Cinnamon Pancakes Fail

http://life-in-the-lofthouse.com/cinnamon-roll-pancakes/

I made these pancakes this morning and was not impressed at all!  I love the idea of cinnamon roll pancakes (combining 2 things a love) but…..there are a lot of buts with this recipe.

For starters they call for soooooo much sugar and butter I feel like I simultaneously gave myself and my family diabetes and clogged up our arteries. While a lot of sugar in and of itself wouldn’t be a bad thing…..I mean we all need to indulge once and a while right?…the taste to sugar/butter ratio just isn’t there. 

next the cinnamon sugar mix just didn’t set up in the time frame the recipe suggested…..the first couple of pancakes I made the cinnamon sugar was basically just liquid butter.  This meant when I flipped the pancakes all that butter hit the griddle and made my pancakes feel more deep fried than pan fried…it sounds good….deep fried pancakes but seriously my arteries need some love too. it really just made the pancakes soggy. it did finally thicken after about 45 minutes (over double what they suggested) however even after swirling it into the pancake the butter melted and went everywhere and any semblance of a swirl was gone. which brings me to the next complaint….

as the cinnamon sugar butter mixture melted allover the griddle….the butter woukd get hot and carmalize the sugar so as you were eating the pancakes it created a weird texture in spots.

the icing was good when it had 1 cup of icing sugar that last 1/4 cup was too much and made it lose the cream cheese taste. it also made soooooooooo much icing.  I could have halved the recipe and still had more than enough

anyways they were a bit of work and had a lot of sugar and butter. …I would overlook both if they tasted phenomenal but they didn’t. Next time I’ll just make a cinnamon bun.

Life Lesson After High School 1

June is a very reflective month for me. It’s the month I married my husband, the month I graduated university  (and high school), it’s the month we bought our first home and it’s the month that we celebrated my dear friend Crystals life before she passed away of cancer the following fall. June for me has always been about endings and about reflecting on the past. July & August are for planning for the future and September is about putting that plan in place and hitting the ground running.

This June I’ve really been thinking about all I’ve accomplished since high school. As I feel the kicks and jabs of my baby girl and prepare to welcome her to the world I’ve been thinking of all the things I want for her and my son to know. there’s so much to share and teach.  so I decided to add a general life lessons after high school part to this blog.

LESSON 1: PLAN FOR THE FUTURE BUT DON’T PUT ON BLINDERS. CONSTANTLY KEEP YOUR MIND OPEN AND ALWAYS BE PREPARED FOR CHANGE.

When I graduated high school I was for sure going to be a teacher. I was headed to the university of Alberta and there was no other option. Then I fell down the rabbit hole.

-I lost my conditional acceptance to the U due to a clerical error on their part which wasn’t caught until a week before school started. I suddenly had to find a full time job and cancel my loans and scholarships.
-During that year I was sexually assaulted and diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder.  my anxiety was through the roof and panic attacks were common. A psychologist helped me through a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization reprocessing therapy. I decided to leave education to become a psychologist and work with victims of crime.
-I joined a victim services unit while completing my degree in psychology while there I met many amazing police officers and realized they need help and support too. I decided to become a forensic psychologist specializing in working with  police officers and other first responders.
-I then met a probation officer who told me more about what she does and how she keeps the community safe by enforcing court orders and assisting  in  the rehabilitation of offenders. I became instantly intregued and started volunteering with her.
-Through volunteering I realized my passion for that work. I gave up on the idea of going to grad school and became a probation officer.

I have more friends than I can count that are in education. most of them love their job and maybe I would have too. But I think the stress woulda got to me and I really do believe I wouldn’t be as happy as a teacher as I am in my current role.  I absolutely love my job. It provides meaning to my life and now that I’m off work preparing for my bundle of joy I miss it.  I truly believe if I had left my blinders on,  followed my initial plan and become a teacher I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now.  I’ve watched people ignore life and stick to their plan no matter what and they are depressed, miserable and unable to see a way out. 

Have a plan for life- it gives you direction- but don’t be scared to adjust it when life clearly has another path.  The second path is probably leading you to happiness.

Just 10% of My Time

I’ve never been a fan of wasting time. My actions are generally purposeful. Don’t get me wrong, I love to zone out and binge watch Netflix like anyone else but it still serves a purpose. I may watch TV to zone out from life for a bit and enter the world of Stars Hallow or Hogwarts, I may watch TV because I am feeling down and I want to laugh alongside Mindy or Chandler. Other times I may watch because the house is quiet and I just want some background noise. Even sitting around “being lazy” serves a very distinct purpose in my life so when I say I don’t like wasting time I do not mean I don’t like “being lazy”. No, what I am referring to is partaking in those obligatory events, the long meetings where nothing is accomplished, the conference or class where you learnt absolutely nothing new.  The times where you continue to stare at the clock thinking “my goodness is this over yet?”

I believe that the sole purpose of life is to be happy. That means if I am reading a book and get to that boring middle part…I am no longer receiving happiness from the book so I stop reading. I can’t event begin to count how many books I have read half of. I also turn off movies. I leave events that I paid to be at. I don’t participate in obligatory events meetings etc. (with the obvious exception of work things….because overall my job makes me happy and if I were to not attend these events and lose my job that would make me sad).

I believe strongly that it is very important to have personal boundaries. I unfortunately learnt the hard way what happens when you suck at saying no to people. I’ve been abused, taken advantage of and left feeling worthless. I’ve endured things I never wanted to be a part of because “I felt I should be there” and I will never get that time back. Maybe some would say I am selfish, and maybe at face value it can seem selfish. “No I’m sorry, I do genuinely care for you but your birthday party plans do not appeal to me, I will not enjoy myself and I do not care to join you.”  “Oh? Your doing yet another charity run and want me donate…im sorry but no.”  “Thank you so much for the wedding invite…but I already rsvp’d to a wedding the week before and 2 weddings back to back…I dunno that sounds exhausting…my weekends are me time.” Do these sound selfish to you? Because they absolutely are not, no they are really a sign of setting healthy personal boundaries.

We see movies like “Yes Man”  which tells us that we will regret the choices we don’t make more than the choices we do make. It tells us that we need to say yes to life and explore all the possibilities. But I really disagree. Saying yes to things just because you feel you should or you feel it is “the right thing to do” can get you into a lot of trouble.

Don’t put others before yourself. Please put yourself first. Because by doing that you will find yourself in a position where you want to help others. Its the airplane example, you need to secure your own mask before assisting others with theirs. You need to put yourself first. When I see my husband has had a long stressful day at work I will give him a nice massage because I want to, not because I feel obligated to but because I know it makes him happy and that in turn makes me happy. Happiness can be contagious so focus on making yourself happy and go from there.

I am so sad to see others (and moms seem to be so prone to this) completely run down. For example,  they sacrifice time with their children to have a coffee with a girlfriend who is going through a crisis and needs to talk. These moms are thinking to themselves…what if I was in crisis? I would want her to be there for me so I need to be there for her. Maybe instead you need to think, I do not have the time for this but maybe we can have a telephone call, or maybe we can chat on Facebook. Maybe there is a way that I can still be there for her without sacrificing too much of my personal time.

Compassion fatigue is very real. and please don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoy helping others. It is not uncommon for me to conduct suicide interventions, to be up at 2 am talking with my girlfriend who just left a relationship or to be meeting up with someone to lend them something. But I don’t do these things because I feel I need to…I do them when, and only when, I want to.

I see so many people just burnt out and I feel for them. I have been there. There was a time where I was working several jobs and was a full time student that volunteered over 12 hours a week at various organizations because I didn’t know how to say no. When someone needed a shift covered I was always there. It left me tired and worn out.

So when I say “I have better ways of spending my time” don’t judge me, don’t get upset with me because I’m not coming to your party recognize that I have personal boundaries and priorities. Please recognize that I spend the majority of my time at work or commuting to work and I only get 2 days with my family. That’s it. There are 168 hours in a week. I spend roughly 56 hours a week sleeping and another 51.25 hours at work or commuting to work. I only get MAYBE an hour with my son Monday-Friday between work and having to cook supper etc. and then I see him on the weekends but he is still young and takes naps. So of the 168 hours in a week I am LUCKY to spend 17 hours of it with my son (Or roughly 10% of my time). Can you believe that? The person that I love more than anyone else in the entire world. The person who I live and breath for only gets 10% of my time?? How would your boss feel if you only came into work 10% of the time? Its abysmal. How am I supposed to be there to help him learn to regulate his emotions, to help him learn new skills, to kiss his boo-boos and clap for his successes when I am never there? It is so disheartening. But unfortunately the government doesn’t just say oh you have a child now…well here, have a bunch of free money so you and your husband can stay home and just focus on raising your child. No we are grown ups who have to work to feed and clothe our child, and we are so blessed to have jobs we love.

So when I say I don’t want to go for coffee, I don’t want to help you move, I don’t want to go for drinks and no I do not want to be your plus 1 at a wedding,  please realize that I am saying no because I need to put my happiness first….and my happiness comes from playing and laughing with my family.  My no doesn’t mean I don’t care for you because OH MAN DO I CARE FOR YOU!! (If I didn’t I wouldn’t have you in my life plain and simple) it just means I need every second I can get with my son.

A New Book

Sometimes a new chapter starts so suddenly had the big heading stating it was new chapter not been there you would have kept on going without noticing. In life these seem to be most common. Its the transition from birthday to birthday or Christmas to Christmas. Usually a big holiday or tradition brings us to think “Remember this last year when…?” It is only then that we become abruptly aware of the changes that have taken place since “when” and we panic a bit about how quickly time is passing. Sometimes, however, the opposite occurs, we become abruptly aware that nothing has changed since “when” and we panic a bit about how quickly time is passing.

Occasionally in life, changes are so large there is no missing the chapter heading, you know you are into a new chapter of life. These chapters are usually exciting moments, new beginnings. Think of the young child off to kindergarten for the first time nervous of being away from Mommy and Daddy for so long. Think of the new high school graduate now faced with the unique challenges of the “real world.” Think of weddings, the birth of children, the purchase of new car, moving, leaving an abusive or “not-a-right-fit” relationship, starting a new relationship.

Right now however, a new chapter doesn’t seem enough. There are so many new chapters occurring so quickly it appears to be time for a new book. Its incredibly overwhelming, stressful, exciting, and about a million others things I cannot find words for. I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m scared, I’m ready.

Since 2012 I have ticked a lot off the ol life to do list.

 

Bought my First Car-Check!

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Married the love of my life-check

Graduated University-Check!

Attended weddings- Check

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Grow another human with the help of my favorite human-check

Deliver that little human-Check

Fall In love with that little human-Check

Go visit other little humans after their birth-check

Lose a best Friend

lose another Best Friend

Get the Dream Career

Capture

Buy a House

Lose Another Best Friend

And another one

Its crazy to me how hard even the good things were/are. We made the choice to rehome Bailey and Rusko (the last two) as with being two working parents of a child under the age of 1 we no longer had the time they deserved from us. My heart hurts so bad especially for Rusko. He’s been my best puppy friend for two years. He cuddled with me when I was sick or sad (he never left my side through the whole pregnancy regardless of whether I was puking or not). He played with me when I was bored. He walked with me when I needed fresh air. He watched TV with me when I needed a break. It was the hardest choice I have ever made.

I feel like I have made a post similar to this before. The point however is not to say oh look at me Im not even 25 and I have my shit together. The point is to say as the builders finish building our house, as my family shrinks from loss of fur babies, as time with my son dwindles as he sleeps most of the time I am home, change is never easy. I often lay awake at night and think about the gravity of the choices I have made in the last two years. I’ve pushed myself so hard to have these things I have left people and things I care about behind. In two weeks we move to the new house and while I am excited, I am nervous because this new book is about to start and its daunting. Its just daunting. Its like one day Im standing at high school graduation thinking wow I have no idea what to do with myself and now 7 years later Im thinking wow I muddled through this far lets keep muddling. Plans fall through. I should have graduated university a year before I did. We put an offer on a house a while back that fell through. We should have had a baby 6 months earlier.

Life is a ride that is for sure, and I’m hanging on by dear life. This many changes this quickly is overwhelming. Just as you get used to life it changes. and Im sure just as we get settled in the home and feel that we are settling into a life where the chapters seemlessly run into each other another big change will come. But thats what your twenties is all about right? Creating the path. Trudging ahead. Making the choices that will affect you for the rest of your life. Its not easy. But with my best friend and wonderful son by my side, I’m sure we will get through just fine.

That wonderful baby smell

Mindfulness. Research has shown that this is one of the best paths to happiness. I have a hard time with this for a lot of reasons. For one I’m very skeptical, I want to see hard research that has been peer reviewed and replicated.  I want to know how statistically significant the results are and I want to understand the methodology of the studies.  I have my psych degree to thank for that. Secondly I’m very skeptical. I have just never bought into this peace and love granola crunchy hippy yoga lifestyle. In fact if you’d like to send me off into a rant good key words are things like alternative,  natural, homeopathic, or holistic. Mindfulness, for me, immediately brings forward the idea of meditation. Which seems hocus to me. Yoga, to me for example, should be about developing flexibility and strength not meditation. 

However I see now this topic has been scientifically studied and it has been validated that mindfulness is in fact a major contributor to happiness and that this skill can be acquired through meditation.

Since learning this fact I have tried to set my judgements aside and trust science and develop the skill of being mindful.

What does that mean? It means I am trying to learn how to stay in the moment. To be present. This means I’m not focusing on what I’m doing for dinner or thinking about the weekend. It means I’m not dwelling about the past or day dreaming about the future.  Yes these things have their time and place but 9 times out of 10 it’s just better to stay in the moment.

I have been working on developing this skill for just over a year and since returning to work I feel like I’ve finally figured it out.

I absolutely love my job. 3 weeks on and I feel like I have been there forever. It’s just a great fit. It keeps me busy and I don’t have a lot of idle time. I spend hours a day interviewing clients and my job depends on me being present and paying attention to what they are saying so I can reciprocate with meaningful and intelligent questions and statements. When I am at work I am just at work.

Then I go home and I see this adorable face.

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And I think to myself my goodness I am so blessed. How on earth did I get so lucky as to have such an amazing happy son. My job allows me to leave my work at work.  When I’m home I can be present with my son and my husband. Whether we are playing games, eating, snuggling, napping or sleeping I am there. It’s an amazing feeling.

I’m not stressed about work or finances. I’m not worried about what we will eat. I’m not focusing on previous awful jobs or bad friendships.  I’m just here. Today. Soaking every minute of life up.

When you spend your days conversing with people who have known indescribable heartache and challenges, who have battled addiction, lived on the streets, are surrounded with abuse it makes it easy to be grateful for what you have.

My life is by no means perfect but you know what I just don’t care anymore. I am so blessed and today right now this exact second in time I am here. I’m paying attention to my dog chewing his rawhide, the TV babbling in the background. I’m aware of the slight chill I feel as I’m ready to climb into my pj’s at 842 on a Saturday night. I’m aware that my hands slightly hurt from holding the phone. I hear my husband laugh at the TV.  My ears are always up listening for my son to wake up. my mouth still tastes of delicious lindt chocolate and I am sinfully craving another piece. I’m here.  I’m present. I’ve never been happier.

I dare you to try it. Set an alarm for 5 minutes and just focus. What do you hear? What do you see? What do you taste? What do you smell? What do you feel? Just focus.  It’s hard at first. Your mind will wander. But it gets easier. I’ve been practicing this skill for a while now. And while it completely goes against all things science to say it works for me so it will work for you I will say this. The studies are out there.  The proof is there. Mindfulness is an effective strategy to become happier. And at least for me, it hasn’t been an easy skill to develop but I am so grateful I took the time and energy to learn. If you don’t know where to start watch some meditation videos on YouTube,  try yoga, try the activity I just suggested with the 5 minute alarm. Take deep breathes and just stay present. It’s truly magical. I don’t want to miss my son growing up simply because my mind was too busy to just focus on him and be here with him.

Are you ready?

Several years ago now my brother and sister in law announced they were expecting their first child. Perhaps to a complete outsider the timing would seem weird. They were living in a small one bedroom apartment in “the hood” but knowing these two people you knew that they were destined to be amazing parents and nothing else mattered. I remember distinctly one day when she was “very” pregnant asking her if she was ready. I’ll never forget her reply.

“Ready is a loaded word. We have all the necessities for the baby so in a physical sense, yes, we are ready. But am I ready to be a mom? I guess I’m about as ready as one can be. There’s never a perfect time. There are always more things that you could do. But sometimes you take the leap and you make the timing work for you rather than waiting for the right timing”

She went into labour shortly thereafter and as we all suspected was instantly a wonderful caring “textbook” mom. She and my brother have 3 children now and are amazing parents.

Her words have always stuck with me though. There is never a perfect time for anything. It’s about taking what life gives you and making it work. It’s about taking leaps and trying new things when others would cowar away. How many times have you heard people say it’s just not the right time? I’d love to go to grad school, but it’s not a good time to move away. One day we will get married we love each other very much but financially it’s just not the right time. We’d love to have a baby but it’s just not the right time. I’ve always wanted to be a ____ but its just not the right time to be starting a new job right now.

So I guess you have to decide who you want to be. Do you want to take a chance that life might pass you by while you are righting for the “right” time or are you willing to take a jump, realizing things aren’t perfect and never will be, and make the timing work for you.

I say all this because I am about to make a jump I never thought I would. I am leaving my beautiful, perfect son in 8 days to go back to work. As you know if you have been following this blog, my dream is to be a probation officer and in 8 days that dream is going to come true.  This has been the hardest choice I have ever made in my life. I have been so blessed with this amazing son and thanks to being a working Canadian citizen, was blessed with the ability to be paid to stay home with him for now. I’m choosing to leave “free money” (and lots of it). I’m choosing to leave my son with a friend during the day when he is only 4 months old (and still breastfeeding and not sleeping through the night!). I am making the choice to leave my care free days, naps, and pjs behind. Why? Because there is never a good time.  This choice means that my family will have financial security. It ensures a strong future for Jacob. This choice means we can purchase a home. This choice means that unlike so many people I know I won’t simply have a job, I’ll have a career, and not only that, I will have “the” career, the one that I have dreamt of and worked my ass off for.  Its true what they say, good things don’t come to people who wait, good things come to people who work their asses off and don’t give up.

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I always feared that as a SAHM I would lose my sense of self. Sure for the 5 years Id have Jacob before he goes to school I would have an amazing role. But what am I left with when the children are in school? I would be a mom with no kids to mother 8 hours a day 5 days a week and homemaking is not my strong suite. Before they go to school I would get to help my children grow and develop. My hubby and I would be the only ones that were teaching him to walk and talk. We would teach him his ABCs and how to say please and thank you. We’d get to share everything with him preparing him day by day to be ready for school.  Looking into his beautiful blue eyes and knowing that I am now trusting this care to someone else breaks my heart.  I know I can still do these things, and will still need to. I am still going to be able to take him to the spray parks this summer and take him camping. I’m still going to work with him to help him crawl, and walk and talk. I’m still going to help him learn his animals and colors and get to listen to him in the back seat of the car excitedly point out yet another truck. But its different. I’m terrified to lose that time with him. In fact, thinking about it almost has me in tears and I have been fighting them back for the last week since I made the choice to go back to work. I don’t know how I am going to say goodbye to perfect smiling face every day. I realize now the joy there is in “just being a mother” and how amazing that calling really is. I am so blessed to have had these four months at home with him to “Just” be his mother, to “Just” be a wife, to “Just” be the family chef and to “Just” be the family maid. The house has never been cleaner, the meals have never been healthier (no more quick processed fast foods) and I have truly never in my life been happier.  Of course I wish I had more time.

But it all comes down to timing. Everything always does. I was prepared to leave him at a year, so leaving him now seems like a cruel and unusual joke. But sometimes you need to take the leap and hubby and I have discussed it in detail and we believe that taking this leap is the best move for our family. Am I ready to leave him? Absolutely not. Am I ready to start my dream career? The thing I have been gearing myself towards and working my ass for for the last 5 years? Yes. I know I can be successful in this role. I know that if I have to go back to work this is where I want to be.  I know that there are literally hundreds of other people out there fighting to get this position that I have been offered. I am replaceable. If I don’t take this position who knows when or if it will ever come up again?

I have already been hassled by a few people that I have told. How on earth could I think about leaving my baby? How incredibly selfish of me. But I don’t see it as selfish. I think that in our very personal situation choosing to stay at home with him is much more selfish. He is going to be just fine without me, I’ll have him 2 days a week, hubby will have him 2 days a week and loved ones will have him the other 3. I’ll see him every morning and every evening. I’ll still get to give him a bath and snuggle up with him and read him a good night story. We will still get to have those nights where at 3am he finds himself in bed with Hubby and I and get to cuddle him and sleep smelling that amazing baby smell while he nuzzles in and holds my hand. I will still get to be there for him. and I will still get to be his mom. We are keeping him out of daycare. I am going to pump at work and he can still have all the benefits of breast milk.  He is still going to be loved regardless of whether he is with me 24/7 or not.  He is going to know is that his Mom loves him so much that she decided not be selfish and stay home when this amazing opportunity came up. We are going to be financially secure. We are going to be able to take him to Disneyland, Mexico, Europe. We are going to be able to put him in after school programs and give him a good home. And we are going to be able to give him our time because by taking this job neither hubby nor I will ever need to work 2 jobs again. When we are home we are home. We don’t need to bring work home with us ever. We will be able to give him our undivided time and attention. What is 8 months in the grand scheme of things? Nothing. Nothing at all when it leads to something so much better.

I’m scared. I’m sad. I’m happy. I’m nervous. I’m a giant ball of emotion. But I know perfect timing doesn’t exist. I know how important it is to just take the jump and make the timing work for you.

So how about you? Are you willing to take the jump when opportunity comes knocking? Or are you sitting back waiting for the perfect time that may never come?

Sleep little baby, Sleep now my love

 

I LOVE Tim Minchin, but I have to be honest, this video is quickly beating out Storm for my favourite. It gets funnier and funnier the longer I am a parent. Parenthood has been so interesting. It is so fun 98% of the time. I am so incredibly blessed. Jacob isn’t colicky or grumpy or ambivalent, he is an incredibly happy, active, spirited little boy always smiling and laughing. He loves playing and discovering new things. He can play by himself for an hour at a time easily just chattin away to his toys. When he is awake you can just see how behind those beautiful blue eyes his brain is just working away. He just wants to take everything in. However, sleep evades him. Poor guy. His eyes get so red, he gets so cranky but he just wont sleep. Its almost like hes afraid that he is going to miss something.  My hubby is back at work now and so its just Jacob and I during the day and this also leaves all the night time feedings/wakings to me. I didn’t realize how blessed I was to share the midnight feedings with hubby until they were gone. Now at almost 4 months Jacob and yet to sleep through the night and is still is up every 1-2 hours through the night. I’ve had some people mention that it is probably just the 4 month sleep regression but he never really made progress to regress from. He has been pretty consistent at going to bed around 830 waking up at 12, 2, 3, 4,5 and then at 5 being up for the day.

Somewhere along the way Jacob built the habit of nursing to sleep. It never started that way but what started as falling asleep nursing here and there and had become an insufferable need to nurse himself to sleep. I realized this had happened and how huge of a problem it was a few weeks ago. I was so beyond exhausted the thought of keeping my eyes open one more second was enough to make me cry, I was so over-tired and worked up that it was taking everything in me not to curl up in a corner chew my own hair and cry. Hubby came home and took Jacob so that I could go have a nap. Wonderful! I laid down in bed, got all comfy, the blankets started to get nice and warm and cozy. I closed my eyes. And just as I was about to drift off into the wonderful world of dreamland, Jacob started screaming….and screaming…..and screaming. My husband is an excellent father. He has the patience and warmth that I always dreamt the father of my children would have. Finally I realized i wouldn’t be getting any sleep so I walked downstairs. I noticed a full bottle sitting on the end table that hubby had obviously just made and Jacob obviously wasn’t interested in. Hubby was pacing bouncing and shushing Jacob and I could hear him whispering, “its ok Jacob, please stop crying, your mommy needs some sleep, you keep her up all night”…..have I mentioned I love my husband so much??? I walked over and kissed him and took Jacob who instantly stopped crying and buried his head in my chest. I sat down to nurse him, he took 2 glugs and promptly passed out in my arms. Hubby and I looked at each other in utter defeat. Clearly the boy wasn’t hungry he just needed the comfort of the boob to settle down and sleep.

Since then we have been on a journey to stop this habit and to build new ones. It has not been easy. I think I have read every sleep book, website, blog etc. out there. Nothing seems to work.  We are having the hardest time getting him to sleep at night and he only naps for short bursts, usually when we are running errands he will nap in the truck. I want to pull my hair out. Keep the room bright during the day and dark during the night. check. use a white noise machine or a fan/humidifer. check. Swaddle. tried it. Dont swaddle. tried it. Have a routine. check. Keep consistent. check. Nothing would change the facts. He sleeps in only small bursts and needs to be nursed to sleep. Sleep when your baby sleeps is wonderful advice but when he only sleeps for twenty minutes and it takes you fifteen minutes to wind down and fall asleep, five minutes of sleep is nothing but a huge tease that often makes things worse.

I figured this process isn’t going to change overnight. And it isn’t going to be easy. There is going to be a huge extinction burst. So I figured the best way to attack the problem was through shaping rather than cold turkey. Lets  tackle this one problem at a time. The first problem was the nursing to sleep. At this developmental stage he can easily go 4 hours without eating so that was the target. I would feed him at night and if he woke up before the 4 hours was up (which he always did) I would pick him up and shush him and rock him and offer him his soother (which he always refused, in fact it makes him scream louder) and when he fell back asleep I would put him back in his crib and go back to bed. This led to him waking up more frequently, and it took me longer to get him back to sleep. I was now lucky to get 2 hours of sleep a night total. I was napping whenever he napped but I frequently broke down in the middle of the night, even knowing that intermittent reinforcement is the absolute worst thing you can do when trying to change behaviour and I would nurse him to sleep. How on earth do you convince yourself to stand there and bounce and shush for an hour when you are so tired you cant keep your eyes open, or keep your head up and you feel like you are just going to collapse on the floor and take the baby down with you when you know you could sit down and nurse him for 3 minutes. he would be asleep, would sleep for longer, and you could go back to bed.  I am doing better here, the more he gets used to it the better he is doing (go figure) but after weeks of doing this I still break down. I’ll feed him at midnight and crawl back into bed with utter determination ” I will not feed him again until 4am” but then hes up at 2 and screaming and wont calm down and husband is in the next room able to hear everything trying to sleep so he can get up in a couple of hours and go to work, and I am ready to collapse and before I know it the boob comes out and the babe is asleep.  I know if I could just be strong for a few solid days that this behaviour would change faster but I simply do not have the willpower. Jacob is just more stubborn and persistent than I am. I need my sleep. I can’t think straight without it.  Just as the song above, as the night progresses I get more and more desperate.

Jacob is getting pretty good at falling asleep without nursing now. I still occasionally default to it but I generally go 4 hours at night without feeding him now.

Step 2. Get him to fall asleep in his crib by himself

The way the “experts” suggest doing this is putting him into his bed drowsy but still awake. If he starts to fuss a bit to let him, this is how he learns to self-soothe “they” say. However if he starts really crying pick him up and soothe him. The SECOND he stops crying putting him back down. Repeat process until child is asleep. Be consistent. Each time you do this process it will take less than the time before until he has learnt to self-soothe and will put himself to sleep. If your child wakes up in the middle of the night give him some time. Let him fuss, he probably isn’t even fully awake himself and will put himself back to sleep if he starts screaming then do as described above.

Well my clever boy figured out this game by the second night. The first time I did this it took one hour forty minutes to get him asleep in his crib. He woke up 40 minutes later and it took another hour and a half to get him asleep….im sure you get the drift. eventually 4am rolls around I haven’t had any sleep at all, i break down and nurse to sleep.  By the second night he realized that if he screamed I would pick him up. So he would jump over the fussing and go right to screaming. The second I would touch him he would stop, the second his head touched the crib he would start. Honestly! Scream. Stop. Scream. no middle ground. Ugh! I couldn’t keep up.

My cousin suggested I read the Baby whisperer book which describes the EASY method (Eat, Activity, Sleep, You time, repeat). She said she used it with all her children and swore by it. (I have the best cousins ever!) I had tried Happiest Baby on the block and found now reprieve in it. But this book made sense to me. So I am now attempting it. However the routine and heavy schedule does not change the fact that Jacob is unable to fall asleep by himself.

It has now been 7 months since I have slept through the night. 4 months since he has been born, and being in the third trimester over the summer meant no all night sleeps then either. I cannot even begin to describe how worn out I feel. As the song says, while I love my child, I would be lying if I said the thought of throwing him down the stairs or smothering him has never crossed my mind. Of course I would never do that, and I know that if I am ever getting to the point where this isn’t just a casual thought in passing that I can get my husband up and he will deal with Jacob happily so I can have a break. But the thoughts have crossed my mind. The process has given me some sympathy for all those mothers out there that you hear about that kill their children and then themselves. I never understood it. I do now. If  you don’t have a strong support network and if you child is doing this crap where they never sleep, perhaps they are also colicky, you have no reprieve. I understand how a woman could snap and kill her child. Realize what she has done and realize that life is no longer worth living and end her own life as well. It isn’t pretty, I know I will never get to that point again I have a really strong support network. Jacob has gone to visit Grandma for a couple hours so I can just friggen sleep already.

But I am worn out. I am living off of coffee and the lack of sleep is going to start affecting my milk supply soon. So I have started something I swore I would never do. My darling baby is following the EASY schedule and if he just wont sleep we are following the Ferber method. From developmental psychology I know that in the first year of life there is no such thing as spoiling a child, you need to respond to their every whim. Ferberizing, or letting the child cry, can create life-long attachment issues and trust issues. But following the true Ferber method does not mean throwing your child in their crib and letting them cry until they puke and pass out, which is where I think the method gets a lot of bad rap. It is about giving your child 5 minutes to cry and then going in and soothing them and trying again. The first time I broke down and said I can’t. I cant do this anymore, hes just going to have to cry it out, was yesterday morning at 5am. I sat in my room beside him and cried myself. I was up checking on him and soothing him every 4-5 minutes, progressively I would let him go a little longer and little longer but I never left him alone more than 8 minutes. Just didn’t have it in me. It also took an hour and forty minutes to get him asleep.  At 730 we awoke and started the day and the day went so much better than days have gone in a really long time. We then followed easy. As soon as he woke up I changed his bum, dressed him and fed him. He played for a bit and then at 9 went down for a nap. He fell asleep instantly, no crying or nursing involved.  He woke up, I fed him, he played for a bit and then started to get tired. He was a bit of a crank and cried for about half an hour but then slept for almost an hour.  Today putting him down for a nap took less than 15 minutes and he has now been asleep for an hour and a half.  After a day and a half I am already feeling some semblance of sanity returning.  I feel like now I finally have a plan that I can work with. And having a solid day time routine instead of only having a night time routine is wonderful. I know that Jacob is going to wake up somewhere between 10 and 40 minutes from now. I could have gone and had a nap with him, or clean the house or FINALLY find some time to get back to blogging, or whatever. It is wonderful having predictable time for me.

Jacob is such a wonderful and perfect boy. I am trying not to beat myself up. There is no such thing as a perfect mom. But I am trying and with a bit more sleep on my side I know I can do better, even if that means having to let my beautiful baby boy cry for a bit. I am making sure I am making up for it during the day being EXTRA attentive to his needs and playing with him lots when he is awake. It will all work out. I just keep reminding myself that as much as this sucks, soon he will grow out of it and with it, the baby snuggles with go too, and the baby giggles and hugs and kisses and the cute way he splashes in the tub and babbles all day long. I am trying so hard to just focus on those things because I know I will miss them. Sleep deprivation aside, I still stand by becoming a wife and a mother were the two best choices I have ever made and I love both roles very much.