Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Why are you so sad, Mama?

I love my little girls. It is hard to post this as s is screaming at the top of her lungs. We are now at month 3 of sleep training and although we have had moderate success here and there, sleep is still a challenge. s is such an easy baby in every other respect. She is extremely social, loves to smile, babbles and does all the cute baby stuff that make her quite adorable until it is time for sleep.

The difficulty might be inconsistency. Yiyi (the nanny) rocks her to sleep before setting her down in bed. G would also rock her to sleep. I would sometimes rock her to sleep but I have been trying to let her put herself to sleep. It has worked so there has been no reason to change. Well, it would work one week and not the next. Then again for a few days and then we would have crying for another few days.

I am out of ideas. I have even considered putting her in daycare so that she would definitely get used to sleeping on her own and sleeping through distractions. That might be where g finally learned to just sleep. It seems so desperate but I am desperate. g looked over to me while her sister was crying (again!) and asked, "why are you so sad, Mama?" It's hard to explain to a 2 1/2 year old. I guess I didn't have to because she later added that, "s cry so much."

Through all of this, I thought about the general impression among parents who chose not to cry it out that this is the easy way out. I have heard this many times from many people. True, I don't have to soothe her 8 times a night anymore like I used to before we started sleep training. After crying, she typically sleeps 3-6 hours. That's a decent stretch of time. I don't have to explain how difficult it is to hear your own child cry but I guess the part that's hard for me is NOT doing something about it. It is trying to believe that I am doing the right thing by allowing her to soothe herself to sleep and yet being racked with guilt and doubt. Am I doing the right thing? Am I scarring her psychologically for life? I try reason. She is an infant. She needs her sleep and plenty of it.

In the end it is one of those hot button issue wherein parents would just have to choose a side and live with it. There is really neither a right or a wrong, only what works for the child that one has. How does a mom fight the sadness, a sadness so plain that a toddler can feel it?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My other water baby

No water shot but this is s before she took her dip.

Water baby

Just when I was about to discount g as a ‘fraidy cat, she proves to me that there is no predicting what she would do.

In Philly, we decided to take a hotel with a pool or at least I did. I have had a terrible trauma when I was child around pools that had made me perpetually afraid of going into deep water. So I wanted her to be comfortable around being in the water. So when the opportunity is there, I take her to the pool. I bought her a floatation device (which is really just a personal tire with shoulder straps). She had started using this last summer but she had only used it once. It didn’t seem to really work back then because it seems like she couldn’t balance herself well enough to keep her face out of water. She loved the water. She always had.

So we went to the pool and carefully lowered her into the water. We were showing her how to maneuver herself around the water with G holding on to her the whole time. I wanted to make sure that she didn’t accidentally dunk her face into the water. I was afraid that this would freak her and she would never want to go near it again. Well, within minutes, she had started to insist that G let go of her so that she can kick around on her own.

By the time we left the pool, she was cruising around on her own. The next day I tended to s in the hotel room while G and g went down to the pool. G reported that g had figured out how to lay down in the water. Very Cool.

Memorial Day weekend part 2 - Philly!!!

A little text intensive ...sorry.

Our major stop in Philly was the Philadelphia Zoo. We had read some wildly contradicting reviews online so we decided to try it out. Most people said that it was great while there were others who felt that the animals were depressed and that it was too much like a traditional “zoo”. Well, I won’t pretend to diagnose animal depression and didn’t know that there was a new movement in zoos. So I decided to go with an open mind. One major point against this zoo was that it was really EXPENSIVE. The entry fee was almost $18 and kids over 2 had to pay about $14. Online we had read about a couple of cool rides like the Zooballoon which is essentially a hot air balloon that takes passengers up for a nice vantage point of Philly and the zoo. There was also a boat ride. However we found out that almost everything was an additional charge. The Zooballoon was another $10. Although cool, we decided against going. Aside from the expense, I think it was a good zoo. It had lot of big cats which are always fun to see. Some animals that are not very common in other zoos (like snow leopards, panthers, etc) were there. However I do have to say that some of the animals did appear lethargic. NOW that could very well be because it was 90 degrees and sunny. I did feel bad for the polar bear as he lay baking in the sun. I seem to feel like he should be in a more temperature controlled environment. It also seemed like some of the environments are really small. It does make for a really interesting perspective. The panther truly was just on the other side of the plexi glass. I did get an amazing insight as to the scale of such an animal. Overall it was fun although I would have opted for a cooler day to go.

Next day we were off to the Museum of Natural History. The main attraction was the butterfly exhibit. I have to say though that there was little else other than that. They had a requisite stuffed animals (not the cute and cuddly kind) and a dinosaur exhibit. If you have been to the Natural History Museum in NYC, then this would have been a slight disappointment. We had bought a ticket to the butterfly museum specifically because we had thought g would enjoy it. She disabused us of that notion within seconds of entering. I guess she had been much younger the last time we had taken her to the butterfly exhibit but the butterflies fluttering around her truly FREAKED her out. She screamed and would not stop. So we ended up hurriedly exiting which disappointed G a little. So we decided to take her to the kid’s area upstairs where she played in a sandbox. I was not aware that g had developed a huge aversion to sand in her shoes. While playing, she unknowingly stepped into the sandbox. Now if I didn’t have s strapped to me and I was purposefully keeping quiet so that s could continue napping, I would have either cracked up laughing or grabbed a camera. I know it is horrible that a mom would laugh at her daughter’s “suffering” but it was a moment that I wish I could have on video. When g realized it was sand that she had stepped on, she froze and immediately her face contorted as if in pain. She started crying and not wanting to take a step in any direction. So her dad saved her. Oddly she is fine with playing with sand just not stepping on it.

At the end of her play, we decided to try the butterfly exhibit one more time. This time I held her in my arms. I tried to show her that it was alright. She didn’t freak out but she obviously wasn’t thrilled to be there.

This is such new territory for me. I have no idea where all this fear of butterfly and anxiety around sand in her toes came from. She had seen butterflies before and had been to the beach. I am not quite sure how to deal with. What would you do?

Memorial Day weekend part 1 - ys & g

updates have been notably lacking in the last weeks. i've been busy but hopefully it'll let up soon.

TheFamilyC had scheduled an impromptu trip to Philly for Memorial Day weekend. It was a necessary trip because I think everyone is a little fried recently. We went down first to visited E&M. They were having a housewarming and gathered a lot of the kids. It was monumental because that was the first time I have ever seen g really initiate play with another kid. As usual when ys arrived, g was really shy and wouldn’t go near him. However after an hour or so, something clicked. One of them had gotten the idea to play with the hammock in the backyard and they did just that. Waving the hammock like a play parachute, they laughed and played. They switched from one hammock to another, going over and under. I have taken some pictures and will post in a short while. It was a joy to watch until something “funny” happened. Ys “touched” g’s behind. It was definitely curiosity but I just found it hilarious that of all the things that he was curious about.