Archive | September, 2012

Sleep training

30 Sep

This has been a big month on the sleep front. One day, I just couldn’t handle it anymore–we had gotten into a routine where every night I’d feed babe, put him to bed, and rub his back until he fell asleep. It allowed him to sleep in his crib without fuss, but I had to spend so much time doing it.   Sleep had deteriorated from 4 hour stretches when he was 6 months old to 2 or 3 hour stretches (thank teething, motor development, and social development for that…).  That meant I was feeding N many times every night.  Late into the night I’d usually just bring him to bed with me.

But somewhere between tooth 7 and 8, side-lying, all-night nursing stopped working for me.  I spent weeks leaking blood into my milk at every feeding. My nipples were back to cracked and peeling–and achy from the internal damage N was causing with his tight grip. I’m not sure exactly what the problem was, but it came down to a poor latch that damaged me, not unlike our nursing troubles when he was a newborn.

Well, I was done.  At a year old, I figured he needs a bit more sleep. I need more sleep.  And he can handle a bit of crying.  Crying has transitioned from “waah! it’s hard to be a baby! console me mom and get me the thing i don’t know I need” to a more frustrated “aaah! I don’t want to go to bed! I want to hang out with you guys! Aah! I’m too tired to handle life! I want to play! AAAAh!”

So, we tried a good ‘ol “cry it out.” I’m not a big fan of sleep training–I think our culture places really high expectations on the sleep patterns of babies–that they need to sleep through the night at just a few months. That they should follow some strict pattern. I’m a much more natural parent–I like to go with the flow, follow babe’s cues. . and just find what works for us.  And co-sleeping, all-night nursing was no longer working for us.

So, the first night we went through our nightime routine. Food. Bath. Quiet play. Nursing. Kisses. Turn on sleep sheep, turn on glow worm. Turn off light. Say “sleep, sleep, sleep” and instead of rubbing his back, I told him what a big boy he is, and that I’d be nearby. I kissed him. And I left.

He was so mad! He cried angry cries and sad cries.  Dad went in after about 5 minutes and confirmed that it was time to “sleep sleep sleep” (the verbal cue we have been using since he was just a few months). N cried some more. And after another 10 minutes, silence.

And he slept for 7 hours.

The next day, same routine. He cried for 10 minutes, max.  The next day, less than 5.  It’s been about 2 weeks now, and today he went to bed laughing with a smile on his face. I said sleep sleep sleep and left–not a peep from him.  He now wakes once at night–around 2:30 am and again around 8am.  We now feed on the futon/couch we put in N’s room, sitting up with him on my lap so I can make sure he’s latching correctly.  Sometimes he’s up for the day at 8, sometimes he’ll go back down for an hour or two. Much better than a month ago! We’re all much happier with the extra sleep!

I think we were so successful because I follow my baby’s queues. . . I could tell he was getting more independent and could transition to his crib. He wasn’t as hungry nursing at night so I could tell it was a comfort thing and not a nutritional thing. I am so happy to have N in his own room and finally be able to sleep in our comfortable bed with my husband all night. My hips are thankful. My nipples are thankful they’ve been saved from the all-night snack bar 🙂


12 months!

29 Sep

Russian baby cookies – hard, sweet, bread-rings that are a lot like pretzels. They’re awesome!

I’m finally getting this posted. . .a couple weeks late. Good thing I had a draft in my folder so I didn’t forget what N was up to when he turned one!!

No chair pics this time because a) we were too busy with teaching/party planning/moving for me to take them and b) the chair broke. .. and I couldn’t manage to fix it.  Hopefully once we get all unpacked and I find the piece that broke I can glue it back together.

So, without further ado. . .N at 12 months!

Naked dancing baby!

The stats: 25 pounds and 30 inches long. You’re a big boy!!  You’re still in size 4 diapers, size 18 mo clothes for the most part. They’re a little big, but 12 month clothes are a little small.

Nicknames: We’ve really pared-down the nicknames to our favorites: Muffin, bunny (zayets), chi-ki-ti-ta, Nikitos

Temperament: Fun! Sweet! Opinionated! We’re beginning to see your stubbornness come out.

What You’re Eating: Blueberries, tomatoes, avocado, peaches, eggs, cheese, macaroni and cheese .. . .although you’re beginning to throw yummy fruits and vegetables off your tray, preferring only the “white” foods.

Things I Could Do Without: Teething, round 2. You got your 8th tooth this month and you’re beginning to get your “fangs” and your molars.  This means trauma for your mama–i.e. painful feedings (I don’t think you have to worry about your iron levels–your milk comes with a nice dose of blood 😦 )

Item/Toy I Love The Most: Since you’re so mobile now, crawling and climbing everywhere, I’d have to say that your playpen and your play table are my favorites. You can burn energy and entertain yourself and not get into trouble!

Item/Toy You Love The Most: Mama? You’ve gotten a good does of separation anxiety this month and your favorite thing is to be in close physical contact with your mama. It may be because you’ve been spending so much time with grandma and grandpa and mom has been preoccupied with teaching, or it could just be a developmental state.  Either way, you love your ma. It’s cute.  Your first word even came this month (September 1- my due date with you!) when you sweetly looked up at me as I was rocking you to sleep and said “mama” with your little angel voice.  Since then, mama comes in many tones -insistent, excited, and in multiples -ma-ma-ma-ma ma!! I think it is your universal word that can mean anything. But I do love the feeling behind it when it really is directed towards me ❤

Things I’m Loving Most Right Now: Bonding with dad – in the mornings I get up early to go to teach (class at 9:30 am, so I’m usually up at 7/7:30 so I can drink coffee, eat, and catch the bus). You’re not awake yet, but I don’t want to leave you in the big bed alone where you can crawl off, so dad comes in and you snuggle till 10 or 11. It’s so cute!!  You two have all kinds of special moments, whether it’s after-bath tickles or cruising around stores in the stroller. I love to see your relationship grow.

Things You’re Loving Most Right Now: You love other kids – your birthday party was fun because of the other babies there! You love to go to stores and watch people and look at things. The big world out there is so fun. Most of all, you’re loving time with your grandparents who have been out here all month. You’re you’re lucky to have so many people who really really love you!!

This was a really big month for you, Nikitos – you said your first word, you got the balance to stand independently. You spend tons of time with grandma and grandpa (lucky boy!) and you’re having so much fun exploring the big world around you.  You TURNED ONE!! You, my angel, have been out in the world for one year. You are definitely our blessing and made our lives richer.  Happy birthday, my muffin!!

Bumps and bruises

26 Sep

My baby cut himself twice today 😦 ever since he got more mobile, he has started to get bumps and bruises. One day we were playing and he fell right on me and we bumped heads, forehead to forehead. It hurt so bad and we both had goose-eggs for a couple days.

All day today he has been crawling into things–so focused on crawling fast that he doesn’t even see where he’s going!

Tonight while giving him a bath he bonked his head on the edge of the tub. He likes to crawl all over the tub, but today he didn’t even have the chance. Just minutes after getting in, while still soapy, he leaned foreword hard a few inches and caught the edge. Cut his eyelid open 😦 Poor baby! He cried a bit, there was a trickle of blood, and then he was back to his giggly self 🙂


A couple hours later, he cut his finger on the heater. He’s always tinkering with anything he can touch. Not sure how he did it, but this one bled a lot!! Sigh. He’s now chillin in his car seat where he can’t hurt himself or anyone else (like me!). Can’t wait till he goes to sleep!!

…terrible night

26 Sep

Or, breastfeeding a teething baby.

N has 8 teeth and whenever a new one comes in, nursing is really painful for a few days as the sharp little tooth breaks and we both adjust to the new little razor in his mouth. I’ve not really had problems with biting; rather, the indent from his teeth and a loose latch have caused me endless damage. I’m back to sore and cracked nipples but the worst is the damage to the inside. One bad latch and the next day or so of feedings burns as it bleeds. Any scab inside re-breaks and sears as it both functions as milk delivery and heals.

We can see babe’s fangs coming in–bottom left and right are just under the skin. I wonder if they didn’t break thru last night. N. nursed to sleep sweetly to bed, woke briefly 2-3 hrs later and I easily rubbed his back and he slept. But a couple hours later he awoke, hungry. I went to bed with him (we still co-sleep) and–chomp!–searing pain! One bad latch and I was in tears. We switched sides and he made it back to sleep.

Probably an hour later I slowly awoke to a sobbing baby. Our nights usually have a bit of feeding and cuddling but I hardly remember in the morning. Last night was one of those horrible nights where you are sleeping so deeply that it’s difficult to discern dream from reality and when you do wake up, reality is disorienting and you’re confused.

I managed to feed him a bit, calm him, and go back to sleep.

Shortly thereafter, repeat.

The repeat was actually 4 hrs later and close enough to my alarm that I didn’t bother going back to sleep. But babe needed to, so I rubbed his back, offered to nurse, and chomp! the good side was damaged. Sigh.

So now I have 2 achy nipples (one with a visible crack/bleeding), little sleep, and a cranky baby. I’m glad to be heading to campus to get away and when I get home I’m headed for a nap.

Perfect evening…

25 Sep

Tonight was the perfect evening–we sat outside in our new yard as a family of 3. Dad grilled while babe and I played. The grill is a fancy propane one we got dad as an early birthday present, and N and I played in the box the grill came in 🙂

The meat (carne asada) was sooo good and babe was in a delightful mood. He had a fun day with grandma and grandpa. Dad just finished a series of 3 dental appointments so he had a huge weight lifted. We talked and we laughed and we spent time together.

baby’s new favorite place to play


22 Sep

I’ve been offline a lot recently because we’ve been busy living! It’s fun when you’re just too busy to be online – but also nice to return to a routine that allows it. Between working, celebrating, hanging with grandparents and now moving from an apartment into a house (!!) it’s been a bit crazy, but I’m looking forward to the calm that is coming 🙂

My two helpers…

My Baby is ONE!

22 Sep

This time last year we were first surviving the “big wait” as babe made his way into the world 2 weeks “late.” Then came his birth and our first weeks as parents. That was the most challenging part of my life thus far–the anticipation of a new human joining our life and then figuring out how to keep him alive and thriving.

Now, a year later, our lives are full! The past month has been crazy-busy. We’ve had weddings (for our video business), I taught full time. I planned a birthday party. And now we’ve found a house! The business continues for at least a couple more weeks, but I hope that soon we’ll settle into our new home 🙂

So – how did N spend his birthday? At the ZOO with his grandparents! Grandma, grandpa, N and I went to the zoo while dad stayed home and worked a bit and then cooked dinner. We had so much fun!

After the zoo, we went back home where dad was making Tseplyenok v tapake – that is, Georgian Fried Chicken. It’s a Georgian (as in the country, not the state) recipe for the yummiest fried chicken you’ll ever taste. And it’s quite the process–that includes putting a plate & full pot of water over the chicken to press it down into the frying pan. Funny but makes an awesome result.

After dinner, N. tried his first cake! He loved the sweet cream-cheese frosting and the colorful cake! Happy birthday, my little man 🙂