Double digits!

IMG_4484Again, a belated update but as I’ve explained in my posts, I’ve been in the parenting trenches! Right now Cami is actually asleep in her crib…alone…and has been asleep for almost two hours! That is a serious occasion! First nap of that length on her own…ever! So I’m taking advantage of the downtime. After sorting and folding laundry as well as putting away clothes she has outgrown, I realized I have a FREE MOMENT! Why not blog? 🙂

Cami at 10 months is so much fun and also a handful. For some reason, I find the fact that she has entered the double digits to be very reassuring and I am allowing myself to start day dreaming about celebrating her first birthday and beyond!

She is growing and developing like crazy! This weekend she took her first steps! It’s only a few days away before she will be walking all over the place!

IMG_4625And this little spit fire is trouble! Talk about scanning the room for choking hazards and picking my battles about what she sticks in her mouth versus what I take away.

IMG_4623 IMG_4688She has also learned to navigate the stairs (gasp!) so one of my agenda items today is to get safety gates!

IMG_4509Besides being everywhere and into everything, this little one is feisty and very needy for her Momma. She is usually fine unless she sees me and then it’s Momma or Bust. We believe the culprit are the sharp new top teeth breaking through her tender gums. Poor thing. Sometimes her neediness overwhelms me and other times I love cuddling her and knowing I can calm her down.

When she is not needy for me, she loves following her sister everywhere. Just this morning they played for an hour in Hailee’s home-made fort. Hailee can make Cami smile and giggle like no one else!

Cami has expanded her culinary tastes and prefers what is on our plates to her baby food. She has got the pincher grasp down so anything those two fingers can grab, they will! She really enjoys eating and it’s fun to give her new foods.

Other skills include the new ability to wave! Also I swear she is saying “Momma.” It sounds like, “MMMMomma.” But she says it when she wants me and I really try to reinforce her for it by immediately responding! Even if it’s 1am.

Speaking of ungodly hours…I am seeing many of those these days. Cami was the one who decided she was done with her bouncer and just shortly after turning 10 months she outright refused to sleep in it anymore.

So into the crib she went where she luxuriates in stretching and sleeping on her tummy! Gah! My personal work has been to be OK with that. After a few nights of trying to roll her onto her back to Cami’s adamant protests, I realized this is a battle I need to concede. You’d think with that concession, Cami would peacefully return to sleeping through the night. Oh NO. Cami is very convinced she wants to take up residence snuggled between Chad and I. This results in many nights feeling like we have a newborn.

Because Cami sleeps in our bedroom, we aren’t good at letting her “cry it out” as she will stand there and scream at us as if saying, “I can see you! You aren’t fooling me! I know you can hear me!” And then her cries turn to desperation and sadness and inside I feel my heart break for her so I go to comfort her.

Comforting her involves crawling into her crib to snuggle her back to sleep. About 63% of the time I accidentally fall asleep with her and wake up kinked and sore about an hour later. At that time I very carefully crawl out of her crib and hold my breath, praying she’ll stay asleep. 95% of the time, within 5 minutes (just enough time to enter a light doze with the promise of deeper sleep) Cami wakes up, immediately realizes I’m gone and the crying resumes.

If I’m too tired, I concede the war and bring her into bed with me. Now I know what you are thinking. TRUST ME, I think it each time I allow her into bed with me. Co-sleeping is the most dangerous way for babies to sleep and results in the most sleep-related infant deaths. But simultaneously I’m SO tired and I know if I just let her win, we will both be asleep within a few minutes!

However, because I’m crazy anxious, if Cami ends up in our bed (which is most nights) I don’t sleep well. I cradle her in my arms just so in a way that it is impossible for her to roll over without waking me up. This works quite well except that a couple hours later my arm is killing me. At which point I will move her to a spot between Chad and I and try to move the pillows and blankets as far away from her as possible. I will then also position myself just so where my arm is touching her torso so that if she rolls, I will wake up. This system works but results in my own serious sleep deprivation=emotional bordering on dysfunctional Anna.

And this system isn’t foolproof. With how sleep deprived I am, there are nights I have jolted awake or Chad has waken me and we’ve noticed that Cami’s face has been almost face down either in my pillow or on our soft pillow top bed.

So we really need to bite the bullet and be more consistent about her sleep training! I need to not interpret her cries as believing she feels rejected and allow her to figure out how to self-sooth and sleep alone! In her crib! All night! I also need to be OK with my own feelings of missing her on the nights she sleeps alone in her crib.

Maybe writing this and publishing this will hold me more accountable to these goals and starting tonight we’ll keep her in her crib! And maybe her nap this morning is indicative of her own ability and readiness for this transition as well!

Cami’s babyness is quickly melting away and while I’m excited for her to turn 1, for obvious reasons, I have really loved all the baby phases we have passed so far!

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The graduate

When did my baby girl turn into a full-blown-kid? All her babyness is completely gone, replaced by skinny, strong limbs and sassy attitude.

IMG_4521This year Hailee has grown in so many ways! Her learning, comprehension, retention, and application of new concepts has taken off! I love that she still says “lasterday” instead of “yesterday” because this is one of the last grammatically incorrect things she says, and when she loses this word it’ll feel like the baby-to-kid transition is complete.

Ever have a moment in parenthood when you think to yourself, “That kid’s parent really needs to make a tough decision” and then you realize, “Crap! I’M THAT PARENT!” That has been our experience in deciding whether or not to send Hailee to Kindergarten next year.

Hailee has a summer birthday and was the youngest and smallest in her preschool class. While the academic-achievement gap shrinks with age, right now there seems to be a big difference between kids who turned five last fall and Hailee, who turns five next month. For a lot of the year Hailee struggled to learn her letters, sounds, and numbers. I was really worried she was behind academically. I started renting Leap Frog movies from the library and enrolled Hailee in an after-school reading class. This seemed to really help and Hailee is now academically at a point I feel she will probably be fine in kindergarten.

But then, instead of could she do kindergarten, we wrestled with should we put her in kindergarten? I, myself, was held back before starting kindergarten. They said I couldn’t sit still and wasn’t emotionally ready (whatever!). I wasn’t even young for my grade, as my birthday is in February. So going through elementary school I was over a year older than many of my classmates. And you know what? That was great! I attribute being held back to my academic confidence. As a consequence I always excelled in school and had great confidence in my abilities. I also had confidence in making friends and beating all those boys on the soccer field! I ended up skipping a grade when I was 11 as I was getting bored in school and I remember the transition was decently smooth. Anyway, given my own experience, I am not hesitant to hold Hailee back. I honestly don’t see many negatives with doing so.

Hailee’s academic confidence is extremely important to us. We want her to love school and learning. My fear is if we put her in kindergarten before she is ready, she will feel insecure and begin to dislike school. However, in a parent-teacher conference, Hailee’s preschool teacher reassured us that Hailee is “definitely” ready for Kindergarten.

So because she is “definitely” ready for kindergarten and has mastered all the pre-k skills they “require,” we are inclined to go ahead and enroll her next year. Hailee is so excited about this, especially as she will be with her two best friends: Grace and Bergen. These three have been inseparable since before they could speak words. And while I know they probably won’t be besties their whole lives, I imagine they will be close for many years to come and I want Hailee to keep making memories with them.

IMG_4603But then I think about Hailee’s sister and wanting them to share some school memories as well. As it stands, they won’t be in middle school or high school together because they are four years apart. But if we held Hailee back then they’d overlap in high school for a year. There is something valuable about that too, I believe. (Sigh, remember when our kids were exactly two and a half years apart, just like we planned? and it was perfect and we wouldn’t be making this decision? Ah, well, it is what it is).

Agh, making decisions as a parent is HARD!!!  Up until now parenting has required helping Hailee to develop physically, emotionally and socially. Parenting has involved lots of hugs, creating happy memories, instilling good values, and shooting for at least one serving of vegetables a day! Now I feel like we are making decisions that will affect the rest of her life!

To keep myself from freaking out, I am trying to put this in perspective. It’s JUST kindergarten. We’ll give kindergarten a shot and if Hailee struggles, we’ll re-evaluate at the end of the school year. Ah, ok, emotional crisis averted.

And it’s so great to see Hailee’s confidence as she has passed the first big academic milestone of her life: preschool graduation!

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The trenches of parenthood

IMG_4449I feel like my car is a metaphor for my life. I’m not referring to the make or model of my car, but rather what you see when you (attempt to) sit in the passenger seat. I won’t take a photo because that’s embarrassing, but just imagine the car strewn with empty snack bags, baby food pouches, preschool drawings, notices of events, mail I haven’t bothered to sort through yet, overdue library books and dvds, McDonalds happy meal toys, a melted red crayon right on the driver side chair, crumbs stuck in every crevice, lose change, three or four (mostly) pairs of Hailee’s shoes, re-usable grocery bags, sticky baby toys and binky’s to throw at a fussy Cami, a window covered in Olaf stickers from the movie Frozen, and the list goes on.

This metaphor also explains why I’ve neglected this blog lately. I am barely surviving each day. I don’t feel like I get ANY time to just sit and breathe, let alone open my computer to type and reflect.

I’d simply say LIFE is what is going on. It’s not good or bad, or actually, maybe it’s a bit of both. It’s full of stress and tears as well as happy and let-me-grab-my-camera moments. If I had to choose one word to describe life right now though, it is HARD.

It’s hard being a parent of young kids! I feel like I’m just getting to really experience life with multiple kids. Our time with Charlie felt like a teaser, a taste of parenthood with more than one child. And of course reflecting on those four months I see every moment through romanticized, rose-colored glasses. Now that Cami has lived over twice Charlie’s life span, we seem to be getting more experience with the work multiple children require.

No one really prepares you for the depth of energy, patience, resiliency, emotional reserves, sacrifice, and moment-t0-moment navigation that parenthood requires! It’s not just a Hallmark card wellspring of joy or the calm, serene, cute moments the Cheerio commercials depict. Or the sweet moment I caught on camera of Hailee and Cami looking through a book together, posted at the top of this entry. Right now I am typing on my bed while Cami is standing in her crib screaming at me to come get her. She has just thrown her binky five feet away and I know the cries are only going to escalate. Sigh…

Ok back. I won’t even talk about in this entry how all the horrible sleep  habits we created in Cami are now biting us in the butt. Sigh…she’s crying again.

The stress is compounded with Chad’s work schedule where he has been traveling every week since I can’t even remember when. I have also added a day of work to my schedule, now working two full days at BYU. This has been great for me emotionally but also adds stress trying to prioritize and navigate the other days of the week.

Our days are full of preschool, gymnastics, swim lessons, unsuccessful naps for Cami, teething, cooking, squeezing in 20 minutes to exercise, later bedtimes as Hailee protests “The sun is still up! It’s not night yet!” grocery shopping, playdates, evening walks, emptying the dishwasher, bathtime, library trips, folding laundry, watering tomato plants, snuggle time, fort building, sleep overs in my bed when Chad is out of town, etc.

IMG_4477These are the days where I feel out of breath but I know I will one day reflect and wish desperately for another day just like the ones I’m living now. Knowing this helps me when the exhaustion sets in and snuggle a fussy Cami back to sleep…again.

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