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Well I’ve only been at it for 4 and a half months thus far (plus my pregnancy, which should count too IMHO), but I have dived in nose-first to the pressures that inevitably accompany parenthood. It’s a really freakin’ hard job! I was so naive before giving birth. I was nervous, but I should probably have been downright terrified! As we like to say around our house when we’re rocking him back to sleep for the umpteenth time, changing an explosive poo diaper, or playing another game of “mommy pick up the toys I just threw on the floor… again”… it’s a darn good thing he’s cute.

Cute is one thing he’s got nailed. I mean, he’s put-your-nose-to-his-sweet-head-and-breathe-in-the-baby-goodness kinda sweet. When I sit in the dark feeding him at bedtime, the love that I have for this little person is sometimes so overwhelming that tears come to my eyes, and I just praise God for his goodness to us.

Emotions are fickle things, however, and I’ve been amazed to see just how quickly I can go from tearing up at my precious babe to taking deep breaths and praying for patience when he’s screaming at naptime and refusing to sleep (thus taking away my much anticipated 30 or so minutes of “me time” for the day).

So, to help myself keep it all in perspective, I’m going to list 5 things I’m proud of in this crazy parenting roller-coaster of a journey. Hopefully these things will come to mind the next time he’s screaming/fussing/whatever…

1. I’m proud that we’ve established a bedtime routine, and that it works so well. We have bathtime, jammies, lotion, a story with Mommy and Daddy, and a feeding. I love that it’s a family time.

2. I’m proud that we use cloth diapers pretty much exclusively. I was pretty intimidated by them at first, but I was also determined, and now it’s saving us lots of money! Yay!

3. I’m proud that we haven’t become completely consumed by baby. That probably sounds weird, but I’m glad we’ve kept our friends, and that we’re not “those people” who drive their friends away because all they ever talk about is the baby.

4. I’m proud that I’m still breast-feeding. It was difficult at first, but it has become really special bonding time between mama and baby, and there are so many health benefits for both of us!

5. I’m proud that we’ve kept our marriage relationship steady, and haven’t allowed the pressures of a new baby to drive a wedge between us. Instead, it has brought us closer together. I’m proud of my husband for being such an amazing daddy!

When I was a little girl, I loved to ‘play house’. My friends and I would spend hours in the basement, in the forts/’houses’ we’d build, and pretend to be ‘mommy’ to our little baby dolls. We’d dress them in cute outfits, feed them, and take them ‘shopping’.

One thing I don’t recall ever doing with my dolls, however, is jiggling and walking up and down the hall pretending they were screaming and fussing and refusing to sleep. Or spitting up and drooling all over me. Or needing my attention most when I really just wanted a break. For some reason those things never happened in my fantasy mom world.

Motherhood is certainly not how I pictured it, that’s for sure. Sure, the good outweighs the bad overall, but some days are just really difficult.

And that’s where I’m at today.

Yesterday my parents came to visit. I like it when they visit, because they keep the bugaboo occupied for a bit, AND they do my dishes. It’s a pretty sweet deal. It usually allows me to throw in a load of laundry, or other such fun and exciting things.

So, they helped me put him to bed, since Daddy was out at his night class. Grandpa read the story, which just happened to be Bugaboo’s Toddler Bible. Fitting for Grandpa, the Professor of Theology, wasn’t it? Anyway… so Grandpa would read a page (“This is Noah…”), and when he finished, Bugaboo would look up at Grandpa and let out the most adorable little giggle (through his soother of course, which is even cuter).

So frikin cute. (Like father, like son!).

We are beginning to get into a sleep routine with Isaac, and I LOVE it.

As of a week ago he was not sleeping well at all. It took forever to get him to sleep, often with crying and fussing. He would only go to sleep in our arms, bouncing, rocking, or in the sling. Then we’d have to wait until he was in a deep sleep, and ever-so-carefully put him down in his crib, hoping he wouldn’t wake up, starting the whole process all over again. Then he’d wake up in the night every 2-3 hours, sometimes even every hour. Then Chris or I would spend up to an hour getting him back to sleep before putting him down again.

It was draining, to say the least. We were getting so frustrated, and knew something had to change. Isaac wasn’t getting the rest he needed, and was grouchy during the days, as were we.

A week ago we decided to try to let him “cry it out”. By the fourth night I would feed him and put him in his crib, and he’d fall asleep on his own without crying. It was amazing! Then a few days later we started a nap routine (sleep sack and read a story), and each day is getting better. Today he had three good naps, and cried only 10 minutes before two of them, and fell right asleep for the other one. He’s doing so great!

We also started a bedtime routine about a month ago, which has helped tremendously. We start with a bath, then pj’s and a little lotion leg massage, then the sleep sack, then a story with both Mommy and Daddy, and then I nurse him, and put him down. He usually falls asleep right away.

I never thought I’d do the “cry it out” thing… but I realized that Isaac needed to learn the skill of falling asleep on his own, so that he could fall back asleep easily when waking in the natural sleep cycle at night. I’ve been reading a book on sleep, and have gotten some good advice from friends of ours that followed the same book with their kids.

Now, there’s hope for more sleep (even though he’s only doing 3-4 hour stretches at night, he goes down right after each feeding, and we’re only up like 10 minutes each time).

Hurray for sleep!

I'm Red, he's Honey. I'm the writer of this blog and the source of your entertainment and/or boredom. We're parents of an exceptionally adorable child, and we have no idea what we're doing! This blog is the outlet for my thoughts along the way - welcome! Pull up a couch, grab a cup of tea, and stay a while! Or back away slowly. Whatever works.

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January 2009