On the new sleeping arrangements

To follow up on that last post, I have now set the girls up with a shared bedroom.

Oooh, wait! Funny side story about that: Dave was going to help me move furniture around last weekend, since he was in town. Then Friday night rolled around, and I had a date. Yay for me, right? This guy asked me out to dinner, and I think it’s important to note here that we had gone out once before, and he was still texting me daily, so it’s obviously not like he was completely repulsed by me.

So, we go out to dinner at this really fantastic sushi place, and the waiter is really prompt about refilling my Diet Coke, which is keeping me happy. We had met for dinner at 6:00, and then we finish eating, and I’m like, “So, want to go see a movie or grab a drink or something?” And he was like, “Nah, I’m really tired, I think I just want to go home and go to bed.” He walked me to my car and gave me a hug, and THAT, my friends, was very clearly the end of the date. It was over by 7:15 p.m. On a Friday night.

That’s weird, right? It’s weird. Oh, and then he continued to text me afterward. I swear, I do not understand dudes.

(Also: total waste of both mascara and leg-shaving.)

After the Comically Short Date, I went home and I was thinking that I might watch a movie or something, but I was ridiculously hyped up because I had consumed something like a MILLION Diet Cokes while we were at the restaurant. So, I decided to rearrange all of the furniture by myself. On a Friday night.

(Pro tip: Don’t ever try to move a queen-size bed by yourself, unless you happen to really enjoy any excuse to take muscle relaxers.)


So, the way I did this (for like the 3 people who read this who know what the inside of my house looks like):

* Lucy’s old room is now the guest room. (Which makes sense, because it’s right next to the hall bathroom, so really, it’s friendlier accommodations for my guests.)

* Catie’s old room is now her “office”/playroom. (I got a desk for $30 on craigslist and set her up with all of her art supplies up there. She LOVES it. And it keeps her crayons off of my kitchen table, so I love it too.)

* The former guest room is now the girls’ combined bedroom. I ordered a whole mess of vinyl wall decals, because it lets the kids personalize the room without damaging the walls or making me worry about my security deposit.


Catie chose the design aesthetic. It’s a combination of flowering trees, butterflies… and jungle animals. Because why not, that’s why.

My mom saw it and said, “I love it. I mean, it’s completely insane, but it’s perfect.” I think that about sums it up.

Lucy’s side of the room:
Lucy's side of the new room

Catie’s side of the room:
Catie's side of the new room
(Yes, Catie is a little old for a guard rail, but she is what you might call an “active sleeper,” so trust me, it’s still necessary.)

You may also note that each kid has their own Dream Lite pillow pet on their bed. Bedtime is like a freaking Pink Floyd laser light show up in here.

Anyway, since Dave has been in town, we’ve only had a limited test run with this experiment, but so far, 2 of the 3 nights that they’ve spent in the new room, Lucy slept through the night and didn’t make a peep.

Hang on a second, I’m gonna need to say that again and bust out the all-caps.


Last night was the first night we’ve had a problem, and it was because Catie was snoring like a damn lumberjack and it kept waking Lucy up. I finally remembered to turn on the humidifier – partly to help with Catie’s snoring, but also because the white noise would drown out the sound so Lucy could sleep, and then they both slept fine for the rest of the night.

So, I am being VERY cautious because I don’t want to get overly excited here and jinx everything, but I think we maybe, possibly, kinda-sorta miiiiight have found a solution that’ll work for us.

Now, quick, throw some salt over your shoulder or knock on wood or light a candle or something.


P.S. Gratuitous pic of my kid because it makes me laugh.

Lucy wearing her big sister's hoodie

Yeah. That face. I swear. She’s damn lucky she’s cute.

sleep training begins, kinda

It’s generally a bad idea to talk about a particular parenting style on the Internet, because it always leads to disagreements – breast versus bottle, stay-at-home moms versus working moms, natural childbirth versus medicated… all of those arguments we’ve had a hundred times or more.

Which is why it’s probably a bad idea for me to write about this, but a couple of posts this week got me thinking about it, so here it is.

I’ve started sleep training Lucy.

Let me back up: for the past four months, my mom has been living with me, so the idea of letting Lucy cry it out simply wasn’t an option. My mom is respectful of my parenting decisions, but she’s also a grandma, and it goes against her instincts to let her grandbaby cry. Besides, I never would’ve let Lucy cry it out when she was younger than 6 months old anyway.

But lately, bedtime with her has turned into this ridiculously elaborate dance, and it basically feels like she’s training me, instead of the other way around, and I have to put a stop to it.

Lately, Lucy’s sleep routine has been:
* Bathtime.
* Bottle.
* She starts to fall asleep on the bottle, then wakes up and wants! to! play! (Which, WTF? Wasn’t the whole POINT of the bath to make you sleepy, kid?).
* She rolls around on the floor and plays for at least an hour, sometimes longer.
* She eats some solid food – because I figure what the hell, we’re awake, and maybe having a little extra in her tummy will make her sleep longer. (Tip: it doesn’t.)
* Play some more. I get increasingly desperate for sleep.
* Another bottle. This time, she falls asleep while drinking it.
* Burp.
* Caaaaarefully transfer sleeping baby to crib. If she wakes up, she screams bloody murder, then I have to pick baby up and rock her until she falls asleep again, then repeat transfer process. (This may take up to 5 times or more, before successful crib placement actually occurs.)
* I crawl to bed and collapse, and pray that she sleeps through the night. Which she’s done, like, maybe 4 times in her life. Normally she wakes me up after 3-4 hours.

So. That’s completely ridiculous, right? I mean, I know it is.

The thing is, when I’ve tried to let her cry it out, I end up caving in. She screams and screams, and eventually I just can’t take it anymore, so I go get her. (Of course, the message she receives from this is, “If I scream loud enough, Mommy will come back and get me.” So that’s completely useless.)

Last night, she woke me up at 4 a.m., as per usual. I gave her a bottle, burped her, and put her back in the crib. As soon as I set her down, she woke up and started shrieking. I sat down on the floor next to her crib, reached through the slats, and tried to pat her and comfort her, to get her to go to sleep on her own.

I did that for half an hour. She never stopped screaming.

Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I could feel myself starting to get angry – which is completely irrational, I know. She’s a baby, she can’t help it. But she had me up past midnight, then woke me up less than 4 hours later, and I was just exhausted and I couldn’t take it anymore. So I left.

I lay down in my bed and I stared at the clock. Lucy screamed for 22 minutes, then she finally fell asleep.

(For the record? Catie slept through the entire thing.)

I don’t feel that guilty about it – I mean, she wasn’t hungry, she wasn’t sick or in pain. She was just pissed off and didn’t want to sleep. Or she didn’t know how to get herself to sleep. Which is mostly my fault, because I haven’t made her figure out how to soothe herself yet.

I don’t know if this is something I’m going to do long-term. All I know is that I’m raising these 2 girls by myself, I don’t have a partner who I can tag-team for nighttime duty. And I have a full-time job, and I am useless during the day if I don’t get enough sleep. So I have to do something.

This is less about a particular parenting philosophy, and more about basic survival.

Trying SO HARD. But so far she can only go backwards.

Besides, based on the smiles and laughs I got this morning when she woke up, I’m pretty sure no major long-term damage has been done. Yet.

on jet lag & sickness

I suppose we were lucky that on our way to England, we didn’t experience much in the way of jet lag. We stayed up late, we slept late. We were a little tired, sure, but it was mostly fine. Coming home, though? Totally different story. The jet lag is kicking all of our butts.

In the week since we’ve been home, Catie has been unable to sleep more than two or three hours consistently without crying for either me or Dave. Sometimes she needs to use the bathroom (which, OMG she’s waking up to pee, yay! Only I’m not so enthusiastic about it at 3 a.m.), sometimes she’s thirsty, sometimes she’s just upset because she kicked her covers off and she wants us to tuck her back in. And even though I understand that this whole trip threw off her routine and she just needs reassurance to get back to normal, it’s challenging to maintain empathy after the third or fourth time she wakes me up.

Oh, also? She’s been announcing that she’s tired and ready for bed around 8:30, which is fantastic. I’ve been wanting her to go to bed earlier for ages. But then she decides that she’s awake for the day at 5 a.m. Which, no. Sorry, kid. Mommy needs more sleep than that. I’ll gladly take that 10:30 p.m. bedtime back if it means that I get to sleep until 8:00 again.

sick day fashion

As if Dave and I weren’t tired enough – and we’re both just now finally starting to feel better after that Sinus Infection of Doom – Catie now appears to be sick too. It started on Saturday, she came down with a fever and a nasty cough. These things always make her asthma flare up, so we’re being very careful to stay on top of her meds to keep her comfortable. The poor thing is on Pulmicort, albuterol, Motrin, and Zyrtec. She takes all of them like a champ, which is great, but I hate that she needs it.

Anyway, this virus thing means even less sleep than before. The past 3 nights, she’s woken up every 45 minutes to an hour. If memory serves, this is actually less sleep than I got when she was a newborn.

She seems a lot better today, so hopefully we’re at the end of this phase of all three of us being sick. Which would be nice, because I’ve had quite enough of it already to last me for all of 2010.

(Photographic evidence of her improvement. Keep it up, kiddo. Please keep it up. Mommy is exhausted and needs you to get healthy quickly.)

Random Friday thoughts

With headings, Mimi Smartypants-style.


I had a job interview today. The job would actually be pretty good – not super-exciting, but ok; I’m qualified for it, the people seem nice, etc. And the interview went really well, I won’t be surprised if they make me an offer. But I think I’ve talked myself out of it simply for the fact that it’s a full-time office job, and the office is over 30 miles away. That’s a long-ass commute. Especially if it means that Catie would be going to daycare full-time, tacking an extra 45-ish minutes onto the beginning and end of each workday just for the drive? I don’t think I want to do that.

Although, I would get to pass this sign every day, which might make it worth it.
I hear it makes for a really crappy commute *rimshot*
Yes, I actually pulled over to take that picture. Don’t judge me. (Oh, be sure to hover your mouse over that pic so you can see my Flickr caption. I’m kind of ridiculously proud of myself for my juvenile sense of humor.)

Anyway, I figure that any job interview is good practice for the next one, which might actually be for a job that I do want. So, eh. Moving on.


Of the two days that Catie went to daycare this week, one day was great and the other day not-so-great. On the really good day, Nicole (our daycare provider) set Catie and Kiersten (Nicole’s daughter who is Catie’s age) up with some toys in Kiersten’s room, and then Nicole left them alone, but listened to them from the next room. She said that they played really nicely together for a long time. They talked to each other, role-played with their Little People action figures, and had an overall great time. So that’s good.

One of the things that Nicole mentioned last week, which was really bothering me, was that Catie often seems to be on the verge of tears when she’s at daycare. I couldn’t figure out why that would be, since that’s not her normal personality and Catie tells me all the time that she loves going to Miss Nicole’s house.

Then the big “DUH!” hammer smacked me upside the head. Remember how I mentioned recently that Catie goes to bed way too late for a 2 year-old? Well, on normal mornings where she’s just hanging out at home with me, she wakes up between 6:30 and 7 a.m., she has some milk, and then we go back to sleep for at least another hour. But on daycare days, we just get up and go. So, hi there, Big Fat Obvious Answer that I overlooked: she’s tired! Of course she’s tired! DUH! I’m kind of mortified that it took me this long to notice that.

So, we’re working on bedtime. I’m trying to bump her bedtime back about 10-15 minutes earlier every night. Last night she was in bed at 10:00, tonight I’ll aim for 9:45. I know you 8:00 bedtimers are still appalled that my child is up that late, but whatever. That’s the first time she’s been in bed that early since we left Washington. (Hey, maybe that’s the problem! She’s still on Pacific time! Even though we haven’t lived there in over a year. Hmm.)


Catie has gone Christmas crazy. She’s absolutely berserk for the cartoons, the decorations, everything. And it’s only going to get worse because the child is essentially having FOUR Christmases this year. No exaggeration.
* 1st Christmas – Next week, when my family is here for Thanksgiving. Since we’ll be in the UK next month, they want to do our big celebration and gift exchange now. Which is fine with me, really.
* 2nd and 3rd Christmas – With Dave’s dad and mom, respectively. I guess this is when divorce pays off, the grandkids get two sets of presents from two sets of grandparents. Score!
* 4th Christmas – When we get home from the UK, because you know, Santa understands vacation plans, and he knows that suitcase space is limited. He doesn’t want to deliver Catie’s new toy kitchen to England and make Mommy & Daddy haul it through customs. So Santa will reschedule delivery for, I don’t know, maybe New Year’s Eve. It depends on how jet lagged we are tired he is after making all those Christmas Eve deliveries.

So, yeah, she is WILD for Christmas. It doesn’t help that Christmas decorations are currently everywhere, so she sees Christmas stuff every time we leave the house. She loves it. Everything is about “Santa and reindeer, and look, it’s a snowman, Mommy! A SNOOOWMAAAN!!!” It’s awesome to see her get so excited about it, because it reminds me of how magical Christmas was when I was little, but it’s also completely exhausting.

My Little Elf

She’s an awfully cute little elf, though.

the night visitor

For the past four nights in a row, Catie has woken up somewhere around 3 or 4 a.m., and climbed into bed with us. She isn’t asking for milk or a diaper change or anything, she just scurries her tiny self in between me and Dave and settles herself in. The other night she didn’t even announce that she had come into the room, I just felt her hand on my calf as she hoisted herself up onto the bed. Then she plopped her head on the pillow next to mine, wrapped her little arm around my neck, and said “Bwanket!” I pulled the covers up over her and she went straight to sleep.

Here’s the thing: I know it’s a bad idea to let your toddler sleep in bed with you. I know. If we give her an inch, she’ll take a mile; she’ll never sleep in her own bed for the rest of her life, blah blah blah… But you know, I’m finding it difficult to be a hard-liner on this issue. For one thing, she really isn’t disrupting my sleep that badly. Sure, it takes a few minutes for me to readjust myself around her and go back to sleep, but it isn’t like she’s keeping me awake for hours in the middle of the night.

The other thing is that I’m pretty sure I know the reason why this has suddenly become a trend. She’s not an oblivious little baby anymore, she’s noticing all the boxes around the house. And we’ve been talking to her about how we’re going to move to a new house. I keep telling her how someday soon, we’re going to move to a new house, but it’ll be fun because Mommy & Daddy will be there with her, and the kitty-cats will be there, and all of her toys and books will be there too. Way to make it sound easy and harmless, right?

Um, not so much, as it turns out. Last Thursday, I had to pick her up from daycare and then go to the new house to meet up with Dave and our realtor for the house inspection. When I picked her up, I told her we were going to our new house. We walked in, and she said, “My toys?” She searched the whole house, and when she saw that her toys weren’t there, she was more than a little distraught. Oops. Way to clarify things, Mom. I tried to explain that her toys were still at our old house because we haven’t moved yet, but I think I just confused her even more.

So my theory is that the sleep interruptions have a lot to do with the fact that she’s feeling a little insecure and stressed out. And yes, I suppose I could be harsher about it, and do the SuperNanny technique of returning her to her own bed, no matter how many times she tries to climb in bed with us. But I feel bad for her, so I’m taking the easy way out. I’m also pretty sure that this behavior will start up again after we move, so I don’t see the point in going all Sleep Nazi now, only to have to do it all over again in a month.

Besides, I can’t say that I hate waking up with this right next to me.

napping (with friends)

Sure, I miss having a pillow to myself, but eh, I think I can manage this for a little while.

the big-girl bed

Sometime back in April, we bought Catie a big-girl bed. She was really getting too big for her crib; she hadn’t attempted climbing out, but she easily could have if she’d tried. Mainly it was just becoming obvious that she was uncomfortable. She’d roll over and bump into the rails, she’d get her feet stuck through the slats, etc. Most of the time it would lead to her waking up in the middle of the night and demanding to come sleep in our bed, and Mommy was more than a little tired of that particular routine. So I found a mattress store that had a good sale going, picked out a cute girly headboard to go with the twin mattress set, and figured it was done. The sales guy told me we’d have the bed in two to three weeks.

In May, I called to find out where our bed was; by that point, it had been over a month since we bought it. The guy on the phone said, oh, I don’t know why he told you 2-3 weeks, that headboard was a custom order (WTF? I just picked it out of their catalog, maybe everything that’s not a floor model is a “custom order”?), so it’s actually more like 4-6 weeks. I was annoyed, but ok. What can you do?

Now it’s June and still we had no bed. So I called them after a very bad night’s sleep for Catie (and hence us too) and asked them where the eff my bed was. The guy said there was a problem with the headboard, and it’d take at least another 3 weeks. I basically went ballistic and he offered to go ahead & bring out the bed itself without the headboard, and then they’ll deliver the headboard when it arrives. FINE.

So, we got the bed. And Catie? Freaking. Loves. It.

First she had to give it a bounce test.

she immediately started bouncing on her new bed

Then we told her, no jumping on the bed. And I got this look.

this was the look she gave me when I told her not to jump on the bed

But seriously? I think she’s sold on the whole big-girl bed thing.

I think she likes it

Even her little fleece baby blankets, that she has slept with since she was itty-bitty because she likes to soothe herself to sleep by sticking her finger through the washing instructions tag? Yeah, she is officially shunning her baby blankets now, because she adores her bright-colored bedspread with the butterflies and flowers all over it.

So far she’s had two bedtimes and one nap in the new bed, and she’s going down without a fight. (And last night she slept through the night for the first time in, um, a while. So YAY for that!) She even seems excited to go to bed. I know this will pass, the novelty of the new bed will wear off. But hot damn, this is awesome, and I’m planning to enjoy it for as long as it lasts.

P.S. Don’t shop at Mattress Warehouse. For real. Gah.