Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Baby Sleep - Who the hell knows anyway

Here's my baby sleep update, now that we're almost at a year with #3. You may recall that in August last year I seemed to have some idea of what I was talking about when I wrote this. Now - I'm confident I have no idea.

Koby never has had a problem putting himself to sleep (other than this afternoon, apparently - as he just finally stopped crying/kvetching after about 20 minutes of struggle). Since he was tiny I would generally put him to bed, he would kick his legs around like crazy, wave bye, and I would walk out. I never put him to bed asleep, and he never complained. He napped great.

At three months he was still getting up a bunch at night. "Oy." I would say. "I'm not sure I can make it until six months when I will get him to sleep through the night! I'm SOOOOOO tired!!!" We were waking anywhere from 3-4 times per night. I would feed him and he went right back to sleep. But he never seemed to sleep for a long time.

At six months it was the same, but Weissbluth says you can start to sleep train. So we tried to let him cry, as we had done (and it worked!) with Samara. It sucked. He never stopped crying. He would cry for an hour or an hour and a half and finally go back to bed. After days and days of this it never got better. The doctor said I had to stop. He wasn't ready. Plus he was kinda skinny (Koby, not the doctor), so doc said to just feed him if he wants it and get him back to sleep. Sure - easy for him to say.

I kept trying to let him cry. After five days if I didn't see improvement, I would stop for another month or so. It NEVER got better. I was basically feeding him around 10, 1 and 4. EVERY night. I was so so so so so so so so so so so so so so tired. I was going to bed at 8. But even if I did that, I was still barely getting four pieced together hours of sleep. But I didn't even know what to do. It seemed like if I let him cry, he didn't go to sleep for so long, and it never got better. If I fed him, he went back to sleep. I never got him at the end of a cry when I was trying to sleep train him - as in I always got him after he had fallen back asleep and woken up again, so as not to show him that I was getting him if he cried. With my behavior I was basically screaming at him, "I WILL NOT GET YOU UNTIL 4AM!!!!" and he was basically screaming at me, "I DON'T GIVE A FUCK WHAT YOU WANT!!!! I WANT MILK!!!!!"

Then he was 11.5 months. I was losing my mind. I was sooooooo tired. I felt like it was never going to end. I hated going to sleep. Every morning I woke up and said, "oh my god. I am sooooooo tired. I can't believe I have to get up, take care of 3 kids - with patience allllllll day - and then tonight I will go to sleep as soon as I can, and it will STILL suck and there is just no end." I couldn't believe I could function on so little sleep - every single day. With not ONE night of sleep. I had six hours ONE night in those 11 months. It was awful.

A friend in Newton, Amy, had said she worked with a sleep consultant. I was on number three. Seriously? Did I need help with this? How could I not figure this out!? But I couldn't. I got in touch with Joanna Silverman. I wrote her my story. She said she could help. Yeah right. But whatever, I thought I would try. For $125 it was worth saying that I had tried...

After I filled out a long survey about his sleep environment, schedule, our house, etc., we had a half hour discussion (it ended up costing $65...). She suggested:

Sleep environment:
- Take out the night light (we had just added that a few weeks before since I wanted to be able to see him at night during the thousand times he was waking up)
- Take out all little lights in his room

Sleep schedule:
- Wake him by 7am
- Morning nap should be about 2 hours after wake (otherwise it's a continuation of nighttime sleep, which apparently is bad)
- All nap time total for a day should not exceed 3.5 hours
- Keep him up until 7:15 pm (he was going to sleep around 6:30)
- Do something after nursing and before sleep - like read a book or sing a song - to disassociate nursing from sleep. Also she suggested nursing him outside of his bedroom before bed.

Nighttime adjustments/weaning:
- If he wakes before 1am go in and say, "you're ok. You can go back to sleep. I love you," or whatever, for 30 seconds or less. This happens after 2 mins, then 4, then 6 then 8. The next day start at 3, then 6 then 9, etc. Don't pick him up.
- At 1am I had been feeding him for ten minutes on each side. She had me cut down by one minute on each side, starting the first night. After a week we would be down to 4 minutes total, and then I would not get him out of bed, and do the suggestion above (going in quickly but not getting him).
- Continue to feed him a 4ish if he wakes up

My reactions:
I will try but I'm sure this won't work either.
If I go in, then he will learn that he can cry and I will come in. Shana had suggested this - as it worked for two of her kids - but I thought it was kinda counterintuitive. If they cry and you go in, don't they learn that you'll go in?
Weaning slowly won't work - He wants to eat. He will scream. But whatever.

So we tried. The first few times I went in when he was crying he SCREAMED like he was soooo mad for about a minute. And then he fell back asleep. SERIOUSLY!! He fell right back asleep, and I never even had to go in again!!!

I cut down one minute on each side at the 1am feed. After the fifth night we were down to 5 minutes on each side, and he willingly unlatched and went back to sleep. The next night he never even cried at this time!!!! He went straight to 4am!!!

I literally don't believe it, but it's true. For 3 of the last 5 nights he has slept THROUGH THE NIGHT from 7:30 or so until 6 or 6:30. The other two he woke up around 4:15, nursed and went right back to bed until 6 or 6:30. He is so happy. He is developing more. I am a new woman. I love Joanna Silverman.

If only my other two could get the 12 hours without a peep memo. Or even 11. Samara's legs keep falling asleep at night (!!???), and Elie has these weird stories that are critical to share at 2am. So I have yet to sleep through the night, but we're SO almost there. And I STILL can't believe it!

Moral of my sleep story is - WHO FUCKING KNOWS!? But some things work for some kids. And that's awesome.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

New House

It's been FIVE months since I have written a blog post. I don't think I have ever gone that long without posting. I guess it's because life just goes now - it's not new and exciting. There are very few adventures. Day to day life now doesn't include monthly trips to random fun Asian countries/cities. It doesn't include new baby experiences. I'm not having a lot of revelations about life in general...I will eventually write a post about surviving a year (almost!) with three kids 5.5 and under, but not yet. I'm still collecting my thoughts.

In the meantime, since December, we have traveled VERY little - really only to Michigan a few times and one trip to San Francisco. Sam registered for kindergarten in March. Sam and Elie continue to LOVE school (Temple Shalom in West Newton), we had a few weeks of all being sick with high fevers for five days, each. I started running again (usually with a kid or two in a B.O.B.). We have had a lot of low-key weekends. It's HARD to do more than one thing each day. Sam started soccer with other kids from her school for next year.

Samara is now 5.5. She turned into a big kid. She likes to read small words. She's figuring out everything and how it all works. She still loves to ride her two wheeler, she is working on her hand stand. She can flip over a bar. She does the fire pole on the playground and also the monkey bars. She has a couple of friends at school that she is obsessed with and loves to play with. She has an incredibly vivid imagination. She is also a fantastic big sister - she helps so much with both, teaching Elie how to do everything and helping them each get what they need. She makes Koby happy before I even realize he's unhappy.

Elie is 2.5 and also seems to have turned into a big kid. He does not stop talking - telling stories about everything - true and not so true. He is particularly obsessed with diving and knows the names of all of the gear and many of the fish. He knows what you need to do to set up your diving equipment and how it all works (quiz him - you won't believe it). He still LOVES his guitar. He is stuck on Purim and very stuck on the story - particularly the Haman part. When asked what his name is, he may or may not say, "Haman." He eats so much fruit, I can't believe he only poops five times a day. He started riding his bike with training wheels.

Koby will be one soon, and he's still a super easy baby. He is so happy to be sitting. Or playing. Or hanging out in a stroller. Or whatever. He's just so chill. He went through a few months when he didn't like other people (other than me), but he's over that now, and he waves, blows kisses, smiles left and right and has a lot of babble to say. He seems to say, "da-da" and maybe "hi." He doesn't quite crawl, but he finally scoots and gets around the floor. He still doesn't really flip over. He likes to stand up on things. He eats lots of purees and picks up some foods on his own. He still doesn't sleep, but we talked to a sleep consultant last week, and it's actually getting better (knock on wood...). We're working on sleeping from 7:15-3:30 and then again for a few hours. Last week he was waking to eat at 1 and 4 - at ELEVEN MONTHS. And when he "cried it out" he cried for HOURS per night, for at least 5 days at a time (so I was advised to stop each time). I can't wait to stop going to sleep at 8:30 pm. Matt waits for that time too.

Oh - and we bought a house. I guess we're staying here for a while.

We started looking at houses at the beginning of March. I looked in my emails each day to see what came on line. There were a few that looked interesting. I sent Matt to this one house in Chestnut Hill (kinda a snobby area) just so he could see what kind of house I liked - though I didn't like the neighborhood. He went to see the house and he hated it. He came home so mad he couldn't even talk to me. He just went for a run. And he saw a sign in our neighborhood for an Open House. He went there, and he saw it was 4 bedrooms. He toured it and said, "this is it. We want this house." He ran home and said, "go right now - they're closing. I think we want this house." I hadn't even seen it on my emails, because it was super under-priced in order to create a bidding war. I went at 3pm. I ran through it as they were closing up. Looked great. "Bids are due by 8pm - and I already have five," said the agent as I walked out. Awesome. We called our next door neighbor, Sandra, who is a well known agent in this area. We said "What do we do? We want this house. We are not pre-approved for a mortgage. Bids are due in about 4.5 hours." She told us whom to call and what to do. We did it. Bid went in. LET THE STRESS BEGIN! Koby had an ear infection. Koby was puking. Elie was sick. Sam had just gotten over a fever. Aaaaaahhhhh!!!

There were 19 bids. We waived all contingencies. We made a high bid. It was accepted. We couldn't believe it. We were so excited for a minute. Then...Shit!!! WHAT DID WE DO!!!??? We waived our contingencies!?!?! We were buying a house built in 1939 with no inspection!?!? Our agent had said we could get an inspector to come in before we signed the purchase and sales agreement, just informally, and not negotiate based on the inspection, but we could walk away if we saw too much bad stuff. But the sellers would not let us in with an inspector. They did let me go in with a builder/contractor. He said there were a few things that he worried about - but not major damage. And all houses here have SOMETHING. So we ended up putting a heck of a lot of money down with the purchase and sales agreement without an inspection. Then I got the fever and got super sick. Koby continued to be sick. Stressful. Then we got an inspector in. There were a few things, but nothing that major. PHEW!!!!! We closed yesterday. We own a house!

It's a 1939 colonial, a few streets from ours. It's exactly the same layout downstairs as our house, except it has an addition of a family room, an eat-in kitchen (and updated kitchen) and a master bedroom and bathroom upstairs. It's on a dead end street with three houses on the street. It's across the street from a field with about six soccer fields, four tennis courts and a playground. It's a six minute walk to Newton Centre T and Peet's Coffee (critical), plus the rest of the shops and restaurants in Newton Centre. It's still walk-able to Nancy's and our favorite playground in Newton Highlands, but we did add about 8 minutes to each of those. Let the fun begin!!!

Oh - can someone teach me:
How do we make grass in the back yard? What do we need to do to our yard? We have a whole back corner that looks like a mess of vines. I need help!
What do we need to do to the house on what basis? Like what kind of maintenance?
What else do we need to know about owning a house!?

Koby and Grandma in Florida in December

Hanukkah in Florida with Grandma, Grandpa, Savta, Papa and Jeremy

Happy New Years 2016! Doesn't get more exciting than this...


Super mild winter. Cute kids in sled.

Sam ice skated for the first (and second and third) time!

Koby sleeps like this. Honest!!

Elie and Uncle Dan in N. California

With Bubbie and Zaydie on the cable car in San Francisco

Saying goodbye to Sadie, our cousin-dog :(

Half Moon Bay

I voted in the primaries! With three little kids (and one had a feb. It was so hard. But I got there!

The kid clearly lacks personality

Samara's self portrait

Shabbat in Elie's school when he was the ozer (helper)

Daddy was in Asia, so Savta came to shabbat in Elie's class


Worst photo ever taken. He thought he was smiling

Such a happy dude

Elie gets his teeth checked for the first time

Tile shopping couldn't be more fun.

Koby and our neighbor-dog, Tenzing

Elie had a tea party with his friends and brother. At like 6:20 am

Here's the house! Before photos...

Living room (to the right of entry)

Family room (behind living room)

Eat-in kitchen area

Dining room

This will be an extra bedroom/office/guest room

Sam and Elie will sleep in this big one

Koby gets the purple one

Matt's working on re-doing this bathroom

I'm not confident we can fill all of this space.

Master bedroom

Florida in Dec w Savta - too tired to move this one

Florida in Dec