Saturday, November 26, 2011

More proof that I have no idea what I'm doing with the whole "parenthood" thing.

After three nights of trying to get Benjamin to sleep through the night I was ready to throw in the towel. Each night his crying spells were getting longer and were increasing in frequency so I thought, "He's just hungry. I guess he's simply not ready to give up that night time feeding." Of course, last night, when I had figured that I would just go feed him when he woke up crying, he slept until 4:30am. I think I was taking in too much caffeine and that it was keeping him awake. Go figure.

Also, I realized that almost four years ago when I started this blog, I made an observation about Nathaniel's empathy. You can see that post here. As the years have gone on and I've watched my little tyrant of a toddler grow into a very self-sufficient, strong willed little boy, I have enjoyed watching his tender heart and gentle spirit. He is my little boy who will cry while watching a movie and the friends move away from their other friends. He cried when his Beta fish, Luigi (hard G sound) died and we flushed it, and he easily bursts into tears when Sam corrects him. Yesterday we went and watched the Muppet movie in the theater (it was a gamble taking the three boys, but they did super great). There are three scenes where main characters are leaving or appearing to give up. At the first one, I was trying to keep Aaron in his chair while juggling Benjamin when I heard a sniffle and a whimper. Poor Nathaniel was crying because of what was happening on screen. (And, as I was typing this I heard Nathaniel crying from his bed, and when I went in there and asked him what was wrong he said, "I had a Muppet dream!" He had been thinking of one of the songs and it made him sad again). I love that he has a soft heart and that I don't have to teach him empathy. I'm just going to have to be more careful about the movies he sees. Maybe we'll watch them at home so he doesn't have to be embarrassed about crying publicly. You know, when he's older and more aware of stuff like that.

So, apparently movies I think are okay for the family: Make my kid cry for days afterwards. And, thinking that my kid is/isn't ready to sleep through the night: Not really up to me.

*sigh* At least Aaron thinks I'm pretty pretty great. Except for the whole "you can't have pie tonight because you didn't eat your dinner" fiasco.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Figuring out the sleep thing, round three.

I have to admit, Nathaniel was the WORST sleeper EVER. From birth he would wake up more times than I could count during the night. I remember one incredibly rough night where he was up every 45 minutes. Of course, I got to get up and go to class after that, so I was a basket case. I also couldn't get him to fall asleep at night. He would cry and cry for at least two hours, fall asleep in my arms, then wake up the minute I laid him down. Double Ugh. But, at about 4 months old I got him to fall asleep no problem. It took about a week of letting him cry for a few minutes, going in and patting him, then leaving, etc. but one magical day I laid him down for a nap and he rolled onto his side and immediately fell asleep.

It wasn't until about 10 months that he began to sleep through the night. That was rough. I blame the pacifier. He would lose that stupid thing in the middle of the night then scream bloody murder when he couldn't find it. I was never so happy to see that thing go (as useful as it was that first year). Of course, he did continue waking up at 5:30am for the day, which royally sucked, but at least he slept from 7:30-5:30 without waking!

Then we had Aaron. Well, I should say I had Aaron. Sam was gone at the time so I got to do the whole sleep thing all over again. Luckily, he was a MUCH better sleeper than Nathaniel. It only took a few days of putting him down while he was awake and having him cry before he would simply fall asleep without a fuss. Of course, he woke up three times a night STARVING (or so it seemed) until he was about 9 months old. I was in survival mode so I didn't care. I would nurse him and then put him back down if it means quiet and a little bit more sleep. Once Sam got home from Kosovo we did the whole, "close doors and turn on fans" routine so we wouldn't hear Aaron wake up. He never took a pacifier, so that wasn't an issue, it was just breaking his middle of the night snacking habits. Now, he's a champion sleeper, and would sleep until 8am if I let him.

Enter Benjamin. I feel like I'm a bit wiser this time around AND I have the added benefit of a husband who is here. Once we got past that newborn, "I don't know why I'm crying, but gosh darn it something is wrong and I'm going to fuss about it!" stage, he fell asleep no issue. But, he has that stinking middle of the night habit. For awhile he would sleep through the night, but then something tragic would happen, like a tooth, or a trip, and he would wake up a few times a night again. I kept expecting it to get better, but this week I realized that my 6 month old is getting up 3 times a night to eat, and he doesn't need to, especially when he nurses for about 2 minutes and then falls asleep.

So, last night we began Operation Sleep Through The Night for the Love of Pete!!! Every time Benjamin cried one of us would go in and pat his back and shush him, but we did NOT pick him up. I realized he wasn't so much crying as he was just whining and complaining. He was up three times, and then at 6am I let him come into bed with us and nurse.

I'm hoping tonight is better. I figured this is a prime time to do this because Sam doesn't work and I don't work, so being a zombie is okay for a few days. Crossing my fingers!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I know, I know. I'm a slacker blogger. But, I realize more and more that this is really a great place for me to record the stuff my kids are up to so I can remember. It's also a good place to flesh out my deep thoughts. :)

That's what I'm doing now. I'll post another blog about family stuff.

As we were getting ready to head out the door this morning I mentioned to Aaron randomly, "Wow, Aaron, you are getting tall. I bet when you are a man, you will be tall!" Nathaniel then asked me, "Mommy, what's a man?"

Without thinking I said, "It's an adult boy." Then I quickly stopped and said, "No, I take that back. A man is someone who takes responsibility and does what needs to be done." Then I told him that a 23 year old could live at home with his parents and not take care of anything, which would make him a boy while a 23 year old could live on his own and take care of everything himself, which would make him a man. Let's just say, it's hard to explain responsibility to a 5 year old, but I think he started to get it.

As an aside, he said the cutest thing. I asked him if Daddy was a man, which he quickly said yes to (and I agree, I have an awesome man of a husband who does what needs to be done to take care of his family. Then he said, "And, Daddy is in the Army!" Which, according to Nathaniel, makes him the man. :)

Anyway, it got me thinking about the whole "what does it mean to be a man?" question. This is something that's important for me to think through as the mom of three future men. How can I raise my children to be men? How can I raise these amazing children of mine to be responsible men in society?

It also made me think about the fact that my generation had a lot of absent dads/lack of father figures, and many of the boys in my youth group have the same thing.

How are we, the ones who were lacking strong male role models in our lives, supposed to teach the next generations how to be men?

I think the key is teaching responsibility. So many people are not being held responsible for their actions. I mean, it's all across the board, really. People are in huge debt, and aren't held responsible for paying their bills. Students aren't being held responsible for their homework or their actions, and parents are giving their kids whatever they want without making them pay for it or work for it. As a youth leader I often hear parents making excuses for their children, which makes me feel super frustrated.

If we make excuses for our kids their whole lives, they will never learn to take responsibility for their actions! If every time my kid forgot his homework or lunch I took the blame, it wouldn't teach him anything except how to pass the buck. We have to hold our children to a high standard.

I want my three boys to grow up knowing what being a man looks like. I want them to know that they have the freedom to make their own choices and make their own mistakes, but that whatever decisions they freely make that I am going to give them the opportunity to freely face the consequences.

Anyways...I'm super tired and I'm not even sure if any of this makes sense. What are your thoughts? I would love to hear what others have to say, especially my friends who are moms of boys! (Although, you could easily use this same argument as being a responsible human).