Monday, February 23, 2009

Sleep training

Some serious discussion, at least for this post. I've heard all kinds of stories, from sympathetic parents who, in the short run, don't want to cause their babies any discomfort to well-meaning relatives who just want to cuddle the little ones until they go to sleep. As to the former, I have had many friends who have complained about their children not being able to sleep through the night, even when the little one is no longer one year old, or even two years old. They wake up noticing that they are no longer in the same place they were in when they were awake, i.e. mommy or daddy's arms. Furthermore, the parents who meant so well by offering their little ones incentives to go to sleep, like having a bottle in bed or rocking them, ended up having their tots wake up in the middle of the night, unable to console themselves back to sleep.

As for the relatives who don't like to hear the little ones cry or enjoy rocking them to sleep, they oftentimes do not have vivid recollections of what it is like for children who cannot console or get themselves to sleep without the assistant of parents or other help.

What I am saying here people is that sleep training is vital, for parents and for the children. It's crucial for the parents' sanity. It's important for the children, so that they can learn to go to sleep on their own. I am not necessarily arguing in favor of Ferber's cry it out method, but I am saying that some sort of training is absolutely beneficial in the long run. Sleep training can be more difficult at the start, but it gets much easier.

The confession is that I am a softy, too. But, I have Isabella's sleep training in the back of my mind as a reminder of successes in having babies sleep on their own. In fact, much of the time, even if Isabella wakes up screaming (nightmares or something?), she'll go back to sleep after about ten minutes. I've been a little slack on sleep training Victoria. I usually try to put her down to sleep when she's not fully asleep - partially cognizant. I've slipped at times, following asleep myself or something, thereby allowing her to sleep with milk by her side and a breast for comfort. Troy also has a super soft heart and has been rocking her until she's sound asleep.

Well, today, I saw the harm in being so slack. During her afternoon nap, she screamed bloody murder when I put her down, even though she was nearly asleep when I laid her down. Screamed for a good twenty to thirty minutes. Eventually, I gave up and picked her up. After some more cajoling and drinking, she went to sleep.

Tonight, I nursed her, and she showed plenty of "I'm tired" signs, including rubbing her eyes. So, I put her in her bed, despite the fact that she was still very squirmy and not very calm. I went through a very short bed time routine - fed her, told her it was time to sleep, put on some music, and I put her down. She cried and scream. The screaming went up an octave. Good ending to the story? She was asleep in about 20 minutes time. That's a long time for a mommy's tender heart, but that's not too bad at all. The first time serious sleep training takes place can include a much longer period time of crying. I knew a parent's child who cried nearly two hours. I frankly don't know that I could wait that long. . .

Monday, February 16, 2009

Victoria is 9 months old today

Our littlest one. Victoria, is 9 months old today. Three quarters of the way to one year. In the spirit of 25 random things, I shall disclose such things about Victoria:

1. Victoria was born with a full head of hair.
2. Her nails were pretty long the day she was born. Kind of scary. Definitely needed clipping. Otherwise those hard, long nails were lethal enough to make anyone's flesh scared.
3. Victoria was born at the Women's Hospital at Renaissance, in Edinburg, Texas, all natural.
4. She got to dine on Mommy's milk soon after she was born.

5. Victoria has a very, very sweet and colorful personality. Loves to jabber.
6. She does NOT like things to be taken out of her grasp. In fact, when anyone does this, she screams bloody murder.
7. Like her sister, she hates the pacifier. Can't figure a use for it besides chewing. Trust me. Plenty people have tried different kinds of pacifiers. No pacifying her with them! For better or for worse, I am her pacifier, her comfort, her everything.
8. She loves people of all sizes and types. Isabella is one of her favorites, to be sure.

9. She used to roll around to get herself places. These days, she uses a combination of army crawling and rolling.
10. I've conditioned her to crawl to me, when she's upset. Is that bad?
11. Isabella-proof does not mean Victoria-proof. For all intents and purposes, I thought that since our home is baby-proofed for Isabella, it's good enough for Victoria. Right? Wrong. Isabella doesn't chew on everything. Victoria does. It's an age thing. I found a soaking piece of paper on the floor the other day. Yuck. Victoria.
12. Victoria still likes to stick her tongue out. I'm told it's a breastfed baby thing. Don't worry, she won't do that forever. Isabella stopped. Case in point.

13. Victoria has never had a bottle, period. Not a bottle of breastmilk, Not a bottle of formula. I'm not shunning, poking fun, or reprimanding people who do otherwise. Just stating a matter of fact. Easiest for me to take Victoria to the breast. Hate washing a million of bottle parts, for pumping and for feeding, and there's no reason to pump.
14. In light of 13., I am introducing sippy cups to Victoria, just so she can get used it. When she turns one, she can start having cow's milk.
15. Victoria has not actually consumed water out of a sippy cup, but she has "sipped" water out of my cup.

16. She has ticklish spots. I like to tickle her neck and face with kisses, same with her belly, right under the rib cage, tickling with kisses.
17. She'll grab a tight hold of any necklaces I'm wearing. While I'm home, I try to keep my hair up, so she can't get a death grip of that.
18. Somehow she's figured out, for awhile now, how to scrunch up the skin between her eyes.

19. As of yesterday, Victoria can sit unassisted, without holding on to her legs for awhile.
20. To get out of a sitting position, she either falls to the side or she does something Isabella used to do. That is, Victoria can split her legs and bring them towards the back of her to put her back on her belly.
21. She loves being outside.

22. Loves carrots, thinks peas are questionable, and doesn't care for rice cereal. I sometimes mix a teaspoon of rice cereal into her carrots. I haven't been all that disciplined about giving her stuff beyond breastmilk, up to this point. Don't care. At this point, she gets more nutrients out of breastmilk than carrots alone or some other vegetable.
23. Victoria grabs things from my hands, the floor, and any place else that has something that interests her.
24. She is in the process of being sleep trained. Sometimes she can go in her bed (at appropriate bed-times), full cognizant, and go to sleep without a fight. Other times? I have to put her in bed when she's barely awake, just about asleep.
25. She'll get toys out of the toy box, whether by reaching in or kicking the box on to its side. A resourceful Victoria is.

Happy 9 month, Victoria! Blessings to you dear little one.

Isabella and Victoria

On the eve of Valentine's Day, here are two lovely girls sharing a moment together, even if it's momentary.



Today's the 8 year anniversary of our engagement. Who's counting, right? Look at our lovely dear, here. That "hat" on her head is actually pants of a sort.


Monday, February 02, 2009

Ma ma, ma ma, ma maaaaaaaaaaaa

The munchkin closest to the camera? Yes, that one. I'm pretty sure Victoria knows what she's talking about when she utters, "ma ma." For the last few days, she has been saying that and looking at me, especially when she is upset. Over and over again. She even sometimes says, "na, na," which isn't too far removed from the Chinese word for milk. I've got to hand it to her, she knows what to say to get what she wants!