Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sleep Training a 22 Month Old

Disclaimer: I use all "terminology" loosely.  I can't say I really know what sleep training is...

With that said!  The 4/5am nightly waking that was not a big deal to us?  It became a big deal when Cora had a few nights of twice-nightly wakings in a row...where she screamed for more than an hour...until I nursed her. We then saw pretty clearly that the only way she was willing to go back to sleep was if I nursed her, which was what she was used to at 4/5am.

These wakings coincided with her increasingly determined and strong-willed new nature.  She was NOT going back to sleep without her mama milk and her daddy could just please leave her room now, thank you.  A month or so back we'd endured a similar night and had chalked it up to her stubbornness, only to find out she had an ear infection, so I took her to the doctor JUST TO BE SURE.  She was completely healthy.

I know, she looks pretty harmless
Well, then. Game On Baby Girl.

We were both off work for a long Easter weekend, so we decided it was as good a time as any.  (Well, I was a little worried that in a few short days Jacob would be going OUT OF TOWN, but we really didn't feel like we could put this off any longer.)

Our Initial Plan: Don't Nurse Her

Because I saw textbook weaning resistance written all over the way Cora has been acting lately, I decided to pick back up the before bed nursing session while we were "sleep training" her in the hopes that this would lessen the blow.  I want to move at her pace for weaning, but the night time problem seems separate to me (she isn't self-soothing).
  • Night 1: She woke to a wet diaper (darn it!) but was settled easily by Jacob at 1am.  At 4am, she was awake and crying for well over an hour with each of us making a few trips into her room to try to soothe her in non-nursing ways. 
  • Nights 2 & 3: She woke around 2am and cried for 1 hr 15 minutes, with each of us making a trip or two in to try to calm her.  She would calm down when we'd rock her, but scream when we put her back in her crib.  Jacob eventually got her to sleep
  • Night 4: She had refused to nap and had a big day, so that probably worked against us, but this turned out to be just a horrible night.  She cried from 10pm-12:45am.  We let her fuss until almost 11:00 when Jacob went and rocked her.  He got up again a while later.  Then I got up.  We gave her Tylenol.  Finally at 12:45, I put her in our bed (which is not usually effective) and she passed out for one hour.  Then at 1:37, she woke up and spent the next two hours tossing and turning and moaning as we all dozed.  Then she full-on cried for another 45 minutes.  I changed her diaper, I put her in cooler clothes, I rocked her.  AND THEN I NURSED HER!  And she passed out immediately and slept until 8:45. Since our plan consisted of "don't nurse her," I had now ruined the plan.  And now Jacob was leaving to go out of town.
I consulted with both grandmas (one of whom was fortunately staying at our house with us) and created a new plan.

The New Plan: Go in to soothe if she gets very upset, but once she is back in the crib, walk out of the room no matter whether she gets upset again or not.  Try a night light.  Try offering water.  Still don't nurse her.
  • Night 5: She woke at 1 and 4:45.  Each time, I went in and rocked her.  The first time I put her back in the crib, she flipped out.  So I told her "Do you need one more hug?"  She nodded, so I picked her up and hugged her and decided to try rationalization.  I said "Jack-Jack night-night, Mama night-night, Cora night-night."  She then said "Mama bed" and pointed.  To which I said, "No, Jack-Jack night night in Jack bed, Mama night night in Mama bed, Cora night night in Cora bed."  I then laid her down and SHE LET ME!  I walked out and she didn't cry.  When she awoke the second time, I repeated this and she seemed okay with it.
  • Night 6: She went to sleep at 8pm and slept until 7:30 am!!
So this is where I'm supposed to say: "And she forever slept through the night thereafter."  
  • Night 7: She woke at 5:20am and Jacob (home just mere hours before) got her back down; she woke again at 6:20 and I was able to get her to read books quietly in her crib for another hour.  This is a cool benefit of the new night light in her small room.
  • Night 8: Up from 5:30-6.  Jacob tried rocking.  10 minutes later I was in and rationalized her back into her crib.  She slept until 8. 
  • Night 9: Up at 5:45.  Rationalization backfired as she repeatedly said "No mama night night, NO night night."  She cried for over an hour and then we eventually got her up.  This early start to her day seemed to throw her off and she WOULDN'T nap.
Lucky, she's so cute :)
I know many babies routinely wake this early.  But Cora routinely has to be woken up at 7:30.  So getting her up at 5:45 would mean she'd lose two hours of sleep.  (She already goes to bed at 6:30/7:00 and takes a nap).  Sigh.

I'll post an update in a few weeks.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter Camp

I'm a firm believer that if you put a name on something it becomes a whole lot cooler.  So for our stretch of six days home together as a family, I told Jack and Cora they'd be attending Easter Camp.  This looked different each day: from days fully scheduled out to days that just sort of happened.  Here is some of the fun we had:

A Schedule: I can't resist.  When we had to make a last minute adjustment to our Friday schedule to take Cora in for an ear check, I had to console my little alter ego, Jack. We both don't take well to last minute changes.

Crafts:  I love the concept of Pinterest, but visit only about 3x/year.  I got a great return on my five minutes of craft searching:

Baking: I love how the Waldorf School incorporates baking into the school day, involving the kids in the preparation of their own snack.  So at Easter Camp, we made:

Music: This was easy!  As the Director of Vacation Bible School, I have the Music DVD and we popped it in to practice songs.  My kids love these songs!

(We invited good friends Jack & Sam to this day of Easter Camp)

Scavenger Hunt: I wrote out a list of things to find (leaves, sticks, balls, etc.) and things to do (something loving, something silly, etc.)  This turned out to be a lot of fun as Cora followed right along with Jack.

The Great Landry Family Egg Hunt: (Again, just put a cool name on something...)  I like the idea of separating egg-esque activities from Easter Day, so we did an egg hunt a few days before Easter and it helped keep Easter focused on going to church and thinking about what we were celebrating.

For the egg hunt, I hid eggs, some with clues inside, the rest empty.  Jack and Cora found and opened all the eggs and then Jack put the clues in number order.  The clues led J&C around the house to find little surprises. 

We also read bible stories, played outside a lot, went on a bike ride, picnicked in the park, had an awesome crawfish boil with friends and family, and have been enjoying the most beautiful beginning of spring in New Orleans.

Cora HATED her cold outside bath!

We had a good friend watch Jack and Cora so we could go peacefully to the Maundy Thursday service at Rayne Methodist.  This is the most beautiful, moving service.  And we spent an uplifting morning at Rayne, celebrating Easter.  He is risen, indeed!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

She's 22 m....scratch that..."She'll be 2 in June"

At this point, I think it's only for my benefit to count out how many months Cora is....(that would be 22 months).  When you're this close to two, I think it makes the most sense to start referencing that big upcoming milestone.

In some ways, it seems impossible.  And in other ways, it seems like she's already two.  Not that I buy into stereotypes (entirely), but she definitely puts on her big girl shoes (and 'tude) more and more lately.

Cora Awesomeness this past month

- "Bire Truck!" became a frequent part of her vocabulary thus allowing her and Jack to communicate on all kinds of levels.  She'll find a picture of a Bire Truck! (always with that exclamation mark) in a book and turn to show Jack "Jack, bire truck!  Bire truck! Jack!"

- "One more mama" with a serious expression and 1 finger held up is also very cute and frequent
- She cackles, chuckles, squints her eyes, throws her head back, and does lots of other dramatic silliness
- She's peed on many public toilets, her own little potty, and was gifted some very cute new undies by her Grammy
- She loves to listen to the Vacation Bible School music DVD (her first real TV experience) and has quickly picked up some of the dance moves as Jack and I are learning them
- She cares for her baby dolls and had a big thrill holding her friend Liam's baby sister and having her own 8 month old cousin Billy visit

Cora Difficulties this past month

- "NO! MINE!" is heard a lot around here
- She is still INTENTIONALLY beating up her brother (with hands, feet, sippy cup, books, toys, etc.) but at least now she's pretty willing to go say "I torry" and show him her "gentle hands" afterward
- She throws mini tantrums when she doesn't get immediate gratification.  Rationalization is not effective in these moments (i.e. explaining that she will get a snack AFTER she puts on her shoes 90% of the time is no motivation/solace to her)
- She's peed on our carpet, in every pair of undies she owns, and refused to pee on many public toilets and her own potty
- We've had several battle of wills this past month with no clear winner at this point

Jacob and I just marvel at how precious, beautiful, personable, joyful, spirited, and hilarious Cora is.  She is winsome and sweet but also at a demanding and stubborn stage.

Potty training continues to be interesting.  I'd say we're at a similar spot to last month except now we are very clear that Cora knows how to potty, but just doesn't always feel like participating.  Some days, she's motivated pretty easily to pee and definitely responds well to attention, role models (someone else peeing first) and spectators (she performed happily for visiting Grammy and Aunt Kristen), but more than half the time it's "NO pee-pee poppee NO!"  It seems pretty clear to me that the right path is to not push her when she doesn't want to go .....BUT then there are those times (usually at least once a day) when she is dry after several hours but won't go potty.  Those are the times where I feel it's worth an effort and we've gotten into a few stand-offs when she just wasn't interested in peeing in a potty.  It was helpful to have my mom here for the last few days to get her advice.  She says to just relax and follow Cora's lead.  I'm going to....but I also plan on stringing up those cute new undies (which Cora loves) as motivation to pee.  She's not allowed (for obvious reasons) to wear undies unless she's just peed in the potty.

Nursing is another area where her strong personality has shown through.  Jack followed a really gentle weaning process over his second year and was down to just one feeding at this age without either of us having any difficulty with the process.  With Cora, we've been working on dropping from three to two feedings for several months, but baby girl has fought it hard.  It got to the point of her crying nightly starting at bath time because she knew there was not going to be any "mama mih."  From what I know and have read about toddler weaning, it's best to follow their cues and if they're overly anxious about giving up a certain feeding, then put the pause button on and try again in a few weeks.  We did press pause, but recently tried again and this method seems to have worked because she's only nursed twice a day for the last week or so.

A Nice Array of Cora's Sweet and Sassy Sides!


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Mama goes shopping

If you have not tried Stitch Fix, try it now.

The clothes come to you!  A stylist picks them out.  You can set your style and price preferences.  If you need more convincing, see my experiences here and here.

This was my first "fix" in quite some time.  I kept three items.

KUT skinny blue pants and Ritz mixed pattern knit shirt

Callafia short-sleeve blue wrap dress

Like my co-model?  She does a great job at solo shots too!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Baby Led Weaning vs. Pureed First Foods

By happenstance, we approached introducing solid foods differently with Jack and Cora.  Jack was fed with our own mortar and pestle purees (joking a little) and Cora was handed ears of corn and mango pits (not joking).  This gives us a fascinating study on what leads to a better eater!

A little background.  Jack was our first baby.  We felt like we were being very avant-garde by making our own baby food.  I fondly remember our little ice cube trays full of homemade apple sauce, oatmeal (no salt - the way he takes it to this day), and lima beans.  Puree, freeze in trays, pop out into Ziplock bags for easy future meal assembly.  "How does pear, barley, and avocado sound tonight, hon?"

Little did we know there was a whole other movement.  Enter Baby Led Weaning.  This child-led approach to eating seemed like the natural progression for a breastfed baby.  (Breastfed babies self-regulate their intake; baby led weaning brings this same approach to solid foods.)  It also seemed easier (no puree-making) and with two children, easier seemed better.  So Cora was our guinea pig.  Here's her having fun.  What a little chunk!


I often watch Jack and Cora's eating habits and wonder if it was their first foray into solids that led them to these idiosyncrasies OR whether it's just that Jack is Jack and Cora is Cora.  I imagine it's a bit of both, but do note the control factors we did happen to have in place.
  • Both were exclusively breastfed up to the point they began solids
  • Both started solids right at six months
  • Both had the same first solid food: sweet potatoes - Jack's was pureed and Cora's was roasted in the Baby Led Weaning-suggested stick form
  • Both experienced much of their early eating in the same Craiglist-acquired wooden high chair :)

The Results

Jack is a wonderful eater.  He covets fruit.  (There's no better way to say that.)  Any fruit.  He overindulges on them.  He prefers them to desserts. 

He likes to begin his day with a big bowl of "yum-yum."  I still make our family bowl of old fashioned oats with no salt.  Jack's bowl has no salt (we add sea salt to ours) nor sugar (we add brown sugar to ours.)  He often likes to remind me that he "doesn't like salt or sugar, so don't put any in mine."  His oatmeal also has a scoop of plain, organic, low fat yogurt, cut up fruit, and walnuts.

He adores cheese.  Cheese and fruit are all he'd ever ask for.  He's suspicious of new dishes.  He can spot an onion from a distance.  He will not eat them.  He consistently passes on tomatoes, cauliflower, and cabbage.  (That is top of mind as we had coleslaw tonight.  He sat on the porch and cried because we insisted he give it another try.)  He can be picky about dinner foods.  He doesn't like our homemade cornmeal pizza dough; he doesn't like our veggie burgers (they have onions and green peppers - which he will meticulously weed out); he usually gives us trouble on things like tamales and burritos.  Vegetables are a mixed bag.  He seeks out raw carrots, doesn't mind broccoli, enjoys magic beans (edamame), but there are plenty he complains about.

He is four after all.  He definitely has strong dislikes, but the fact that we can send a salad in his lunch to school?  And some days an apple and an orange?  And he asks for "nuts and raisins" as a snack?  And that he once told us he wasn't going to have birthday cake at a party "because cake hurts my tummy"?  He makes a strong case for starting with purees.

Cora is a wonderful eater too...sometimes. 

She is most different from Jack when it comes to fruits.  She likes apples, pears, melon, grapes, and bananas but will not eat citrus, picks strawberries out of her oatmeal daily (I ascribe to the "you have to try something repeatedly before you can establish a dislike" philosophy), and will not try anything with "berry" on the end of its name. 

Cora also begins her day with a big bowl of "yum-yum," served just like her brother's - no salt, no sugar, plain yogurt, nuts, and fruit.

Cora also adores cheese.  RAISINS and cheese are all Cora could ask for.  Cora tends to be our more adventurous eater at dinnertime.  She has been known to chow down on things like red beans and rice and gumbo, affirming for us that she is our Cajun child.  (She also insists on having some of "dat" whenever her Daddy has a bottle of hot sauce out.)  She loves herself a tamale or a burrito.  And she LOVES meat.  But then again, so does Jack.  She's more adventurous with vegetables, once shoveling a whole bowl of brussel sprouts in her mouth for lunch.  She loves roasted broccoli and cauliflower.  Today she was eating olives.

Edamame and black beans for snack
I can't call this contest now because Miss Cora is QUICKLY approaching two and is a very opinionated child.  I have found that if I'm persistent, she'll come around.  She gave up eating apples a month ago, but I got her back to them after a week.  Cora is too young for me to have many quotes, but she lightens up meals with her favorite game: "Where wa-wa?" as she hides her cup under her napkin and then laughs and laughs and with her silly face games.  We often look over to find her eyes squinted and closed as she eats :)

If we end up with a third baby Landry, we'll have to reevaluate this contest to see which approach should be used next time!

We love the free and healthy Whole Foods kid treats.  Here: matching apples for the ride home.