Friday, June 1, 2007

The Shrieker from the Black Lagoon

I have been so mesmerised by sleep training that I have neglected to update about all the fun things that Wren is doing lately. Firstly, from the title, Wren is shrieking up a storm. He loves to make loud noises and smiles when you copy him and shriek back.

Physically, he is making many new moves. Despite rolling over both ways a week ago he is doing it no more frequently and often has to be coaxed. I would say he is on the way to mastering rolling but really rediscovers it every day when he rolls over and then lies there looking stunned. Hands are something completely different. He has a sense of supreme confidence about his hands. He grabs at anything within reach and is rather too accurate for my comfort. In the past 15 minutes he has grabbed:
1) my hair
2) My glass of water as I drank.
3) the frog on his mobile.
3) The straps on the carrier.
4) his other hand.
5) His toes.

He is very interested in food. Although I swore he wouldn't get to taste food until he was 6 months and day he has already sampled watermelon and banana in tiny tastes. He chomps them seriously and swallows. Once, I gave him a small piece of banana to mash in his hands and he spent a while industriously mashing it up and then tasting it from his fingers. I actually allowed him to wrench the piece off the banana and after that he was very very eager to get the banana back and shouted and cried when it was out of reach.

Now the sleep stuff. Okay, I have never been an advocate of crying-it-out techniques of sleep training except as a last resort. I am having to rethink. My life is 100% better since we started sleep training. I get 3hrs in a row almost every night and even when I dont' I sleep better because the interuptions are shorter, sort-of-planned and happen in the early hours of the morning rather than midnight till 3am when I used to have trouble. The past two nights wren has put himself to sleep without any fussing and I have caught him before he woke to nurse twice. He still gets up too early but that is a much easier problem to cope with.

Tonight, I plan to elimate the 1am nursing so he will go from 10pm till 4am. I anticipate a waking or two while he becomes used to this but he has only been nursing for 5mins or less at 1am so he won't be suddenly starved. If he can learn to sleep 10pm till 4am I will be super excited (even more sooper excited than I am!) The book says he can sleep 11 hours easily without nursing but I am lacking a bit of faith on that count.

Meanwhile, with all my new found alertness I have been catching up with tasks around the house. I have been selling off unwanted things from the basement and have made about $100 in dribs and drabs. Of course I am also buying from Craigslist so I may not have any net gain yet. I am often stunned by the things people buy and sell on Craigslist. Today, I noticed someone offering this choice item: "Dark wood oval coffee table (dog bites on the edges)"

I have also been doing some gardening and preparing for summer by getting water balloons and an inflatable boat. By the time real summer comes around many essential items will be out of stock in our local shops - displaced by the fall merchandise two months early. I cannot fathom this except to say that I must be the most disorganized consumer to be caught by this marketing strategy year after year. Until this year!

Now, Wren has woken from one of his 3 scheduled naps and despite "the book's" theory he seems unwilling to use the last 20 minutes of allotted naptime. I think I will work on naps more vigorously when he is sleeping reliably at night. Now I will go and rescue him from the bedroom.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sleep Training Night 4

Last night was the best yet. Wren went to sleep with NO CRYING or fussing or moaning. I brought his scheduled nursings forward half an hour and managed to catch him asleep for two of them (10pm and 12.50pm) but he snuck in a 3.45am waking for the 4am one and cried for 10 minutes. the major problem last night was the time he is waking. He is up for the day at 5.45am which is too early.

I left him in his crib (in the room) and he kicked and rotated and played with his little bear blanket until 6.15 when he started to fuss a bit. I got him up and we played in bed till 6.30am. Then Frost heard us get up and got up all puffy eyed and sulky and unco-ordinated, complaining about being BORED and wanting TV. That's when I made up a new rule of No TV or breakfast till 7am.

Anyway, this is a better problem to have. I feel we are making progress.

Tonight may be a bit worse as we are going to try and eliminate the 1am nursing but Wren has not agreed to the plan.


I just wanted to say that I am so tired I could melt into a puddle of butter and not even from chasing my tail. I lay on the couch and in the distance I heard Wren wake up from his third nap and I could barely, barely rouse myself enough to rescue him from his cribfinement. Frost was playing Super Paper Mario and I couldn't even rouse myself to guilt about that either. I am just needing a one day no-kids holiday. A kiddaway day. I am getting at least one hour tomorrow morning when I am getting my hair cut. Why a haircut? Well, I haven't had one for a year and although I don't feel the need really I had a last minute chance at a daytime babysitter for Wren. This is rare so I thought I would get my hair colored but they didn't have an appointment for that so I am getting a cut and will consider color next time.

Did I say it was hot? Did I say I was tired?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sleep Setbacks - Night 3

Last night was a bit harder than the previous one. Clever Wren managed to time all three of his wakings almost exactly at the time I had scheduled his nursings [woke at 10.10 for the 10pm one which was late, at 12.54 for the 1am one and at 4.15 for the 4am one which I had shifted later too]. Since the plan is very clear - we must not "reward" night wakings with the boob - he had to put himself back to sleep three noisy times (15 mins) before I picked him up to nurse him in his sleep about 15 minutes later.

Obviously, I need to move these back earlier and try and catch him still asleep in case he is waking from hunger.

Then he woke for the day at 5.45am and despite 30 minutes of crying he did not go back to sleep. I got him up at 6.15am because that is when he has woken 2 of the past few days and I felt the odds of him going back to sleep anytime soon were low.

Since all is not about sleep I will mention Memorial Day. We had our friends Sarah, Shawn and kids London and Piper over and cooked some food for dinner. It was very laid back and we had sausages and mash with ratatouille. Frost and London played very well. Their favorite games involve throwing toy cars down the slide and chasing the cats. That left us to manage the younger siblings. Shawn and Sarah are looking for a new house and while that will be fun I know we will miss their willingness to come up here when they are all moved and nesting. I guess that pretty soon it will be easier for us to put Wren down to nap elsewhere. Right now I am feeling a bit chained to the (and relieved by) schedule and consistency.

Wren has been perfecting his roll (one direction only) forward and back and wants to grab anything in front of him. Yesterday he was very entertained trying to grab Josh's nose and he loves nothing better than to dig his fists into Frosts hair (or mine). Frost likes that and then yells "help, help me!" when he really can't get free. Wren also likes to grope the cats and was lucky enough to be presented with a cat tail to grab when Joshua was showing him how to pet the cats. It is lovely to see how he is able to notice things that are not just close by and are not necessarily bright colors. Things like cats and noses would not have garnered his attention a few weeks ago.

Sleep Training Night 2

Last night went very well. Wren went to sleep at 8pm and slept until 4am. During that time I fed him in his sleep twice. On the second occasion I noticed the crib was damp so Joshua held Wren while I changed the bedding. I don't know whether he was sucking the sheet or peed but he seemed dry so its a mystery. His diaper was very very wet in the morning and the bed was wet around the lower part (again) so that is probably an indication he is still eating a lot at night.

After the bed was changed Joshua set him down and he went to sleep again without crying at all. He squirmed around a bit for a while but nothing that I don't do many times a night when I'm falling asleep.

He woke again (became restless) at 5.15am and since I had missed his 4am nursing (the plan is to not nurse if they are crying) I quickly picked him up and nursed him. He slept another hour or so until 6.30 and then lay there chatting happilly for 15 minutes until I woke up fully and we snuggled in bed.

Through the whole night (including bedtime and 3 wakings) there was less than 20 minutes of crying and even that wasn't loud or very sad crying.

Frost slept well too. So, that was a pretty good night.

Wren has now gone down for his first nap with about 10-15 minutes of intermittent crying. I think this was partly my fault because he became VERY excited watching Frost jumping and performing "bed exercises" before I set him down to sleep.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Folklife and high chairs

This weekend is the annual Seattle Folklife festival. Frost performed on Friday with his school (although he spent a lot of time yawning and gazing around rather than singing). He enjoyed playing in the international fountain afterwards, eating cotton candy and wrestling with his friends. Here is Wren appreciating the sun and spectacle (as well as having Daddy along for lunch).

I have been enjoying Craigslist a lot more recently since Josh showed me how to capture an RSS feed and add it to my blog feed reader. So now Bloglines gives me all the results of my searches for things like "stroller -double" and "high chair". I think I mentioned that I bought a high chair - it was from a family in Greenlake who are also South AFrican expats (Capetonians). They run their own tech company creating software for telecommuting. The house was airy and full of bright things that reminded me strongly of the South African aesthetic. I would be happy with a veranda and a lawn surrounded by big shrubs and nooks. I think kids need nooks.

Here is Wren in his latest not-so-nooky place, a red leather high chair. It can recline and rock and ... well, thats it. I like it a lot and he enjoys sucking his spoon.

Sleep training proceeded well today. Most naps were uneventful with less than 5 minutes of crying. Betime was 10 minutes (down from 27 minutes yesterday). I didn't even have to do the first check because he was quiet so soon. THe major difficulty is still the nap schedule which has only 3 naps. Because Wren wakes earlier than expected (not 11 hours at night, more like 10) he really needs another nap in there but that then takes him too close to bedtime, in theory. I actually caved and nursed him after his last nap of the day so he took another one right away and was much better after that. It actually improved his bedtime too. Being overtired is no fun.

As a reward for all the activity this weekend (the dump run on Saturday in which we hauled all the construction debris to the tip) and the sleepless training today.. we had chicken teriyaki for dinner and all was eaten and enjoyed.

Now, Frost and Wren are both asleep at 8.30pm. This is a big improvement from both fighting sleep at 9.30 in past weeks.

Sleep Training Night 1

The first night of sleep training went better than expected. Nonetheless, I am tired and had only 5 hours sleep - less than usual - because I had to wake two extra times while Wren was sleeping to nurse him. This is all part of the strategy of night weaning while teaching Wren to go to sleep without nursing.

So, last night he took half an hour to go to sleep at bedtime. That wasn't all crying - it was silence and then crying and then wriggling and then crying. I went in an checked on him at specified intervals. As usual, he woke after an hour but instead of nursing he cried for 7 mins. The third waking before 10pm he cried for 5 mins.

In the night he woke at 2.15 and took about 45 minutes to be fully settled but didn't cry much at all. He woke again at 3ish, for a short time, and then at 4.00 for a very noisy 15 minutes. He woke at 6.15 and didn't go back to sleep.

He also nursed at 10pm, 1am and 4.30am in his sleep.

At mornning nap he went to sleep within 15 minutes without any help. I feel we are on the right track but its hard to keep him awake the required interval between naps. There is a recommended nap schedule that keeps him up but not overtired but since he naps for only 45 minutes

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Sleep training / night weaning

Tonight is the first night of Wren going to sleep without nursing or rocking. He is doing okay but we shall see how things develop as the night goes on.

I've been charting Wren's nights lately and after realizing he was nursing more at night than in the day (7 times last night) and its not improving I decided to try a dramatic change. I am using the approach outlined in the Sleepeasy Solution - a repackaging of the old controlled crying theory. Its a bit softer in giving the baby a lot of "support" but ultimately they cry.

First, at bedtime, he cried for 25 minutes on and off. He also stuck his legs through the bars of the crib but didn't seem stuck there. What do you do about that?

At first waking he cried for 7 minutes but woke again within 10 minutes and cried for 5 minutes. Now he is sleeping again but according to the book/weaning schedule I should wake and feed him now since he is so accustomed to eating at night, then set him down again.

He is getting nursed at 10pm, 1am and 4am but for decreasing periods each night.

It sounds good. I shall give you the details tomorrow.