Friday, May 31, 2013

Micah at 18 Months

Micah and I went out for a BIG walk today, we started at a friend's house then crossed the road to the walking path pass the lake, along the path, cross a main road, cross a bridge and then along another path when Micah started getting restless so I let him out for a walk. He enjoyed walking around and tired himself out so much, eventually he got very grumpy and fell asleep in the pram on our walk back.

We even saw a couple of horses during our walk so I got Micah to go up to them as it was his first time seeing a horse up close! 

Micah will be officially 18 months old next week, so I really should start listing down his development milestones just as a record on here. So here goes....
  • SLEEPING - I am so pleased with his new sleep routine. For the past 3-4 weeks now, his routine has been Dinner at 6pm, Bath at 6.45pm, Read a Bible Story at 7.15pm and Bedtime at 7.30pm. Basically tuck him in, wide awake, lights off, no screaming no crying, no need for music, just him talking to himself, even saying "Bye Bye" and "Night Night" as we leave his room and close the door! And within a few minutes he will be asleep. Notice how there is NO breastfeeding involved? So happy! He is officially weaned off his night feeds which means Enoch can do bedtime anytime I need him to, hehe. Just makes the bedtime routine seem a lot shorter for me, less tiring, and frees me up to do other things. Micah is no longer fully dependant on me to go to sleep, yay! He generally sleeps through the night except for two nights ago, he has been a little bit unwell, but he is generally good and sleeps all the way until anywhere between 6am - 7am. Whenever he sleeps past 7am I do a little happy dance..... lol. He generally only has one nap during the day now about 1.5 - 3 hours.
  • EATING - Micah is obviously a great eater and eats everything, and recently he has been showing off his skills at feeding himself with a spoon. So proud of him :-)
  • PLAYING - he walks and runs everywhere, very interactive. He now knows how to climb up play equipment, and go down a slide all by himself. A true toddler! He absolutely LOVES looking at pictures in books - always going up to our book shelves and getting books out and just sitting there flipping through the pages, until we come over and read something to him.
  • TALKING - he still doesn't say a lot of words clearly, mostly a whole lot of jibberish no one understands... but a few words we do understand are "Bye Bye" "Night Night" (as he waves) "Knock Knock" (and he does the knocking action) "Mama" "Dada" "Nana" (short for Banana) "What's This" "Shoes" "No" (new word I don't like this new word!) "Juice" and noise words such as "Uh Oh" (whenever he drops something) and "Vroom Vroom" whenever he plays with his cars.
Obviously some of the above does not apply whenever we are out and about during the day or out for dinner, etc - and there is only so much "routine" we can stick to some days, especially if he is grumpy and upset over something. Like this week he has been a lot crankier and whingy than usual, and it could be his teeth (soooo many teeth!) or because he has a snotty nose or because he sometimes gets an upset stomach before doing a massive poo, but you know, life goes on and we just deal with whatever comes along. I need to go now, totally lost my train of thoughts so ending my post rather abruptly here. Haha. Bye!

Oh! Immunisation and 18 Month Health Appointment next week so hopefully another blog post then.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

I Should Be in Bed Sleeping But Instead I Write This Post

Gee time flies. It seems like yesterday I celebrated my first Mother's Day, Micah sat on the table with us for the first time in his high chair, and hubby cooked me breakfast. This year, hubby built me a taller backdrop frame so I can finally have the photo studio I have always wanted.

The process of setting up my studio got slightly delayed as the day after Mother's Day I got sick and felt totally run down. It was truly bad timing. I had to cancel photo shoots and hubby was away for work so I didn't have any help... but I soldiered on. TV was a lifesaver. Micah and I were both sick, so we welcomed the opportunity to just snuggle up and watch TV for most of the day. It was actually quite nice to cancel all our social activities, chores and work, and just focus on each other and well, sleeping and resting. 

After two and a half days, I can say I feel almost normal. I'd like to think I fought it and stopped it from getting worse just in time! Although I really should be in bed by now, not sure what I'm doing writing this blog post... oh well, might as well continue and finish up.

Anywayyy... what I wanted to say was, I used the backdrop Enoch built for me as a partition to create a little studio corner in the dining area. The dining table has been shrunk (previous extended) and made room for my studio. Then, I had this problem of this ugly wall right next to the backdrop... 

I immediately wanted a wallpaper. I acted so fast on it too, lol. I looked up wallpapers online and got an idea of how much it costs. Then I Googled where to find wallpapers in Berwick - and who would've thought the local paint shop might have them! I went to the paint shop, chatted to a church friend who works there, and woohoo they had HEAPS of wallpapers to choose from! Most of them you had to order in, but I was so fortunate they had some in stock that were leftovers from previous construction jobs. I even scored the pattern I had my eye on while I was browsing eBay... clouds!!

So I got home from the paint shop, put Micah down for his afternoon nap, and very quickly got to work on my wallpaper. It took me just over an hour, and just as I was finishing up and tidying up, Micah woke up. Good timing! The problem was, I didn't do a very good job. There are lines on my wallpaper but at least the ugly wall is now hidden and the wallpaper now creates a cosy feel to my studio corner. My studio is now complete. I can fix the wallpaper later. I am happy enough and look forward to my three photo shoots scheduled for this week :)

Whilst Micah has been accommodating my photo shoot requests most of the time, this morning he just didn't feel like posing and made it clear to me that he wasn't interested by grabbing a book off the shelves and started reading... hhmmmppphhh... still very cute :-)

I am so blessed that my photography venture has really taken off and I am getting a steady stream of enquiries and bookings, and I even booked my first event photography gig for early June! I am so lucky that I am able to do this - earn some income from home - and still be able to spend time with Micah. It is definitely not easy, sometimes Micah can be quite demanding, and sometimes I really fall behind with the chores which actually makes hubby quite unhappy... so I need to learn how to create a better balance and be more organised and get more things done and still get enough rest so it all doesn't get too overwhelmingly difficult or too tiring.

Other than that, I love my life!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Experience with Various Sleeping No-Nos for Babies...

Sometimes it is very important to remember that EVERY BABY IS DIFFERENT. Therefore, don't ever let anyone tell you that what you're doing with your baby is wrong. You just have to do what works best for you! To identify what works best for you, yes you will try different things and then your parental instincts take over.. and you do what makes your baby happy. Books and guidelines are great as a start, but at the end of the day, all babies are different so you listen to your gut, not your health nurse or grandparents or bossy friends etc.

I wanted to share MY experience today because I realise a lot of parents out there probably struggle with the same issues I struggled with during Micah's first year as a baby. He wasn't the best at sleeping, and I totally envied all my friends who got it right from an early beginning, and I did a lot of things that "statistics" have claimed will cause a lot of problems when Micah is older. Well, Micah is older now, so I can reflect back on what I did and how it has affected him today.

Disclaimer: The following are just examples based on my personal experience and by no means guarantee that it will have the same results with other babies.

Sleeping No-No #1: Do Not Let Your Baby Sleep in the Bouncer because He Will Just Get Used to the Bouncing / Rocking and will have trouble Sleeping in his Cot When He Is Older...

When Micah was younger, he really struggled to fall asleep in his cot. As soon as I lie him down flat, he would scream and scream without giving up. The only way to really calm him down and get him to have most of his naps during the day and even some at night was to rock him or bounce him, and there's only so much rocking you can do yourself without feeling like your arm is about to fall off so he fell asleep on the bouncer quite a lot when he was younger.

This probably went on for a couple of months... so I would say between 1 month old - 3 months old and then he got over it and started sleeping really well in his cot because we then moved on to the NEXT sleeping No-No...

Sleeping No-No #2: Do not give your baby the DUMMY because it will become a Sleep Association and he will always expect a dummy and without it he won't be able to fall asleep and it will be difficult to wean him off the dummy....

Micah's "Dummy Stage" was very short lived. It was really handy to be able to use the dummy and keep him happy while we were out and about, especially while we were doing the Alpha Course at church, because it was night time and 3 hours and we needed him to sleep. He was about 3-4 months then, I think. Then we used the dummy to help him sleep at night. Yes, he went through a stage when he would wake up in the middle of the night because he has lost his dummy and we had to give it back to him.. but this whole thing only went on for again, a couple of months at most, because eventually he has figured out an easier, more convenient way of sucking something to sleep....

........ and that was his fingers! It was brilliant for a while, I'm only sad it didn't last as long as I wanted to, because eventually he forgot how to find his fingers and struggled to fall asleep again... lol.

But you see, we didn't have to do anything to wean him off the dummy... he weaned all by himself!

Sleeping No-No #3: Feeding to Sleep. This will cause big problems when he is older and can't fall asleep without his mummy's boobies. Huge sleep association thing.

This one is a huge one for me.. so I should take my time in writing this and make sure I describe it as it is. How shall I describe it... hhmmm... well, first of all, it is EXHAUSTING to always be feeding him whenever I need him to sleep. It takes forever during the day that I wasn't able to do much else, and it disrupts my sleep at night because it meant my husband couldn't get up and help me resettle Micah back to sleep when he wakes.

On a positive note, I truly enjoyed all those cuddle times and those moments when I could watch him calm down immediately from a distressed cry and just how breastfeeding truly comforts him and I love watching him drift away to sleepyland and get all "drugged up" that even when I sit him up to burp he would stay asleep. I love those moments!!

I actually continued doing that for the longest time... even when he turned one, I was still feeding him to sleep. It was also how we survived two 8-hour plane flights to Malaysia, I was feeding him to sleep on my lap in the plane!

I actually thought it would be impossible for him to fall asleep without my boobies... and that I have dug myself a hole for sure....

The past month has proved me wrong! We have had to leave Micah with a babysitter for a full day while we attended a funeral in Sydney, and Micah went to sleep during the day without me, no problem. He went to bed at night at 7pm without me, no problem. Hubby has had to tuck him in to bed without me, no problem! He is quite happy to be read a story, tucked in to bed, say goodnight, leave him, and he will just look around for a little bit and then fall asleep without crying! We use the music on the baby monitor a lot to resettle him at night, and we find sometimes we don't even need to use the music to put him to sleep!

My little boy is all grown up now, and has weaned himself off all the Sleeping No-Nos we have used to get by... yes, we could've tried to wean him off all those habits a lot sooner, after all he is 17 months now, but I didn't see the need to rush it. I do enjoy those cuddle times. I like feeling needed. Now, I feel a little bit sad that bedtime routines won't take that long anymore! I do like the fact that I am now free... he is not weaned off breastfeeding completely, but I can make plans every once in a while that won't affect Micah and his sleep. I can go off and do some food blog projects at night, and hubby will be fine to get him to bed. Hubby and I can go and have a short getaway just the two of us now, and Micah will be fine with a babysitter.

We have just that little bit of freedom now... freedom other parents would've experienced much sooner because they never did any of the above No-Nos...

But you know what, I wouldn't trade those nights of feeding my boy to sleep with ANY dinner parties or movies or going on a holiday without Micah.

I wouldn't trade using the bouncer or dummy to settle him to sleep with listening to him cry and scream and be distressed.

I wouldn't have done anything different. Micah only started sleeping in his own room at 7 months. Only started sleeping through the night at 9 months. He is still breastfeeding 3 times a day, although if we had to go away or if we're out and about all day he is perfectly fine without breastmilk for the whole day. We know that, so why should I stop breastfeeding him when I know it's good for him? He's not 2 years old yet, and by the time he is 2 I will stop. Or hopefully I get pregnant again and I just naturally stop or move on to next baby anyway.

Sooooo... I thought I'd just share. It all worked out fine, and looking back I really DID get a lot of helpful advice from people and I have to admit sometimes I felt a little bit depressed and stressed over what people tell me what to do or not to do. I would just like to remind you, if you're reading this, to take into consideration what people tell you, but do not let them decide what you do. Do what works best for you and your family, and listen to your gut. Babies are actually a lot more flexible than you think, and whatever "habit" you create today can be turned around next week if you really want to. I just went with the flow... and it works for us. May not work for other people, they might have different needs and therefore have to stick to very strict routines and never go off those routines because that's what works best for them.

My little man has grown up to be a happy toddler, a friendly boy, he has gone out to dinner with us many times, gone out to roadtrips and overseas holidays and weekend getaways, and has had his "routine" changed every day, every week, every month depending on what comes along and he is doing great. I am so thankful and so blessed that it all just... worked itself out :-)