Friday, October 31, 2008

Sleeping Under the Rainbow

"What the heck is that?" my husband asked when I unfolded the rainbow silk I had just purchased from A Toy Garden.

"It's going to be a canopy above the bed!" I had just spent a good deal of time driving to IKEA, redoing the car seat and then driving home very close to the wheel with an 81" package of the simple Vikare extendable bed (and Rast bedside table). I am ready to get our son off the floor (where he tramples all over his sleeping spot) and to create a place of beauty and serenity. While I love that he wakes up kissing me if I come into his bed to soothe him in the night or nurse him in the morning (and get some more sleep!), I'm ready for him to see his space as special and calm on its own.

"The women at that company are so nice," I offered my skeptic. One wrote me to say they'd sent it out hours after I placed the order. When I replied to say thanks and that I hoped it would help my son sleep, two different people wrote back with words of encouragement. With that kind of karma, it has to work, right?

I hope that we can get the bed put together this weekend or next, and I'm hoping to figure out a way to drape the silk that looks good and isn't too challenging to execute. It's darker than I expected but just so lovely. It has to be calming to sleep under a subtle rainbow, right?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Toddler just says no to cloth diapers

My son is addicted to disposable diapers.

Now, he is two and a half, so it's typical for him to be opinionated, I realize. But I wish he'd chosen something else. Then again, he has chosen plenty of things. So I guess I just wish this wasn't one of them.

I'm no cloth diapering guru, but we have been using Fuzzi Bunz for most of his life, and most of the time. When he spent so much time nursing at night, though, around 10 months old, he started leaking and waking up cold. Changing a tired baby's entire double-layered outfit (and sometimes the sheets) at 3 a.m. during the winter was driving me batty, as if I wasn't already sleep-deprived enough from being sole food and teething comfort support all night.

So that's when we went to disposables at night. We even had to do Pampers for a while as the Seventh Generation just weren't cutting it. We are back to chlorine-free but haven't gone back to cloth, even though we probably could. I figure we'll soon be much more vigilant about making opportunities to pee on the potty. We've got #2 down, for the most part, and I think once we're all ready for the other, we'll know, and then we'll go back to cloth at night and peeing first thing.

When I saw these new Earth's Best diapers at Babies R Us for cheaper than Seventh Generation or even the Whole Foods brand, they are my new go-to disposables for night, travel and whenever I forgot to hang the diapers to dry in time to take one with us on an outing. And they are the first diapers in his memory that have any kind of design on them.

So now, added to our list of daily battles is the issue of the "night diaper." That's what he calls them, and that's what he wants. All. The. Time. Well, except when he wants underwear, or shorts without underwear. We've had some good experiments and some not-so-good experiments, enough to make it clear to me neither (none) of us is ready to fully take the plunge, so to speak.

I try not to make an issue out of the diaper thing; I put the Fuzzi Bunz on him when he's brushing his teeth or washing his hands or looking at a book, or, if he notices it's not one of the coveted "night diapers," I make a game of having him help me with the snaps. When all else fails, I try a raspberry on the belly and hope he won't grab a fistful of hair in protest of my denying him his special yellow logo. It's not like he ever ate any jarred baby food, so there's no product recognition. (I did offer it a few times after my own purees were rejected. He preferred celery. I'm not kidding.)

Still, I guess the design is something fun to look at, and I have to realize that the issue of brand recognition is not going to go away. But I'm still hoping to keep it simple as long as possible. Oh, except that I did buy him some dinosaur underwear (two of the three in the pack were plain!), and then we went to get more white at another store. This photo exposes me as having one Pooh plate, too. I guess I'm a little less subtle than I think.

Well, we can still just call it the "bear" and the ice cream truck the "music truck" and the Earth's Best the "night diapers." Let's hope I'm not just leading him on the quick route to generic prescription drugs.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finding My Tribe - Holistic Moms Conference

This weekend I attended the Holistic Moms Network national conference. Just like at the Green Festival, I had a hard time restraining myself against free stuff (some swag in a bag, some free magazines -- won't someone else just have to lug them back?) and against buying stuff (pictured in the second photo). Better to support WAHMs and independently-owned businesses than not, right? The irony of accummulating more and more is not lost on me, even as I hand over my credit card.
Some stuff I bought for friends, and other items and books I intend to review in coming weeks here or on my holistic health-minded blog, Inexact Science: Raising Healthy Families.
I hope to write more about what I learned at the conference in the future. The short version is that it was definitely nice to feel like I was at home in my style of mothering, though without my son there with me and without a plan for another baby in the near future (don't think my body or my mind is ready yet), some of it did feel a bit of another era, especially all the babywearing and birth stuff.
But then there were also moms who had young ones and were there with their own businesses, making me feel like a loser that I'm kind of just coming up for air and starting to enter the world of writing and working. And yet, a few folks did remark on the distance I came, so perhaps I should give myself credit for the fact that I drove five hours and left my son with my sister for the day to get to the conference. (He had a blast, by the way).
My arms are getting a little tired from the pull, on one hand, to work and, on the other to be a calm, intentionally-living SAHM.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Two in a Bed

I never read the book Three in a Bed, but I read plenty of other articles on co-sleeping and lots of the Sears library, and I've been to plenty of meetings of Attachment Parenting International and La Leche League, where we've talked about the family bed and night feedings. When my son was a baby, I could not fathom how anyone could want their child in a separate room.

But in the last few months, I forgot how much I initially loved sharing sleep. First I started sleeping in the spare bedroom on our old queen bed because our new latex mattress was making my back ache. Then I continued in part because my son seemed to sleep better and allow himself to be soothed by my husband if I wasn't there. I found myself saying the words I never thought I'd utter: Yeah, he sleeps through the night. This meant that he didn't wake to nurse and didn't wake to upset -- he just learned to go back to sleep.

And I learned to sleep well, too. It felt like I was living alone in a dorm room. For a while I would read poetry before shutting out the light and enjoying the expanse of the bed all to myself with no worries that I was going to wake up a boy -- my little one, or my sensitive sleeper husband. I think part of the reason my son got so used to nursing at every light waking was my desire to keep everything quiet so LJ wouldn't be too grumpy in the morning. That guy has a high sleep need, and it had better be quality sleep. So I stuffed E's little mouth with a breast before he had much of a chance to learn to self-soothe.

So it was heaven to be able to be apart from my son and yet know my husband could soothe him easily. Little E would toddle into the other room in the morning and snuggle with me, often falling back asleep after nursing. We all finally got solid sleep.

E slept alone most nights on vacation this summer, and I started to think about giving him his own room. Then the nap protesting started, and I figured he'd do better with space that was his own to quietly play/read/be rather than give him the whole upstairs to run around. The teacher at our Waldorf school agreed that he needed his own space.

At first, he seemed fine with it, talking about being a big boy in a big bed and in his own room -- and also about the "puppy" (huge stuffed dog) from my childhood that now takes up probably a full 10% of the room's surface area, a third of what is not covered by the full futon. But he does seem to be having some adjustment issues, and he's not the only one.

Last night I met my husband at a restaurant so that I could attend a meeting and he could bring the boy home. I said goodbye to them at 6:30 p.m. E fell asleep on the way home, as I'd predicted. When I finally came to bed at 12:30 a.m., I missed my boy a little. When I woke at 4:30 a.m. needing to pee, I missed him more. I knew he might wake soon since he'd gone to sleep early without a full last nursing, and it's no fun to try to get back to sleep worrying you're going to have to get up. (We are trying to keep him staying in his room as opposed to coming into our room, where he'll just wake LJ up. Eventually I'll probably still go in there but not nurse him in bed.)

I crawled into his bed, trying to give him some space. Within a few seconds, he gravitated toward me, his hands feeling around for my face. "Mommy..." he exhaled. "I want to nurse." I gave him a sip of almond milk and told him it was time to snuggle and sleep. This he accepted, but he nestled in close. We both slept for another two hours before he woke to nurse and start the day.

It's now 11:40 p.m. on another no-nap day. I don't know when I'll get to bed or what I'll do when I go upstairs. I'm behind on several projects having had almost zero solo weekday time in the past two weeks since he won't rest and I'm trying to be consistent that we stay quiet in his room. But I had log on (after over a week of no posting!) to make sure I documented how pulled I was by my son now that I know he's all alone in there. After so many frustrating afternoons with him not resting and in fact getting mad and aggressive with me, it's nice to feel how strong this desire for closeness and connection still is.

Man, I love him.