Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Sleep Trained...again

The biggest news recently is that Elie has been sleep trained AGAIN. He sucked so bad at sleeping recently that we had to rock him to sleep EVERY time he went to sleep. My back was breaking. My arms were weak. I HATED putting him to bed. At night it sometimes took an hour to get him to fall asleep. We missed going out to a Tiger's game because of it. Ugh.

(Other than that, he has been a lovely, happy baby. Learning lots of new things each day. Still only has one word: quack (as in a duck). Eats nearly everything. Smiles. Laughs. Makes jokes. Just COULD NOT get himself to sleep for his life)

Then, two weekends ago, I had a luxurious three day weekend in New York City. I went for a friend from childhood's wedding (I wasn't actually invited to the wedding, but that's another story, and the bride and groom were happy I was there - and it was an AMAZING wedding, and I was so glad I was there too!), and I added a few days to see a few other people whom I love and have a bit of childless time to catch up. I had good catch ups with Ellen from Pardes (and met her daughter for the first time), had fantastic time and good food with Eli, had breakfast with and got to meet Emily, Ari's new fiancee (Ari from Singapore...), my cousin Hallie, Vishal and Therese from Singapore (and I met their son for the first time), friends Jeremy and Terese and their kids, Julia (also from Singapore...) and then I got a great walk and chat with Sarah and met up with the camp friends (Freya and Daniel) for Jay's wedding. Wow - to have no responsibilities beyond myself. Wow - to walk and walk and walk in this city that I love. And wow - that was amazing to be around people who were part of the formative years of Melanie, and also it was just a beautiful, beautiful wedding with a fantastic bride and groom.

So...I may have drank a bit at the wedding...and also perhaps I didn't go to sleep so by the time I came home on Monday I was pretty useless. At night I tried to rock Elie to sleep a little bit, but I had no energy. I was hating every minute of it. So I gave him a kiss, told him I loved him and I left him in his bed.

And he cried.

And cried.

And cried.

For FIFTY minutes.

But then he slept through the night.

Tuesday morning he woke as normal, nursed, ate breakfast, and I put him down to sleep again, with a kiss and a few minutes of rocking, but he was not sleeping.

And he cried again...for fifty minutes.

Now I had told people he was literally not capable of putting himself to sleep. I had previously let him cry for HOURS, and it was just awful, but the truth is that I always went in eventually. I hadn't had my hard assed approach (at least in a few months) that no matter what (other than fire or something seriously wrong), I would not go in his room from 7pm - 7am. I don't think I realized that I hadn't actually given him the chance.

I KNEW that if I went in, even after 45 minutes (which is the time I had set for the last few weeks), he would then know that I was coming eventually.

Tuesday afternoon I did the same thing, but he only cried for five minutes.

Tuesday night NO CRYING. And since then (other than once when he was super late for his nap and he was super hungry) NO CRYING!!! Even when he slept in my brother's bathroom last weekend (that's another story) and my parents' house for naps and for a night. Nothing!!! I don't know if he goes to sleep right away or what, but he's quiet and he is rested when he wakes up. Boy do I love him more.

In other news we had a LOVELY time in Chicago this past weekend, visiting my brother, a few cousins and a few friends. We weren't able to fit too much in with nap schedules, but we got a few minutes at the park with Daniel, Annie and Judah, a yummy taco dinner, a playground date with Marla, Kirsten, Ian and Lily, a lovely catch up with Eric's mom, Phyllis (also from Singapore), a nice time with our cousins and a super brunch with Matt's friends (and mine too at this point...) Christen and Brian and their awesome daughters. We loved all of the visits and overall the travel was easy.

A few things I have noticed:
Many of the people I love visiting I met in Singapore. I don't think I realized it would be that way when I met them there, but it turns out they're really good friends, we have a lot in common and I care a lot about them. Who knew?! :)

Samara is still seriously hard to manage. When I ask her to do something she says, "NO!" a lot of the time. And I'm not quite sure what to do about it. I got the book 1-2-3 Magic, as I heard that is helpful, but man is it exhausting to have to spend a half hour on getting dressed, then 20 minutes on going to the bathroom before we go to school, anther 10 on which shoes to wear...oh, and that's just before 8am. She's also still very difficult with food (though getting SLIGHTLY better). That's really frustrating too...

I don't think the culture shock of anything has really hit too much (yet?). I have a few moments, but nothing that has totally freaked me out or overwhelmed me an unreasonable amount. There are still a lot of details to sort out, so perhaps my brain is busy with those. Car seats. Warm clothes for the kids. Mobile phones. Closed toed shoes. New York. Chicago and upcoming travel too...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stable Instability

We are living in stable instability. At least for Samara. We are stable. We are living at my in-laws. Sam is in school (thank goodness!), loving four days a week at Temple Israel and one day at Bright Loritos, in Chinese. She's loving gymnastics. She loves stable routine. Yet...our stuff is on a ship. We aren't staying in Michigan past year-end. None of us really wants to get too invested in our life as it is now, as it will change very quickly, and we will have to just get all settled again. Matt and I are trying to deal with that reality as well as possible, but poor Sam. These are hard things for an almost-four-year-old.

Overall, we are doing great in our temporary life. We are enjoying being so close to family. We are loving the weather. We are loving not having to work. We are definitely enjoying...but it's also a hard time since nothing is forever, and like I said, it's some hard adjustments for a little lady.

Elie at Bell's Brewery in Kalamazoo

Since I last wrote, we went to the west side of Michigan with Matt's parents, and we stayed in my cousins' gorgeous place, right on Lake Michigan. THANKS LENORE AND JOEL!! We had a lovely stop at Bell's brewery for lunch, fun on the beach, lots of relaxing time (including GORGEOUS sunsets) on the porch and just chilling in South Haven, a little hike, a farmer's market, a tour of my father in-law's childhood was great time for the in-laws and kids, and relaxing for everyone.

Elie after eating blackberries the size of plums
On the Kal-Haven trail

Before sunset at Sleepy Hollow
Funny faces in South Haven
Fran and Tom with Elie in South Haven

Fran and Sam at the beach in Sleepy Hollow

Elie and Tom 

Sam and the snorkel and mask she wouldn't part with, eating her sweet potato fries and yogurt

After that we headed up north towards Harbor Springs to meet Jeremy in Mark and Paula's place. THANKS MARK AND PAULA!! On the way up we test drove a car, we swapped our rental car for one with tires that held air, and we had a fantastic dinner at Short's Brewery. The few days up there were also filled with great outdoor activities and just great time with Jer.

Jer and Elie at the Pond Hill Farm, outside of Harbor Springs

Sam also at the farm

Sam and Jer at the farm

Natural balance beam


At dinner at Legs Inn

Since coming back, Sam started her schools and programs, Kitty has decided to come out and hang in the rest of the house more often, Elie got vaccinated, we got a car, we made loads of trip plans...and we have tried to relax a little bit. Elie has been sleeping through the night in South Haven and also for the last few nights, so that has changed my life.

I am reading Homeward Bound by Robin Pascoe, about repatriating from the perspective of the trailing spouse (pathetic term, but it's what I am right now...until I get my own thing going). Matt's reading one called Homeward Bound about readjusting a family, and we're discussing main points. We are trying to stay flexible and chill about the whole thing while also remaining on top of issues that may be challenging for any one of us - and also at different times.

Random, no? This was in Saugatuck, near South Haven. It seems to have NO relation to the real Singapore, which makes no sense!

Road trips are boring

First day of school at Temple Israel