Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Post-Traumatic Baby Disorder

Anyone who has read this blog, or knows our family, knows that Harry has not been the easiest child in the area of sleep. He was constantly nursing around the clock and would not stay asleep when transferred from arms or car seat. When he did sleep, it had to be in our arms or up against one of us - never in his crib or alone. There was no such thing as "bedtime" because it was just 2-3 hour blocks around the clock. I could never tell anyone how many times he nursed at night because he nursed all night long. When I went back to work, it was even worse. He would suck down all the bottled milk during the day and then nurse 12 hours straight when I got home. There was no "letting him cry" because he wouldn't cry. He would just be awake. If he did get upset, there was no calming him without nursing. For daytime naps, Daddy had to walk for 2 hours at a time, twice a day to keep him asleep. It was very intense.

At age 2, it is still a daily struggle to get him to sleep. We have discovered that it is most likely due to some sensory processing issues (i.e. sensory seeking behavior) and are actively seeking help for him. We hoped as he was able to communicate more it would get easier, but that has been delayed due to his lack of expressive language (most likely due to sensory issues as well). Once he is asleep, however, he is really out and stays asleep for 11-12 hours and will now stay asleep through a transfer from arms or car seat. That is a HUGE leap forward that only happened when he self-weaned at 16 months. The trouble then became getting him to sleep without nursing.

Needless to say, it has been a gigantic source of stress for me and hubby. Every night we wonder what we are facing. Is it going to be a battle? How late will he be up? We tried so many methods of getting him to sleep. Some would work for a while and then suddenly never work again. Some never worked. We don't let him nap because he will be up late and it throws him off for days. Late afternoons are dangerous times to take a drive because he will fall asleep, so we are like prisoners at that time of day. He needs 3 things in order to distract him enough to fall asleep.
  1. Physical confinement and/or deep pressure massage
  2. Visual stimulation
  3. Audio stimulation
Our current strategy is driving him in the car for 10-15 minutes. The car gives him all three things. He even asks to go in the car when he's ready to sleep. Until we get working with an occupational therapist, this is what we will do, unless it stops working.

So, in the midst of all this came Nathan. Oh, Nathan! May this not come back to bite me in the ass, but I never knew such sleep was possible from a child so young! Nathan goes to bed! In his crib! At almost the same time every night! And sleeps 6-8 hours! He then wakes for a feed and sleeps another 3-4 hours with me! And he has put himself to sleep! Without nursing! In fact, he will spit out the boob and just happily drift off! And then! Lets us put him down!


Nathan is truly healing my wounds. For the first time in two years, we have "bedtime" in the house. We can pretty much count on both boys being sound asleep by 8 PM. I'm still pretty jumpy with the baby monitor, but I'm slowly feeling more relaxed. I was never able to be calm when Harry was asleep because I knew it was a precarious state. It's taken 2 years for him to be solid and then we added a newborn, so I figured I'd be back to square one. But Nate sleeps better at 11 weeks than Harry did at 16 months. I just went back to work (albeit summer hours) and it has not had the same effect on Nathan's sleep like it did for Harry.

I swear this is going to come back to haunt me, but I feel like I've been in survival mode for so long and I'm finally getting some respite. Having even a couple of hours to yourself at the end of the day is such an amazing thing, not to mention long stretches of sleep at night. It's been a long time since I had anything resembling anything like this. I know there will be setbacks that will make me want to tear my hair out and run away from home, but I feel like we are headed in the right direction. If this all goes to hell in the next few months, I'll have to come back and read this and remember the glory days of bedtime.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Monster Baby

First post in a series. Maybe. We'll see.

At 10 weeks, 3 days, Nathan had his 2 month check up. He is 26 inches long and 15 lbs. 9 oz. That is HUGE. On the Carter's size chart that is 9-12 month size. I know he'll slow down eventually, but wow. The milkies are strong with this one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Harry Can Say...

At 24 months, here's what Harry is up to on the language front.

Real Words (pronunciation in parentheses, if applicable):
Kick (Git)
Ball (Dee)
Done (Ah Da)
Night-Night (nigh-nigh)
Please (bee or ming)
Mumu (our cat's name)
Rain (reng on nang)
Cookie (diddy)
No (always said as "no-no-no")
Bow (as in cello bow)

Sounds that mean stuff:
Bleah (as in "Gross!!")
Shh (fish)
Buh-Buh (bubbles or bunny)
Brrrr (ice cream, ice, cold or outside)
Prrr (kitty)
oof-oof (doggy)
deet-deet (birdy)
dit, dit, dit (1, 2, 3, counting or numbers)
Ah-ah (monkey or apple, depending on context.)
Sllllurp-ahhh (drink)
Puh-puh (duck - This actual sound is hard to describe. It is more like he opens and closes his lips to make a slight popping sound.)
Sniffs (flower)
Bit-bit (Frog - said in a very low strained voice)
Moo (sounds like boo)
Watermelon (Another tough one to describe. It comes out like bulbuhbulbuh, but he is wiggling his tongue back and forth 4 times.)
Banana (similar to Watermelon, but hard to describe)
Toot-toot (imitating trumpet)

Signs (real and made up):
Water (can also mean tub)
Ball (signs dribbling)
TV (signs like pressing the remote)
Baseball (swings arms)
Cello/Bass (signs like bowing)
Hat/helmet (also can mean outside)

I know there are more. In fact, as I have typed this he has said more, including 2 new ones (frog and rain). I will add to this as I remember or as he adds to his vocabulary. All of these are on top of the jargoning and babbling that is is doing All. The. Time. So, I guess we have made progress since starting Early Intervention. He still does not imitate new sounds and still has things he has said once and then never said again.

Nathan, at 2 months, already coos conversationally, meaning if you say something, he answers back, almost imitating the pitch. Harry didn't really do that. He gurgled and giggled. I'm curious to see how Nate progresses differently from Harry. It's really fascinating to watch.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Joseph, Twenty-four Months Old

Happy Birthday, Pumpkin Bear!

As I write this, you are (finally) asleep in your room with Brahms 1 on the radio. I am in the family room of our new house, enjoying some Cappuccino Fudge cake (not your birthday cake, but some left over from company this week) and listening simultaneously to the frogs outside and your brother's baby monitor. All is quiet. I hope it lasts.

You had a great day today. French toast with presents for breakfast (baseball PJs and a "Twilight Turtle") with a sport themed table that will stay up until your party this weekend. We went to a music class after that, but you were overwhelmed by the noise and people and spent it covering your ears. We left early and got a nice tea and fruit plate at the cafe before our walk home. After lunch, we went to the park and then came home to play with some friends (bigger boys - your favorite!) in the yard. Then...your tricycle arrived! Daddy built it and took you out for a spin before going to get pizza. After bathtime, you had a birthday cupcake with a "2" candle and watched a bit of "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh". Then it was the regular bedtime battle, but I won't dwell on that on your birthday.

For the record, here are some of your favorite things at age 2:

(or DEE! as you still call it)




All caps and a million exclamation points cannot express your enthusiasm. You still don't have many words, but you express yourself with your entire body. Signing by kicking (soccer), swinging your arms (baseball), pretending to dribble (basketball), and waving your hands in circles (bike) with all your might. Running, well, that is self explanatory. You just run off. We are trying to teach you "safe" and "not safe". No real luck with that yet. Meanwhile, we got you a kiddie harness, or "leash" so you can walk and be independent, but be safe. I just ignore the stares. You love it and it's more exercise than the stroller.

You have your tantrum moments, but you are just the happiest little boy I've ever seen. You are very friendly and are quick to try to give hugs to other kids, which is sweet (though not everyone likes that). More than anything, you just want to play with other kids. I hope we can find some groups out here in the suburbs. Early Intervention hasn't kicked in yet, but maybe we can get something going there. We are doing a gymn class once a week and you LOVE that. You are allowed to climb and roll and run and jump. You like to run to the middle of the room and clap, just like the teacher does. You'll be running the class if you keep that up!

You've done so well with the changes we've had around here. First Nate, then the move and then I'm about to go back to work. I'm very nervous about that and also very sad. I miss so much time with you already because I'm tied to Nate by the nursies. I feel like I missed so much time while I was pregnant too. I promise to carve out some Mama-Harry time soon so we can make up for all this. As your brother gets older, we'll all be able to have lots more fun together.

I cannot believe you are two, Harry. So grown up, but still my baby. Always my baby. I can't wait to watch you blossom this year. We've come so far and we have much fun ahead of us. Sleep well, birthday boy.

All my love,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


It came to me in a flash, as I knew it would. I needed to give this blog an overhaul with the addition of Thing 2 (i.e. Nate).

I've read a lot of infant sleep literature in the past two years and "Drowsy But Awake" is a term they use in a lot of infant sleep books. They always way to put your baby down when he is "drowsy but awake". With Harry, that was some mythical state. It did not exist. I felt "drowsy but awake" for much of his first year, but he was either AWAKE or ASLEEP. Nothing in between.

Then, Nathan arrived. I have seen him put himself to sleep from a drowsy state with no interaction from anyone. I was amazed. He has his awake, fussy moments (and days) but I have such low expectations when it comes to baby sleep, that anything resembling normal is icing on the cake.

So, the blog will take a different turn. I am cooking up a birthday post for Harry, but I realize I missed both monthly updates this time around. I think we'll just hit the "Reset" button and start fresh with Harry's birthday tomorrow. I'd like to add some posts about homeownership and some musings on music. We'll see if I can keep up. Until then, I remain "drowsy but awake".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Time

I've fallen off the blog, here. With a toddler, a newborn and the move to our new house, it has been difficult to find a spare moment when one of the boys (hubby included) or the cats doesn't need something from me. When I do get online, it is usually on my iPod, which is OK for typing email, but not blog posts. That is the main reason I missed Harry's 23 month letter, but I promise to make it up for his birthday next week.

There is much to write about, such as how I must be the snugly-est person around, because I make babies who don't like to be put down, or how my milk makes babies really fat and delicious, or how we can't get Nathan to take a bottle, or how he prefers to sleep on his tummy (which scares me), or how we have way too much furniture, yet not quite enough of the "right" furniture for this house, or how weird yet nice it is to be in a suburban neighborhood, or all the plans we have to fix up this place, or how sweet it is when Harry gives Nate "kisses", or how we are starting Occupational Therapy with Harry for his sensory seeking issues, or how his speech seems to increase in volume when Nathan is asleep, or Harry's obsession with basketball, or how my hair is taking on a life of its own, or how my maternity leave is passing waaay too quickly. But there is little time. Sad to say, I will have more time once my leave is over.

Until then, posting may be light. After that, I plan to expand on more topics than just motherhood, but I need to figure out a blog title that suits me. It will probably come to me in a flash during a late night nursing session, but I'll be darned if anything could tear me away from sweet, snugly, night time nursies.