Thursday, June 19, 2014

Why I'm Grateful My Infant Doesn't Sleep Through the Night

After I first learned that I was expecting again, memory after memory surfaced of sleepless nights. Night after night after night of waking up or of not even going to bed in the first place with my firstborn, Bri. And this went on for nine months. Nine months!

I'm not going to lie, I was miserable the first few months of Bri's life. My entire world was turned upside down and I feared I would never sleep again.

I didn't know if I could do it again. I'm a sleeper and I knew it could possibly be even more challenging this time around because after Bri was born and I went back to work, it was part-time. So, the days I didn't work, I spent taking naps with Bri when she did. But this time, I knew I'd be going back to work full-time. Full-time outside-of-the-home job + no sleep = scary times for me. 

This was my biggest concern in having another child. So I consoled myself with the idea that maybe I would get a good sleeper this time, an early sleeper. Maybe I'd be diligent about following Baby Wise and I'd train Bri2 to sleep through the night at an earlier age.

But none of that happened. Landyn Avery was born and the first four weeks went by with her sleeping wherever I could get her to; in her bassinet, in my arms, in the bed beside me, on my chest, in a swing. Wherever. And when week five arrived, I borrowed Baby Wise from a friend and I attempted to follow it.

Landyn did the opposite of what I wanted her to do, no matter what it was. When the book said eat, she would fall asleep after only a few minutes. When it said have playful awake time, she would sleep. When it said it was time to sleep, she would be awake with no indication of sleep in sight.

And it depressed me. I got really DEPRESSED. Why couldn't I make this work? I had already failed at exclusively breastfeeding and now, I couldn't get my baby onto a schedule. What was wrong with me? My hormones raged and my confidence as a mother plummeted.

So I made a decision, a decision that went against what many experience mothers and books would advise. With only a few short weeks of maternity leave left, I decided to let Landyn do what she wanted: eat when she wanted to eat, be awake when she wanted to be awake, and sleep when she wanted to be asleep.

And I decided to not be quick to lay her down. I wanted to enjoy holding her and enjoy HER. She was a great newborn after all, calm and content from the moment she was born. She brought such sweet spirit into our home. Even her cry brought a smile to my face and I finally understood what people meant when they said it was cute when an infant cried. Her cry was cute. And I was ruining it -- the whole experience -- with my expectations and plans and wants.

So the last few weeks of being at home with her were filled with bending to her whim. This meant few errands were run and lots of naps were taken. The floors remained unvacuumed and the showers unscrubbed. Dinners became a nightly fend-for-yourself event.

My confidence as a mother grew and I reveled in each day as if it were our last. Because in a way, it was. Each new day would never be like the day before. Each day brought new developmental milestones and moments that I would never get back.

I spent the sleepless nights memorizing her features, running my hand over the fuzzy stubble of hair on the top of her head and across the fuzzy, soft tuft at the nape of her neck.

So, that brings me to today. Today, at 12-weeks post-partum, and Landyn is still waking up in the night. Sometimes only once, but other days up to three times in one night. She draws me out of bed, not with a cry but with a squeak and a grunt. I tiptoe into her room and find her chewing ferociously on her hands. She looks up at me with a smile.

I feed her and I rock her and I breathe her in; not just her scent, but her. I breathe in the moments we share together in the middle of the night. Uninterrupted by what-do-we-have-to-eats and mama-i-need-to-be-wiped.

And after I lay her back into her crib, before I know it, my alarm is going off and I'm getting dressed and tiptoeing down the stairs next to her room quietly so the tap-tap-tap of my heels doesn't wake her up. And I drive to work with a little pang of sadness of not being able to see her and hold her and kiss her, energizing me for the day like a morning coffee. But the sadness subsides with the sweet memory of the precious moments we shared in a quiet house, in a dimly lit room, in the middle of the night. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Seven Posts in 2013

I posted seven times to this blog in 2013. Seven...times...

I truly contemplated printing the blog and shutting it down. It's just not going to get the kind of attention I'd like to give to it, but then I realized that things are going to get a whole heck of a lot busier starting in April and that I need to take any opportunity I can to try and document things as they are now.

So what if I only post seven times? That's still seven thoughts or pictures documented that wouldn't have otherwise been. So, in an effort to document 2013 the best (and I'll be honest...the easiest) way I could think of was to let my iPhone do the talking. I'm abysmal at taking pictures. I just never think to, but every now and then I'll snap a picture with my (very low quality) phone.

I don't usually make resolutions for the new year, but after reviewing these pictures, I think I'll try and make an effort to take more pictures, especially of more than just our little family. There are others around us while these pictures are being taken; family, friends, friends that are like family...and to not have a single picture (not even on my phone) of the people we spend our lives with...well that's just sad. Wish me luck on that!

So to see what we were up to in 2013, according to my iPhone, go to the next post.

Disclaimer: Collin would be sad if I failed to mention that 2013 was the year we took Bri to her first amusement park (Holiday World in Santa Clause, Indiana) and she rode her first roller coaster! And...she loved it! I don't have a picture of it. I'm positive Collin does, but since this isn't 2013 according to COLLIN'S iPhone, we'll have to make do without.

2013 According to My iPhone

It snowed and I wanted Bri to play in it so badly that I checked her out of daycare on my lunch break and frantically made calls to stay-at-home mom friends to find somewhere she could go to play in the snow. I mean, how often do children get that chance in Alabama? Luckily, Kristin Tice agreed to watch Bri and she and Josh made a snowman and had other snow adventures while Mommy went back to work.

We had the missionaries over for dinner and they played Princess Candyland with Bri, beginning her love of the  missionaries and the constant question, "When are the missionaries coming back over?"

Collin got me a Kindle for my 29th birthday and Bri immediately took it over as her own. She still uses it more than I do.

Bri perfected the art of lip gloss application.

Our friends, the Bewley's had a mystery dinner party at their house giving us an excuse to dress up and have a night without children. It was a LOT of fun. I prepared more for this night than I did for the proms I went to in high school.

The sweet Beehive class (12-13 year-olds at church) came by our house and "heart attacked" me with sweet notes.

We went to Gatlinburg. Friends (the Bewleys and Ograns) were there and I don't have any pictures of them. Sad.

I took Bri ice skating for the first time.

My friend, Rebecca, watched Bri so Collin and I could snow tube together. It was so fun!

We went on A LOT of Sunday afternoon walks around the neighborhood.

We took Bri to see a movie in the theater for the first time; Monsters Inc at the dollar movies and it was 3D.

We enjoyed the benefits of technology while apart.

Easter program and egg hunt at church.

Easter Sunday at Gran Gran and Happy's house.

I lost weight and fit back into my wedding dress!

Celebrating Mother's Day with all the Jones cousins at Gran Gran and Happy's house.

Squirrels chewed through the shingles on our roof. Who knew squirrels could cause that much damage?

Bri enjoyed cake after her end of the year program at her daycare. And they gave all the children shirts with their own picture on it. I thought it was pretty funny!

Collin and I escaped to Cedar Point in Ohio for some amusement park fun without Bri and had an elephant ear for the first time. I prefer funnel cakes.

Collin doing what he does at amusement parks: admiring that fine piece of craftsmanship behind him.

Bri became OBSESSED with weddings and being a bride. And she just couldn't understand why she couldn't marry Collin.

The obsession continued. My sister Heather let Bri play with the veil from her wedding and it made Bri's day.

Bri got really into tea parties.

I took a moment to capture Bri's beauty while just hanging outside of Target one Friday afternoon.

I realized Collin knows me better than I thought.

We were invited to the lake with our friends the Moons.

Bri spent a few days with Nanny and Nanny's granddaughter, Gracie, while I was at girls camp.

We stopped by the park on the way home from daycare...A LOT.

Bri's obsession with technology grew.

We met my new nephew, Reed Lagrone.

And spent seven whole days in Destin with my entire family. It was perfection, except that Mary and Andy and their two youngest couldn't make it.

Bri spent a lot of time playing in RoRo's kiddy pool.

We transitioned Bri from a toddler bed into a full-size!

And we stopped off at the park on our way home....again.

We got a membership to a pool and spent most of our Saturdays there. Bri called it "the membership pool". 

Collin turned 31! And because we didn't want to burn our house down with that many candles, Bri picked out a Hello Kitty candle for him. What a lucky Daddy!

We found out we are expecting baby #2! And I started wearing maternity clothes right away. I actually thougth I was showing when I took this picture.

The company I work for had an employee appreciation day at the Birmingham Zoo. Collin and I had to take turns riding the carousel with Bri. We're becoming wimpy in our old age.

We (I) carved a pumpkin.

Bri went as Repunzel for Halloween. ahead of myself. We gave Bri a birthday party at a local indoor pool. I was really impressed with the music and activities. Great way to turn 4!

Bri's daycare had a fall festival and Bri told me she rode a pony. I didn't believe her because...reawlly? A pony? I thought maybe they'd had a wooden horse or she'd been playing make-believe, but then her teacher, Ms. Tammy, sent me this picture and sure enough...a pony!

Ms. Tammy has quickly become my favorite teacher of Bri's. She sent me a bunch of pictures and I've just loved seeing what Bri's up to while we're apart.

We found out we're having another girl! Here is Bri eating the pink "reveal" cake we bought.

Here I am again thinking I'm showing so much! Well in hindsight...notsomuch. I was 22 weeks.

Bri hid behind her hair at her daycare's Christmas program. She does not like being on stage, but at least she didn't cry this time!

Bri got her haircut for the first time.

And she got to meet Santa at our church's Christmas program.

We took a last minute trip to Chattanooga just the three of us right after Christmas. Bri wanted to do this jump thing at the mall. She hated it.

Bri recreated a picture drawn by Sonny, Collin's dad. It's of our house and I was pretty impressed. Maybe she'll get some artistic talent from him because she sure won't be getting any from me!

Collin and I celebrated New Year's Eve with our friends, the Ograns, and I couldn't resist getting a belly shot. I was 25 weeks. Also, Bri spent the night with Collin's mom, RoRo. It was fun to have a child-free night out.