Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Birthday Socks and Brothers

Much of that sock was knit on a trip to Colorado for a wedding while Michael napped in the backseat of our rented car. (Which isn't to say that Michael napped a lot, because he didn't. But it was a long drive and I suppose I'm a fast-ish knitter.) The pattern is Hermione's Everday Socks, and the yarn is Koigu, and I had little hope of capturing the colors with my camera on this cloudy day (although they came through better than I thought). But the variegation and speckles are very pretty, and suits the texture well, and it reminds me something of opals. (It's the color all the way over to the right in this picture.)

Which is fitting, because opal is my birthstone, and I am determined to finish these to wear on my birthday. That wasn't the plan when I cast on, but once the idea occurred to me, it seemed meant to be. :) Hopefully Michael and sleep training will cooperate! (Ugh. More on that later.)

The book is The Brothers Karamazov by you-know-who, which I am enjoying so far. I'm also reading--surprise--some sleep-training books, but they don't count as "real" reading for me. But here's an excerpt from the introduction of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child:

If your child does not learn to sleep well, he may become an incurable adult insomniac, chronically disabled from sleepiness and dependent on sleeping pills. 

Um. Thanks, Weissbluth. You made this concerned Mama's life THAT MUCH LESS stressful. (And yes, it is centered on the page in bold print!)

Speaking of sleep, Michael just woke up, so off I go.

Joining Ginny's wonderful Yarn Along.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Keeping sane

Instead of doing the dishes, I am sitting here knitting. I have two more rows to go on this shawl (but since it's the end they are looooong rows) and then the bind-off. I am sorry to say that I am tired of this project. Especially of the yarn. (No pictures, sorry.) I am excited to start on other things--a cardigan for Michael, a bit of geekery for myself, some Koigu socks (or maybe the second half of my Jaywalker pair).

I've found that knitting, though I have little time for it, really, really helps me keep my sanity. (Not that I'm continually on the verge of going crazy, but let's just say that patience is a virtue I really need to work on.)

So does reading blogs. Blogs of mothers who keep it real, like Jenny's and Grace's. Many times I avoid posting about the crazy because I am worried about complaining and not exuding a saintly glow of living my vocation joyfully, but these women post with a humor and honesty that I admire to no end. And also knitting blogs that give me a daily dose of awesome. Speaking of which, I realized this morning that I really should be following Anne Hanson's blog because I really love it.

Maybe I can finish this row in time to do some dishes before Michael's doctor appointment.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sleep. Or no sleep.

(This post will probably bore people who aren't parents. Tough bananas. You don't have to read it.) 

(I have no idea where "tough bananas" came from. I need more coffee.)

Today, Michael is five months old.

Yesterday, we started sleep-training. 

Wrapped in his Grandma-made blankie while his Mama blogs.
Daytime sleep has been pretty scarce round here these days, and nighttime sleep isn't much better. (This is why I haven't posted much lately ... no naps, no blogging. Or knitting. And often no laundry or vaccuuming.) Over the past few weeks we've slipped into cosleeping, which wasn't the plan. In some ways it works out fine--it is really easy to meet Michael's needs at night--but ultimately, it still isn't what I want to do, because I don't want 1) Michael to depend on me being next to him to go to sleep (meaning a late bedtime for him or early bedtime for me, and no baby-free time for me and Keith), or 2) our bedroom to be offlimits to us after Michael's bedtime. Maybe there is some way around these difficulties, but the real big problem around here these days is #1. 

When he was three months old, Michael slept through the night in his crib in the other room. I would put him down between nine and ten pm, and he would wake up between four and five am, and I would simply take him into bed with me, nurse him, and fall back asleep until he woke up for the morning. That was awesome. 

Then around four months, it started getting more and more difficult to put him down for the night. He'd sleep for anywhere between 10 and 30 minutes, then wake up and need to be coddled and soothed until he fell back asleep ... for another 10 to 30 minutes. And he started waking up at 2am instead of 4 or 5am. Because it was hard to get him back to sleep, and because I was so tired that I usually fell asleep nursing him anyway, I would take him into bed at 2am, which meant he was spending most of the night with us. 

Now the only way to get him to sleep, day or night, is to lay down and hold him on the bed, my arm wrapped around him and supporting his head. Rocking him, standing by the crib with him, etc are no longer enough. He knows what he wants and will settle for nothing less.  Sometimes he'll nap in the swing for ten or fifteen minutes; getting him to sleep longer than that during the day is almost impossible. This week he's had days where he's only napped for about an hour altogether, and by the end of the day both Michael and Mama are having meltdowns. (Poor Papa.) 

So something has to change. I'm a little anxious because we're traveling to Colorado next weekend for a wedding, and I worry that any training we do now will be undone ... but we really can't wait to do this any longer. 

After reading about different methods and thinking about how they might interact with Michael's personality, we've decided to go with a modified version of the Ferber method: letting him cry for a certain amount of time and then going in and soothing him. (Modified because I am not comfortable with an indefinitely increasing amount of time leaving him by himself.) It took about 45 minutes for him to fall asleep last night. I think if Keith hadn't been here, I would probably have given up on it about half an hour in, which in my opinion would have been really bad, because then his crying would have been for nothing. But now that I know he can do it, maybe it will be a little easier tonight.

I know some people believe that cry-it-out methods are cruel. I don't--or at least, not the Ferber method specifically, where the parents are continually going in to soothe the baby. I know he doesn't understand, but I also know I'm not doing irrevocable damage to our bond of trust, because this little guy receives a lot of love and has all his needs met. 

But it's still hard. For me, and for him. I know there will be many, many times in his life where I have to do something hard as a parent to achieve something good for him. Disciplining him, telling him he can't have something he wants, etc--I guess this is a window into those difficulties. 

We'll see how tonight goes.

(ETA: The nap pictured above has lasted more than two hours! It shows signs of ending very soon, but praise God. :) )

Friday, September 7, 2012

Seven Quick Takes (2)

1. Here is what I've been learning to do the past two days. 

I am quite pleased with them, except for the fact that they don't lie flat. Do granny squares need blocking? Anyway, I am learning from this book, although I learned to crochet the basic stitches from this blog, and I think videos are always more useful than pictures when learning stitches.

2. Speaking of learning new things, look at what happened yesterday!

He stayed like this for almost five minutes while Mama freaked out, ran and got her cell phone, took pictures, and sent them to Papa and the grandparents. I had been holding him up so he could look at his bird-friends at eye-level, and I noticed his hands were on the ground, and thought--what if I let him go? And he supported himself. 

I have been so excited for a milestone like sitting on his own, but as I lay in bed the other day, I realized that in another month or two, we will enter an entirely different world of babyhood. Sitting, regular solid foods, and mobility an ever-nearing landmark ... I can't wrap my mind around it. 

3. I don't know if this is something indicative of Michael's personality or something universal to babies at a certain age, but he really, really loves music. His two favorite toys are a music box that plays "Toyland" and a giraffe that sings the ABCs. He smiles when he sees them, and smiles even bigger when they start playing. One of the ways I get him to calm down while I do other things is to play La Valse d'Amelie, which is one of his favorite songs. He grins whenever he hears the opening notes. 

4. Today I finished The Long Winter. I've been rereading the Little House books, and am amazed by how much people used to know and do, and how much work living took. Doing the dishes this morning, I had to wash the cheese grater (I don't generally mind dishes but I hate washing the cheese grater), and I thought, THIS is one of the things that make me wish for a dishwasher. But really? It's crazy to think of how many machines we have to do our daily work for us. (I mean, we're not churning our own butter here, and most of us aren't baking our own bread and hunting down meat for our tables.) We have so much free time, comparatively speaking. And yet we--or at least I--so seldom think about how we use it. What a resource, and how little we do with it!

5. This morning I spilled half a cup of coffee all over the keyboard, laser mouse, and myself. Luckily the computer parts still seem to be functioning, and I was wearing old pajamas that probably need to get thrown out anyway. To make up for it, I've brewed myself another cup. Decaf. It doesn't taste the same, but oh well. :( 

6. Check out this blog post. It is amazing and smart and wonderfully indignant. 

7. A few days ago I had a phone conversation with my two-and-a-half year old godson which was really simple yet thrilled me to pieces. It went something like this: 

"Hi, Bobby." 
"Where's Mi-kul?" 
"Michael's in his swing." 
"Where's Uncle Leaf?" (Last time it was "Aunt Keith;" Keith prefers Uncle Leaf.) 
"Uncle Keith is at work. He works on science." 
Michael starts crying.
"Why's Mi-kul crying?" 
"Because he wants me to hold him. Do you want to say hi to him?" 
"Hi, Mi-kul!" 

And I swear that Michael grinned at the phone.