A few milestones worth sharing

James has officially reached my favourite milestone… sitting. It’s been a few weeks now since this little guy has enjoyed the comfort of sitting (while assisted), but in recent days he’s been doing amazing sitting without any support.

Thomas is able to play around him much more now and isn’t as hesitant to bring toys to his brother when they are out of reach. It’s great seeing both of them interact. James smiles every time Thomas comes near and of course Thomas puts a great deal of effort in making his little brother laugh.

James sitting

July 18

There’s been a few other firsts that deserve a little sharing…

Both bottom teeth are now out and last night was the first time I didn’t get out of bed. At all. Until 6:30am. There was a tiny little waking at 1am, but I nudged daddy to get out of bed to go stick the soother in James’s mouth. Voila! That did the trick. At almost 8 months, he’s finally given me a full night’s sleep.

We also made the decision to switch James to formula about two weeks ago. He was fussing so much while I was trying to nurse him. After an almost instant wean, I realized the reason he was fussing was that my milk production was very, very low. Nothing there to feed off of. So now I have a happy bottle-fed babe.

We also went through significant backyard renovations last weekend that turned Thomas into a foreman.

Keeping an eye on things.

Keeping an eye on things.

After saving up for a year, we set a date and had our deck built. We hired a friend who does this for a living, but daddy was on hand every step of the way. The results are amazing!

Before and AfterI finally want to spend time in my backyard. It’s been so long since I’ve just sat outside to enjoy the sun. My feet were always sandy and there were so many weeds I simply preferred to stay inside the house and pretend my yard wasn’t in the condition it actually was in.

The summer has been so good to us to far and in just a few days daddy will be home for 5 weeks! It’s going to be great and I just can’t wait for our vacation together. Plus, the boys love each other so much it’s bound to be the best vacation ever right?

July 23

July 23

 

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The day the tooth came in

A few weeks earlier than his big bro, today at lunch is the first time I felt a little chunk of tooth in that beautifully swelled gum.

James has been suffering for about two weeks now and I knew they were coming, but as I learned with Thomas: this isn’t a one day in next day out kinda thing. Teething has also resulted in excessive irritability and my twice-a-night waker is now waking several more times. The nights have been brutal and we’re actually worried we’re creating bad habits for James by going in all the time.

Thomas learned well and early on to sooth himself. But James is a completely other story right now. He went from falling asleep on his own for naps to needing extra snuggles. Not sure if it’s the teeth or just because he loves me so much. Hmm…. that’s a hard one to figure out! Probably a bit of both.

And so the snuggles will continue until he’s doing a little better with his sleep.

As for the getting around… he’s doing amazing on his tummy. Pushes himself backwards and works so hard to get a toy that’s out of reach. Problem is, he still hasn’t figured out how to get from his tummy to his back. Argh! It’s the most frustrating thing since I constantly have to go to him and help him out. If not, he stays on his tummy and cries until snot starts coming out of his nose and his eyes get all puffy. I know this because I’ve tried to ‘let him figure it out’. It’s just not working.

He’s the cutest little guy and he’s definitely Thomas’s new best friend. Giggling at his brother’s silliness has sealed the deal.

James, June 20

What’s for lunch?

Oh, and he loves his toes.

When the sun comes up

Despite being completely in love with his baby, Thomas did have a few behavioural changes when James entered our lives.

For one, he can’t stand to miss a single thing that occurs in our household. That means he now gets his potty in the bathroom and brings it into the living room where he does what he needs to do. The proof…

Potty Time

Potty Time

Although this annoys me somewhat – especially when it’s poop time and I’m still eating dinner and he needs to be as close to me as possible – it was a relief that we didn’t have to go back to potty training. He’s even accident-free overnight which has been amazing. The only downside is that I almost tripped over a full potty hanging out in the middle of the hallway at 3 a.m. when I went to feed James the other night. We’ve now set up a night light in the bathroom so the potty can stay there and not be moved to the hallway where there’s more light!

The more annoying aspect of behavioural changes was when he decided he wanted to come in to our room in the morning for a little snuggle when he woke. So adorable at first. I loved snuggling with my big boy. But the the 7 a.m wakeup became 6:45, then 6:30 and even 6. The problem is I don’t really sleep when he’s next to me. He pokes me in the eye, kicks, rolls around, takes up all the room – you get it right?

And although I’m a pretty firm mom, I really didn’t have the energy or willpower to battle him back to bed for fear he would scream and James would wake up. Really not what I wanted.

So we came across the GroClock!

My new best friend.

My new best friend.

It’s a great little clock that you set to change from the stars to the sun when it’s time for the child to ‘wake-up’ or in our case leave his bed and come to ours. There’s also a naptime setting which has also taken away the ‘you need to keep resting’ conversation that was becoming quite common.

For Thomas it’s a great game. He gets to look at the clock and now knows that he wakes when the sun wakes. For mommy, it means I can gently remind him that he can come for snuggles when he sees the sun. That almost guarantees me a 7 a.m. wake time – unless of course James wakes earlier and invites the entire house to join in on the party.

I initially thought the $50 price range was high… but there really is not price tag one can put on rest and sanity is there?

My dark mommy place

I was surfing the internet tonight while my little guy lay asleep in his bed and I came across this web page: http://thebadmomsclub.com/2011/08/all-hail-the-bad-mom.html. I was in mommy heaven!

Two weeks after Thomas was born, when he wasn’t sleeping, when he was crying, when I was tired, when I was crying (you get the point)… I went to what I will always refer to as my ‘dark mommy place’. My husband was out playing floor hockey and my sister (who doesn’t have kids of her own) was over to keep me company. Thomas was only two weeks old and I didn’t want to be left alone with him in the evening. That night was the first of many nights that he would spend crying. Nothing would soothe him except being on the boob. But after two hours of boob time, I was exhausted and ready to call it quits. As if on cue, Thomas fell asleep at about 10pm – just as daddy was walking through the door. Figures.

The following day my husband worked from home. After the very first feed of the morning, which was preceded by several nighttime feeds, Thomas once again started to howl. I lost it. All of it. Every ounce of sanity left in me was gone. I shoved Thomas in my husband’s arms and my ‘dark mommy’ spilled out of me. I will refrain from documenting exactly what I said that morning, but it was along the lines of: “I hate being a mom, I want my old life back.”

I have often felt guilty about that day (and several others that followed), but when I tell other moms about this ‘dark mommy place’, they admit to having their own! Really? How helpful that honesty would have been during my time of insanity. Apparently moms are embarrassed to talk about the dark side of parenthood. About the challenges. The only thing they ever say is “Oh, it’s so great being a mom. I love it.”

Looking back, what I really meant to say that morning was: nothing could have prepared me for how difficult this is. I’m tired and exhausted. When he cries, I feel inadequate. I don’t think I’m doing a good job at being a mother. I feel like I’m failing my child.

Soon after I decided I would raise Thomas the way I wanted to raise him and  stop being so hard on myself. I’m sure one day I will use creative parenting if it makes our family life easier. Maybe his birthday will be in January as opposed to March. Maybe I’ll say no to something and change my mind. Maybe I’ll let him run up the stairs which I swore I would never do. It’s impossible to be perfect and to completely follow through with all the self-imposed parenting rules you decided on.

It’s obvious that some days will still test my patience and my competence as a mother. But at around 5:30pm tonight while the esthetician was working on my pedicure, I closed my eyes and saw his face, heard his laugh, and within seconds I was smiling. That is my happy mommy place. That made it all worth it.

Cloud Nine

That’s right… nine hours of uninterrupted, blissful, relaxing sleep. That’s what I got the other night.

I woke when my husband’s alarm clock went off. A little confused (and worried), I tiptoed to Thomas’s room to ensure the little guy was still breathing. He obviously was or else I would not be writing this post!

I was thrilled that Thomas got so much sleep, but I knew not to expect the same thing the following nights when I put him down. The upside is he is no longer waking every two hours. The downside of this lengthy sleep is the uninterrupted nights means I get up on the wrong side of the bed. Apparently my body now prefers the broken, shortened sleep I’ve been getting and a nice full night of shut-eye isn’t appreciated. I was grumpy, tired and irritable. I ended up napping with Thomas in the morning – and that did me a heck of a lot of good.

As for the  little guy’s daytime schedule, he’s been taking regular naps throughout the morning and the afternoon. I can start to tell when he’s tired and needs to sleep. Luckily, he’s able to fall asleep on his own in his crib. I’m quite happy about this. The last thing I want is to fight to get him to nap.