Misadventures of a 20-Something Mom: July 2012   

Monday, July 23, 2012

Very Hungry Caterpillar 1st Birthday Party: The Good, The Bad, The Burnout!

So it's finally over! Months of planning and I can proudly say that I actually survived my first time hosting a kid party! Whoo hoo!

I think that overall, I am pleased with how everything turned out. However, I'd be lying if I said everything went off without a hitch. I knew I was taking a risk with an outdoor venue, and there were certainly some issues that arose from that. (i.e. wind knocking over signage, Florida heat, etc.)

 I don't think I would have changed the venue though. The other option was sardining everyone into the house. That was so not happening. Call me antisocial, but I am not a big fan of house parties..at least house parties at MY HOUSE. I'm always left with a huge mess, which sucks, but it has nothing on the two or three "stragglers" that camp out for hours after everyone else has gone home. There's no polite way to tell someone to get the hell out, is there?

I was also kind of disappointed with the turn out. I had to reserve 2 pavilions based on the number of RSVP's. Almost half of the people who said they were coming...just didn't. I was given no notice of the change in their plans at all!
They didn't call, they didn't write, they didn't send a carrier pigeon. What is wrong with people?

I admit that I am like an RSVP Nazi. A total stickler. If you can't come, no biggie. If the thought of a child's birthday party gives you hives, whatevs that's cool. But please RSVP "yes" or "no", and give me a heads up if you can no longer attend. It's not rocket science. Your tiny, courteous act will prevent me from having a surplus of pizza and tasty treats that will go straight to my already inflated ass.

Other than that, I was pretty happy with how our little soiree turned out.

Fruit Table

 Dessert Table

                 Mini Cherry Pies

"Ice Cream" Cupcakes. This was definitely a baking fail!

Smash Cake Used for PhotoShoot

Smash Cake used at Party

Drink Table

Favor Table

Lollipop Stand (Old Mailing Tube)
Fyi: Tying these tiny bows for hours on end..has given me a sort of bow-phobia. These were a recipe for burnout!


 Some of his "Happy Birthday Mason" banner


Friday, July 13, 2012

The "Sleep Coaching" Saga

Ok, I'm not sure it really constitutes as a "saga" per say, but it makes it sound a hell of a lot more interesting than it actually is. Plus, I promised to give you, my loyal readers, the low down on "Sleep Coaching" a 10 month old. So here goes:

I relied on the wise words of Shana del Castillo (Gentle Sleep Coach) during this crazy endeavor. Full disclosure, I received a free sleep consultation in exchange for a service review. However, my opinions (good, bad, or indifferent) are all my own.

For 10 long months, our son slept in the same room with us. "That is not that big of a deal," you might say.
Well you just hold your horses...for a large part of those 10 months, he was in our bed. And let me just tell you, he is a very inconsiderate bedfellow.

For awhile, this was what you call a symbiotic relationship. Baby was happy to be close by, and  mama was happy to avoid running across the house 800 times a night. Daddy was snoring throughout the process, so he was a happy camper too.

But as they say, "All good things must come to an end." Co-sleeping started to become less symbiotic and more..shall we say..parasitic?

Regardless of my bedtime attire, my son would somehow manage to latch onto my boob, mission impossible style. He would then proceed to nurse, and nurse, and nurse. The majority of the time he wasn't even eating, just using me as a living, breathing pacifier. This in turn, would keep me from achieving any quality sleep.

On top of treating me like an all-night nursing buffet, the baby would thrash around, talk in his sleep, and jockey for real estate in the bed. My husband and I would end up desperately clinging to the bedsheets, in an effort to keep from plunging off the bed and to our deaths.
Ok, Ok. "To our deaths" might be a little dramatic. But when you are mule kicked off the bed by a 10 month old, in the dead of night, it feels a little like death.

All three of us were worse for wear. It was clear that the time for change had come. My husband and I floundered a bit on our own. We tried various techniques, to little avail. Neither of us had the stomach for straight "cry-it-out" methods, but we were fresh out of ideas and losing precious sleep and patience by the minute. We knew it was time to call in a "professional."

Through phone calls, emails, questionnaires, and a thorough consultation, Shana helped us identify some of the weakness in our typical sleep routine. We were able to establish an earlier bedtime, a more concrete routine, and a multi-faceted plan of action.

I'd be lying if I said there was no crying involved. On his part and on mine.
At first, we both struggled with the transition from co-sleeping.  At night, in my bed, I missed him terribly. I hated feeling like he might wake up scared and alone. I felt like a bad mom.

He certainly didn't like the change at first either. Sleeping in the crib was new. There was no easy access to a boob. There was no bedfellow to smack or roll on. In a nutshell, he pretty much freaking hated it.

He took no issue with letting me know it. For the first night or two, he would squeal and cry and carry on. All the while, I was sitting right by him; comforting him, yet still remaining firm on our new boundaries. There were soooo many times when I wanted to give up. It would have been so much easier to. But I would keep reminding myself that we both DESERVED a good night's rest. Unfortunately, co-sleeping wasn't providing that for us anymore. So we persevered, and I am happy to say, that my son now sleeps from 6pm-6 am almost every night. Obviously, he is not immune to occasional wakings due to teething, or sickness, or pending developmental milestones. But his sleep habits are a bizillion times better.

This was certainly not an overnight process. Cry-it-out sure would have worked a hell of a lot faster. I'm too big of a softie though, and I would not have had the stomach to just close the door and listen to him scream.  Some of you might disagree, but to me, the ability to "coach" my son through this transition is what differentiates this approach from cry-it-out.

And now? I wouldn't change it for the world. I love having the "marital" bed back. The charts are in...and our spooning has increased exponentially. Not to mention the extra shut-eye everyone is now enjoying!