The Ferber Nightmare

For the past three nights we have been trying the Dr. Ferber method for getting Leah to bed. For those of you who don’t have any idea what the hell I am talking about, the Ferber Method is putting your baby down in the crib drowsy, but still awake. If the child cries you go in and reassure her after 5 minutes, then 10, then 15, and so on.

The first night went pretty well. For the first 15 minutes or so, Leah did not cry at all. She just sat in the crib talking to herself and playing with her little stuffed animals. Then she began to fuss a bit, but nothing too hysterical. I waited until she was really crying to go in and reassure her. I hugged and kissed her and told her that I love her, but that it was time to go to sleep. She continued to fuss off and on for only about 40 minutes before falling asleep. When I went in to check on her I found half of her crib toys, her mirror, and her Nuk on the floor! She also had her pants down around her knees. I wonder if she thought that throwing things out and taking off her clothes would get me to come in. She is pretty darn smart!

The second night was also not too bad. Again she lasted only an hour, but this time she cried the whole time, and it was a very angry cry at that. When I went to go check in on her, she would scream when she saw me. Even though she was more mad than anything, it broke my heart. After an hour of crying she quieted down and we assumed that she had gone to sleep. Dave went in to check on her and found her laying there awake. After he left the room she would let out one pathetic little wail every few minutes. It was so sad and pitiful, but eventually she went to sleep.

Last night she regressed. She wailed for an hour and a half before finally going to sleep a little after 9 o’clock. We sat in our bedroom and just listened to her screams feeling like the worst parents in the world. We went to bed once she was asleep, only to be awakened at 11:15. We waited 5 minutes to see if she could soothe herself, and then I went in. I hugged her and layed her down and rubbed her back. She was back to sleep in 2 minutes. Then she woke again at 12:30…she cried for 10 minutes before Dave went in and that made her scream even more, especially when he left again. I went in a little while later and layed her down again. I went to rub her head and she grabbed ahold of my hand and wrapped herself around it. She immediately went to sleep once she had the physical contact with me. It took me 20 minutes to slowly remove my hand and try to replace it with a little stuffed animal. It didn’t work. She woke up and cried as I was leaving the room and continued to cry until 2 o’clock in the morning.

I feel very uncertain today about whether or not this is going to work. I absolutely hate listening to my baby cry and not going in to comfort her. As hard as it is, though, I feel that I am giving her something very valuable if she can learn how to comfort herself and get some good sleep at night.

I can’t even say that it’s all bad. The good things are that I am no longer getting so frustrated at night. Before I would rock/cuddle her and sometimes it would take up to 4 hours to get her to go to sleep. She would thrash and change positions and try to get down. Dave and I would end up snapping at each other and there was just so much tension. Now, although listening to my baby cry is certainly not ideal, I am able to stay calm and when I go in I just talk to her in a soft voice, tell her that I love her and dole out kisses and hugs.

On the down side, she seems to associate me saying “I love you” with being put down in her crib…even when I say it during the day she lets out a wail!

Turning One is Fun!

Yesterday my daughter turned eleven months old. That means that we are only four weeks away from her being a year old. The time has gone by so quickly! Everyone told me that it would, but you don’t really believe that until you experience it.

I want to have a party for Leah, of course. Here is the problem: I have a huge family and not much money! I have two choices and they are keep it to immediate family, or invite everyone but don’t serve a meal. I am not sure which to do, but I had better decide quickly.

I am also stressing out over gifts. I want her to have some special, sentimental things from Dave and I. I am sure that she will get tons of toys and clothes, but I want her to have things that she will always keep from us. I got her a beautiful music box already. It plays “You Are My Sunshine”, my favorite lullaby to sing to her. I also wanted to make her a scrapbook and a slide show with all the best pictures of her first year of life. Who has time to do all this with a curious little one crawling around getting into stuff?

I really need to take a deep breath, relax, and reflect on what an amazing year that I have had with my daughter. That is what her turning one is really about. Parties and gifts are great, but to truly celebrate my daughter I need to de-stress and just enjoy what a wonderful little person she is becoming!

Happy, Sad

Lately I have been feeling so weird. I think I am a little depressed. It is impossible for me not to be overcome with joy on a daily basis when I look at my daughter. I enjoy life…how can I not? I get to stay at home with her and play all day. It is easy to get my housework and cooking done most of the time because she is so good and independent. Even the one day per week that I work is so much fun that I forget it’s a job.

But lately I find myself feeling guilty for switching things around. While I walk through the neighborhood with Leah asleep in her stroller, I look at the houses. I wish that we had our own house for my kids to grow up in. One with a big lawn for them to run around on and some trees so that we could build a tree house and hang a swing. I wish I could have had Leah’s nursery set up before she was born. I wish that I could have painted it pink, or yellow.

I also wish that Dave and I had gotten married first. How will I explain this to Leah when she is older? I never want her to think that she was a mistake. She wasn’t planned, but I have never regretted her for a second. My only regrets are the things that I can’t provide for her because of where I am at in life. I wish I was at a better place for her.

Maybe someday we will get married. Maybe someday we can afford a house and paint Leah’s room whatever color she wants. Or, heck, I’ll paint her a whole mural. For now, I will just have to make up for it with love. My daughter certainly gets that by the truckload!

My Daughter, the Comedian

How do you discipline a child who is less than a year old? I have no idea.

Last week I caught my 10 1/2 month old throwing Cheerios over the side of her high chair. She would get one in her pudgy little fist and hold it over the side, all the while looking at me with the most mischievous grin on her face. I would tell her not to do it, and then she would let go. It was hilarious. I laughed. Oops…

It wasn’t so funny when it was pasta with red sauce, last night.

“No no!” I told her. She laughed at me. I took away what was left on the tray.

Tonight I made chicken and vegetables for her. The entire dinner wound up the floor. She would throw a piece over and Dave or I would say “Leah, no!” very firmly, and she would laugh. After the tenth piece of chicken hit the floor, I swatted her hand, not hard enough to hurt, but hoping to get my point across. She laughed at me!

No matter what Dave or I said or did (which is not really much) she just thought she was being funny. Honestly, it was the funniest thing I had seen all day. I had to turn my  head away from her and take a deep breath in order to keep a straight face.

So, my daughter had no dinner tonight. She will get no cookies, but I highly doubt that she took notice of this. Don’t worry, I’m not starving her! She will get her bottle before bed.

What else can I possibly do to discipline her? She would not yet understand the concept of a time out, nor can I ground her or forbid her to watch Sesame Street. I guess I will just have to muddle through. Or buy a dust buster…

A Bad Mommy Moment

Wow, two posts in one day! I had to share a bad mommy moment that I had today. Leah slept twelve hours last night, which was great. However, this meant that she woke up with a sodden diaper and a very red bottom. So, I decided to let her be naked for a while before getting her dressed. The best thing for diaper rash is to air it out, and she loves being naked anyway.

I pretty much figured that she was going to pee on the floor. It happens every time that she is naked, and I just keep a spray bottle of Resolve on hand for this purpose. What I never could have guessed is that she would pee today at the exact moment that I turned my back to grab a roll of paper towels. I also never would have guessed that she would pee, not on the rug, but on the linoleum kitchen floor.

Well, that’s what happened, and she was standing up when it happened. So, of course, she slipped in her own pee and landed flat on her back. It might have knocked the wind out of her for a second, but mostly it just scared the heck out of her. I dropped the paper towels and ran over to Leah, picking her up and not caring that she was soaked.

Once she was comforted and calm, it began to dawn on me that her pee was not only all the way up her back, but in her hair as well. Oh, and on my shirt, too. I turned on the shower and we both got in!

So, what did I learn from this? Never leave a naked baby unattended in the kitchen!

Being A Mommy

On Mother’s Day I read a list called “You know you’re a mom when…” It was hilarious, and also true. It made me reflect on some of the things that have changed in my life since becoming a mom.

The major change for me is still sleep! I used to sleep about ten hours per night. Whenever I could I would sleep until eleven o’clock in the morning. I now consider seven “sleeping in”! Who would have thought that I would be able to get up in the middle of the night, too?

Another thing that has changed is that I used to close the door when using the bathroom. Now, not only is the door open, but me peeing is some kind of live show that my daughter delights in. Seriously, I wonder why she gets so excited to see me on the toilet. She crawls right up to me and then sits there and laughs.

Who would have thought that I would be excited to have a babysitter so that I clean uninterrupted? Or that it would take Dave and I two weeks to get a chance to watch a Netflix movie, or that I would enjoy buying baby clothes more than filling out my own wardrobe, or that I would enjoy reading Parenting Magazine rather than Cosmo?

Yes, my life has changed dramatically. My interests have changed, my daily activities, and most of all, my priorities. In my opinion (which in this case is the only one that matters!) my life has changed for the better. If I could go back and do it again, I would do everything exactly the same. I did not know what joy truly was until my daughter was born and she has enriched my life more than I could have imagined.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there who know exactly what I mean.

Let the Games Begin!

Leah has started throwing tantrums already. She is only 10 months old. It usually happens when she is tired. Or when she doesn’t get her own way or doesn’t want to eat whatever I have given her. Oh yeah, and when I am getting her dressed.

She will throw herself down, or if I am holding her arch her back. She screams and wiggles and kicks at me. It’s awesome. At first I would say dumb things such as “Leah, no-no!” or “You need to stop.” This only seemed to anger her more.

Last night she had a real humdinger of a tantrum. I was cuddling with her, trying to get her in the mood for sleep. She did not want to be cuddled, apparently. She started screaming and hitting at me and trying to get out of my arms. So, instead of saying anything I just put her down on the floor and ignored her.

She did her thing for about 5 minutes and then began to calm down. She layed there on the floor quietly soothing herself. I continued to ignore her, not wanting to reward her behavior. Then a miraculous thing happened. Leah got herself up and hugged my leg for a minute. Then she crawled away and went back to happily playing.

My daughter apologized to me, in her own way. I guess I have found a good strategy for dealing with her tantrums, at least for now.