30 Days of Blogging, Day 21

We had our first toddler bed challenge tonight, where Avery decided to get up and leave the bed and pull out half of her books from her book shelf and have a fight with the door knob trying to escape. She tried to fall asleep when we first got into bed. We cuddled, she nursed, and she seemed almost ready to drift off.

And then she decided to sit up and get her water bottle, and then she decided to feed her water to me, and then she noticed her books on her bedside table and wanted to read them again, and then she climbed down off her bed and walked away. I asked her to come back and lay down and go to sleep. She ignored me. I picked her up and laid her back down in bed. She screamed and flailed. She got out of bed. I asked her to come back. She ignored me. I brought her back. This went on for a few rounds, until I decided to stop fighting her and just laid down and kept calmly repeating, “it’s bedtime. Time to sleep. Come lay down.”

And then, suddenly, she stopped fussing at the door and walked over to me and gave me a big hug. She climbed back into bed beside me and after another 20 minutes or so of cuddles with only intermittent nursing, she was asleep. It feels good to win these battles. It gives me confidence for the post-weaning bedtimes that are ahead of us.



30 Days of Blogging, Day 19

Rain, dark and dreary skies, chilly and damp air. This January thaw will ultimately break and we’ll get more snow and frigid temps, but while it lasts, this is my kind of weather. Maybe I should live in BC or the UK… I love dark and dreary rainy days.

Having submitted my dissertation proposal to my committee, I have free time now. I’m still dabbling in developing research materials and an ethics appliction, but I also don’t want to get too far ahead of myself in case my committee suggests big changes.

Because I now have time to get all the household chores done before Avery gets home from daycare, we get to really enjoy the afternoons together. Today we spent 2 hours after her nap just finger painting and playing with playdough. It’s great for her colour recognition and naming. She can ask for blue, red, pink, and purple by name.

Also, she showed a sign of being ready to potty train (although we’re still planning to wait a bit longer). She laid down on the floor and asked me to change her diaper. As soon as her diaper was off, she jumped up, squatted, and peed (thank goodness we have hardwood!). I said “Oh! Pee!” And she started repeating, “Pee! Pee!” She was really proud of herself. We don’t yet own a potty, so I didn’t really know what to do when she decided to go on the floor. But I guess we’ll see if she tries to take her diaper off to go again, and we might have to pick up a potty sooner than we thought.

We haven’t done any potty training at all with her, but we are reading her the book Duck Goes Potty. She is obsessed with ducks, so we figured it was a natural potty training book to add to her library. I’m now wondering if she got the idea to take her diaper off from that book. Exciting times, we’re living in right now!

30 Days of Blogging, Day 18

Weaning from breastfeeding. I don’t think I’ve ever been so back and forth on a life decision as I have been with the decision of when and how to wean my daughter from breastfeeding. My blog reflects that with a mix of posts about weaning attempts and posts about how hardcore committed I am to breastfeeding.

Some days I feel like I’m ready to throw in the towel. Like I’m being tapped of my energy and life essence, or I’m touched out, or I just want to be able to have that second big glass of wine after a hard day. I look at my big, healthy toddler and I think, it’s just for me that we’re still nursing. She doesn’t need this anymore.

But then on other days I’m extremely defensive about any suggestion that we stop. I want to fight back against the stigma about toddlers breastfeeding. I shout from the rooftops that the WHO recommends breastfeeding until age 2. I want to remind everyone that breasts were made to feed children. I love how easy it is for me to soothe my cranky toddler, how easy it is for me to get her to sleep (a thousand times a night……), and how reassured I feel when she’s sick and she’s staying super hydrated because she loves nursing so much.

But today I’m flopping to the side of being ready to wean. My nipples have bloody little cuts on them from sharp fingernails and teeth. My wife can no longer sooth her through the night since we gave up night weaning. Last night she was attached to me for hours in the middle of the night and I felt a really uncomfortable surge of anxiety rushing through me. It was like restless leg syndrome in my whole body. I wanted my body back.

So once again, I’m launching a plan to wean. I’m actually considering trying to be completely done by the time she’s 18 months, which is just over one month away. The last nursing sessions to go will be nursing to sleep at nap and bedtime.

Don’t hold me to this timeline, because we all know I’m a flip flopper. But this is my current goal.

30 Days of Blogging, Day 15

I’m sitting at a coffee shop drinking a double shot mocha and I’m about to read a book. It’s my first self care act in months and months and months. I also just came from getting my legs waxed. I may be alone on this, but the feeling of having individual unwanted hairs ripped from their roots is really freeing and satisfying, and it gives me a bit of an adrenalin boost to boot. 

The reason I can do this today is that I submitted my final proposal draft to my advisor at 10pm last night and now it’s on its way to my committee – the committee of “deciders” who will fingers crossed approve my proposal so I can start this bloody experiment already and finish my PhD one day. 

In case anyone’s wondering, the book I’m now settling into is The Soul of Discipline, by Kim John Payne. He also wrote Simplicity Parenting, which I reviewed in a post a while back. I’ll let you know how this one turns out. 

30 Days of Blogging, Day 13

Bed-sharing is helping my marriage.

OK, it’s way more complicated than that, but here’s the thing… When I wanted to bed share and my wife didn’t, and we tried for months to get her to stay in her crib, fighting with her, fighting ourselves at 2am when we just wanted to give up and bring her to our bed, it was hard on us. I resented my wife for pushing for Avery’s night time independence. My wife didn’t deserve resentment, and she felt like an evil outsider with me and Avery in cahoots. But baby/toddler sleep issues are tough on everything, especially marriage.

Avery still starts out the night in her toddler bed, but since she got sick again a week ago, she is welcomed into our bed after we go to bed for the night. My wife welcomes her. Avery wakes up happy in the morning, grabs her Mo by the ears, and gives her a big kiss. It makes my wife happy. We’re no longer silently fighting each other on what to do about sleep. 

Sure, we sleep toddler-width apart (which is like 5 feet, it seems), and we haven’t been giving each other the physical attention we need to give, but just being on the same side of the argument for a change is so refreshing.

*The pic is of us at my wife’s work Christmas party, free from the stress of bedtime for the first and only night of our lives as parents. 

30 Days of Blogging, Day 9

It’s cold again. It’s supposed to go down to  -20°C again tonight, and it’s icy and snowy outside. It’s the kind of weather for family cuddles. The kind of weather where I miss bed sharing with my baby. 

And when your baby has another nasty cough and cold and has to choose whether to breathe through her mouth and trigger more coughing, or breathe through her nose and not get enough air to her lungs, it’s really, really hard to withhold nighttime nursing. Nursing is the throat soothing cure-all that helps her sleep through anything. 

So about that night weaning we started… the night weaning has gone out the window during my shift. While my wife is on call for nighttime wakings (from bedtime till 1am), Avery goes back to sleep with nothing more than my wife poking her head through the doorway and saying “go back to sleep.” During my shift, I’ve started nursing her again. It’s how she sleeps well through being sick. It’s the only way to get her back to sleep during her bouts of middle-of-the-night insomnia (even during my wife’s shift). 

So weaning is a discussion topic for another day (or month, or year….).

On a related note, Avery LOVES peppermint tea. It’s just a dried mint leaf from our garden steeped in hot water. And when she’s sick, a little dollop of honey is a great throat soother. 

30 Days of Blogging, Day 7

The word of the day is Freedom.

The freedom I’m talking about today isn’t anything extraordinary for an able bodied person – it is the freedom to move about my own home how and when I please. Freedom to take the garbage out, go to the bathroom, shower, move from one room to the next at my leisure. But I have a toddler, and thus, I don’t have this freedom.

Does anyone else have a toddler who clings to your legs and tries to climb you, red faced and screaming, when you do something so bold as to try walking into another room without them? When I’m holding my toddler and I say any of the following phrases, she clings to me like a spider monkey with a death grip:

I just have to go and…

I’m going to put you down for a second…

Can I just…

I’ll be right back…

I have to heat up the car before we leave for daycare in the mornings, and when I peel her off of me and walk out the front door she sounds like she is experiencing the worst heartache of her young life. Every time.

Doing the dishes and cooking dinner is a constant battle to keep her happy on the floor. I just can’t do these tasks while holding a 30 pound kid anymore.

I deal with this separation anxiety as the internet has told me to – with calmness, briefness, and always keeping my promise about coming back. But I think the only real solution is time. I know she’s securely attached, because she is completely happy to be left with people she trusts (her Mo, grandma, daycare provider), and her reaction to me when I return is a healthy amount of happiness (“You’re back! Let me tell you in baby gibberish about all the fun I had while you were gone!“) The problem is  not about me leaving her with other people, it’s about the anticipation of separating from me. 

If you can relate to how oppressive this can feel as a parent, please vent with me in the comments! It’s always nice to feel less alone.