How to (Sleep) Train Your Dragon(s)

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Image from deubellzebub’s Etsy store. Go buy something so that I don’t get sued for stealing this image.

I think Baby Dragon is about to fall asleep for his early morning nap, but I can never be too sure. With babies you can think you have a good thing going and then blammo, your hell spawn is screaming in his crib and you’re cowering in the corner covered in various kinds of bodily fluids (His? Yours? Who the hell knows).

Yes, the time has come to kick sleep training into high gear. Baby Dragon, whose roar of choice is a wail so deep that instead of striking fear in its opponent (me), it penetrates to the very core of my soul/heart/being (reader’s choice!) and whittles away at my sense of reason by activating the self-doubt gene that every parent struggles their whole existence to overcome. But THAT is the challenge of the ‘cry it out’ (CIO) school of thought. When your baby dragon is wailing alone in his cage (crib), demonstrating his mad drama skillz (he is going to make it in Hollywood, I swear!), you will question your parenting choices. Is CIO really the way to go? What if he really NEEDS me?

Answers: Yes, it is the way to go. And if he really needs me, I will know it, and no book detailing a method is going to deter me from picking him up!

How do I know it’s the way to go? Because sleep in this house is on its way to being something that actually exists! CIO, contrary to popular believe, does not mean leaving your dragon to wail himself into a fury, hone his fire breathing abilities and burn your house down so that you wake up amongst the smouldering cinders (that exact scenario is the popular belief). It is actually a progressive waiting method. The idea is that you put your dragon in his cage awake, tuck him in, kiss him goodnight and leave. If he cries you set a timer and wait until it runs out before going back in. When you go back in you may adjust blankets, replace a soother, pat and kiss for reassurance, but for the love of God DO NOT PICK UP YOUR BABY DRAGON! If you do he will demonstrate the fire breathing skills he’s been working on and you will not only be homeless, you’ll also be hairless… and everyone knows that if you’re homeless in this winter climate you need lots of hair, so please, don’t be ridiculous. You then leave the room again after having spent no more than two minutes with your baby dragon. If he starts to cry again you reset the timer for a slightly longer period and wait it out once more. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat etc. The miracle is that we have never gone beyond two wait periods! This method works for this dragon!

Baby Dragon asleep in his cage

Baby Dragon asleep in his cage

And not only does it work, it has improved his sleep. When we were co-sleeping and Daddy Dragon was relegated to the spare room, Baby Dragon was waking up every 1.5-2 hours during the night. Since the CIO sleep training has begun the 5-6 wake ups/night has been reduced to 1. Yup, that’s right. 1. 1 measly little almost insignificant wake up! It’s a miracle. So, you’d think this mama would be getting some sleep now. Well, you’d be Wrong. That’s right. So wrong that the ‘W’ needs to be capitalized.

Let’s back up a bit.

The sleep training began not by choice. It began because Daddy Dragon reclaimed his rightful place in bed. He weaselled his way back in by engaging in our most romantic conversation to date. It went something like this:

J: The baby is sleeping in his crib tonight.
S: No! I’m not ready!
J: Don’t be a wimp.
S: I’m not a wimp! I’m just not ready! Neither is the baby!
J: You promised that at 4 months he’d go in the crib.
S: … (I got nothing… it’s true. I did promise).
J: So the baby is going in his crib tonight, end of story. (He tries to end the story quite often. He has yet to realize that is isn’t the sole author of this story. Hell, he’s not even the first author of this story! I’m pretty sure that’s the kid.)
S: Fine. If you want the bed back I guess I could sleep with the baby in the spare room.
J: What do I have to do to make you realize that I want you in my bed again? Tell you?
S: Um… yes?

D’awe. Aren’t we sweet?

Romance Fail

This is typical of J’s idea of romance, and is the reason why yes, he did need to tell me!
Image courtesy of mindskin.com

So, Baby Dragon went to his crib that night with no time for me to mentally prepare (probably a good thing cuz I would have just psyched myself out) and Daddy Dragon reclaimed the west side of the bed. At first I was happy that he had expressed a desire to sleep by my side again… but then reality set in and I was swiftly reminded of how difficult it was to learn to sleep by each other’s side comfortably in the first place. Daddy Dragon’s roar of choice is the snore roar, and let me tell you, it is loud and it is mighty. Mighty. Loud. He also likes to fight battles in his sleep which involves a lot of thrashing and grunting. These are the various forms he took last night:

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Image courtesy of my real life experience

The pink ‘x’ represents where I fit into the picture. b. is the absolute worst case scenario because I have the least space and the weird neck angle results in the most tremendous snore roar. All scenarios result in blood pouring out of my ears and unhealthy homicidal thoughts. I’m not too sure if sharing the bed again is so good for our relationship… ok, that’s not true. I value the pre-sleeping cuddle time and we did manage to figure out bed-sharing once before. I just need to recommence the shoving and punching that beat him into shape last time around.

Baby Dragon has awakened from his nap and is letting out that frustrated cry that only creatures with underdeveloped wings can master, so off I go to rescue him.

Despite my whinging, I love my Dragons

Despite my whinging, I love my Dragons. Aren’t they beautiful?

P.S. I love that I have about five million drafts started, but this post is the one that made it to completion. Why? Because two of my favourite blogesses have also posted about sleep (or, to be more accurate, lack thereof) in the last two days. Sleep is so important and so scarce with wee ones around. I have to credit their misery for the actual completion of this post. Check them out:

Sanity Has Left the Building

A (mostly) Depressing Post

Bored Baby

This? Again? Really Mom?

This? Again? Really Mom?

...

… 2 minutes later

Every Mommy Needs a Daddy Sometimes

So after yet another night of four feedings I groggily and reluctantly woke up before the sunrise because Baby H said so. I went down, popped a T-Disc in the machine and cried to myself a little bit. I miss my friend Sleep so much, although I somehow don’t feel it so much during the day. I miss it in the throes of lacking it, when J is fast asleep and snoring.

I came back upstairs to where my little wiggle monster was, well, wiggling around in his bassinet. I flipped on the TV to find a familiar scene unfolding.

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As a pregnant lady watching this movie last summer I definitely related most to the Elizabeth Banks character. Despite people telling me that I had ‘that glow’, I did not have that glow. It was just sweat. Buckets and buckets of sweat. To be fair, it was the hottest summer on record and I had no air conditioning, but still. I spent the last months of my pregnancy flopping around on the couch feeling like I’d never be comfortable ever again.

So, given this information, and the fact that I have clearly forgotten it, why on earth do I feel twinges of envy as friend after friend announces their summer babies on the way and posts adorable belly bump pictures? They are still small enough that they really are glowing and lovely. Maybe that’s why. Maybe if they were posting pictures of themselves looking like beached whales or Violet Beauregarde post-blueberry incident I might not feel that little bit of envy.

Two days before the birth of H... see the resemblance?

Two days before the birth of H… see the resemblance?

Why on earth would I miss being pregnant? Besides being huge and uncomfortable, I was a sleep deprived hormonal nightmare. I haven’t slept since August! I have no sleep in the foreseeable future. And while I don’t begrudge J his sleep (ok, I do begrudge him just a smidgen of sleep), I have in fact, as Amy at Pregnant Chicken (<- Pregnant women, click that link. You’ll thank me later.) warned, stared at his sleeping, peaceful face at 2am and wondered what the hell the point of him is. In those sleepless 2am moments, especially post-baby, as I stumble around blearily trying to figure out if the baby needs to be changed, nursed, or both, I think of J simply as “the sperm donor” and feel like he couldn’t possibly be the father because he clearly abandons me in every 2am moment of need. If only the men had the boobs… (ok, no. I love breastfeeding and wouldn’t give it up for any amount of uninterrupted sleep, and that’s the truth!).

Sperm Donor

Ok, to the point. On those nights I don’t really feel abandoned. That’s the deal. He needs to get up at 5am to work every day, and he operates heavy machinery. I’d be a pretty horrible person if I expected him to share in the sleepless nights. However, despite my supermom status, I must admit that sometimes I need him. And so does the baby. The other night, I was having a moment (or several). For the life of me, I could not get little H to sleep. He’s normally really easy to put to bed! Nurse him or pop a soother in and he’s fast asleep in 5. This night, though, I felt like my baby had been replaced by a banshee. He screamed until he was purple in the face, tears streaming from his eyes. I tried everything but he could not be consoled. This is how J found us upon arriving home from work at 10pm (where he’d been since 6am). I fully anticipated that he’d disappear into the basement or to bed and leave me to deal with the shit show we’d created. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. He came into the room and started talking to the screaming, writhing mass that I suspected was the baby but was no longer sure. My head was throbbing and I couldn’t think clearly. All of a sudden there was silence as H listened to his daddy’s voice. There was still some pouting and gasping going on, so J picked up the baby and off they went to play in front of the mirror and have a little chat. An hour later a perfectly calm little angel child was returned to me and we fell asleep side by side, which is where J found us 6 hours later at 5am. It was a miracle.

So you see girls, there is a point to him. If you’re tempted in those last days of pregnancy or early days of baby to stab him with a fork as he lies there sleeping like an angel (or snoring like at trucker), hold off. Think about it for a few days to make sure its what you really want to do. You might end up regretting it because even though it may not seem like it during those sleepless nights, every mommy needs a daddy sometimes.

S and J

Dear peoples that read my blog, today I can be read over at Canadica. Please visit my words there and perhaps leave a comment so that I don’t feel so inferior. Hint: I already feel inferior because there is some serious talent going on over there and composing that piece was intimidating! Thanks Lovelies!

Welcome to Canadica!

It’s easy to poke fun at America. When you’re the biggest and the best it’s kind of a given that you have a target on your back. Most Americans I know acknowledge that is part and parcel of being American. I know a thing or two about being the biggest and the best. I’m from Canada, the large country depicted below:

Not only am I from Canada, I’m from Ontario, the America of Canada (The good parts of America. The rest of America is covered by Alberta). As you can see above, Ontario is the centre of the whole freaking universe. Ontario is to Canada as America is to the world. We’re the economic powerhouse, simply the best. And not only am I from Ontario, I’m from Ontario’s largest city, Toronto. Here is the country according to a Torontonian:

All this is meant to introduce the fact that it’s okay…

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Greetings from my Kitchen Dance Party (I suck at cleaning)

I have never been tidy. Most of my parent/child battles were over picking up after myself. It was typical to go for weeks without seeing my bedroom floor. Who needs carpet when you can make your own carpet out of My Little Ponies and a million discarded outfits? Pre-pregnancy my idea of a kitchen dance party was getting drunk in my best friend’s kitchen/living/dining/office room thing (hey, at least she owns a condo, ok?) and shouting the lyrics of Firework to each other across the room (which basically means in each others faces… have you seen what an affordable middle class condo in Toronto looks like these days? It’s ridiculous. I’ve been watching old episodes of Property Virgins and its ridiculous how far 300K went even just 10 years ago).

Drunk Ponies

S: “Do you ever feel”

R:”LIKE A PLASTIC BAG!”

Lately I have felt like a plastic bag… full of groceries, for everyone but me. Seriously. If I’m not looking after the kid I’m making dinner or cleaning something, and lets face it, time for that is scarce with a baby. I spend most of my day making funny faces and sounds in order to keep my spawn entertained (ok, it’s entertaining for me too). Right now he’s napping and I have so much housework to do. How the hell did I end up a stay at home mom? Sometimes I want to be like Jenna Marbles and just sit in front of my webcam, hold my Master’s Degree in my arms, and cry.

Except it should say "Before I clean my kitchen"

Except it should say “Before I clean my kitchen”

Who am I? Seriously. I SUCK at taking care of a house. It’s pathetic. If I had been the CEO of RIM (or Blackberry, as it is now called) I would have saved that sinking ship long before Wednesday’s announcement of the Blackberry 10 (jury’s still out, Blackberry). I could have built a Titanic that was structurally sound. I can move any kind of mountain… unless its made of laundry. In that case I’d be more inclined to lie on top of it and read a good book. Yeah…

So that's how the Blackberry 10 finally happened

So that’s how the Blackberry 10 finally happened

Hard to believe that I’ve been a stay at home mom for 3 months now. Yup. That’s right. Baby H is three months old today! That means he’s officially an infant and no longer a newborn (*sniff*). He’s getting so big! It’s like he changes before my eyes every day.

HBug

So, how can I make this new gig mine and stop this house from being condemned? Recreate the kitchen drunk dance party! Cuz baby I’m a firework! Or I could just set off some fireworks inside and get the house condemned so that I can move into a one bedroom condo. Crazy you say? I say there is much less to clean in a one bedroom shoebox than a three story three bedroom house!

Instead I listened to Firework on repeat because for some reason it reminds me that I’m still me (even if I’m alone and sober… and despite the fact that Katy Perry’s tits have never been kicked out of a Walmart) and baked cupcakes.

I let my colours burst all over these cupcakes, baby!

I let my colours burst all over these cupcakes, baby!

I might suck at cleaning, but I’m original, cannot be replaced. Also, I do own the night like… Canada Day Night… yeah.

P.S. For the record, I’m doing a pretty freaking good job for someone who might have failed home economics had it been offered at my school.

P.P.S. I was kidding about the whole drunk party thing. I haven’t been drunk since… last February. You do the math.

P.P.P.S. Cupcake?

Greetings from the floor

I think I’m having an identity crisis. And I’ve lost my bed. And my hands. I haven’t washed my hair in five days. Ew, right? Don’t worry, I spot wash the places that matter daily.

Always wash your undercarriage

Always wash your undercarriage

 

TMI? No such thing in Mommy Land, population me (and millions of other women, but they all put forth an image so put together that I’d rather pretend they don’t exist because it makes me feel better). We (and by we I mean me and my mom because she is allowed to visit Mommy Land) talk about all kinds of fun stuff like boobs and poop. But mostly poop. The other day I texted my mom a pic of a dirty diaper because I needed her to verify that I hadn’t slipped into an exhaustion induced coma and J, in desperation due to his lack of boobage and milk, had put the baby out to pasture in my absence… H’s poop definitely looked like he’d been eating some grass and smelled like a frequently used and never emptied outhouse. TMI? I told you already… NO SUCH THING.

This is how we do in the country

This is how we do in the country

I thought I was doing ok but a visit to the doctor has proven me wrong. Le bébé is not gaining enough weight! He’s gone from the 95th percentile to somewhere between the 25th and 50th. aoughreiughslaeiuwgruihstaew. That was me hitting the keyboard with my forehead. Ok, not really because I’m lying awkwardly, belly down on my bed and the keyboard is too far away to reach with my head. My hands had to help my head out. I have hands after all! But only when the baby is asleep.

My hands are magestic. Like a mighty bald eagle. Or America.

My hands are magestic. Like a mighty bald eagle. Or America.

Did I say bed? I meant floor. Because that is where I sleep. H is going through a phase where I can’t put him down if he falls asleep in my arms because he’ll immediately awaken.  But if he falls asleep on the bed I can get anywhere from 5-8 consecutive hours of sleep out of him! Ah-mazing. So he, this tiny two ft tall baby, sleeps in the very centre of my queen sized bed, and I sleep on the floor. If I dare to sleep in the bed with him I’m too paranoid about him rolling off the edge (which is why I put him smack dab in the middle to sleep) and he wakes up every time I roll over. My neck hurts.

I have more in common with drunk SIMS characters than I thought... except if this were me my undercarriage would be exposed

I have more in common with drunk SIMS characters than I thought… except if this were me my undercarriage would be exposed

I’m enjoying having my hands right now, even though I should be sleeping and they’re no use to me while I’m sleeping. How has this baby not gained enough weight? It seems like all he does is eat! Doc explained to me that because he just eats a little bit and then uses my boobs to soothe himself he’s not stimulating my milk production enough. Turns out he’s a grazer. More like a goat than a pig.

Baby goats are cute, so that's ok

Baby goats are cute, so that’s ok

Who would have thought with that massive belly of mine? Maybe that explains the grass poop… Le sigh. So now my task is to stretch the feeding out for at least 2 hours between feeds and use the pacifier when he wants to soothe in between.

Hilarious pacifier face

Hilarious pacifier face

OMG. I might have just got my hands back for real. That’s kind of exciting.

POOP. Mommyhood is steeped in it.

But then he makes adorable faces like this:

Love

Love

And it’s not so poopy anymore… even if it is, literally, kinda.

 

Internet Celebrity

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Peeps, I’m so happy, I think I just jizzed in my pants. Except that that’s physically impossible. Also, I’m not wearing pants. Ok, that’s a lie. I am wearing pants, but it would be funnier if I weren’t. I’m just that excited! I also have a secret crush on Andy Samberg and like to throw Lonely Island quotes around because it makes me feel closer to him. We totally made out once.

See? We totally made out.

See? We totally made out.

It’s not the best picture because it was snapped by the paparazzi from quite the distance. We like to keep private because fame can be so tiring.

What was my point again? Oh right. My Internet celebrity. First I was Freshly Pressed. Then nothing happened for a long time. But, my friends, today I noticed that someone linked to my blog through Pinterest. That’s right. Someone thought something I created was worth pinning! That something was my pregnancy announcement.

Valentine's Day 2012

Any day now someone is going to offer me money for my creativity. I just know it. Ok, I don’t know it at all and I’m starting to despair because I NEED A JOB! One that I can do from home, preferably. Being an Internet celebrity seems like the obvious solution to all of my problems.

Today Pinterest, tomorrow the world!

Wouldn’t it be awesome if life worked that way? Or at least if I could be deluded enough to believe that it did?

And the finalization of this post has been interrupted by yet another dirty diaper, so this is all you get.