Thursday, December 4, 2008

Baby Grrr

We are spending this week at my in-laws house, and they live nearby a shopping mall.  Because the family is busy with personal stuff (that I won’t go into here) right now, it’s left me and Maya with a lot of free time.  It’s cold outside and hovering around freezing, so in order to get her out of the house, and expend some exercise, we’ve become mall rats.

Basically, we went to the mall four days in a row.  There’s a Santa that works in the center of the mall, and I spent the first two days trying to convince Maya to take a picture with Santa.  

“Maya do you want to meet Santa?” “No!”

“Maya do you want to take a picture with Santa” “No no no…” she would purse her lips.

Imagine my surprise when on the third day, she said “Yes”.  I asked her two more times and the same was a definitive “Yes”.  So I took her up to meet Santa for a minute, just to see her reaction — suspicious but no crying or screaming.  I asked her one more time “Do you want to take a picture with Santa?” 

“Yes!”

So I talked to the “elf” who handed her a little stuffed bear which she later named Baby Grrr.  Then I took her over to Santa and placed her on his lap.  ”A bish shavih” she told Santa as she showed her the near bear.  Wow… not wanting to rock the boat, I ran over to stand by the photographer.  ”Smile Maya” I called.

She looked up, realized that I wasn’t with her… and gave the cutest I’m trying to smile but I actually want to cry smile.  She lastest about 10 more seconds before I rescued Santa… I mean Maya.

Remembering my first photo with Santa (ie: toddler screaming and flailing hands as Santa attempts to smile), I would call Maya’s photo session a great success.  And we have a fantastic photo of Maya and Santa talking quietly about her Baby Grrrr.  

If you ask Maya, did Santa give you Baby Grrr?  She will smile and say yes!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Toddler

Everyday Maya gets cuter and cuter. You can see more of her personality coming through. With that comes the crazy toddler years aka terrible twos. They are definitely starting early for my sweetie. Just like that, she can go from happy to throwing a fit… right back to happy again. Sometimes all I can do is shake my head and laugh.. or shake my head and grit my teeth depending on my patience for they day. :P

Quiet for the holidays

For the first time ever, we will not be going “home” for the holidays.  Instead, we’ll be busy packing up our stuff so that we can move back “home” for good.


Even though I feel like I should be sad, I’m strangely excited about a quiet Christmas for just the three of us.  In my heart, I am imagining baking gingerbread cookies while the tree twinkles in the family room by the fireplace and holiday tunes play from the radio.  


In reality, I see piles of boxes, a pizza dinner, chaos and me and Mo trying to keep Maya from unpacking our boxes.  Still, I am hopeful that I can get some sort of holiday cheer in.


I really love the holidays and get all kinds of chipper when I hear cheesy Christmas rock playing.  Despite how much I enjoy the holidays, it’s also a bittersweet time for me.  It makes me happy and brings back a flood of warm childhood memories.  But it also makes me miss my mother more than any other time of year.  Christmas and my mother are kind of synonymous with me.  It’s not that she was super religious or anything (just the opposite in fact).  But she always made sure that this time of year was fun for my brother and I.  We would make ornaments together, decorate gingerbread houses and cookies, wrap presents, play carols on the piano, watch movies like “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “A Christmas Carol” and of course, trim the tree.  


My mother used to just sit and watch the tree for hours.  She would curl up in an armchair with a cup of tea in her hand and a smile on her lips.


Oh how I miss her.


Now that I have Maya, I cannot wait to do some of those things with her.  I guess it’s my way of remembering my mother and also passing on some of those memories to Maya. 

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Maya's Vocabulary

I'm sure that one day, Maya will ask me about when she did certain thing. ie: Took her first step, said her first word, etc. So I should really record that here for prosperity. Let's start with her vocabulary.

Her first word was Mama. I want to say that she said "Mama" for the first time back in October but I couldn't tell you for sure. (Sorry Maya, I didn't write it down). Her next word was "Dada". That I did record and here's what I wrote:

Friday, November 16, 2007

Yesterday evening, Maya added a new "word" to her vocabulary. She started saying "dah dah dah" during dinner. When she started up again during playtime after dinner, I immediately ran for the camera. Mo was ecstatic when he saw the video. "She's saying Dada!" he explaimed. Well sort of... if Dada was "duh duh..." Hee!


Since then she has slowly expanded her vocabulary. She said "bose" (nose) and "douth" (mouth) and "bish" (fish) for a few weeks, and since, has never said them again. Boo!

Currently, she can say: cup, hot, up, hi (but like "Hi!!" in a very bright and cheerful manner), bye, wawa (water), dog, cat, O Rie! (Riley), Yaya (Sophia), MayMay (Maya), baybay (baby). Her favorite word at the moment is "No". I can't help but smile when she says it because in a very sweet and gentle voice, with pursed lips, she'll say "No"

She also loves to make animal noises. Cows, pigs and sheep all say "Baaa!" in Maya's world. She can quack like a duck, pant like a dog and meow (very well in fact) like a cat. She also likes to say "vroom vroom" whenever she sees a car, attempts to tweet like a bird and choo like a train. Finally she can sound like a monkey ("ooo ooo"), an elephant and roar like a lion/leopard/tiger.

I have to admit that she picks up animal sounds easier than actual words. Perhaps she'll be a veterinarian or zoologist one day.

We fail as ferberizers

You are probably wondering how things have been going regarding the sleep issue. Well, it is official. Mo and I are wimps when it comes to following through with the ferberizing. Everything started off well, and Maya was sleeping through the night a good 10-11 hours, and taking 1-2 hour naps.

Then came the trip to Canada.

When we visit Canada, we stay at my in-laws in their guest room and share the room with Maya. Since we were not alone in the house, we didn't let her cry-it-out for fear of waking the house. Instead we picked her up and put her in our bed. When we returned home, she expected the same treatment. I tried to let her cry-it-out, but she made herself throw up (this girl gags and throws up easily) and slammed her mouth on her crib causing her to bleed! That is where we totally wimped out, and gave up. She was getting so upset and all she really wants is to be held by us, so how could we (I) not?

At the beginning, I was a little upset by our failure, but now I've embraced it and am happy with how things are.

So this is the new lay of the land. I hold Maya before naps and bedtime until she's asleep and lay her in her crib. When she wakes up, I pick her up and she gets to sleep in our bed. Usually we're already in bed when she wakes at night, and it's no big deal bringing her into the bed. In fact, despite the occasional kick from her, I'm better rested than ever because she sleeps longer in our bed and doesn't get up until 8am. As for naps, if she's slept enough I'll just get her up when she cries. Otherwise, I'll pull her into our bed and let her finish her nap while I read a book or a magazine or putter away on my laptop. Occasionally, she'll have interrupted me in the middle of a task, but mostly... I welcome that it forces me to slow down and relax in the day.

... And I have to admit, Mo and I really love waking up with her beside us. As I watch her sleep, I always think that one day, she's not going to want to sleep in our bed. And then I feel a little sad and hold her closer.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

A picture is worth a thousand words

And if I were to choose one picture to accurately describe my style, this would be it:



I completely and utterly adore the whole look. It's simple and girly and frilly and classic all at the same time. You see just enough of the ruffled top peaking out from underneath the navy cardigan which is subtly adorned with a few pale yellow fish. The pale pink and grey skirt looks lovely and goes but doesn't "match" with the red shoes which give the whole outfit a pop of color. The heels and fishnets lend just enough sex appeal to keep the outfit from looking too girlish.

It's from the latest Anthropologie catalogue so its no surprise that I love it. If I had the money, I would buy probably half my wardrobe there. I'll be stalking these items until they go on sale. In the meantime, I'll try to re-create the feel of the outfit with items in my own closet.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I'm a believer!

Dr. Ferber, I think I love you!

I don't think I ever really believed it was possible, but Maya is sleep trained! It only took three nights in the end, and by the forth day, she was sleeping on her own, naps and all, after only 0-10 secs of protest crying!

It wasn't all smooth sailing. We had one hiccup on the third night when Maya threw up after about 1 minute of crying. (On retrospect, I think I overfed her milk that night). Mo had extremely serious guilt issues, so I had to put on the 'tough mommy' hat and order him to help me change her sheets and sleeper as quickly as possible. He then tried to hold her, and wanted me to rock her to sleep but I was adamantly against it. If there was one time when I would not rock her to sleep, this was it. Otherwise, she would throw up every night to get us to do the same.

I put her down without any rocking and forced Mo out of the room. Over the next two minutes, Mo alternated between guilt over Maya ("If we need to rock her to sleep we will! I promise I'll put her to bed half the time!" and anger at me ("You're so mean! How do you have the heart? This is going to harm her psyche!" etc etc etc). Then Maya stopped her crying and promptly fell asleep. "It's a fluke" Mo said. "It's only because she's worn out."

Although I felt confident I was doing the right thing for Maya and me ("You're so selfish" was another guilt inducing statement of Mo) Mo's comments added to the doubt over what I was doing. What if Maya cried every night and never got used to it? Will she really be psychologically scarred over this? She woke up once that night, and it took 18 minutes for her to stop crying and fall asleep. (Read 18 minutes of additional guilt from Mo, and building anxiety from me). The next day, I felt the same nagging worries as I put her down for her nap. As I left her room, I picked up the video monitor, ready to see her pulling herself up against her crib rail looking for me. To my surprise, she was lying down exactly where I put her. A minute later she stopped crying and went to sleep. Her second nap went even easier, and by that night, she didn't cry at all when I put her down!

Mo was shocked and begrudgingly admitted that maybe I was right. When the next day when off with the same success, Mo thanked me (haha!) and said he was glad that one of us had the balls to do it.

Maya is now a model sleeper. I still rock her for 2-5 minutes until she reaches that drowsy but awake stage, but I always make sure to put her down awake. She occasionally protests for about 15 seconds but usually goes right to sleep!

We went to a birthday party yesterday and Maya needed to nap there. I doubted she'd sleep easily there, so I was ready to rock her to sleep and hold her if needed. I accidentally woke her up when putting her down and to my surprise, she rolled over and started sucking her thumb! When I left the room, she cried briefly and went right back to sleep.

As I returned to the birthday party, experiencing a kind of freedom that I'd longed for these past months, Mo greeted me with a look that said "I'm not worthy".

Monday, February 25, 2008

Isn't this the cutest?

I admit it. I love shopping and I love Maya. Put them together, and you get a mom who likes to dress her baby up in the cutest clothes.

In our Brooklyn yuppie-filled neighborhood, there is a plethora of baby boutiques. While I can't afford to create an entire wardrobe out of them, I still occasionally make a splurge worthy purchase. And if there's a sale, I can't resist stopping in. Today, I stopped in on the way home to see what was left of the winter clearance.
I left with this cute number on the left, marked down to $27 from $50:

Jessi Jumper

It'll look so cute layered with thick patterned tights and a cute l/s tee. Since it's a jumper, the sizing is very forgiving so I know it'll fit Maya next fall/winter. The pockets are adorable, and I keep having images of Maya posing with her little hands stuffed inside.

Ferberizing (or getting past new mom guilt)

For the past year, I have lived in almost a constant state of sleep deprivation. Sometimes the world is a blur to me, and I'll lay on the floor of Maya's playmat almost nodding off. Luckily, at that point Maya likes to crawl on top of me and wake me up!

Sure, there are times when I get a decent night's sleep. That would be the month of September when Maya started to sleep through the night. However, those times were short and over quickly. By October, she had developed a bad case of separation anxiety. She would cry when a stranger smiled and would try and talk to her. She would cry when an unfamiliar stuffed animal was held up to her. She would cry when Grandma wanted to give her a hug. Basically she would cry whenever her mama wasn't holding her.

In a way, I was very happy about this new development. Finally, validation that she loved me... that she needed me and no one else! The back draw was that my newly found great sleeper started waking up 3-4 times a night, and often 7-8 times a night!

Mo and I discussed sleep training her, but balked everytime we heard her crying. This was back when Mo used to put her to sleep too. Finally after 5 weeks of sleep deprivation, Mo became desperate. Her pediatrician advised us to "do ourselves a favor" and let her cry a little. Mo was happy to comply. The first night, we let her cry for 15 minutes when we put her to bed, and she only woke up once more falling asleep after only 12 minutes.

The next night, she cried for 10 minutes before Mo proclaimed that he couldn't do it! "If we have to hold her or let her sleep in our bed, we'll do it!" And so he went in and held her for the next hour. He started off sharing the bedtime ritual with me on the weekdays, and also relieving me of some of the wake ups on the weekend. (Can you read into this that I did 90% of the rocking to sleep?)

The following weeks Mo became busier and busier with work, so I started putting her to bed more and more on my own and holding her when she woke up. The bottle which used to help soothe her during some of the wake-ups started to get turned away. She clearly wasn't hungry, she just wanted to be rocked. By mid-December I was doing 100% of the soothing.

Enter mid-February and Maya's 1 year pediatrician appointment. I was still rocking her to sleep every night... and that I was becoming increasingly unhappy about the situation.  I resented the fact that Mo didn't have to chore (yes, chore... I'm a mean mama) of holding our cutie until she fell asleep 4-5 times a day.  My sleep deprivation and his stress at work resulted in more than a few fights.  I also envied all my friends with babies who had a continuous night's sleep, but mostly... I was terrified that Maya would grow into a 2 or 3 year old that wanted to be rocked to sleep. Already at 1, Maya was showing her strong personality and I was sure that she would be a nightmare to sleep train in another year. When our doctor asked us how Maya gets to sleep every night, I admitted that I rocked her to sleep. Our pedi immediately said "Yes, you have to stop doing that. She needs to learn how to sleep on her own." I inwardly sighed with relief and looked over at Mo. He agreed (with a bit of reluctance) that it was time.

In the end though, it was my decision to stop rocking Maya to sleep. I worried about her ability to sleep on her own in the future. I must admit that my mother rocked me to sleep, and it turned into a nightmare for her. At 6-7 years old, I needed her to sleep beside me 99% of the time, and I only started growing out of it at 8 years old. Even now, I sometimes have trouble falling asleep and was bothered by insomnia at least 2-4 times a month. (Insomniacs, here's a tip! Have a baby, it'll cure you of your sleep issues with constant sleep deprivation!)

We decided to use the Ferber method because it seemed more gentle to both parents and baby. Today is day 3 and so far so good. *knocks on wood* The first night, Maya feel asleep about 20 minutes. And the 2nd, she feel asleep about 12 minutes. Today during both her naps, she was asleep in 2 minutes and 5 minutes respectively.

I hear that the 3rd and 4th nights are the worst, so I'm not holding my breath that it'll keep being this "easy". I put easy in quotes because while it doesn't sound like a long time listening to her cry. When it's your baby, and you're fighting past your mother guilt to not go in and soothe her, it doesn't just feel like time is standing still. It feels like time is running backwards in the wrong direction!

But seeing that Maya is fast asleep now, and wakes up the same happy baby she always has been... ferberizing is working for us! I'm so happy we're on the road to a Maya who knows how to sleep on her own. Because I know this sounds selfish, but life will be so much easier! Mo won't be stressed out anymore when I go to pottery class on Saturday mornings (she would either cry in his arms before her nap, or not take one at all). And I miss going out for a nice adult meal without Maya. I am looking forward to being able to leave her with Grandma or a friend to babysit. Mo and I have only had three romantic meals, just the two of us without Maya... and these were all pre-separation anxiety. (Thank you Jen for being such an excellent friend to babysit for us!)

Maya's doctor advised us that the first few nights would be hard, but "once she starts sleeping on her own, you'll kick yourself for not doing it sooner." Give me a few more days, but I suspect that she is right!
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