Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nicholas' Birth Story

Our sweet, unplanned little boy, Nicholas Charles Daniel Robben, was born on April 8, 2014, 4:58 pm, weighing 8 lbs 9.5 oz and was 21" long.  This is the story of his birth.

At 38 weeks to the day, my water broke on Sunday, April 6th, around 4:15 pm.  This time was different than with Anne, however.  Unlike the forceful gushing I had experienced with my daughter, it was much smaller.  The midwives called it a "slow leak" and figured it was a high rupture rather than right above my cervix.  I had been experiencing some extremely mild contractions (like very light menstrual cramps) off and on about 2 hours apart but nothing serious.  I called my doula, Renee, who had also been our doula for Anne's birth, and told her my water broke and then promised to keep her updated.  She was in Chattanooga at the time but came back home thinking my second birth would move even faster than the first one did.

Having no real contractions to speak of, my mom-in-love and I went to WalMart to kill time and bought Anne some spring clothes.  Then we came home and sent Anne home with Kristian's parents thinking we'd be having a baby that night.  The contractions continued to be so mild as to be barely noticeable and an hour or two apart.  I woke up once during the night after having a small contraction thinking they were finally going to get going and I got up and walked around my house for about an hour.  Nothing.  I even tried using my breastpump to try to get them moving.  Still nothing, so I went back to bed.

The next morning I still wasn't having any contractions to speak of so Kristian and I watched Game of Thrones to kill time.  I paced the floor, walked the stairs, sat on my birth ball.  Nothing.  We knew that at the 24 hour mark I was required to visit Intown Midwifery at the hospital and have a stress test done to make sure Nicholas was healthy and fine.  Trying to go into active labor before that point, we decided to go walk around Sugarloaf Mills Mall for awhile.  Walking was supposed to be a tried and true motivator for contractions, right?  All it did was make me exhausted, so after about 3 laps we went home and I took a nap.  Also during this time, Renee called to say she needed to make a 6 hour round trip back to Chattanooga to pick up her husband and kids.  Fortunately, knowing that Teresa was going to back her up made it a little less stressful.

24 hours rolled around and still no baby and no contractions, so we headed to downtown Atlanta to go to Atlanta Medical Center for the stress test.  The test that I was told would take about 30 minutes resulted in a 2+ hour stay at the hospital as we waited for all the results.  Nicholas was healthy and fine, and had plenty of water to float around in, and I was doing fine though I still wasn't having any contractions, so the midwife discharged me and we headed back home.  We went to the Movie Tavern by our house to have dinner and watch Captain America : The Winter Soldier.  Great movie!  Still no contractions.

As we left the theater, I got a message from Teresa saying Renee had tire trouble and could not get back until about 10 am the next morning.  At this point, after waiting for a day and a half for this baby to make his appearance, it just felt like everything kept going wrong.  I was getting scared and paranoid that my body would never go into labor on its own and I would have to be induced.  I was scared that if I had to be induced it would lead to a c-section.  I just broke down.  The wait wasn't physically tiring but it was very mentally exhausting and I just sat on our bed and cried.  Kristian was amazing and tried to make me laugh to calm me down.  Renee sent me text messages reassuring me that everything would be okay.  I finally went to bed and slept reasonably well all night.

The next morning, as I was making breakfast around 10 am, I felt a pop in my pelvis and my water really gushed this time.  I started having mild contractions about 20 minutes apart.  We ate breakfast and decided to go visit Anne for a little while since it seemed like I'd definitely be having a baby that day and we missed our little girl.  We hung out with Anne at Kristian's parents' house until it was time to head back to Atlanta for another stress test at the 48 hour mark.

On the drive to Atlanta, my contractions starting getting closer together, about 6-10 minutes apart, but still didn't require me to work through them so I didn't think much of them.  By the time we got to the doctor's office they were about 3 minutes apart and I was starting to feel them enough to have to pause and focus.  Kristian kept trying to encourage me to skip the doctor visit and just head straight to the hospital (about a mile down the road, thankfully), but I kept thinking it still wasn't quite "go time."  We had the ultrasound done, and the contractions got closer together.  The tech told us that Nicholas' head was so far down in my pelvis she could barely find it.  We were going to wait to talk to Dr. Bootstaylor about the results but I had a very strong contraction while we were waiting and decided we needed to head to the hospital after all.

As we walked through the Emory Midtown Medical Office building I kept having to pause and work through the contractions.  They were coming swift and hard, and all the sensation was in my pelvis this time.  It was very different than when Anne was born, and while not entirely surprising considering the pelvic pain I'd had for the past 2 months, the pain was much more intense than I remembered.  This actually *hurt* and I was struggling to let go to get through the contractions.  We finally made it to the car and headed to the hospital.  On the way there, I hit transition (the hardest part of labor right before the pushing stage) in the car.  Again, just as I had with Anne.  The pain and pressure in my pelvis was so intense I actually told Kristian I thought I had to push already, forgetting that it was probably just transition.  Kristian ran a red light and pulled into the ER lane in the wrong direction trying to get me to the hospital as fast as possible!

I waddled into the ER and immediately told the person at the desk that I needed a wheelchair.  Someone finally got me one and took me up to the 7th floor.  I knew that Linda was the on-call midwife at the time, but as I looked up at the nurses' desk, Anjli was there. I was so excited when she said she had time to stay for a bit to see if she could be there for Nicholas' birth.

The contractions were coming fast and hard, and all the pain was centered in my pelvis.  It wasn't a sharp pain, more of a bright pain if that makes any sense.  I kept picturing them as being yellow and orange in color for some reason.  I insisted on standing and leaning over the bed to do the required stress monitoring.  Kristian helped me through the contractions by rubbing my back as I did slow hip circles.  At some point the contractions got too intense for me to stand anymore so I crawled up on the bed on my knees and positioned the back of the bed vertically so I would have something to hang on to.  Renee arrived shortly after that and stood behind the bed facing me and gave me words of encouragement to help keep me focused.  I had Kristian play my Lindsey Stirling Pandora station on my phone.  My mom arrived and I knew everyone that I needed was there.

I don't remember what she said exactly, but I know there was a moment that Renee said something that made me realize I was still fighting the contractions because they hurt so much this time, and that I needed to let go and sink into them to help Nicholas move his way down. It took every ounce of willpower I had to push myself into the sensations I was experiencing and to work with them instead of against them.  Between contractions I had a running mantra going through my head... "You can do this, you can do this, you can do this..."  and  "you're a badass, remember?"  A few times I giggled at myself for using that thought to keep going, but it was the first thing I had said after Anne was born and I knew believing it would help me birth Nicholas.

Finally I heard someone say they could take the monitor off me and get me in the birthing pool.  A few minutes later I heard the most glorious sound in the world behind me...the sound of vinyl being slid across a tile floor.  Renee and I had a good laugh as I'm sure pure relief washed over my face just at the thought of getting in the water.

Once they got a good foot or so of water in the pool they helped me in and I positioned myself on my knees again, with hands clinging to Kristian and Renee's hands.  The heat of the water pouring out of the hose onto my back felt amazing as someone held it for me. It wasn't long before I needed to push.  The position I was in might not have been the best for getting Nicholas out as quickly as possible, he definitely didn't come in "three pushes."  But I was afraid if I turned over and used the same method that got Anne out, he might come too fast and I would tear.  So I stayed on my knees.  This time the ring of fire lasted much longer because it was harder to push Nicholas out, and I was pushing as hard as I possibly could.  I remember being vaguely worried that my screaming might upset Kristian but I couldn't help it; the pain was excruciating.

Finally, I felt Nicholas slide out of my body and suddenly there were voices behind me telling me he was coming forward between my legs and to reach down and pull him out of the water.  I caught my own son as he emerged from my body and as I pulled him out of the water and up to my chest, I burst into tears.  I did it, I had birthed my son and everything had gone just as I had wanted.  I wasn't pregnant anymore, which was the biggest relief.  And I was holding a beautiful miracle in my arms.

We got him to cry and then everyone remarked on how much he favored Anne when she was born. My mom cut the umbilical cord and then they handed Nicholas to Kristian so I could get out of the tub.  I was given time to hold Nicholas and start breastfeeding him before the nurses came back about an hour later to get his stats.  I will never forget looking up at Kristian as he watched the nurses weigh and measure our son from across my bed and seeing nothing but pure love in his eyes.

Nicholas was born on Tuesday afternoon almost 49 hours after my water had broken on Sunday afternoon.  It felt like it took an eternity for him to arrive, but once active labor actually started it was only 2.5 hours later until he was born.  0 to 60 in no time at all.  I am so grateful to have been with such a wonderful practice as Intown Midwifery to let nature take its course and let me birth him naturally rather than forcing me into any kind of induction or other intervention.  Linda was great, and I was so happy that Kristian, my Mom, Renee, and Anjli were all there.  And best of all, I finally had my baby boy in my arms.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

What's New in the Robben Household

Life with a toddler is hectic at best, and things just seem to keep barreling forward for us.  I'm pretty sure life isn't going to slow down again until Anne moves out of our house, and even then it will still likely move at the speed of light.  Just maybe not the speed of light times 10.

Anne is now obsessed with Dora the Explorer (pretty great kids' show), and has watched Lilo & Stitch more times than I care to count.  Had to ban that one for awhile though; Anne started adopting Lilo's tantrum style and I am not okay with that.  Cinderella, Tangled, and Peter Pan are also among her favorites that she has now made us watch a million times.  Note to new parents:  don't introduce movies to your kids that you don't like, or you will regret it.  Thankfully I love all of those.  I'm looking forward to the weather warming up and us getting outside more, though.  I'd rather Anne not watch as much tv.

We've introduced the One Bite Rule in our house and have had amazing success with it.  Sometimes it even makes her realize she wants to eat the entire serving of a particular food.  I jump for joy if any of those foods happen to be green!

Anne still sleeps in our room on a mattress on the floor.  Considering how often we either end up sleeping in her bed with her or she crawls into ours at night, we're still not ready to move her to own room.  We have started talking about it with her, though.  Maybe for her third birthday we'll attempt to start the transition.  Mostly I want her to be able to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night by herself first.  She still needs help getting onto the toilet right now, but at least if she's by my bed and wakes up I can get her to the bathroom before she has an accident.

Anne loves stuffed animals but doesn't seem as drawn to dolls.  She chose a Minnie Mouse at the Disney store over all of the beautiful character dolls for a gift recently.  She has started climbing at the playground but still doesn't climb all over stuff the way some kids do.  She really doesn't get into things she's not supposed to, either.  Terrible Twos Meltdowns aside, she's a really well-behaved kid.  So far anyway. She still loves books (hooray!!) and has started making up her own games ("The tiger is coming, mommy, get on the couch!!")  She likes to color and paint, play on playgrounds, and run laps around our house.  She likes to go for stroller rides to watch the cars zoom past on the busy street near our house.  And, my favorite, she still loves to snuggle.

Kristian and I are doing better than ever.  Sometime last year I started scheduling date nights for us and it has done wonders for our relationship.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Anne Update!

I know I'm going to miss some things, but figured I should record some new milestones.  Anne is 23 months old.  These are the things she's doing now. Some of these things she's been doing for a couple of months, actually.

* Singing songs like Baa Baa Black Sheep, Wheels on the Bus, ABC's, and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  Over and over and over and over....

* Dressing herself (except shirts, those are still difficult for her) and choosing her own clothes to wear every day.

* Bathing herself (except her back. Mommy still gets that)

* Using the potty with only the occasional wet accident here and there.

* Talking in 5-6 word sentences on a regular basis.

* Demanding that she do everything herself.  "Anne do it!!" is all we hear lately.

* No longer breastfeeding.  Our last session was about 6 days before she turned 23 months.  Anne was probably not ready, as she still cries for it when I get home from work sometimes, but Mommy was ready.  She's getting used to it though because I still snuggle her as soon as I walk in the door and I think she's realizing that's what she really wants anyway.

* Playing with stuffed animals and dolls and having "conversations" with them.

* Requesting to spend time at Mimi and Papa's house.  She can't get enough of Kristian's parents.

* Still sleeping on a mattress next to our bed.  I'm not ready to move her to her own room yet.

* Drinking out of real cups (instead of sippy cups).  Pretty good at using utensils and actually prefers them over using her hands most of the time.  Likes broccoli, peas, carrots, and corn and that's about it for veggies.  Sausage is still her favorite meat.  And of course she loves mac&cheese (what kid doesn't??).

* Knows some letters of the alphabet, but not all and is not consistent with telling them to us.  Knows all of her standard colors and some shapes.

* Can color small pictures and mostly stay in the lines (when she wants to lol)

* Loves to help us do things like bring in groceries and put the dishes away

* Likes to play with cars

* Likes to tease me and Kristian with who is her favorite for the day.  For example, we will ask her if she is "Mommy's sweet girl," and she will often respond "Daddy's sweet girl!"

* Seems to be enjoying Bible class but still won't let me leave her in there by herself for the whole time.  Working on that.

* Can "help" me read a book if it's one she's heard a million times.  I will read part of a sentence and let her finish it.  She can do this with Chester, Corduroy, Thunderhoof, Dora : Day at the Beach, etc.

* Loves to play at the park on swings and slides.  Still not much of a climber though.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Potty Marathon and Beyond (part 2)

Or otherwise known as three of the most stressful days of my life, but it was successful so I guess it was worth it.

Friday was nothing but accidents.  I can't remember if we had a successful trip before bedtime now or not, it's such a blur, but every other time was an accident.  Two things I had to do differently from the method I found on Pinterest : (1) I put Anne in undies, not let her run around naked.  For one, I don't have linoleum or tile floors, I have carpet.  The undies helped keep a handle on the mess (though still not great, but better than nothing).  For two, she didn't want to be naked, she wanted to wear the undies and it wasn't worth fighting her over; and (2) because Anne refuses to sit on the kid potty, we didn't have the option of staying in one room with a potty in the middle of the floor for her to run over to.  Fortunately Anne is very verbal already, so we worked on her telling us she needed to go and then we would run to the bathroom.  Or we would run as soon as she started to have an accident.

A tip for carpeted floors:  cover the floor in baby blankets or towels in the rooms you plan to stay in.  Whenever Anne had an accident, I could just pick up that small blanket or towel and throw it in the wash, and it helped keep most of the mess off the carpet.  I still feel like I need to steam clean my whole house, but it definitely helped.

Saturday showed some improvement but it was a roller coaster of Anne cooperating with sitting on the potty and screaming and crying whenever we set foot in the bathroom, despite the fact that she had told me she needed to go.  The first time she fought me like this, I gave in and we went back downstairs...and she had an accident 5 minutes later.  So for the rest of the day, whenever she said she had to go but then tried to back out of it, we hung out in the bathroom until she either gave in and sat or started to have an accident.  There were times that we didn't leave the bathroom for 45 minutes because Anne has master bladder control and would hold it just to try to avoid sitting on the potty.  Fortunately for both of us, I'm more stubborn than she is.  But at the end of the day we were getting more pee in the potty than out of it, so I felt like we were making progress.

Another thing that helped other than hanging out in the bathroom (and therefore inches from the toilet in case she started to go) was that I took a baby doll meant for the bathtub and filled it with water and let the water drain out into the kid potty.  The drain hole is conveniently located to simulate peeing.  So I would let the baby doll "pee" into the kid potty and then I would praise the baby. "Good job, baby! You peed in the potty! yay!"  Anne thought this was the best game ever, and I think it gave her a visual to see what we were trying to accomplish.  Regardless, she seemed more cooperative after we started doing that.

Sunday was much like Saturday, but with less accidents, and less time spent hanging out in the bathroom before she would agree to sit on the potty.  Still a lot of resistance when I would take her into the bathroom though and that was extremely frustrating.  Then we went to Kristian's parents' house and Anne walked right in and peed like she'd been doing it her whole life and I felt much better that she got the concept and knew how to do it, even if she was being stubborn.    I also discovered that part of Anne's resistance was that she didn't like me just swooping in and pulling her pants down and putting her on the potty.  She wanted to be in control so I started telling her to tell me when she was "ready" after we got into the bathroom, and encouraging her to use the step stool.  This made a world of difference. The sticker board and glow bracelets also continue to be a huge hit.

Monday morning I felt confident in sending Anne to school in undies, though I was prepared for her to have several accidents (the teachers had warned me that her first week would probably be a little rough).  She did ok her first day, but not great.  More accidents than anything else.  Tuesday was the same.  Wednesday, however, she had no wet accidents, only poop.  Thursday was the same as Wednesday.

And then today...today I got Anne to poop in the potty and I couldn't have been happier.  This time I had to do the naked method.  She tried to go, got up, and I just left her undies off because I knew she'd been holding it all day.  Sure enough it worked, within 5 minutes she was wanting to go back to the potty.  I just reassured her that I knew she could do it and we just waited and it happened.  She was so excited to finally get a "poop prize" and she wanted me to read her "Princess of the Potty" book again...and then called herself a "Potty Princess."  I think she recognized that she had finally done everything the girl in the book does.  Here's hoping that once is all it took to convince her that using the potty for #2 is not only something she *can* do, but something she prefers doing.

She also went potty at the park, and got out of the tub halfway through her bath to avoid peeing in the tub.  Today is day 3 of no wet accidents, and day 1 of zero accidents at all.  I don't want to jinx it, but I think it might be safe to say that I have successfully potty trained my 21 month old daughter :-)  It took about 8 days total (4 of which were at daycare).  But I think those initial 3 days were crucial.  Granted, we still have night training, but she's been staying dry at night since she discovered she has control of her own bladder.  So I'm thinking that might be a breeze...hoping anyway. :-)

Best tip I got : Put her in underwear and go for it.  Definitely worked and we didn't have a long drawn out process with pull-ups.  Everything else was tailoring the process to my daughter's personality and needs.

I am a happy and proud mommy :-D

Monday, July 23, 2012

Adventures in Potty Training

Everyone has their method for this it seems and I'm absolutely stealing other people's ideas so I'm not claiming to have come up with any of this on my own.  Also, no clue if it's going to work or not since we're still in the middle of the process, but I wanted to keep track of how things are going.

Several months ago Anne's Grammy bought her a Disney Princess potty to keep at her house just to introduce Anne to it.  By some miracle, Anne (who was only about 18 months old at the time) sat on it and actually peed so I got excited and got Anne her own Dora potty (that she picked out) for our house, as well as one of those little seats you can hang on the side of a real toilet and pop into the seat when needed.  The Dora potty may have been a waste of money as it quickly became nothing more than a step stool to get to the sink easier as Anne refused to even sit on it for the most part.  But, I kept encouraging her to try it and kept talking to her about using the potty.  I think over the past few months there may have been 3-4 total instances of Anne actually going in the little potty either at Grammy's house our ours, but we did get her to sit on it occasionally.

With her second birthday rapidly approaching and knowing that Anne would be moving up to the toddler classroom at school soon, where they potty train on real mini-sized toilets, I started looking around for information on how to go about doing this.  Originally I wanted to spend the week of our vacation in early July trying to train her, but our schedule filled up quickly with social activities and I knew I wouldn't have the time; also, her school wasn't planning on moving her up until August.  During this time I came across a potty training method on Pinterest that involves 3 days of extensive training that involves letting them run around naked and using big kid undies and you pretty much don't leave the house for 3 days because all you do is focus on potty training.  It also encouraged using "potty prizes", one bag for pee and one bag for poop, to help encourage them to use the potty.  There was more to it but that's the general gist.

So I found a three day weekend at the end of July and set it aside.  Then, in preparation for the Potty Marathon, two weeks before the Potty Marathon weekend I bought Anne a couple of books about potty training for kids (Princess of the Potty, which I highly recommend because it's very detailed and teaches kids the whole method, including sometimes waiting and nothing happening, and accidents; there's a Prince version too) and an Elmo book that plays "potty songs" (classic kids songs with new words about using the potty).

We read Princess of the Potty when we're hanging out and we sing the potty songs while she's sitting on the potty.   I started making a more concerted effort to get her to sit on the potty, and was pleasantly surprised when she preferred the pop-in seat on the real toilet (less mess for me, yay!).  

Since we were trying to put her on the potty at home, I asked the school to start working with her and they decided to go ahead and move her up to the toddler class.  That seems to be working out fine as Anne was already familiar with the room and the teachers in there.

This weekend we bought her "big kid undies" and a whole bunch of $1 potty prizes (thank you, Target, for your $1 bins).  I separated some of the bigger, cooler items into a poop prize bag and some other things like stickers and glow bracelets into the pee prize bag.  I left out a big sheet of smiley stickers to use when she at least tries to go; if she succeeds she'll get a bigger prize.

A note about big kid undies:  ignore the weight reference on the package, manufacturers are idiots.  According to the size chart my 30 lb daughter should be in a 4T, but those would be huge on her as the 2T/3T size fits perfectly with a little bit of room for growing.  Buy one pack and try them on your kid before settling on a size.

I started out giving her stickers if she at least tried, and I'm still doing that, but at first she didn't really know what to do with the stickers (and I didn't really want them plastered all over my house).  So I bought a poster board and hung it up in her room where she can reach it, and now if she gets a sticker I tell her to go put it on her "Potty Board" and she happily runs in her room and sticks it on the poster.  Also, the smiley stickers are hanging out of her reach but in sight in the bathroom, so when she sees them she knows what they're for.  She's also very excited about the prize bags but has only earned one bracelet so far, which she may or may not have bamboozled me out of.  Not sure if she actually went or not, but after a day of mostly refusing to sit on the potty, I was so happy that she initiated on her own that I let her have it anyway.

Had a quick test run this weekend with the undies because when we tried a pair on Anne to make sure they fit okay, she didn't want to take them off.  However, after 3 pee accidents and then pooping in them, which I'm sure felt absolutely awful, she asked for her diaper back.   I was happy she tried them out at all, but also happy she was okay with going back to her diaper because I wasn't ready yet to send her to school in undies this week.  She's not ready for that yet.  Hopefully *next* Monday she will be in undies and we can ditch the diapers except for at night.  Not doing night training until I feel like she has a good grasp on daytime trips.

This adventure is as confusing for me as it probably is for her because some days she does just fine with taking trips to the potty and then some days she will refuse it completely all day and then initiate on her own 3 times around bath/bedtime.  The refusing is frustrating for me.  The one constant that she seems to be good at is right after her bath.  I tell her  "no pee in the tub" so I think she actually tries to hold it; she always wants to get on the potty immediately after getting out of the water whether she's gotten dry or not.  These are the few times I've actually heard it and know she was productive.  And I think she's beginning to really notice when her diaper is wet and that she doesn't like it because sometimes she will tell me "Potty!", and her diaper will be wet even though she doesn't want to sit very long on the potty.  I don't know if we're just not making it to the bathroom in time, or if she's telling me after she goes instead of before.

I'm just really hoping that by Sunday of this weekend, she's basically gotten it down.  I really don't want to have to keep her in diapers, but if she doesn't make any real progress I'll have to.  Guess we'll see!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

So I turned 32 yesterday...

Wasn't the best of birthdays, been sick for several days and quite frankly turning 32 held little to no appeal for me, but it turned out well enough because I have an amazing and loving husband who remembered I love roses and greeting cards and good food, and because I have amazing and loving friends who reminded me they care about me.  Not the least of which was the singing phone call from one of my oldest friends. Was good to laugh between coughing.   So I guess in the end I can say it was a pretty good birthday after all.

2012 has been a hard year for me, though only a few people knew this.  Just a lot of introspection, self discovery, and fighting some internal battles.  But thanks to taking a leap of faith recently and putting trust in a woman I have come to love and adore like a sister, I feel like things are starting to finally come together in my head.  I'm starting to feel healthier on a mental level than I have in years.  And now I have someone to help me fight those internal battles.  Somewhere along the line I had forgotten that as humans we need each other's help to get through the hard stuff.  I only wish I had asked for help sooner. And I love my husband with all my heart and soul, but sometimes you just need a woman's perspective.

I can't possibly list all the things I've learned in my grand ole 32 years of life, but a few things I learned recently have some weighty importance to me.

1)  I have to love my friends for who they are, not who I want them to be.  This might mean that some friends are not as close as I would wish them to be because of differences I can't get around, but I can't expect a person to be someone they're not, and I have to love them for who they are. Realizing this has made some of my friendships so much better.

2) Ask for help even if it means taking a leap of faith and putting trust in someone regardless of how terrified I am.  If I'm scared, that should be a good indication I need someone to help me through it.  Life is not a one woman show.

3) I'm not perfect.  I can reinvent myself as many times as I want, but my inherent demons are always hiding in the shadows.  Which means I have to fight them back, every single day.  If I want anything good in my life, this is not an option, it's mandatory.  Refer to (2) above for help accomplishing this.

I always feel like my birthday is actually my "New Year", not January 1st.  So here's to making this year better and healthier than the last.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Bedtime Bliss

Putting Anne to bed last night was one of the most enjoyable moments I have ever had as a Mom.  

We've worked out a new bedtime routine that includes nursing her, letting her play on the bed for about 15 minutes, and then having her lay down next to me until she falls asleep (during which time she can continue to play with a toy or look at a book as long as she's laying down).  It's working reasonably well as long as I remember to be patient with her and not try to force her to do anything.

Last night when I told her it was time to lay down, she snuggled up to me, laying on her side facing me as I laid next to her.  Taking this moment as an opportunity to enjoy the closeness and her willingness to lay there with me, I started asking her yes/no questions about her day.

"Did you have fun at school?" (nods yes)
"Did you get to color today?" (nods yes and smiles)
"Did you get to play with construction paper?" (nods yes)
"Did you play on the bridge?" (shakes head no)
"Did you play in the  toy house?" (nods yes)
"Did you sing any songs?" (nods yes, grins, and makes the hand motion that means Itsy Bitsy Spider to her.  At which point I sang the song for her, twice, and we had fun giggling together)

I continued asking her questions for several minutes, including naming some of her classmates and asking if she played with them.  She grinned extra big when I mentioned a little boy named Junior... uh oh ;-)   At one point she just babbled for awhile and I listened and made appropriate comments to encourage her to keep "talking" to me.

It was amazing.  We had a whole conversation.

When I ran out of questions to ask her, she wanted to look at some books. I talked about what I saw in the pictures since she didn't want me to read the actual stories.  She fell asleep with a book on her chest, still curled up in my arms.

It's these moments that make it all worth it, that make parenting the best thing in the world.