Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh Joy!

We arrived home late last night only to find our oven beeping strangely and displaying an error code. We have had to unplug it and are unable to use it until it gets fixed or replaced. (Since we are planning a major kitchen renovation in the next six months or so we are probably just going to replace it, but I wasn't quite ready for this)

Looks like it will be crock pot week at the Berry house.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Colin at Play

A few pictures from the start of our week.

Colin really enjoys riding on his push walker

He removes all the blocks from the lower compartment so he can put his feet in it. My guess is it makes him feel more stable.

Trying on Mommy's boots!

He has a new fascination with trying to fit IN boxes, he is still working on the idea that some boxes are too small to get into.

He is a little dissapointed.

I just got wheels for my laundry carts so now we can take them all the way to the laundry room as is.. Colin thinks they are great fun and pulled this one all the way back to our door. He loves to help!

Friday, November 20, 2009

End of Story- Sleeping through the Night!

We began overnight training earlier this week and it couldn't have gone better. The last two nights Colin has woken up once but cried for less than a minute (and only halfheartedly) and put himself back to sleep. He has also started waking up after 6:30 in the morning which is a much better time than 5:00.
Naps have been going well too. In the last few months Colin has started waking up too early from his nap and needing help to go back to sleep. Sometimes I could hold him for a minute and put him back down, other times I couldn't put him down, but he would fall totally asleep on me and not just be snuggling. So today when he woke up at his normal 1hr 10 min mark I waited. He whimpered on and off for about 3 minutes and went back to sleep. He ended up waking up after 2hrs and 45 minutes! Which is almost unheard of for him. He still didn't wake up happy, but he was holding his puppy when I went in to get him! Looks like he at least has a friend, if not a real attachment!! It just gives me something to bring with him from home when we travel to help transition him to new places.
Now we just have to work on ME sleeping through the night. To be honest I feel worse this week (as in more tired) than I have in a while, I'm not sure if that is part of the recovery or what but I certainly have not been sleeping as well as Colin has. I think it will take a while to recover from roughly 20ish months of sleep deprivation.
I expect set backs at some point. Our first big test will come when we travel for Thanksgiving, but since Colin is very used to my parents house I'm optimistic it will only take a little coaxing to keep him on a good path there.
So that is it. End of Story.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Colin is 16 months old.

Laughing at the cats.

Ta Da! Sweet 16 months! =) No height and weight this month, you'll have to wait until next month when we get his next flu shot (or maybe no one except me cares!) MMR was delayed until after the seasonal flu vaccines are finished so I'm guessing he will get that sometime around 19 months. We still have no intention of giving him a swine flu vaccine.

Sleeping! TA DA! I finally have truly good news to report in this section. Sean and I pulled the plug on the no-cry sleep solution in favor of the some-cry sleep solution and it seems to be working. If you haven't already, you can click back through the posts about that here, and here to learn more. His overnight sleep has improved a lot in the last week and a half. Previously, he would wake up anywhere from 2 to 6 times but averaged about 3 or 4, now he is only getting up once(twice at the worst). Training at nap time didn't go that poorly either. This remains a work in progress. We still have to do overnight training.
During this time I've also been trying to introduce a transitional object or 'lovie'. My mom found some of my childhood Gund puppies that were still in good shape so she cleaned them up and let him play with them. Colin seemed to be showing an interest in the littlest one so I went full speed ahead trying to get him to attach to it. When he didn't chuck it out of the crib (like he did his pants!) on that first night of sleep training I figured we had a shot. I have been trying to hold it behind my head so he can't get to my hair while we are rocking overnight, it worked for awhile but he has leaned how to get around it now. We'll have to see...

Looking more and more like a big boy and less and less like a baby.

  • The cats. Colin really loves the cats right now. They on the other hand aren't so thrilled with him, but are learning to move quicker. Unfortunately for them, their tail is the last thing he can get to and boy does he try. When he connects and holds on, Sean or I have to intervene to release the cat, and nearly always get a warning bite (teeth touch flesh but they don't bite down.) They seem to know he isn't responsible for his actions and don't try to punish him. He doesn't seem to understand the warning signs so I'm sure it won't be long before they bite or scratch him. He will surely deserve it.
  • Climbing! Last month this was cute, now it is dangerous. I've had to move furniture around so he can't get too high off the ground by going from one thing to another.While we have rules about which things he can climb on and which he can't, we are still working on him following those rules.
  • Go-go-going. It is the first thing he says in the morning and the last thing he says at night. It is downright exhausting.
  • Mommy's Make-up bag. It is filled with all sorts of treasures Colin would love to play with! Luckily he still can't figure out how to open anything!
  • Capping and Uncapping chap stick. Who would have thought a chap stick tube would provide so much entertainment. I recently sacrificed a tube of Nivea chap stick so that he could play with it all the time. It has a nice long cap so it isn't a chocking hazard like most others. The actual product when into the garbage since that was too messy. Now if only I could locate both pieces at the same time!!

    Poor guys face look a little beat up right now. The scratch on his nose if from running face first into a dryer. Looks like he got the klutz gene from his mother. On top of that he also has a drool rash

  • Getting ready to go-go-go. For a kid who wants to go so badly you would think he would be willing to come put his shoes and coat on. Nope! I have to chase him down if I actually want to get them on.
  • Brushing his teeth. Somehow this went from one of his favorite activities to something he wants nothing to do with. I'm guessing canines coming in had something to do with it.
  • The vacuum. He is still not to sure about this! It certainly makes it hard to keep the floors clean.
  • Meat/beans/eggs: Apparently protein sources are a no-go for Colin. Thank God for peanut butter, mac and cheese and yogurt! Colin is still holding strong to his vegetarian status.
    The box is always more fun than the contents at this age! The bulk of the Christmas shopping is happening online this year so our dining room looks like a mail room.
New Things:
  • Teeth: Sometime last week his upper left canine broke through. He was cranky for maybe two hours. That was the easiest tooth to date.
  • Counting. About mid month Sean taught Colin to count to three. To be honest, he never says 1, but if you get him started he can say two, three, or more accurately: two, 'REEEE'. He used to put a finger up for one, but he stopped.
  • Letters. Just last week Colin has started saying letter names. I kept hearing what sounded like different pieces of the alphabet ('c d e', or 'q r s') so I started asking him to repeat the letters after me and he can say many of them but will substitute 'o' or 's' if the letter is hard to say. The fun part is trying to sing with him. He just randomly interjects a letter here or there (typically 's') while you sing the song. Pretty cute. We are working on signing the letters and he does see them written during the ABC signing time but he is not yet identifying them by sight.
  • Screaming. I had hoped to avoid this particular toddler trait, and I almost thought we had since his expressive language is so good, but just recently when he gets frustrated he starts to scream. Not an ear piercing scream, more of a grunting scream. For example, when we wait in lines at the store and we aren't moving fast enough he starts to scream intermittently. Nothing I can say to him will make him stop for very long.
  • Helping. This one is just too sweet. Colin has discovered his ability to help out Mom and Dad. His favorite tasks are feeding the cats their morning treats, throwing things into the household garbage and taking the garbage to the garbage shoot outside our door. He also enjoys pushing the cart or stroller and helping with the laundry.
  • Cleaning up: Along that same line Colin has started picking up his own toys and putting them away. I attribute this solely to his music class. Watching all the other kids help clean up the instruments or scarves and being praised for doing so has spilled over into doing the same thing at home.
  • Biting. We aren't sure what the purpose of this is at this point. He doesn't bite down hard, but he will occasionally find a piece of exposed flesh on either Sean or I and just take a little nibble. Not out of anger or anything like that, just as if he wants to see what it will feel like. We obviously are discouraging this.
  • Words and Signs. Colin basically repeats lots of sounds these days and we often hear him say things but aren't sure if he is saying them intentionally or if we are making sense out of nonsense syllables. His babbling is very cute because he has always nodded while he 'talks' as if he is conveying something very important. I have never caught it on video but it charms everyone who sees it.

See it isn't just a messy face!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sleep Training Update: Napping Edition

On Saturday we started sleep training naps. So instead of holding and rocking Colin until he falls asleep we read three books, followed by one book in the crib and then I give him kisses, lay him down and walk away. Once again it wasn't as difficult as we (I) expected. He cried for probably a total of five minutes on and off over the next ten. The hardest part was laying him down and reading him that last book when he started opening and closing his legs, pivoting them on his ankles. I have a very similar mannerism that I do (unintentionally) when I get nervous or feel like I'm going to cry. To see him to do a similar movement just made me feel horrible, but of course I know I'm doing the 'right thing' by teaching how to sleep.
Day two: About the same as day one. On and off crying but not longer than 5 minutes total.
Day three: About 5 minutes after I left he started to cry for two minutes, presumably out of frustration that he wasn't asleep and was hoping I would come help.

In summary: Sleep training nap time was no big deal.

Overnights are improving, Colin seems to be only getting up once (maybe twice) overnight these days. Although 'morning' seems to be coming earlier, which is no fun for anyone. Colin is just once again proving that he sleeps like a 'Berry' and since hes sleeping more overnight, doesn't need to sleep until 7am, preferring instead to get up in the 5 o'clock hour. Unfortunately, he falls asleep more like a 'Jones' in that he struggles with it instead of dropping off like a stone into water.

We are thinking about pushing up the overnight training to Wednesday night so that Colin gets a full week to get into the groove before we travel for Thanksgiving. Hopefully that will go just as well as the napping did.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fall Photos

Some pictures from our recent trip north.

Colin's current favorite dinner is pasta. Can you tell?

Never to young to help out in the yard.

All this raking is hard work Grandpa!

Now its time for fun! Tossing Colin into the leaf pile.

A happier child you could not find.

Annabelle came over to visit Colin says "Listen, we have to talk about this whole sleeping 10 hours thing, its just unnecessary"

"Sorry schweethawt, I'm spoken for"

Colin shares his pirates booty with his future wife Lily and future sister in law Evelyn. I don't know why arranged marriages aren't more common.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

What was I so afraid of?

I think I've said "why did I waste so much time worrying about that?" about a dozen Colin related issues already. You would think I would learn to relax. That said, I have absolutely no regrets about waiting this long, or actually going through with the plan. I will stand firmly in my believe that this worked because we were all ready. There was no other way I could have done this unless I felt I had exhausted all other options. I have to thank my very patient and understanding husband for giving me the time to do that. It is a very good think he loves me.

In this post I am going to attempt to outline my fears about having Colin cry it out (CIO), in the hope that anyone else out there who shares these fears might be comforted by the fact that they were all totally unfounded.
  1. Fear: That CIO would break my happy baby. Colin isn't now nor was he ever a crier, I can always calm him down and mostly I can do it easily, I was afraid making him CIO would change his overall mood and make him crankier. Fact: So far I have not detected any changes in his overall disposition. He is still a happy kid most of the time, regardless of the fact that he has spent some time crying alone.
  2. Fear: That Colin would resent me for making him CIO. Fact: I can't speak for how he will react to me since I've only been the point man for the first time tonight, but he was not angry with Sean at all the day after the worst night. In fact I think he was in a very good mood that day.
  3. Fear: That Colin would not be 'textbook' and would cry for hours. Everyone feels like there baby is 'special', along those lines I thought Colin would be the worst and longest crier ever. Many people told me it wouldn't be as bad as I thought... I think I may even owe my mother $100 because we made a bet. I was THAT sure. Fact: He never cried for more than 20 mins.
  4. Fear: That he was too young/old to CIO. Depending on when you asked I had a different fear. Fact: I don't know if there is a magic age for CIO, people have to make the choice that works for them and go with it. Like I said, we were all ready, and that is why it worked.
  5. Fear:I was being a bad parent by neglecting my child in his time of need. My gut was screaming that this wasn't the right thing to do, I was helpless but to follow that intuition until I could no longer deny that I was the real problem here. Fact: I think in some extreme cases there may be in a fine line between CIO and neglect or even neglect that people will claim is sleep training but for the most part it is a teaching tool like any other. It has its benefits and its pitfalls but it works or people wouldn't use it. Some people spank some don't, some would call that abuse, others wouldn't. There is a lot of gray area in parenting unfortunately. If your gut says CIO is wrong for you, it probably is, but remain open minded. I may have said I would never do it in the heat of an argument but logically and at least here on the blog I left the door open.
  6. Fear: That letting my child cry would mean I would desensitize myself to him and no longer attend to his needs or wake up when he cried. Fact: Unfortunately I can't really speak to this yet since we are only on day 4 but I'm pretty sure it is also unfounded. I'll come back to this in another month.
  7. Finally, this one is probably the biggie... and something that paralyzed me for a long time. I'm almost afraid to write it down for fear that someone will absorb this fear as there own but I hope that readers will see this for the disordered thinking that it is. (THAT SAID, if you are impressionable and have a young infant you might like to have CIO in the near future you might not want to read anymore) Fear: That my child would die of SIDS and I would have last head him crying. I never really was afraid that CIO would cause Colin to succumb to SIDS, because trust me I looked for a link for a while and never found anything to substantiate that idea. I was afraid he would succumb to SIDS and that I would have wasted precious time torturing the both of us when I could have been holding and loving him. Since Colin is now 15 months old his risk of SIDS is lower so this fear took a back seat which. Fact: I think all parents fear SIDS to some degree. For me that fear really modified my behavior, if someone had told me jumping up and down outside your child's room would decrease his risk of SIDS I would have done it. I put Colin to sleep on his back or side, I bought a chemical free mattress, I made sure air was circulating in his room, and I never put toys in his crib until he was very mobile. I am just very impressionable (in all aspects of life) so I couldn't get past this.
I think what it finally came down to for me was this: Colin flipped out in his car seat a few months ago at nap time since we were trying to time our drive with his nap. He wanted to be held but I couldn't take him out. He had to cry and fuss for a significant amount of time before he finally fell asleep. I figured CIO in his crib couldn't be much different than that. But if he had never flipped out like that, I might never have been able to do this...

Monday, November 9, 2009

The time has come... *updated* let non-sleeping babies cry. This is probably one of the hardest decisions Sean and I have made as parents, mostly due to the fact that we didn't really agree. Since Colin was born I felt strongly that I would not/could not let him cry himself to sleep. It just didn't feel right, so I read a lot of books and gravitated toward the 'no-cry' camp because it was in line with they way I was feeling. Colin wasn't ever a crier, I could always soothe him by picking him up and holding him so when I started to get panic-attacks when he would cry, leaving him to cry was NOT an option. I was convinced I could get him to sleep without torturing both of us and making him cry. Honestly, we almost got there, unfortunately our success coincided with Colin's marathon teething and I think he made an association with the pain and going to sleep by himself. A few times while putting him down for a nap he would fight me so I tied to leave him to do it himself but I never made it more than a few minutes.
Over the last couple of months, Colin's sleeping has degraded more and more and it has become clear that he knew he was manipulating us. I knew we had to do something but grabbed onto any excuse not to: he was teething, we were going away that weekend, Sean was going to Chicago.. all valid reasons but excuses none the less.
When I got home from a week upstate Sean said we were doing it. I wanted to give him a week to re-acclimate but we finally decided 'a fresh start' was the better approach, since he would just re-acclimate to our old routine and possibly make it harder. After some discussion we agreed to compromise and follow the plan laid out in Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell (There is also a Revised Edition.) I liked this plan because she concentrated at the bedtime routine, and allowed you to do your normal overnight routine (for us, picking him up and rocking or walking him back to sleep.) Her theory is that 80% of children who put themselves to sleep will easily put themselves back to sleep. We had found this to be mostly true for Colin since the nights he put himself to sleep he slept much better than the nights we helped him. She also insists on frequent checks to reassure everyone that things were okay. We spent the evening discussing with Colin what was going to happen. I think he is old enough to understand what we are saying but not really old enough to be able to anticipate the fear.
Knowing I was the weak link, Sean asked me to leave the house for the process but I felt that wasn't a very good precedent to set. I couldn't just leave the hard things for him to do, and if Colin was going to go through it, so was I.
I set myself up in the tub so I could run the water loudly if I started to loose control. I got a book to read to help the time pass, and a pad and pen so I could document the event. I tried to put on my 'scientific observer' hat and to be honest I think that mind set helped me cope.
Everyone who I talked to who has been through this said it was never as bad as they thought, and that turned out to be true for us as well. I thought for sure Colin would be way worse than the 'textbook' case of 40 mins of crying on night 1, and hour on night 2 and about 20 mins on night 3. I was prepared for him to go on for at least 2 hours on night 1. Nope! 20 minutes! Night 2, I was again prepared for a marathon thinking we just got lucky with a very tired baby but Colin only cried for 2 minuets! He didn't go right to sleep but he wasn't upset. He even said 'bye bye' to Sean as he was turning off the light.
The author suggests giving him two weeks before repeating the routine overnight if necessary. The first night he woke up twice before getting up for the day around 6:15 and last night he slept straight through until 5:30 (which was probably a little early for him to wake up because he wasn't exactly happy about it but eventually he committed to waking up and was fine.) We will have to wait and see what his new wake up time will be.
Sean wants to do the routine himself again tonight to make sure Colin is solidified in it before I try. We are pretty sure he will give me a bit more trouble, but I was also sure he would cry for a long time so I guess we will see.
We aren't though the woods yet, but so far we have all handled this remarkably well. I have more to say about my fears going in but I'll save that for another post.

*Night Three* - Colin cried when Sean put him in the crib, and all through his last book, but as soon as Sean left the room he was totally quiet. Overnight was a different story. He woke up once at 10:30ish and again at 2:30, although he pretty much refused to be put down until he decided to get up for the day at 6:30.. Sean and I took turns holding him and for the most part he was quiet but as soon as he was laid down he would flip out. He may have had a stomach ache, I gave him pomegranate for the first time and the seeds may be too much for his sensitive tummy.

*Night Four*- Mommy's turn! Unfortunately Sean got called to school for an all hands on deck meeting tonight. We were all a little nervous about me going it alone, but Colin did fine. Again he cried through the book in the crib (which we may have to eliminate it isn't really working as a transition, its more like torture) and he cried on and off for about two minutes after I left but I never had to go in and check on him. So HOORAY! I think we are over the worst (and it wasn't even bad.) The plan is to start nap training this Saturday, and then work on overnight if he isn't sleeping though on his own the week after that.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Colin's new buddy Carter Fredrick Cool was born to Brian and Kristeen on November 1st 2009 just after 7:00pm. This little guy put Kristeen through the ringer, at a hefty 8lbs 7oz and 21 inches long. To top it all off he was 18 days early! While I think Kristeen and Brain would have preferred a couple more weeks to prepare, Carter really wanted me to be home for the big event. A few weeks ago I put in my request for a Nov 2nd birth so I am being blamed for his early arrival, which is just fine by me.