Friday, June 15, 2012

5 months

It has been such a nice, quiet month. After months of feeling like I was in a fog, I finally feel like we are fully functioning again and can appreciate all the fun and cuteness that comes along Mason's age.

This month's milestones:
*Sleeping through the night and taking 1 30 minute cap nap in the morning and 2 1 hour+ naps later in the day(whoo-hoo!)
*"Talking" up a storm. He has learned that he can control his voice and he loves to use it. Mainly in the form of squealing. Someone compared it to the sound of a pterodactyl and I agree, if that's really what a pterodactyl really sounded like.
*He discovered his feet and loves to pull on them while I change his diaper.
*When he will go along with tummy time, he does really well with it. He will watch us and bat at toys for a few minutes before deciding he's over it and screams until we flip him over.
*We thought he was going to roll back to belly reaching for me in the crib, but he still can't get that leg thrown over just yet.
*He is obsessed with any teething toy (ok, really anything he can grab on and get to his mouth). He loves to chew on everything.
*He is learning to explore textures. He likes to rub things on his face, like a blanket or stuffed animal, until he gets bored and then he throws it down.
*Still working on those bottom teeth. We thought one was close to breaking the skin, but it almost seems to have gone back into hiding.
*With all the teething drool that he has, he has learned to blow bubbles. It cracks me up, even though he makes a huge mess while doing it.
*He will follow the dogs' movements and loves when they come up and sniff him out. He will also follow Aubrey to some extent, but I think its more to be prepared for an onslaught of "loving" rather than being interested in her.
*First road trip to Raleigh to see the extended family. It was a long weekend for me because he didn't sleep well in the pack and play, but loved getting the extra attention from the family. However, he did great on the car ride there and back and even slept through feeding time on the way home.
*First time in the baby pool and he wasn't sure about it at first, but then he quickly fell in love and splashed away.
*We've moved him to a 4-ish hour feeding "schedule" in the hope it would help him sleep better. We upped his bottle to 6 oz so he is getting the same amount (30 oz total) during the day, just spaced to 5 bottles instead of 6. I use the word schedule in quotes because its more of just a rough guideline that I adjust depending on his naps. Since he is up to 2 hour awake times now, if I know he would need to eat during an upcoming nap, I'll feed him before he goes down, which I think has helped his naps some. I tried a few other routines that I read about in the sleep training books, but basically realizing that his world revolves around 2 hour awake times dictates everything else, including eating. This seems to work for now so we'll stick with it until he changes it up.

Look, Mom. I can chew on Sophie with no hands.

My happy boy

Drool monster blowing bubbles

Friday, June 8, 2012


I've admitted in prior blogs that the first 4 months of Mason's life have been some of the toughest I've dealt with. I knew having 2 children would be tough, but as usual, I didn't quite know just how tough. Having a newborn and a 3-year old starting the terrible 3's was crazy enough, but adding in a husband in grad school, tummmy troubles from the baby, and months of sleep deprivation made it borderline insane. But after almost 5 crazy months, I think we finally have some resemblence of peace and happiness in this house. Mason's bowel movements are looking much more like they should. I can tell pretty fast when I've eaten something that has dairy in it, but he rebounds pretty quickly as long as it was a one time occurance. The soy is a little more difficult to determine when I eat, but as long as I stay diligent about my menu its not a big deal. We've also gotten a break from Todd being in school because he took the summer off. While it would be nice for him to finish school earlier, he was burned out from working and going to school for the past year and our family needed a break as well. Its been nice for him to come home from work and just relax instead of living on his computer and phone doing school work.

 The biggest news in our house is that Mason is finally (FINALLY!!) sleeping through the night. I probably could have dealt with the challenges we've faced over the past 5 months if I had been able to sleep. Unfortunately, I am not one of those lucky people who can function on less than 8 hours of sleep. Having not slept well in many months was wearing me down emotionally and physically and I was almost at my breaking point when Todd and I started discussing sleep training. I read 4 different books about sleep training since this was something I knew nothing about. We tried the non cry-it-out methods first and unfortunetly saw no progress. We would spend an hour getting Mason to sleep just to have him wake up 2 hours later and it was frustrating. He was still waking up at least one time per night and we thought he might be hungry. So I woke up to feed him and would wearily crawl back into bed just to be woken up in another hour or 2 by Aubrey. I realized Mason was getting too much milk with this overnight feeding because he was spitting up more during the day. I continued to read more about sleep and learned that he was probably waking up after a sleep cycle and couldn't put himself back to sleep. By running in his room when he woke up, we were becoming a crutch (along with the paci) that he needed to go back to sleep. After 2 weeks of 0 progress, I broke down and read about doing modified cry-it-out. I was so against this method because the thought of listenting to a baby cry for hours is worse than nails on a chalkboard. But, desperate times call for desperate measures so I did some research and we created our game plan to get started. We also decided to take the paci away at night so he could truly learn to sleep with no crutches. The first night he cried for 30 minutes (we checked on him at 3, 5, 7, and then 10 minutes) before finally going to sleep. That was the longest he ever cried from then on out. He finally slept through night after the 2nd night of training and we sighed a huge sigh of relief from gettting 7 straight hours of sleep for ourselves. We did sleep training with naps starting at the same time as bed time, but it took 3 weeks to see progress with naps. We struggled with the 30 minute cap naps and a super cranky overtired baby during the day, but managed because we were getting the sleep at night. Finally, this week something clicked for him and we've started seeing some 1+ hour naps. As long as he gets one good nap during the day, he is much happier and chill. We are finally seeing the happy baby we knew was hidden behind the fussy, overtired baby. And, we can handle the other stressors in our life because we are feeling back to our old selves again after a few weeks of better sleep. He still has a night here or there where he wakes up in the middle of the night, but he can usually put himself back to sleep fairly quickly without us having to check on him.

 I think our little family is finally at a good place. I know there will be more challenges to come, but for now I am going to enjoy this happiness and soak it in.