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Monday, April 27, 2009

Also, I Have NO CLUE What Kind of Ice Cream He Likes Best. I KNOW! This Could Take Awhile.

An old high school mate of mine posted this quiz on Facebook and I couldn't resist answering the questions for Al. Some of these I actually struggled with, like #3 (he likes everything!) and #8, and the one about his favorite cake.

Apparently, he's still a total mystery to me, at least when it comes to narrowing down what he REALLY loves to eat. Probably because he really loves to EAT. Period.

(I'm thankful we have the rest of our lives together for us to conduct detailed and exhaustive research in this area.)

(This evening's laboratory work involves family-sized bag of barbecue potato chips.)


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1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen?
Sports or the History Channel

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad?
Ranch

3. What's one food he doesn't like?
He is not a big fan of mint.

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What does he order to drink?
A Manhattan, up.

5. Where did he go to high school?
Vienna High in Vienna GA

6. What size shoe does he wear?
10 1/2 - 11

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be?
Braves baseball memorabilia. Or ... money.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich?
Meatloaf, spicy chicken or a cheeseburger, if that counts.

9. What would this person eat every day if he could?
Peanuts (or nuts of any kind, really), and he does.

10. What is his favorite cereal?
He doesn't eat cereal now, but I think he loved Frosted Flakes as a kid.

11. What would he never wear?
Never say never. He would wear pretty much anything for a laugh, and he has. (See below.)

12. What is his favorite sports team?
The Atlanta Braves

13. Who did he vote for?
He votes for the candidate, not the party. But I'm not revealing any of his choices because I didn't ask him if it was okay and he is a very private guy about such matters.

14. Who is his best friend?
Me, Marquis and Pete

15. What is something you do that he wished you wouldn't do?
Correct his grammar and pronunciation on the rare occasion I think he's said something the wrong way. (I wish I didn't do it, too.) Also, I beat myself up too much, according to him.

16. What is his heritage?
He's 1/16th Cherokee.

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake?
Lemon coconut if it has to be cake, but he is really more of a pie person.

18. Did he play sports in high school?
Yes. Baseball.

19. What could he spend hours doing?
Reading/studying.

20. What is one unique talent he has?
He sings beautifully, but in my opinion his unique talent is in how he relates to other people. He has a gift for making each person he interacts with feel like the most important person in the room. And I really love that about him.

If I gave this list of questions to Al for him to answer, our answers wouldn't match at all because he would answer every one of them with a self-deprecating joke, which is another thing (well, two things!) I love about him: He's hilarious and very humble. But he's also really wonderful and loving and GOOD, and there aren't enough glowing words in the world to describe how much I love and appreciate him.


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On #11? I totally rest my case, y'all.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Please Pray for Karen and Her Mom

Will y'all all please join me in praying for my sweet friend Karen at Simply A Musing Blog and her Mom?

Karen's Mom has been in the hospital since yesterday with multiple complications which could lead to stroke, and as of the last update I've heard doctors are concerned that Mom is possibly too frail to make it through surgery to prevent a stroke, so decisions are having to be made sortof between "the lesser of two evils." (That's my take, anyway.)

(And I say that with the caveat that I am not a doctor and have never played one on TV and haven't been in a Holiday Inn Express in about 10 years, so I'm trying to get y'all information without getting too far into medical details which I would very likely miscombobulate beyond recognition).

As you can imagine, Karen needs prayer too, for comfort, strength and wisdom, as does her whole family.

I am certain she would also appreciate coming home to find your love and support and assurances that you're praying in her comments box, as well.

Thank you kindly!

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

They Have Since Made Me An Honorary Hen.

OHMYGRANNY.

Y'all remember back when I used to write good news in my pregnancy blog, like "I think I might feel a little better today!" and then the next day it'll all go to H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks and I'd be hangin' over the hurler for the next two weeks?

Well that is just apparently how Peabody rolls, because the day after I wrote about how we'd finally gotten the boy sleeping some, he woke up and hasn't been back to sleep again since then. Siiiiiiiiigh.

I can't even begin to express to y'all the amount of disappointment I'm feelin' up in here (points to heart). I'm STILL practicing everything outlined in Dr. Weissbluth's book, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I've extra-earlied up Peabody's bedtime and vigilantly put him down for his naps when I'm supposed to, but he's still just a big old not-sleeping goofball, grinnin' that pretty buck-toothed grin at me all day long. If y'all have had experience with a backslidin' reformed sleeper and you have some advice for me, I would welcome whatever you've got.

For those of you who rushed out and bought the book after I wrote about it, do not lose heart. I still believe Dr. Weissbluth's theories and methods will work for 99% of the babies on this planet, it's just that Peabody apparently considers himself ABOVE the need for sleep, an attitude I believe he has adopted directly from his father, who sleeps, between working, studying and bein' Mr. Family Guy, about four and a half minutes a day.

I was SO delighted to hear from so many of y'all in the comments to my last post. I'm glad so many of you HAVE heard of and even read/used Weissbluth's book and even more glad some of you found what I wrote helpful and/or hope-inspiring in your endeavors to get your own kids sleeping better! I even got some very sweet emails from a few tired Moms (to whom I still owe responses. I'M SORRY! As a result of all this disappointment I've been feeling more jerky than perky and I hate corresponding with good people when I feel that way!) saying THANK YOU and THANK YOU AGAIN because their babies are pullin' Peabody's tricks too and they felt like maybe I'd found the answer. And I had.

Until the Z-train derailed itself again.

Blah.

But there's a little good news, though. I found an article in which Dr. Weissbluth answered the questions of some parents with little non-sleepers and one of the questions was how to get a baby back on track when he gets all sleep-deprived after a vacation or an illness, and he suggested what he called a "re-set," meaning to put the baby to bed super early in the hopes that he'll make up for the deficit by getting extra sleep on the front end of his nighttime sleep.

So I put ol' Peabod' in his bed for the night yesterday afternoon at 5:30 PM. And he slept. And slept. And slept. And you know what time that rascal finally woke up and called for me?

5:30 AM!

For those of you who don't feel like doing the math, that would be your twelve hours of wake-free sleepin'.

Good law, people.

We'll see how that glorious night of slumber impacts the nappy schedule today. I'm not gettin' my hopes up but Dr. Weissbluth's stock price has risen a bit in my eyes, I can't deny that. The man gives some crazy-sounding advice, but when I turn off my skept-o-meter and just do like he tells me, I normally get results.

(This is sortof how my relationship with Al works too, come to think of it.)

But you didn't hear either of those two admissions from me.

But a 5:30 AM waking sure makes for some confusion around when to put the guy down for naps.

And also? I would not care to get into the habit of gettin' up for the day at 5:30 AM, if that could at all be avoided. Please and thank you.

Now if you're still with me, let me tell you ONE more thing about sleep. Just one.

Have I ever mentioned to y'all that Bean wakes the roosters up every day? Hello? Mr. Rooster? It's me, Bean. Time to get up! I've been up for an hour! Let's get the crowin' started, people!

Well. This was not that great a thing for the Mama who has been gettin' up in the night with a baby for 8 months, so I took a little look-see at the chapter in Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child for pre-schoolers and found a trick to pull an idea to try on my little early-riser. We got a PINK AND PURPLE clock radio and set it for an acceptable hour for her to come into my room. And I told her: Stay in your room until the music comes on before you come into my room and you will get a special treat.

The first day she failed to stay in her room until the predetermined hour (It's taking too loooooooooong, Mama. And you know what? I don't like to WAIT Mama. I like to Go! Go! Go!) (Ahem. This does not sound like anyone I know. At all.) and she didn't get a treat. The next day, she DID stay in her room and she got a treat. So we told her: Go three days staying in your room until the music comes on and we will have a celebration! At your favorite restaurant!

And she did it. A couple of days she even SLEPT until the music came on, which is HUGE for her. Some mornings she DOES come out of her room, but only to go potty, and then she goes back in her room and stays until the music comes on. Good stuff, people. And she is HAPPY and PROUD and SMILIN' when she struts in to find me, too. I love that. Occasionally (maybe three days out of the past ten?) we've seen a little backsliding, and I just say, "Uh oh, Bean. Has your music come on yet?" She just rolls her eyes and says Nooooooo. And then, since she knows what I'm about to say, she holds up her little hand to shush me, screws on her best pouty face and goes back in her room again with her little shoulders slumped and her feet dragging.

And I giggle to myself. Drama queen!

And then, when she's not looking, I sneak into her room and set the time on her clock back by 15 minutes. Hee hee.

Oh, I is a bad Mama!

The roosters love me though.

I will keep y'all posted. Or not.


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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

As I Hit Publish, He's Awake in His Man Cave, Pounding His Chest and Demanding His Woman Come Now and Bring Him Turkey Leg, Grunt Grunt.

Y'all ever feel like you just want to go HANG OUT at your blog, with your peeps, but not necessarily SAY anything? Today I just sorta wish I could walk out onto my porch up there and sit in my porch swing and my friends would amble up and sit down around me and I'd rock and smile and listen to the chatter and soak up the fellowship and the kindred spiritedness but mostly just be quiet. I don't mean the silent kind of quiet, just the quiet quiet. Not like "I'm not speaking to you" silence but "I really love having you near me and I'm happy to bask in it and leave it at that" quiet. You know that quiet?

I think it's partially because lately I've just felt my vibe, or whatever's, been off. Do y'all ever feel that way? Like somehow what's inside me is somehow coming out all wrong and getting reactions I don't expect, scaring people off and inciting controversy where I've meant to engender collaboration and agreement. It's just weird, and I wonder if this is a God thing - that He's isolating me a bit to bring me closer to Him, or to teach me another of His amazing lessons?

Hello, sir. I'm listening.

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Mr. Peabody turned EIGHT MONTHS old this week, and I will tell you that in this past week, he has probably slept more than he's slept in his whole life, combined.

I haven't shared fully with y'all the insanity that has been his unsleepitude, because you'd never have believed me (and for some reason whenever I told anyone about Peabody's sleep problems, they'd answer with "Oh, MY children slept through the night starting six minutes after they were born and I had to wake them up from their naps or they'd have slept until they were two," which is not what I really needed to hear but hey, good for them, right?). I'll sum it up by saying that since this boy turned six weeks old, he's had only a few days when he's slept longer than 30 minutes at a time for naps (two of them a day), and only a few nights when he's managed longer than a 3 hour stretch of sleep at a time, generally adding up to about 10 hours of broken sleep.

It just wasn't right y'all. I knew in my head it wasn't right but because he stayed in a good mood (he is JUST LIKE HIS STINKIN' CHEERFUL NO-MATTER-WHAT FATHER, darn him!) regardless, I began to think, "Well, maybe he just doesn't NEED much sleep. Maybe he's just not a sleeper."

Dude. Eleven or twelve hours of sleep a day for a 5-7 month old baby?

Survey says, "X!"

And yes, HE was in a good mood, but I was a total zombie. A lifeless, spunkless zombie with these eyes, y'all. These eyes that scared ME when I looked at them. Al looked at me like I was haunted, and Bean kept stroking my hair and staring at me worriedly like I was about to keel over.

Sump'm had to give.

So I hied myself hither on down to the Borders Books, and I quickly scanned the baby section and found a couple titles I'd heard of and commenced the perusal. For whatever reason, probably because I could see just in skimming a sense of rationality and balance and even EMPATHY that appealed to my confused, muddled, emotionally-overwrought little brain, I settled on Dr. Marc Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. Interestingly enough, not one single real-life Mom has recommended this book to me, and I've never really read or heard anything much about it except in a little forum I stumbled into one afternoon when I Googled "Hod a'mighty DAM, this child will not SLEEP."

(Desperation Googling is one of my current favorite pastimes, as I have mentioned to y'all before.)

Here's what I learned from this book, in a nutshell.

1. Peabody's been in a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation for several months. A child his age NEEDS up to 17 hours or more of good quality sleep for optimal health and growth. He was getting 13 hours of broken, battered sleep on a really "successful" day.

MY BABY WAS SLEEP-STARVED.

2. A sleep-starved baby like Peabody can't and won't take back the sleep he needs just because he's exhausted. An overtired baby? CAN'T SLEEP. Has a hard time falling asleep (check), wakes up crying after only short catnaps (check), may appear to be in a good mood (check), but is easily scared by loud noises, has a short attention span and always seems hungry (check, check and check).

3. I don't know what I was thinking but I'd let Peabody's bedtime get later and later so that he was actually going to bed at the same time Bean did (at EIGHT O'CLOCK at night!) after taking only two little 30 minute naps throughout the day. I wanted to keep him up so he could see his Daddy and be with us as a family for a while at night. But that meant he was awake sometimes for six or more hours before I put him to bed! Babies his age should only be awake for 2 to 3 hours at a time, and a baby who's been up for twice that long is GUARANTEED to have a lousy night's sleep. CRAZY.

4. After reading the chapter of Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby in which the good doctor outlined sleep needs for babies Peabody's age, after I scraped up all my facial features which had slid off and fallen to the floor, that very same day, I moved Peabody's bed time from 8 PM to 6:30 PM. And people, my boy slept six full hours before he woke up again. I fed him at that waking and he went easily back to bed and slept another five hours, woke, ate and slept an additional two hours, until 8 AM. That was 13 and a half hours with 2 wakings the first night, when we'd been in a pattern of only 11 hours with 4 to 5 wakings for several months.

I was officially on the Weissbluth bandwagon.

5. But the early bedtime didn't fix Peabody's nap issues, and I just about fell back off the wagon no sooner than I'd climbed on. We struggled another two weeks with only a handful of hour-plus (and they need to be at least one hour long to be considered good, restorative naps) daytime sleeps amid a continuing stream 20-30 minute catnaps. I moved the nap times earlier (Weissbluth says a nap that's too short is almost always too short because it started too late, when the baby was already over-tired), I soothed him more and in different ways, trying to figure out how to get him to nap longer, but nothing worked.

6. Until I found, hiding on a page in another chapter, one little sentence that suggested that if you felt convinced you were getting that baby to bed early enough and he was getting enough nighttime sleep but he still wasn't napping well, then perhaps the baby's sleep environment was too loud, or too light. Aha! We actually have white noise in Peabody's room and have since he was a few days old, so I ruled out the "too loud" theory. So, two days ago, I climbed up on Bean's tooth-brushing stool and threw a thick CLEMSON quilt over the curtain rod in the nursery, taking it from shady to nearly pitch black (with a slightly orange tint, I'll grant you) in the blink of an eye.

And Peabody hasn't taken a nap shorter than 90 minutes since then.

So either my boy likes him a man-cave for sleepin', or he's a dyed-in-the-wool Tiger fan.

I guess what I'm saying is, we feel better around here. Peabody, believe it or not, is even MORE CHEERFUL. I'm still not sleeping all that well, probably because I'm still conditioned to those four wakings we've done for all these months, but I know that will improve as I adjust to our new, more sane, healthier sleeping pattern.

Peabody has had one night of TWELVE solid hours of sleep, and the rest of the nights since that first night of two wakings he's slept up to seven hours at a time with only one full-awakening per night to eat and return to bed. (I hear him wake and fuss briefly at up to two other points throughout the night, but he quickly goes back to sleep on his own.)

So if you're looking for a good book about kids' sleep (all the way up to adolescence!), whether you co-sleep or not, whether you like to rock or nurse your baby to sleep or put her to bed awake and let her go to sleep on her own, whether you believe letting a baby cry for awhile is okay or is something you just wouldn't ever do, whether you nurse or bottle-feed, WHATEVER, even if you have an older child who has some behavioral or learning issues or just won't sleep through the night, this book may have some helpful information that will help your whole family get the sleep you all need.

And that concludes my spontaneous book review and lecture on infant sleep.

What?

Oh come on, y'all didn't REALLY think I could just sit here and be quiet, did you?











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Monday, April 6, 2009

Reinforcements, STAT!

I posted my Top Ten Tips Families Expecting Baby #2 over at 5 Minutes for Parenting this morning, and the first few comments have left me feeling like a bit of a pansy! I still stand behind my recommendations though. Y'all go check them out.



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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No, It is Not a Pair of Giant White Chicklets, But I Can See Why You'd Think That.

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Mr. Peabody has been busy growing toofs. Four of them. And I am a complete newbie when it comes to all things teething-related, because with Bean, she would just wake up one morning and smile, and there would be some new teeth. And I'd say, "Aw, she's got new teeth, how great, isn't that a surprise, la la la?"

With Peabody, I've known he had teeth on the way since about sixteen minutes after they pulled his squiggly little hiney out of my belly. The kid has turned teething into a full-time occupation, and has made it abundantly clear since he accepted said position that he would like someone to TAKE THIS JOB AND SHOVE IT!

Apparently on the Teething Misery Scale, my first child was a zero, and my second child is - oh - about a 962.

Point eight.

I have avoided saying anything snarky or insensitive about the fact that Peabody is a GUY, and Bean is a GIRL, and well, lower pain threshold, la la la, you know the rest I trust? What I mean to say is that I have avoided saying anything up until this point, but I'm sayin' it now because IT WILL GET ME A CHEAP LAUGH, which is exactly what a Mama needs when she has just finished helping escort THE TUSKS OF AN ELEPHANT through her young MALE child's gums.

A CHEAP LAUGH AND A SHOT OF BOURBON.

OR TWELVE.

But they're cute, aren't they?

So that is Peabody, with his father's cheeks, his mother's chin, and OHMYGRANNY! His VERY OWN two front teeth.



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