My big sister-to-be Part I

My baby is growing too fast sniff sniff

My baby is growing too fast sniff sniff

A while back I read an article about getting your child ready to welcome a sibling. The article suggested all major changes to take place in your toddler’s life, in preparation for welcoming the newest family member, should happen up to 2 months before baby’s arrival. Well, we don’t know exactly when that is going to be. It could be in 16 weeks, or sooner. So, since we got back from Mexico, we have been working on all of the necessary transitions. My very first goal was to transition Helena from her crib, which Olivia will inherit, to a toddler bed. I was a bit nervous about it wondering if I were rushing things, if Helena was truly ready for it, if she could get hurt somehow. But, we decided to go ahead anyway. Worst case scenario she would be going back to her crib.

Looking for her bed at Ikea

Looking for her bed at Ikea

We made it a big event! We went to Ikea, had Helena test – drive some beds, had a nice meal there! We kept telling her how she is going to be a big sister and her sister will be inheriting her crib so now she got a brand new bed. We also got a small wardrobe because her room doesn’t have much storage. Unfortunately, we could not build her furniture right away because we had to wait until Dan was back home from work. The day arrived! Dan started to build Helena’s new furniture. She grabbed her tools and tagged along to help daddy haha She participated through the whole thing. She helped us organize her new closet, clean her room, put her mattress on the bed, put sheets and covers on the bed. At the end of the day, I just could not believe how excited she was with her new room. She was electric! She would go in and out bed, play with her toys.

Helping daddy build her furniture

Helping daddy build her furniture

When it was bedtime, we talked to her and explained that now she was going to sleep in her bed and no longer in the crib. I could tell she was a little nervous about sleeping in a new environment so I stayed with her until she fell asleep. The first night was great! She slept through it and didn’t fall off or anything. It has been this great since, the only problem was that she now expected us to stay in her room until she would fall asleep, and I did not want her to be dependent on that to sleep. It was hard to break this habit – amazing how it took only one time to get her hooked on it – but we finally managed. Dan noticed that leaving her door a bit open was enough to comfort her. Now, we leave it open and then she gets up and closes it on her own, goes back to bed and sleeps haha What I have loved the most about all this is how much she adores her room. As a parent, it is really gratifying to see your kid this happy with something you envisioned for them. She loves hanging out in her room during the day and that has even facilitated nap time. There were times we would put her in her crib for her nap and she would just cry. Now, we take her to her room and she plays a bit then goes to bed for her nap on her own! I can’t begin to explain how much time it saves us not having to deal with nap time tantrums anymore. At the same day we bought her bed and wardrobe, we also got her a toddler table with a couple of chairs. The idea was to use it for crafts and what not, but she decided she wanted to have her meals there too. It has been another blessing! She has been eating so much better since we got her this table. She enjoys eating like we, adults, do. She enjoys taking her plate to the table and eating with the freedom to get up and not be stuck like she would be in her high chair.  She takes us by the hand and invites us to sit with her. She loves eating with us at her table. When she is done, she dumps her garbage in the can and takes her dishes to the sink. She is so proud of herself she starts to clap haha I am so glad this has been a smooth transition!!! IMG_2313This whole experience has been bittersweet! It is so nice to see your kid growing and reaching milestones, but it is bitter to see how fast time goes by. I cant believe she will be 2 in about 2 months. I really miss her newborn self sometimes. When you have a newborn it is so exhausting and demanding that it feels like it will never end, but now I can realize how quick the newborn stage is. I will certainly try and enjoy Olivia’s newborn stage as much as possible especially because we don’t intend to have anymore kids!

Eating at her big girl table

Eating at her big girl table

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Tough Love

Before we get to today’s topic, I would like to share some photos of our Holidays!

It was obviously a very special one as it was Helena’s first and our first as a FAMILY. How exciting!

Christmas definitely feels different with a child around!

I have been meaning to post for the longest time. I wanted to wish Happy Holidays, but I have been so busy I just didn’t get to it.

I am taking a Psychology Course and started a little home-based business.

Anyways, it is only January 8, so I guess it is not too late to still wish a Happy New year !!

Christmas Morning!

Christmas Morning!

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Our family Card!

Our family Card!

Ironically, this post is the complete opposite to the last one!

I am still 100% PRO co-sleeping, but, it was just getting way too dangerous for us!

Helena always wakes up before I do and the thought of waking up to her laying on the ground, hurt, was killing me!!

Our bed is extremely tall, and even tho we have installed bed rails, Helena pulls herself up and walks all along the headboard. I started to think it was possible she could do that while I’m asleep and get hurt!

So, I decided it was time to get her to use her crib. Boy, is it ever difficult!

It is definitely NOT  an accomplished mission yet, but it is getting there!

It has been very similar to dieting. I would start it on a Monday, and by Wednesday, I would have given up because watching her cry and suffer was just too much for me to handle.

But now I have finally managed to stick to my goal, and although she cries during 60% of the day and I am nearly deaf, it is a proof of love.

I have learned to zone out when she is crying her lungs out. I just keep reminding myself that she is not alone, I am right here, she is safe, clean and fed. She is just not used to it!

I want her to be independent and tough love is the only method I found to fight separation anxiety.

My Ultimate Goal:  For Helena to be independent and adaptable.

I want her to be able to fall asleep on her own, to play on her own…

Basically, I want her to know that I am right there in front of her, cleaning or cooking, and she is not in my arms and THAT IS OK.

I also want her to feel fine and safe both in my arms or on her own.

My Tactic: Tough Love

I have been literally letting her cry herself to sleep. It is very hard.

Be prepared if you decide to try it ! Emotionally prepared!

It all starts with a bed routine. At around 6 o’clock I feed her last solid meal of the day – a baby cereal.

She loves mess!! And so do I!

She loves mess!! And so do I!

Then I bathe her in a nice, warm bath with lots of toys for her to play some more before going to bed.

After that, I massage her little body with some baby oil right before putting her clean pajamas on. I wrap her in a blanket and cuddle with her for a bit. By this time, Dan has brought me a warm bottle for her (thanks Skye). I initially feed her the bottle with her in my arms, in the rocking chair, just to give it a “head start”, to get her groggy enough to eventually fall asleep on her on.

Then, I place her in her crib. I admit I have been using my body pillow – the one I used to use during my pregnancy – to substitute my presence. I tuck her in real nice with the pillow around her.

She tries to hold on to my fingers while she is trying to fall asleep. I let her for a few seconds, then I step away because I don’t want to create yet one more dependency .

She starts to cry then, but she is pretty tired already.

The first few nights she would literally cry for 2 hours non-stop. I would come back in every 2 minutes to assure her that I was there for her and that I loved her. I would kiss her and hold her without picking her up.

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Lately, she still cries, but only for about 20 minutes the first time around.  She falls asleep and stays asleep for around 2 hours. She eventually wakes up and, it is kind of funny, it is like she wakes up and realizes ” Hey! I can’t believe this ! I let myself fall asleep! Oh NO ! She won! Where is mommy??” .

She starts crying again, literally picking up from where she’d left off  haha

What do I do? First couples of weeks, I would pick her up and cuddle.

Then put her back in the crib. She would cry and cry and I would give up and bring her to bed with me. This time around, however, I let her cry. I felt like the worst mother on the face of this planet. But I had to! Soon, she will be 9 months old, then 1 year old … Next thing you know, it’s been 4 years I haven’t slept a whole night.

She cried for a really long time the first few times, but it got better each time.

Then it didn’t even sound like she was crying anymore, it didn’t feel like she was sad anymore.

It truly sounded like she was just upset at me, like a tantrum. And I actually enjoyed it because it felt like she was just being stubborn and not hurting anymore.

The Results: As I mentioned before, I am still working on it. She still has a really hard time playing on her own in her playpen or on the floor. But, last night, it was amazing. I put her in her crib around 7 and she stayed in there until 7:30 the following morning. It was great. She did wake up about 3 times during the night, but a couple of those times were due to noise hubby made which is totally fine with me as I also want her to be able to sleep in non-quiet environments. What I mean? I don’t expect her to be able to stay asleep next to a freaking speaker box, but I do want her to be able to tolerate sounds like chatting. She cried for about 5 minutes and literally collapsed asleep! – Crying gets them real tired and this is also a plus about letting them cry.

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Next Step: Another 6 nights of Helena sleeping in her crib from 7-7 and I will be moving onto my next goal which is to move her crib back to her room!

Wish me luck !

I can’t deny I miss sleeping with her. It is so nice to cuddle, but, unfortunately this much attachment is not doing her any good. Or me. Or my marriage!