giving up the nuk

nukker = nuk, pacifier, binky, plug, dummy

Jujubee still uses a nukker at night.  She is 3 years and almost 4 months old, and she still uses a nukker to get to sleep.

I’m not sure what, if anything, to do about this.

It’s not a big problem, except … when she is deeply asleep, her nukker often falls out of her mouth.  If, when she moves through a lighter sleep state, she wants the nukker again and can’t find it, she will cry until I come and remedy the situation by giving her another nukker.  Sometimes when I check on her after she’s fallen asleep, I will take the nukker out of her mouth and set it next to her on the pillow.  I want her to get used to sleeping without a nukker in her mouth, but I know that she will probably need it at some point in the middle of the night.

Sometimes her nukker falls onto the floor without any of us realizing it, and so when she wakes up at night trying to find her nukker and can’t find it, it inevitably wakes me up, too.  This is one of the reasons I don’t always get an uninterrupted night’s sleep, which I desperately need.

When Lyd was this age and I was trying to get pregnant with #2, I may have still been going to bed too late, but the sleep I got was uninterrupted sleep.  Lyd got over her dependence on the nukker somewhere between 18-24 months.  So, when she was young I almost always got solid sleep.  But interrupted sleep is very different.

I’d really like Jujubee to be able to sleep without a nukker, but unfortunately she really can’t.  It’s going to have to be her decision as to when she no longer needs the nukker to sleep.  She is completely potty-trained, so I know she has the mental capacity to make that decision.  I’m not sure how this will work out, but I hope it does.

The only good thing about this situation is that she doesn’t try to use a nukker at non-sleep times.  That’s good.  I don’t want a child who is walking around with a nukker in their mouth all of the time.  But, somehow we’ve got to figure out a way to drop this nighttime nukker business.

Anyone have any ideas?

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the necessity of sleep

There are certain people who show up periodically in my dreams.  These people once played important roles in my life, but are no longer a part of my life.  Yet, every so often, they show up in my dreams.  Sometimes one of these people will show up, sometimes a different one will appear.  It used to bother me, but over time I’ve gotten used to it.  Also over time, these various people’s role in my dreams has changed.  It’s always interesting to wake up and, in those moments before one is fully conscious, ponder my dream and the details in the dream, and wonder how/why my brain put THAT dream together!

I don’t always know what triggers those dreams, but I do know what enables those dreams — long, uninterrupted sleep.  For me, that’s still a rarity.  My second daughter, Jujubee, is a wonderful girl, but there have been recurring issues with her sleep.  For one thing, I couldn’t use the “cry it out” method to get her to sleep as an infant, because inevitably when I would use it, she would end up with an attack of bronchiolitis.  I was finally able to do CIO when she was about 15 months old.  From that point on, she went to sleep fine at night, but she needed her pacifier in her mouth.  Because I wanted her to continue sleeping, as soon as I heard her start to stir and whine for her nuk, I would get out of bed, trudge into her room, and put it back in her mouth.  This started a loooong cycle that, to some degree, continues to this day.  Since she and her big sister share a room, I don’t want her waking Lyd up, so I will still go and put the nuk in her mouth (although now I wait longer to go in).  And now that Jujubee is potty-trained day and night, we’ve occasionly had the issue of either an accidental bed-wetting or waking up in the night and having to go potty.  Those issues also need my attention in the night.

Other factors have also affected my ability to sleep soundly and well, and I can’t do much about those things.  When I had lots of bladder issues last year, I often woke up at night to go to the bathroom.  Overactive bladder loses its charm quickly, and I’m glad I was able to get that remedied last year (and I hope I can fully heal my bladder over the next few weeks so that I don’t end up in that situation again!)  Finally, my own desire to stay up as long as possible also affects my ability to fall asleep easily at night.  Once I get my “second wind,” it’s SO much harder to fall asleep easily.

But sometimes, things happen in one’s life that renew one’s committment to getting lots of sleep.  Thankfully, I’ve been able to get some really good nights of sleep lately; two of the last three nights, I’ve gotten ten straight hours of sleep.  Also thankfully, most nights Jujubee has been sleeping without interruption, too.  Wow!  That is pretty amazing.  Sadly, I’m so sleep-deprived that I wake up still tired, but I can tell physically that I’ve gotten a lot of sleep, which is good.  My mood is definitely better when I get enough sleep.

Sleep and me have had a love-hate relationship for a long time.  It doesn’t help that my husband often stays up late at night doing his work.  He needs less sleep overall than I do, and he can keep later hours without being too bothered by it.  But me on the other hand…

If I’m ever going to get pregnant and have any hope of carrying a baby, I simply have to get more sleep, thus giving my body the strength it needs to make that happen.  Hopefully these recent experiences will stick with me long enough to keep my resolve firm.

sleeping between the sheets?

I love sleeping between cool, crisp, smooth sheets.  I enjoy scissors-kicking my legs between the sheets as I settle down for the night.  It’s such a good feeling.  Now, I currently do not have cool, crisp, smooth sheets on my bed.  Instead, I have plain cotton ones that are not a super-high thread count.  But regardless, I still like sleeping between sheets.  I don’t like sleeping with just a blanket and/or comforter over me.

Lyd is different.  She does not enjoy sleeping between sheets.  Every night, she kicks her sheet down to the bottom of her bed and sleeps wrapped up in her comforter.  Sometimes when I go to bed, I will adjust her bedclothes so that the sheet is once again over her, but inevitably by morning, the sheet is back down to the bottom of the bed.

This behavior confuses me.  Who would not like the feel of smooth sheets?  Does anyone else feel this way?

And does anyone think this behavior might have been caused by me not putting sheets in Lyd’s crib when she was a baby, so that she got used to sleeping with just blankets?  But then again, does anyone put sheets in a baby’s crib?  Does anyone use sheets in a toddler bed (which is the same size as a crib)?

I guess this annoys me so much because I’d much rather wash the sheets regularly without having to also wash her thick comforter, but when she sleeps as she does, I feel that I should wash her comforter more frequently.  I don’t want to do that!  I tell Lyd to use the sheet, but she never does.

Well, regardless, I washed all the sheets AND comforters today, so she’s in a clean bed tonight.  Plus, the girls got bathed before bed and they’re wearing (matching!) clean pajamas.  So, no matter how she sleeps, I’m sure she’ll sleep well.

Is this because of sleeping in a crib just with blankets?

settling down

Aahhh.  Life has finally seemed to settle down in our household.

We are all over our illnesses.  JJ is done traveling for a while.  (There might be a trip in April, but nothing is finalized yet.)  JJ’s busiest week of Lent is over, and he’s already more prepared than usual for Holy Week.  I finished my Winter Session of teaching this past Saturday, so now I have a few weeks off before the Spring Session begins.  Lyd’s in a good school groove.  Curious J’s tantrums seem to be a little less frequent and less intense these days.  Her talking is getting better and better too, so I’m understanding more of what she’s trying to tell me.  We’re definitely not tantrum-free at our house, but I’m seeing improvement, and that’s nice.

JJ and I have been getting more sleep this past week.  Being so sick made JJ and I make another concerted effort to get to bed earlier, and most nights we were pretty successful.  At first I had a very hard time falling asleep, but as the week has gone it’s been getting easier and easier.  Perhaps that’s my homeopathic constitutional remedy working its magic, but I also think that once a body is used to going to sleep late, it takes a certain amount of training to get used to sleeping earlier.  Of course, now that Daylight Savings Time has begun, I’ll have to get my body used to going to bed even earlier, but hopefully it will all be better by the end of this week.  I’m still not bouncing out of bed easily in the morning, but I can tell it is getting better.

Now that life is settling down, I have begun to more actively research getting my post-partum doula training.  It was on my list of Things To Do in 2010, and I’d like to make an effort to start on it.  It’s kind of exciting to think about!  I do love all things related to chidlbirth, and I have so many childbirth-related books on my bookshelf, that I might as well put the information in them to good use.  I’ll let you know what happens…

Christmas lights at night

I happen to think that there are few things as beautiful as a lit Christmas tree in a dark house with carols being sung softly while gazing at the tree.

Last night, I had an unexpected opportunity to experience that scenario.

Curious J recently caught some germ, and it has given her a mildly runny nose, a few sneezes, and a persistent dry cough.  Coughs often get worse in the wee small hours of the morning, and last night was no exception.  Around 4am, J woke up coughing.  After a few minutes, I went in, gave her a drink of water, stroked her forehead, kissed her, and gently laid her back down.  After another 5-10 minutes (nighttime times are very nebulous), I went to fetch some homeopathic cough medicine.  I gave her a dose of that which she took willingly, again put her gently back to bed, and again listened to her cough and cough.  Not all the time, but consistently enough to keep both her and myself awake.

Finally around 5am, J had apparently had enough of this foolishness, and started crying for me.  So, I got her out of her crib, took her downstairs to the living room.  I plugged in the Christmas tree, maneuvered our recliner chair so it faced the tree, grabbed a few blankets off the furniture, and snuggled in the recliner with my baby.

J was in awe of the Christmas tree.  Ever since we put the tree up, she is insistent that the Lights Must Always Be On, and she will get very upset if we fail to turn them on.  She kept repeating things like, “Wow! Pretty Christmas tree!’ and similar statements.  She also sang “Jingle Bells,” exclaimed “Go Pack Go” (for which I entirely blame my husband), and also talked about Thomas the Tank Engine and Percy, giving her imitations of their whistles and horns.  (She’s all about Thomas these days.  Elmo is past history now.)

I had to quiet her down a bit now and then, reminding her to “Whisper,” and I also had to inform her that “Packers are sleeping.  Thomas and Percy are sleeping, too.”  But other than that, it was a lovely time snuggling together in front of the tree, even though I was quite tired.  I sang her a few carols, including “Away in a Manger,” which Lyd is learning for the school Christmas program, meaning J is second-handedly learning it, too.  After a while (probably about an hour or so), we headed back upstairs, to discover that Lyd had crawled into my bed.  So, she finished off the night in my bed, and I finished off the night in her bed, sharing the room with J.  J managed to fall asleep and not cough until she and I woke up around 9am in the morning.

If a parent must be up in the middle of the night with a sick child, there are certainly worse ways that it could happen.  I’m not hoping to be up like that again tonight, but if it does, looking at a Christmas tree aglow in the dark certainly makes it a lot easier to endure.

singing herself and her big sister to sleep

My daughters have been sharing a room for a number of months now.  They both seem to really enjoy it, and I am very glad.  But one thing has happened that I didn’t expect, and it’s really surprised me.

Curious J does not fall asleep as quickly as Lyd does.  I don’t know if it’s the fact that Lyd is super tired out from her school days, or if it’s the fact that Curious J still takes afternoon naps most days and isn’t as sleepy at bedtime, but usually Lyd falls asleep long before J does.

However, J is not content to quietly lie in bed as she waits to fall asleep.  No, no.  Instead, she moves restlessly around in bed, talks to herself, and sings, which seems to be her favorite thing to do.  She mostly sings songs from our Music Together classes, but sometimes she makes up her own songs, too.

Yet, despite all of that noise, Lyd still falls right asleep.  J’s singing doesn’t keep her awake one bit.  I asked Lyd about it once, and she said that she sees J’s noise at night as a kind of lullaby.

I look at it as a good way for her to learn to sleep in all kinds of noisy circumstances.  I was the oldest, and the only girl, so I always had my own room.  Perhaps because of that, I cannot handle any kind of noise (except for white noise or ambient noise) while I sleep.  Some nights, this zero tolerance for noise is … a problem for me.

Meanwhile, J has been in bed for an hour, and she’s still making noise upstairs.  Calm, content, but a bit noisy.  Oh, well!

Now if I can just figure out how to wean her off of her pacifier at nighttime…

good ol’ fashioned mothering days

I’ve been quieter here lately.  My blog stats certainly demonstrate that.  My emphasis on getting to bed earlier, trying to make good little choices with my time, and the general busy-ness of this fall, has made my presence on this blog a little less than it had been over the summer.  Thought-full posts take time, and when I’m choosing where to spend my time, I’m not always chooing my blog anymore.  I still think the deep thoughts, and I think, “This would make a good blog post,” but the thoughts just don’t make it out of my head as much as they used to.

For example, I know I had some good posts knocking around in my brain lately, but tonight I’m too tired to let any of them out.  I’m really tired.  Curious J’s lingering cold finally gave up the fight and slipped into bronchiolitis on Friday.  So, both she and I had a wretched night of sleep on Friday.  She coughed and coughed; on average, she coughed every 3-4 minutes all night long.  I should have started breathing treatments with her that night (it frustrates me that my brain is so fuzzy in the middle of the night – the solutions that seem so obvious the next morning never occur to me at 2am.), but I didn’t bring out the nebulizer and Xopanex until the next morning.  I was going to try to take her the doctor the next morning, but because it was Saturday, I couldn’t get her in.  Thankfully, when I checked my stash of old prescription medications, I still had a bit of oral steroids left over from her last bronchiolitis attack in spring, which I rationed out over the weekend (in much smaller doses than she should have been getting, but I had to make the best use of the little I had).  I already had plenty of Xopanex (and 2 refills available), so once I started her on the bronchiolitis protocol, she started breathing better and coughing less.

Last night (Saturday) she still coughed, but it was a lot better.  In fact, she slept straight through from midnight to 8am (which meant I slept, too!  Yay!).  Despite the sleep, I’m still pretty tired and groggy.  Curious J is better as far as her persistent coughing goes, but she’s still got a lot of chest congestion and wheezing, plus she got the last of the steroids tonight.  So, tomorrow (Monday), I plan to take her to the pediatrician and make sure we’re on the right track towards getting rid of the bronchiolitis.

I’m disappointed that she got bronchiolitis again, but I’m trying to look on the bright side; at least her body fought the bug for over two weeks before giving in.  In the past, once she’s gotten a cold, it’s turned to bronchiolitis in less than 48 hours.  I know the homeopathy helps, and I need to be more focused on giving her daily doses of the lung-strengthening remedy when she’s fighting a cold (which I didn’t regularly do.)  I don’t know if her bronchiolitis is all my fault, but I know I could have done a little better.  Sigh.

Amazingly, despite the entire school plus every member of my family getting sick, I still haven’t gotten sick (knocking frantically on wood).  This is unheard-of for me, but I’m very grateful.  My throat feels a tiny bit funny tonight, so hopefully more Vitamin C and lots of sleep will help with that.

A few Facebook friends of mine are dealing with swine flu.  It got me thinking about formulating a plan, just in case we all get it at our house.  Mainly, it means having some chicken broth prepared and stored up in the freezer.  I used up the last of my frozen broth two weeks ago when JJ came home sick from WI.  I think I’ll start buying a whole chicken this week just so that I can make a batch of my yummy homemade broth again.  I also want to make sure we have Pedialyte, crackers, and other easy-on-the-tummy foods stocked in the pantry at all times.  But, I usually try to keep at least a bottle or two of Pedialyte on hand anyway; I’ve learned that when you need it, you don’t have time to go out and get it.

Despite the difficult, tiring weekend, I am so thankful for my lovely daughters.  Even when Curious J is sick, she continues to be her (mostly) cheerful self.  Lyd has helped out a little more recently, too, which I’ve appreciated.  There’s a lot of sacrifice involved in mothering, and it’s makes it a little easier when you’ve got two cuddly little girls giving you hugs and kisses.  I made it a point to make hugs and kisses a daily part of our routine when they were babies, and I’ve enjoyed seeing first Lyd and now Curious J begin to reciprocate those behaviors as part of their perception of “normal.”  It makes me feel that, despite how I daily fail as a mother, that I’m doing at least one thing right.  I do love my girls.