You guys. I almost hate to write this, because I so do not want to jinx things, and I fully expect that this will not just be the norm from here on out. But. Last night, we put Ryland down awake at 7pm. She fussed for maybe 2 minutes and then fell asleep in her crib. And then she continued to sleep, in her crib, until 7:30AM. That's more than TWELVE HOURS. She didn't wake up once. She didn't eat once. I woke up, made my coffee, unloaded the dishwasher, all before she woke up!
I'm still sort of in a state of shock about it. And let me repeat. I am no fool. I know this may be a fluke and tonight could be a sleep disaster. But I'm pretty sure last night qualifies as that holy grail of Sleeping Through The Night. Now I know that my baby is capable of it. There is a future where mama and dada can also STTN. Even if we still have bumps ahead, that's pretty darn exciting.
But enough about baby sleep! Here's what else is going on around here on this rainy Wednesday.
The weather has finally cooled down the teensiest bit. It's still not exactly chilly, but there is at least the promise of coolness in the air. I LOVE fall. It's my favorite season. I love it all, the sweaters and scarves, hot chocolate and hard cider, Halloween and my birthday! I love boots and changing leaves and cool evenings. Bring on the pumpkins and pumpkin spice (within reason, the whole thing has gotten a little out of hand). I'm ready for flannel and fleeces and the smell of burning leaves in the air. I don't even watch football but I still love that it's football season. Autumn just feels like a lovely little gift after the heat and humidity of late summer. I really think fall is the perfect season for someone like me who is both intolerant to extreme heat and cold. It's just the best right?
I also love fall food, namely stews and soups and chilis. I think it's the lazy chef in me, because there's really nothing easier than a soup or stew. You can do it in the slow-cooker but even if you make it right before dinner time it's still basically a matter of chopping stuff up and throwing it in a pot. And it always makes a huge batch that lasts for days. A few nights ago I made the yummiest chicken chili from the latest issue of Southern Living. It was easy, fast, healthy, and super filling! Definitely a keeper.
Because it's chili (and cornbread) season, I decided to fix up and re-season my poor neglected cast iron. I have two skillets that I actually got at antique stores (cast iron lasts forever, don't buy new and expensive cast iron when you can find great deals at antique and consignment stores and with a little elbow grease make it look brand new). My dad fixed these up for me when I bought them, but I had let things slide a little and rust had gotten in. I also have a big cast iron dutch oven that was my Texas grandmother's (one of the most prized possessions I have in my house, I think Southerners pass down cast iron pieces with the same appreciation and respect as precious family heirlooms), and that too had started to get a little rusty due to poor maintenance on my part (washing with soap, not drying completely, never re-seasoning after cooking).
What I did was actually pour kosher salt in the skillets and then used a cut potato to "scrub" them with the kosher salt (I read about this potato tip online, and supposedly it gets rust and crud off better than a rag, who knows but it seemed to work great!). I then rinsed them with water, and then put them on low heat on the stove for about 10 minutes to completely dry. Then I lathered them in vegetable oil and put them in the oven for an hour at 400 degrees. And now they look brand spanking new and ready for many, many fall chilis and stews and cornbreads to come.
Yesterday was our 2nd wedding anniversary! Which is really crazy to think that it's been two years since our wedding. So the corny stuff up front. I'm more in love with my husband now than I was on our wedding day (and I loved him a stinking lot then too). I am even more in love with him after seeing the kind of father he is and how much he loves our daughter (and vice versa). I am very lucky in so many, many ways.
We stayed pretty low key and celebrated in true married fashion with a trip to Costco :) We did go to Tazza Kitchen with Ryland for dinner (definitely my favorite Short Pump restaurant and one of my favorite restaurants in all of Richmond). I had am amazing scallop and risotto dish and some good Happy Hour wine.
We sat outside and enjoyed the cooler temperatures and passed the baby back and forth while we ate. Can't think of a much better way to spend our anniversary together. We decided not to do gifts and instead are taking a trip to Charleston in November (! :) )But R did manage to sneak out and get these beautiful fall themed roses.
And a few throwback wedding pictures to end things just because I never get tired of looking at these :) It really was a perfect day.
So I realize I've kind of been a tease about the whole sleep training thing. I've talked a big game, filled the internet in on my plan. Basically I haven't shut up about it on here. No, but seriously. Apologies.
So here's the thing. There have been a lot of fits and starts. Lots of delays. I've put it off. R has put it off. The baby has put if off (when all else fails in life blame the baby, this is particularly effective before they learn to talk and defend themselves). We have been wishy washy and on the fence.
And that's okay. It's a big deal to get darn baby out of the bed once and for all. Big for her and big for mama. But as I've been harping on about for a couple of months, the time has come. Last week was our "unofficial" start of sleep training, which basically meant Ryland was going to fall asleep on her own at bedtime, in her crib, every single night. If she woke up at night I would bring her into the big bed to sleep, because R worked 7 days in a row (and on his work days he gets up at 5:15), and it wasn't an ideal time to do cry it out all night long. I know, I know. It's kind of inconsistent to make the baby fall asleep on her own at bedtime but bring her into the bed when she wakes up. She'll never learn to sleep like that. We are bad people intent on creating poor sleep associations and destroying our daughter's life FOREVER. I know. But you do what you gotta do.
Here's what happened. The first night she cried for 90 minutes. I know. It sucked. This was also right after Magical Merlin exited our lives abruptly and suddenly so we were all a little off. I hated every one of those 90 minutes. My initial plan way back when was to Ferberize her, but as she got a little older, I began to realize that Ferber may work for many babies, but it would not work for my baby. 1. She is no fool. 2. If mom or dad come into the room every few minutes for hours to give her an encouraging pat on the back, it's only going to make her royally pissed off and prolong her crying. 3. She is a baby and does not get the concept of a "hang in there pal" pat on the back. If she sees us she expects us to pick her up, because we are her minions. If we do not do this we are basically staging a coup against the baby dictatorship and she will go nuclear in response.
So I did what I swore I would never do and went with the bedtime routine, rock baby a few minutes, put baby in the crib with a kiss and a "goodnight", and then close the door method. I think in some parenting circles it's also known as the horrifyingly named "extinction" method. And yeah, I know. Some people reading this would say that is cruel and horrible and baby torture. I was one of those people not so long ago. But the people who say that probably either don't have kids, or they do have children but with very different temperaments than that of my daughter. I would wager their children are on the "easy" spectrum. I would wager that they have kids who would be instantly lulled with a shush and pat on the stomach instead of pushed into a rage blackout. I'm not trying to sound overly defensive, but I guess my point is and the thing I've learned is truest about parenting can be summed up thusly "Everyone's kids are different. Everyone does their best. Unless you see someone literally abusing their child in front of you, DO NOT JUDGE."
So yeah, the first night sucked. I hated it. I wanted to go and pick her up desperately. My daughter crying is pretty much my #1 least favorite sound in the world. It makes me want to burst out of my own skin. But I also know that at almost month 6 she needs to learn how to fall asleep on her own without my boobs. I am working 2 night shifts in November in a row. My boobs will not be available. Hotel boobs needs to close. You get the general idea. We tried every gentle method of sleep training you can imagine, for over 3 months. The time for good old CIO had come. I knew she was well fed (we do a big bottle right before bed). I knew she was dry and warm. I knew her crib was safe and free of any hazards. She was cuddled up in a sleep sack. There was nothing physically she needed from me. She just needed to learn how to fall asleep. And unfortunately crying it out in the long run felt like the "easiest" and quickest method. I nannied for a ONE YEAR OLD once who I loved dearly and whose parents were the SWEETEST people in the world. But that child, at a year old, still needed to be rocked to sleep for every nap and bedtime. And she was a chunk! I had to play a very specific playlist of George Straight songs (I kid you not), stand in the kitchen, and rock her WITH A BOTTLE until she fell asleep (and my arm was about to fall off), and then creep silently into her bedroom and ease her into the crib, PRAYING the entire time she didn't wake up because then we would have to start the whole thing all over again. That's kind of insanity. My baby already weighs a lot at 6 months old. If I was still rocking her to sleep at a year I would have to hire a burly muscle man to come and do it, and that's just not in our budget.
On night 2 she cried for 20 minutes. And 20 minutes at bedtime is the longest she has cried since then, a week ago. I think night 3 was like 5 minutes. Night 4=no crying at all.
So we got bedtime. And since then naps have been also been pretty fantastic. I put her down awake for every. single. nap. She rarely cries. If she does it's a half hearted fuss or two that lasts about a minute. And then she's off to dream land, curled up with her little lamb lovey (her favorite thing is to try and eat it, but I think it's out of love). Granted she doesn't always nap super long still, but baby steps people!
Last night it was time to tackle night wakings. And wake she did. She went to sleep at 7 (no crying at all), but woke up at 8. Instead of getting her and taking her into the big bed, we peeked in briefly to make sure she wasn't stuck in the bars of the crib or something (probably not possible, but your parent brain goes to the worst case scenario). When she saw me, she did as I expected, and freaked out. I patted her on the back. She was not amused. Her face said "SLAVE PICK ME UP!". I kissed her and left the room.
And then she cried for an hour. It sucked. It was horrible. I wanted to flee the house. But instead I ate ice cream and watched the lead up to the debate, which was almost insane enough to take my mind off things.
But at 9 she stopped crying. She was sound asleep. And she stayed that way until 5:15. That's EIGHT HOURS OF UNINTERRUPTED CRIB SLEEP. A new record in our house! I had a hard time sleeping (it's going to take a while to get used to not having a baby next to me in bed). But she slept beautifully.
Here's the thing. When she woke up at 5:15 I wasn't really sure what to do. I knew she was probably hungry and my plan if she had woken up earlier in the night was to give her a bottle and put her back in the crib. But at 5:15 my boobs were about to explode so it made sense to nurse her. If I had nursed her in her room she would have fallen asleep. She clearly was still tired, and it felt too early to take her out to the den to nurse out there. So I brought her in bed to nurse. And she fell asleep. And I fell asleep. Whoops.
Here's my question though. What do you guys do if your baby wakes up at 4 or 5 or somewhere in that timeframe. It seems too late to give her a bottle and put her back down in the crib for cry it out, but too early to wake up. Am I failing miserably by bringing her in the bed? I feel like the answer is probably yes. But it also feels wrong to give up morning cuddles in bed forever. That's a thing right? Can I effectively sleep train at night but let her snooze and nurse early in the morning in the bed.
I welcome any advice whole heartedly!
So that's where we are. Overall I think things are much, MUCH improved. And trust me, I know that tonight things could go WAY off the rails. She might wake up every 1-2 hours all night long and I may end up curled in the fetal position. But I have a suspicion that we are making something like progress. I know there will be bumps and regressions and setbacks and teething and illness and all that. But overall we are nearing a place that resembles something like sleeping through the night without mommy's boobs serving as an all you can eat buffet. And because we are making progress I'm going to stick with the plan, cry it out as needed, no more than 1-2 feeds at night with a bottle and then back to the crib right after (I know she's old enough not to absolutely have to eat at night, but I feel like it's kind of mean to wipe out night feedings and co-sleeping all at once, we'll tackle those later if she doesn't stop on her own, last night she obviously did fine going from 7pm to 5am without eating).
If she wakes up again at 5 I'm not sure what I'll do. Part of this whole thing needs some flexibility and improvisation. Parenting in general needs those traits.
If you're sleep training too I hope you're also having some success! It's not fun, but I do believe it's necessary for some babies who don't magically just start sleeping well completely of their own accord. At the end of the day we do our best. And we'll all get through it :)
And one day soon I might just be able to stop obsessing about sleep and use that brain power for other more productive things. Like crafting! Moms are supposed to craft right?
It's been a pretty quiet week, which is good after the wine fueled shenanigans of the weekend. R is working. My parents are out of town. Most of my friends are at work. I'm off work. And so it's just been the baby and I hanging out, going to Target, watching old episodes of Survivor online, you know, the usual. It's also been four straight days of rain, which has kept us mostly indoors.
But even in our relatively quiet (and let's face it a little boring) week, there have been some updates:
1. We stopped using the Merlin Sleepsuit, and we all briefly lost our shit.
So I knew the time was drawing near to stop using the Merlin Magic Sleepsuit. Ryland started rolling from back to stomach pretty consistently (so consistently in fact that for a few days she would not stay on her stomach for more than a few seconds, and then inevitably got really mad when she ended up on her tummy and realized she had inadvertently forced herself into tummy time). The website says to stop using it as soon as they can roll from back to stomach while in the suit. Which happened on Monday night. I wasn't too worried about stopping it. After all it was never totally magic for us, like some people. She didn't start consistently sleeping through the night in it. Morning naps were usually pretty good, but she still cat-napped in the afternoon. The one thing it really helped with was that for naps I could put her down awake and she fell asleep almost right away.
But you guys. Tuesday, the first day we didn't use it, was a DISASTER. Like epic sleep fail. Ryland slept a grand total of TEN MINUTES. All. day. long. And those ten minutes only came after about an hour of fussing. That night it took 90 minutes for her to fall asleep (we are starting some legit sleep training now). I literally had this moment of panic where I felt like I was back to early newborn days where my baby was incapable of sleeping anywhere other than attached to my boob. What was I going to do?! I felt like my days of blogging and showering and cooking dinner and actually doing adult things while the baby slept were suddenly OVER. I may have cursed Merlin and considered burning the suit out of fury. The baby would not stop moving in her crib. Every time I went to check on her she would be in a totally different position. She kept wedging her feet through the slats, or turning onto her stomach and getting REALLY pissed off. It was not good.
And then we took a deep breath and Wednesday came. And things were a lot better. She did sleep again in the crib. She only fussed about 10-20 minutes on average before she fell asleep for naps and even less for nighttime (granted she did wake up every hour for the first three hours of the night, but baby steps). I put her in the old halo sleep sack (only with her arms unswaddled, if I had tried to swaddle her she might have punched me in the face).
Basically the moral of this story is that when it comes to babies, transitions are the WORST. Particularly my baby. I think she is like her mom and is a creature of habit. And when those habits were suddenly changed, she was not pleased. But I think we all knew at some point the sleep suit era had to end. After all they don't make them for adults. Yet. (Seriously they should think about making them for adults).
2. This is what happens when you become a mom, have a little too much time on your hand and a Target down the street, and fully embrace the holiday cheese. I know, I know. This is like full blown holiday sweater levels of corniness. But I saw those little birds at Target and thought, you're a mom now Liz. Embrace the chance to throw off all qualms about tackiness or cheese and just go for it. And I did. And this is only the start.
3. We have finally found a food Ryland likes! We are on like week 4 of trying solids, and I was starting to think my baby may just never eat anything other than breastmilk or formula. We had tried sweet potatoes, bananas, avocado, and rice cereal. The rice cereal in particular was rejected with blatant disdain, as seen below.
Any attempt at feeding solids went like this, lots of disgusted faces and all of the food immediately being spit out of her mouth. But then yesterday I decided to give bananas a go again (largely because we have a lot of bananas in our house). And boom! Success! She actually swallowed. She didn't seem horrified by the experience. She didn't exactly do a song and dance and rub her belly, but I still think we can put bananas in the "Like" category.
4. This Is Us. So this new fall show on NBC has gotten a lot of hype and been billed as the "new" Parenthood, and I was skeptical. Mostly because Parenthood is probably in the top 5 greatest TV shows of all time and in the top 2 Shows that Makes You Sob EVERY TIME category. But I watched the first episode of This Is Us, and yeah I think it is the new Parenthood. It's so GOOD. It gave me all of the feelings. Who knew Mandy Moore could be so likeable?! And Jess from Gilmore Girls is there! And Sterling Brown (from the People Vs OJ Simpson) who is just a ridiculously good actor who makes every line beautiful and nuanced. I won't go into too many details, because there is a big twist in the pilot, but watch it.
5. Halloween is coming! So if you didn't get it from the fact that the Halloween section of Target has exploded in my house, I'm a little excited about Halloween this year. I think I am going to be THAT obnoxious mother who turns into a crazed Martha Stewart (but like a really bad, off brand Martha Stewart who can't do a craft to save her life) for every holiday and really just needs to calm down. But it's fun right? And that's nice. Because Halloween stopped last being fun around age 24 (when you're 30 it's just not cute to get super drunk while in costume). And yeah Ryland will not remember this Halloween. She doesn't care. She can't eat candy. But still I couldn't resist getting a ridiculous (and ridiculously cute) PB Kids costume (on sale!) which I have honestly wanted to buy since before I was pregnant. I won't spoil the full outfit yet, but here's a little sneak peek.
Happy Thursday everyone!
Full disclosure: In exchange for an honest review of their product, I received a complimentary pair of scrubs from Maevn Uniforms. All opinions however are mine!
As I mentioned here earlier, I was offered a chance to review a new line of scrubs from Maevn Uniforms, their Eon collection. I jumped at the chance, because as a pediatric RN, I wear a lot of scrubs and I am always looking for new brands.
For me when it comes to scrubs, comfort is EVERYTHING. I am routinely crouching down on the floor, bending over beds, moving patients around, carrying kids, sliding beds around the unit, etc. Function is essential. I also wear scrubs for 14 hours straight on my long shifts, and occasionally overnight. The last thing you want in that situation is to be in clothes that are stiff or hot. Being a pediatric RN can be total chaos. There are days when I don't sit down or eat lunch or even go to the bathroom. The last thing I want to have to think about is what I'm wearing. I just want it to be comfy and make my life a little easier.
I had never worn a pair of Maevn scrubs before this, but the second I took them out of the box I knew they were keepers and that I could review them totally honestly. I got the V-Neck Pocket Top and the Full Elastic Zipper Pocket Cargo Pant. They feel like pajamas, just the most super soft material, stretchy and light.
When I put them on I was even happier. I could literally have been in my pajamas, lounging on the couch. You could do yoga in these or even run a mile. I swear that if I hadn't liked these scrubs I would have politely sent them back and declined a review, but I really, really like them. They are super breathable and COMFY, which as I said before was my #1 criteria in scrubs.
I also think they look cute (or as cute as scrubs can look, they are really just glorified pajamas). And they have a lot of cool Inspector Gadget features that were fun to discover, like little triangle loops to hang various nursing gear on.
They also have many, many pockets, which if you are an RN know is an absolute essential. I have so much stuff in my pockets on a daily basis at work, and the type A person in me likes to organize my stuff into different pockets so it's easier to find when I am in the middle of say a dressing change or IV start. There are zipper pockets which are perfect for keeping cash or credit cards for quick coffee runs. There are pockets with cute little pen loops (which are also genius because somehow it is possible to lose a pen in your pocket). There are places to stash tape, scissors, hemostats, and all of the other various gear a nurse totes around all day long.
Basically I am a fan, and would happily purchase more Maevn scrubs in the future.
The best part of all of this is that I can giveaway a pair of Maevn scrubs to one of my lovely readers! Now I know not everyone who reads this works in healthare, but honestly you could rock these guys around the house chasing after little kids. Let's start a new mom trend of wearing scrubs at home, because honestly being a mom is kind of like being a pediatric RN, only with less needles (I hope).
Since this is my first giveaway I'm going to make it really, really simple. Literally the first person to message me their name and mailing address at email@example.com wins a pair of Maevn scrubs in the size and color of their choice (also include that info in your message pretty please). Ready set go!
*Just an update that as of 9/22 the Maevn scrubs giveaway is closed! Thanks to everyone who entered!
Seeing as it's Tuesday, this is a day late, but let's just say this week got off to a very, very slow start thanks to a very, very fun weekend. It started off Friday with a family afternoon. We went to the city and enjoyed a crisp and yummy beer outside at the Veil Brewing Company followed by dinner at Ginger Thai and a long walk in Carytown with just the most gorgeous weather (with a little hint of fall coolness in the air, perfection).
And then on Saturday with a group of my best girlfriends, I went on a Charlottesville wine tasting trip (with a driver from the tour company Wish Wish that picked us up in Richmond and dropped us back off after).
It was a beautiful day filled with laughter, great wine, and gorgeous mountain scenery. It was also a day where I realized that a 30 year old mother's tolerance is not the same as a mid 20 something year old's tolerance (the last time I did a full day of wine tasting). I will leave the after effects part a little blurry, except to state that it was an important life lesson as a new mother to learn what pregnancy and labor does to your body's ability to process multiple wine tastings, and that your baby doesn't care if you have a hangover.
And even though I already knew this, I cannot overstate how awesome my husband is, who did a fantastic job taking care of our baby on Saturday while mama got her wine on. It was really nice to have a day to be silly and (admittedly) irresponsible and just laugh and talk with other women about things other than our children (okay fine about 50% of the conversation came back to kids, but not 100%!). I do think I will go back to my strict 1-2 glasses of wine a day max for quite some time, if not forever.
Oh and don't worry. I pumped and dumped! And the baby absolutely did not sleep in our bed after a full day of wineries.
On Sunday I hosted a baby shower for one of my beautiful pregnant friends, and we ate a ridiculous amount of sweets and ohhh'd and ahhh'd over cute baby boy things.
And yesterday I spent the entire day being lazy indoors with Ryland while it poured outside.
Our only other important weekend update is that the Era of the Magic Sleepsuit is officially OVER. Last night I put Ryland to bed, and was letting her cry for a few minutes when all of the sudden her cry became really, really pissed off and urgent. I literally ran to her nursery because I knew something was wrong and saw the poor little thing face down in the sleepsuit (which is like the kid in the Christmas Story face down in the snow, not able to move, just beyond pathetic and sad). She was angrily flailing her arms and legs like a little stuck starfish. It was awful and I might have cried a little bit, because I felt so guilty (Mom guilt is not rational, but it is REAL). I quickly rescued her and comforted us both down.
The Sleepsuit website says to stop using it when the baby can flip over in the suit. I knew it was only a matter of time, but I still feel a little panicked that we will have to go it minus the sleepsuit now. And then my husband reminds me that most of the world's babies sleep without magic sleepsuits. I am fairly confident that babies in tiny villages in Africa do not do the Merlin. Babies slept for thousands of years without it. There was no Middle Ages equivalent to a fluffy marshmallow suit for babies to sleep in.
We will all be okay.
More updates to follow, just wanted push a little reset on a crazy weekend and refresh for the week to come! Also stay tuned for my next post for a giveaway! (if you are an RN or healthcare worker it will be right up your alley :) )
I'm a thirty-something mom of two, wife, pediatric RN, and writer with a passion for the all the big and little things in life.