Wednesday, January 23, 2008

i'm a weaner!

i can hardly dare to believe that i may have actually weaned my last! the last time she nursed was monday, jan. 21st before her nap, and she hasn't asked for it at all in at least a full day. so... we'll see. that was a horribly difficult thing to do! hah--it didn't help, of course, that two days after we started the weaning process she got the stomach flu, then me, and right on the heels of that, we got a horrid cold-flu thing that is still hanging on with a vengeance! it's been almost 3 weeks in the entire process. many thanks to leanne, who spurred me on and gave me advice when i was at a loss for even knowing how to begin. i swear, the only advice "weaning books" ever give is why you should keep on nursing forever and ever, providing many examples of mothers who changed their minds about weaning, and assuring you that your child will self-wean when ready. yes. well judging by my child so far that is not going to happen until she is four, and let's not forget that mother in england who let her girls decide on their own, and was still subjected to their suckling when they were eight years old! gnar! i could never do that (except maybe in the case of severe famine) and i knew it was time, as i was getting more frustrated with the nursing process than enjoying it. and of course babies are not immune to their mother's attitudes, so i was feeling bad for her too!

anyways, kim, who i usually go to for experienced mothering advice, was no help, but by no fault of her own--her babies really HAVE all weaned themselves, at nice early ages, too, goldie excepted (having been 2 before she let go). then i remembered leanne's tired struggling with lissette and called her up at once. she was brilliant. she said, sit your baby down and explain that you are no longer going to have nu-nu time. then brace yourself to get NO sleep--and do practically nothing else around the house either--for the duration of the process. at night, you have to go through her entire bedtime routine as normal, except do not nurse her at the end. stay up with her thereafter as long as it takes her to fall asleep--she will eventually get tired. this sounds horrible, doesn't it? walking the hall with a screaming baby for possibly hours and hours while you yourself are mad with exhaustion? the morning nursing had been dropped fairly easily using distractions like books and food, but i had been afraid to tackle the night one until leanne gave me this golden nugget of advice: "stay up and watch movies." BINGO! that couldn't be TOO awful... at least you'd both be amused and semi distracted through the sleepless struggle! too bad i was not big on having babies watch movies. but that rule was going to have to go out the window for a bit, wasn't it? once we had weaned her off the breast, we would then tackle weaning her off watching movies to go to sleep. and that is precisely what we did. it was gorgeous! i watched all of friends season 10, as well as several other chicky titles. this was all starting while thomas was in china, which was perfect. one of my fears had been the prospect of keeping him up at night.

so minus the glitches of getting horribly ill twice in a row in the midst of it all, it has been slightly easier than i thought. having her be sick dragged it out a little, i think, as there were times when i felt so awfully guilty that at the time she needed antibodies the most, i was depriving her! so i would let her have it in the morning occasionally, and i didn't tackle the naptime nursing until just recently. and eventually she got used to just having almond milk out of a bottle while we watched movies at night, and now doesn't even ask for it anymore. the naptime session has been slowly eliminated by simply letting her stay up in the afternoons, which actually worked out great for weaning her of nighttime movies, because she would subsequently be so tired in the evening, that i could just lay down with her in bed for a few minutes, and she'd be out cold. just the past 2 days, though, i've been trying to get her used to napping again by telling her to lay down and be quiet for 10 minutes, and then she can go play again. and she's been falling asleep that way, so i am fully astounded: i think i have actually done it!

next project: potty training! actually, she made her very first poop in the potty on saturday night (jan. 19th)--she was saying "poopy!" so i thought she had gone already and went to change her diaper, but when i found nothing in there, i asked her if she wanted to sit on the potty and she said "yeah." and to my utter amazement, in a few moments, i looked and there was a clean little loaf in there! wooo! you can imagine the hooplah. "TOM! YOU HAVE TO COME SEE THIS!" he was filming it and everything. my, how easy and precise it was, wiping her neat little butt with barely any residue on it! i was so pleased that i gave her a present i had been saving in the closet for a special occasion: two little toy bunnies which delighted her immensely! of course she hasn't done it since, but this was a glimmer of hope in the growing up of sparrow mcdonnell. sometimes you think your life will be all about the many details of raising babies forever...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

do it myself

i am so depressed because i SWEAR i made my credit card payment last month, but somehow the online transaction did not go through. so now my payments went up from 28 dollars to 93 dollars. fabulous. i CANNOT afford 65 extra dollars a month! m i can barely pay my babysitter anyways! so depressing. i hate money. i don't even use my credit cards anymore. i just barely manage to make the minimum payment but i always make sure it gets paid on time. i check it off on my organized paperwork as soon as it's done! aaaaaargh! i swear this has to be an online banking mistake, but i can't prove it of course because they will have no record of it, since i indeed can't find online record of it being paid. this sucks. now we are having to think about another baby and i still have to get a big cavity fixed, but it looks like i'll have to wait another month... again. just hope it doesn't turn into a root canal. i need help. this stuff depresses me immensely at least once a month.

anyways, on a happier note, sparrow was eating gold fishies today and she said, "so good!" which is the cutest thing ever and made me laugh outloud. thomas and i always say "so--good?!" in this certain way (based on a french lady we know) whenever we are eating something delicious. i wonder if it will always baffle me how much this girl picks up when i don't think she's paying attention. i mean, the other day we were looking at a bunch of clothes from gymboree, and she kept saying, "i love that!" (well, "eyauv dat!") about items i would pull out. more recent little sayings include saying "no, m-m," or just "m-m" when she doesn't want something. she also says "do it myself." oh dear. not even two yet. this evening she was trying to pull on a pair of leggings all by herself, and would get quite upset if i attempted to help her at any point. But of course leggings are so…narrow and difficult! She did manage to get both legs into the same panthole, however. Then I gently helped her while making it seem like she was still doing it herself. What’s funny is she now applies the “myself” bit to me, even. She likes to regularly do things and then say “mama do it.” Like if she takes a drink of water (she relishes the part at the end of her drink where she gets to go, “aaaah”), she ALWAYS hands me the glass afterward and says “mama do it.” Now, she will say, “mama do it myself.” Hahaha. Climbing up the jungle gym, then looking back at me, expecting me to follow: “mama do it myself.”

One particular difficult area in the “do it myself” world is shoe-tying. Oh yes. Thomas and I have both shown her once or twice how we tie her shoes, and let me tell you—that was a big mistake. The next one is getting shielded from shoe-tying until the dexterous age of five—minimum. When we know it is humanly possible for the fingers to actually start tying shoes. Because even though sparrow’s one-and-a-half year-old fingers are way too tiny and uncoordinated to really tie her shoes—even if she DID properly know how to make a bow—she insists “sparrow tie it!” every morning, and it is quite the ordeal getting her shoes actually tied, and everyone out the door, while she squeals and struggles with her laces! I have to let her deal with one shoe while I rapidly tie the other, and then I have to let her try to undo the first one (so she can tie it herself!) while I tie the other one! And half the time she succeeds in untying the first one, too! Then I am really over it! Seriously people—do I really have four more years of this before she actually learns how to tie them??!!? i have desperately abandoned her lacing shoes and gone back to the pull-on boots that are already a bit too small...

watch einstein baby!

the child is actually conjugating sentences now. it was the night before christmas eve. we were sitting down to a nice simple dinner of soup and ciabatta, and thomas was interacting with sparrow in the way that he is so good at: with lots of fun and patience. sparrow has recently become so good at repeating sentences verbatim. she can pretty much copy anything we say! thomas said one phrase (i forget what) and of course she repeated it exactly. then he says to her slowly, "you're a copy cat!" and she--to our great surprise--said, "i'm a copy cat!" 20 months old!

thomas said that since she is so good at repeating things, we should be teaching her Bible verses, so the first one i started her on was psalm 27:1 "the lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall i fear?" i only started her on the first phrase--the lord is my light--and i made up little hand motions to go along with it so she would remember even better. however, she baffled me by making up her own version, which came from who knows where! i would say, "the lord is my..." and she would say "teee!" which was either a prophetic utterance from the mouth of babes and was supposed to mean "king"--which would be of course true, and quite amazing in its own way; or just an obscure association she had in her head that she could not easily override, having to do with tea, or keys, who knows. with the hand motions, she has gotten much better at saying "light!" and can say pretty much the whole first part when i say, "can you say your bible verse?" it's so sweet to hear her say "lord." then, the other day, we were all in the car, and i had her say the verse for thomas again, and to my great surprise, she said her part, and then she kept going, "my sa-va-dun" aaah! "did you hear that?" i had to make her repeat it several times, she was saying it so quietly! truly, i don't believe i challenge her enough! i mean, i had no idea she was paying attention when i would follow up with the rest of the verse, especially without hand motions, especially since salvation is such a long word, and she would have no idea what it meant! but pardon me, for she seems to be hungry for the word!

another, perhaps less edifying, activity that has popped into her life recently is the watching of movies. sometimes i get so desperate with her when i am trying to make dinner--she is definitely a child that needs a lot of external stimulation. her periods of alone play-time won't last more than 5 or 10 minutes, before she needs someone to rile up again. sigh. which is why she is going to be a big sister! well that's not the sole reason, of course. but it is a big one. i think her time of only-child-ness needs to end asap. so... i discovered baby einstein movies at the library and she is absolutely in LOVE with them. nothing else will really hold her attention, but the einstein series... she is riveted to the tv the entire half hour which allows me to get so much done. i don't know about those videos actually being helpful to their development, but honestly--it is a lifesaver and allows us to get dinner made! except every day, from morning til night, she now likes to ask me "watch einstein baby!" or "i wanna watch a movie!" yeah she can actually say that whole sentence just like that.

so we are really excited about the next little one coming along. (oh no--what will i do when i have 5 children? keep separate blogs for all of them? oops--should have thought of that before i named this one sparrowbella, eh?) anyways, on one of the occasions when she was examining my belly button (one of her favorite activities), i said, "hey sparrow--there's a little baby in there!" now every time she thinks of my belly button, she gently rubs it and says, "hi, baby!" instead of trying to bite it or poke it like she used to. "hi baby!" i asked her if she wanted a little girl baby or a little boy baby, and she said, "boy baby." she was so sure of herself. well, we'll see. i have a feeling that a girl might be easier for the relationship. but you NEVER know. i was the 2nd girl, so i have a soft spot for that place in the family. of course, if it is a boy, it takes the dang pressure off of having to have one! then maybe we can lay low for awhile before starting on our second batch. heh!

sleeping and nursing patterns are another issue (still!) i have sworn several times in moments of frustration, "i am weaning her tomorrow!" and especially being pregnant again, the nursing is a bit painful. my goal is to have her weaned and falling asleep by herself before the next baby arrives. hopefully WELL before. but i have NO IDEA HOW to do it! horrible. the first step has to be teaching her to fall asleep on her own, without nursing to sleep. i brought out the pack and play and put her in there a few times at nap time to fall asleep. it worked great two times, i was very pleased to discover that she won't actually climb out of it, even though she could. she climbs up onto the edge of it, and tries to put her feet down on the other side, but since she can't feel the ground, she doesn't let go, and then she eventually gets back in again! she only cried for 10-15 minutes or so. but: the third time she was up and screaming for at least 45 minutes, after which point i could not handle sitting there listening to it and biting my nails tensely ANYMORE! WHY wasn't it working!? i will never know. i went in there and picked up her little sobbing bundle of self and lay down with her in the big bed, where she wrapped herself tightly around me and we both fell asleep. half the nights, i manage to nurse her a little earlier in her routine, and then lie with her while she rolls around on my head and kicks my face restlessly until she finally dozes off. the next night we get home late or i am too bushed to care, or she is too bushed to stay awake, and she falls asleep on the breast again. i am too disorganized to be a parent! aaaah! blessed are the mothers whose children self-wean at the age of seven months. i have already decided: the next baby gets potty trained from birth, nursed only upon waking, taught to fall asleep by self from birth, and if there is ever a nursing strike, i am NOT going to work through it! there will be a lot more energy for playing and smiling if i am not constantly frustrated or exhausted!

side note: thomas is currently in china. he has only been gone for 2 days, but it is such a void in our lives! sparrow, of course, is not fully conscious that he is gone or why, but she misses him so much and here is the evidence: she is sleeping, but a few moments ago she woke up crying, and i ran in there to comfort her. i picked her up and laid her on my tummy and said, what's wrong, are you cold? she said, "daddy." i said, "daddy? you miss daddy?" and she said, "my daddy, my daddy," and fell back asleep in a little while. the poor dear! she is heartbreaking.