Thursday, December 30, 2010

Tough Love: my baby won't sleep

Running up to 2 years
2 years = 730 nights
730 nights with no more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep
730 nights getting out of bed once or twice or three or four times a night
730 nights listening to a little girl cry herself to sleep

I had enough - I read 5 books - heard countless 'have you tried...?' - tried countless things and methods - bookmarked hundreds of webpages talking about toddler's sleep (or lack of) - watched too many episodes of Super Nanny.

Control crying did sort out the 'going to bed' dilemma in the evening but it did not solve the 'waking up in the middle of the night.
Letting her cry it out, only resulted in completely sleepless nights.... until now

So forgive me - I'm not a bad mother - but I decided to give the latter another go. She can cry all she wants - cry all night long for all I care - she needs to learn that I will not be there until the morning - I decide when she wakes up not her.

And you know what?
It worked
It finally worked

In the many things I read, a doctor said there are two misconceptions from - the first one is that for a child to sleep from 12 midnight to 5am is sleeping through the night - but that did not even apply to my kid. The second is that in spite of your best efforts and applying the book rules to the letter - if your child is not ready - he is just NOT READY. I am suddenly finding out that this is very true.

On Monday night, Gabrielle cried - what felt like - most of the night
On Tuesday night, Gabrielle cried for very short periods (twice 15-20 minutes)
On Wednesday night, Gabrielle only cried once for 15 minutes
On Thursday night, Gabrielle only cried once but did not call for mommy or daddy
Tonight might just be the night where the cry is just a whimper and/or that she sleeps through.

The irony of it all is that I feel more tired than ever. I guess I have 730 nights' worth of sleep to catch up on.
For the benefit of desperate parents who might stumble upon this page, these are the books I read, but none of them helped except combined with each other -
  • Sleep by Beatrice Hollyer and Lucy Smith (in theory - should have been very good, it teaches you good habits and sleep routine before baby arrives - but that did not help with Byelle)
  • the no-cry sleep solution by Elizabeth Pantley (nothing good came out of it)
  • The Sleepeasy solution by Jennifer Waldburger and Jill Spivack (fixed the going to bed dilemma - with control crying - very reassuring for parents who don't want to hear their baby cry)
  • The Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg (I personally don't like her)
  • The Sleep Guide by Gina Ford (another partisan of the crying method - but now I have to admit it works)
What you need to remember is:
1) control crying or letting your kid cry will work but maybe not this time
2) Your kid does not hold against you so stay strong and stick to the rules of the method
3) but if your kid is not ready - he's just not ready the first time we did control crying - she was 8 months old and cried all night for 2 weeks with no improvement whatsoever - the second time we tried letting her cry, she was 17 months for 3 nights and except for exhausting me and her dad had not made a dent in her bad habit
4) Books that claim you don't have to let your baby cry are lying - they will ask you to let your baby cry - but refer back to #2
feel free to email me if you have question or need support - I've been there and it's been exhausting.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

High Society Wellcome Collection

When I first heard of this 'High Society' exhibition, for a split second I pictured Top Hats and Petty Coats and fine moustaches and dainty umbrellas but not quite... Sir Henry Wellcome was a scientist amongst other things (19th century) and he is to thank for funding the Wellcome Trust and Wellcome Collection, which aspires to be a "free destination for the incurrably curious".

High Society is about Drugs, with apparently 200 billion dollars worth of illegal trade going on in the world a year and with drug use recorded for over 3500 years (yeah, that's Egyptian Pharaohs time). The small exhibition was well laid out, with its history, its use, its side effects and the arts and litterature it inspired.

Up until not that long ago, early 20th century, French sold Marijuana cigarettes (we call that a spliff nowadays) and the British sold opium-based gripe remedies for babies! Nice one :)

I particularly enjoyed the poppy field screens running in opposite directions on the walls all around - so did Byelle.
But the most interesting finding in my opinion was the effect of drugs on spiders - interpreted by the way they spin their web:
(Speed - Caffeine - Marijuana)
One can't help but notice that the worst looking web is the one caffeine-induced ... hmmm.... one can't help but wonder.... Maybe I need to find a substitute to my 4 cups a day

Monday, December 27, 2010

A mountain of dust

It should have been a Merry Christmas, like every other Christmasses but it was a cold and tired and soul-less christmas for us this year.

2010 should have been a fabulous year, our little girl is more fun and gorgeous by the day, we still have secured jobs in this current economic climate, we acquired a beautiful home in a dream location. We should be so lucky.

Instead, we lost touch, we rely on each other for strength but don't consult each other or talk and forgot to have any fun at all. Too engrossed in trying to find fulfilment in difficult and demanding jobs, getting by day by day with as little as 4 hours broken sleep because our darling daughter is still not sleeping through, moving and decorating our home and counting the pennies in our bank account as we've ruined ourselves on the latter.

Eventually, the rock I am expected to be, started to crumple inside out and it all collapsed. Our great castle of cards needs rebuilding --- starting with getting some frekking sleep!

We're not in the New Year yet, but making amends need to start now, tomorrow might be too late:
  • Get some proper hobbies and interests - facebook chat and TV just won't cut it. I want to learn to dive, Alex wants to learn to snowboard - expensive oh yeah - but our entire 20's we spent them living very frugal lives and saving every penny so we could afford a home and a family - now it's time to invest in some fun. Plus Byelle will benefit from it as she turns 3 (for skiing) or 8 (for diving)
  • Learn a new skill - or two or three - cooking for Alex, he has to spend time in the kitchen with me - that will contribute to the 'us' time we've left behind and Alex will teach me the piano on Gabrielle's little keyboard, heck that's not a real instrument but if I learn 'Ah vous dirai-je maman' and 'jingle bells' I'll be happy - and either pick up on my Spanish - I'm so close to speaking that language, I can't believe I'm not fluent yet! Failing that, I'm quite curious about Japanese - I know it's random
  • Get a good routine to include some 'us' time compulsory - no excuses; e.g. Monday - read, Tuesday- knit, Wednesday - update/catch up on the blogsphere, Thursday - shoot some post-apocaliptic mutants, Friday 'us' time ;) , Saturday - have friends over for dinner; Sunday - shopping in town or something intellectual in London
There - that's me and us sorted for 2011 - Bring it on!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas to whoever stumbles upon this page
I love that clock that Alex brought home- I thought it was pretty cool this morning when I got up to see Dec 25th in large font across the corridor from my bedroom to the dining room.
That was actually yesterday, at Alex' office Christmas party, Byelle was happy to have her face painted and sat still for the artist to work, she wanted more so she had both her hands painted as well.
The show with Jojo the Elf and his magic tricks. Gabrielle participated passing around the lego bricks and the parcels for Santa's sleigh. Santa gave Byelle a hand puppet Fox, which she affectionately calls fok.
Opening the presents - crayons from Gemma, legos and scooter from mommy and daddy and the keyboard!!!
The masterpiece, an electronic keyboard from Memie and Pepi - well the actual best present from Mommy and Daddy was the 'Scoota' but weather does not allow the use for it yet.
Daddy spent as much time on my new toy as I did. He will be able to teach me soon enough :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Snowed in

The tree outside my window, the children playing in the streets, the laughter, the snow storm has ended and it's just magical.
An eager little girl looking out the window.
Much to our disappointment, Gabrielle did not like the sleigh or the snow and refused to wear her gloves or hat - what a surprise.
Another day, more snow, I have to say that I am not accustomed to this much snow. This is the most snow I've seen at this altitude! Of course, they say London comes to a stand-still when it snows, which is not entirely true, both main roads at either end of my street are clear and busses circulate, but it is true if you drive a BMW because I can't drive it out of the street without threatening to skid into all the cars parked on either side of the street!
But it is lovely, it was lovely yesterday morning to watch foxes play in the backgarden, or lovely to walk along the white and icy Thames path.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

18 months later

June 2009 was my last entry, time just flew by.
Spent the Summer of 2009 in France. Alex and I took a road trip from Oleron Island to the summer house in Ardeche via Carcassonne.

I went back to work late September but took a 3-week Christmas holiday back to Kuala Lumpur to introduce Gabrielle to friends and spend Christmas with the whole family.
The holiday was followed by Gabrielle's first birthday and the hunt for a home.
By July 22nd we had moved in our beautiful home and we're hoping to unpack the last boxes and install the last light fittings over this coming Christmas break. Now I'm ready to resume blogging