Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy 4 Months, Declan!

Today Declan turned 4 months old. His well visit to the doctor went ... well! He did get a few shots, but only cried for a moment. We got a pamphlet about starting him on solid foods, and stopped by Target on the way home to pick up some rice cereal.

Most importantly, the doctor said that now is the time for sleep training (cry-it-out), if we want to. He recommended doing it between 4-6 months, because after that those babies are too crafty, and much too manipulative. It becomes exponentially harder to get your way ....

I'm very excited and apprehensive and a mite sad to start sleep training. I know it's going to be hard to listen to him cry, even though I do believe that it's the healthiest for everyone in the long run. He'll sleep better and we'll sleep better.

I have to confess, I've held him (or sometimes Keith or Grandma Karen) every night since he's been born. He doesn't like sleeping on his own. In the past month, he's slowly transitioned to taking all of his naps in a bouncy seat. (Keep in mind, what that means is, for the first 2 months, he was pretty much being held 24/7.) In the past week, we've put him down in the bouncy seat when we go to bed until he wakes up (usually around 1 o'clock). I feed him, and then take him to bed with me. It's possible he could go back into the bouncy seat and sleep, but I'm too tired to risk him deciding NOT to sleep at that point, so I'd rather just sleep with him.

I'm very excited at the thought of returning to some kind of schedule. I long to have something of an assurance (although never an iron-clan guarantee) of getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night, without holding a baby, on a pretty regular basis. It will be a huge step towards returning to Normal Life, although I am sure Normal Life with 2 kids will still be somewhat uncharted territory.

At the same time, I'm sad to give up sleeping with him. I've gotten so used to it over the past 4 months that it doesn't bother me nearly as much as you'd think. In Normal Life, if I had to sleep for hours without rolling over, that would be torture. But now, it's just what I do. The best part after a middle of the night feeding, when he goes right back to sleep and we climb back into bed. I lay down with him on my chest. He snuggles in, often reaching a hand up to curl around my neck or on my shoulder. I will miss those moments very much. Suddenly he'll be sleeping on his own, and those moments will be few and far between. And then I'll blink, and he'll be too big to lay comfortably on me anymore. Or too squirmy, or both.

Infancy is such a short time. I'm actively trying to do a better job, this time around, of understanding that fact, and appreciating my beautiful baby boy while he's still a baby. When Declan wakes up from his nap (because, of course, naps are the only reason I ever get anything done during the day!) I'm hoping he's still a little sleepy so I can pick him up and cuddle him and marvel at his pudgy little baby perfection.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

February Update

Still here! We're all settling into our post-holidays routine. Well, some of us are. Declan hasn't been very good about sleeping through the night. I'm not saying he has to sleep 10 hours straight (although that would be nice ...), but after about a week of only waking up once in 7 hours, he's now gone back to waking up and eating every 2 hours at night. Not cool! Like many facets of baby behavior, I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope that this development fades away soon.

Something I never got around to mentioning earlier is that I am teaching this semester. I was on the fence about whether I was ready to go back or not. I told my department coordinator it would only make sense for me, fiscally, if I had an evening or online class so we didn't have to pay for childcare. At first there wasn't anything like that available, and I was equal parts disappointed and relieved. But then an evening class opened up, so now on Tuesdays and Thursdays I give Keith a quick kiss when he gets home from work, hand over the kids, and run out the door. I've really been enjoying it! They're a good class and it's a nice change of pace from being a SAHM. It's gratifying to do something that isn't undone a few hours later (changing diapers, washing laundry, cleaning the kitchen, making meals). I think it's a lot harder on Keith, though, to come home after being at work/commuting for 10 hours, to then be charge of the kids for nearly 3 hours. It wouldn't be that bad, except Declan has made it clear that he doesn't approve of this arrangement. We're both keeping our fingers crossed that he changes his mind soon, or at least stops protesting so vociferously, because if he keeps this up I think Keith might need a hearing aid by the end of the semester.

I think those are the only major developments. Our winter has been very mild, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it continues! When I need to get out of the house, I usually take Beckett on walks around the block (a mile). I've been much more prone to that since the snow melted and hasn't really come back. Plus, Eleanor has ridden her tricycle with us the past two times. I've been so impressed with her, riding for a whole mile! She's so motivated; not once has she asked me to carry her or push her along. Sometimes she needs one or two pushes to get over cracks, uphill, etc, but just for a few seconds and then she's off again. Watching her race ahead of me, it's almost like I see her growing up before my very eyes.

Yesterday she wanted something with her lunch. "After all," she reminded me, "I'm almost 4 years old."

I know, sweetheart. It will be here before we know it! And then, suddenly, you'll be 33 and living in a purple house and a professional ballet dancer, just like you're planning. Life changes so fast!