Friday, August 30, 2013

Back into the work force

Life has been a big crazy jumble of new experiences lately. 

I am so grateful for the time that I've had as a stay at home mom. But for many, many reasons, I knew that the time wouldn't last. This month I started working part-time at my first big girl job using my bachelor's degree (yes, I earned my bachelor's degree 2 years ago...*shakes fist at the economy*). I am working at a large rehabilitation services corporation in the Autism Clinic. My position is as an "Autism Mid-Level Technician" doing one-on-one applied behavior analysis. The children in are clinic are very young, only up to age 6. I am paired with a 3 year old boy and he's so adorable.

I wish it wasn't totally taboo to talk about pay and salary because I am SO excited about how much money I'm making now. I have been severely underpaid in past jobs that I've held and, like I said, have never had a job that actually required my degree, so I'm getting paid now twice as much as I've ever been paid in my life! And it's still a considerably low since I am only working part time but still. I'M EXCITED.

One of the things that has been more difficult about working now is, of course, being a working mom. Specifically figuring out the logistics of pumping breast milk has been quite the task for me. Ideally I would love to be able to pump every 3 hours but my commute is 30-40 minutes each way and I can't take a break (more than a minute or two) since I am responsible for one specific child all day. I am just doing my best right now to pump 15-20 minutes before I leave for the day and then as soon after I get home as possible. This ends up being more like 6 hours in between sessions but I'm really really hoping that since he is an older baby (7 and a half months nearly) this won't affect my supply much.

Next week I begin my internship for my counseling program. It is at the high school level and I'll be doing pretty much whatever the supervising school counselor wants me to do - counsel kids, help with college applications, ACT, run groups, and so on. 

My schedule Monday through Thursday is basically non stop all day. I'll go to my internship, come home at lunch time for about an hour, leave for work, get home between 6:30 and 7:30 probably depending on if I need to pick Colton up from my parents house (they are helping watch him when Mark has to work nights). I will definitely miss my little guy, but I'm really glad to have 3 days off, and I think he would be proud of me for going out in the world to make a difference in the lives of others.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sleep Training: Naps, the CIO edition

As much as I wanted to avoid the Cry It Out method of sleep training, here we are. I have a fresh perspective on it and at least in my 2 experiences I've had today that I'm about to share, it wasn't horrendous. In fact, I feel confident now that I am giving him tools to succeed at self-soothing better and in turn, making me a better mommy to him because I'm not so frustrated and anxious and resentful of the fact that it is like pulling teeth to get him to go to sleep - and stay asleep. I can't speak for nighttime yet because we aren't there yet, but here is my dabble in CIO during 2 of 3 naps today.

The morning nap was normal - fought hard and my husband had to walk around the room and bounce him to get him to fall asleep - but he slept for somewhere in the ballpark of 30-45 minutes in his rock and play.

Nap A:

  • 12:30 PM - nursed Colton, he was starting to fall asleep but I did my best to keep him drowsy. Once finished I walked him to his room and had him wake up a little.
  • 12:45 PM - put down drowsy in crib. Naturally he wakes right up and starts rolling around and playing
  • 12:54 PM - starts crying. I respond instantly, get him to settle down, offer him a lovey, leave the room, saying "night night" repeatedly.
  • 12:56 PM - crying
  • 1:00 PM - comfort until he stops crying, saying "night night" repeatedly, singing, stroking head.
  • 1:01 PM - crying as soon as I close his door. 
  • 1:06 PM - comfort until he stops crying. This took some more time than I expected to spend.
  • 1:12 PM - crying immediately as I leave, building intensity. I imagine that he's trying to get my attention more and more after each time I leave. But I know he can do this without me. He'll be okay, I tell myself. He's communicating his anger and frustration that you aren't putting him to sleep the "normal" way. 
  • 1:19 PM - comfort and offer the pacifier, he starts to close his eyes immediately but doesn't fall asleep. Still whimpering when I leave the room.
  • 1:27 PM - cries are beginning to die down.
  • 1:30 PM - one last groan and quietness. He's asleep!
 Yes, I snuck in and took a picture of him, flash and all. This is a historic event! Put himself to sleep! And in his crib! I am awestruck and so proud that he made it through (and that I did too)!

Nap B:
  • 3:45 PM approximately: nursed him in the living room, which is different than usual since we nurse in my bed to sleep almost every time. Afterwards we read 2 books and I tried to rock him to drowsy but he was starting to fight me already.
  • 3:55 PM put in crib. Not necessarily drowsy, but I know he was drowsy while he was eating and it is definitely nap time.
  • 3:58 PM crying. Responded within 1 minute to comfort him.
  • 4:01 PM crying as soon as I left the room.
  • 4:05 PM went in to comfort but I couldn't get him to calm down. He's knows what's up now.
  • 4:07 PM yelling but crying isn't as intense
  • 4:16 PM a few last screams and some moans
  • 4:19 PM asleep!
And another picture of course, because I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it with my own two eyes.

Stay tuned for the nighttime review of CIO day one!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sleep Training - Night Sleep

Remember this? I think our cat got more use out of the crib before our baby was born than Colton has since he's been here.

Le Sigh. My post about nap training (which feels like ages ago) never really worked out. Naps have been going okay though. He sleeps an appropriate amount of time for his age, he generally nurses to sleep or nurses about 15 minutes before a nap which I allow because it's working out well with scheduling solids in between, and he goes down without a fight. The nap schedule has been fairly consistent which I suppose is what he needed most of all. He still sleeps in his rock and play, or sometimes I'll nap with him in our bed. That's all well and good for now.

Let's not forget (or did I mention this?) that I am going back to work soon. And starting classes in the fall. And starting an internship in the fall where I'll be gone 2-3 days a week as well. And naps my husband can handle. But night one can handle

The main problem here is that he won't sleep in the crib. He's not used to it, he wants nothing to do with it, as far as his baby brain is concerned that is not his bed. My new task is getting him to understand that this is where he needs to sleep now. My second task which goes hand in hand is getting him to fall asleep in his crib on his own. That's what is most bothersome about the middle of the night. If he's hungry and needs to eat, I'm okay with that. I'm having some trouble finding the patience to sit and rock him for another hour thereafter to get him to go back to sleep. 2 or 3 times a night this happens. I love baby cuddles but mommies need sleep, too.

Last night we attempted step one of the sleep lady shuffle. Unfortunately, it didn't work out. We are taking a break for a few days and trying again on Thursday night. Here is how the night went down.

6:45 pm - bedtime routine: bath, lotion, pj's, books, nursing. (He did not nurse to sleep, but did get drowsy)

7:15 pm - put in crib. Drowsiness dissipates. The next half hour is spent pulling off socks, stuffing them into his mouth, rolling back and forth, side to side, yelling "ahh," fake coughing, kicking, flailing, playing with the crib railing, playing with his pacifier, playing with his pants.

7:45 pm - starting to realize that I am not going to pick him up. Some angry sounds emerge.

8:00 pm - crying, crying, crying. I am sitting right there the whole time comforting, singing, shushing, offering a paci (which I'm not supposed to do).

8:15 pm - some progress. He's definitely more tired. He's calmed a few times and started to close his eyes but he doesn't stay asleep. My husband comes in to take his turn.

8:20 pm - I can hear my husband turning into a ball of mush in there. Mean Heartless Mommy swoops in before he cracks. I take over again. I deem myself totally desensitized to the exhaustion of dealing with getting him to sleep for the past almost-7 months.

8:25 pm - definitely more progress. He's quieting for longer periods. He'll occasionally just stare sleepily into the distance. He'll accept the paci at times. He is comforted by holding my hand near his face. The combination of these things plus singing puts him to sleep, officially! He is laying on his side, officially asleep. IT WORKED!

8:30 pm - He rolls over onto his back and wakes up instantly. And he's angry. He's SO angry, upset, sad, frustrated. I'm heartbroken and so sad for him. He was RIGHT THERE and I was so proud. He's crying much worse than before. I don't know what to do. I pick him up and cuddle him.

8:39 pm - I've held him and comforted him for too long. He's asleep in my arms. This is a no-no and is not teaching him how to fall asleep in his crib.

8:42 pm - I try to put him back down. He doesn't even touch the mattress before he starts wailing.

8:45 pm - My husband takes over and decides to bounce/rock/shush/do everything possible to calm him down and put him to sleep in his arms. It's all over now. We're done for the night, officially. There is no way he'll sleep in that crib now.

9:00 pm - we try a couple of tactics to make a homemade crib wedge and a crib nest but he wakes up crying each time we try to put him down. We're calling it quits.

9:30 pm - Back to nursing to sleep

9:45 pm - Put him down in the rock and play in our room. I hear him stir around 1:45 and lay waiting for him to wake up to eat but he never does. Finally at 2:30, since I can't get back to sleep, I dreamfeed him. He doesn't wake up in the slightest but he eats well. I put him down and he keeps on sleeping.

5:45 am - He's awake. He....SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT? Mind you it was in the rock and play, which he is quickly outgrowing and will not be his permanent bed, but this has never happened, folks. I'm astonished. I feel guilty that I tired him out so much (that has to be the reason, right?). Either that or he's a baby genius and is like "No mom! I don't want to sleep in that crib! I'll sleep 8 hours straight, I promise! Don't make me go in there again!"