Saturday, May 18, 2013

Summertime In Texas


It's shorts and flip flops weather.

My thighs and I hate shorts weather. 

But my feet and I are kind of into flip flops weather. 

P.S.  My giant calves are not fans of capri pants.

And my easily sun burnt arms and shoulders don't care for tank tops.

We all like maxi skirts, though, so that's good.

And hats.

And sunglasses.

Summertime in Texas. 


Friday, May 17, 2013

Yeah, all that stuff I said about finding a middle ground? Never mind.

So, we're softies at heart, I guess. And we tried to ease into the toddler bed situation. 

But the fact is that The Boy had us up the better part of the wee hours of the morning all week because our slacking screwed up his sleep schedule.  We're talking 2 to 3 hours a night. 

All the good sleep training went to hell in a hand basket in less than a week.  But it's easily recoverable. And we know how.

So we're going through a Ferber moment even as I tap this out on my iPad. It's been about 20 minutes. I've been up to see him twice. He's having interludes of quiet just now, which means it'll be over soon, and tomorrow night will likely be smooth sailing. It typically only takes one (maybe two) nights to get him back on track after we've gotten off course.

I've probably got one more visit to hug and kiss and say, "I love you. You're the best boy ever."


Which I just did....  He did not spring from his bed and chase me as I left the room, as he did the other two times.  He listened as I told him he was "so safe," and we were close, and we all needed sleep to recharge our batteries so we can play tomorrow, and I love him soooo much.

And he's quiet, now. It took 30 minutes, all in. As The Working Dad just said, "That Ferber stuff is hard."

But it does work. And I know that I'll have a happy well-rested boy in the morning.

Sleep training is as much about the parents as it is about the child. And it looks like The Working Mom and Dad had to learn that lesson again, at the cost of The Boy's tears.

And that's the hardest part of it all. You're sort of left feeling like you could have prevented this if only you hadn't been a little bit of a jellyfish.

The sweet part of the other night was still there tonight, though:  he likes to be read to in bed.  And I'm glad.  Maybe tomorrow night "last book" will be followed by a sweet good-night rather than a tempest like tonight.

Night.  Night.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Big Boy Bed Postcript

Now here is where I admit something may be amiss in our new plan. Last night, about two hours after I posted my story about our Big Boy Bed, The Boy woke up crying for "Mommy."

I went up to his room with the intention of sleeping the rest of the night in there, on the floor.  I somehow knew that would be necessary. When I got to his room, he was kneeling on his bed, peering over the toddler rail, staring at the place I had laid, and crying "mommy, mommy, mommy."

I had disappeared in the night, and he was scared. 

That's my fault. I had not made clear the expectations. Tonight, and every night, we will tell him that Mom (or Dad) will stay for a little while, until he sleeps, and then go to bed downstairs. He's smart enough to get that, I think. He may not like it, initially, but it'll save my back and hip....hopefully. That nursery room floor is awfully hard.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Big Boy Bed

This past Saturday afternoon, rather than nap, The Boy escaped from his crib. I should say that the escape was prefaced by the sort of angry, screaming fit that is usually reserved for...I don't know, crazy ex-girlfriends as they are in the process of becoming your ex.

Anyway, The Boy was pissed about being in the crib. Big time pissed.  And was more pissed about being put there to take, of all things, an afternoon nap (when there are Cars DVDs to be watched, and all).

We tried the Ferber thing, as we've done before. After five minutes, it got quiet. Really quiet. We thought, rather mundanely, that he'd fallen asleep.  Then there was a slight yell. Then...the sound of the small TV that we keep in The Boy's room turning on and of the Cars DVD starting up. (Yes, I know you're not supposed to have a TV in the kid's room. But we do. So I guess we're bad parents. Alas.)

I knew I didn't leave the remote anywhere near the crib, so I thought something was wrong with the TV/DVD set up. 

The Working Dad went upstairs to check on The Boy and to figure out what was wrong with the media system. 

The Working Dad peered through the screen door on The Boy's room. He was astonished not to see The Boy in his crib. Then he looked around the room and saw the little man sitting ramrod straight in the rocking chair, remote in his hand, watching Cars. 

Without entering, he came downstairs in silent laughter and sent me up to look.  So up I went, and this is what I saw:

Not only had The Boy escaped, but he had then found the remote, turned on the TV, turned on the DVD player, and started the Cars DVD that was inside it. 

Oh dear.

At a minimum, this meant the immediate, abrupt end to the crib and, with it, the our child's babyhood that The Working Dad and I weren't quite ready to let go of yet. 

Still, time and your acrobatically gifted toddler marches on.  So off came the crib front and on went the toddler rail. We're a big boy now!

He got right up in it and cuddled his doggy friend (Barkley) after if was finished.  But that doesn't mean that The Boy was happy to sleep in the big boy bed at night.  Noooo.

Saturday night was a rough night going to sleep. The Boy's dad ended up rocking him to sleep while listening to Murray Perriah play The Goldberg Variations and similar audio fare.  When we checked on him before going to bed ourselves, he was asleep in the floor. I scooped him up and placed him back into bed.

That's definitely not Ferber. 

But, when your kid can just jump up and run out of the bed, Ferber begins to reveal his limitations. 

And the hallmark of good parenting, I am given to understand, is flexibility. 

Here's what we knew:  The Boy was (a) interested in the big boy bed, but was (b) a bit freaked out about it, probably because it was different and because he understood on some level that it meant he was growing up . . . which in turn means greater independence, which is scary. And we knew (c) that he was generally not excited about going to sleep at night, strongly preferring to hang with us in the livingroom.   (I wonder how he would enjoy the 1979 British mini-series version of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy with Alec Guinness that we've been watching after he goes to bed.)

So how to deal with those facts?

We knew that we wanted him to eventually be willing to sleep in his own bed. But we were worried about the sort of trouble he might get into throwing a tantrum alone in his room at bedtime, which under Ferber would be inevitable. Not that his room is not baby proofed or that we store our knives under his bed or anything, but there are plenty of things to throw and bang into when you're having an epic screaming fit.  So, that, to us, made the Ferber waiting method unattractive in this new big boy bed era.

But rocking to sleep every night, while totally pleasurable for all concerned, doesn't get The Boy acclimated to sleeping in his new big boy bed. Still, we felt that straight up Ferber was not going to work with our exceptionally hard-headed little man. And at 2, fear of abandonment and nightmares are more acute than in infancy. We were searching for a middle way.

So, here's what we're doing:  we do bedtime routine as always. Then, whether it is naptime or bedtime for the night, we tell The Boy it's time to get into his bed and Mom or Dad will lay down on the floor next to him. The first time we tried it was Sunday, Mother's Day, at naptime. After a period of pretty strong resistance, he finally got into bed, I laid down on the floor, and he jabbered a bit for about 15 minutes, and then fell asleep soundly.

Sunday night, we had another little battle, which included me saying, "If you want me to stay, you have to get into bed," which, as The Working Dad said, the Freudians would have a field day with. Nevertheless, he got into bed, I laid down on the floor, held his hand, and he was asleep within 10 minutes.

He slept through that night until about 5:50 am. Granted, that's not the 6:30 to 7:00 wake up we used to get from the guy in his crib. On the other hand, we didn't have a screaming mess of a little boy until 9 o'clock either, which is what we had the last couple of weeks (the build up to The Great Escape, in retrospect).

I should pause here, I suppose, to say that I recognize that my being in the room and holding his hand are forms of sleep crutches that, under a strict reading of The Ferber Method, would be verboten. But we prefer, I think, right now, to view them as bridge activities. They are small things that barely take any of our time that allow him to feel comfortable in his new sleep environment. They will not last forever. And they will, I hope, lead to the thing that began to materialize in Monday night. 

Monday night, we did our nighttime ritual and, after two Pete the Cat books (The Boy's hands down favorite these days), I told him that it was time for him to get into bed and for me to lay down on the floor beside him. He fussed. He balked. He wanted me to read another book. He wanted me to do it sitting in the rocking chair. 

I told him that I would read him the book, but he needed to get into bed first. After a bit of cajoling, he complied.  I read him the book. And his eyelids started to get heavy. I laid down beside him on the floor, and he was again asleep before 10 minutes had passed.  The same happened Tuesday night, but with less fussing about getting into bed. I think we're beginning to work it into our routine.  And every night, except that first Saturday, when I had to retrieve him from the floor, he has slept the whole night in his bed. Whew.

So with the introduction of the big boy bed also comes something, to our delight, The Working Dad and I have been looking forward to: Reading to The Boy in bed. 

So Ferber rule breaker?  Maybe. But when rules seem not to work anymore, maybe you need to revise them.

Wistful mom of a full-blown-toddler-non-infant?  Definitely.  But the sweetness of getting to start this new bedtime reading tradition salves the sting of ruthless time that has taken my baby away and made him into a clever, strong and funny little boy. 

Nighty Night.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Return of Room Mothers

Well, Teacher Appreciation Week is right around the corner, so it's time for room mothers to get into full swing. Last year my friend and fellow lawyer-mommy (in fact, The Dude's mom), was room parent for our kids' class. This year, I volunteered.

Actually, in a fit of over-exuberance at the beginning of the year, I initially volunteered to be co-chair of the entire PTO. But when what I will call philosophical differences arose in early autumn, I deemed it best to bow out gracefully. I did volunteer to be The Boy's class's room mom, though, just not head of the whole she-bang.

Along the year, I've been impressed with various fund-raising efforts the PTO leadership has done, silent auctions and such. So I felt like my stepping aside was a good move. So I am loathe to complain.

But you know what's coming.... Here's where I start complaining:

We found out about what we're supposed to do for Teacher Appreciation Week yesterday evening. Teacher appreciation week starts a week from Monday (on May 13th). And some classes don't even have room parents yet! (In fact, The Boy and The Dude's class is listed as having no room parent and the powers that be have me assigned to the class those guys left three months ago, but I'm doing my kid's class, folks.)

We room parents are supposed to gather donations from other parents for teacher gifts, make a class wall decoration (using kids' pictures, which will also need to be provided by the parents), and put together (which includes shopping) gift baskets for the teachers. And, oh yeah, next weekend is Mother's Day, a traditionally family oriented holiday, but never mind.

Holy Last Minute Assignments, Batman!

I mean, it's not to say that I can't do it, because I can. But a little more time to plan, shop, do a little art project, and get all the stuff assembled from the other parents, would have been nice. Particularly when you consider that I've got depositions to take regarding one matter and trial of another matter planned for the same time period....

But, hey, who knows, maybe the short timeframe will focus the mind and it will all turn out brilliantly.

Still, just a tip, friends: no parent, but especially not a working parent, wants to have a pile of tasks dropped on them at the last minute. So, all you PTO leaders out there, you know, plan accordingly.