Tuesday, March 31, 2009

stalled

Sorry for another incident of Mama MIA. You can probably safely assume that if I suddenly stop posting, something "bad" (but not catastrophic) has happened, and I can't think of anything good to say. I struggle with that here on the old blog, as you know. On one hand, I want to say it like it is, and on the other, I just can't stand to feel like post after post I'm just whining about my life, you know?

So anyway, after my big "yay, we've succeeded" post, things went swiftly downhill, as the boys and my sister all got a stomach virus and I got a respiratory virus. Sis got better swiftly, but the boys remained sick for 6 days, and then progressed to the respiratory thing, which the 3 of us still have. I haven't been sick for this long (8 days, now) for a very long time... in fact, I don't think ever. I guess the lack of sleep has broken me down a bit.

Max's sleep really went downhill with his illness, but now he's doing better, and is back to pretty much sleeping through the night. I still give him an early morning feeding, and the little guys are still waking me up between 5:15 and 6 in the morning for the day, but at least he's doing better overall. I was certainly afraid that all the progress I had made with him would be lost with an interruption coming so soon after sleep training.

Shoghi is still co-sleeping with me, although he's doing a little better, too, despite not having any real training to speak of. He's started being able to go back to sleep if I just lie next to him some of the time, rather than having to get him up and bounce him back to sleep on the yoga ball. Some nights he's actually sleeping for a few hours at a stretch without nursing, which is a dramatic improvement.

The incredible thing about this time is that there's so much dramatic change happening, all the time. They're making moves toward being able to sit up completely unassisted, Max has started making a symphony of hilarious consonant sounds, while Shoghi is the master of his musculature, rolling, jumping in the exersaucer, shaking his head, and crossing rooms with his funny hop/crawl moves. Really, it's lovely. I'll talk more about this soon. For now, I've got to get in a little down time and then head off to bed. Here are a couple of recent photos:

Happy Maxy

Shoghi leafing through one of the favorite books.
Both boys love photos of baby faces right now.

Max sitting up in the boppy.

I love this photo - it's a very typical moment in our day.

Monday, March 23, 2009

1,000 steps closer

Today I think I can safely say that Max's nighttime sleep training has been a success. He's had 3 nights of sleeping through the night. I give him a "dream feeding" at 3 or 4am, which just means that I pick him up, feed him, and put him back in his crib while still asleep. He's sleeping from about 7:15pm to 6:30am. He has responded so well to our gentle approach, so that now I swaddle him with one arm tucked in, say some little prayers with him, read one story, and lie him down in his crib, tucked up to the side of the crib. He does seem to like resting against the bumper - this was one of the recommendations our sleep coach gave us. He might utter a little fuss or whimper, but I sit with him, singing softly, and he is asleep in under 5 minutes. To say this is a relief is as great an understatement as there could be. I think I could even just leave him to do it himself at this point, but I enjoy that time with him, and I'm still so astonished, it's like watching magic happen before my eyes. I am halfway there.

Daytime sleep is another issue, but I'm not going to worry about that for now. We'll just keep cycling through, offering naps 90-120 minutes after they wake, all day long. Oh, and Max just yesterday began making that dreaded "mmm" noise that is so synonymous with Teething. That's bound to make things interesting.

Now we begin, slowly, with Shoghi. The sleep coach has recommended that while our doula/babysitter is away, we use some of the techniques from No Cry Sleep Solution, getting him used to being in the crib awake, being put down in the crib while still drowsy, and having a couple of minutes before someone rushes in upon his waking. I tried some of this last night. He was so "on" while I was trying to bounce him to sleep, I decided to just put him down rather than try to wrestle with his back arching and looking all around. Well, he was having none of it, I tell you. Shoghi doesn't really get sad - from the time he was born, he has gone from unhappy to SUPREMELY ANGRY in about one breath. Last night was the same. So, then I was trying to hold and console a very angry baby. After that, he would wake up every single time I tried to put him back in the crib until I finally gave him another bottle to calm him down. Bedtime lasted for about an hour or longer, and then he proceeded to wake up frequently until I finally threw in the towel and went to bed with him in tow at about 9:30. It's ok, though... I know I have to get him used to the idea that he's got to wait it out a little. I just hope that 10 days from now, he's more ready than he is now. I'm going to do my best to make sure he is.

In the meanwhile, I'm still not getting any more sleep. Between his wakings and listening to and for Max, prompting myself to get up for dream feedings, and just generally keeping my mama radar up all night, I'm up, clockwatching, at least every hour. Still, I can already say that Max's success makes the money I am spending on sleep training some of the best I've ever spent in my life... and I'm sure it will continue to be as Shoghi comes closer to sleeping all night long, too. I just hope that in the interrim I'm able to shake off the sleepies enough to be the fun and inspired mama I so want to be, at least some of the time. We are doing a lot of afternoon naps in the car these days, just so I can get some down time.

Enjoy your sleep, dear readers!

ps: you might also be interested in reading about our sleep training from my sister's perspective. she wrote about it on her blog here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

before bed

I just wanted to take a moment before going to bed tonight for a little gratitude. I so appreciate all the support flowing this way right now, both from the blog and from facebook. Your comments, emails, messages and calls have really sustained me. Thank you so much for taking an interest in this little family and sending your words of encouragement.

I'm also glad to say that today was markedly easier. Tonight, Max fell asleep with me by the side of his crib, singing to him after only five minutes of lying there. He fussed for less than a minute and there was absolutely no crying, and fell asleep without anything in his mouth. I wouldn't have believed this would happen just one night after our experience yesterday.

Here are some photos taken today:

he fell asleep sucking his thumb!

Shoghi has been moved to L's room while Max takes Sleep 101

Today we celebrated spring by going to opening day of the farmer's market!
Here's Laurie carrying Shoghi in the meitai.

comfort level

Uncharted territory. Sleep training has introduced me to a new aspect of parenting: allowing (or forcing?) your child to be uncomfortable for the sake of his growth. Last night was our second night of what seems to me to be hard core sleep training, and it really pushed me to the limits of my comfort. It's like walking the edge of the sword, and it hurts. You're constantly evaluating your child, yourself, the situation... and if you're really not sure just how much you'll be able to do, it makes for a very draining experience, because you're not just holding the line - the line is its own living, breathing entity, and you are discovering it minute by minute, breath by breath.

Poor baby had a hard time last night. I am trying to get him to drift off without his binkie and without me bouncing him on the yoga ball. So far, we've already been able to completely eliminate the ball, which is astonishing. The binkie, though, is not so easily cast aside. The problem is, he can't put it back in his mouth. If he could, this wouldn't be an issue. He's been a thumb sucker in the past, and still does occasionally, so I'm to try to get him to think of his thumb, which is monumentally hard to do when he's upset. If I touch him, he thinks I'm going to pick him up, so the fact that I'm trying to guide his hand to his mouth seems very confusing. He has taken a little to sucking on the corner of his satin-edged blanket, but once he reaches a certain level of unhappiness, that's no longer good enough. So, it was an hour of trying to soothe him with my voice, with my hand on his head or chest, giving him his blanket or thumb, my pinkie (which caused further crying when I removed it). Hard stuff. I finally gave him his binkie, which made me feel defeated and like I'd caused him to suffer needlessly, which I don't actually believe, but in the moment, it felt terrible. I remind myself that when we're in the car, he does cry, and he also falls asleep without assistance. This is evidence that he can do this, it's just going to be somewhat uncomfortable. I happen to think it's my job to determine what is uncomfortable and what is distressed and panicking.

Later on in the night, he did really well. When he woke up at 11, I managed to keep myself away, and he only complained a little before finding his thumb and going back to sleep. And at 3 after his bottle, I laid him down so I could bounce Shogh, and he again fell asleep with absolutely no fussing after about five minutes. Pretty damned good. He's also had longer naps, so we're obviously progressing towards better sleep... it's just getting through the initial putting-down that is really testing me.

I think it's just one more way that this journey of raising twins has taken me away from the parenting style I always imagined having. That's not to say that I regret having twins, but there's just no way to form (at least there wasn't for me) in your mind a realistic expectation of attachment parenting for twins vs. a singleton. Even with all my childcare experience, I had no idea what it would be like, and just assumed that I could go on making decisions as I would have with one. Maybe if I had a husband in the picture, it would be different, but I'm not convinced of that, either.

I started off sleeping with the boys in my bed and loved it. It was so joyful, until it was just keeping us all up all night long. I never managed to tandem nurse with any success, and certainly not in bed. Today I'm having a king-sized bed delivered, but wonder if the boys will ever be able to sleep in it with me. Not that this is the absolute end of our journey with sleep, by any means... it just makes me sad to see how far from my ideal we've come. Attachment parenting isn't just where the boys sleep, nor is it about whether or how much they were nursed. It's a far broader concept, and although I don't limit my sense of my parenting style to one philosophy, I am probably closest to this one.

It's not all bad, by the way. During the day, the boys have become so full of life and personality that it's a lot of fun. We're doing a lot of laughing at their funny little antics, their sounds, their learning. Max is all about peek-a-boo, which Shoghi doesn't get in any way. He makes so many funny noises and laughs so easily... Little Mr. Social, he continues to be. Meanwhile, Shoghi is a little roly-poly, covering distance across the room. He's all physical activity: he does little baby sit-ups and crunches, he gets on his hands and knees and rocks back and forth, he rolls all over the place. It's a wonder to behond them, they are so different.

And so we continue... tonight I will not allow as much crying as last, knowing as I do my comfort level with it. Hopefully Max will move closer to figuring out how to calm and soothe himself for the initial to-bed lie-down. I'll keep you posted. Sorry if this post is all jumbled up - I'm pretty sleepy at the moment.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

the new plan

I really should be sleeping. At least, I should be lying in bed, hoping for sleep. Tonight is the first night of my new sleep plan for the boys.

Sorry I went MIA for a while, there. To be honest, I've been a little down in the dumps about all of this, and felt like I didn't have anything interesting to say about it. I tried for a week to institute some changes, a week of fighting for naps. fighting for nighttime sleep, and really, I didn't get much of anywhere. The average number of hours didn't budge. I started managing to put the boys down awake some of the time, letting them drift off the rest of the way, but that was really it.

I spoke to our sleep coach earlier this week. I chose to have our consultation by phone to save some money, and she basically has a long intake, we make a plan, and then she offers email support week by week. Our plan is to focus on Max first, since he wakes less throughout the night. The plan is to teach him how to fall asleep in his crib, without being bounced on a yoga ball or given a binkie. I'm supposed to encourage him to suck his thumb for comfort. I was clear that I wouldn't be comfortable with letting them cry, but that I could tolerate some fussing. She was willing to work with my preferences... so I'm going a little more strongly than the No Cry Sleep Solution, but not as extreme as the method prescribed by Ferber. This afternoon and tonight, I managed to put him in his crib and sit with him while he fell asleep. It took about 20 minutes, and he did fuss and whine and cry a little, but I was with him the whole time, and I really do believe he can do this. I want this for him - to be able to soothe himself when I can't be there. To be able to do that so that if he really does wake up and need me, I can differentiate. Does that make sense? If not, I promise, it's because I'm operating on less than three hours of sleep, and it's almost 10:30pm.

What might prove to be harder than putting him down to sleep may be getting him to fall back to sleep without picking him up (unless he's really upset, of course) or giving him his binkie. I have to get up at least 10 times a night to give this little guy his pacifier, and he can't yet pick it up for himself... so he's got to learn another way of falling back to sleep. Part of me hopes he just sleeps until his feeding at 3 or 4, and the other part of me knows that we've got to learn this.

My sister has Shoghi in her room for the next few nights. I expect that we're all going to be hurtin' for several days as Max learns this new skill. Our doula-turned-babysitter is going on vacation, so we're going to work on Max, and then take a break, working on Shoghi more intently after E comes back. Meanwhile, I'll be using the gentler techniques with Shoghi to hopefully get him closer. He's going to be the really hard one, I just know it.

April posted a comment, asking for advice about her baby who wouldn't nap except for on her. Boy, that's a hard one. I haven't really had this problem, because my boys have never had the chance to get used to this. But I have to tell you, swaddling works wonders for us. I continue to swaddle the boys for all sleep except in the car, and that wrapped feeling allows me to put them down without waking them. I'd definitely try that. I also used a Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch to get them to sleep sometimes, and could often manage to keep them in the pouch but lift it off and keep them somewhat wrapped up. Maybe these strategies could help. If I think of anything else, I'll surely post about it.

I'd love to be able to take the time to share some of the things I've read with you. I've been doing a lot of skimming through parenting books of late, and boy, there's a lot of useless crap out there. A lot of information on stuff like ages and stages that doesn't give any strategy, or focuses mostly on the newborn stage. In fact, I haven't yet found a really good twin parenting book that doesn't seem to totally minimize the challenges. It would be fun to be able to take some time and write a good old essay about this... but I just don't have the time right now. I'm thinking, though, that I should find some way to write a book about surviving the first year with twins. Everyone says "just get through the first year and it will get better" but no one tells you how to do that. If you've come across anything, let me know. I'm dying for more help.

I might not be able to post about sleep updates every day... but I might. You never know. This is a very emotional journey for me, and I'm really worn out. Thanks for asking after us, though. It's a relief to know there are so many cheering us on.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Day 4, continued

I don't see much point in continuing to describe the play-by-play in our land of (not) sleep... I imagine everything is going to change tomorrow anyway. Yesterday (Day 4) was pretty good in terms of daytime sleep, but of course it still involved mid-nap bouncing and a 1.5 hour drive in the afternoon. Last night's sleep was completely disastrous. I pretty much lost my sh*t after being up with Shoghi from 10:30-12:45 and 2:15-4:45. Lucky for both of us, he finally fell asleep at 4:45 and slept in until a whopping 7:30. Of course, Max was up at 6:10, so it's not like I got to "sleep in" anyway.

This whole thing really challenges me to the core. I have written before about how I find the emotions of mothering alarming at times, and this issue seems particularly charged for me.

I was asked by email what led to deciding to work on sleep in this way. The simplest explanation is that the boys are each not hitting the 14 hours of sleep needed at this age. It's making Max very fussy, has meant that we have no discernible schedule, and leaves me full of anxiety every night. Basically, Shoghi's nights are a disaster, while Max's days are terrible. Fun for everyone, to be sure. That and the fact that mama needs to get some measure of sleep combined to make me desperate enough to pursue A Plan. If I just had one of them, I'm sure I could make it work, but with both of them, I'm at the end of my rope.

I've decided to go the route of the sleep consultant. I spoke with her for a free phone consultation this morning, describing our situation. I think her rates are pretty affordable, and while I won't have her come to the house, we'll talk on the phone tomorrow for probably over an hour, come up with a plan, and then she will provide me with daily email support as I implement our agreed upon plan. I assume there will be some thickening of my skin involved, for there is certain to be some fussing involved in whatever plan we come up with. She says she will work with me and my comfort level to choose from the range of sleep strategies. I like this - that she draws from everything that's out there. That's how I approach things, too... some aspects of this strategy, a little tool from that philosophy... creating something that will hopefully work for us. She warned me that with twins, it's likely to take more than a week.

So, I guess I'm probably going to abandon my posts about The Schedule, and after my consultation tomorrow, I'll start posting about the new plan. I'll let you know what we're trying and how it goes. Please keep up the encouragements. I take heart knowing that you're all reading and cheering me on... I love to see that there have even been readers from far-off places like Finland, Sweden, India and Morocco. I'd love to hear your take on sleep, and anything I might be missing.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Schedule, Day 4


I'm off to sleep early tonight, so no big posty. I will write tomorrow morning after my chat with the sleep consultant! For now, here's a cute, cute photo of little Maxy taking his (5-minute) afternoon nap.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Schedule, Day 3

Today was a day that would likely end this experiment for many people. Truth be told, if I hadn't made the "public" commitment here to see this through for a week, I might have thrown in the towel after today's failure to discern any progress. I will persist, though... I will call on my Finnish SISU and get through this week with tenacity of purpose.

I have seen no progress or change in sleep behavior of my darling babies. This is exhausting and I daresay a little demoralizing. Shoghi had three 30 minute naps today, while Max had two naps - one was 30 minutes, and the other was 90, but involved 20 minutes of bouncing mid-nap and I had to hold him for a half an hour to keep him asleep. Clearly, this is not sustainable. They were up several times during the night and woke for the day at 6.

Oh, and just now? A Pyrex baking dish just exploded in our oven. With unset brownie mix in it. So much for comfort food after a shitty few days, huh? sigh.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Schedule, Day 2

Is it going to be totally boring for me to give you daily updates on Executing The Schedule? Well, since I might not even be able to post every day, I'm just not going to worry about it. And since this is my first attempt at real discipline in the daily lives of my children, I'll just jot something down when I can, for posterity.

Day 2 wasn't great.

While our day started off really well with a 7:50 wake-up (which is better than the 6am awakenings I've been getting), the Morning Nap was a flop. Shoghi slept for an hour, but when Max woke up after his typical 30 minutes, I couldn't get him back to sleep.

max visiting in shoghi's crib after morning nap.
look at those red cheeks max has. in the middle of all this sleep madness,
i am also trying to figure out if he has a milk allergy.
we've tried him on soy and powdered goat's milk so far...
let me tell you - the smell of digested goat's milk is NASTY.
tomorrow i'm putting him back on soy.
i don't think i gave it enough time on our last go.

So, when they were both up and fed, we immediately packed them into the car so we could go to a little shopping district for a nice walk in the sun, and I needed to go to a bookstore for a little professional research. Unfortunately, even though they'd both been up for less than an hour, they proceeded to fall asleep in the FIVE MINUTE DRIVE to Hawthorne. Sh*t! I was exasperated and uncertain of what to do. We woke them up, thinking (in error) that they would continue to sleep in the stroller.

Two hours later, at the time they should have been getting ready for afternoon nap, we headed home. Guess what happened: Max fell asleep in the car, while Shoghi had a complete meltdown because he was hungry. So, due to the screaming, we drove right home, and then Max woke up (after sleeping for 5 minutes). He slept for a total of 30 minutes again in the afternoon, giving him total daytime naps of an hour. Worse than usual, and of course he was a complete mess until bedtime at 7. Then, Shoghi crashed from all the crying, slept for 20 minutes, and likewise wouldn't go back to sleep after his bottle. For a total of an hour and 20 minutes of napping. The No Cry Sleep Solution says you don't even count a 30 minute nap, so basically, Max didn't nap at all today. How do you think tonight's going to be?

You might think I'm just crazy or stupid for trying to get them on this schedule without doing some CIO (cry it out). Well, like Devon, I agree that there is a difference between fussing and all-out crying, and I can live with fussing. But crying just seems to violate a trust that I believe is between me and my children. They have their own Self - they have volition, they have sovereignty (so beautifully explained in "Everyday Blessings" by Jon & Myla Kabat Zin), and if they are just left to cry, I feel strongly that I am betraying them, even if my motives are ultimately going to "help" them. They can trust only very few people at this point in their lives, and they have to put their entire existence into my hands. They cannot come to me if they are upset; they cannot call to me except by crying. And while crying takes many forms, and I can distinguish between some of them, I know the cry, the language, the message and meaning of their cry if I leave them to do something (fall asleep) they've never had to do on their own (ok, aside from when they were in the NICU. Let's not return to that time, if you please).

Aside from all this falling asleep theory, there's also the whole dilemma of what to do when they wake up. It would be - ok, it will be -nice if they could fall back to sleep by themselves. During the night, though, I find myself empathising with them: we spend the whole day together, so what if they just want a little touch point in the night? Am I going to leave them to cry back to sleep? I don't think so. I know that when I have shared a bed with a partner, I have often rolled over in the night for the sake of taking comfort in that person's presence. Isn't it strange that the adults will be cuddled up while the babies lie alone? Why shouldn't the babies want the same thing we do? Why shouldn't I give that to them freely? Yes, it will invariably mean that I won't sleep as well, but they will not be so small forever, and if they wake up and we settle back down into a family bed, we'll all have room to return to sleep easily, in the comfort of each others presence.

You may find it funny that I can leave this relationship entirely up to other families to evaluate and choose for themselves - I really do understand the pros of CIO sleep training and know that it can sometimes be just a short transition. I worked as a nanny for years and know the ease of putting a baby to bed who has been trained. I also know the rigors of babycare and leave it to the hopefully throughtful discretion of other parents to choose their path without my judgment. I'm not here to say that my way is right - I just want to share my process and try to explain it the best I can. (I'm not a person big on debating politics, if you hadn't guessed that already).

a simple, small ikea crib is what i chose for both boys

So, here I am... on Night Two of The Schedule... we'll see how it goes. Oh, and as I was explaining to my mom tonight, I am envisioning this as a several-tiered process -we establish the schedule, then we see the boys anticipate their naps and nighttime sleep, then we start decreasing the amount of bouncing, then they are laid in their cribs before they are complely asleep, etc. My ultimate goal is to be able to put them both down in their cribs for whatever sleep they are needing, and allow them to fall asleep themselves. I know they can do this. I know I waited a long time to get to this place... but we were living with another family, and then visiting my family, and then in transition in our new home. This is really our first opportunity, and it feels right to do this slowly and deliberately so I can watch the boys and see how they react to each step of transition.

So there you have it. Day 2. Feels like a long way to go.

Edited To Add: I also wanted to be clear that I have not ruled out sleep training that involves CIO, believe it or not. Maybe that's why this is so hard: I'm considering all options. I just feel like this process I have described is the most in line with my beliefs about my relationship with my boys, so I will pursue it as an experiment and see if we can make it work. I've been doing a lot of independent investigation on sleep, reading materials I had previously frowned upon. Just so's you know... And I know some of you will think I'm feeling like I have to defend myself here... no, it's not really that. I just want to do my best in describing how I'm making these big parenting decisions. There is a lot of debate over these philosophies, and it's important to me that I am clear within myself as to how and why I am choosing this course. Make sense?

goings on

We've been a little busy, over here. things have continued to be rather challenging with the boys, so as of yesterday, everything came to a screeching halt as I instituted a Schedule. Here's what I've committed myself to for a week, to see how it goes:

  • morning wake-up
  • awake for 3 hours, then nap for minimum of one hour
  • awake for 3-3.5 hours, then nap for 1-2 hours
  • awake until bedtime
  • sleep in cribs (yes, part of my plan is for them to sleep in their new cribs)
  • upon waking, transfer to bed (hopefully without bouncing back to sleep)
  • one middle-of-the-night bottle (usually around 4)
  • sleep so that total bedtime is between 11 and13 hours (sleep about 11 hrs)

seems simple, right?

Day 1 was yesterday, and it went really well... but then, Day 1 usually goes well.

We had morning naps of an hour, though I had to bounce Max, my 30-minute napper, back to sleep. We had an afternoon nap lasting 2 hours, though admittedly, it was in the car. And bedtime lasted from 7:30pm to 7:50am, with a bottle at 4:50am, though Shoghi was up multiple times, requiring me to bounce him back to sleep three times.

Today is Day 2, and Max wouldn't go back to sleep after his 30-minute morning nap, despite being up for three hours, and me & Laurie both trying to get him back to sleep. I'm skeptical abut my chances for success already.

I'm actually going to talk to a sleep consultant on Monday. I'm ok with investing time in sleep training, and know pur changes must be gradual since I'm not willing to let them cry it out. I just need a Plan, and some level of confidence that we can succeed.

Meanwhile, we continue to grow teeth, roll, crawl, love books, love playsilk time, enjoy the exersaucer, and love, love, love our solid foods. We've introduced pears, rice, banana, oatmeal, sweet potato, butternut squash, broccoli, beets, and mango. So far they like them all, with the following exceptions: Max doesn't like beets, and Shoghi doesn't care for broccoli.

It's 60* today, so we're headed out for a stroll on Hawthorne!

s's two little teeth

shoghi

the boys playing on the floor

a little pig pile

Friday, March 6, 2009

too much

In experimenting with a schedule for the boys, I'm learning the hard way that it's very easy to do too much. It screws with their sleep, and thus my mind, and therefore we must stick to our schedule.


This morning started off well enough, with the boys snuggling in bed with me until 7:30. We came downstairs, and after their morning nap, we had a chance to sit together in our big new rocking chair.

This afternoon we went to the park. It might surprise some of you if I say that many of my photos didn't come out well because they were too sun-bleached... that's right, it's spring here in the PNW, and we're loving it.

The boys, however only got to sleep sporadically, and so didn't get their afternoon naps, which threw off our whole evening. Blech. It's really hard to figure out how to take them out these days, since they inevitably fall asleep in the car. Anyway, enjoy the photos - I'm off to bed.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

setting up shop

Hello friends... where did we leave off? I think I was going on about enjoying housework, following a post about how hard life is? Ah, yes, the continuing saga of life as a mama.

So, in the past week, we've added yet another change into our little life: I'm going back to work. Or, rather, I'm opening my home office. I've got someone coming in twice a week, and will add to that as need be. So far, I've had to use quite a bit of babysitting time just to get things set up: I got a desk, started some unpacking, and have been running necessary errands. I've also started reaching out to former professional contacts, and I think it's going well. I'm hopeful that by the end of March, I might have some actual contracted marketing work to do!

In addition to my "professional" life as a marketing freelancer, of course, is my crafty business: Bamboo Village Press. This is my shop on Etsy that I started running two years ago, and I'm rather excited to dust the shop off. I started it in order to support my hopeful (future) NGO Bamboo Village Educational Fund, and it was pretty successful. Now I hope I can bring it back, and maybe expand that craftiness into some other areas. My most successful items were printed with my handy Gocco screen printer, like this Moleskine cahier and this floursack towel. I'm not sure where I'm going to find the time to tackle creative thinking and product development like this, but I'm hopeful that eventually I will be able to support this little family through these two endeavors.

Meanwhile, the growth spurt/teething-related insanity continues. Shoghi now has Tooth and Tooth Jr sprouting up from the bottom, and he's figuring out how to coordinate his movements into something closer to a consistent crawl every day. I know we're not supposed to be adjusting his age anymore, but come on, he's only going on five months adjusted! Compared to other seven month babies, mine are little peanuts, so where's all this advanced stuff coming from? I'd have been content with them staying in one place for a while yet, but that's not what the fates had in mind, is it? He's sure to be into everything in short order. He came crawling for my dinner plate last night and was very, very determined!

video

Max, on the other hand, continues to just want constant entertainment! That's fun! He may or may not be teething, but he's surely sharpening his rolling abilities by the day. He rolls onto his tummy and promptly becomes agitated. He's still a funny little fellow, though. He is always more likely to give you a good belly laugh, and what's better than baby laughter, anyway? He's also very much into his food. I've got a little video of him and his culinary enthusiasm. Notice the little birdy mouth and the kicking legs. Very cute.

video

Finally, let's just not even discuss sleep, which is but a distant memory at this time. What happened to my easy nighttime babies? What happened to comfortably co-sleeping, or nursing back to sleep, or waking one or two times a night? This all has been replaced with getting up at least every half an hour for much of the night. Mama is averaging 2-3 hours of (cumulative) sleep every night. To say it sucks is just a complete understatement... but then, we're not discussing sleep, are we?