Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Crash, cry and play

We are in the midst of Spring Break.  Yea!

I love it when all the kids are home.

Free labor.

Actually it's not free.  I have paid for it a million times. I have to make lunch for eight people every day.  I can handle breakfast and dinner but lunch just stinks.

Today I'm having a hard time convincing the kids that my plans to spring clean the back yard count as an awesome break activity.  I just keep repeating my favorite vacation mantra--"this is a break from school not from life."

We just  got home from a trip to Wyoming to visit Jim and Heidi (Rustin's sister) and their seven awesome kids.

Our kids love each other.  It is so fun to be able to turn everyone loose.  The weather was perfect.  Sunny with no wind. Everyone was happy and none of my kids complained a bit about cleaning up leaves from their cousins' lawn.  Go figure.

Jackson had a few complaints about the 19 hours spent in the car.  It definitely could have been a lot worse.  We discovered a few tricks while driving.  Jackson likes grape pop in a sippy cup.  Yes.  I'm an awesome mom.  He also likes to play (look at) a Nintendo DS--he cried almost as much as Austin when we tried to take it away from him.

This weekend Dallin discovered that he is indeed mortal.  He wrecked on the motorbike.

He wasn't injured any more than usual but I think he realized that the bike can fall over and he can get injured.  He admitted to me that he said a lot of prayers on the ride back.  I think it was totally good for him.  I'm hoping Landon and Austin can learn by watching Dallin's wreck rather than from personal experience but I'm not going to hold my breath.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

To sleep or not to sleep...the results.

Night one: I put  Jackson down at about 9:50 when he was starting to dose off. He cried for about 10 minutes.  I almost went in three times.  I could have sworn ten minutes was at least half an hour.  Rustin convinced me that he was about to fall asleep.  And he did. Woke up at 3:30 but I was so tired by the time I got up to get him he was back to sleep. Slept until 7.

Night two:  Cried for 5-6 minutes then went to sleep.  Slept all night. (by slept all night I mean he slept until our normal wake up time at just before 7.  I consider 5 or 6 am wake-ups middle of the night...)

Night three: Cried for a couple of minutes and went to sleep. Slept all night.

Jack is still taking three naps a day:  8:30 or 9, 12:30 or 1 and 5 or six.  The middle nap is the longest.  Sometimes he wakes up halfway through and I lay down by him and let him nurse back to sleep.  I don't mind.  I suspect when summer hits and we are out more he won't nap as much.  Things are working well for now so I'm not too worried.

Moral of the story: Letting babies learn to sleep all night alone isn't such a big deal.  It is definitely easier on everyone if we just start with newborns so sleeping alone is familiar but older babies can learn to sleep alone also.   There is something to be said for following a mother's instincts.  I tried letting Jackson go to sleep alone for naps and bedtime when he was about 9 months and he just cried and cried and turned into a whiny clingy baby.  I went back to nursing him to sleep for a couple of months and this time around it was a piece of cake.  He even went to sleep alone and slept all night while we were out of town.

This proves my theory true--everything is a stage.  Nothing lasts forever whether it is good or bad so I need to enjoy the good and not worry about the bad.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

To sleep or not to sleep...the plan.

 Here's the plan.  My own version of the Ferber method.

First--limit daytime naps to two times per day: 9 or 9:30 and 1 or 1:30.  It will be hard to keep him up until that 1 pm time but I think it will help with evening.  For now I am going to nurse him and let him sleep in my bed for nap time. I suspect once he starts sleeping longer at night we will get rid of the morning nap.

Second--Jackson has to go to sleep by himself in bed at bedtime. As cute as it is, he can't go to sleep while I am reading to Jenna and Benson (who are currently sharing a room...).  I know from past experience that if he wakes up crying he is disoriented and will cry for hours. To begin with I am just going to put him down drowsy but awake. Either I or Rustin will go in every 15 or 20 minutes so he knows we are still here. We will pick him up to calm him down but we will put him back in his crib to go to sleep my himself.

Third--night time.   I haven't ever had a child wake up at night once he went to sleep by himself at bedtime.  We will see how Jack does. I'm hoping he will just sleep.  If not I guess I will be ordering that Ferber book...

To sleep or not to sleep...

I've broken my own rules.
You'd think being a mom of six would make me pretty wise in the raising kids department.
But no.  Apparently I'm a slow learner.

Or maybe I just realize that there just aren't any rules for parenting.  Every child comes with their own rule book. Only they don't actually give you the rule book with the child...

I think if we had only three or even four babies we would probably be patting ourselves on the back for being awesome parents. Six has made us wise. Now we know that we don't know anything.

We started out completely clueless with the twins.  We learned the hard way that babies have to go to sleep alone if they are going to sleep through the night.  They were a year old before we finally put them down awake in their beds to sleep.  They cried 45 minutes the first night, 30 minutes the next and after that just a few minutes of fussing and they were off to dream land.  Why on earth did we wait a year?! we would ask ourselves.

With Austin we learned that it is much easier to start sleep training with an infant.  I would just put him down a few seconds before he drifted off so that the last thing he remembered was being alone in his crib.  If he got really fussy I would just pick him up again until he calmed down and then I would put him down before he was completely asleep. As he got older he would sometimes cry a bit in bed but never for long. He always slept through the night.

Jenna came along when Austin was 3 1/2 and we were totally 'experts' in the baby department.  We started putting her down just before she drifted off to sleep from the beginning and she slept from 10 or 11 to 6am by four weeks and by three months she slept from 6:45pm to 7am every night with a good two hour nap in the afternoon.  She rarely cried and  she was happy and easy going... We patted ourselves on the back.

Then came Benson.  He was Fussy.  That's with a capital F.

That little one could not regulate himself at all.  He  napped in little short unpredictable spurts and woke every two or three hours all night.  I would put him down slightly awake and he would just get more and more agitated until he was screaming.  There was no fussy-winding-down period.  This was a really hard time for me.  We had just moved to Idaho so I really didn't have any good friends.  Jenna and Benson are only 15 months apart and Austin was four or five and still at home.  Dallin and Landon were really struggling with dyslexia in 2nd grade so adding a fussy non-sleeping baby to all of that was the recipe for Depression with a capital D.  It took a year to recover from that state of depression by the way...

At six months I truly reached a desperation state. I had tried putting Benson down alone but when he cried he didn't just kind of fuss, he cried this desperate sad wailing cry.  I just killed me.  I mean physical pain. I couldn't stand it.  I read seven (SEVEN!) books about how to get your child to sleep.  All the big titles.  (Healthy sleep habits Happy child, Babywise, The No Cry Sleep Solution, Solve your child's sleep problems...) I was searching for an easier way.

There isn't an easier way. They all involve some crying.

The Ferber method (Solve your Child's Sleep Problems) is my favorite and most of the books I read are variations of the Ferber method. Read more about the Ferber method here. And I also read a good article here.

How long should a baby sleep? This is a good sleep chart.

Basically there are three parts:
*Have a sleep routine and stick to it.  Include some soothing activities to prepare the baby for sleep.
*Put the baby in bed and leave the room.
*Go back in to comfort the baby in increasing long intervals--five minutes then ten minutes etc.

I had to either continue the path and  let him sleep with me (with me not sleeping), get up with him every couple of hours until he was four or five and could sleep alone or I could follow the method and  let him learn to go to sleep alone.

We chose the latter. He cried through his naps (and would fall asleep later while eating and rocking with me) and he cried 6 or 7 hours (I was always checking on him) when put in bed at night.  It didn't help to go in and comfort him--he would just get more and more upset. I filled his crib with binkis and eventually he would grab a binki and lay down and sleep.

Finally the third night he cried a little less before he went to sleep.  By a week he was taking naps again and crying for an hour or so at bedtime.  By two or three weeks he was taking all his naps in his crib and going to sleep without crying at all.  He never woke up at night again.  He slept through all his toddler years better than any of the other kids and he went back to being the smiley, happy, easy-going kid he is today.

So then Jackson joined the family.

I forgot everything I learned.

I just snuggle him in bed with me for naps and we snack and snooze: eat, sleep, eat some more, sleep some more...  He was sleeping through the night most of the time so I didn't worry about it but the last month or two haven't been great in the sleep department.  I'm tired. When I'm tired I don't get a lot done. I have truly enjoyed this babe but I have been ignoring some important things.  Laundry, budgeting, healthy eating/exercise and really cleaning my house are just a few.

It is time for Jackson to sleep alone so I can get a decent night's sleep and he can learn some self-soothing skills.  I'm working on a plan and I am writing this down to hold myself accountable.

Monday, March 12, 2012

And again.

Another injury.

It looks like Dallin tore the lateral  meniscus on his left knee playing in the Explorer scout basketball tournament the other day.  Poor kid is walking like an alien.  I'm sure his weird straight-legged-side-leaning gait is making great impressions at the stake dance tonight...

He is most discouraged because he was merely seconds from getting on the "wall of 5" at school. The wall of five is for people who run the mile in under six minutes.  Dallin and Landon both hate it when people say that big guys aren't fast so Dallin has been running and running to prove 'everyone' wrong.  I think his last time was 6:10. So close.

We are going to try a couple of weeks of physical therapy to see if things get better.  If not...we head to surgery. Poor Dallin. Or maybe poor me.

Otherwise is it buisness as usual around here.

Jackson is so darn cute. And mischievous.
Jackson has been climbing on things since before he could walk.
He hoists himself up onto this old worn out playhouse that sits next to the computer.
He stands there with whatever prize he hauled along...

Then he squawks until someone comes to get him down.
Unless I ignore him long enough and then he gets himself down.
What a life.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

60 second nutella cake

We found the most addictive and delicious snack.  I fear we are in some serious trouble.

click on the picture to see it up close

One box of Angel Food cake mix.
One box of chocolate cake mix.
               Mix the two thoroughly.

Three tablespoons of the mix
Two tablespoons of water
One minute (or less...) in the microwave.

It just magically turns into this light, fluffy-textured cake.

If you eat it all by itself  it has only 115 calories and 0.5 g fat.
On the old Weight Watchers plan that's only 2 points.

Of course we created a few variations:

Mix a spoonful of Nutella into the better before baking.  Yum.

Add a spoonful of marshmallows before baking. Yum.

Mix a spoonful of peanut butter and a spoonful of chocolate chips into the batter.  Super Yum.

Eat it with whipped cream.  Or ice cream.  Or Nutella and peanut butter and whipped cream...

This is perfect in a medium sized paper cup.  No dish washing is always a bonus.

Monday, March 5, 2012

What I've been doing in my spare time...

I give up.  I have asked, pleaded, no avail.

I think I am finally accepting that my children will be injured.

Last year we spent $22,000 on medical bills, medicine and insurance.  Seriously?! Seriously.   We were hoping to put our resources to better use this year.  Apparently we wished in vain.  Here's what Landon's hand looks like:
4th metacarpal fracture

Landon lost a boxing match with a basketball.  Actually he just jumped up to block a long pass in his last basketball game and somehow managed to brake the 4th metacarpal.  Not just broken but displaced.  The orthopedic surgeon was able to set the bone fairly well so we are hoping he won't have to have surgery or pins.

For the record--this is the third time Landon has broken a bone in his hands and his fourth broken bone.  Last fall he broke his left hand in a football game and he finished playing the game.  He did the same with basketball.  He played another {almost} two quarters with his hand broken.  He missed all his foul shots and he couldn't dribble.  I suppose we'll cut him some slack.

I knew his hand was broken.  I recognized the look on his face.  Or call it mother's intuition.  I really wanted to go down and tape things up and get some ice but 8th graders can't have their mothers babying them.
Can they.

So Landon is my excuse for taking a week to fix and reconfigure this blog.  I'm such an amateur. But I learned some new tricks on Photoshop.  And I figured out how to center my heading.

I'll post some tricks and tips tomorrow.

Assuming I'm not in some doctor's office.