Liam occasionally has trouble sleeping through the night. IF he wakes up in the middle of the night, he doesn’t want to be alone. He wants to come sleep with us, or have J come sleep on the top bunk in his room. This wasn’t really an issue (although if we’d dealt with it long ago, it wouldn’t be an issue NOW) until Harry came along. But our queen-sized bed is not a comfortable sleeping spot for two (well) grown adults, a four year old, and a baby that prefers to sleep while kicking Mama and head-butting Daddy. So we’ve been working to get him to stay in his room all night. He knows what 7 o’clock looks like on his wall clock, and he knows he’s supposed to stay in his room until then. If he wakes up, he’s allowed to turn on his CD player (yes, he has a CD player — it’s an old one of mine, but give me a break, we don’t put AC/DC or anything in for him), and if the sun is already up, so daytime is close, he can play. He’s been doing really well with this. I think having the freedom to play his music, and get up if he needs to, open his door, turn on his light, etc. have made a huge difference. So as a reward we’ve planned to take him to Parc Paradisio today.

Am I rambling? 4.5 hours of sleep + 3 cups of coffee = Rambling Mama

Ahhh, you thought I was going to tell you how well rested we all were now, didn’t you? But you forget, we have two children.

This last week we finally bit the bullet and decided it was time for Harry to start getting used to putting himself to sleep. Up until now he’s fallen asleep nursing and then I’ve tiptoed up and put him down. There are a couple very different schools of thought on this — some think that by allowing him to do that, we’ve spoiled him and made things harder for ourselves; others think that to take that comfort away from him is cruel and we’re no longer practicing *attachment* parenting, and have done the equivalent of leaving our baby alone and exposed on a mountain top to suffer whatever ills might befall him.

We think that a newborn needs that comfort and reassurance, and we gladly gave it. But now, at nearly 10 months, we think we need help him learn to *self-soothe*, or whatever the latest buzzword is. There are probably about as many *methods* for getting a baby to sleep as there are frazzled parents. Ferber, pick-up-put-down, cry it out….. I think one of the reasons it took Liam (way back when) so long to learn to put himself to sleep is because we (okay, I) couldn’t commit to one course of action. One would sound good, but then I’d read arguments against it, and get wishy-washy. Was I being a good parent, or cruel?

This time around I’m more at peace with the whole process. Liam (and I) survived the process, with no obvious scars. Harry will survive as well. So this week we’ve instituted a bedtime (about quarter after 8), at which point I take him up, sing him a song, give him a quick cuddle, and put him down. Then he shrieks; I go back in after a few minutes and pick him up, then put him back for a few minutes. I don’t watch the clock, or refer to the latest baby manual for how long to let him cry. I listen to him. If he’s escalating, I go in. If he sounds like he’s fading, I let it go. The first couple nights it took about half an hour. Then about ten. Last night he didn’t nap well during the day, so he did fall asleep on my lap around 7PM. He woke up, ironically, around 8:30, so I gave him a quick cuddle but put him right back down. He shrieked — for about thirty seconds — and then fell back to sleep. I think he’s beginning to get it, and I think the worst is behind us.

Unfortunately for me, Harry falling asleep an hour and a half early means that he woke up about an hour and a half early, something I did not take into account as Jesse and I sat up late and caught up with non-child friendly television. AND I really ought to keep my promise to Liam to take him to Parc Paradisio, so there most likely will be no nap for me today. But the kids are sleeping well, so I’m a happy, rambling, caffeine-overdriven, bags-under-the-eyes mama.

Does this look like a child that’s been abandoned to the wolves?

let's pretend

One of Liam’s favorite things to do is play pretend. Lately we’ve been pretending that we’re on a submarine, and the nuclear reactor has broken, and someone has to go fix it even though that means imminent death, and we have to put on our radiation suits, and go into the garage, and then come back in and pretend to throw up when we take off our masks….

You’ve got to love the mind of little boys don’t you. But let’s play pretend MY way for a minute:

I’ll pretend that I didn’t wear a very light top to the commissary today, and get soaked to the skin in the rain, and realize that said very light top is see through when wet.

I’ll pretend that I didn’t let Harry play with the (albeit empty) dog dish so I could have two hands to put groceries away.

I’ll pretend that the Spaghetti-O’s I bought are actually a healthy, well-balanced meal for my two little tikes. While I’m at it, I’ll pretend that Liam actually ate the Spaghetti-O’s.

I’ll pretend that when Harry spit up on the floor, I got to him and cleaned up the mess BEFORE he crawled through it and soaked it all up with his overalls.

See, for a grown-up woman, my pretend is way more fun.

OK, to catch up:

–a couple weeks ago I took a really bad fall. I was rushing to get into the store (ok, the liquor store) before they closed, and I wasn’t paying attention, and the pavement was uneven, and before I knew it I was on the ground. My shins and the palms of my hands took the brunt of it — my right leg beneath my knee was positively black for about a week, and I was really hurting for the first few days. Oh, but that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it is that I had Harry strapped to my chest in the Baby Bjorn. In the split-second it took to reach the ground, I must’ve realized I was going to concuss my baby, or perhaps crush him, and managed to keep him from smashing into the pavement. He conked just his forehead, and I was horrified, but in retrospect he barely made contact. Enough to make him mad, and scare him a little, but there were few tears and just a little goose egg. And I’ve pretty much sworn off baby-wearing since. It’s the stroller for the little bucko from now on.

–my parents came to visit for the first week of June. We had a great time. Liam wasn’t the perfect child I had hoped he’d be, but a full week, 24/7 of being good is a lot to ask of a four year old. He loved his time with his Grandma Banana (don’t ask, we have no idea) and Pa. I think the grandparents really enjoyed getting to know this much more grown up Liam (the last time they visited he was two and a half, I think?) and meeting Harry. Harry loved the attention, and despite being sick for most of the visit, was a bundle of joy. Except in the middle of the night. From, say, midnight to 3 or 4AM, when he was crying and fussing and refusing to sleep. Pictures of the trip forthcoming. Check back in a day or two for the link. Too many pictures to choose from to put just a couple online, and right now I’m getting weird messages from the computer when I try to make a photo webpage.

–we registered Liam for kindergarten. Yup, that’s right. I still reserve the right to homeschool him if we feel he isn’t getting what he needs from school, but after thoroughly investigating the Belgian school system, and visiting his school, we think he can get the education he deserves. He’s already looking forward to the experience.

–more to say, but Harry is waking up from his nap. And he’s not a happy camper when he wakes up in the afternoon. He must need some caffeine. Or a beer…..