I was working on a much more interesting, thoughtful, in depth post than this one. I was hoping to get it up in time for Aidan's Day, but my muse is off duty, and life got in the way, so I decided to write and post this instead.
I don't know if any of you out there are Survivor fans, but have you ever noticed that as soon as one of the castaways gets cocky, he or she gets voted out? The Survivor leaves the show all shocked and appalled that things didn't turn out the way they had intended. While I bet the show is edited to take advantage of this 'plot' twist, I'm sure there's also some truth to that series of events.
I've decided parenting is exactly like that.
Last week Kaia had finally decided that while she wasn't IN LOVE with her helmet, it wasn't the worst thing in the world, and she could live with it. We've got her wearing it 18 hours a day with a four hour off period in the morning and then a 2 hour off period before bed. Score # 1! Then last weekend, she slept for 11 hours straight TWO nights in a row! I was doing the happy dance thinking, "Holy smokes, I have the best kid in the world. My parenting skills must be da bomb!" Score # 2! Kaia has also taken to eating adult food with more gusto and less gagging and retching, no longer making a face that says"oh my GOD Mommy...are you seriously expecting that I swallow this?!" She's now fond of baby cereal, yogurt, mashed banana, mashed raspberries and black berries, baby mum-mums, and she even tried some spaghetti sauce the other night. This excites me because it hails the eventual end of pumping. Maybe I can even start to drop pumps to only 2 or 3 a day. Score # 3!
*Cue thunder and lightning*
Andddd....this week has sucked. Mostly on the sleep front. Kaia developed a *slight* (and I do mean SLIGHT) cold. I know it's not that bad because she's literally FINE during the day, happy and playful and full of energy as ever. I also have the same cold, and while I'm stuffy at night and had a bit of sore throat, it is in no way unbearable. I don't know whether it's this, the helmet, a growth spurt, gas from her new foods, or some crazy developmental stage, but it has caused Kaia to revert back to some of her earlier sleep behaviours that I had hoped were gone for good. Namely, waking up 20 minutes after falling asleep when first put to bed and crying, fussing and generally being crabby for well over two hours (or MORE!) until she finally falls asleep. I am okay with letting her fuss for awhile, but when it goes past 20 to 30 minutes and/or includes screaming, I'll admit this starts 'harshing my mellow'.
If that were the only sleep issue, I'd be frustrated, but we could work around it. However, she's also waking up WAY more often. Like NEWBORN often. Once this week she was up *SCREAMING* at 2am, 4am, 6am only to get up for good at 9:30am. The first time I heard her I jumped out of bed thinking something must be terribly wrong. She must be feverish, or her helmet must be causing her pain, or SOMETHING...but no, we tried Tylenol and leaving the helmet off and it doesn't make a difference. She's also always been a baby who goes right back to sleep after eating in the middle of the night. She was awake for over an hour at 4am one time this week, making it so that I had to lay on the couch listening to her on the baby monitor in order to ensure Brian didn't lose sleep for work. Afternoon naps have also left something to be desired. There have actually been a couple days this week where she hasn't really napped at all...virtually unheard of since last November.
Could food be throwing off her sleep? After a day or two of solids at both lunch and dinner time (literally two tablespoons a day instead of one), she became more gassy than usual, and fussy because of that. I think this is a hold over from her cast days and the majorly slowed digestion that caused, so I'm willing to bet this will pass...but when you can feel her tummy gurgling and she's crying and upset it's enough to make you want to swear off solids until she's 2. ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT, I'll pump you some more breast milk. Sheesh! (A side note: I was totally right about delaying solids until the cast was off. Take that pediatricians!). I think we're going to cool it with multiple solids/multiple times per day and just stick to the cereal/breast milk once a day for awhile and see if that's causing the problem.
So, at the end of this week it feels like parenting fails all around.
As you can imagine, this week has been one of the tougher ones for us and for Kaia in awhile...and of course it had to be the week leading up to Aidan's 'dirthday'. I wanted his day to be special somehow, and I worried and fussed over what we should do. I felt I wasn't doing enough to plan or 'celebrate', because I was so freaking tired. I had a bit of a melt down Friday afternoon yelling at Brian that I was willing to quit the helmet and live with Kaia's oddly shaped head if it meant she'd SLEEP! (Because when in doubt, blaming the orthopaedic device seems like the safest bet). Then I cried a bit, felt better, and we got on with the weekend.
Aidan's day was actually pretty good (sleep woes, and the fact that it exists as a day to be remembered at all aside). Brian got up through the night with Kaia and let me sleep in (pure bliss). I made chocolate cupcakes on Friday night with blue butter cream frosting (picture on my last post). I was proud of myself and limited it to 9 cupcakes in total so we didn't go crazy with too many calories. I had originally wanted to do something nice as a family. Maybe go to a park where the cherry trees are blooming and take some photos, or go for a walk. I like being outside in natural surroundings as it seems the best place to be to remember Aidan. However the weather was uncooperative this year, grey and uncomfortably cool and windy. Not at all like the weather on the day he was actually born which was mild with some sun.
Instead we decided to take my parents up on their offer to babysit and Brian and I went to see the Disney nature film "Chimpanzee" (a sort of indoor compromise on my nature theme). I thought this was a fitting thing to do because it was a kid's movie, but with enough of an engaging story to make it worthwhile for adults. Definitely a movie I would have loved to take Aidan to, and Kaia will hopefully enjoy one day. Disney was also making a donation on behalf of every ticket sold the first week to the Jane Goodall Chimpanzee fund, so that was a nice bonus. Since we were at the mall seeing the movie, we also decided to do something I'd been thinking about for awhile. We went to a jeweller and asked them to inscribe both Aidan and Kaia's names on the inside of our wedding bands. It was only $40 for both rings, so I thought this was a pretty good deal and a nice physical representation to link our marriage to both our kids.
I'm happy with the way we spent Aidan's Day, and although this week with Kaia has been tough, Aidan 'dirthday' was a good reminder at how fortunate I am to have a living child to love on at all. Things are actually very good in my life and I'm so lucky to consider sleep woes the biggest drag on my mental fortitude right now. Plus this will pass. I'm sure in a few weeks, Kaia will grow and change things up on us again.
I wish I could say the same about Aidan.