Why I love honest moms

I have a high-needs baby. There is no way around it. He is the apple of my eye, as is his five-year-old mile-a-minute sister. But this kid is far from easy-going. He doesn’t like many people besides me. He doesn’t like getting his diaper changed and he hates bottles. But on the list of things he doesn’t like, sleep is number one.

My not-so-newborn absolutely hates sleep and will fight it at all costs, until I’m crying in the basement, letting him scream for just a few minutes so I can do the same in private. At seven months, he is now in the throes of separation anxiety and I, a not-religious-in-the-slightest person, am finding myself talking to God on the regular, hoping He will send me a lifeline.

My husband and I have thrown our hands up and given each other blank stares, not having any idea what else to do. I have swaddled, nursed on demand, laid on my bed for two hours (or more) not moving a muscle while he napped. I’ve begged my daughter to please play quietly. I’ve made her cry by snapping at her. I’ve let the baby scream so I could give her a much needed hug. I’ve also felt worse about myself as a mother and a person than I ever thought possible.

pics 138

Continue reading at Mommy Nearest… 

***for curious followers, this post was written several months ago for Mommy Nearest. So if it doesn’t all add up… that’s why! Also, this picture is five years old. OMG. I’ve aged… but it’s cool.

5 Qualifications you should have to become a parent

Dear Applicant,

Thank you for expressing such an interest in this position! It is truly the opportunity of a lifetime and your enthusiasm will surely be of the utmost importance when venturing down this new path. Below is a list of the five most important qualifications your future client/s will require on a near constant basis for the next 18 years or more. Probably more. We should also mention this is really a job that never ends. But don’t worry, it has many wonderful benefits, as you’ll soon find out.

1. A go-getter attitude is key

You must be willing to stop what you are doing and go get things approximately 180 times a day, including but not limited to: books, dolls, dresses, snacks, paper towels, baby wipes, diapers, bottles, pacifiers, crayons, paper, cups of water, more snacks, clean undies, wash cloths, stickers, blankets, hair brushes, lost socks, lost shoes, band-aids, tissues and much more. Note: A gym membership doesn’t come with this position, but it is unlikely that you will have time to exercise with any consistency anyway. This level of activity, though, will help you to feel energized which this position demands at all times.

dude whatevsss

Continue reading @ Mommy Nearest… 

Review: Well-Rested Family

My son, Tener, who is now nearly nine months old was never a fan of sleeping without a nipple in his mouth. (Note: Please resist the urge to say “well what man wouldn’t love that?!” This joke has been told again and again. Somewhere around my 95,387 straight day/night awake it lost it’s hilarity.)This baby was/is very latched on in every possible way and even though I consider myself to be a pretty hands-on, attachment parent-ish type of person, this level of latched on was getting… pretty rough.

Not only did my son want to sleep with a boob in his mouth and only with a boob in his mouth, he needed complete and utter silence to sleep for more than like seven(?) seconds. No distractions whatsoever. Let me be clear- COMPLETE AND UTTER SILENCE AND ZERO DISTRACTIONS IS A JOKE WHEN YOU ALSO HAVE A 4-5 YEAR OLD SPECIES FLINGING HER BODY AT YOU EVERY TIME YOU ASK FOR QUIET OR SIT DOWN.

In essence, my son was almost never sleeping, not during the day or the night and it was bad. Real bad. No, he wouldn’t sleep in the car either or wrapped in his ergo/moby wrap/any variation of baby-wearing devices. Yes, I tried them all. Tenny said, via hysterical sobs, “GIVE UP AND GIVE ME YOUR BOOB.” And for lack of a better option, I gave up trying any other means again and again. But then co-sleeping became an endless game of nursing non-stop all night and flailing and rolling and nursing and waking cranky and with red, pathetic eyes every damn day (the baby, not me!… well, yeah, me too). And all hell broke loose. After about 4.5 months of age, this kid wanted to see and do everything regardless of his exhaustion. Some babies people were just built that way. Wouldn’t you know it, I’d birth that kind of human. I’ve always liked to do things the hard way, I guess (damn, stubborn Aries trait!).

Enter: Dawn Braun, gentle sleep-coach extraordinaire and the well-rested voice behind “Well Rested Family” of the Annapolis, Maryland (and surrounding) area. I contacted Dawn who uses the techniques based on the book “Good Night, Sleep Tight” by Kim West, aka, The Sleep Lady when I was absolutely on my last leg, my last bit of patience, energy and had cried all my tears. Tenny was about 7 months at the time and I’d been awake consistently for about three months. I was admittedly, nervous and unsure about any type of sleep-training, even something with the word “gentle” in it. To me, sleep-training seemed unnatural. Babies weren’t meant to be good sleepers. They were supposed to be close to mom all night. They weren’t supposed to be easy. It was an is my feeling that babies need comfort from their parents when they are brand new into this would the same way that they need food. It is as basic a need as any. Sleep training of any kind didn’t really seem natural, but I knew something had to give. Nothing that was going on with my son’s sleep really seemed all that natural, either. He was waking constantly, never sleeping for more than 10-15 minutes and I was losing hope and getting seriously overwhelmed.

Dawn Braun, "Well-Rested Family" with her well-rested family... don't they look rested?

Dawn Braun, “Well-Rested Family” with her well-rested family… don’t they look rested?

After talking to Dawn during our consultation, I started to think of sleeping as a skill and one that I would help him learn to embrace and hopefully be able to use for a lifetime. Some of us come by this skill easily, some of us don’t. One good thing about Dawn, that makes her an excellent sleep coach, is that she was willing to work with what I was comfortable with. I credit most of our success to this fact. If Dawn had tried to push me to let my baby cry too long or had given us other techniques I didn’t feel comfortable with, I probably would’ve quit before we started. But I never felt I was doing anything to scar my baby during the course of our training and I never felt pushed, either.

The process was pretty simple. Because Tener wasn’t really comforted by anything other than nursing and we had no real way to get him to sleep and stay asleep, we had to get over this hump to start. We were allowed to hold him, rock him, comfort him in any way we could (which my husband was much better at given his non-functional nipples) but he had to find sleep on his own so that he would learn how. I began nursing him downstairs rather than in his room, then Marshall would take him upstairs and begin a bedtime routine. It only took a couple of nights before Tener caught on that he wasn’t going to be nursed or rocked completely to sleep and he started sleeping better almost immediately. After the first night, it got better and better but I was nervous for when it would be my turn to put him down. I kept a sleep log and checked in with Dawn via phone/text/email so she could help us navigate the days/nights.

Turns out, once the system was in place- nursing downstairs, then going up to start our routine, he didn’t resist me as much as I expected. While we would definitely go back in to re-rock and soothe, we started to have confidence that he was going to get to sleep and it started happening easier and quicker. Full-disclosure- my baby still wakes up in the night and when he does I nurse him back down. I actually really like this because I’m allowed to nurse him to sleep in the night and I get my fix. We also still rock him before bed and comfort him as needed. This program has varying degrees and admittedly, I didn’t want to tackle the full-scale “sleep-training” program but you totally could and should, if you want to!

With Dawn’s help, we did what we felt comfortable with and we have a pretty damn good sleeper to show for it. He still doesn’t sleep on the go, wrapped or in the car or whatever, but he sleeps. And that is an amazing gift. He currently takes two good naps a day and wakes (on average) twice a night. We had regressions (which scared the crap out of me because I thought we were back where we started) but Dawn assured me that these can happen, especially on the verge of developmental milestones (like crawling). But with each regression, we got back to our routine a little easier and a little faster.

Some babies are just tough. Some babies just fight sleep and will keep fighting sleep because it’s their nature and they won’t do anything else until they learn how. If you’re struggling with sleep, if you’re losing your damn mind, I urge you to get help from a gentle sleep coach. It has changed my life in a very short time and I’m happy to recommend Dawn (isn’t it ironic that that’s her name? The Dawn of a new day? The bright, sunny, well-rested morning?) to anyone and everyone who asks. She will absolutely help you create a program that works for you and doesn’t make you hate yourself. I’m even more a believer that you don’t have to let your baby scream relentlessly now than ever. There is a better way.

Mamas… papas, take care of yourselves, guys. You’re important, too.

Good night, sleep tight.

Find Dawn’s page at www.wellrestedfamily.com or on Facebook.

What would you do if you had the house entirely to yourself?

Simple as it may seem, to most parents, having the house to themselves for an entire afternoon is a rare and exciting opportunity. We asked some hardworking mamas and papas around the country what they would do if this happened to them. The results were clever, hilarious, but mostly, just plain true. Read on to hear all of their answers and then chime in with your own response!

2014-09-02 19.10.29

Continue reading at Mommy Nearest… 

ZIPADEE-ZIP REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

As you all know, major sleep issues hit my family hard in recent months. But apparently, I’m not nearly as alone as I have felt since entering NO SLEEP LAND. I always knew the world was filled with sleep-deprived parents, but man, I felt like the depths of my baby’s sleep issues were the worst I’d ever heard. It seems a lot of you are in my same boat, though, and while it makes me feel a teeny bit better, my heart goes out to each and every person who confessed to me, either publically or privately, that they are in their own personal sleep hell. It truly is so hard and I am so sorry. You know I feel your pain.

Anyway, apparently I’ve also been sleeping under a rock (or tossing any turning under one) but I didn’t know about a product called the Zipadee-Zip by Sleeping Baby Inc. until very recently. What is a Zipadee-Zip you ask? Well I’ll tell you. It’s a wearable blanket that aids the swaddle transition and is safe for baby to roll in. Now, my uber-alert Tenny never wanted to be swaddled in the first place. But I thought, we’re tried everything else, might as well try the zippy! Note: The Zipadee-zip goes up to 24m but there is also a hands-free option called “The Flying Squirrel” for bigger (12m+) babes.

A Cozy Fleece Zippy that is great for sleeping if you live in a cooler climate.  These are great with just a diaper underneath.  They also make great wearable blankets for stroller, car and baby carrier rides as a baby can easily be buckled in while wearing one. Retails for $38.95

A Cozy Fleece Zippy that is great for sleeping if you live in a cooler climate. These are great with just a diaper underneath. They also make great wearable blankets for stroller, car and baby carrier rides as a baby can easily be buckled in while wearing one. Retails for $38.95

While I was worried about T not having his hands free in case he wanted to suck his fingers (something he’s never done before, at least while trying to get to sleep) he didn’t seem to mind having them under his zippy. He could still move around and get comfortable. We typically put him in a big purple sleep sack that used to belong to his sister, but sleep was really hit or miss in that, too. He woke up a lot and I worried about how much he could really move and shift in it now that he’s a pro-roller. A lot of times, he seemed frustrated in the sack, so something more movable for this guy seemed like a pretty good solution.

The first night Tenny slept in his Zippy, miraculously, he did his longest stretch ever! Now I don’t want to be deceptive. We have also been working with a gentle sleep coach, but still, he’d been waking 2-3 times a night on the regular. So when I was pretty blown away at this change. No, actually… I thought it was a fluke. Now, he has routinely been waking up only once a night to nurse then going right back to sleep while wearing his zippy. It’s pretty amazing. While I can’t totally explain it, I think it has to do with the fact that his arms and legs are snug inside his zippy so he doesn’t wake himself up as much, but he can also move and shift around when he needs to.

FullSizeRender (25)

A well-rested Tenny after napping in his Zipadee-zip!

So without further ado, I’d like to give one of these amazing sleep-helpers away to one of you all in hopes that it will help your baby and you sleep!

All you have to do to enter is: 

1) Like The Mediocre Mama on Facebook and leave a comment either here or on Facebook about why you (or someone you plan on giving it to) need a zipadee-zip! 

2) Share this page directly from the blog OR via the giveaway link on Facebook. 

3) Like Sleeping Baby Inc- home of the ZipadeeZip on Facebook. 

GIVEAWAY CLOSES FRIDAY, 2/13/15 AT 9 AM. 

Now everyone can’t be a winner… BUT if you head over to Sleeping Baby Inc., you can enter the coupon code “SLEEP” for $2 off a zippy of your choice anyway!

Find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube and be sure to like them on Facebook to enter their monthly giveaway!

The Fifty Stages of Sleep Deprivation

While my pregnant self had entertained the thought that baby number two would be my “easy” baby, my “sleeper” baby, I regret to say, I was wrong. “I know how to swaddle!” I thought. “I know The Happiest Baby techniques!” “I know about white noise and overstimulation. We’ve totally got this!” BAH… HA. The only thing I’ve got is an eight month old kid who never sleeps. Not swaddled or wrapped, not in his “last resort” car seat or even in a stroller. I have the kid who watches absolutely everything and lifts his head up to look around when a floorboard creaks, even if he’s been up for hours on end. I’ve got the kid who can fight sleep like no one I’ve ever met in my entire life, conk out for ten minutes, then party all night. I’ve got the kid who wakes up screaming the second a nip slips out of his mouth or his body touches something that lacks a pulse. Having gone through an intense period of sleep deprivation with this child, I now know how important sleep is. Sleep can seriously make or break you. Not sleeping for months on end can tear your life apart and leave it like that crap in the bottom of a hamster’s cage- shredded.

2014-11-11 10.23.38

Here are the fifty stages of sleep deprivation as I know them:

 

  1. You start taking your kid to school without your bra on, regardless of the fact that your breasts are literally everywhere.
  2. Showering becomes either obsolete or the only thing you do in your day that brings you back from the brink. Until everyone starts screaming and you realize it was completely not worth it.
  3. Everything your husband does annoys you.
  4. Everything your husband doesn’t do annoys you.
  5. You begin to understand how horses sleep standing up.
  6. Falling asleep on the toilet seems like a very legitimate option. Until, again, everyone starts screaming at you.
  7. You unload half the dishwasher before realizing your cupboards are filled with gross, dirty dishes.
  8. You have a stack of eighteen sleep books next to your bed.
  9. You’re too tired to read any of them.
  10. You tell yourself that all the Angelina Ballerina your daughter has been watching is educational.
  11. You contemplate hiring a “sleep coach” but hang up when you forgot who you dialed.
  12. Out of desperation you let your baby scream approximately one time while you sob and guzzle half a box of wine.
  13. You become so guilt-ridden at letting your baby cry that you stay up all night anyway thinking about his cortisol levels which are no doubt, off the chart.
  14. You begin texting, emailing and Facebook messaging anyone (even total strangers) who had a similar struggle for encouraging words.
  15. You eliminate “getting dressed” from your daily tasks.
  16. Thirty-two people a day tell you they have a “great sleeper.”
  17. Twenty-eight people a day recommend “wearing your baby” and look at you with crazy eyes when you tell them he doesn’t like to sleep that way since he was four months old.
  18. Twelve people a day tell you to let your baby “cry it out.”
  19. Fifty people a day tell you to “enjoy every minute” even when you can’t quite put your finger on what “minutes” are.
  20. You install The Wonder Weeks App on your phone thinking perhaps it’s just a developmental milestone.
  21. You delete The Wonder Weeks App when you realize it’s not a developmental milestone that’s keeping your baby awake. He’s been awake since birth.
  22. After your fifth hysterical phone call, your sister who has gone back and forth in the past finally decides to never have kids because “hell no, I can’t deal with that.”
  23. You email a “gentle sleep coach” just to see what the deal is.
  24. You tell your husband nothing will ever work and this is all your fault because you were too stressed during pregnancy and also sometimes ate brie.
  25. You give up ever putting your boob away or trying to get the baby to sleep anywhere but on you and recommit to cosleeping completely.
  26. People tell you you’ll never get the baby out of your bed, he’ll be nursing till he’s in middle school and that you’ll get divorced.
  27. You tell your daughter to be quiet 18,564 times a day.
  28. She resents this, starts whining all the time and begins her own personal sleep-regression.
  29. Your entire nights are made up of trying to get people back to sleep only to be so wired from the constant waking that you completely give up on sleeping yourself and begin starting your days at 3 am only to feel like it’s midnight by 7:30 am.
  30. You give up co-sleeping AGAIN when the baby sleeps very poorly this way, literally suckles and bites you all night as you lay awake morphing your body into exceedingly more and more uncomfortable positions.
  31. Feel like you’ve been through the washing machine at six am and want to close your eyes so badly just when you’re supposed to be starting your day.
  32. You fantasize about nothing other than sleep.
  33. People tell you co-sleeping is really the best for the baby and it always worked for them.
  34. You start gathering doctor’s phone numbers so your husband can go ahead with his vasectomy.
  35. Drinking coffee makes you feel like puking.
  36. Not drinking coffee makes you feel like puking.
  37. You start praying on the regular.
  38. You overhear your husband praying also.
  39. You tell yourself “this too shall pass” twenty-five times a day.
  40. You make plans to go to yoga even if you’re tired.
  41. You cancel plans to go to yoga when you’re way beyond tired, bordering on incoherent and no amount of downdogging will get you anywhere close to feeling sort of okay.
  42. You stay over at your mother’s house when your husband goes out of town for work AGAIN, so that you can maybe, possibly avoid calling him in the middle of the night and ugly crying into the phone.
  43. You try to distract yourself from the fact the he’s sleeping soundly in a hotel bed with no one pulling at his teet or yelling in his ear.
  44. Consider taking up day drinking but realize you won’t be a fun drunk like you used to be anyway so what’s the point?
  45. You finally check your email and write back to the “gentle sleep coach” and feel a shred of something that resembles hope.
  46. Have a kind of okay night with the baby and consider cancelling the coaching appointment and saving all that money that you really don’t have in the first place.
  47. Have a horrible night with the baby and shell out the dollars.
  48. Get the baby to sleep and stay asleep for the first time ever and think it was the best money you ever spent.
  49. Celebrate by pouring yourself a huge glass of red wine but fall asleep before you can drink it.
  50. Sleep for three uninterrupted hours and feel as if you can take over the world and wonder how it’s even possible that you weren’t a way more productive person when you were sleeping for an astonishing seven or eight hours A NIGHT on the regular.

I guess I’ll sleep when I’m dead

MM readers, Apologies for being completely MIA here. Aside from reposting work from other sites on this blog, I haven’t actually written on here in forever. Don’t blame me. Blame THIS GUY. I know he’s cute but he’s trouble.

FullSizeRender (23)

This baby is so sweet, guys. I love him to the ends of the earth. But at seven months old he’s still pretty much a nightmare sleeper. He’s up several times a night and usually has a hard time going back to sleep. If he sleeps with me, in my arm pit, he wants to suckle all night and I end up awake for hours. If he sleeps in the crib he’s up several times a night. His sister is usually up at least twice or three times for a potty or a snuggle, too. Being awake every single hour is taking it’s toll on me. I want desperately to nurse him till he’s a year old. I actually can’t imagine stopping now that we are seven months in. I think it would be very emotional. But every time I hear about how great someone’s baby sleeps who downs a big bottle before bed, I want to throw in the towel. However, I know I’m not quite ready.

Every night I hope the tide will turn and so far, it hasn’t. I have been telling myself for months now “this too shall pass.” But lately I feel like I’ve been waiting forever. I’ve been trying to hide my exhaustion. Trying to act normal. But at this point, I can barely even muster up the energy to fake it. For example, I’m still bra-less and it’s 3:30 and I smell like baby poop, not sure how. I’m sure it’s on me somewhere. There’s snow on the ground, but still. I also haven’t been showering… that much. Every time my husband goes on a work trip I completely fall apart. I called him sobbing yesterday. Like, hysterical, incoherent, ugly cry, sobbing into the phone. He’d been gone about five hours.

Yesterday I was so fed up, so sad, so defeated. I texted my doula (and friend).  I told her I’d been crying all morning. The baby was finally asleep after hours of trying to get him down for a nap. But all I could do was sit and cry. I haven’t wanted to say it out loud, how bad his sleep has been, how hard it’s been on me. I’m so past “mombie.” I’m really feeling the strain of sleeping for less than four hours a night for months (which according to the book my doula/friend brought me, is really, extremely bad for your health). I just wanted to reach out to someone and I’m glad I did. So she came over, tried to help me get the baby to sleep (which of course didn’t work because she’s no longer lactating and the only way Tenny wants to sleep is latched the fuck on). But then she took Piper to play with her girls for the afternoon. I nursed the baby and rested with him. Then eased him into his crib and he stayed there for a short while at least.

Sometimes just having human contact, just having someone say you aren’t crazy, you aren’t doing everything wrong and… I’m sorry you’re going through this just helps so much. I’m also so thankful for the mothers of the world who have bared their souls to me and told me about their struggles, too. When the going gets tough, I need honesty more than anything. Honesty saves me. I think mothers really want honesty. Properly-timed honesty, but still. Thanks to everyone who has given me that over these past seven months. Your struggles don’t make you weak. Your ability to share and be honest and maybe help others makes you brave.

I promise to write more soon. XOXO