Starting to Read

Filed under: Anya,video — by Lauren on February 19th, 2010 @ 9:10 pm

From yesterday:

Sleeping

Filed under: baby's progress,Sierra — by Lauren on February 18th, 2010 @ 10:40 pm

Fourteen-and-a-half months later, Sierra is finally sleeping through the night!

So, how did we accomplish this? Sierra has had terrible sleep habits since she was around 10 weeks old, mainly due to mistakes made by me (consistently nursing her to sleep being the biggest one). She needed a lot of help falling asleep and woke up several times throughout the night, always needing to be nursed to get back to sleep.

The first thing we did was work to break her of the nurse-to-sleep association at bedtime. Lex shouldered most of the work on this one, in part because Sierra absolutely freaked out if she saw me and I didn’t feed her, but also because I’m a total sucker and I was too likely to give in to her. I began nursing her just before bedtime instead of at bedtime, and then Lex took over. He patiently took a lot of protest and even some abuse while rocking her, holding her, walking with her – whatever it took until she gave in and went to sleep. Over the course of several weeks, she stopped fighting him so hard, she began falling asleep in the crib while he’d pat her on the back instead of holding her, and then (!!!) she even started asking to be put in the crib on her own. Bedtime went from taking 30 minutes or more to under 5 (after her books and songs). Soon I was able to put her to sleep as well.

So, bedtime became a lot easier, but staying asleep was a whole other issue. Sierra would wake up between 2 and 5 times a night, and though Lex might be able to get her back to sleep the first time, she usually ended up in our bed to nurse and then would nurse on and off the rest of the night. Part of what contributed to her frequent night wakings (aside from habit) is that Sierra is a very light sleeper and even quiet noises would wake her up – and with no self-soothing ability, she would immediately cry for us. We might be able to get her back to sleep and in the crib, but between the creaky floorboards or the sound of the doorknob turning, we would often wake her up again as we tried to leave the room.

Over the past several months I’ve taken quite a few sleep books out from the library. I’ve been looking for any alternative to cry-it-out methods, though it’s hard to find books that don’t spout some variation. I know we let Anya cry, and I never felt good about it. I could see how Sierra’s sleep issues were very much due to things I did or didn’t do when she was younger, and I didn’t feel that she should then be “punished” because of the mistakes I made. I dutifully read The No-Cry Sleep Solution but didn’t feel that Pantley’s methods would work for Sierra. I also perused Dr. Ferber’s book and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, but they are both tradition CIO books, and so I wasn’t interested.

The most recent time I was at the library, I decided I would give No-Cry another go, but while I was getting it off the shelf I noticed another book, The SleepEasy Solution. It looked interesting and boasted a “least-cry” approach, so I figured it was worth reading. Well, when it comes down to it, the book really is another CIO book, but before the authors get to that part, they devote a lot of time to discussing changes to make to the baby’s bedtime routine and sleep environment. One of their big suggestions was to play continuous white noise in the room – something we used to do when she was an infant. There are lots of fancy machines out there, but white noise doesn’t need to be expensive. I looked in the iTunes store and narrowed down the choices to a few options, but then we ended up buying a white noise application for the iPhone/iPod Touch since the clock in her room as an iPod dock.

BEST 99 CENTS WE EVER SPENT!

The white noise had an immediate effect on bedtime – we were able to get out of the room without waking her up! Then we saw that Lex was able to get her back to sleep in the middle of the night more easily. She started waking up less often until she was only waking up once, and then one night she slept from bedtime until 5 am completely on her own. That was the point when we (er, Lex) insisted that Sierra was ready to learn to go to sleep on her own.

The first night, she cried for 14 minutes before lying down to go to sleep, but it wasn’t the hysterical, gasping for air cry she had done in the past. It was more of a “HEY, WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU AREN’T GOING TO STAY WITH ME?” cry. It still broke my heart, but I could see the difference, and that was the first time she EVER voluntarily went from standing to lying down in the crib. The next night it took 6 minutes of intermittent cries, the third under a minute, the fourth about 6 seconds, and tonight – NOTHING. The first few nights she woke up once or twice in the middle of the night but went back to sleep without help, and then came into our bed between 5 and 5:30 am to nurse and cuddle. Last night she slept from 7:30 pm until 6:20 am. SO AWESOME. I got seven straight hours of sleep. It’s been WAY too long since I got that much sleep. Naps have been improving, too. I had decided that I did not want to follow the book’s advice about letting her cry to nap and would continue helping her sleep, but then starting yesterday she’s been able to fall asleep on her own during the day, too! We’ve still got some work to do to help her extend her naps, but things are so much better than they were even just last week.

Sierra, I am sorry it took us so long to teach you how to sleep! I hope you are enjoying the extra rest as much as we are.

Birthday Videos

Filed under: Anya,Sierra,video — by Lauren on February 15th, 2010 @ 11:17 pm

Oops, I never posted videos from Anya’s third birthday back in October and Sierra’s first birthday in December!

Anya’s birthday video:

Singing “Happy Birthday” to Sierra:

Sierra eats her cake:

Decoding Sierra

Filed under: baby's progress,Sierra — by Lauren on @ 11:02 pm

Sierra has a decent-sized vocabulary for a 14-month-old.  There are many words she says quite clearly (baby, apple, eat, sock, cookie, ball, head, hat, no, more, up, hi, hello, bye-bye, peas, cheese, bow, mama, dada, and phone, to name a few).  However, plenty of what she says probably is not easily understandable to people who don’t know her well.  She doesn’t pronounce ending consonants on a lot of her words, at least not consistently.  Luckily, I am fluent in Sierra-ese and am happy to provide translation services as necessary.  Her use of signs helps a lot as well.

Some things she says at this age that I want to remember in the future:

  • iPah – iPod or iPhone
  • wahpf/wahp – wipe.  We hear this ALL day.  Sierra loves to play with wipes, to have her hands cleaned a million times during any meal, to blow her nose or anyone else’s nose, to wipe on the potty…
  • efahfant – elephant, except I think the only one she can identify consistently is from the Hatch iPhone application
  • Leh…pah – leopard, referring to a specific book we often read before bedtime
  • pib – crib
  • Ahnah – Anya!  Probably her favorite word
  • fro – throw
  • ticka ticka ticka – tickle
  • Baaapap – Backpack (from “Dora the Explorer”)
  • Dodah/Dodo – Dora
  • seeee – sit (usually said while trying to crawl into my lap or onto a stool)
  • hallah – challah
  • sarrrr /staaaa- star (she signs that one and can accurately identify the shape, so that always helps)
  • tuh – touch
  • wah – watch (as in wristwatch)
  • hi fi – high five
  • I luh loo – I love you
  • hep – help, usually to indicate that she’d like a fork while eating
  • wayehh – where (complete with hands held up in question)
  • owsigh – outside
  • cheeee – cheers (while holding up her sippy cup if she notices someone else taking a drink)
  • culluh – color

There are some things she says that I couldn’t possibly figure out how to write out her pronunciation phonetically – cracker, round-and-round and swish-swish-swish (from “Wheels on the Bus”), Swiper No Swiping (from “Dora the Explorer), vitamins, broccoli… BUT she says the same thing every time, and again, gestures help a lot.

Other talking tidbits:

She’s able to identify what a dog, frog, horse, sheep, duck, cow, and cat say, and she’ll tell you that we say “brrrr” when it’s cold outside.  If she pushes a car around she’ll say, “Vroom, vroom” or “Wheee!”

She can’t figure out how to pronounce her name, so when I ask her what her name is, she points to herself and says, “Name.”  The closest she’s gotten is calling herself “Seee” or “Erra.”

“Two” is one of Sierra’s favorite words.  She asks for two pretty much any time she’s eating anything, but also when she’s coloring or if she wants two of a toy.  She likes having something in each hand!  She’s beginning to overuse it, though – sometimes she’ll ask for “two” just to mean “want.”

I know I’ve left stuff out, but I’m going to publish this post anyway, since I’ve been working on it for days.  I would love to have gotten some of this stuff on video, but my Flip camera is dying a sad, slow, painful death.  :(