Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A positive update on Henry

Someone who lives in this house with me has pointed out a number of times that my early posts about Henry had an, um, negative tone to them. It's time I rectify that, whether you buy the assessment or not.

Henry was a very typical newborn. He slept fitfully but not badly. He needed to be rocked to sleep. He loved to breastfeed. He was 100% normal. The only hard part of that was that I had two other kids... and we were about to move. So I did indeed find the whole newborn stuff a bit more stressful this time around.

When we moved back to Ottawa, Henry's sleep improved - he typically slept from about 8:00 until 1:00 and then up around 4:00 again and then around 7:00 or 8:00. Not bad at all.

His naps though.... oh, don't get me started. His morning nap was and still is somewhere between 20 minutes to 45 minutes (if I'm lucky).

And then he had a week where he was up at night every 1 to 2 hours. Ouch.

Again, 100% normal.

But a few days ago I reached my limit on his crappy naps. I deduced that when he had good naps (like on travel days when he naps for long stints in the car) he sleeps better at night. It was time to take action.

If you follow me on Facebook you'll know that I expressed a bit of angst at letting a 4 month old cry-it-out. I've never been much of a cry-it-outer. Emily threw up when we tried it with her. End of experiment. Hope was so stubborn that she was hoarse after a week of crying. Awful. And not willing to do that again.

I threw caution to the wind three days ago when I was on the phone with my friend Meredith and Henry woke after a 20 minute nap. I just had a feeling that he could do it. So, I kept talking, he kept crying, badda-boom badda-bing he was back asleep thirty minutes later. Yes, he was pretty mad in those 30 minutes but it so paid off! The next day, I put him in his crib awake, 3 minutes later he was asleep. Since then, if he goes to bed awake he fusses for a few minutes and then goes to sleep.

Last night, he slept from 8:15 to 5:40 this morning. Hello success! I've got this parenting thing licked!

Ahem... I must divulge that I'm typing this while listening to him cry through the monitor after a 25 minute nap.

So maybe his naps still aren't perfect but he's doing great, being so cooperative when I need him to be and sleeping great at night.... for now. I'm under no illusions. I know how these babies operate. Next week could be a different kettle of fish.

But even on the bad nights this dude gives me laughs and smiles and cuddles and cute stuff that would melt anyone's heart. Perhaps there is a bit of bias... but I'm willing to say that this is one great and easy baby right now. Way to go, Henry!

His latest favourite move is to grab his feet - the happy baby pose - and laugh and giggle while I change him. And his laugh! Oh his laugh! I have to record his squeaky gaspy snort. It is so funny.

On Friday he had his 4-month check-up. The guy is humongous. He is 20 lbs exactly, 70 cm long. We now have to upgrade to a new car seat which means our Snap N Go stroller will now be useless to us as well. The price you pay for having a bruiser I guess.

Hm.... still crying. Perhaps morning naps just aren't his thing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Now we are six

Now we are six
by A.A. Milne

When I was one,
I had just begun.
When I was two,
I was nearly new.
When I was three,
I was hardly me.
When I was four,
I was not much more.
When I was five,
I was just alive.
But now I am six,
I'm as clever as clever.
So I think I'll be six
now and forever.


You turned six on August 11. Today is September 21. I'm only two months late in writing this letter. At least I'm writing it this year; I seemed to have missed last year and maybe the year before. I will miss no more! I don't want to look back in twenty years and foggily remember how amazing you were at this age.

I won't gloss over it: the last two years have been challenging with you. You are an extremely intelligent kid but you are also very emotional; apparently it's common for these two things to go hand in hand. Being 4 and 5 is emotional for most kids but it seemed to wallop you especially hard and you had a hard time learning how to deal with those emotional swings. Through perseverance and as much patience as we could muster, we seem to have taught you how to handle it all a little better. You still have your moments, especially when you're tired, but you are much more mature about it now. You still need reminding sometimes that you should slow down, take a breath, or take a break in your room until you can talk about things calmly. There is still work to do but you have come a long way.

And boy, you're smart. You love school. You are thrilled by learning new things. You can't wait for me to start teaching you piano (gotta get on that). You love learning French again and you love numbers but by far your favourite thing to do is read. You are reading chapter books as quickly as we can get them from the library. A few weeks ago on a trip to the cottage you read through a Jigsaw Jones mystery (your current favourite series) long before we even reached Algonquin Park.

And while you love being six and being in Grade 1, you are still are little girl who, if given the choice, would somedays (like this morning) stay home with us rather than go to school because you're missing us now that you're at school full days, every day. I love that you feel that way because I feel that too. I miss you.

You still love crafts... any kind. Your favourite show is still Mr. Maker and you often come upstairs after watching an episode with a new craft idea to try or an inspiration for your own creation.

You and Hope continue to be the best of friends. Yesterday you were both playing school in the backyard using the chalkboard that I'm making for you. You both love to pretend together or play sports or put on shows for us.

You've become a big sister again without any problem... you loved Henry from the moment you saw him and you haven't once resented him being around. You run to see him every day and smother him with kisses and hugs and play. He absolutely adores you. You're a great helper to Mummy too, both with him and Hope.

You still show a love for sports. This year you're trying out indoor soccer and you've already told me that that this spring you're going to play baseball. Real baseball, you say, not t-ball. I'm excited to see where your interests take you in sport. Last year in Waterloo, you really advanced in swimming and you're excited to get back to that too.

Our transition to Waterloo and back was hard for you. You had an amazing year there though. You loved your school, your teacher and all the friends you made. We had a great social life there and both you and I are missing it even two months after being back. We hope to get back there permanently one day. I know it will be another transition. But you've got Mummy to watch your back and help you through the emotions of it. I understand it because you got those traits from me. We'll do it together.

I love you so much Emily. You'll always be my big girl, my special friend, my awesome helper, my sous-chef, my gardening buddy. I honestly could never have imagined a more perfect six-year old.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A wee schedule

I've decided that the best way to even make a small dent in the housework around here is to have a regular schedule that I follow each week. My duties each day will be small but I'll do the same thing in order each week. If I at least get this stuff done, then the house will be livable. Anymore and I'll feel like a freaking star. So here it is:

Monday: change the sheets
Tuesday: clean the bathrooms (we have four so that is no mean feat)
Wednesday: vacuum
Thursday: dust
Friday: groceries

I know that it doesn't seem like much, and it isn't but it will hopefully keep me on track to do one small thing each day that isn't just changing diapers, doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen. Sometimes that feels like all I do. Within this schedule I'll also be fitting laundry and sweeping and (rarely) mopping.

Since my focus is primarily to be with the kids, I think this will give me the balance I'm looking for: lots of play time and a house that is fit for humans and not just pigs.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Happy birthday to my 4 year old

My sweet Hope, you've had a great year and you've changed a lot. This year we clearly saw you go from pudgy toddler to big girl very quickly. It seemed it happened all in one month. You thinned out, you started using words like "nearly" and "appropriate" and other words I didn't even know you knew. Your speech still needs a little work, particiularly with your s, sh and j sounds, but I love how you sound. Our neighbour in Waterloo said you sounded like a cartoon character and she loved to hear you talk. Most people have the same reaction, loving to hear your voice and character come out when you speak.

You did so well in Waterloo. You made lots of friends, handled the moves easily and absolutely loved preschool at St. John's last year. You were enthusiastic about just about everything and you and I really enjoyed our days together on our own. You were and are such a great companion for me. We played lots of games and did crafts or went to the farmer's markets or had playdates or went for bike rides.

You still make us laugh constantly and we can always count on you to be in a great mood. You have so much empathy and love... it just bleeds out of you. For example, I made a dog's breakfast of your birthday cake on Tuesday. The icing just wouldn't cooperate to write Happy Birthday Hope. I was really mad about it and sorry that your cake wasn't how you wanted it. You said: "It's okay Mummy. I love it just the way it is. You don't need to be upset. I love it."

You completely melt my heart, just about everyday. I love that you still love to hold my hand when we walk. I love that you absolutely must kiss Daddy and me before bed. I love that you always want to sit beside me.

You are growing into a big kid now. And you seem as perfect now as you did when you were born. I love you Hope!

Monday, September 06, 2010

My labour today

Happy Labour Day to everyone.

My labour today consisted of Week 1 - Day 1 of the Couch to 5K program, otherwise known on Twitter and the like as #c25k.

Yup, I hit the pavement with my running shoes and iPhone and ran. And walked. And ran again. It is a learn-to-run program after all and that's how it's done.

So I'm outing myself to all of you. My goal is to participate in the Santa Shuffle Fun Run in Ottawa on December 4 running the 5k fun run. Anyone want to join me?

I'll post updates occasionally. Wish me and my aching legs luck!

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Henry 365 update

It seems I fell off the wagon for a while but really it's just that I haven't been on the ball uploading the photos.

Until tonight.

I went crazy organizing and downloading and uploading and whatsit. So, go on over to Henry 365 to see what's new.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

What to do with your cherry tomatoes

A lot of really good olive oil, sea salt and some onion. That's all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, September 03, 2010

Stream of consciousness

It's late and I should go to bed. Today I looked after four children and survived. In the midst of that I even mopped the floor. I'm feeling like ALL THAT.

This is the last weekend of a summer that disappeared under a mountain of diapers and beneath the wheels of a moving truck.

My wee Hope starts JK this week.

Henry started to sleep in his own room last night (although wasn't keen on napping today no matter where he was).

I had Henry weighed yesterday. He is 3 1/2 months old and weighs 18 lbs 10 oz. Oprah should be calling any day now to get obese baby on the show. He's actually outgrowing the 6-9 month clothes he is currently wearing. Tomorrow I'm pulling out the 12 month stuff. And booking a massage. My back is killing me.

Emily doesn't qualify for the bus now that she is Grade 1 yet Hope does as a kindergartener. September could be complicated.

It is possible that Henry is working on a tooth.

My canning has slowed down. Tomorrow I'll try and put up red pepper jelly and pickles. Miracles do happen, you know.

The house is slowly (so slowly) getting put together. Everyday I accomplish one thing to make it more unpacked, however small. Or cleaner because right now? Ew. In fact, I made the grave mistake of looking in the floor vent in the kitchen today and threw up in my mouth a little. And then booked a vent cleaning.

Now seriously, it's time for bed.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone