Tag Archives: sleep

An Open Letter to My Mother (Now That I’m a Mother)

Dear Mom,

When I was still in high school, I recall a conversation where you said something like, ‘Someday you’ll realize I do know what I’m talking about and you’ll even call to ask my advice.’ Well, that time has officially come. There have been other times in the past that I have thought back on this conversation; like when I had to call to ask how to make baked potatoes, or for the last ingredient in your famous Rio Grande hot dish. (Yes, I called it a hot dish. My husband is silently celebrating right now. Silly Minnesotans.)

Now that I’m a mother I see many things in a different light.

I finally understand why you wanted us to clean the house before leaving for the weekend. There are few things that give me more anxiety than knowing that there are dirty dishes in the sink or a bag of garbage that didn’t get taken out  when I’m trying to enjoy a few days away.

Folded clothes sitting in piles on the couch, or even in a clothes basket, make me crazy. (Even if I don’t have time to put them away…)

That load of laundry that has been washed 3 times because I keep forgetting to switch it over… Yes, I know I used to forget, or sometimes deliberately not, move a load of laundry when it was on my chore list. I now understand your frustration.

There are a few things I still haven’t figured out though.

For instance, how in the world did you have enough energy to clean the house after we went to bed? I know you must have, and probably more often that I even noticed in my self-absorbed, teenage world.  You had four children, I can’t even muster the energy to do that with one!

Also, how did you have time to make us clothes. I have been trying for 7 months to make a wet bag and a few diapers for Dragonling. Finally, this week I have been able to cut out the wet bag and the cover of one diaper. Nothing is put together, I haven’t even cut out all the pieces of the diaper yet.  I mean, you made us matching Christmas outfits. How in the world did you find time to do that?

How did you have time to make things for all the multitude of craft shows that we attended? I was there. I mean, I know how you did it, I just can’t even begin to understand how to find that amount of time for myself.

When did you sleep?! You did sleep, didn’t you?

I’m amazed at all the things you did that I didn’t even notice at the time.

The clothes you washed for me when I was too busy with school activities to make time to do it myself. The dinner that was always in the oven when I got home from play practice. The family movie and game nights. Letting my friends and I hang out in the basement TV room without so much as a complaint about how many showed up, the mess we made, or how loud we were.

Thank you for being my mother. Thank you for all the things I never thanked you for growing up. (I will never begin to be able to think of them all…) Thank you for continuing to be there and for offering advice and support when I need it now.

Thank you.

I love you, and I can’t wait to share more of my adventures as a mother with you.

Your Daughter,

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In the First Six Months, I Have Learned…

One week ago marked six months of motherhood. Six glorious, sleep-deprived, challenging, beautiful months.

In the months of pregnancy people give you lots of advice, whether you want it or not. During that time, you take it all in stride and try to remember the big things while your pregnancy brain is trying to remember to put pants on before you leave for work.

Seriously, some days it was a miracle I got out the door fully clothed.

In the first six months of Drangonling’s life I have learned a plethora of things about myself, about parenting, and about children.

I have learned that despite my track record as a champion procrastinator, resulting in many nights of very little or no sleep in high school and college, I had NO IDEA what tired actually was.  In the first two weeks of Dragonling’s life, I very quickly learned that my previous understanding of exhausted would become my daily norm.  I now reserve “exhausted” for special occasions when I get less than 3 hours of sleep multiple days in a row.

I have learned that it is possible to function during the day without having completed a single REM cycle during the previous night. Not fun, but possible.

I have learned the art of napping during the day. Before Dragonling, I was always someone who rarely napped because when I did it ended up being three hours and I always had things I needed to do. I reserved naps for when I  had nothing that had to be done the rest of the day and when I was sick. Now, I’m just grateful for a few minutes of sleep when I can get them. These day naps are still irritating to me because I usually wake up feeling less rested than before but I still usually take them when I get a chance.

I have learned housework will always come second to baby snuggles.  A sink piled full of dishes, four loads of laundry to fold, and a vacuum collecting dust in the corner are just a few of the sights readily available to visitors in my home. I know as soon as we pass the ‘crawling’ milestone that vacuum will be used almost everyday, I wouldn’t want to wear it out too soon.

I have learned that you will have more beds/chairs for your child than you will for the rest of the family combined. I won’t even start counting the toys, how can one tiny person can amass so many things in such a short amount of time is amazing. Especially since they are just as happy playing with a pair of bright socks as a cute stuff toy that makes noise.

I have learned that my child’s bodily functions will be a regular part of at least one conversation my husband I have every day. Having a child will cure you of most discomfort about such topics. After six months, we could (and probably have) had such conversations while eating and not even bat an eye.

I have learned that cloth diapers really do contain the poo better. I find myself saying, after a blow out in a disposable, “If she had been in cloth that wouldn’t have happened.”

I have learned that lots of people think it’s weird that I use cloth diapers. I’m not exactly sure why they have this reaction. Cloth diapers have been around longer than disposables. Plus, with the trend towards sustainable living I’m surprised more people don’t use them. I don’t use cloth all the time but I definitely prefer it.

I have learned how to distinguish what my daughter needs by the sound of her cry. I know that is supposed to happen, but those first few weeks I was sure I would never figure it out. In those first few weeks all the cries sound the same, “Why aren’t you fixing this, you’re supposed to be the one to make it better!” Nothing makes you feel like a failure like a baby crying when you don’t know how to make it better.

I have learned that the sharpest object in the known universe are the slightly-too-long fingernails of an infant. They can peel your face off in mere seconds of tiny rage if her hands are too close to your cheek.

I have learned that fastening a snap, popping knees, squeaky floor boards, and refastening a nursing bra are all causes to wake the Dragonling. However, two cats racing through the house at top speed will not even cause a change in breathing. I will never understand…

The most important thing I have learned in the last six months is that nobody has all the answers. It doesn’t matter if they have one kid or seven, each one is different and will require a different tactic for each step of their development. They will still be happy to tell you what worked for them, even if you didn’t ask, but it does help to ask questions. Every parent has gone through the same major developmental stages, the details may be different but the big picture is generally the same. You never know who will have the right solution for you, maybe no one and then you’ll have to make your own solution but at least you are reaching out when there is the need.

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Today Brought to You by…

coffeeSo recently Dragonling 1.0 has not been sleeping well. Not falling asleep easily, doesn’t want to be put down, and not staying asleep long. Obviously this makes for a tired, crabby baby in the morning. It also makes a tired and crabby Mommy and Daddy…

Last night was the pinnacle, I hope, of bad sleep in recent memory.

Yesterday she hardly napped. A couple little 20 minute cat naps throughout the day, but nothing that would even come close to a quality sleeping experience. By the time Papa Dragon came home I was ready to hand off Dragonling for some father/daughter time.

The night started off like a normal night.

Around 6:00 PM we got out some squash and bananas for Dragonling’s supper. She ate well and seemed to be feeling pretty good but was pretty tired.

I’m sure the unusual burst of fresh air had something to do with that, however in January Iowans don’t turn down outdoor time when the weather is nice. We need all the Vitamin D we can get!

After she ate it was time for pjs and Momma snuggles while nursing. She fell asleep quickly and I laid her in her crib around 7:30 PM.

Like normal, she woke up about an hour later for the rest of her evening snack, but this time she would not go back to sleep.

Now, we have just started some sleep training in an attempt to get her to sleep better through the night. Our plan has been to try to lay her down still partially awake so she can learn to self-soothe herself to sleep the rest of the way.

We are also transitioning from a Fisher Price Rock ‘N Play to her crib. We might be insane.

Because we have a couple major changes going on at once our plan is to take things very gradually. So, for the time being, the goal is get her laid down in her crib, drowsy the first time she goes to bed each night. The second time she’s ready to go down, we will attempt to lay her in the crib while drowsy but limit the attempt to no more than a 30 minutes. After 30 minutes we will just lay her back in the Rock ‘N Play.

It seems good in theory, and in practice it worked yesterday…

Today, not so much.

It took me three hours to get her back to sleep and laid down.

Three hours.

Three. Hours.


During those three hours I nursed her twice (the first because she was hungry and the second was just for comfort), I changed her diaper, I rocked her, I walked with her, and every time I tried to lay her down she woke up the instant her head hit the bed. Screaming.

There was no build up. Just screaming.

Finally, after the second feeding she dozed off and I was able to put her down. I quickly jumped into bed also, because I knew that she would more than likely be up at least one more time before morning. (Actual morning, like 7:00 AM, not this 5:00 AM business.)

By this time it was about midnight.

At 2:30 AM she was up again.

Again she ate. Again she woke up the instant her head hit the bed. I tried, unsuccessfully, for 45 minutes to get her to sleep before I called in reinforcements.

Papa Dragon came in and got the Dragonling calmed down and, once again, tried to lay her down.

Instant. Screaming.

So I nursed her again.

Asleep. Dead asleep in less than 5 minutes.

I laid her down (4:00 AM) and again I slept.

At 6:30 AM she was up again, but this time I just had to nurse her and lay her in the bed next to me and she was out.

One more hour. I got one more hour.

At 7:30 AM she was up and ready for the day… I was not.

Thank God for Keurig machines and coffee. Copious amounts of coffee.


Oh, and did I mention she got her 6 month vaccine shots today…