Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to Teach a Baby to Crawl

Caitlyn's never truly mastered the art of crawling. She's been able to "army crawl" for quite sometime, but for some reason, actually lifting onto her hands rather than her elbows has eluded her. But, I have coaxed her onto her hands, with one disorganized moment. The other night, a very sleep deprived mommy was getting ready to bath her daughter. In her sleepy haze, she undressed the baby before running the water. (In our house, we call moments like this rookie mistakes.) When the sleep deprived mommy set the naked baby down on the cold tile floor, the baby found the motivation she needed to lift up onto her hands and knees!

Learning to Sleep

Two weeks ago, we decided, now that she’s 9 months old, it’s time for our daughter to learn how to sleep.

We tried teaching her at 6 months, by letting her cry it out, but it ended with both or us in tears, so we decided to wait until she was a little older. Now, she’s eating more solids during the day, and she’s figured out crawling and standing, why not sleeping? She was waking every two hours like clockwork.

We decided to try one week of gentle sleep training. The plan was that we would only feed her if it had been five hours or more since she had last eaten, if she woke up in between, her daddy would go in and settle her down. Before our plan, I had been going in and feeding her every time she woke. But, over the last few weeks, she’s gradually started eating less and less at night, which has convinced me that she doesn’t need to be up every 2 hours. She takes a long time to settle down if I go in because, for the last 9 months, anytime I go in at night, she’s been fed. So, for 6 long nights, one of us would go in every two hours, tuck her back in and leave. We were hoping that by leaving her in her crib, and not offering her a bottle, she’d realize that it wasn’t worth waking up.

Well, It turns out that we must be pretty entertaining in the middle of the night, because after 6 nights, she was still waking every 2 hours. So, on Monday night, we decided it was time to try tough love sleep training. We moved our mattress downstairs, in the hopes of getting more sleep. We decided that if she woke before 5 hours, we would leave her and let her cry it out. Everyone I’ve talked to about crying-it-out has said it’s a really awful 2 or 3 nights, but then, it improves quickly.

The first night, there were 4 times we had to let her cry. The first one was the hardest, because I wasn’t sure if she’d settle herself, or how long it would take. I watched the clock while my little girl screamed like the world was ending. At 5 minutes, Steffan and I started talking about whether someone should go tuck her in, but as we were deciding, all of sudden, she was quiet. After that, it was much easier, because we knew that she could settle herself, and the crying wouldn’t last forever. The other 3 times, there was 5 minutes or less of crying.

Last night (night #2), we again slept downstairs, I fed her at 11:30, she woke up at 2:30, and we let her cry, and then, she didn’t wake again until 6:30.

It’s amazing how even 4 consecutive hours of sleep, when you’re used to only 90 minutes can make the world seem like a much better place.

Tonight, we're going to move back up to our bedroom, cross our fingers, and hope for the best. Already, there’s a huge improvement. Not only are we happier and more rested, but she even seems happier.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

9 Months Old!!


Your 9 month birthday was yesterday. You’re growing and changing so fast! In just the last week, you’ve started “cruising” along the couch & coffee table, and just last week, you made it up the stairs all by yourself. Every time you pull yourself up to standing, you look around and smile at everyone in the room and wait for them to tell you what a good job you’ve done. You’re adorable.

Your daddy is so excited for your first Christmas. We bought a new tree, because the old one was good enough when it was just the two of us, but it wasn’t good enough for his little princess. We’re going to decorate it this weekend. We also bought you a stocking. In our 11 Christmases together, I’ve never seen your daddy this excited! We’re also going to take you to Zoolights, your dad & I went, the very first Christmas we were dating, it’s hard to believe that now, we’ll be bringing our daughter!

You have six teeth now, four on the top, and two on the bottom. I call you “the toothy wonder”.

Every day, I look at you, and I’m so amazed that the fragile little bundle we brought home from the hospital has turned into a beautiful, pudgy, mobile little person. We had to practically beg the doctors to release you from the hospital on March 5. We had to promise to limit your visitors, and keep you nice and warm. The home care nurse told us to keep you in your jammies and wrapped in two blankets all the time. We were checking your temperature a few times every day, just to make sure you were staying warm. Now, just 9 months later, we don’t worry about your temperature, we worry about what you’ll get into next! I’m so proud of you, my little girl, and so grateful that you’re growing and strong.

The funniest thing you’ve started doing in the last week is to laugh whenever you hear us laugh. It’s so cute. We’ll be in the car talking, and if one of us laughs, we hear a little giggle from the back seat. You have no clue what’s so funny, but you just want to be part of the group. Of course, this makes us laugh, which makes you laugh even more. Your little giggle is such a sweet sound.

I love you Caitlyn,

Your Mama.

Caitlyn's First Christmas Party

Our company's kid's Christmas Party was Saturday. It was a lot of fun. Here's a picture of Caitlyn on Santa's lap, trying to figure out who the guy with the funny beard is:

The best part is, we get the cliche picture without having to wait in the awful line ups at the mall!!!