Monday, January 17, 2011

Sleep Training - Progress Report #2

At risk of writing about it and therefore having it all fall to shit....


I just can't keep that to myself.  I am so so soooo happy about it. 

Naps are coming along very nicely too but are definitely not cemented yet.  This means that I'm still a bit of a prisoner in my own home (particularly during the week) since he needs three naps a day and they need to take place in his own bed.  But if I have to be a prisoner then at least I can be a prisoner who is getting more sleep at night! 

Hell yeah!

My mom was over on the weekend and I went out for a couple of hours (FREE! I was FREE!!!).  She put him down for one of his naps (the first person besides myself to put him down since sleep training started) and there was absolutely NO problem. 

I went to the gym yesterday while Steve watched the kids and Steve put him down for his afternoon nap (also a first since nap training) and there was no problem. 

Progress.  Serious progress, my friends.

Next weekend I have tickets to see Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (a little Christmas gift from me, to me) and I really would like the kids to stay the night at my parents house.  I'm so worried about Lincoln and possibly screwing up his sleep schedule.  Also it is a pretty big job to make sure naps are taken at the right time and handled in a particular way and I feel a bit bad putting that on my mom - although she says it's no problem. 

It needs to start happening though - Lincoln sleeping elsewhere, particularly at my moms since she is currently my only babysitter. 

But... right now I'm pretty excited about where we're at with the progress.  It's really very exciting and makes me really quite happy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where I'm at...

The sleep training continues with Lincoln.  I have made so much progress from the days of hourly wakings through the night and two 30 minute naps.  However, at only 8 (or is it 9?) days into it, we're still a far way off from having healthy sleep habits cemented.  What does that mean?  It means I continue to be fairly housebound.  Linc needs to be put down for each of his three daytime naps within 2 hours of waking from his previous sleep.  In those two hours he needs to be given a bottle, fed solids, played with, exercised, diaper changed and whatever else a 6 month old requires.  Have I mentioned he's passed the 20lb mark now??  (Oh my aching back!) And in the meantime I have a two year old who doesn't stop talking (bless her intelligent little heart but sometimes I just want quiet) or going and going and going and who hasn't quite mastered the skill of independent play yet.


Then there is the devastation of my father-in-law's terminal cancer diagnosis.  It has been so trying (not to mention heart shattering) on the family.  My husband and his dad are particularly close and it's so sad to see how much this hurts him.  I have been busy trying to be everything I can be to those who need it during this time.

Yesterday there was a "big" doctors appointment.  My FIL was going to find out if the treatment to shrink his brain tumor is working and if it would be worthwhile to continue treatment.  We were all sick with worry what the outcome would be.  Steve and I had been to the house with the kids to visit him on the weekend and I was a little bit surprised at how sick he was.  He could barely find the energy for one word sentences.  He was in and out of sleep the whole time were were there.  He had been refusing to eat and fighting with MIL to take his medication.  So you can understand how shocked we all were when the doctor told him he was very happy with his progress and that he should be able to golf a round within 3-5 weeks.  I did not understand how this could be!  But apparently in the past few days he's gotten stronger and has eaten a bit and scans show that his tumor is shrinking a bit.  This has offered up some hope for everyone (especially Steve) that we all might get a little more time with him, some of it quality time where he is physically and mentally able. 

My girlfriend who is starting up her own photography business has offered to do family pictures for us for free once FIL is a bit stronger and able to be up and about.  I hadn't thought of it but what a wonderful idea.  I am so excited about this and hope that we can make it happen. 

And, because I don't like things to be too easy, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers.  I figured my life struggles aren't going anywhere anytime soon and I am packing around a lot of extra weight which I truly do not like - so why not just go for it now. I'm a bit of an emotional eater (understatement) and with all the stress and emotion that I have in my life right now, a bit of direction and control is just what I need or I could really be in trouble.  No, I can't afford it nor do I have the extra time for it but with some encouragement from a friend I decided that I needed to do this, now, for me.  It is hard for sure with everything else going on around me, but I deserve to feel good about myself and my appearance and so I will pinch pennies and find the time to do the program and I WILL be successful at it. 

Right now I have both kids napping.  It takes a bit of work but I have been able to make that happen every once in a while and I enjoy it so very, very much.  A bit of quiet time during the day is so very needed by me right now.  And so if you'll excuse me, I'm going to lay here on the couch and stare at the roof for whatever quiet time I have remaining...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sleep training - progress report #1

I gotta say, sleep training is going really well.  Like, amazingly by-the-book well.  Lincoln is catching on beautifully and his crying is minimal.  I never expected it would go like this. I like to think that it's at least partly because I'd done some reading and some sleep training before officially implementing the sleep consultants sleep plan.  I'm already aware of sleep cues and the white noise machines that I bought for both kids' rooms are also a huge help. 

Sometimes I feel a bit silly that I paid all that money for a sleep plan and wonder if I maybe jumped the gun.  But then I remind myself that there is indeed valuable information in Lincoln's plan that I wouldn't have had otherwise.  And I would have continued to doubt my strategies every time he cried.  Now I know what to do and the plan, written by a professional, gives me the confidence I need to be sure that I'm doing the right things. 

I know it's only day 3 and things could go blatantly wrong at any time - but from all I've read the first 24 hours are the hardest, and they weren't that hard, and it's gotten better each day.  We're working on making him go through two sleep cycles for his naps instead of one.  And we're down to two feeds in the night (this includes his 10:40pm dream feed), with plans of cutting out the middle of the night feed next week.  His crying has really scaled back and he doesn't scream like he used to.

For some reason with all of this, I am more tired than I've ever been.  Even though I'm starting to get a little more sleep. I suppose the stress is maybe catching up with me, and it's probably going to be a long time before I actually feel rested when I wake up in the morning. 

But honestly, it just feels really good that something that is going right right now.  It's been a long time since something positive has happened. I am desperate for something to just go right for us and I'm clinging on to this, our sleep training progress amidst a whole lot of wrong.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sleep Training

I got Lincoln's "sleep plan" this past weekend.  Sleep training is the last fucking thing on earth I feel like doing right now.  The last thing.  However, I paid the money for the plan and having Lincoln sleep better would greatly improve our lives.  And so today, I put the plan in motion. 

I am scared though.  With the heaviness in this house lately I have been so stressed out.  Almost to the point of being manic sometimes.  I get sooooo wound up, feeling like there are a million things I need to do. I recognize that I am feeling the need to control everything I can because of the things that I can not.  Still, I can't help myself.  I'm afraid I won't be strong enough to handle the crying that is going to inevitably come with the sleep training. I'm afraid the stress will overtake me.

We've been doing a lot of driving back and forth to the hospital over the past two weeks and I that has been making me feel even more out of control.  I've been doing all the driving - which is an hour each way through city traffic.  I've been trying to manage kids naps and meals and playtime and behavior through all of it, which has been no easy task.  Sleeping in the van and eating drive through chicken mcnuggets is ok once in a while, but I stress that it's happening too much.  I try to plan ahead but there is so much going on inside my head and out that it's all I can do to just hang on by my fingernails.

Hopefully now that the holidays are over and there is a bit more structure, things will level out a bit.  Also, Steve's dad is likely going to be sent home from the hospital tomorrow.  So our visits will become weekly and they won't be at the hospital anymore (God willing). It will make things a little easier visiting at their house.

Over the past couple of weeks I've pretty much weaned Lincoln from breastfeeding.  It's been beneficial to me and him.  He's sleeping better already with the increased calories - and I'm less tied down and able to function a little more effectively.  I've also started him on solids which he loves (except peas, that's my boy!). He's "only" awake 2 or 3 times a night now.  Still his naps are junk.

As much as I don't want to do the sleep training, it's now or never.  I need to start within one week of getting the plan. And really, what would I wait for anyways?  It's not like things are going to change any time soon. 

I'm hanging on to the fact that today is as close to a fresh start as we're going to get so I'm going forward with whatever needs to be done to get Lincoln sleeping better.  While I'm at it, I'm going to take advantage of this being a "quieter" week and working on getting everything clean and organized and my family in a better place (along with my headspace), so that we can go forward as best we can with what we're given. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year

Well, it's now 2011. We've finally moved past 2010 which was such a difficult year for us.  I am very excited for a fresh start.

It seems though, that the cancer in my father in law's brain (and now lungs, back and kidneys), didn't get the memo that we were starting fresh this year.  The cancer is still there and it is refusing to respond to treatment.  This is usually one my favorite times of the year - after all the hoopla of the holidays is over and I can get down to improving my life in various ways.  I love January and the fresh start that it brings. 

But at the end of December 31st, 2010, when the clock struck twelve and the calendar rolled over - the pain and sadness and heaviness did not abate. The cancer is still there.  We are all still hurting.  And how can we look forward to 2011 with too much hope and happiness when we know it will likely be the year we lose Steve's dad, my father in law, the kids' grandpa?