There’s a time for everything.

The last time I wrote to you, Wolfie and I were embarking on some major changes to our everyday routines.

So far, everything is going really quite well.

Night weaning was so much easier than I ever thought it was going to be.  He was ready.  We went through two, maybe three, nights of him getting upset when told him mama milk had gone night-night and taking a minute or two to calm down and go back to sleep.  Then there were a few nights of him still asking, but when I reminder him there was no mama milk until morning, he’d lay right back down and go to sleep.  Now he pretty much doesn’t even ask until after 4-5 am.  When he starts getting restless around that time it gets harder to tell him no.  He’ll lay back down relatively easily, but is tossing and turning and asking again a few minutes later.  Most of the time, I give in and let him have it, because the only other choice is getting up at that point.

Sleeping transitions are going pretty well also.  The last couple weeks has seen several combinations of him coming to bed with us, me sleeping in bed with him, him sleeping in bed while I sleep on the floor of his room, and me sleeping on the couch.  Last night was the first night I left him in his room and went upstairs to sleep in my own bed, after telling him that if he needs mama in the night that he can come upstairs and get into bed with me.

I was worried that he’d get confused or upset if he woke in the night and didn’t remember/understand to go upstairs. I was also pretty sure they he’d end up in bed with me by midnight or so.  Neither of these things happened.  He slept soundly until sometime after 4am, when I felt a little tap on my toes and pulled him into bed with me.  (We’ll ignore the time around 10:30 when I heard something downstairs, and with my sleepy and un-glassesed eyes, didn’t see him on the monitor.  Since he wasn’t upstairs, I was sure he was wandering around the house alone and afraid.  Only to run downstairs in panic to find his door still closed and him sleeping just fine.)

I thought this was going to be a lot more difficult, at least emotionally.  But everything has fallen into place and felt completely right as we’ve been doing it.  6 months ago, the idea of my baby no longer sleeping in bed with me sent me into so many tears.  But, as with many things I have experienced in parenthood, the anticipation of the thing is often way hard than the actual thing.  When the time is right and everyone is ready, it’s not usually as hard as you think it’s going to be.

The other transition we’ve been going through has not gone quite as smoothly.  Two weeks ago, Wolfie moved up into the two-year-old room at school.  We went through some major challenges the first week.  Long story short, he was initially put into a new room without a single one of the other kids from his old room in there with him.  All 7 of his friends were together in a class and he was alone in a whole new class with all new kids.

After a few days and lots of tears (many of them mine), he was moved into the class with all of his other friends.  But I think the whole thing made what was already going to be a difficult transition even worse.  I can tell he’s happy to be with his friends, but he really misses his old teachers and is still trying to adjust to the change.

My kid used to be the easiest kid in the world at drop off.  Sit him down with a snack, give him a hug goodbye, blow him a kiss at the door, and I’m out.  In the year and 9 months he’d been in daycare, he’d cried maybe 2-3 times at dropoff.

He’s cried 3-4 times in the last two weeks.  It’s getting easier each day, but he’s still being very clingy and not wanting me to leave.  Most of the time I have to sneak away when he’s distracted.  I hate doing that.

Today I got lucky that his old teacher happened to be in the room when we got there (she’s usually not in that early), so he was perfectly happy to have her sit with him and give me hugs and kisses goodbye.  The impression I got is that she’ll be in early all week to cover for someone, so maybe this will inadvertently help get us back into our normal goodbye routines.

It makes me so sad that he misses his teacher.  He saw her last week at an open house there, and he immediately wanted to go with her and didn’t want her to leave him.  Breaking my heart over here!  I have no idea what I’m going to do when he goes to preschool and will once again be in a room by himself with all new people, but this time without the option of going back.  *crumples to the floor in a heap and sobs*  Hopefully it’ll be another one of those things that is not as hard as the anticipation.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

I hate change.  I hate letting go. And I hate the heartache that comes with watching your kid grow.

I’m writing today from the chair in my living room while I watch Wolfie nap in his bed on the monitor.  This is a very rare occurrence in my house.  95% of the naps he has taken at home in the last 2 years have been laying on me or next to me.

I’m feeling the need to get him to nap on his own more often so I can have a couple child-free hours now and then.  Not because I don’t absolutely love laying with him and watching him sleep.  But because there’s starting to be more and more things that I literally can’t find time to do.

I used to be able to at least do some things at work.  I could shop online when I needed something.  I could bring little projects to do on my lunch.  (For example, I was able to make a couple of simple costumes for a sci-fi convention a few months ago over a few days worth of lunches.)  I could write a blog post now and then.

But things at work have gotten complete bonkers, and I have no time to do this anymore.  I don’t take lunches.  There’s something I’ve been meaning to order online for a couple weeks now, but still haven’t because every single day I get too busy and forget about it.  And at home Wolfie takes all of my focus, and wants to be involved in everything, so I don’t dare pull out the computer while he’s around.  A lot of the shopping type of stuff could be done on my phone if I put in the effort.  But typing out a blog post on my phone is never going to happen.

I’ve only performed once in the last 2 years, because I literally can’t get time to myself to put a routine together.  (I seriously had to take time off work to even put together that one act.)  I’ve got all these ideas for art projects that I never work on.  And a big one… we’re going to have lots of little projects around the house that need done in the next year or so as we get ready to sell this place.

So, commence trying to get Wolf to nap in his bed.

But also, I’ve been feeling really frustrated with the sheer amount of time that he still nurses.  I don’t mind that he still nurses.  I love that he still nurses.  When he’s having a meltdown or is overtired and needs to sleep, it is oh so helpful.  I am not planning to wean any time soon (I was hoping to let him self-wean when he’s ready).  But he nurses ALL. THE. TIME.

So, I’ve pretty much decided to tackle night nursing first and see if I can’t try to get him down to nursing to sleep and then not again until morning.

To make this easier, I am planing to just sleep in his bed with him for a while until he gets used to it, so that we aren’t waking G up when he’s whining for mama milk.  (He has a twin bed with a rail instead of a toddler bed.)

Add these two things together, and it seems like I’m pretty much setting us up for him transitioning into sleeping in his bed on a regular basis.  And I feel so sad about that.  I love co-sleeping with my baby.  I’m not sure that I won’t just bring him back into bed with us once he’s used to not nursing at night.  But, if he gets used to sleeping in his own bed and does really well with it, I probably would be a little dumb if I didn’t take advantage of that and just let him continue.

I try to remember that there will always be nights that he’ll crawl into bed with us for plenty of time to come.  But it still breaks my heart to think about the time when I won’t snuggle up to him every night as I fall asleep.

2-Year Photo Dump

My baby is TWO *ugly crying*

He had a great birthday weekend a couple of weekends ago.  We had a party at our house with a group of the most kind and well behaved group of 2-year-olds I had ever seen.  Everyone had just an awesome time.

It’s so hard for me to focus and put things into words any more, so I’ll let my photos tell the story, I guess.  Please enjoy our birthday weekend filled with water, cake, lots of time outside, lots of presents, painting, and a trip to the science center.  (friends and other happy two-year-olds not pictured for privacy)

 

First Family Vacation

Sort of.  A couple weeks ago we went to Omaha.  It wasn’t so much a “vacation” as it was only for 3 days.  And it wasn’t technically our “first” trip together, as we had traveled a couple times for a funeral and a wedding.

But, it was our first trip out of town as a family that was exclusively for our own enjoyment and lasted more than 48 hours.

I was nervous about traveling with a toddler… but Wolfie did so well!  And it (mostly) was a lot of fun!  Even with a lack of routine, nap and meal times completely off, lots of excitement and stimulation, we really only had one full-on toddler meltdown in 3 days.  Everything else was totally manageable.  And this was even with him having a fairly nasty cold the whole time.

Day one started out rough and was pretty questionable for awhile.  A half hour outside of Des Moines, my car decided to break down.  The recall issue I hadn’t attended to yet chose the absolutely worst time to show itself, of course.  We managed to be able to drive back home, so we switched cars, turned around, and headed back.  Turning what should have been an easy 2 hour travel time into about 3 1/2 hours.  We had left shortly after Wolfie had fallen asleep while sitting with his dad, so sure that he’d fall back asleep in the car and sleep most of the way there.  Ha, funny.  I think he dozed off for maybe 5 minutes, but otherwise did not sleep all of the 3 1/2 hours.

We ended up in Omaha sometime after 1:00.  Past normal nap time, but too early to check into the hotel, so we proceeded with our plan to head straight to the children’s museum, hoping keeping him occupied with fun activities would keep him from getting too grumpy.

It totally worked.  He had so much fun!

They had a room just full of balls that you could drop into various contraptions.

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They had dinosaurs (aka “Rawr”s).

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They had a splash table.

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What more could an almost-two-year-old ask for?

He played for an hour and a half or so and then was ready to leave with no complaint.

While we were waiting in the hotel lobby for G to check in, we sat down on a couch for some mama milk and Wolfie promptly passed the eff out.

We stayed at a hotel with an indoor pool and water park, so after nap and some dinner we went down to check that out.  Again, toddler paradise.  He completely wore me out bouncing back and forth between the pool and the splash pad and going down the slide.  We would return here many more times before we left.

Day two was the big Zoo excursion.  He did amazing.  His absolute favorite part was the aquarium.  He loves fish, which he calls “doo doo”s, thanks to the Baby Shark video.  He was mesmerized.

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I’m kicking myself for not getting a video of him staring wide-eyed up at the fish, pointing, and saying “doo doo” over and over and over.

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We would eventually go through this building twice.  I’m also kicking myself for not buying him a souvenir in the aquarium giftshop, to commemorate the occasion, since he won’t remember it.  They had the cutest stuffed fish, but I was worried about him getting grumpy in line.  At least we have pictures.

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And we’ll be back.

I didn’t manage to get any more pictures that day outside of the aquarium.  I tried to get one of a really cute polar bear, but my phone ate it.  Wolfie had his only vacation meltdown at the zoo.  Bad combination of too much stimulation, missing  nap time again, and going too long without a snack.  But he still calmed down relatively quickly with some mama milk on a train ride.

Day 3 found us at the art museum.  We were mostly there for the children’s room they had, but did take a quick stroll through some of the galleries.

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(I think I’m very funny.)

We made it through one small gallery of modern art and headed into a larger wing of the museum to look at some other (less interesting, really) stuff, but it wasn’t long before Wolfie spotted a water fountain and it was all over.

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After hanging out here for awhile, we stopped for a quick snack in their atrium.  Where my phone ate yet another picture of this huge blown glass sculpture that Wolfie loved because it looked like balls. (Purchase of a new phone may be in my near future)

Then it was outside to a little wading pool they had to do some real splashing, unlike he was able to do in the inside fountain.

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And then we finally made it to the children’s room, where he had so much fun.

Painting.

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Sculpting.

He was WORN OUT by the end of all that.  When we got to the car, all he wanted to do was nurse and sleep.  I may or may not have nursed him while he was in his car seat in order to be able to get him to sleep, get him strapped in, and get back to the hotel.

Our trip home the next day was much more uneventful.  He slept half the way or so.

The rest of our week off was not as fun, since the aforementioned cold spread to both myself and G, and turned into an ear infection for Wolf.  Then my cat also got sick, and I had to deal with the car situation.  But we survived.

Good Intentions

I have several things that have been tumbling around in my head that I want to write about, but am struggling to find the time.  I am going to at least list them here so I can have a reminder.  I will try to put these thoughts into actual writing over the next couple weeks.

  1. Traveling with a toddler, our recent family road trip
  2. Parenting when your partner has anxiety
  3. Why my kid is a “mama’s boy”
  4. The internal struggle over the second child question

Those are the big ones.  There might be more I am forgetting and may add later.

By way of a general update… my kid is still the best.  He’s getting a lot more independent and a little more strong-willed, but nothing that hasn’t been manageable to this point.  He is so sweet, caring, and empathetic, he makes me melt daily.

Since my last post was about communication, I thought I might provide an update on that as well.  Just as I was starting to wonder a little bit about his language skills, his vocabulary EXPLODED.  In the week vacation we had off together the first week in June, he must have learned 20 new words, and has been going strong ever since.  He’s even starting to pick up on stuff that I’m not specifically working on with him, like learning the names of two characters from his favorite movie (The Secret Life of Pets) just by watching it.  New words include:  Grover, Oscar, Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Abby (from Sesame Street, obvs), Max, Duke (see above), Bat (learned during our trip to the zoo), Rock (learned during our trip to the beach), Bird, Apple, Melon, Knees, Hands, and I’m sure a bunch of others that I’m forgetting right now.  He’s also now saying the words in addition to signing for Mama Milk, All Done, Please, and More.

Goose and I both received raises at work in the last month or so (though mine doesn’t go into effect until mid-July, his was backdated to Jan 1 and he received a nice little bonus of back pay).  We are really hoping to get into a better house within the next 2-3 years or so, and this will certainly help us get to that goal.  Our house isn’t terrible, just old with old-house kind of problems that we don’t want to invest in fixing.  And our neighborhood is very much less than desirable.  Never would I have thought I’d dream of living in some subdivision with the winding roads that I used to call “getting lost in suburban hell”.  But the idea of NOT having cars tear down the street as fast as they can while my kid is playing in the yard is very appealing.

Adventures in Toddler Communication.

I’ve been feeling like I should be doing a better job at helping Wolfie increase his communication skills, so I’ve been trying to actively teach him new words lately, with sometimes hilarious results.

Exhibit A:  So, for a while he’s known the word “phone”, but pronounces it “done”.  Also for awhile, we’ve been trying to get him to say “phone” by emphasizing the “fffff” sound.  Which now leads to him saying, “fffff-done”.  We’re really working on getting him to say his name.  He’s been doing a decent job at saying “Wah” for the first part.  So, once again, we’re making the “ffff” sound to try and get him to say the whole thing.  But we’ve been so good at associating “ffff” with “phone”, than now when he tries to say his name, it comes out “Wah-ffff-done”.  Doh.

Exhibit B: A similar case of “I only know this one sound as associated with one specific word”.  Yesterday, we were working on the word “happy”.  The only other word he uses that has a “p” sound is “purse”.  He says “happy” now, but to him it’s “hap-purse”.  That works, I guess.

Exhibit C: He loves to give the dog treats.  So we thought we might try to get him to tell the dog to sit.  When giving the dog treats yesterday, we were saying “tell her to sit”, “say sit, Truffle”, etc.  Then he very cooperatively sat his own butt on the floor.  I nearly fell over laughing.