Friday, March 30, 2012

Sleeping and being happy

Miracles have been happening in the baby sleep department. For three nights in a row, Julia has put herself to sleep! It happened like this: three days ago, I was talking on the phone around Julia's bedtime. She wanted me to read stories, but to keep her distracted so I could keep talking, I let her nurse. Once I was off the phone, she was done nursing and ready for books. (prior routine= books, nurse, bed) So I read her books and then, on a whim, tucked her in bed with her baby doll and stuffed chicken and said "now you lay there and go to sleep. I'm going to go do some work, and I'll come back to check on you in a few minutes." I left the room, fully expecting wails of protest, but to my amazement, she stayed in bed, did not protest and after about 15 minutes and a couple checks, she fell asleep! I didn't dare to get excited yet, but the next night she repeated the performance!! By the third night, I was feeling pretty awesome about it all. She does wake up after a couple hours, but if I'm still up, and I get her up and offer her a drink of milk, she'll put herself back to sleep again. When she wakes up again and wants to nurse, I've been working on saying no. Sometimes she'll go back to sleep with little protest and sometimes she gears up for a cry about it. If she's in crying mode, I let her nurse. I'm back to having family living in close quarters, and letting her cry is too disruptive to everyone's sleep. I'm definitely hoping that I can get her much closer to accepting not nursing at night with gentle discouragement. I think she might do ok sleeping in a separate room now, but that thought will have to wait until we move wherever we'll be moving to this summer.

She's also been more interested in dressing and undressing herself. She can get pants and socks off, and pants on by herself now. She continues to love shoes, and occasionally manages to get them on too. She's pretty good about leaving her clothes on, but I do have to keep her clothes put away, because if she comes across a fresh pair of pants, she generally decides she ought to wear those instead.

I've also noticed a difference in both Julia's and my emotional health since leaving Alaska. Up there, we were both so stressed by the confinement of the house that Julia was having daily tantrums and pushing my buttons to the point where I'd yell at her. (resulting in us both feeling terrible!) At the time, I thought it was just related to her getting closer to the "terrible twos" but now I can see how hard it was on us to be cooped up. Since we've been down here, with a variety of places to go play, friendlier weather, and more people around on a regular basis, she hasn't had a single tantrum and I haven't felt even a bit close to the point of rage where I want to yell. I am VERY thankful for that, but feel bad that to get to a better emotional place, we had to leave Dave behind for awhile. I'll be so happy when he comes down to join us after the school year is over.

We've had a quiet week of playing and long walks. (Everyone around here likes to complain about the rain, but I am SO happy to have no snow on the ground, so I can take Julia for walks in the stroller!)  It's spring break down here, and Grandpoppa Jack and Joe and Grace all went to Washington for a little week of vacation, so Grandmomma Dawn and I have been trading back and forth at going to work/study and watching Olaf and Julia. My classes begin on Monday. In addition to Anatomy and Physiology part the third, I'm going to take Nutrition as well. I've had a few conversations recently that have made me think more about heading towards a nurse-midwife degree instead of a more direct entry midwife route. So much will depend on where we end up moving to, but meanwhile I can try to get as many general requirements out of the way as possible.

Olaf wanted a viking helmet cake!
dyeing some easter eggs
re-discovering the sandbox
dirt and mud!
mud and dirt!

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