Monday, September 24, 2012

Bionic woman

Surgery went well!  I ended up getting a plate with four screws, which will hopefully stay in my hand and I won't need another surgery to have them removed.  I get my cast off on Thursday, and I think I will get a removable brace then, although I'm not totally sure.  I went for a very short run yesterday just to see how it would go, and I plan to try a mid-to-long range run tomorrow.  I can't wait to be able to use my hand again, even if it is stiff.

Since it's hard to type, I'll just leave it there.  Hope all's well with you, thanks for the comments, and sorry I haven't really returned any recently.  One-handed typing and all.


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Today, I set out on a 12-mile run, and at mile 4.75, I tripped and fell.  When I landed, I bent two of my fingers backwards.  One came back up at an odd angle, and I sat on the pavement gripping my hand in pain.  Luckily (ha!) I was right across the street from the hospital.  4 x-rays and several hours later confirmed a bad fracture.  Several hours after THAT, I had a pre-surgery consult and scheduled surgery for Monday.

Now I am typing with one hand and feeling sorry for myself.  The husband leaves Tuesday for Boston.  I don't want him to cancel, but I'm worried about managing the whole week with not much help.  I've been training for this marathon for 7 weeks, and now I'm not sure I'll be able to do it.  I'm going to have pins put in my hand, and then later removed.  After the cast comes off, I'll have weeks of physical therapy.  And I've got two active needy two-year-olds. 

Feeling a bit overwhelmed right now.

Friday, September 7, 2012


This sleep thing is sort of crazy.

I mean, you know that you're not going to get much sleep for a while when you have a baby.  Depending on how much experience you have with small children, and on the tendencies of your own child, you have a more or less realistic idea of how long it's going to be before you get to sleep through the night for the first time.  And then semi-regularly.

One thing that doesn't seem to get much discussion, though, is sleep after the newborn and infant stages.

Turtle is currently crying in his crib.  It's 8:30 at night.  He's been awake since 6:30 this morning, without a nap, and he only slept about 8.5-9 hours last night.  That's right, he didn't go to sleep until around 9:45 last night.  My friends, this can't go on.

And I don't know what to do about it.  I feel really helpless.  Like many people we've been floundering around looking for whatever will work, sticking to our principles as much as we can and diverging from them when we get desperate.

Things that have worked in the past are not working now. 

Repeating the bedtime routine with more milk, more singing and rocking, another good night kiss - won't work anymore.

Bringing a toy or two of Turtle's choice - for some reason, only seems to make him cry harder.

Rocking him until he falls asleep - well, he falls asleep.  But we're not very successful transferring him into his crib anymore.  It's like he won't let himself go into a deep enough sleep to not notice the transfer.  He clings, even when he's been twitching and snoring.

Rubbing his back?  Tried it for an hour the other day.  Didn't work.

Sitting in his room with him, comforting him from the floor or the futon, so he'd relax to know that someone was with him in his room.  We've tried it multiple times, sometimes for longer than an hour.  Every time we go to leave, we discover him standing in his crib, just waiting.  Not even lying down.

He has a white noise machine he's used since he was really little.  I tried switching it to quiet lullabies like they use at his preschool, but he hated it.

I've tried just asking him what he wants, what would make him comfortable, but it doesn't work either.  He wants to get out of the crib.

So far the only thing that worked easily (but after 1.5 hours of trying other stuff), was climbing into his crib and sleeping with him.  That is NOT what I consider a reasonable part of a bedtime routine. 

We're currently re-trying CIO, which I'm not a big fan of, and the problem is it's taking forever.  He still cries for an hour or more.  I hate listening to him, I hate that he's upset.  I was sure that skipping his nap today would result in a tired-enough kid to GO TO SLEEP!!!!!

I bought a magnetic white board today and drew a little chart of the bedtime routine, complete with little icons for each step.  We went through the routine with Turtle and Tadpole and let them each put a magnet next to each step when it was finished.  It made the bedtime routine much more fun and we didn't have the usual battle we've had recently.

But it hasn't helped him to go to sleep.  And perversely, it's not like he's sleeping in, either.  He's waking up between 6:30 and 7 every morning, even after falling asleep between 9:30 and 10:30!  He's getting so little sleep!  It's got to be a phase, right?

I just don't know what to do anymore.

It's funny how much sleep loss you can tolerate when you have a newborn, and how getting up a half hour earlier than usual when you have a toddler makes you feel so tired.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tired, plus preschool discussion

I am tired.

It's been a long day.  Also, it was a long weekend.  I went backpacking Friday-Sunday, got sick on Monday, felt a bit better Tuesday, and then had to handle my mother and the kids together today.

Turtle is on another sleep strike.  Last week, without the husband home, I spent two nights of two hours trying to get him to go to sleep.  The second night, the only thing that worked was climbing in to the crib with him.  Nothing works - not rocking, not milk, not water, not singing quietly, not rubbing his back, not staying in the room with him and shhhhhhing until he falls asleep.  We're back to CIO, and as much as I hate it, I don't know what else to do.  Problem is, so far it's not working that great this time around either.  The screaming starts as we're getting the bedtime routine underway.  He no longer wants to put on his PJs, brush his teeth, etc.  Any advice?  He's only 26 months old, so I'm not sure a sticker chart or checklist would work, but I'm open to any suggestions.

I took a week off of marathon training, which I hope will be partially offset by the approximately 15 miles of hiking I did this weekend.  I was starting to feel physically very tired and achy, and I needed a little break, and I honestly do feel better from that point of view.  We'll see if it made a difference during my 7-mile run tomorrow.

I've been thinking a lot about preschool and "homeschool", too.  I put "homeschool" in quotes because I am using it in the sense of schooling at home in addition to, rather than instead of, more standard schooling (like, at an actual school).  I wasn't super happy with the preschool we ended up choosing (mostly because there was space available and my kids were one month too young to start at most of the other schools), and while the situation has improved a bit, it still isn't ideal in my mind.  I've been ok with that, because we're probably going to Italy at some point, possibly for 1-2 months, so we will probably pull them out of preschool at that point and lose our spots, and have to look elsewhere.  In touring a lot of other preschool that I had previously ignored because of the aforementioned age cut-off, I realized that there were quite a few things I liked about some of the preschools that I do NOT like about our current preschool:

- Many of the other preschools either require the kids to bring a lunch or they include the kids in the lunch-making process, and often in the gardening and food-growing process.  At our current preschool, I believe the lunches are prepackaged processed foods, and I'm now realizing that the menu is pretty boring, not very good, and repeats quite frequently.  Since my kids go only twice per week, it's not a huge deal, but it's not ideal at all.

- Many of the other preschools are play-based, imagination-strong, and very free form in their style.  Particularly the Waldorf school, which I LOVE except for a few small points (I will bring that up in a bit).  The preschool where we are is very academic, clean, and well-ordered, but seems to leave little room for the imagination and for child-led learning.

- The yards of many of the other preschools are messy, natural, and allow for a lot of exploration and creativity.  Our preschool has a very plain yard, with a play structure in tanbark, some tricycles (which are too big for my kids at this point), and a very few other toys, including some balls and buckets and shovels.  It is certainly adequate, but when compared to some of the yards I've seen, a bit depressing.

- Our preschool has had major turnover since we started (only 2.5 months ago), so the teachers they have now are already different than the ones they started with.  I was not at all impressed with their first set of teachers, but their current teachers seem a bit better - much more loving and less stern with the kids.  Still - they were off to a bad start, and need to work to improve, in my opinion.

I was particularly impressed with our local Waldorf school, without knowing much about Waldorf before touring it.  The rooms are absolutely beautiful, built to bring in lots of natural light, and furnished with natural materials, mostly wood and cloth.  The yard was very natural, with lots of plants, pathways, and free form areas, such as a sand play area and flower beds.  I think the two biggest problems (besides the age cut-off preventing my kids from attending this year) are the very strict rules against media of any kind, and the fact that they are near a freeway (not a major one, but I could hear the traffic and it bothered me a bit).  But I love that the materials are so natural and calming, the activities so creative and inspiring, and the setting is so beautiful and open-ended.

The media rule is not too much of a problem for me, although I strongly believe in reading with my children, and in them learning to read at a young age (or at least not preventing them from learning to read).  My husband doesn't like the dogmatic sense of the anti-media restrictions, and I can somewhat see his point.

But lately, I've been thinking.  My kids are only in preschool 2 days per week.  And on the other 5 days, we DO all those other things.  We play with wooden toys, and felt, and do arts and crafts and music.  We dance and read books, and do role play games.  We cook, and bake, all the time!  They are constantly helping me make lunch and dinner.  We're working on setting the table, using cloth napkins that I made myself, washing our hands before meals, being kind to one another.  We have a beautiful yard, and a water table, and we get outside a lot.  They help me in the vegetable garden, and can identify all the vegetables we grow, and help me pick them.  We also do errands, go to the library, go to gymnastics class, visit Grandma, and we are about to start attending two playgroups - one at the local cooperative nursery school, and one Italian language one nearby.  We are also raising our kids to be bilingual, which is going really well so far.  The only thing they're really missing is a chance to get used to being in school, and to be around other kids, so that is really all we need, and we have that.  While I hope to find a better place when we have to (at least in terms of food - prepackaged processed food just isn't what I want to serve my kids), I am realizing that the current situation is actually just fine.

And so that's where I am.  Crossing my fingers that Turtle is dropping off to sleep, and I'm going to try to cut out some fleece for Tadpole's winter hat before I hit the sack.  Pictures of hats to come soon!