Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Shampoo

I have been doing the no shampoo thing for a week and a half now. Any of you tried it?

I want to like it. I really do. It's cheaper and so much better for the environment.

But, it's really not working for me.

I feel like it's really hard to cover all my hair since the baking soda and water don't lather up like shampoo does. And it doesn't seem to be cleaning my hair at all.

In the beginning it was okay, but now my hair just keeps getting more and more oily. I thought maybe adding more baking soda would work, but it's just getting worse. My roots are fine, but the rest of it feels like I left conditioner in and forgot to wash it out.

I've been mixing baking soda and water to clean my hair and then rinsing with apple cider vinegar and water. Last night I tried putting some baking soda straight on my hair and then rinsing it out and then washing with the baking soda and water mix. Even that didn't work.

If any of you want to talk me out of quiting now...please do :) Am I doing something wrong?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Going With My Gut

Jayden has never been a good sleeper.

As a newborn he had colic. It was really, really hard. I didn't write about it much because I was worried it would seem like I wasn't thankful for him. I was SO thankful for him that I didn't want to complain. It was week after week of getting no sleep and him just screaming all night. Even now when he doesn't sleep, I think back at that time and I am thankful at least he's not screaming all night like he used to.

Once colic was over, he had a period of sleeping well, especially during the months we were able to swaddle him. We moved him from a bassinet next to us to his own crib in his own room. He did fine, although he was still getting up for bottles during the night for a long time. He was on the lower side of weight so his doctor said he probably needed the calories and it was fine.

He was never able to just be put down in his crib without us rocking him to sleep and then putting him down. We tried the whole sleep training thing and it was hellish. It felt wrong. He cried. I cried. Adam and I took turns on who was the strong one and who wanted to give up. It had mixed results. It would kind of work and then something would happen like teething or sickness. At it's very best, it resulted in Jayden sleeping until maybe 4 or 5 and then we would go get him and he would sleep another hour or so in bed with us. He still wasn't able to be just put down in his crib and then go to sleep on his own.

If sleep training meant crying for a night or two and then he could sleep on his own and knew how to self soothe, then great. But that was not the case for Jayden. And one thing I know for sure is that I don't have the stomach for listening to him cry on a regular basis.

In mid December Jayden got a cold. He has never done well with colds. He will wake up during he night and freak out that he can't breathe. So, when he has been sick in the past, we've often just let him sleep with us. His cold seemed to last forever and then it turned into his first ear infection right before Christmas. While we were at the doctor, she also said he has three teeth new teeth coming. Well, that explained the sleepless nights.

It really got me thinking about how awful I would have felt if we hadn't let him sleep with us during that time. Even worse, what if we let him cry in his crib during that time?

I read this post from Phd In Parenting and some other similar ones and they said a lot of what my gut has been telling me about our situation.

{Note- If you have done CIO or other forms of sleep training and they worked for you, that's awesome. You'll get no judgement from me. I think sometimes sleep training means less crying overall. It just didn't work for us and I felt strongly that it was damaging in our situation.}

After a few nights of trying to get Jayden to transition back to his crib after he was sick, I made a joke on twitter: "I give up. Jayden can sleep in our bed until he goes to college."

I was only half joking.

We gave up the struggle. We've been letting him sleep in our bed. And guess what? Everyone is getting sleep. There are no middle of the night trips up the stairs to get screaming Jayden. Adam doesn't have to spend an hour upstairs trying to get him to sleep in his crib at bedtime. When I take him into bed and he goes to sleep, we don't have to tip toe him upstairs and hope he makes the transition. We just let him sleep. And it's nice.

Jayden used to sleep maybe 8 or 9 hours a night at best. With at least one wake up during that time. He now sleeps 12 hours a night. Straight through.

Without bedtime stress, the atmosphere is much lighter in the evenings. Sunday night I gave him a nice long bath, put him in his nighttime diaper and PJs, we sang a song together, and then we cuddled in bed and he fell asleep. It was so nice. He ended up sleeping for 13 hours.

He has even started signing to me that he is sleepy. One day he signed "sleep," I brought him in the bed and he took a long nap. It's like now he isn't afraid of sleeping and doesn't need to fight it. (His new thing is to sign "sleep" when he wants his pacifier because he knows he can only have it to sleep! Although him wanting it and being sleepy often go hand in hand.)

I've noticed that the better he sleeps, the better he eats too. That is great news since he is small for his age.

Jayden has always cried immediately when he wakes up. He can be sound asleep one second and then standing and screaming the next. (I've seen it on the video monitor.) One change I've noticed in our bed is him waking up happy. A few times I've seen him wake up and just lay there smiling, playing with his paci, or babbling to himself. I've heard of kids waking up and just playing in their crib for a while and that always amazed me. It's nice to see Jayden doing a little of that.

One night this week he had a (very rare) pee leak and after we changed his diaper and pajamas, turned the lights off, and all got back into bed, we heard him kind of humming or singing to himself. It was funny and quite adorable. I realized he was soothing himself back to sleep. A skill Jayden had never had before. I guess being in a comfortable place he feels safe, he is now (finally!) learning self soothing.

It's so nice to be able to talk to Adam the next day about how cute or cuddly Jayden was in bed. That sure beats us trying to piece together the awful night we had before. "What time did he get up? When did he come to bed with us? How many times did he wake up? What time was it when __ happened?"

I've spent so much time worrying and obsessing over Jayden's sleeping. When he was 14 months I posted on facebook about it and had a huge response from people writing about their babies and toddlers not sleeping. And how much pressure gets put on you when you have a child that doesn't sleep.

Have you ever noticed that when you have a baby people tend to ask- "Is he a good baby? Does he sleep through the night?" How are you supposed to answer that if you have a child like Jayden? No, I don't have one of those "good" babies.

Anyway, I haven't written about sleep much...probably because I've been too tired to really get into it (haha)...but I wanted to write this post for any of you that are struggling with sleep issues. You are not alone. You are not a bad parent. And if you are considering co-sleeping, there is no reason to feel bad about it. It doesn't mean you failed at anything. You're just trying to do what's best for your family. I needed to hear that, so I wanted to say it to you in case you needed to hear it.

For right now we have a solution that results in Jayden being healthy. Sleeping and eating. I am at peace with this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Photo Shoot

Since my blog has been a total downer lately, I decided to share some pictures taken during a photo shoot in November.

It's been a really hard week, but these pictures make me smile. Thank you so much for all the support on my recent posts. It means so much to me to know I am not alone.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Letting Go Is Not My Specialty

The background for this post, can be found here.

I couldn't get over the feeling that this whole thing was just a misunderstanding that got blown out of proportion. Surely if we talked it out, she wouldn't pull her kids from coming here over something so small.

Since she refused from the very beginning to talk to me about it at all, I decided to write her a letter. I explained in detail how I went about making the decision to call her. I told her what the daughter told me and why that information made the phone call necessary. That I was following common daycare protocol and it wasn't easy for me. I didn't want to make the call. And I said that it's hard for me to balance the needs of the families I watch with the needs of my own family. I really opened up to her and told her how much her children meant to me and that Jayden loves them. I told her about how well they've gotten into the routine here and told her about some of the things we've been doing. She isn't the one who picks the kids up so she doesn't really know. I thought the letter would help.

I haven't seen her since this all happened. She says goodbye in the driveway in the morning and stays out of view of me and her husband picks up in the afternoon. He has been acting completely normal- talking and playing with Jayden, talking with Adam and I, and acting like we're friends. It's nice to keep things normal and not feel awkward, but it's also hard to carry on like nothing is wrong. While we're laughing about something together I want to scream- YOU ARE RUINING OUR LIFE. It just doesn't sit well with me. The kids take forever to say goodbye to Jayden everyday. Lots of hugs, etc. I don't understand how he can watch that and it not have any impact on what's going on. They're sad saying goodbye for one night but they're going to pull the kids forever? My cheeks are always bright red by the time they leave. This is so hard on me.

I gave them the letter on Tuesday and never got a response. Then on Friday the kids told me they will be going to a new daycare. Logically I guess I knew the letter wouldn't make a difference. When someone is that mean to you they aren't going to change their mind. But, hearing it from the kids was like a punch in the stomach. It hurt so bad. They told me they will be going to the daycare their baby sister goes, which means one less stop for them both in the morning and afternoon. I am sure they are pleased with that and aren't even giving me a second though.

I barely held it together until they got picked up and then I broke down.

When they started here, we talked in detail about it's hard to get new kids mid year so I wanted to be sure they were committed to a full year. (If she wasn't sure, I was going to put an ad in the paper to get one more child.) She knows what this is doing to us. She also knows everything about the other two kids we lost due to their dad losing his job. She knows how serious this is. I just can't believe she would do this. The issue isn't the quality of care her children are getting. Or whether they are happy here. She's mad she didn't get away with sending a sick child here. And because of that she is fine with hurting a family like this. Even after my letter. I just can't get over how mean that is.

I have no control over this so I need to let it go. Letting things go is not my specialty.

I still have another whole week of them coming. Dragging this out is painful. I wish I could afford to tell them to never come back.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Post Christmas Blues

Thank you so much for all the support on this post. It meant a lot to me because the whole situation left me feeling really bad.

I am not usually one for making New Year's resolutions, but this whole thing is forcing us into some major life changes.

Of course all extras like Netflix were cancelled right away. (sad trombone)

Adam has gone back to cutting his own hair like in college days. I'll just be skipping haircuts for the next few months. And my mom is going to cut Jay's hair. (Eek. I'm way too nervous to do it myself.)

We're trying to make meals with whatever we already had in the house. My mom said to think of it like we're on the show 'Chopped' and can only cook with the ingredients they give us. It's not quite as fun as my mom has tried to make it out to be.

No more eating out, ordering in, or short cuts in the kitchen. I have to go back to real cooking from scratch with cheap ingredients. Not easy with a toddler screaming at you while you cook.

My parents are going to have us over once a week for dinner so that will help a little. Plus Jay eats so well when we go there so that will be nice.

Clothes....well, who are we kidding, the budget for that was gone long ago. My clothes are so ratty and old, but I guess that's the benefit of never leaving the house. It doesn't matter what I am wearing. Jay should be good on clothes for a while because he has a bunch of stuff that is too big for him. (Thank goodness for the consignment shop.)

It's not like we've ever been big spenders. I've never had a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure in my life. I don't own nice jewelry. I don't wear make up (with the exception of maybe some foundation every once in a while.) I have a worn out pair of sketchers and one pair of black dress shoes. Yeah, I'm not fancy.

The truth is most of our money goes right into bills. Student loans, our huge adoption loan, credit cards, medical bills, etc. That's what is scary. There is not much more to cut. We're just simply left with not being able to pay our bills. The anxiety around this consumes me.

I haven't had any response from craigslist, but that's not surprising since it's the middle of the school year.

One of the biggest goals for the new year is to fight off depression. This whole thing has left me feeling really bad about myself. Even though I don't think the decision I made was wrong, I still feel bad that they would react so drastically. Like I can be replaced without a second thought.

I've been left with a lot of time to think. And overthink. I wouldn't change staying home to take care of Jayden for anything in the world, but sometimes it's hard to be alone all day with no adult interaction. Adam had off over christmas and now that's he's gone back to work, it feels so lonely here. My siblings were all home for the holidays and now they're gone too. I don't get to leave the house much. I don't even shower everyday. I honestly appreciate everyday I get to spend with Jay. He's the best thing that ever happened to me. But sometimes the day in and day out of trying to get a stubborn toddler to eat and sleep can make someone go crazy. Honestly there are days where my whole life is about getting as much food into Jayden as I can. Now adding in my inability to earn any real income, my self esteem is really taking a hit.

I can't help but think the longer this goes on, the more our chances of ever adopting again are being ruined. Not only are we not saving any money right now, but we're going deeper in debt. I don't know if we're ever going to dig ourselves out of debt enough to start the process again. That breaks my heart. It seems more and more people I know with toddlers are pregnant with their second child.

I'm sorry for the whiny post. Like I've said before, therapy is expensive. Blogging is free.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

15 Months

I can't believe what a little person Jayden has become.

He has about 10 words he says sort of regularly now and often he randomly says a new word and then doesn't say it again. Just recently he said "ga-ma" for the first time to my mom. It was amazing.

He has a lot of signs that he uses. A few of them off the top of my head are- more, milk, baby, car, ball, cracker, banana, shoes, diaper, dad, grandpa (he uses the same sign to mean grandma), cat, dog, bird, fish, and sleep.

He's a goofball. He makes me laugh everyday.

He loves to climb and get into all sorts of trouble. If you try to hide something from him, he will find it. If you try to put it up high so he can't reach it, he will climb and get it. 

He loves bath time.

He's even gotten in by himself with his clothes on and sat in his bath seat.

Jayden's favorite foods are kiwi, banana, cheddar cheese, sweet potatoes, veggie quesadillas, grilled cheese, greek yogurt, veggie burgers and bean burritos. He hates his high chair. He would much rather eat this way:

Or like this....

As he falls asleep, he folds his hands like this:

Which makes me heart melt.


*Note- I thought I hit publish on this weeks ago, but I foud it sitting in my drafts!*