In The Middle Of A Mess

Hello New Day.
Hello New Week.
Hello New Adventure.

HelloMonday

My living room is in the middle of a makeover. Its torn apart. Things are piled in the centre, a total mess. And right now all I can think is “holy crap, I can so relate to my living room right now”. I feel so scattered. So all over the place. So out of place. No rhyme or reason to my feelings and emotions. Not much is left in place. Struggling to keep it together.

As overwhelming and stressful as this little renovation /make over is causing, its nice to know that it will be put back together and be better than before. And I can relate to that too.

Things get crappy. Things get hard. Things get so completely overwhelming. But eventually, slowly, they get put back together and things get good again. And when that happens I get stronger. Even if its just a little bit and I don’t realize it, it happens. And that gives me hope. When things get dark, that things will get light again.

And yes I fully realize how ridiculous it sounds to be drawing a comparison to a living room makeover. But bare with me. Blame in on the fact that I have been a stay at home mom for nearly 12 years and I rarely ever leave the house, or that I have not slept all night in almost 4 years, and right now I’m sitting on my floor surrounded by a mess. A giant mess. A mess that is causing me to have a lot of anxiety and frustration. So I have to keep reminding myself that it will get better. That it will be put back together, and that when its done and over with it will be better than before. That makes me happy. That thought is what is getting me through this makeover.

That is what also gets me through the darkness, knowing that sooner or later it will be light again. And when the light comes it will be better than before, and I will be stronger than before.

All of this is just temporary, the makeover, the mess, the darkness, and yes even the light. But the good news, when it does get dark again (which it will) the light always comes back. Always. Sometimes slowly, sometimes fast. You never know when, but do know that it will.

~ Michelle

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My Toddler Still Does Not Sleep All Night, Or On Her Own.

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Someone once asked me how it was going with my daughter. They were referring to her sleeping habits. I said it was the same: she never sleeps all night, I co-sleep with her still, and I have to lay down with her at night to get her to sleep. Their response “well you ruined her. You did this to yourself. She’s spoiled now.” And they turned and walked away.

I will never understand their response. How have I ruined my daughter? How is she spoiled because she knows she is loved and safe and I will be there no matter when she needs me?

Here’s the thing: my daughters sleep habits suck. They really suck. They have since the day she was born. And yes I am serious, right form day one.  I have talked about my daughters sleep issues multiple times. And at this rate I will continue to.

I am a mother, 24/7 I am a mother. If my child needs me in the middle of the night, I will be there. If I need to lay down with my child for 20 minutes, 30 mixtures or over an hour until she falls asleep I will. Because it is what she needs, and honestly, its the least I can do. Is taking an hour out of my day to lay in a bed with my toddler really such a horrible thing?

I have not ruined my daughter. I have not spoiled my daughter. I have loved my daughter and been there for her when she needs me. Her needs just tend to be a little bit different from other kids needs. My daughters issue is sleep. I don’t know why, all I know is that she needs me during that time and I will be there.

Kids grow up way too fast. My two little itty bitty boys are about to be 11 and 10 years old. I don’t know how this happened. My daughter is about to turn 3. Again, this seems impossible. She won’t need me forever, not like this, so while she does need me like this, I will be there. Just like my boys needs have changed since they were babies, my daughters needs will change as well.

Sleep is hit or miss now. Sleep is strange. Sleep is a crowded bed with too many people shoved in together. Sleep sometimes causes me to wake up with random bruises and scratches. Sleep is also a magical thing when I get to cuddle my daughter, feel her fall asleep in my arms, watch her sleep – she always looks so peaceful. When I go into my daughters room in the middle of the night and hold her in my arms and can instantly feel her little body relax and calm, it makes it all worth it.

My kids needs will change as they grow. I used to have to sleep with my son as he suffered through a few weeks of night terrors, now I’m lucky if I can get a hug out of him in public when he’s near his friends. Oh, and he now sleeps perfectly fine on his own.
My daughter? She will soon grow out of this, she already has started and will continue to learn how to calm herself and sleep on her own. Until she can do it fully on her own, I will be there for her.

I will be there for my kids in any way I can when they need me. I’m a mother, its part of my job.

~ Michelle

When Your Toddler Stops Napping.

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My toddler stopped napping. My sweet, sweet toddler hasn’t had a nap in a month! A month! I didn’t expect this to happen so soon! No naps?! This is all new territory for me! My boys didn’t stop napping till they were 3 and half! My daughter is only 2 and half! I should have gotten another year of naps! A whole year gone! Just like that. No warning. Just gone. All gone.

My days are completely different now. I have no time to work alone now. Trying to balance work with a toddler that doesn’t nap is proving to be difficult right now. I feel like I should probably be better at this by now, she is my 3rd child after all. But I feel like I’m barely able to keep my head above water when it comes to this balancing act.

You would think that without napping that she would sleep better at night, right? NO! She doesn’t! My daughter hates sleep! Keep in mind this is the same toddler that when in the car for 26 hours driving to Florida only slept from 12-2am and then from 5-7am and didn’t sleep again till that night when we got to our location at 10pm and was happy the whole time!

My daughter got the no sleep DNA or she’s not human,  or something I’m not exactly sure! My daughter hates sleep. And I love sleep. I miss nap time. She doesn’t. Not even a little bit. I miss it for so many reason, mostly for the random times that I got to sleep too. Sleep is beautiful. Sleep is wonderful. Why does she hate it?

Why can’t my daughter nap again? I am clearly in denial here about this. It was the only time of day that I had time to myself to think, shower alone, read, work, just be alone, without it being like 11pm at night. And now… that is gone. All gone.

I may be in total denial about it, but here is the thing, my daughter doesn’t nap anymore, and we get even more time together and it is beautiful.

My day are completely different now. My work, my plans, are all on the back burner right now. It makes me sad, but I am also so completely over the moon thrilled and happy that I get this extra time with my daughter. She is growing up so fast, before I know it she will be in school. This extra time with her is such a gift. She has really thrived in the last few weeks without taking her naps. Our relationship has changed. She has really blossomed into this new sweet little person.

I am sure at some point I will find balance with her being awake all day and my work. But right now I am just enjoying all the extra play time we have together.

The days go by too fast. Tomorrow isn’t promised. I am so thankful for this time with my daughter, even if some days I could really use a nap and wish she would too!

~ Michelle

I Never Thought I Would Co-Sleep, Then I Had My Daughter

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When I had my boys, just 13 months apart sleep was very very important! Thankfully my boys were born with a love for sleep. Sleeping 12 hours a night at 2 months old, and 4 hour naps. It was bliss. Pure bliss. I love sleep, and I was over the moon excited that my boys did too. It made parenting two babies 13 months apart so much easier. I swear it was the only way I survived 3 years straight of teething, back to back terrible twos, and everything else my boys did!

Fast forward to my daughter. She didn’t get my sleeping gene. I learned this on her very first day. She was awake, wide awake, following noises and such for hours at a time. I never even got a good look at my boys eyes for the first few days, but her… oh she was awake, wide awake. When she was just a month old she could go all day, ALL DAY, with no nap and still be wide awake and happy. She just didn’t need sleep.

From day one she hated sleeping on her own. We thought maybe she was cold and would heat up her bed with a hot water bottle, warm blankets from the dryer, an extra heater in the room. Nothing worked. We tried rocking her to sleep, I would breastfeeding her to sleep, music while she slept, no music, lights on, night light, pitch black, bedtime bath stuff, car rides, putting her in her swing, and anything else we could think of. I re-read every sleeping and parenting book I could.

We managed to get her to sleep for a few hours at a time on her own, but she never slept all night and never on her own.

Fast forward again, my daughter is 2 and half now. And you may have guess she still sucks at sleeping. She can be up all day, playing outside all day with her brothers and cousins, and guess what?! She will still stay up till 11pm! The girl doesn’t like sleep. (I’m starting to wonder if she is even human).

So 2 and half years later and guess what we do? We co-sleep. If you can call it that. We lay with her till she falls asleep, because after 2 and half years this is what works. And no, letting her “cry it out” is not an option. After she is asleep whoever is with her sneaks out and sometimes a miracle happens and she sleeps all night, but 90% of the time she gets up, and I go in there and she’s right back to sleep and we both sleep soundly the rest of the night.

This is what we do because it works for us. This is what we do because it is what our daughter needs us to do. I don’t stop being a mom at night. IF my kids need me, I’m there for them. Do I wish all my kids slept all night on their own, in the their own beds? Yes of course. Does it happen? No. Does life go on? Yes. Will we all survive? Yes. Will this eventually be a thing of the past? Yes.

Sometimes co-sleeping isn’t even a thought, like with my boys, and sometimes co-sleeping is the only way to survive. One day, maybe one day soon, maybe in a year or more, my daughter won’t need me like this. One day she will be able to go to sleep on her own and sleep all night. One day I will miss this. Kids grow up too fast to stress about where I lay my head at night.

Never will I think a parent is crazy when they say they co-sleep. Sometimes its a last ditch effort just so they can function on some what normal level.

~ Michelle

Big Girl Bed


My itty bitty baby grew up over night and is a big girl now.

I’m not sure when or how it happened exactly, but this past weekend it was time to get rid of my daughters crib and give her a big girl bed.

I cried. I cried going to the store. I cried picking out the bed. I cried setting up the bed. I cried when I put her to bed in it for the first time. I cried, a lot.

Maybe it’s because she is my last baby? Maybe it is because I am a giant emotional mess?

Whatever the reason I’m not sure I am ready for this next step. It just came up way too fast for me. I want to enjoy the baby cuddles more. Enjoy her littleness more. Every day she grows up more and more, more independent, more into her own person. And don’t get me wrong, it is completely and utterly amazing. I love watching her grow, watching her learn, watching her become her own person. But does it have to happen so fast?

In the blink of an eye my baby has grown.

It is such a bitter sweet moment of motherhood. I love watching my kids grow. I just wish it didn’t happen so fast!

She’s my last baby. And she seems to be growing up a lot faster than my boys did. She’s 2 going on 13. She loves getting her nails painted, she asks to have her hair done, and she insists on picking out her own outfits, and now this, a real bed. It is all happening so fast. The only hope I am holding onto right now is that this will help her some how, magically, sleep all night on her own. Who am I kidding? It will just make co-sleeping a lot easier!

What amazes me most of all of this, is how sad this makes me and how incredible proud it makes me all at the same time. Motherhood is such a rollercoaster with so many mixed emotions, usually all at the same time. Sometimes it is hard to know where way I’m facing when I get all mixed up with all these conflicting emotions.

Before I know it my baby will be starting school! Ok… Forget that, I can’t think about that now!

~ Michelle

 

Getting My Toddler To Sleep All Night


My daughter doesn’t sleep. No seriously. From the day she was born she awake for hours at a time. All the doctors and nurses were shocked at how awake and alert she was all the time in the hospital. At two months old she would happily go all day without a nap. By 8 months she was down to one nap a day if I was lucky. And these are her day time sleeping habits, if you can call it that.

Her night sleeping? Well that is a laugh. She was breastfeed exclusively as a baby, so she awoke a lot at night for feedings. However close to a year old she stopped feeding at night but was still waking up. It was not a rare thing for me to be up 3 times a night with her. Sometimes on really lucky nights she would be awake for 1-2 hours. Just awake. Not crying, not wanting to play with a sudden burst of energy, just awake. On those nights we cuddle and I sing lullabies to her. I wouldn’t trade those moments for the world.

My daughter is now 2 years old and I could probably count on one hand how many nights my daughter has slept all night, on her own with no co-sleeping.

Here is the thing, no I will not “sleep train” my daughter. No I will not leave her to cry it out. And no, she is not my first child. And yes, I will complain about how tired I am.

I have 2 older boys. My boys are 13 months apart. Sleep was a must for everyone in the house when they were babies. Both of my boys were sleeping 12 hours at two months old. Both my boys had two naps a day until they were a year old. Both my boys were on the same schedule when my youngest was 6 months old, it included 12 hours at night, and a 3-4 hour nap. Every. Single. Day. My boys loved sleep. I totally nailed the bedtime routine with them.

I know all about a schedule, calming a baby before bed, routine and baby massages. I did it with my boys and perfected it with them. I have read countless books, spoken to countless doctors and parents. Spent way too many hours on google reading articles.

My daughter? I tried the same thing I did with the boys, it didn’t help. I switched things up, it didn’t help. I talked to my doctor. I read more books. I talked to more parents. My daughter just doesn’t seem to need as to sleep as much as her brothers did. She is just as healthy, and happy as they were at her age. She is at the top chart for everything.

However sleeping training or letting my child cry it out was never an option. Why? Because they would not work on her, and I personally would never leave my child to cry in her room at night. I made the personally decision when I first became a mother many moons ago to never do that.

If my child needs me, I will be there even if its 3 am.

I have come to the conclusion that my daughter is an odd one, she is perfectly happy to not sleep. My daughter also loves cuddles. My daughter also sometimes needs to co-sleep with her mama. It happens. Why should I deny my daughter that? My parenting role does not end at bed time and restart in the morning. I am a mother 24/7.

Will my daughter grow out of this? Yes. Will she sleep all night on her own? Eventually. Will I complain about my lack of sleep? Yes. Am I willing to let my daughter cry in her room alone at night? No. Its a personal choice, and it is my choice.

If any of my children wake up for any reason in the night I am there for them. If any of my children need extra cuddles and to co-sleep I will. It is my choice.

Co-sleeping when we need it works for us. It works for our family. It works for my daughter and me. It works for my sanity, sorta.

Slowly but surely she is sleeping more and more on her own. But when she needs me, I will be there.

I fully believe she will figure this out on her own when she is ready. Her sleep has already improved so much with us taking it at her pace, and that is what I plan to continue going.

Until she fully figures this sleep thing on, pass the coffee. Lots of coffee. And possibly some chocolate too!

~ Michelle

*Write Title After Sufficient Caffeine Intake*

Can you feel that? Or is it just me? Do you feel nervous as well? Or is just me?
This is my first real blog post for my new site. It should be epic. It should be amazing. It should make you laugh. Make you cry. Make you feel all kind of feels.

I promise you, I had something amazing planned. But you know what happened, motherhood happened. I write an epic blog post in my head, I was about to write it down when I heard “Mommy! Mom! Mommy! Mommy! Mom!” That was closely followed behind with “Michelle! Michelle! Come here!”. If it’s not the kids calling me, its my husband. So I didn’t get to write it down, and just like that, just like all my hopes and dreams of ever sleeping through the night, out the window it went never to be seen again.

So here I sit, bags under my eyes, my hair not brushed, crushed Cheerios and snot on my pants courtesy of my sweet baby girl, who is crawling around with one sock on and no pants (don’t ask, I swear I put pants on her), taking a minute to breathe in the post craziness that is getting my two boys off to school in the morning. And all I can think is “Isn’t motherhood grand?” And you know what, it is. It doesn’t matter if the morning was a morning from hell, if the kids couldn’t find their shoes if they were wearing them, if everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. None of that matters. When I hug and kiss my boys goodbye and see them go on their way to school I instantly miss them. Its amazing. They can drive me completely and utterly nuts, but the second they walk out that door I miss them and can’t wait for them to come home again. Motherhood is a never-ending roller coaster of emotions. But no matter the ups and downs, it’s all worth it. So very worth it.

As my daughter will soon realize that her brothers are gone, and demand I give her my undivided attention and the reality of exhaustion will creep back in, and the reality that it is only Monday will come to me. And when I realize that it is only Monday, it can only mean one thing… 4 more crazy mornings to get through until the weekend! I can do this. I can do this. I will do this. With messy hair, Cheerios on my clothes, and maybe only 1 eye open, I will do this!

Wont you come join me on this crazy fun adventure called Motherhood? Who’s Ready? More importantly, who has the coffee (and possibly some chocolate?)?

~ Michelle