Not so bad, considering

Yesterday morning I was all ready to sit down and write a post about how tiring and not nice my day was on Friday. Being a mummy is the best things in the world and I wouldn’t have it any other way, but there are days when you’re so tired, when the kiddos are so naughty and when there is so many colds, ear infections and other things going around, that you just can’t enjoy it all. 

So I was all ready to write and just popped onto facebook to check out how some of my Dutch friends were doing (I love facebook for enabling me to keep up with what people in Holland are doing even if I don’t get round to speaking to them) and it hit me right in the face…..

What was I complaining about. 

One of my oldest and dearest friends (one of those ones you don’t see but will always have a little place in your heart) has been dealing with the immense pain of a loss of life so awful that I have no words to describe it.

Another friend of mine, who is part of an awesome charity called Global Clowning (look them up and donate a few pennies if you can), is currently in Greece, dressed up as a clown, handing out food, clothes and a bit of laughter to refugees out there.

And I was complaining about a bit of tiredness, an ear infection and a cold. I felt ashamed.

I know that I am allowed to moan about my little problems even if there are millions of people have it much worse, and I know I will. 

But not now. Not today. Today I will mourn a loss that is not mine, today I will hope the poor refugee children will end their day with a banana in their tummies and a smile on their faces. And today I shall be grateful for what I have. Please take a moment to do the same.

Thank you and good night.

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Is it bed time yet?

As I have often written about our challenges with getting Elisabeth to sleep, I thought it’s only fair to tell you about our latest adventures.

Elisabeth is now fully potty trained during the day but she still wears a nappy at night, after all she is only two and a half. She isn’t too keen on doing a wee in her nappy anymore though, now she does everything on the toilet she much prefers this to doing it in a nappy. This is good news but it does mean that she gets up every night around 23.30 to tell me she needs a wee wee. So every night I take her to the potty, she sits on it and…….nothing. Unfortunately she always wakes up after she has done a wee and then still wants to go potty. It’s a good thing though and most nights she goes back to sleep straight after without any problems. But not last night…..

Last night she woke at her normal time, I took her to the potty, she did nothing, we put on a clean nappy and she went back to bed. Only to start crying about a minute later because she had been sick all over her bed. My husband and I always tend to deal with these things in the same way. He cleans the baby, I take care of the bed and anything else that got sicked on. So whilst I changed her bed, washed her teddy and cleaned her bedroom floor, he bathed Elisabeth.

After everything was cleaned up we gave her a little drink and within 15 minutes it started all over again, this time on a chair in the living room. Poor little monkey. All together she was sick 4 times and it was 3.30 when we all finally went back to sleep.

I am lucky enough not to have to go to work tomorrow and even though there is a mountain of washing that I need to work through, I am glad to be at home. Considering Elisabeth has had 4 hours less sleep than normal, she is very well behaved and so far we have had quite a nice day, but to be honest I can’t wait to go to bed tonight, think it will be an early one.

Happy sleeping everyone!

Just Another Sleep Journey

A new year is for new things right? So why not post on someone else’s blog for a change, great idea don’t you think? And what better to write about than……sleep, or the lack of it. I think I might have mentioned this subject once or twice before ūüôā and as my friend Meghan over at Ratnam Residence has had very similar experiences since her little boy was born, we thought it be great to share our stories on each other’s blogs. So pop over to Ratnam Residence to read my story. But first have a read of this…

Hi, my name is Meghan. I blog over at Ratnam Residence about everything that goes on under our roof…. home renovations, family & finance, keeping healthy, and what recent shenanigans our 15 month old man of the house, Avery, is up to.¬† Like my lovely friend Elske, we’ve had our fair share of sleep struggles since Avery joined us.¬† I can honestly say, I didn’t sleep until he was a year old.¬† Up until then, we had tried EVERYTHING.¬† Or though we had.¬† Then one suggestion from his doctor at his one year check up, and boom. Now he sleeps 11 hours a night!

0 to 3 months Avery’s early arrival (3 1/2 weeks early!) should have been a clue to me that the little bugger was NOT patient.¬† After bringing him home, we were on a 2-3 hour schedule of feedings (A typical day with 1 month old Avery.).¬† I wasn’t producing milk, so after a diaper change, we’d try to nurse, then I’d feed him formula, burp him, then he’d be swaddled and put in his bassinet, I’d pump, then I’d rest for an hour and do it all over again!¬† Man was that exhausting.¬† At night, the cradle was beside my bed, so I was able to sleep for an hour or two at a time thru the night, add in nap or two during the day and I’d be lucky to catch 8 hours of broken sleep.¬† I look back at the posts from our first few weeks with Avery, and I wrote: “Sleep. ¬†What‚Äôs that? ¬†Since Avery was born, I have not slept more than 3 hours at a time.”

baby sleeping

3 to 6 months Unlike my lucky friend, Elske, my maternity leave ended at 3 months (her’s was 10 months!¬† Lucky duck!).¬† So ended my mid-day napping and our cuddle sessions on the couch in my pjs.¬† I was back to work and Avery was off to daycare. At this point, we had stretched Avery’s feedings out to 3-4 hours, but trying to hold him off with a pacifier or distracting him, even if it was just for a few minutes.¬† And we instilled a bedtime routine.¬† Bath, jammies, lights out, humidifier on, music & books, and bed.¬† Sure, he still got up in the middle of the night, but I kept the lights off and rocked him back to sleep, so he’d start associating dark and sleep.

Since the nightly feedings didn’t stop, I was exhausted at work, but I chugged along. It wasn’t too long before Avery caught his first daycare cold, followed by an ear infection and pneumonia. He was such a trooper though, and it must have tuckered him out because just before he turned 4 months, he slept thru the night. Hallelujah!¬† Well, so I thought.¬† Months 4 & 5 we struggled getting Avery to sleep at night.¬† He was up multiple times a night and we thought maybe it was a growth spurt, or he was hungry(although he ate like a champ), or it was a stage?¬† Even with a nightly routine and naps during the day, I was frustrated and started looking into changing things up, or sleep training, at that point… we’d try pretty much anything.

baby sleeping

6 to 12 months Our sleep struggles only continued for the next six months.¬† It was a constant try this, ok that doesn’t work try that. Scratch that, and switch this up.¬† In month six we implemented sleep tactics from the book ‚Äė12 Hours Sleep by 12 Weeks.‚Äô We tried putting Avery to bed earlier, creating a quiet down time with dimmed lights and music during his last feeding, limited rocking after he was fed, and put him to bed awake.¬† He would cry, and we’d check on him, but never pick him up.¬† He’d fall asleep after a few checks and in the middle of the night he sometimes puts himself back to sleep after crying for a few minutes, but I was still up a couple times a night with him.

In month 7, we put Avery’s crib bumpers back in because he kept moving around in his sleep and waking up when he bumped his head on the crib.¬† We thought it would help him to sleep thru the night… not really.¬† To this day, Avery still moves around a ton in his crib at night.¬† When I go in to adjust his blanket at night, sometimes I find him with his feet up on the sides of the crib, vertical in the air… silly kid.

Fast forward to month 9 and we were still struggling.¬† We had a nightime routine, and an arsenal of tools to help him get back to sleep.¬† It also didn’t help that Avery could now pull himself up in his crib…which made getting him to sleep just that much harder.¬† Finally, by 10 months, we had made progress.¬† How?¬† We took away the nightly feedings.¬† This was no easy task, and I chose a few days my mom was visiting to help share the long nights.¬† We swapped Avery’s bottles with water and when he woke at night, expecting (but not needing cuz he ate and drank enough during the day) milk, he was pissed!¬† After a few nights, he was down to only waking twice a night.¬† Progress.¬† Before his first birthday I also added a foam mattress top to his crib (maybe he wasn’t comfy in his crib?) and a white noise maker (which didn’t help and I returned).

baby standing in crib

12 to 15 months¬†At Avery’s one year check up, his doctor was appalled that Avery wasn’t sleeping thru the night.¬† She asked about our routine and caught one thing.¬† She said to STOP rocking him before bed.¬† He was associating sleep with the rocking motion, so to get him to learn to fall back asleep after waking at night, we had to put him to sleep awake after our nightly routine – sans rocking chair.¬† So, that night we sat on the floor reading books with the lights dimmed before bed.¬† He cried a bit when we put him down, but eventually put himself to sleep. And guess what?¬† He slept thru the night!

one year old sleeping

In the months since, Avery has been (mostly) sleeping thru the night.  Some nights he wakes himself from coughing and needs a pacifier to put him back down, but for the most part, he sleeps 11 hours a night, and takes a 2 hour nap at daycare.  To think, after trying ALL those things to get him to sleep, and changing just one thing got him to sleep thru the night!

Oh and go figure, I plan to write this and the past 4 days Avery has been waking up 1-2 hours earlier than usual… no idea why, but I’m starting to feel the effects of sleep deprivation again and I’m not liking it!¬† I guess Avery just likes keeping me on my toes… hopefully it’s just a phase, or else it’s back to the drawing board….again!

Happy sleeping!

Someone swapped our baby!

Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest ...
Nederlands: Sinterklaas tijdens het Het Feest van Sinterklaas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They haven’t really, although it did feel like it last weekend. We have been to Holland for a few days to celebrate my aunty and uncle’s 45th wedding anmiversary (45! Wow! That is awesome isn’t it?). It was an absolutely amazing weekend. We started off on the ferry for 7 hours, Elisabeth had great fun in the play area where she was playing Captain Elisabeth at a big steering wheel and generally running around and telling us where to sit and stand. It wasn’t hard to entertain her as we let her have unlimited ipad time, which she loved! All in all she was really well behaved and even had a little nap on my shoulder for half an hour. When we got to my sister’s she was a bit tired and scared of Valentijn (her 3 and a half year old cousin), but she settled in really quickly and before we knew it she was happily playing. Valentijn was kind enough to give up his room so Elisabeth could sleep there. He would sleep in my sister’s room, he was obviously excited about sleeping in mummy and daddy’s room. We were both quite worried about the sleeping arrangements because the last time we went away sleeping was an absolute nightmare, we were awake for nights on end and we really weren’t looking forward to doing that again. But to our shock she slept through! And not just the first night, but all three of them! It was just wonderful, we have been a bit reluctant to go anywhere with her because of the sleep problems, but now I feel like we can finally start seeing my family more regularly, which is great news. The party on Saturday was brilliant, not only did I get to see lots of my lovely family who I hadn’t seen in years, but my husband and Elisabeth also had their first proper Sinterklaas experience. For those of you who don’t know about Sinterklaas I will post some pictures when I get a chance. Elisabeth was really well behaved and it was awesome to finally be able to introduce her to her Dutch family ūüôā All in all a great weekend and lots of hope for restful nights on trips to come (we’re already planning one to Germany next year to see my dad.) Happy days!

Never again….

Never again will I post about how well Elisabeth is sleeping! Never again! I might even go as far as considering never to even mention the word sleep again, ever! Well, until next time anyway.

Yes, you guessed right, after my “she is sleeping so well” post, Elisabeth had me up again half the night. This happens pretty much every time I blog about some positive sleep news. It wasn’t terrible as I got at least 5 hours sleep, although not in one go which is often the problem. But rather than moan about it I thought I would share some tips on how I deal with the day after the night that you thought would never end.

Don’t expect to get anything done. Seriously, your main aim is to get through the day, instead feel proud for whatever you do manage to achieve.

Don’t think too much about the why. If you can’t figure out in a few minutes why your child was awake then you probably never will. As long as they are healthy try to forget about the night and enjoy the day as much as you can.

If you’re at work, try and have your lunch somewhere quiet, if possible somewhere you can sit with your eyes closed for a few minutes, the day will be much easier if you’re relaxed.

If you’re at home, do something fun! During periods of sleep deprivation it is tempting to sit on the sofa as much as possible but this will only make things worse. The day will seem endless and sitting down will make you feel more tired. Do something fun instead, go to the zoo, the park, the playground or anything else that is outdoors. The day will fly by, being outside will make you feel loads better and you’ll probably have lots of fun instead.

Try to be nice to your partner, this is a tricky one, most people’s mood will probably suffer quite badly from lack of sleep and it is easy to take it out on the people closest to you. Make an effort not to though, remember that even though it might have been you getting up, chances are they won’t have had the best night sleep either.

Don’t forget to eat and drink, you’ll need the energy.

And last but not least don’t forget that first of all you are not alone and secondly it won’t last forever, you will sleep again!

Happy sleeping everyone.

Sleep update…

Now, I know posting this is probably asking for trouble but as you have all so kindly put up with my moaning about my lack of sleep, I feel obliged to share some of the good news.

A few weeks ago we changed Elisabeth’s bed time routine a little, we were a bit worried about doing this as it has been the same since she was born (not sure why we worried though, it’s not like the bed time routine actually helped her sleep or anything…..). Before she would have her dinner, play in the living room for a bit, have a bath at 6.30, have a bottle of milk and a story and go to bed.

Because Elisabeth loves her baths, she really enjoys a good splash around, we thought we would change it around so she has a bath straight after dinner so she can get as excited as she wants, have her milk on the sofa with her favourite t.v. program and then have a story and go to bed. This worked really well, Elisabeth seemed more relaxed at bed time and it was much easier for us as well. And the best thing of all was that she started sleeping much better!

In the last 3 weeks we have only had to get up occasionally, and we haven’t taken her out of her bed at all during the night. We still sleep on her bedroom floor for a bit when she wakes up in the middle of the night but we are hopeful that this might change soon, because yesterday evening she woke up crying, I went in to give her a cuddle, I put her blanket over her, stroked her head for about 30 seconds……..and walked out the room! This is not something she normally accepts so we are quite excited. I am more than happy to get up at night to comfort her for a bit because I think it is important that she knows I am there for her when she needs me, but I do prefer sleeping in a bed rather than a cold wooden floor.

The last few times I posted some good sleeping news it ruined everything so fingers crossed I haven’t jinxed it again ūüôā

Sleep update

There are some good things happening on the sleep front. After a month of having to get Elisabeth up almost every night at different times, for a week now we have been able to go back to our sleep training routine where we go into her room when she cries and stay with her until she falls back asleep, but without picking her up. Not only is this much better for Elisabeth, as it will help her get back to get back to falling asleep on her own when she wakes up in the middle of the night, it is also a lot easier for us. Because when we go into her room we take a duvet with us…….and have a little nap on the floor ūüôā well I do anyway. I don’t think my husband manages to fall asleep on the floor, but I often wake up an hour or more after going in with Elisabeth fast asleep in her cot. Once I woke up to daylight entering her room whilst it was definitely dark when I came in. All in all we are a lot more rested. Although this will probably be the end of it again because every time I tell someone it is going well it goes wrong again.

This morning when she went for her nap we had another breakthrough, well, my mother in law did because I was at work. Just after she had gone to bed, my mother in law thought she heard her say poo. She was a bit worried about what Elisabeth was up to and rightly so. The little monkey had indeed done a poo and decided to try and change her own nappy! By the time my mother in law got upstairs she had taken her clothes off and undone her nappy on one side. Needless to say, she and her bed needed to be changed. So a lot of stuff happening, the good thing was though, that after all that, my mother in law put her back in bed……….and she actually went to sleep!

This is quite a big step for Elisabeth as up to now once she was awake and out of her bed, there was now way she would just go back to sleep. We are feeling quite positive about this and hopefully this will be the start of some longer periods of sleeping through. But I do realise this is not the first post that I have ended with such a statement……we live in hope.