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Lilypie First Birthday tickers

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Those Beach Pictures

I finally got some pictures onto my computer, so here are some of my favorites from the beach.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


In the two weeks since I posted this post, things have gone from bad to worse. Julia continued to climb out of her crib, often multiple times a night. One night we went to check on her and found her sound asleep on the floor...bare butt up in the air and pee all over the floor. She had taken off her pajama pants and her diaper, but the kicker is that she put the diaper in the diaper pail and her pants back in her drawer. Very deliberate! Another night she was in her bathroom screaming at the top of her lungs (at 2 A.M.) that she wanted to brush her teeth. One morning when I heard her screaming for us, I went in and found her sitting by her nightlight, surrounded by books and all of the wipes from her container, some of which she had shredded. When I came in, she simply handed them to me and said, "Deese all gone." She learned how to push her stool over to the light switch to turn on the lights. She figured out not only how to climb out of the crib, but also how to climb back in...a process that frightened me when I saw how she did it. She determined that her changing pad would be a nice place to sleep, so she pulled it off of the dresser and set up camp--dragging her blanket and baby along with her. She's destroyed multiple books by ripping all of the "lift the flaps" out of them. And of course, she figured out how to get out of her room.

All of this meant that Mama and Daddy had to figure out how to fight back. So, we decided to remove her crib. I was worried about her climbing back in, and also felt that having the crib and "grown-up bed" (as she calls it) might be confusing for her. Well, she was (and probably still is) pissed about that decision. So, I read anything I could about getting a child to sleep in a big bed, and the only method I found that was noted as reliable was to spend several nights in "boot camp"--anytime they get out of bed, you silently and with no fanfare put them back in bed. We gave it a shot one night, but cried uncle after 65 times of putting her back in bed. She was very upset about the whole process, but never once laid down in the bed. As soon as we put her there, she got right back up. Clearly we had to come up with a different plan. (Though a couple Zach met at the park said they put their two-year-old back in bed 164 times the first night when they did the process, so maybe we need to try harder.)

I hated the idea of locking her in her room, but that's basically what we resorted to. We got the doorknob covers that make it so little ones can't turn the doorknob, and put them on her bathroom door and her room door. We switched the light switch so that it won't turn on from the switch; it's now just controlled by pull cords on the fan. We moved all of her toys out of her room and put the basket from her changing table in the bathroom each night. Now she points at the doorknob covers and says "Those keep me safe," which is what I've told her, with only small pangs of guilt. And, she tells me, "Light no work anymore."

So now she's "locked" in her room, but refuses to sleep in a bed. She has slept on the floor every night, but of course does not sleep through the night, instead waking up and screaming for hours at a time. Her newest trick is to sleep with her face pressed up against the door, her mouth right up to the crack between the bottom of the door and the floor. This affords her two advantages: first, it makes her screams and cries louder and harder to ignore, and second, once she falls asleep in this position, it makes it so we can't come in and check on her and move her to her bed. This weekend, I put her crib mattress back in the room in the hopes that she would at least sleep there if she wouldn't sleep in the bed, but so far no luck with that. She'll often get in one of the beds, hunker down, appear to be nice and cozy...only to jump right up and scream as soon as you leave the room.

While this makes great blog fodder and my friends find the stories quite amusing, it's actually supremely frustrating. She's overtired, as are we. We're all getting less sleep than we did when she was a newborn. And worse, nothing we're doing seems to make a difference. I'm second-guessing every move I make: "Should I do some attachment parenting and just go in and comfort her until she falls asleep? Should I sleep with her? Let her sleep with us? Or will that make it worse? Do we need to take a harder line and help her learn to comfort herself? Why does she not know how to comfort herself? Should we cut out any sugar or treats after supper? Should we put the crib back in? Will she be scarred by being unable to get out of her room? WHAT ARE WE DOING WRONG?"

And, I guess that's the worst part about it: I know we've done nothing wrong. From a textbook standpoint, we've done everything "right" all her life--she's had a consistent bedtime and nap time and a consistent, wind-down bedtime routine. She's always slept in her crib. She has "lovies" that she's attached to. And yet, we're still dealing with this nonsense. I do remember that Will went through a phase of wakefulness around this age; at the time, we attributed it to the stress of a new baby in the house. And of course, his wasn't nearly as bad because he never climbed out of the crib. Like all phases, that one eventually passed, but probably not quick enough for our liking. So, for now, I guess we'll just keep on keepin' on. That seems to be about all we can do.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Julia is TWO

**Baby girl, this is over a month late, but that's just how our life is these days. And, if it makes you feel any better, I haven't written Will's four-year-old letter yet, and I think I might have missed one for his third birthday, too. So, consider yourself ahead of the game.**

Dear Julia,
As always, I'm amazed at how quickly time passes and how you are growing up right before my eyes. I can't believe you're already two! But even more, I can't believe that you're the age Will was when you were born. In so many ways you are so "grown up," but in so many ways you are still a baby.

You are such a big personality. Often, when we hear words like "spirited" or "strong-willed" they're not meant in the best way, particularly for girls. Yet, I love that you are independent; I love that you know what you want and are not afraid to go after it. I hope those qualities will last because I believe they will serve you well later in life. Of course, the qualities I love the most are also the ones that can drive me the most crazy. It's easy to say that I admire your independence, but it's another thing altogether when you are constantly asserting that independence--constantly wanting to "do it myself," constantly getting into things you shouldn't, constantly testing limits to see exactly where the line is...and then choosing to step right over it. We're going through some bedtime battles with you right now, and while I'm somewhat sympathetic because you get genuinely upset, I'm also beyond frustrated that you make life (yours and ours) so difficult. You are just a child who has to do things the hard way.

Yet, you're also a very affectionate child. You've recently learned to say "I wuv you" and it melts my heart every time. You often like to go through a list..."I wuv Daddy! I wuv Mommy! Mommy wuv me!" You love to give kisses and hugs, you love to hold hands, you're always checking on people if you think they're sad, and you often request "I want hold you". But, despite being independent and wanting things your way, you also seem to want to be with us all the time and get upset when we're separated. This makes leaving you at daycare or with a babysitter REALLY fun, I tell ya. I finally had to teach you that "Mama always comes back" because you seem to think that might not be the case. And many times, when I see you after a day at school or a night when we've gone out, you exclaim with glee, "Mama come back!"

Physically, you can do almost anything you set your mind on. With an older brother to keep up with, you never want to be left behind. So, you're always running--you've gotten very fast--or dancing, playing, climbing, hopping, or jumping (well, you think you can jump, but you really just crouch down and then stand up really fast). For your birthdays, you and Will got a playset in the backyard. Based on your reaction, you would have thought we built you your own DisneyWorld. You LOVE to swing and get this blissed out look while you're flying through the air. You will swing as long as someone will push you. You call the playset "my own playground" and each morning when you get up, you ask, "I go my own playground?"

In addition to playing outside, you adore playing with baby dolls. It's so funny to see your nurturing are so sweet and gentle to those babies. You love to rock them, give them a bottle, or wrap them up in a blanket. You also love animals--both toys and live animals. You want to pet almost any animal, and again are very gentle, and you had a blast riding a horse recently (twice!). Another favorite toy is your tea set that you got for your birthday. You set it up and will play quietly by yourself...putting the cups in place, stirring the tea, pouring the tea. It's rare to find something that will truly keep you occupied like that! You also love to read books, do stickers, and draw, but when we draw, you always want us to "draw your hand". I guess this is something you do at school, because you always request it. Of course, being the second child, you have access to lots of things that Will never had at your age. You know what the Wii is, you build with Legos, play with cars, and you've even started doing games on the iPad. But without a doubt, the toy that is always the most fun in your eyes is any toy your brother currently has.

Eating is not your strong suit, and lately, neither is sleeping. Like everything else, it's always on your terms. So, you may eat nothing for breakfast, but then go through an entire chicken breast for supper. Of course, they claim you eat fine at school, so maybe you just know that Mama and Daddy are pushovers and will eventually cave. For the most part, you eat pretty healthy foods--at home you're almost a vegetarian (by your own choice)--but you won't eat many things that I consider "toddler staples". You hate pasta, so that rules out mac and cheese or ravioli. You're fickle about chicken nuggets, won't touch a hamburger, and you're not fond of PB&J. However, you love almost all fruit (except you declare pineapple to be "too sour"), black beans, CHEESE, pizza, quesadillas, grilled chicken, hummus, bagels with cream cheese, cereal or granola bars, crackers...and that's about it. Well, except for treats, of course! This is another way that you benefit in being the second child...there is no shortage of popsicles in the house, especially after the hot summer we just had.

As for the sleeping, you just don't seem to need as much sleep as the average toddler. You've just about given up your nap (the recent move to a big-girl bed has really sealed nap's fate), and you often seem just fine without it. I sometimes call you the energizer bunny because I really can't figure out a way to wear you out. You're not bad, you're just beyond energetic. Even when we were at the beach playing, swimming, and running all day long, you still seemed to have energy to spare. By evening you might be dragging a little bit, but you never let on because you never want to miss anything.

And really, most of the time, we don't want you to miss anything either because we don't want to miss time with you. You add such a wonderful (albeit loud) dimension to our family and we love having you around--love hearing your sweet singing and watching your crazy dancing; love getting your perspective on things, since like your brother, you never stop talking; love watching your face light up when you smile; love watching your eyes sparkle while you admire your older brother; love the way you do your own thing, but know when to say "I need help!"; love how you run into my arms after a long day away.

Julia, I am SO proud of you and the person you are becoming. I am thankful for each day I have with you and couldn't love you any more. Thank you for being you and being such a light in our family.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Night, Night, Sleep Tight

She looked so peaceful sound asleep, except for the fact that...

Well, let me back up a bit here. Last week, I was out of town almost all week for work. Zach said the kids were fabulous for him (of course) and he got major props from everyone for being such an amazing dad and taking care of HIS OWN kids while I was gone (of course). Then I returned home on Friday, but Zach had to leave for his work trip on Sunday. Apparently Julia had had enough of this "being good" business and all hell broke loose when I tried to put her to bed on Sunday night. She's always been good about going to bed, but on Sunday she decided to scream like I was cutting off her arm. Luckily, my parents were here and helped deal with Will while I was trying to calm Julia down. Eventually, after over an hour and a half of rocking, comforting, etc. from both me and my mom, Julia finally gave up the fight.

Same scene on Monday night. Except this time, she's added a new trick: climbing out of her crib. She did that once while we were at the beach, but hadn't done it since, so we thought things were fine in that department. Will NEVER climbed out of his crib, so this is new territory for us. So, Monday wonderful parents are here again helping out. I put Julia down, she's screaming, and then we hear a big thud. She had climbed out of the crib and fallen on the ground, luckily unhurt. I comfort her, try to get her to calm down, and then put her back in the crib. Where she climbs out again, this time more skillfully--no thud. I put her back, she climbs out. (Are you seeing a pattern?) Finally, mom rocks her until she is so exhausted she can't fight it anymore, and she stays in bed. (Only to wake up at 12:30, at which point I gave in and brought her to bed with me until she woke up for the day at 5:30. But that's a whole 'nother story.)

Fast forward to tonight. Mom can't come help, so I'm on my own, praying that Julia will shape up. Things are going pretty well, until I try to put her in bed. I put her in her crib, leave the room, and she immediately starts screaming and climbs right out of her crib. Luckily, she can't open the door to her room yet, but I can hear the cries getting closer to the door, so I know she's out of the crib. I decide to take the hard more rocking. I firmly tell her that it's "night night" and put her back in her crib. She climbs out. And repeat. The third time I put her in the bed, I hear her crying, but it doesn't seem to be getting any closer to the door. I figure she must have been tired and stayed in bed, and her crying subsides pretty quickly. Yes! Victory! Now onto getting Will to bed...

Around 8:30, which was about an hour after I put Julia to bed, I go in her room to check on her. Now here's where we pick up from the beginning of this post. She looked so peaceful sound asleep, except for the fact that SHE WAS IN THE CHAIR! Yes, that's right, the last time when I thought she was in bed, thought the cries weren't getting any closer, thought I had won the battle...she had instead snuggled herself in the rocking chair and rocked herself to sleep. This is what we're dealing with around here.

A little while later, I successfully moved her from the chair to her crib without her waking up. We'll see how long that lasts...