Nap update

After four days in a row of me handling the naps, lots of crying, ZERO napping, we decided to have John try, and he would try the more traditional Ferber method – maybe if it’s not Mama doing the leaving, it’ll be easier on Jack.

And so?  We got four days in a row of Jack quietly sitting with John while he reads a couple of books, quietly going into the crib (he ASKED to go in on the second day), lying down when John asks him to, and falling asleep within two minutes on top of John’s hand while John quietly talks to him.  JUST LIKE AT NIGHT. (The 5th day was not so smooth.)

(Let’s review: this is EXACTLY what I tried to do for the first two days, and what I was doing for months with little success not that long ago.  Either we wore him down and he’s too exhausted to protest, or Dada is magic and Mama should stay out of it.)

The plan is that if he doesn’t fall asleep quickly like that, John will still leave and start the cry-it-out clock, but so far that hasn’t been necessary.  Does this count as being inconsistent, changing the script on him again?  I have no idea, but I do know we all prefer it when Jack doesn’t think we’ve abandoned him.  Fingers crossed this works consistently for at least a week, and then we’ll sub me in once Jack has this down, again JUST LIKE WE DID AT NIGHT.

Day 1: Jack only slept for about 25 minutes, but it was his first nap in more than a week (score!) and we think he pooped himself awake, so it wasn’t really a failure on anybody’s part (except Jack’s ability to poop when it’s convenient for the rest of us).

Day 2: Jack made it past 25 minutes by a substantial amount – he slept for just over an hour.  Again, we think he pooped himself awake.  Jack, you need to poop before naptime!

Day 3: Jack slept for an hour and 15 minutes, again going to sleep on John’s hand within a couple of minutes of lying down in the crib just because John asked him to.  Let’s keep this streak going!

Day 4: John had a harder time getting Jack to sleep, but he was ultimately successful, and he slept for an hour and 10 minutes.  I’ll take it.

Day 5: Jack woke up around 3:30 Sunday morning and only slept for 45 minutes between then and 5:45, when we gave up and got up, so we moved his nap a little earlier.  Unfortunately, John had to leave the room and start the cry-it-out clock for the first time Sunday.  He decided to do a reset on the first pop-in instead of just soothe and leave.  Jack fell sleep in John’s arms and he was able to put him down.  Not exactly following the plan, but we ended up with a sleeping baby (for almost an hour and a half), so it’s a win.

Lemon bars – an update

I finished eating the lemon deliciousness off the top of the lemon bars, and then John took a pickaxe to the crust and managed to get the majority of it free, and guys?  IT IS LEMONY SHORTBREAD AND IT IS SO GOOD I AM AMAZING AND I SHOULD BAKE EVERYTHING.

That is all.

His Imperial Highness

I’ve been getting Jack outside most afternoons. We go out for his exercise in the mornings before naptime, walking at Jack-speed, which is something slower than an amble.  Think glacier.  The afternoons are for my exercise, so he goes in the stroller, and I get to choose the pace.  He’s been great – he gets to play with a toy and eat puffs or cheerios while seeing the sights, and I get to listen to an audiobook or podcast and actually feel like I’m working out.  I only occasionally have to play Bean Bag Rock instead of the Dresden Files.

For his entertainment, I usually give him his Scout phone, his snack container, and his water cup, but he can’t juggle all three (I need to order the snack tray that goes with the stroller).  I usually start him out with snack and the phone – he makes it very clear when he wants water.  We’ll be strolling along, and his right arm will rocket into the air, hand waving, and I’ll hear “dat-dat, dat-dat”.  I barely have to slow down to pass him his water, and when he’s done, the arm shoots into the air again, water in hand, and I take it back.  He resumes snacking or playing.

I am Mama, servant to the tiny emperor.

Half-birthdays – a wonderful excuse to eat cake

For John’s half-birthday on Monday, I made him us (let’s be real here) a chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and topped it with peanut butter cups.  No baking disasters to report – just yummy yummy chocolate cake.  The frosting was a bit much.  Bonus: the house smelled like chocolate cake for a few hours.

We (I) sang happy half-birthday to John, which he insists wasn’t necessary, but hey – whose fake holiday does he think this is?  We gave Jack three bites of cake, hoping we weren’t dooming ourselves to a toddler on a sugar-high with even that little bit, but he went to bed okay.  Poor exhausted baby – without his nap, he’s awake for 12 hours in a row every day now.

Nonstop excitement around here

We’ve had an eventful* morning.

To begin with, we received our first Jack-in-the-box.  Super exciting to unpack it.  Thanks to whoever sent us this package!

Then, John fixed the bookshelf in the corner so the two middle shelves will actually stay up, and then he put all the books back on the shelves.  Our Jack-not-in-the-box-anymore wasted no time in reasserting the status quo.

After that, Jack and I went for a walk to see some trucks, both of us bundled up in coat, hat, and mittens against the chilly morning.  My mittens were in my pockets while I carried** him home, and I was so preoccupied with keeping track of HIS mittens that I failed to notice when I lost one of mine.  I figured it out in the driveway, scooped up Jack, and retraced our steps.  Turns out that when Jack pointed out a mud puddle on our walk, he was actually telling me that I had dropped my mitten in it.

Helpful.

*Your definition may differ.

**See alternate definition of “walk”.

How can I do this to him?

Day 4:

Cry it out is AWFUL.  It’s horrible, it’s heart-breaking, and it’s the worst thing ever.  It might be the only thing that works, but that doesn’t make it fun.  I hate it.

I hate it.

I hate it.

Luckily, Jack doesn’t seem to be holding a grudge.  And also, after the first few minutes, he sounds more angry than sad, and then he switches to hopeless and dispairing, but regardless of the tone, it’s an hour of “Mama?  Mama!  Mama?  Mama?  Dada!  Dada!  Dada!  Dada!  Guck-guck!  Mama!”  He stands the whole time, and I have realized that I can’t pop in and reassure him because it winds him up even more – it’s like resetting him to saddest/angriest when I don’t rescue him.

I’m sticking with it because the results will be worth it, but this could take several weeks – I’ve read that it takes longer with naps (than with bedtime) and longer with toddlers (than with babies).

Switching it up

I know consistency is the key to sleep training, and I had every intention of sticking to the new nap routine as consistently as possible (and as close to our bedtime routine as possible) for as long as it took.  So changing the method two days in seemed kind of…inconsistent.  On the other hand, two days doesn’t equal routine, and really, when it’s that obvious it’s not going to work, it’s silly not to change it.

Bedtime routine: dim the light, turn on the sound machine, change his diaper, put on pjs and sleep sack, sit in the chair together and read a couple-three books, turn off the light, put him into the crib, and sit on the floor while he falls asleep.  He’s nearly always asleep within 10 minutes.  Works for me, works for John.

Trying that at naptime: pull the curtain most of the way, turn on the sound machine, change his diaper, put on pjs and the nap sack (lighter weight), sit in the chair together and read a couple-three books, close the curtain the rest of the way, put him in the crib, and sit on the floor for an hour and a half to two hours while Jack doesn’t sleep.

He cried, he giggled, he yelled, he kissed me, and after two days, it was pretty clear that I was the problem.  I am too dang entertaining.  (Also, maybe it’s not dark enough – we’re working on that.)

Day three (this past Saturday): we began letting him cry it out for naps.  Same routine except that instead of sitting on the floor after he goes in the crib, I just leave.

It sucks.

I baked cement

I got this new lotion that smells like the best, creamiest, sweetest lemon dessert you can imagine, and every time I use it, I want to eat my hands.

I don’t really want to eat my hands, so I started looking up lemon desserts, and what the hell?  They’re so complicated!  Or they require kitchen tools I do not have or kitchen skills I have not acquired.  So when I saw a baking mix for lemon bars at the store, I grabbed it.  It said it had real lemons in there somewhere and only needed a little butter, two eggs, and some water.  I make and enjoy lots of things out of boxed baking mixes – how could I go wrong?

I don’t know how I went wrong, although I have some suspicions. First, there’s the flour mix and the butter.  Melt the butter, combine it with the flour mix to make a crumbly dough.  It was super crumbly, like I’m not sure butter actually got to all of the flour mix.  Suspicion number one: maybe it needed a little more butter, and maybe I should have been smart enough to know by looking at what I had in the bowl.

Second, press the dough firmly into the bottom of a greased pan.  I did that, pretty darn firmly, maybe too firmly as an overreaction to the dry crumbliness of the dough.  Suspicion number two: pressed too firmly.

Third, bake the dough by itself for 12-14 minutes.  I know my oven bakes fast (runs hot?), so I typically pull anything I’m baking out before the time on the box/recipe.  I went for 11 minutes this time.  No idea here.  Suspicion number three: 11 minutes in my oven is still too long for this mix.

Fourth, pour the lemon/egg/water mix on top of the hot crust and bake for another 24-26 minutes, or until the edges start to brown.  I pulled it out of the oven around 22 minutes.  I don’t think I screwed anything up at this step.

Cool, then chill, then eat.  Eating is where I realized I have a problem.  The knife will not cut through the crust to the bottom of the pan.  It just won’t, and if I try any harder, I’ll cut up my pan.  If I really work at it, I can get a very light layer of crust to come up under the lemon topping, but that’s as far as I can go.

The result is that I’m eating chilled lemon topping.  That part is delicious, so it’s hitting the lemon dessert spot, but I’m not up for chiseling the crust out of that pan.  Once I’m done with the topping, I’ll have to see if I can dissolve it in the sink.  Otherwise I’ll have to throw out the pan.

I’m raising a thief

Unloading and putting away groceries in the time of coronavirus is an enormous pain in the ass, requiring several steps:

  1. Unload the groceries from the car, still potentially contaminated, leaving them outside of the kitchen behind the closed baby gate so Jack doesn’t try to “help” empty the bags.
  2. Unpack the groceries from the bags, wiping them down one by one, and stage them on various countertops near where they go.
  3. Figure out how to reorganize the cabinets, the pantry, the fridge, and the freezer because we usually don’t buy this much at a time and a) how will all this fit in our tiny freezer, and b) for the pantry stuff, I REALLY need an hour to myself to reorganize because I have, for example, cans of beans spread across at least three different shelves mixed in with all kinds of random stuff.  How am I supposed to shop efficiently if I can’t see what we have?

During step 3, when half of the stuff was put away and the other half was spread out across kitchen counters, I heard footsteps, a sort of crunching THUMP, and excited toddler sounds.

I skidded around the doorway next to the stove and found Jack with the plastic tub of cookies, the top off, three cookies on the floor, and one in his mouth.  He also had the container of strawberries (ignored), both containers stolen from the counter next to the sink.

Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?

Also, HE’S TOO TALL! The counters are no longer safe.

Venturing out

I went to the grocery store yesterday morning, and aside from being limited to buying only one package of toilet paper, one package of paper towels, and so on, it was very non-apocalyptic.  Hardly any shortages of any actual food (no dried black beans, to John’s continual disappointment, no vanilla extract, not much flour, and ZERO pancake mix) but plenty of eggs and other stuff.  The aisles are all designated one-way, to avoid people have to pass each other too closely, and everyone (myself included) was wearing at least a mask, sometimes gloves, too.  Masks make it a little melodramatic, like we’re in a Western.  Mine was a red bandana, another guy’s was a black bandana, and one woman was wearing a winter scarf around her face.  The actual medical-looking masks ruin the showdown vibe.  Another woman was wearing what might have been a motorcycle mask – she took us a little Mad Max.

I sanitized my hands before I touched the car, sanitized them again after putting the groceries in the car, washed my hands when I got home, after I unloaded the groceries (which I wiped down), and after I put them away.  The sweatshirt (I wore it as a coat) and my mask went straight into the laundry.  I’m as confident as I can be that I didn’t bring any nasty viruses into the house, and I bought enough that I shouldn’t have to make another major trip for a couple-three weeks.  Just milk, bread, maybe eggs.

My no-sew bandana mask worked great, though.  I could breathe, it didn’t slip, and I didn’t have to sew anything.  Two sanitized thumbs up.

Toddlers bring change. And sleeplessness.

I made a face mask out of a bandana and two hair bands to wear at the store Wednesday morning.  Then I didn’t go to the store on Wednesday morning because someone woke up at 3am and was still wide awake at 5am when I tagged in.  He fell asleep a little before 6, but I couldn’t get him back into the crib, so the store plan went out the window, and I held him while he slept until 8:30ish.

On the one hand, yay for holding the sleeping baby!  I don’t get to do it much anymore, and it’s SO NICE.  On the other hand, I didn’t get much sleep after 3am…  On the third hand, we didn’t get a nap Wednesday, either, so BOO for that.

The new nap routine starts today (Thursday), and life is going to SUCK for a while.  The car is no longer reliable, and it was never a good long-term solution anyway.

Trying on new glasses

Turns out I don’t have the mental capacity to turn a post about glasses into something interesting.  Sorry, guys, looks like it’s nothing but books and babies around here.  I’m not doing anything else and haven’t been for a long time.

I think I’m going to have to murder the bunny balloon we got Jack for his half-birthday.  It’s a giant rabbit head, still floating even though we’ve had it for three weeks.  It’s lurking.  Doesn’t matter if it’s day or night, I see it out of the corner of my eye and jump three feet in the air.  It is time for that bunny to go.

I don’t think Jack will mind.

Putting Jack to sleep is exhausting

The traffic last night was conspiring to keep Jack from going to sleep.  And we REALLY needed him to go to sleep (and sleep all night – which he did HOORAY HOORAY!).  Over the last several days, we’ve been having some trouble.  Jack didn’t get a nap at all on Saturday, he only got a little more than half an hour on Sunday, and he only got 10 minutes yesterday, when he REALLY needed a good nap because the night before (Sunday into Monday) was ROUGH.  He slept for about 4 hours, woke up a little after midnight, and then didn’t go back to sleep until 4am.  He wasn’t fussy after the first bit – he was just awake.  Wanted to babble at us.  We did our best to convince him that it was time for sleep, it was dark, and all good babies and gucks and woowees sleep when it’s the middle of the night, but he didn’t get the picture for several hours.

We’d gotten complacent – before Sunday night, he had slept for 11 to 13 hours straight every night except one in the month of April, and we were beginning to feel human again.

One bad night isn’t a pattern, but with several days of short or nonexistent naps followed by a night like that one, it’s hard to feel positive.

Anyway, the traffic.  John was putting Jack to bed, and I was doing the dishes.  At three separate times within 40 minutes, ambulances and fire engines went screaming down the road, sirens blaring, and THEN some giant truck laid on his horn as he went through the intersection near our house.

I nearly went outside to yell (at what, I don’t know – the universe?) “THE BABY IS TRYING TO SLEEP, PEOPLE!”

Now, as I speak type, he is napping. I don’t know how long we’ll get, but something is better than nothing and we’re at 20 minutes so far, so today is already a win over the last several days. Hold your breath and don’t slam any doors, my dudes, because the baby is sleeping.

I felt the wind in my hair

I ran yesterday!  Alone!  I got new shoes, Jack went down for a nap, the weather was perfect (55 degrees and sunny), and out I went!  All the exclamation points for me!

And now I hurt because HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN?  I haven’t even been jogging with Jack in the stroller in months (except for twice this past week) because I’ve been so focused on his naps (and, well, winter).

I will get this opportunity again (and I will continue taking Jack for jogs in the stroller), and my legs will remember how to do it, and IT WILL BE GLORIOUS.

Too soon

Jack has been calling me Mom the last few days.  I still get plenty of Mama, but these Moms show up out of nowhere, usually repeated, and it’s…disconcerting.  He’s too young to call me Mom!  What happened to the intermediate Mommy?  I wasn’t planning on being Mom until he’s 10.  Maybe 8.

Hopefully it’ll go away.  He’s not calling John Dad.

I suppose it’s better than Zannah.

Ways in which Jack is adorable

Here is a smattering of ways in which Jack is adorable:

  • He “counts”, using the tone I use when I count for him.  He counts when he points at things, stacks things, lines things up, but he only ever says one syllable over and over: “doo”.  I like to think he’s speaking French.  “Deux, deux, deux…”
  • When I point out flowers on our walks, he leans toward them and “mah” gives them a kiss.
  • He thinks it’s HILARIOUS when I sneeze.  Laughs like a loon and then makes his again sign (like a one-handed clap) and says “dat, dat”.  I’ve tried explaining to him that I can’t sneeze on command.  Fake sneezes aren’t quite as good.
  • Since we started reading The Little Engine That Could and The Little Red Caboose, he looks for trains everywhere we go.  Any vehicle attached to a trailer is a choo-choo.  Any trailer without an attached vehicle is a choo-choo, unless it’s a box trailer, and then it’s a guck.
  • We have a Buddha statue in our yard, left by the previous owner, and when we walk by it, Jack says “baa”.  At it.  To it?
  • When he sees a car/truck/van with a ladder on it, he makes climbing-a-ladder motions with his hands.