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Archive for the ‘Sleep’ Category

I have a wish list for May. It’s for both of us really because anything that interests her, makes her giggle or helps her be more independent is a gift for me too.

My list:

1. A toddler sized Bumbo seat so that May can continue to enjoy sitting as only she knows how.

2. A teether that stays in May’s mouth while she is sleeping.

3. May to sleep through the night (Yep. That’s right. We are back there again.)

4. Ieuan to sleep through the night. (It’s like my own small Hell here at the moment. Be it a very cute version of Hell.)

5. A holiday. Anywhere.

So, in part, an unlikely-to-be-achieved list. We can all dream. I even wrote to Bumbo at one point and asked them for a toddler sized seat, but alas they do not make them.

One free thing I did receive this week was a pack of flashcards from a friend who runs the company Who Loves Me? I sent her photos and she sent me back flashcards with members of May’s family on them.  On the back, are short statements I wrote and read out to May so that the whole thing became a little story of my own creation. May enjoyed the colors and the little stories. My favorite card is of Ieuan and Grandpa together at The Original Pancake House for the first time. Lots of giggles when that came up. May LOVES the Pancake House thus proving she is a real Lewis. (Incidentally, Ieuan’s favorite card was also this one! Lots of smiles when I turned it over. He loves his Grandpa.)

So tell me… what’s on your wish list?

*Disclaimer: Though I received the cards for free, my opinion about them is my own. And, unlike the cards, the fun we had with them was not manufactured!

Want to read more from Stacie? Check out her posts on BabyCenter’s Momformation!

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Mama Lewis and the Amazing Adventures of the Half-Brained Baby has a new home now. Come visit us at mamalewis.com.

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When I wrote my 100,000 hits post, it was only February of this year. It took almost a year and a half to get there, and now a third of the time to get here.

But, that’s not what I really what I find amazing. 200,000 hits is small potatoes compared to everything else that happened in that short amount of time.

May discovered her mouth. She enjoys making clicking and humming sounds. She spits like a champ. She sings along with us. Her laugh is infectious. I defy anyone to not giggle along with her. What a joy she is!

May’s seizures disappeared. We go weeks without seeing one now. Let me repeat that for those of you new to my blog. We go weeks after almost two years of frequent seizures, at their height over 100/day. To rid herself of these, May had to endure medicine trials. That’s how she learned to spit like a champ.

May learned to sleep through the night. We should win a medal for that.

May moved on to chunky food and put on the pounds! Finally! (And, from this, I learned that my instincts are right. Two fingers to so-called experts who doubt and patronize thoughtful, reflective and informed parents.)

May became more independent. She mastered the Bumbo seat. Which means, she can sit – be it aided. That is an amazing step forward. Not to mention, she LOVES her Bumbo. She also loves her bouncer. In both of these, she will happily play on her own for 20 – 30 minutes at a time.

And, just in time – because she needs to be more independent after the major event of the year. A healthy, baby brother for May!

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Sob. Sniffle.

That’s not May crying. That’s her mama.

My little monkey May is officially not a baby. She has shrugged off the confines of her crib and is now stretched luxuriously across a massive, big girl bed.

It was always going to happen. We’ve been waiting for this moment.

Um, actually – when I say waiting, I mean, waiting for IKEA to delivery our new sofa so we could move the futon into May’s room and May into it. The sofa arrived. The futon moved. May moved into it.

Here is why we moved May out of her crib. It wasn’t that she was too big for it. It was because in the middle of the night, she would turn herself sidewise and get wedged in. Every night, sometimes two or three times a night, haul ourselves out of bed to move her back and usually, fingers crossed, she falls back asleep. But, one out of every ten times or so, she doesn’t. And, when that happens, we turn into sleep-deprived zombie parents.

It was Nana’s masterplan, really. The last time we stayed in Wales, she moved May from her crib, into a double bed. May slept like a little angel. That Nana is one smart lady.

We immediately made plans to purchase a sofa and move May into the futon. A futon is actually a pretty good choice if you think about it. When open, it rests very low to the ground and it is certainly wide enough that she will never get wedged anywhere.

Couple that with a genius moment from Mama, when I attached May’s cherished mobile to a chair to hang over her like normal, and what you have is a recipe for sleep.

Sob. She is just such a big girl…

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FREEDOM!

May is learning to be more independent. How is she doing this? Because I am forcing her to.

Ah, yes. That old favorite of parents everywhere. The final countdown has begun to the arrival of Baby Two AKA Peanut. One month left. When Peanut arrives, little May will have to entertain herself more.

Is she interested in achieving this new found freedom? Not really. But, then, she wasn’t all that interested in sleeping between the hours of 2 and 4 a.m. and we forced her to do that too.

Independence for May, even on a small scale, is a big issue for us. May needs a lot of stimulation and assistance. For that reason, we will still be sending her to nursery (even when I’m on maternity leave, but for May’s sake, it makes sense). But, what of the days when May is home and the baby needs our attention? Or, I’m too exhausted to open my eyes let alone bouncybouncybouncy?

For all these reasons, I’ve been giving May more time on her own. I’ve bought new toys for her to play with. I sit her in her Bumbo or her special chair more, rather than in my arms. I leave her alone in her crib with her mobile playing or one of the other sing-song distractions hanging off it.

Miraculously, it is working! Like while I was typing the above, May was playing in her crib and I when I went in to check on her, I found this:

She’s asleep, by the way, not unconscious (worried grandmothers take a breath!). She goes to bed – naps or at night – awake, without endless cuddles as was the case. Another move towards independence!

It’s the final countdown to Baby Two’s arrival! Follow the last month of Mama Lewis’ pregnancy on BabyCenter, or via Twitter!

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I would like to officially call my daughter a loser.

After two weeks of trial by fire, and a lot of help from Nana, May is now sleeping through the night! We are victors in The Sleep Experiment!

The system is not perfect. She wakes from time to time – she gets stuck and needs readjusting, or has a seizure – but, the important thing is she doesn’t stay awake. Moreover, she doesn’t stay awake screaming for hours on end.

Because, if you recall, that was the state of affairs just over two weeks ago. May had been ill for almost a month, cuddling in bed with Mama and Daddy and she did not want to go back to her crib. She is a pretty determined young lady when she wants to be.

It is easy for me to get caught up in the idea that because May is brain-damaged she can not do normal things, like sleep through the night. But, a combination of desperation and sleep deprivation will make a mama try anything.

Here’s what I did:

- Established May wasn’t in pain when she woke screaming like someone was amputating her arm

- Gave her a bottle to calm her initially, but not later when it was clear she wasn’t hungry

- Once she calmed down, I put her back awake

- Or, if she wouldn’t calm down, I put her back screaming

- Then, I’d leave her for five minutes before checking on her

- If she was still screaming, I’d pick her up and give her a cuddle, but then back she would go

- If she had a seizure, or anything else that wasn’t just a temper tantrum, I’d give her all the time she needed

Does that sound easy? Try doing it for days and nights on end without hallucinating.

But, if you succeed, let me tell you… Sleep is a wonderful thing. It feels GOOD.

May is benefiting too. She is eating better. She is happier. She is startling less. She laughs all the time. Belly laughs of the kind that make a little pee come out (it’s okay, she’s in diapers).

Yes, all is well here. And long may it continue!

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Apologies. I am officially obsessed with sleep. Last night, at least I had some, but only at the expense of my husband’s. For May, 3 a.m and 5 a.m. is officially Party Time. And, only an hour later, at 6 a.m.,  she was up – this time with yours truly – and up for good.

The calm before the party

Here’s a question: Does May actually require sleep? Because she barely naps either. Even with three nights in a row of partying, May still only took one or two naps each day, and they only lasted 30 minutes.

In contrast, her parents came home from their jobs today and, while May was still at nursery, we slept for two hours. We broke. She didn’t.

Score: May 7 – Parents 1

May gets 7 points because I think that is how many nights this contest has lasted. But, to be honest, I’ve lost track of how many days it has been.

I gave us one point, because we deserve something for convincing May not to scream the entire night through. She may be awake, but at least she is tolerable. Surely, that is an improvement?

Here are some more questions (feel free to pipe up with some answers):

- Is this a cognitive issue whereby May is unable to learn that the rules have changed and she will not be cuddled to sleep?

- As such, will it just take longer than a “normal” baby?

- Is May’s medicine keeping her up? (one of her seizure meds causes sleep deprivation in adults)

- Is May hungry? (She is still putting on the weight she lost when she was sick and seems to crave bottles at night – something she hasn’t done for about a year.)

*UPDATED*

May slept through the night last night! May 7 – Parents 2!!!

____________________

You can now follow Mama Lewis on BabyCenter, where I will be writing about my pregnancy, or Twitter!

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What night is it? I can’t remember, I’m too tired.

I can’t tell you whether the Sleep Experiment is working. I have no idea. May isn’t sleeping through the night, that’s for sure. The fact that I’m writing this at 4 a.m. is proof enough of that.

May still wakes up three or four times a night. Reasons? Seizures. Thirst. Dirty diaper. Mainly, after wriggling around in her sleep, she wedges herself between the sides of the bed. We readjust her and she falls back asleep.

Waking up three or four times a night is not good. Earlier this week, I was so exhausted that every time I rose from bed, I pitched to the side like I was on a ship. This continued throughout the entire day until I came home from work and slept for three hours. Pregnancy and exhaustion are not easy bedfellows.

On the other hand, I can’t help but feel we are making some progress. May is less distraught when she wakes up and faster back to bed. Tonight is the longest I’ve been up with her since the first night, at over an hour. The difference being, the last time she screamed straight for that hour, whereas this time, she seems more settled, even if she isn’t asleep.

But, the thing is… she isn’t asleep.

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