Rise And Shine

I probably shouldn’t say this out loud because then I am inviting Mommy Karma to come down and punish me, but Little H is still such a rockstar napper.  At 26 months, she is still napping hard, barely making it through Em’s preschool drop-off before heading straight home and up to bed.  Probably once per week she falls asleep on the way home and does the completely-unconscious-dead-body transfer, where she is so completely asleep I can barely carry her inside.

She wakes up easy, too, ready to rejoin the world and go get brother and sister and have some fun!

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One day I happened to have my camera on my shoulder when I went into her room to get her.  She was so sweet and smiley, and even though I only had my 85mm lens so I was literally pressed up against the opposite wall, I got some shots to remember what her sweet, freshly woken face looks like.  Crazy hair and all!

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Ah, this is what having that last baby a few years later is all about.  This time in Em’s life is such a blur; I was just surviving!  But with Little H, I am savoring every moment of her growing up.  And I hope she continues to nap like this for a long, long time!

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Sniff Sniff Sniffing

One of those amazing things about photography is how, ten years from now, I hope that I can look at these photos and remember Little H and her oh-so-strange sleepy habits.  She is 100% a Blankie sniffer. Whenever I wash it, she sniffs it as soon as it comes out of the dryer, giving it her olfactory seal of approval.  That is funny enough, but nothing compares to when she is sleepy.  When she gets tired, Blankie goes right up to her nose and she sniff sniff sniffs nonstop.

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She does a weird humming thing, too, like, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm,” all the while sniff sniff sniffing.

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When she is really, really tired, she will often take the corner and run it between her fingers, or even sometimes rub it against her eye.  Like her eyeball.  I have no photos of that because I think it is super gross.  I will just remember it fondly through my words, not my images.

She is one sweet little baby, who just so happens to turn two tomorrow.

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I never ever want to forget anything about Little H that makes her adorably her.  I love you, little Blankie Sniffer.

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Eventually

Eventually she will sleep with a pillow and a comforter, and we will fight about how many books I read and whether or not she is really tired.

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Eventually she will be able to climb in and out of her bed at will, instead of calling to us from the end of her crib, bouncing and smiling and chewing on her rails, yelling, “Da Da! Da Da!” because she knows he’s a sucker and is so much more fun at 6 am.

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Eventually she may not sleep with her blankie, and she won’t be sleeping in feetie pj’s.  She may even be sharing a room with her sister.

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She won’t always sleep with her butt in the air and her feet crossed, as she does now, every time.  Eventually she won’t ask for me to tuck her in and will learn to sleep with the lights off.

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So for now I will delight in it all while I can.  Because there is absolutely nothing more amazing and perfect than a sleeping baby.  Especially mine.

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Happiness Is…{nap time}

Yes, one of my happinesses of the day is when Em takes her nap, and not just because of what you think (although having some time alone is part of it).  Jax stopped napping so I never get to see his sweet sleeping face in the daylight anymore and therefore I never get to get many photos of him sleeping anymore, except for on my phone, which leaves a little to be desired.  So for as long as Em takes her nap, I still have a chance or two to capture the sweetness of a sleeping babe.

The eyelashes, the cheeks, the binkie!  Oh, how I love a sleeping babe.

Sweet dreams!

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Bedtime Stories

Two big changes have occurred in this house lately, and both of them have to do with sleep.  First, I am so proud of my son who rather seamlessly transitioned to his big boy bed, once he saw his buddy Andrew’s and realized how super cool they are.  He only had a hard time going to bed the first night, woke Em up early for two mornings, and didn’t take his nap once.  Oh, and smuggled in a contraband marker and drew all over his sheets.  At least it wasn’t all over his bed!  I think he loves it too much to vandalize it.

The only problem so far is that his sister loves it, too, and can climb in and out quite easily.  As you can imagine, Jax becomes a bit territorial and it’s only a matter of time before he pushes her, ass over teakettle, onto her head.  Ah, well, we’re due for some stitches.

So, what’s the news with this chunky monkey?

As you all know, since I have long lamented it, Em has never reached the sleep-through-the-night phase in her first 13 months of life.  She would do it once or twice, get our hopes up, then dash them completely as she spent the third night getting up four times, screaming to be held.  If you’ve been here a while, you also know that I cannot let my babies cry it out, so I’ve been sleep-deprived for…oh…over a year.  Well beyond a year if you count the less-than-peaceful sleep one gets when very pregnant.  So JDubbs and I would pretty much consider anything to get our baby girl to sleep.

One of the blogs I frequent and enjoy is Enjoying the Small Things by Kelle Hampton, and Kelle’s little girl Nella, who is only a couple months older than Em, was having a terrible time teething.  Kelle has over 13,000 followers, so she has a large pool of parents who can give her advice on any topic, and so many of her readers suggested that she try an amber teething necklace for Nella that she gave it a try.  And you know what?  It works for her.  I don’t think there have been any miracle cures pronounced, but things got markedly better.  And I’ll try anything that makes my nightlife markedly better.  So guess what I did.

I did my due diligence, and I didn’t find any glaringly negative reviews.  These teething necklaces are not for the babies to chew on; they are made from a very specific area of the Baltics, and the amber has some sort of medicinal qualities.  When people wear them (they make them for all ages), their skin warms up the amber, which releases some sort of essential oils.  This oil has healing properties and helps people deal with problems like arthritis and rheumatism, and helps babies survive teething.  The worst thing people said was that they weren’t sure if it worked, whether the good results were just coincidence or not.  So, you’re saying that the worst thing that could happen is that Em could have a beautiful, genuine amber necklace?  My daughter ,who would put a string of spaghetti around her neck as an accessory?  I’ll take my chances.

I bought it for her about a month ago.  You’ve probably noticed it in pictures lately.  It really is beautiful; the stones are so smooth and each one is double knotted on both sides, so that if the necklace breaks the stones will not just slide off the string.  It has a great, safe clasp, and we wrap it around her ankle, under her pajamas, at night.  She loves it, we love it, and the best part is?

She’s sleeping.  All night.  I swear to God.

Humbug, you say.  Coincidence!  Well, that may be true.  But here’s what I know:

1.  Before we had this necklace, she had never had a quality nap, let alone slept overnight at my in-laws’ house.  She hates sleeping in a pack n play, and she would scream bloody murder until she was rescued.  Due to the loss of my grandfather, she had to stay there overnight and not only slept through the night but also took two stellar naps.  We then had to move in there for a few nights last week due to our Money Pit of a house, and she slept through the night every night but one.

2.  She has had epic ear infections since her birthday.  In the last 7 weeks, she has been to the doctor 5 times, put on 4 different antibiotics, only to have her treatment diagnosed as a “failure” and had to go in for three straight days to get antibiotic injections, which only finally started to work.  So basically, she’s had a raging double ear infection for over a month, with no antibiotic cure until this past weekend.  And she slept through the night almost every night.  This, from a girl who only slept through the night in total maybe a dozen times in her life.  And now it’s the norm.  Now when she wakes up at night and cries for us consistently, I know it’s her ears and back to the dr. we go.  (As an aside, we go to the ENT doctor next week, thank God!).

So, that’s the story, morning glory.  We are sleeping over here!  More often that not!  One in a big boy bed, one not in our arms (at least not as often!).  We’re even beginning to notice that Em is even more good-natured and funny than she was before!  It makes me wonder if we’ll see any new sides of her when she finally gets her tubes put in.  For now, she’s hamming it up and following her big brother’s every move…

And being even sweeter than ever.  Look!  She’s started giving kisses!

She delivers her love with her mouth wide open.  It’s pretty hilarious, and slobbery.

Hooray for my babies, who are growing up so quickly, but these are both milestones I’m happy to celebrate.  Jax is very good at staying in his bed until “seven zero zero!” aka 7:00, and Em is needing me less and less in the middle of the night.  Of course, as I am writing these words, she just woke up screaming, but that’s Murphy’s Law for you.  Plus, the dr. said yesterday that although there is no infection right now, that doesn’t mean there is no pressure or discomfort.  I never thought I’d be excited for one of my kids to have surgery, but I think the day she gets tubes will be a blessing for us all!

Sweet dreams, babies!  And sweet dreams for Mommy and Daddy, too!

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Somebody’s Sleeping In My Bed

This past weekend the kids and I headed down to Civilization to visit some friends and play with extended family.  We brought our suitcases, our toys, our germs, and we were ready to go.  Unfortunately, one thing we forgot to bring was our pack n plays, so Grammy ran out and bought a second one for her house, a generous and much appreciated gesture.  However, in retrospect, we really didn’t need either one of the pack n plays because even though my husband was a few hundred miles away, I did not sleep alone.
After they had each woken up twice and had to be snuggled and reassured back to sleep (Jax has a surprisingly difficult time sleeping at Grammy’s–must be all the noise and lights that come from sleeping somewhere populated), I gave up and hit the sheets myself.  But to keep the further disruptions to a minimum, I just cut my losses and brought Thing One and Thing Two in bed with me.  I told you I was a closet co-sleeper.
The first thing I realized was that I wasn’t really allowed to move too much and the second was that this was a snuggle to remember.  Jax started talking and moving in his sleep, which caused Em to pop her little head up and see what he was up to.  I’m not sure if she realized he was out for the count or not, but she took the opportunity to gingerly reach her hand out to touch him cautiously, like you would a stray animal.  When she got no adverse reaction, she kept it up without a making a peep, just reaching out and touching him.  She even held his Blankie.  After a couple minutes he adjusted and rested his hand on hers and I swear, she did not move.  I could feel the magnitude of the moment as she just sucked on her binkie without moving a muscle, taking in every second of this non-violent and extended contact.  The awe she has for her big brother was palpable and I watched it all with a knowing Mommy smile.  They are going to love each other one day soon.
Shortly thereafter she also dozed off to sleep and I was left grinning as two pairs of feet made their way over to me.  Like brother, like sister, they both like to rest their legs up and under, snuggled between my knees or under my thighs, or just chillin on top of my legs like an ottoman.  I almost laughed out loud when I went to rub what I assumed were Em’s feet only to discover they were Jax’s, who had crept them under Em’s legs entirely to find his Mommy.  They were one big baby leg pretzel and when I finally eased my way out of the jumble to go pee, this was what I found when I returned.
Grinning ear to ear, I snuck back out to the kitchen, grabbed Grammy to show her that her bed was being put to good use, and held my breath as I took a picture.  It was worth the risk since they didn’t move a muscle, even when I popped the flash.
When Grammy was ready for bed she brought Jax out to the living room futon with her and let me and Em spend the night in her room.  Thank you for all your help, Grammy, and sorry we spread our germs to you and everyone you know.  Must have been when we had the slumber party.
2 little babies, 4 chubby feet, 20 wiggly toes.
One lucky Mama.
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Confession

I have a problem.  It’s probably the nicest kind of problem to have, but problem it is.  Not problem in that it causes me any grief or discomfort (except maybe in the middle of the night curled onto a recliner with another little co-sleeper).  Not problem in that I’m doing anything to change the behavior, really.  I’m the one who has a problem, like an addict or someone with a sickness.  I love holding my little girl while she falls asleep.
I’m not doing myself any favors.  In some ways I’ve created a monster.  Do you remember what motherhood looked like at 5 a.m. five months ago?  Well, if you popped by tomorrow morning right around that time, chances are, not much would have changed except my pajamas would be warmer and Em would be about five times as large, making the recliner five times too small.  But I do it all the time.  I snuggle her to sleep.
That’s not exactly true.  She falls asleep wonderfully on her own.  Binkie, blankie, night night.  I snuggle her back to sleep several times a day and night.  Because I can’t let her cry.  And I can’t help but love the way she puts her head on my chest like, There you are.  I know it all comes from breastfeeding, and half the time I have flashbacks to moments when she was very small and I was the only one who could soothe her at night, and as much as I resented those moments at times and they exhausted me, I think I miss them.  So I hold her and smooth her hair and rub her back and tell her how I love her more that (almost) anyone else in the world and that she is such a beautiful, sweet girl.
And then, like a warning of years to come, she starts to wriggle and push and roll away, like, Get off me, Mom.  I’m suffocating over here.  And I sometimes happily, sometimes begrudgingly put her down and climb into my bigger and more appropriately-sized bed with my more appropriately-sized bedmate.  But if she wakes up, 9 times out of 10, I’m back up and ready to snuggle once more.  Closet co-sleeper over here, I guess.  That must be my problem.  I don’t want her in bed with me, but I’m not ready for her to be all grown up, either.  I guess we have to meet in the middle somewhere, and that middle is usually the big brown recliner in her room, circa four in the morning.  And I’m not complaining about it.
Not just yet.
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