Continuing my streak of posting these before they’re six months old!
Happy New Year! Do I get any points for posting this less than week into February?
I never nap when Jack naps. During the week, that’s prime work time. During the weekend, I usually get some uninterrupted reading time. Regardless, I don’t sleep, and it’s not a problem. Usually.
Today was the sixth day in a row with no nap for Jack, and I’ve noticed a confusing trend. When Jack doesn’t nap, I’m the one who feels sleepy in the afternoon. Yesterday my eyes were actually watering from the effort of keeping them open.
I don’t have this problem on days he naps. Apparently, it’s super exhausting for me to watch him not nap. He doesn’t even give me a hard time about it anymore – there’s no crying or yelling. He just doesn’t nap, and eventually I give up. And THEN the sleepiness rolls in, which makes it extra hard to try to work while he plays (when he’s not tugging at my arm or stealing my mouse).
Anyway, I’m going to bed.
Yesterday’s adventure in the snow was not so positive. I took Jack out while it was still snowing so I could do a first round of shoveling before the snow turned to freezing rain and packed everything down.
He was fine with the snow on the ground (progress!), but it was windy, and any time the wind blew snow into his face, he started to shriek. I mean, I can’t blame him – it’s cold and it’s wet and it’s in his face. He didn’t quite understand that he could turn the other way and be protected.
He let me get quite a bit of shoveling done, though. At one point, I escorted him back to the door so he could sit on the step, protected by the overhand. He sat there contentedly for the 10-15 minutes I needed to get to a stopping point, which was truly surprising. Then we played with snowballs under John’s office window until the wind turned on us again and we went inside.
That’s when we tried hot chocolate. You’ve seen the video – he liked it okay, but it wasn’t a life-changing experience.
Of course, the whole afternoon might have gone better if Jack had napped. Yesterday was the third day in a row without a nap. I’m not hopeful about today.
We got an inch of snow, maybe a little bit more, the other day, and it’s been cold enough not to melt away. We haven’t left the house, so the only tracks are from the Amazon Prime delivery van. Every few hours, I look out the window to see a light flurry – pleasant to look at, but not enough to add to the accumulation.
I’ve had meetings during our play windows the last couple of days, so this afternoon was my first opportunity to get Jack out to play.
When it snowed in October, he was NOT a fan. He didn’t want to touch it, didn’t want to walk in it. Since then, we’ve watched some TV episodes where it snows. We’ve got a Thomas book from the library all about snowy train tracks, we’ve read a book about Little Owl experiencing snow for the first time, we’ve read about snowmen and snowballs, and his favorite episode of Thomas and Friends (after Diesel and the Ducklings) is about Percy and Thomas crashing into the snow.
With all of that, I was hopeful that he’d be more open to playing in the snow this time around. On top of that, he has brand new snow boots (no more rain boots with extra socks) and brand new tiger paw water-resistant mittens, AND he watched baby cousin Lucy enjoying the snow this morning. I said, “Look! Lucy’s playing in the snow!” and Jack said, “I play in the snow!” Progress!
And it paid off! I got him all bundled up and outside, and then he stopped at the edge of the snow. “Pick you up! Mommy, pick you up!” I suggested we go play in the meadow (side of the house), and he let me hold his hand. He took a few cautious steps, and then we were fine. Over the course of the next hour, he touched the snow, threw the snowballs I made, crushed the snowballs I made, crushed the tiny snowmen I made, leaned over to try to make his own snowballs, fell on his face once, fell on his butt once, and ran to the other side of the yard. He stopped short of tasting the snow, but (thank goodness!) he had a good time, and after we came inside, he told me he wants to do it again.
We have conquered the beach. We have conquered the snow. Next stop, paint! Ha, who am I kidding, I’m not ready for paint. Next stop, potty-training!
Sean’s school was closed for the entire month, so Jack was able to play with Graham and McKenna. We took full advantage.
It’s January now (I’m a bit late on the pictures, as usual). Really nice to see Jack enjoying that great October weather, back when we used to go outside.
Jack turned two during the pandemic – trucks and cars and the zoo and CAKE! No people.
Jack in pandemic August
Jack in pandemic July means lots of sweaty long hair.
Jack in June – 21 months
Jack’s sleep has never been terribly consistent, but we found our routine and things had been going well most of the time (for the last few months, at least). Jack learned to fall asleep in the crib, not entirely on his own, but quickly, so it was working for us, and he usually slept through the night. On any given night, I would (or John would – we did it the same way) put Jack in the crib and then sit or lie down next to him and slide one hand between the crib slats. Jack might ask me to rub his back until he fell asleep, or he might grab my hand and hold it, roll over on top of it, or lay his head down on it. Not too long after that (most nights), he’d be asleep and I would pull the magician-tablecloth trick and get my hand back without waking him up.
It worked for a long time, and actually, it’s still working, but for the last few weeks, Jack has been waking up in the middle of the night and very clearly telling us that he’s upset because he woke up and we weren’t there. We were there when he went to sleep – what happened? That’s EXACTLY the reason all those sleep books give for why babies need to learn to go to sleep completely on their own. They wake up freaked out because things are different and they don’t understand. I read those books forever ago, but it’s only now that it’s actually a problem for us.
So now we need to fix it. It’s finally really truly time to teach Jack how to put himself to sleep without Mommy and Daddy in the room. It’s going to take a SUPER long time, though, because we have found out that we’re just not cry-it-out people. Can’t take it. Not gonna do it.
So instead, we’re going to take baby steps. First, no more hand. We’ll still put him in the crib and lie or sit down next to it, we’ll still talk or sing to him as needed, but no more falling asleep on top of or under the hand. Once we have that down, we’ll start moving farther away from the crib, toward the door, until we can put him in the crib, say good night, and leave. It’s going to take FOREVER, but I’m hopeful that it’ll work. There will be crying, but we won’t have left him alone to deal with it.
That’s the plan. And we have begun! Barely. On night one, I put him in the crib, sat down next to him like usual, and when he asked for my hand, I said “No hand.” Cue the crying. He cried and sobbed “Yes, hand! Yes, Mama hand!” for 32 minutes and then he passed out. Success? Sort of?
The next day at nap time, I did the same thing, but there was only an hour of crying, no nap. Which is pretty much what I expected for naps. The second night was John’s turn, and Jack was exhausted from not napping, so he fell asleep in John’s lap during story time. Doesn’t count. Day 2’s nap is where I think I turned our baby steps plan into even smaller steps (not on purpose!).
He was crying, asking for my hand, not napping, threatening to climb out of the crib, and then I got him to lie down and giggle a little by pretending to offer him my pinky, outside the crib, and then YOINK! He couldn’t have it. We did that for the last 10 minutes of the nap attempt. No nap, not surprising. Then we got to Night 3, my turn, and Jack didn’t ask for my hand! He asked for my pinky. I let him have it, his hand outside the crib, my pinky clutched in his fist, and he was asleep within minutes.
That’s totally cheating, I know. But at the same time, it’s kind of a step in the right direction, so I’m letting it ride for a few days before I take it away.
Jack identifies which song he wants to hear by describing the album cover (because that’s what shows on the screen for Amazon Music and Pandora). So “car” or “black car” is Pompeii by Bastille. “Blue car” is Feel It Still by Portugal. The Man. (The image is a black car on fire, but the reflection looks kind of blue.) Today, he requested “popple” (which is how he says people – it’s so freakin’ cute). Well, a lot of album covers have people on them. I started with the playlist that has both of the car songs on it. We scrolled through the whole playlist, trying each song, and he said no within five seconds of the start each time. We scrolled through the recent songs – none of those. I tried Huey Lewis and the News, since the album cover of Fore shows the band leaning against a wall. Not any of those. Then he looked at me very seriously and said “white people” (which came out as “woot popple” and I’m giggling remembering it). John was there, too, and we both told him he was exactly right – Huey Lewis and the News are as white people as you get. But that’s not what he meant. The song he wanted was “white people”. He grabbed my phone and pointed. Of course, it was at a song we’d already tried and he had already rejected, but he wasn’t wrong about his description.
Those are white people wearing very white shirts. Right on, Jack.
(It was Shut Up and Dance by Walk The Moon.)
We got SUPER lazy Saturday evening, and after a fun wander around the grounds of the lighthouse at Beavertail State Park, we went through the drive-thru at McDonald’s and got Jack his FIRST Happy Meal! We let him unpack the box himself, which resulted in a cascade of fries all over his high chair tray. He dipped his fries and his McNuggets all by himself and totally ignored the apple slices (which is a little surprising – lately he’s been all about the apple slices).
When dinner was over, we let him open his first Happy Meal toy! It was a weird potato-looking thing that we eventually figured out was an egg that opened to reveal a dinosaur. Jack was thrilled about the egg and totally freaked out about the dinosaur. (It’s a 2-inch tall T-rex with jaws that open and shut.) We put it safely away back in its egg, and he eyed the whole thing warily until bedtime.
He warmed up to the dinosaur when we tried again this morning, emphasizing that it’s a baby dinosaur, and look, it’s saying hello with a baby rawr. I found it later, stuffed between the couch cushions. We may have to put it away for a while.
We had a major breakthrough at the beach yesterday. Like, BIG.
Are you ready?
Jack – wait, I don’t feel like you’ve prepared yourself enough. I’ll give you another few seconds.
Jack played in the water. For reals. He was hesitant to go in at first, but he was willing to take one slow step at a time in, his back up against my legs and his hands in mine, all the way up to mid-shin. Then he scrambled to get up in my arms, but from there, he pointed imperiously out to sea. “Mama, DAT!” So I did. We waded out together, John close behind, until I was waist deep and waves were splashing us both. He kicked his legs and splashed with his hands, laughed when waves got him in the face (He LAUGHED! He still wails when we get water in his face in the bathtub!), and giggled when we spun him around in circles with his hands trailing in the water. When he got too heavy for both of us (we were taking turns holding him), we went back to where he could stand, and he marched and splashed and played, and it was like he was a whole different kid. And he protested getting out of the water! I promised him we would come back after the holiday weekend, and he agreed to come out.
What a nice surprise.
Jack keeps adding cute things to his repertoire, and I must share them:
- You already know that Jack calls any vehicle trailer a choo-choo, any truck pulling a trailer a choo-choo guck, and any boat a boop. Unsurprisingly then, the first time he saw a car pulling a boat on a trailer, he pointed and shouted “Choo-choo boop!”
- A sheep is a baa, and he knows that sheep say “baa baa”, and one day while changing his diaper, he was repeating “baa baa baa baa”, so I started singing “Baa-baa-baa Baa-baa-baa-ran”. He requests it now.
- For a while (sadly, he doesn’t do anymore), while he was (not) trying to fall asleep in his crib, he would sing to himself. “E-i-e-i-guck,” and then immediately “Yay!” and clap for himself. Over and over. He still says yay and claps when songs end.
- He pretends to give his stuffed animals drinks from his water cup.
- He pretends to have his Elmo doll (and others) walk and run across the floor.
- He picks up anything that looks remotely like a smartphone, holds it to his ear, says “Hello-bye!” and puts it down fast.
- He tells jokes! Okay, one joke. He looks at me, says “Hi, Dada!”, waits for my shocked expression, and laughs like a loon. Then he’ll say “Hi, Mama!” to John. Then we’ll ask him who we are, he’ll get us both right, and then he’ll point to himself and say, “Dada!” and laugh some more.
- He calls himself “you”. When the three of us are together, he likes to point it out. “Mama, Dada, YOU!” And if there’s something he wants to do for himself (like turn on the light) and one of us tries to do it first, he’ll say, “No, YOU!” which was very confusing at first.
No naps in six days, guys. SIX. DAYS. And Jack has woken up four of the last six nights. We are all still sane (we think – would we know?), but Jack has the darkest circles under his eyes. It’s so sad. Today, he tried the poop method again. It wasn’t a constant barrage, but “Poop. POOP.” was interspersed regularly with “Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama. Mama” and “Hello tree?” (“Hello tree” is his request to open the skylight shade, which he knows signals the end of the nap. When I answer with “No, night-night tree”, he gives a giant wail of despair.) Anyway, he kept saying poop and I kept not smelling poop and then a half-hour later he was no longer lying to me.
Maybe it was luck (on his part), maybe he noticed he had to go and was telling me (a milestone), or maybe he willed himself to poop to get out of nap time (a superpower). Regardless, that was it for nap time today.
Things were going so well!
We’ve mostly been doing really well with naps lately, but these last few days have seen a couple of bumps. Three or four days ago, I was trying to get Jack to go to sleep, but he kept saying “Poop” and “Poo dada”. I thought he was asking me to sing the poopy diaper song (“Poopy diaper! Poopy diaper!” to the tune of the Hallelujah chorus), so I sang it quietly for a little bit and a while later he fell asleep. I did sniff his diaper at the time – didn’t smell anything. When I changed his diaper after that nap, I discovered that he had pooped. Whoops. So the next day when he told me “Poop.” while I was trying to put him to sleep, I believed him. I picked him up out the crib (and he giggled – that should have been a clue), turned the light on, and checked his diaper. No poop. Back into the crib. He insisted he had pooped for the rest of the time it took him to fall asleep, but I wasn’t falling for it (and I couldn’t smell anything). He eventually fell asleep. Post-nap diaper change: no poop.
During our attempts to fall asleep yesterday, when he said “Poop!” several times right after I put him in the crib for his nap, I believed him. I picked him up (no giggle) and changed his diaper (there was poop). Back into the crib, where he immediately yelled “Poop!” at me. Not a chance. But after about 10 minutes of insisting that he pooped, which is a not-at-all-fun constant barrage of “Poop. Poop. Poop! Poop.” in increasingly tearful tones, I figured I should check again. He giggled when I picked him up, I checked his diaper, and there was NO POOP. Back in the crib, back to the “Poop” chorus, and he never fell asleep. No nap yesterday.
Today, I got the “Poop. Poop!” plea pretty soon after I put him in the crib again. I stood up, leaned way over to smell his diaper (to giggles), didn’t smell anything, and refused to pick him up. He eventually fell asleep.
Jack: The Boy Who Cried Poop.
Okay, so obviously I shouldn’t let Jack watch TV all afternoon, especially not on a warm sunny day. I had a meeting, one I couldn’t just pretend to listen to (I don’t seem to have many of those anymore), so I got him his lunch, strapped him into the high chair, and turned on the TV. He was happy, I was working, and all was well. When my meeting ended, I cleaned him up and put him down on the floor. Before I even reached my hand out to the remote to turn off the TV, Jack ran across the living room, grabbed the armchair pillow, dragged it into the middle of the rug, and plopped himself down, giggling excitedly.
It feels cruel to turn the TV off when he’s so adorable and into it. I mean, I did it anyway, and we all lived to tell the tale, but he was so happy.