Category Archives: relationships

Bedtime Redemption?

(Notice the question mark… after the past three months, I’m unlikely to be declarative about most things…)

As noted, the Pacifier Fairy (and some other things that are still being sorted out) had some unintended consequences in our house. Namely, Boopsie’s ability to fall and stay asleep disappeared. Gone.

At first, we tried to soldier on as we had… two books, potty and brush teeth, one book, go to sleep with some books in bed to look at. And it didn’t work. We tried putting her back in bed without talking to her (one night we did that 32 times). We tried doing bed checks (she would scream bloody murder and kick her closed door). In desperation, we began laying on her floor while she fell asleep, which could regularly take 75 minutes or more.

Reacting how I normally do when faced with a parenting dilemma, I reached for my old standby — books. I re-read pertinent sections in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Family, The No-Cry Sleep Solution, and The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight. I also hired a parenting coach, who suggested that Boopsie may have some sensory integration dysfunction.

In the interim, Daddy-o and I were having to stay in Boopsie’s room until she fell asleep and then we were often  called back in there in the middle of the night to sleep on the floor (in the middle of the winter, in the northland, as an alternative to having her end up in our bed). It. Was. Hell. This was all additionally complicated by travel and tantrums and being generally shell-shocked by the changes in our kid.

So we tried the “sleep shuffle” from The Sleep Lady’s Good Night Sleep Tight. And it took about three weeks. And it worked. Sort of.  But our kid still wouldn’t really nap and was waking still in the night. Oh, and she wasn’t actually falling asleep (usually) until close to 10 p.m. (Side note: Sleep deprived preschoolers and having one parent “booked up” with a kid until 10 p.m. every night are not great marital aids.)

Man and child outside Build A Bear Workshop

Daddy-o and Boopsie with the bunny.

We got a new night light. We got a new clock for her room. We tried letting her color in bed. We started playing music in her bedroom.We tried a reward chart. It took her 42 days to earn 15 stars. She earned a trip to Build A Bear workshop and was so overwhelmed by the crowds that she didn’t want to build a bear. So she picked a bunny she was thrilled about.

Then she got sick (and then we got sick).  And she needed more help falling asleep and we were back to sitting in the rocker in her room, trying to get her to stay quietly in bed, often threatening to leave and do checks (and sometimes leaving and doing checks). I felt like a hostage.

Finally, last week, with help from the parenting coach, I re-made bedtime again. The first two nights were tough, with tears and me having to prove to Boopsie that I would not come back to her until 9 minutes was up (she was gated in her room), no matter what she said. But then I made a little tweak and bedtime has gotten much better. In fact, one night my kid fell asleep on her own before 9 p.m. And she’s consistently falling asleep on her own (okay, is six days enough to say “consistently”?). Without tears. I won’t bore you with the details of her new bedtime routine because what works for one kid has no guarantee of working for another kid. I will say this: I cherish the time and mental energy I’ve gotten back. Getting 1-2 hours back into our evening has made Daddy-o and I much happier people. We can do little things around the house. We can have uninterrupted conversations. We can watch a TV show. We can work if we need to. We can just freaking be.

You may be wondering why we didn’t have her “cry it out.” I was actually very close to doing this in December. I queried other parents via Facebook and got a lot of support and tips. Here’s the thing: One thing that has been reinforced for us over the past three months is that Boopsie is an incredibly intense kid. And with the question of sensory issues still on the table, along with her the length and strength of her tantrums, we truly did not have any confidence that it would work. If anything, we figured she’d cry for hours until she passed out. And that wasn’t going to help her re-learn to relax and fall asleep. I don’t begrudge anyone who tries the “CIO” approach, but for our kid, it was a no-go.

So here I am… enjoying a whole hour of time I didn’t have this night a week ago, feeling like maybe, just maybe, we have found the bedtime promised land again. (As a superstitious person of Irish descent, I’m almost certain that by talking about this it’s all going to hell in a handbasket. Let’s hope not.)

Sweet dreams to you and yours…

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Filed under books, creativity, drudgery, lessons, relationships, sleep

Pacifier Fairy, Part 2

Wow. I was supposed to write this post more than two months ago. In fact, I even drafted it. It was going to be about how we sent a couple of “prep notes” from the paci fairy, and how Boopsie helped pack up all the pacifiers into a plastic bag, and how she helped me set them in the yard. And how she cried some at that bedtime, but slept all night and went on to get over it really quickly.

But then something happened. On the day after I posted Pacifier Fairy Part One, all hell broke loose with our kid. What do I mean by all hell breaking loose? Well, let’s see:

  • She went on a sleep strike… bedtime became a multi-hour battle, naps were treacherous
  • She started having epic, violent tantrums including throwing things, hitting and kicking
  • Her personality changed into one I didn’t really recognize. Boopsie became much more anxious, whiny and angry.

I’m not sure how to convey the impact this had on our family, in part because we are still trying to find our way out. Our attempts to find our way out have included:

  • Scouring the interwebs
  • Hiring a parent coach
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Putting a lock on the outside of her door
  • Multiple trips to the pediatrician
  • Reading books… lots of books (more on those to come)

We’re still trying to figure out if we’re somewhere on the continuum of “normal” or if there’s something else going on with Boopsie that we need to address. But that’s what’s been happening in the silence — stress, fear, anger, exhaustion and worry. So much worry. Thankfully, there’s been joy, too, and fun. And I think (and hope and pray) that we’re getting back somewhere more familiar.

All that to say… hello, strangers. More soon.

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Filed under adventures, lessons, mom guilt, relationships, sleep

Birthday Recap – Deux

Oh, the Boopsie turned 2! Of course she was (not really) getting over a nasty cold virus, so we started out the day by going to the doctor, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles. For her second birthday Boopsie received a scoot bike (which she won’t scoot on), some flashcards (yep, I am THAT lame), books and a coloring book. We also took her out to a fabulous local bookstore and had ice cream (cookies and cream for me and vanilla basil for Daddy-o and Boo… so high-brow!). We finished up the day by letting her eat as much damn ketchup as she wanted with her diner. She was thrilled.

We spent the rest of the weekend getting ready for the party on Sunday. Rather, I spent the rest of the weekend getting ready for the party and Daddy-o tried to avoid my wrath (with minimal success). After a great deal of thought, I went for the standard Elmo cupcakes:

Elmo Cake and Cupcakes

Birthday cake. From a mix! And topped with artificial colors, no less…

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Last year I was anxious about giving her cake with added sugar and this year I was doling out seriously artificially colored candy Elmo’s on the top of cupcakes made from a mix with ingredients I can’t pronounce. Crikers!  At this rate, next year I’ll be handing her a five pound bag of sugar, a spoon, and a beer and calling it good.

The party was fun, and Boopsie received a bunch of presents (though I’d tried to limit them). I’d have to say the faves so far are the “baby” from Grammie and Grampie, the baby cradle from Grandma and Grandpa, and “baby bear” — a Build-a-Bear workshop bear from her aunt and uncle and cousins. We ate pizza, we ate cake. We sang “Happy Birthday,” at which point Boopsie grinned from ear to ear. She was so happy I thought she’d float right out of her chair. Good party.

Once everyone left, Boopsie hit the wall. The evening ended with her, in just a diaper, laying on the bathroom floor wailing because she didn’t want to brush her teeth. I had to sympathize because I myself have sometimes spent the evening of my birthday on the bathroom floor, though almost never in my underwear and usually not crying. (I was in college…) Because I’m a mean mom who likes to snap photos of my crying child to show her later in life, I have this:

Baby facedown on bathroom floor

Praying to the porcelain (plastic) god? I sure hope not!

We’ve all recovered and now Boopsie only occasionally walks around singing “Birthday to me, birthday to me.” This weekend we’re going camping… a true family adventure. Please wish us luck…

In other news, tonight I prepared for a wellness screening at work tomorrow by eating 520 calories worth of gummy bears tonight. Long live Haribo!

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Filed under adventures, Fun, relationships

Holy Gun Shy, Batman.

I just hired a new day care provider. Gulp.

And very soon I have to tell Miss C that Boopsie is moving. GULP.

It will be about six weeks before Boopsie starts at her new day care. From my first conversation with Miss A, I got really good feelings about her and how warm she is. Daddy-o and I interviewed her and we liked her and the environment a lot. She has the kids spend a LOT of time outside in her nice big, fenced backyard (complete with play houses and structures, etc.) and she does a little curriculum with them each day during the school year (circle time, counting, letters, songs, etc.).

Then I called a reference (whose kids go there and who is a backyard neighbor), who said, “Even before I had kids, I was really impressed with how Miss A runs her day care. The kids have a lot of fun and she keeps them in line without ever yelling.” The reference also brought up (without me prompting) how open she feels the communication is between her and Miss A as one of the best things about the day care. The other favorite was how warm and caring Miss A is. As for anything the reference would change? Just having Miss A open on Fridays.

Yes, you read that right. Miss A is closed on Fridays. And yes, we’re a little nuts for doing this, even though I usually don’t work on Fridays. But I think it’s the right thing. I pray it’s the right thing.

So now I have to break up with Miss C. And I actually am hoping we can keep Boopsie there on some Fridays. And now that it might be over, I’m really finding myself focusing on all the (many) good things about Miss C. How’s that for wishy-washy? I almost wish she would do something to tick me off… like give Boo some peanut butter or something. (Not really, but it would make it easier. And for all of our challenges, I do respect her.)

And advice on day care break-ups?

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Filed under adventures, day care, mom guilt, relationships

(General) Holiday Observation

After some thought over the last couple of days, I have decided the following observation is (generally) true:

(Generally) Men (generally) like holidays because they (generally) just show up and eat.

Agree? Disagree. Discuss, please.

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The Stomach Flu Came and Got Us (Again)

Poor Boopsie. On Tuesday she threw up 12(!) times. Then I threw up all day yesterday. Now she’s at Grammie and Grampie’s and I’m trying to stay awake until the handyman leaves and I can go back to bed. And fervently hoping Daddy-o doesn’t also get sick.

Here’s an overheard conversation from last weekend. I was in the kitchen and Boopsie was bouncing up and down on Daddy-o, who was laying on the couch.

Daddy-o: Boopsie, what does a cat say?

Boopsie: Maowh.

Daddy-o: And what does a horse say?

Boopsie: Nay!

Daddy-o: What does a cow say?

Boopsie: Mooooooo

Daddy-o: What does a sheep say?

Boopsie: BA.

Daddy-o: And what does a Boopsie say?

Boopsie: (pause…pause) NO!!!

Yep, kiddo. That’s about right. (Although “mine” is a new favorite in the repertoire…)

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Filed under adventures, medical, relationships, Stuff Toddlers Say

Classic Moments in Parenting: The Wake-Up

I rolled over, looked at the clock this morning and noticed it was 7:37 a.m.

I started whacking a sleeping Daddy-o.

Me: “Daddy-o! Daddy-o! It’s after 7:30 and she hasn’t made a sound!” (I was thinking, What’s wrong with her? Is she alive?)

Daddy-o: “She woke up at 6 a.m. and had a bottle.”

Me: “Oh. Okay, sorry. You can go back to sleep now.”

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Filed under adventures, drudgery, mom guilt, relationships, sleep