A few months ago, I made the silly mistake of asking the girls where they wanted to go for breakfast. And by silly, I mean STUPID. So, so stupid.
Because, of course, they couldn’t agree on a place. Grace wanted to go to the pancake place (her general name for restaurants that serve pancakes) and Claire wanted donuts. They argued round and round and we ended up just eating at home. Grace was devastated because she loves eating out, so I told her that one of these weekends, I’d take her to the pancake place just the two of us.
She’s asked me about it several times over the past few months, but the time was never right. This past weekend, I finally made good on my promise.
Scott took Claire to get donuts and Grace, Henry and I went to the pancake place where neither of us had pancakes. (Side note: while eating donuts, Claire told Scott: "I look kind of like your date." How adorable is that?)
On the way there, Grace was explaining why this was such a good idea: “Sometimes we just need apart time. Sometimes you and Daddy argue and sometimes Claire and I get mad, so we just need to be apart.”
Scott and Claire agreed to bring Grace a donut, so Grace wanted to surprise Claire with a stuffed animal. When they were reunited, Grace whipped out the stuffed animal and said “Surprise!”
Claire loved it and Grace came running to me, “She loves it! She loves it!”
Turns out absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Up next weekend: Mom, Claire and Henry head one way. Dad and Grace go the other.
One time in college I thought I might end up living on the East Coast. No really, I did. I know, I can’t believe it either.
For one, I’m a midwesterner through and through. I mean I have a picture of hay bales on my living room wall for crying out loud. I’m certainly not East Coast material.
For two, I could never live that far from our families. This past month has shown me just how much I rely on them for support, help, love and laughs. Just in the past few weeks:
1. A few weekends ago, my brothers and my parents helped us put in a new sliding door, replace two toilets and fix a flooring issue. IN ONE DAY. They were here for a total of twelve hours and then came back the next morning to finish up a couple of things.
2. Then a few days later, my parents came over to trim up the overgrown trees and bushes. I think they were here for about twelve hours that day, too. I didn’t even realize we needed it so badly — they just offered because they are AMAZING. Yesterday, they came back again to help finish it up. Why? Because they are AMAZING.
3. My mom comes over during the week to help watch Henry while I work. And cooks dinner for the whole family once a week at Family Dinner Night. It's a magical couple of hours during the middle of the week that I get to spend with the people I love most (miss you Carrie) and eat my mom's home cooked meals, which make everything right in the world.
4. My sisters and mom spent the day with us painting rocks, blowing bubbles and generally making memories at the local mini-maker faire. Oh, and helping me clean up an explosive poopy diaper. But you probably don't want to hear about that. Oops. Too late. :)
5. Scott’s parents drove up two weekends in a row to celebrate Scott’s birthday and then to help us celebrate at the pep rally before the first football game.
6. And his mom just recently drove up to spend some time with the girls and Henry for the afternoon.
I feel so immensely grateful for the love and support of all these people. I don’t know what we would do without them.
Snag a nap. Fold some clothes. Clean the kitchen. Play with your five-year-old kiddos. Doesn’t matter what you do. You have 40 minutes to do it.
That might sound like a decent amount of time to do any of those things. But here’s the kicker:
After those 40 minutes are up, so is your baby. Except he’s not actually ready to be up, so he’s cranky and generally ticked off that he’s awake. He doesn’t want to swing in his swing or bounce in his bouncy seat or play on his play mat. He wants you to hold him because that’s all that will do when he’s so tired.
Then, when it’s time to eat, he falls asleep while he’s eating, so he doesn’t eat well and then he wakes up while you burp him and he starts screaming because “WHY DID YOU WAKE ME UP, LADY!?!?!”
And then you have to put him back to sleep after he eats because he’s so tired. But he’s overtired, so he won’t just let you lay him in bed and fall asleep. You have to rock and bounce and walk and shush and swing from the rafters if that’s what it takes.
Once you get him to sleep, the 40-minute timer starts over again. And you do that all day long until you finally pass out at the end of the day.
I was at my wit’s end.
I spent days reading the Internet’s advice.
“Put your baby to sleep when he’s drowsy, but not overtired.”But he’s ALWAYS overtired.
“Look for signs of sleepiness.”You mean like the constant fussing he does ANY TIME he’s awake?
“After he wakes up from his first sleep cycle, try getting him back to sleep.”Thanks, Captain Obvious.
I finally stumbled upon some advice that went beyond what I already knew. I turned up my white noise machine and tried to get into a different rhythm “sleep, eat, play.” That different rhythm has helped tremendously. He is eating better, playing during play time, showing signs of sleepiness, which allows me to get him into his bed when “he’s drowsy, but not overtired.”
I’ve been doing this for the past five days or so and so far it’s working. He still wakes up at the 40-minute mark, but most of the time, I have been able to bridge that gap between sleep cycles. And only once in the past five days have I needed to rock, bounce, walk and shush him to sleep. I put him in his bed, swaddled, binkied with loud white noise and he nods off in about a minute or two. HOORAY!
Now, two things.
1. I have had a catnapping kid before and I know from experience that every time you “figure it out,” they change things just to screw with you.
2. I also know that when I say these things out loud, Karma comes a knockin’ because she thinks I’m too smug.
So, I know this won’t last, but I’m going to enjoy it until it does.
You turned three months old last week. THREE MONTHS!! And boy, oh boy, are you the cutest thing we’ve seen in a long time!
You have started babbling and squealing and it melts my heart every single time. And I just can’t get enough of that smile.
You are also more aware of your surroundings. When I’m putting you to sleep, I try to avoid eye contact because if our eyes meet, you forget all about being tired and just break out into this huge grin. But sometimes I just can’t resist.
You have also, truth be told, given me a headache or two this month. We transitioned to one less feeding a day, but in the days before I figured out that was the problem, there was a lot of screaming. From both of us. You screamed, I tried 678 things to figure out why you were screaming, and then I’d scream. Not at you, of course. You were all “Mom, I don’t need any more food!!” And I was all “But you normally eat now!!”
So, long story short, I took out a feeding, which, in turn, stretched out the time in between feedings and you are a much happier little guy. And I’m a much happier Mama.
You’re still sleeping like a champ at nights, which is good because I need all the energy I can muster to power through your lack of sleep during the day. But that’s another blog for another day.
Other than those little bumps in the road, life with you is just peachy.
Claire asks me at least once a day “Mom, isn’t he just the cutest baby ever??” I always agree with the exception of her and Grace. You are all three so different and so perfect in my eyes.
This month you finally started smiling at Grace, which you hadn’t really done yet — mostly because she doesn’t have the patience to sit still long enough that you can make eye contact. But the moment you shared that smile with her, she broke out into an ear-to-ear grin.
Every once in awhile I catch myself just staring at you in total awe and I count my lucky stars every single day that I get to love you.