Routine

rou·tine: a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program

Now that I really think about it, I remember hearing a lot about establishing a routine from the time you bring baby home.  I also remember that the part that actually stuck with me was to let the baby establish their own routine…Maybe I just imagined that’s what the advice really was.  Although I’m pretty sure that at least some of the advice we got from the hospital classes and other moms and the books was that when babies very new they should be able to eat, sleep, etc as often and whenever they need to or want to.  I guess somewhere between bringing J home and about 2 weeks ago, we forgot to start establishing an actual routine.  All along we’ve pretty much let J eat, sleep, nurse when he wanted to or needed to.  I must have missed the memo on when to make the transition from baby-led routine to parent-led routine.

Since J has been with me all day I have let him lead on establishing his own “routine” or whatever you want to call it.  However since I have him with me at work and not at home, I have found it more difficult to try to establish a nap routine in particular.  I’m in an office all day where I do have a door, but the walls are thin and between the phone’s ringing and needing to work even while he’s sleeping it’s taken until recently for him to be able to sleep long enough and hard enough for those things to not interrupt his sleep pattern.  This is one thing I really envy about stay-at-home mammas – the ability to put the kiddo in their own crib in their own space where it can be quiet and dark all at the same time!  But I’ve worked with what I’ve got and it’s been good enough.

J used to nurse as often as he wanted.  Anytime he was a little fussy, before naps, when he had a boo-boo – he got to nurse.  It goes without saying that when he was really tiny he ate every hour or two – as all newborn should.  But he’s really always nursed often.  He’s just recently weaned down to 4-6 times a day.  Mostly before nap times and whenever he wakes at night.  So, I guess you could call that a routine.  Ok, I guess we managed to figure that one out somewhere along the way!

What about eating?  This one was pretty easy to establish a routine since I pretty much feed him at mealtimes and whenever I’m hungry.  I figure if I’m hungry then he probably is too.  And now that he’s eating pretty much anything, he eats whatever we eat plus snacks when he wakes up from nap.

The hardest one was napping and sleeping.  Our struggles with J’s sleep routine, especially at night, have been going on since he was born.  We though we started off on the right foot when he would sleep 3-4 hours at a time when we brought him home.  But that soon went downhill and he didn’t quickly establish a longer sleep routine.  For the first 9 months we struggled with J waking 3-4 times a night in order to nurse or be helped back to sleep. The good news is that for the last two weeks or so, J has been sleeping for 6+ hours before he wakes, and only wakes once during the night.  He’s also been sleeping until after 6am.  Hooray!   Luckily he has (slowly) managed to wean himself down to 1-2 wake-ups a night.  He still nurses to get back to sleep, but I can handle that many wake ups at least.  With napping, J used to be able to sleep whenever he got a little fussy.  For months he would only sleep for 30 minutes but would need a nap almost every hour or two.  Only in the last few weeks has he started sleeping for an hour to an hour and a half on a regular basis!  He’s also moved to 2-3 naps a day depending on the length of each nap.  We’ve kept his bedtime at 7pm since he was about 6 months.

So in the end I guess we did finally end up with a routine!  Horray!  Now that we’ve been through it all the hard way, we’d certainly do it differently the second time around.  I’m glad that we’ve managed to keep a few things solid (bedtime and meals) and I’m now a HUGE believer that more sleep leads to more sleep.  It wasn’t until J started sleeping a regular 1 to 1 1/2 hours a few times a day that his nighttime sleeping also smoothed out and increased.  I’m also now an advocate for establishing more of a sleep routine (if possible) as early as possible.  I know that it’s sometimes easier said than done though…so let’s hope that when it’s time for the second time around that we can figure it out along the way.  Either way at least now we seem to be on the right path.

This parenthood thing can be more of a challenge than you think sometimes.  But you work your way through it eventually, just like with anything else 🙂

 

 

Baby Birds

For 4 weeks we had a Robin family making a home in the tree outside out window.  Since I’ve forgotten to post pictures along the way, here they are now, from beginning to end.  It was so fun watching them grow! Hopefully we’ll have more someday 🙂

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We ended up with 4 eggs, with is the normal number.  It took about 10 days for the eggs to hatch.

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But there were only 3 babies that hatched.  Not sure if the other one was kicked out of the nest or if something got the egg.

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Mama bird wasn’t away from the nest often.  Maybe for 5 minutes at a time.  But Daddy bird helped to feed the babies too and would stand watch while mama was out feeding.

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A few days after the eggs hatched it snowed…luckily we got home in time to see the nest at a 45 degree angle in the tree so that we could go out there and prop up the branch with a 2×4.  Mama bird was dive-bombing us the whole time, but at least they all didn’t end up on the ground!  The rest of the tree almost touched the ground…

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Started getting feathers!  And their beaks were HUGE!  the bottom pic shows how it looked like their beaks were wider than their heads.

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A little blurry…but you can tell how much bigger they are and see all their wing feathers coming in.

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can see the eyes and the still giant beaks 🙂

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It was almost impossible to get all three of them in the picture though!

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They stayed in the nest for almost 2 weeks, and then one day they were gone.  We hope that they all made it, but we haven’t seen any of them since.  Mom and Dad have moved on too, maybe someday we’ll end up with another nest in the tree so we can watch it all over again 🙂

Such a cool way to spend the first few weeks of spring in our new house!

Religion as a Family

I grew up Catholic.  Every Sunday was church, and I went though First Communion and Confirmation too.  We weren’t over-the-top religious, but God was something/someone who was known in my house growing up.  Once I went off to college I pretty much stopped going to church.  With the exception of a few times when I was home for the summer, or for Christmas mass.  The Hubby grew up Jehovah’s Witness.  His family however did celebrate Christmas and Birthdays unlike other JW’s I’d known as a kid.  He chose to stop going to church when he was 13.

When we started seriously dating, we had a general talk about what our religion was and if we were to practice where we would go etc.  At the time neither of us was particularly interested in practicing by going to church.  We are both believers in a God, but neither of us feel that we need to go to a certain place at a certain time to show our belief.

Now that we have J, we probably should have the conversation again.  I want to be able to teach J about God.  In whatever form we choose to do though, is a little up in the air.  Do we teach him ourselves but leave out some of the pieces and parts that neither of us choose to focus our beliefs on?  Or do we introduce him to a church of some kind once he’s old enough to understand what he’s being told and let him learn a specific story?

I do want to teach him how to pray.  No matter what religion you are, or even if you aren’t religious at all I think that Praying is something that is essential to a happy and healthy life.  That’s my own personal opinion.  I feel that through prayer you can be thankful and go through the process of asking for forgiveness from God (or whatever or whomever you believe is out there) or it can just be a way to speak your mind and come to some inner peace.

Then there’s the question of baptism.  I was baptized, but I came from a family that practiced a specific religion.  Same with the Hubby.  I have nothing against baptism, nor do I feel strongly that J must be baptized.  I like the idea and the principle of baptism.  But I also don’t want to baptize J because I feel like I should, nor do I want to pick some random church to have him baptized when I feel like that is something that should be practiced in a much more comfortable and known environment.

My feeling at this point is at some point the Hubs and I may decide that we are wanting more of an organized or practiced religion as part of our lives.  Or once J is school aged, we could introduce him to a Sunday School type program where he can learn the story behind a generic Christian religion.  Or maybe we’ll teach him that there is something greater out there, something bigger than us, someone who we can talk to no matter what.  Then when he’s old enough to make his own decisions he’ll be free to choose to practice or not practice whatever he wants.

For now, we will teach him acceptance, love, humility, how to be thankful, family values and to be proud of all his accomplishments – big or small.

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Mamafied “Camping”

Friday we went camping!  Well, more like “camping” – or Mamafied camping I’d say.  We took the kiddo up to Lost Park outside of Jefferson and spent the afternoon out in the wilderness and sunshine.  Daddy actually camped overnight, but J and I headed to my parents cabin nearby so that we could be a little more comfy for the night. ( I wasn’t looking forward to sleeping in the back of the truck with J and the Pup and the Hubs and I.)  But J did have fun hanging outside for the afternoon! He’s never really been in the dirt.  Grass yes, but not just straight dry dirt.  But he sure did know exactly what to do with it.  Wasn’t more than a minute that he had his feet on the ground and he had a twig or a rock or some piece of dirt in his mouth…

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Izzy had fun too, there were so many sticks she didn’t know what to do with herself!

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We got great use out of the GoPod too, it was a little too dirty to let J just roll around in the filth like he would have liked…I know, I had to be one of those mama’s that day…I just didn’t want a filthy little one for the rest of the night!  He had plenty of fun anyway.

So much fun watching him exploring the world around him, and we’re super lucky that we are able to introduce him to all these new things!

When it got a little chilly we sat in the back of the Yukon with him and let him wander around the back, which he thought was just awesome.  It was like a mobile playpen.  Opened the back hatch and he played peek-a-boo through the windows as Daddy ran around the truck.  So fun to have time to just enjoy each other’s company and not worry about what time it was or the distraction of the computer or the TV.  Outside it was just us, just family time 🙂

 

Hoping you all had a wonderful weekend full of family as well 🙂

 

 

 

 

Discovery

What a fun age! At every stage of their lives, babies are constantly learning and growing.  But at about 10 months they make a huge leap forward.  They begin to understand what you are saying to them.  They can control their own movements.  They can react when you tell them “no” or when you get excited about them doing something new.  There’s so many things to discover and inspect in their world.  Anything and everything is a new toy, a new adventure, a new experience.  So many new things!

Some good examples of this come to mind with J from the past week.

I don’t have a good way to post videos except through links…

There’s something very entertaining about watching him figure out how to get in/out or onto things…(and it’s never old to watch him snuggle the kitties or the puppy)

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J Discovers In and Out

J is getting so much better at keeping himself entertained for 10-15 minutes at a time.  Yesterday at work he found this empty tub and figure out how to get himself in and out of it.  It was so fun to watch him studying and leaning so intently.  Talking to himself and repeating actions over and over as he learned how to further control his movements.  In, out, in, out.  Even when he got frustrated, he kept going until he figured out how to get out of the situation.

The Daddy introduced him to the magic of sprinklers…

Water discovery

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Something so very simple is so very entertaining!  Afterwards daddy sprayed him in the face, which he thought was pretty fun too…you can see all the droplets on his forehead 🙂  Silly boy!

Then he decided to remove all his leggos from the box one at a time.  The moved them all from one side of him to the other.  Watching him it was like he was looking for something specific and each block he pulled out was the wrong one.  He would grab it, look at it, then throw it behind him.  He did this 2 or 3 times for each block.  It was hilarious!

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It’s so fun to watch him discover new things.  All the things that we take for granted, all the simple pleasures in life and all of the things that become habit.  J brings these things to new light and makes you see them through his eyes.  Ahh, the magic of childhood 🙂 Sometimes we all need a little reminder of the magic all around us…

“Mama knows best” syndrome

As a new parent, you’ll find that you generally aren’t all that open to trying other people’s suggestions and opinions on how to raise your child.  Generally.  However we are much more willing to take advice from so-called experts through books on online postings.  Whether it has to do with sleep schedules, potty training, vaccinations etc. etc., I’ve found it increasingly hard to take other parents advice unless I specifically ask for it.  That being said I am also guilty of this when it comes to my own hubby and his ideas about J.

As you know, J still doesn’t sleep through the night.  The hubby has basically refused to get up with him anytime during the night unless I make him take a turn (which I generally don’t).  On a good night J wakes up about every 4 hours, which is pretty decent…albeit not ideal.  Tonight Hubby suggested that we should try putting J to bed later than his usual 7pm bedtime to see if that makes a difference.  Maybe if we wear him out more, he’ll sleep longer – was his rational.  My immediate answer?  NO.

Aaaaand that’s where my “mama knows best” syndrome reared its ugly head.  My reasoning? Well everything that I’ve read from said so-called experts, is that when kiddos wake up early that means that you need to put them to bed earlier.  Doesn’t really make sense…but in our previous trials with bedtime, it did seem to help to put J to bed earlier.  And I don’t want to screw with his bedtime schedule.  Turns out I do this a lot.  Almost always actually.  Whenever Daddy makes a suggestion I tell him why he’s wrong and we end up continuing with whatever we were doing before.

At this point I feel like it’s reflex.  After all, I should know my little one best right?  I can’t say that I like being “that mama” though.  I don’t think I realized how anti-suggestion I was until the Hubbs pointed it out.  I’m probably more polite about it with other people.  And actually I think I’m much better at swapping ideas with other mama’s.  Why I feel the need to say NO to all the Hubby’s ideas is a little confusing.

Oh, the things you discover about yourself as you are also discovering the many twists and turns of parenthood!  Thankfully I have a wonderful Hubby who doesn’t take my Crazy Mama moments too seriously 🙂

Worst pain most easily forgotten

When I was pregnant with J I had lots of people tell me stories about their labor.  Most of them ended with “it’s the worst pain most easily forgotten.”  That’s a hard thing to believe when you are awaiting your own impending “worst pain” moments.  The anticipation for the impending pain makes you over think how the whole birthing process will go, and if you are choosing to use a epidural you will be sure that you have that plan locked in place with everyone that will be involved in the birth.  My sister-in-law is only 4 weeks away from her due date and she was telling me the other day how she’s becoming almost obsessive about going into labor and can’t stop thinking about the pain part.  I’m sure that I had the same worries and obsessions in the days leading up to J’s birth, but for the life of me I can’t really remember.

There it is.  It’s been 11 months and I can’t remember anything about the pain.  Not really specifically at least.  I remember that when my water broke I was sleeping and I woke up with a start cuz it was a quick sharp pain.  I remember feeling like they were the worst cramps ever when I started having contractions, and I remember that sitting in the bath tub didn’t help a *$&%*& bit with the pain.  But as far as the severity of the pain, I don’t have an answer anymore for what it actually felt like.  Bad cramps doesn’t translate when you’re trying to describe it to someone else who’s about to experience it for themselves.  And “it feels like your insides are being ripped out” seems way to harsh and not even close to the truth.  Yup, I’d say that statement is pretty accurate.  Unless you’ve actually had your arm cut off while you were awake with no drugs, labor probably is the worst pain.  And it’s also the one that you forget about the quickest and easiest.

Granted I did have an epidural, so I can’t compare myself to someone who’s done a natural birth.  Then again everyone’s pain levels are different, so what was an 8 for me could be a 4 for someone else.  I don’t think there’s really a way to compare or prepare for what you are about to experience.  Thankfully you are so overwhelmed and distracted by everything else going on  – pushing, breathing, getting to the hospital, all the nurses coming and going, the actual arrival of your little one – that you won’t really remember the pain after the moment that your little baby is placed in your arms.  The greatest reward indeed.  Thank goodness that all that crap you have to go through leads up to that little one.  Otherwise I swear no one would do it…haha

I think the best thing to do is make a plan, if you’re a planner, so that you can be a little more relaxed going into the whole thing.  It’ll keep you focused and give you some relief…at least leading up to going into labor.  After that, it’s a total crap shoot.  Sorry to break it to you, but chances are that no matter what you “planned”, it’s not going to go that way.  But if making a plan gives you some peace of mind, then do it.  Just also be aware that your plan will go out the window the second your water breaks.

Enjoy the ride though, it’s over far too quickly.