, you can't set that there. We can't put the food on these. I'm picking them up before we eat dinner."

Placemats that you can't eat on? This is also the home of the "bathroom rugs you can't walk on" and "the couch you can't sit on."

Only my mother. :)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Reference desk? What reference desk?

I'm at the end of the second full week of being back to work, and I *just* thought that I was getting the hang of things. The mornings, while still very busy, are less frantic, and I feel mostly caught up back at work. Well. I should have taken it as a sign of things to come when Anne managed to squirt poo right onto the changing table in the 10 seconds it took me to whisk her old diaper off but before I could scoot the new one on.

I arrived at our monthly staff meeting this morning feeling remarkably refreshed given that my sleep was interrupted at least half a dozen times. I had some coffee by my side, and the knowledge that the only things on my calendar today were this meeting plus a chat reference shift that I'd volunteered to cover for someone who is on vacation today. You do those shifts right from your office so they're easy as can be. I contentedly took a sip of coffee. Suddenly:

Colleague: "Tiffany! I see that we're on the reference desk together shortly. We'll have to leave early to make it there in time."

Catholic Librarian: *blank stare*

Colleague: *inquisitive look*

Catholic Librarian: "The reference desk? Are you sure? I don't think I'm on the reference desk today."

Colleague: "I thought I saw your name on with mine for 11."

Catholic Librarian: "Uh oh."

The problem was manifold. For one thing, our meeting was scheduled to go until 11. And I need to pump within 30 minutes or so of 11 am, lest I get painfully engorged. Not only that, but I had *volunteered* for this chat shift that now I was double booked for. So I'd have to find someone to cover for me who was covering for someone else. Oh Lord. I impatiently squirmed throughout the meeting and prayed for my colleague to be losing it and therefore wrong about the reference schedule. Although the sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach told me that more than likely, *I* was the one who was losing it.

It's just that I have set reference hours every week to prevent this very calamity. Monday and Wednesday mornings you'll find my smiling face on the reference desk. Therefore, I can't forget my regular shifts. And I'm anal enough to be pretty careful about being where I'm supposed to be, despite many brain cells being killed off from having 2 small children. Surely, there was some mistake.

However, I was paranoid enough that around 10:30, I slipped out of the meeting early, just in case. I hurried back to my office. I warmed my computer back up and pulled up the reference schedule:

Catholic Librarian: "#&*!@!"

Well there you have it. I was wrong. I *was* inexplicably on the reference schedule for 11 and it was already 10:45. I yanked my pump out and hooked myself up. I had to call yet another colleague to see if he could save my bacon and cover the chat shift for me. He could. I finished pumping right at 11 am, and had to rush downstairs to the desk. Luckily, I remembered to make sure that I wasn't flashing any body parts that I didn't intend prior to leaving my office.

I arrived at the desk all flustered, but I wasn't late. Then I spent 2 hours helping students who were looking for their text books, sigh. But I made it.

I'm just glad that we have a 3 day weekend. Clearly, the lack of sleep is making me loopier than usual.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


She's getting so big. :)

Days and nights still long, but hanging in there

I've decided not to dwell on the sleep thing, since it's still just so, so hard. I was tired before I even left the house this morning; not a good sign. I just keep praying that it will get better. Because otherwise, I may die. *yawns*

I've gotten a bit of a good morning routine going with both kids, but unfortunately, that will all change come Tuesday when Hank has to be at school by 7:45 am. I'll figure something new out, I suppose. Although the routine was thrown off a tad this morning by Anne's epic poo explosion. It was so bad, that I actually threw her Onesie into the garbage rather than face washing it. That's *really* bad.

Anyway, as a stress reliever, I've been knitting. And buying yarn. Because, I need it. :) For Christmas gifts, you see. And a few things for myself, I admit.

All of the yarn that I ordered from Knit Picks last week is for gifts, save for 2 small hanks of a lace weight yarn for myself. It arrived yesterday, and I was super excited. Henry wanted to open the box, but I put him off. I don't get to savor much these days (meals entail Mike and I briskly eating our food as we await the inevitable unhappy wail coming from Anne's bouncey seat) and I wanted to savor this. Because, you know, it's totally normal to savor yarn.

When the kids were both asleep, I finally got out the scissors and opened the box carefully. 3 gifts yarns, and the lace weight for me. When I saw them on the web site, each asked to come home with me, and how could I say no? It was only charitable to give these yarns a happy home. :) I stroked each lovingly and held them to my cheek. I held them each in my lap for a time. Mike looked at me in amusement from his perch beside me on the couch drinking beer, so I made him touch them too, such that he understood the allure. I'm already envisioning the gifts I'm going to make out of each of them and the intended recipient, and I feel all warm and happy inside. I love knitting.

When I'm up with Anne in the night, I try not to worry about things, since worrying about things in the middle of the night always makes surmountable issues seem catastrophic, no? So, I try to keep my thoughts light. Thus, I think about yarn a lot. What I'd like to make for gifts, and what type of yarn would be best. I mean, I think about yarn A LOT, since I'm up so much these days in the night.

This is what it must be like to be a cat.