A parade in my honor? PLEASE, PROCEED.

As a first-time parent, there are a lot of things we just don’t know.  Sure, you can read the books, talk to your friends, consult with Drs. Google and WebMD, but that’s not always the answer.  And so, in parenting, I have learned three valuable words: figure it out.  Becoming a parent gives you a special set of skills, sort of like the dad in “Taken”, except your skills aren’t so much in murder, terrorist negotiations (well…) and hostage situations (WELL…) but more in deduction, problem solving, blankie locating and grape slicing.  Your prime skill will still be figuring “it” out.  We all know “it” could be a host of things, and when the glorious day comes that you actually do figure it out?!  You will request a ticker tape parade in your honor, because you are now a national hero deserving of speeches and champagne and confetti and cookies and a Federal holiday in your honor.
 
Earlier this week I briefly mentioned the two year sleep regression.  I even wrote a post on it, although it sits in draft status because a). I’m not sure it’s the most interesting reading for you all (even if it is entertaining) and b). I like to hoard posts like that for days I’ve run out of thoughts.  “Writers” like me tend to squirrel things like that away so you think we’re still “working”, when we really just spent four hours surrounded by Legos, covered in granola and speaking only in a Grover voice (aka “running out of thoughts”).
 
This particular post is about my triumphs this week – TWO OF THEM.  A record in toddler parenting!
 
Sleep… So, the two year sleep regression.  It’s like all other sleep regressions, although “regression” isn’t the best term to use as these occur during periods of rapid physical and/or mental development (aka my kid is becoming a genius overnight and therefore is having trouble getting to sleep).  There are three regressions before this one; I’m a follower of this stuff because we’ve experienced all but one, but the two year is a little different because now your kid is smart.  Like, S-M-A-R-T.  You can’t just help them get back to sleep and you’re all done; you have to figure out why the coveted act of sleeping eludes them to begin with.  After a week of 90+ minute sessions of rocking, books, songs, lights on, lights off…I realized something.  This wasn’t really separation anxiety, as some of the books will tell you (one of the signs of the two year regression).  This was Miles understanding that after he goes to bed, his parents are still awake, which is unacceptable (yet another sign of the two year regression). 
Suddenly, Miles was on to us.  He realized we could be having ice cream cupcake parties, and he’s in bed?!  HELL TO THE NO.  I knew he was playing us after Miles and I had a lengthy discussion about fish and how they sleep; Miles was not upset and clingy once we were IN the room, just when we were gone.  As soon as he saw once of us, he instantly smiled, requiring no consolation, and then began requesting stories, songs, games, etc.  And so, after a week of not figuring it out, we decided to put him to bed.  I gave him the big boy pep talk, lots of hugs and kisses, and scooted on out.  Sure, he got pissed off the first night, but I left his door cracked so he could hear that I was having a TOTAL BLAST DOING DISHES, and that was comfort enough.  He fell asleep in 15 minutes.  Choirs of sleep angels sang the Hallelujah Chorus.  Night two?  No tears!  He would occasionally yell, “MAMA, COME IN!” but that was it.  Night three, same result.  After four nights, I finally put the words in writing to my best friend and claimed my victory over sleep protest.  Parents, is there no greater feeling than figuring something out?  
Of course, we’re moving to not only the big boy bed, but the big boy ROOM in a few weeks…because there’s nothing I love more than throwing a monkey wrench into the progress we’ve made.
 
Green Foods…  Then, as if this week couldn’t get any more miraculous, the child ate THREE SERVINGS of green beans on Thursday night.  This, after a month long protest of all green vegetables at home (because green vegetables at school are apparently far superior to green vegetables at home).  I didn’t really do anything except continue to serve the vegetables, assuming one day, possibly before his 16th birthday, he’d pick one up and eat it.
 
We sat at the table, eating dinner and talking about the day.  Miles picked up a single green bean and put it in his mouth.  This isn’t uncommon; he will frequently taste the green food, only to spit it out, hand it to me with a reminder of “no mama, no green beans.”  But then, something amazing happened: HE CHEWED.  OMG.  Then?  THEN?!  HE SWALLOWED!  I said no words; I looked at my husband to see if he’d witnessed the event, and he had.  We continued our conversation about holding hands when crossing the street.  And then?  ANOTHER GREEN BEAN.  But still, no words…you cannot acknowledge the consumption of a green vegetable until Miles realizes it was, in fact, a green vegetable, and that he actually likes it.  When he finished all of his green beans and then grabbed two fistfuls from my plate, I celebrated, and gave him ALL my green beans (sorry, Kid Two…we’ll take an extra prenatal vitamin to cover that nutritional loss).  WINNER WINNER GREEN BEAN DINNER.
 
This will probably change in the next 36 hours, but for now, we celebrate!  These are the small accomplishments that give parents not only a great sense of pride, but also the affirmation that we actually do know what we’re doing sometimes.  Even better?  That we’re actually good at it.  We must celebrate the little things, because they turn into the big things. 
 
I declared myself Queen of Green Beans and Bed Time, and requested birthday cake ice cream in celebration. 
 
This week, I win.  WIN!
Ahem, this is a "cookie parade" according to Google.  So imagine more confetti and champagne and me eating cookies while riding in a beautiful gold convertible.

Ahem, this is a “cookie parade” according to Google. Just imagine more confetti and champagne and me eating cookies while riding in a beautiful gold convertible and wearing PJs.

Spy vs. Spy: Nursery Edition

Most of you know that back in October, we went Ferber in this house.  Things were going super awesome, until issues like teething, the 8th month sleep regression and cats relentlessly chasing lost Christmas ornaments around the house at midnight began.  Just after Thanksgiving, Miles decided that every night at midnight, it would be party time.  Jumping up and down in the crib, singing to the ceiling, babbling at the cats…until 2am.  EVERY.  SINGLE.  NIGHT.

“Oh, it’s teething,” I thought to myself for the first two weeks, until I realized there were no more teeth coming at this moment.  “Oh, it’s a developmental sleep regression,” I convinced myself, after reading WebMD, Wonder Weeks and “What to Expect: The Toddler Years” at 3am (What to Expect spoiler alert: expect chaos).  “Oh, it’s the stupid cat with ANOTHER JINGLE BELL ORNAMENT,” I hissed at 2am for three nights in a row before I banished everyone to the garage and told them I’d never feed them again if they didn’t settle down.

And then, my late night WebMD-ing finally struck gold: he was awake, and it was my fault.

Miles has reached an age in which he understands object permanence (that things can disappear).  I know, fancy terminology that essentially means, “WHERE THE HELL IS MY MOM?!”

You see, our normal bedtime routine lasted from 7:30p-8p.  Miles had started falling asleep during the rocking chair/concert portion of the evening, and I didn’t think much of it, other than it was super cute and I finally got a chance to snuggle him as if he were a widdle tiny baby again!  But, this was actually disrupting his sleep, because when he would normally sigh and roll over at midnight, now he was waking up realizing I was gone.  Object permanence.  Cue WTF crib jumping and yelling.

And so, because we are gluttons for punishment, we reintroduced Cry It Out (CIO).  Yes, it sucked, but you know what?  From the first night of CIO Part Deux, Miles slept through the night.  THE ENTIRE NIGHT.  This meant that now we get to sleep all night.  All of the hours, mine.  I can hog the bed, roll up in the covers like a burrito, and not have any anxiety over when we’d be up…because we aren’t.  Cue the “Hallelujah Chorus.”

Oh, your child is sleeping through the night again?  Let me sing you a lullaby.

Oh, your child is sleeping through the night again? Let me sing you a lullaby.

The first night, he cried half an hour, and I had to take a shower to keep myself from barreling in the nursery to scoop him up.  The second night, 15 minutes.  The third, 5 minutes.  The fourth, he was done by the time I made it to the kitchen.  And now?  NOW, he is awake when I put him in his crib, but he just rolls over and goes to sleep.  This is worthy of a parade.

Now, CIO: Part Deux couldn’t be completely uneventful, because if it were I wouldn’t have anything to write about.  So let’s talk about Night Three.  Sometimes kids cry; and sometimes, they cry so hard they throw up.  Parents and teachers, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  Miles went to sleep (after yelling for 5 minutes), and after 20 minutes, I went in to do my usual bed check.  He was snuggled up, butt up in the air, peaceful as could be.  I did the PJ check.  It was then that I realized he had managed to cough up some broccoli-carrot-cheese onto his PJ pants (that smells as delicious as it sounds, by the way).  This meant he needed to be changed.  On night three of CIO.  Jesus, take the wheel.

I went to the living room for reinforcements.  Evan and I managed to get the broccoli ridden PJ pants off, and got him into the new, clean PJ pants.  This was so successful, we quietly congratulated ourselves and had a celebratory victory dance I the nursery.  And then, I decided Miles needed his big, fluffy blanket (polar vortex, remember?)  So I got the blanket, and tossed it on the kid.  Success again!  Evan started to leave the nursery, and told me to follow…the look in his eyes let me know that he saw the look in my eyes (no, not that look)…the blanket was crooked.  People with OCD, you know what I’m talking about.

I fixed the blanket.  And, of course, because I touched the corner of his blanket ever so slightly, Miles woke up.  It was then that we made the Spy vs.Spy move that all parents make at least once: we jumped down and hid at the end of the crib (his has solid panels at each end, thank you, Ikea).  Miles sat up.  He cried, he talked, he moved around.  He got quiet.  I tried to peek in, and he’d start moving and talking again.  We were stuck.

That's Miles on the left.

That’s Miles on the left.

Each time I attempted to crane my head around the corner to catch a glimpse, I would most certainly hear him flop onto his butt, or bang on the crib slats.  Evan would chance a peek over the top of the crib, only to collapse instantly on the floor because Miles was just sitting there staring at the nursery door.

This lasted an eternity (ten minutes).  Finally, Evan nosed around the side of the crib and confirmed the target was sleeping.  He then ordered me in a whisper-yell to get out of the nursery.  I compulsively checked Miles’ blanket yet again, then Army crawled into the hallway.  Once I was in the clear, Evan followed suit.

In a few minutes, I will go into the nursery for the last bed check of the evening.  I will make sure his feet are covered, and I will kiss his sweet, fuzzy noggin, but I will not straighten the blanket.

Note to self: Additional nursery essentials include deck of cards, bottle of wine, picnic blanket, extra pillows and an old Us Weekly.  Just in case…

"Hurricane" is a relative term.

“Hurricane” is a relative term.

Red Team Go,

Kristin