Friday, July 19, 2013

Quick Takes # I Don't Sleep Anymore

Tonight we get to make good on Kate's report card reward. Scott and I hired a sitter so that we could take her to The Melting Pot. She's pumped. She's decided who is ordering which course. It's so cute to hear her change her mind a thousand times about what course she wants to order. I think she's settled on the main course. I have a feeling we'll just let her choose all of them...then again maybe not. She's known for her indecisionitis!
Oh, Mae Bee. This child. We've had progress, boy have we. What we have is a toddler. No, she isn't walking, though she is free standing more often for longer stretches. But she is totally appropriately inappropriate. Hair pulling? Check. Face grabbing? Check. Fit throwing? Check. Dangerous curiosity? Check. Desire to get away from me when it's not a good time? Check. Desire to be held when it's not a good time? Check. Parent's who are just thrilled to see this stage stick? Check.
She peed on the potty, and then clapped for herself. Yes she did. I had gotten slack about putting her on the potty*. It's summer, we sleep later, life is moving slower, you know the drill. But last night before her bath I remembered to plop her onto the potty while I got the water temp sorted out. As soon as I sat her down, she went and then she looked at me with that grin and clapped.

She's been clapping for herself lately, letting us know she knows she is doing something good. It's funny when we play "Take it out, put it in" and she claps when she has done it. She also has this ball slide where you drop the ball onto the top and it spirals down, drops a level, spirals and drops. Oh, forget it, it's this thing. Anyway, she actually likes this toy now, but also claps for herself when the ball reaches the bottom. Or maybe she's proud of gravity. Either way it's so cute!
It's kind of funny how unprofessional I am. What I mean is that, typically, kids with Down syndrome will develop in one area at a time and stay rather stagnant in others. So, if she's excelling in speech, she'll maybe plateau in gross and fine motor. Except that doesn't seem to be the case right now. Toddlerhood is notoriously packed with new skill on top of new skill. The only thing that lags is judgement, thus the bruised and battered look many a toddler sports. But Mae just seems to be developing everywhere. I'm probably not the best person to judge because all her efforts seem to bear fruit, but I'm not seeing the plateau anywhere, though surely it's there. Then again, saying she can't is the best way to ensure sweet Miss goes ahead and does it anyway.
Attachment parenting. Ever hear of it? Can you avoid it? I have opinions. First of all, I do not subscribe to any parenting style except "Respond" and "Survive". Sometimes I'm in survival mode. Early pregnancy, postpartum and end of the school year are those times. Most of the times I try to respond to my kids' needs. Sometimes they need their space to figure things out. Sometimes they need to be by me all the time, and I have to be available no matter what. (I do draw the line at bathroom breaks and lock the door. I'm still a human being!) But as for this co-sleeping and baby wearing = better parenting stuff, I don't buy it. Perhaps that is because I couldn't do either of those things with Mariana, or perhaps because Kate wouldn't sleep if we were around and Paul was out of my arms as soon as he was mobile. I don't know. But I do know that trying to conform to a style of parenting can be dangerous if you don't stop and consider the kids in front of you.
We have the sleep issues. Mae is starting to cry when we put her in bed. The problem is that it doesn't matter if she's sleepy-but-awake, awake or fully asleep when we do it. Sometimes she's cries for a few minutes and goes to sleep. Sometimes she wakes herself up and wails until we get her. The dance can take hours. Last night it was midnight before she fell asleep for good. Yes, she's getting another molar. Yes, sleep regression is part and parcel to raising babies. Yes, yes, yes, it's normal. BUT, I can't seem to find the solution. I like order and routine, but nothing really works all the time with her. Last night I wanted to bring her in bed with me, but it's not safe for her to sleep in our bed with the other kids coming in through the night. She's sill has hypotonia and I'm not willing to risk it.

I'm also not willing to let her cry it out at all costs. I mean, a few minutes, sure. She's just annoyed and can get over that pretty easily. It's the lose-your-breath crying I will not tolerate. I just don't think it's okay, and it's not as though I'm going to climb in bed and relax when my baby is losing her mind. I've read all the books and I've come to the devastating conclusion we just have to gut through it. I'm staying sane with the knowledge that there is only one more molar to go and she won't be cutting them when she's two. Nothing lasts forever...well, except sleeplessness. I'm pretty sure that does.
School starts in a month and my kids just started sleeping in until after 8. This is a cruel joke. In one week I'll have to re-train Paul and Molly. Kate and Charlotte will be fine, but Paul and Molly will not just roll into waking up at 6:30 like it's no thing. There will be much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. And there will be the return of Molly the Ragdoll. For the first few weeks I will be dressing a completely limp first grader. Luckily she is small for her age.

It is the end of the school year and the beginning of the school year that is slowly convincing me that large families that home school only do so because traditional school is such an ordeal. Between the start of the year and bringing $496.00 worth of kleenex and paper towels the first day, re-adjusting the household circadian rhythms and brushing too many heads of hair,  and the end of the year hoop-la event after event, stuffing too big feet into too small shoes because flip-flops are not allowed, and praying that the stapled hem on the uniform holds just one more day, it seems so much easier to teach them at home with You Tube videos and household chores. Maybe I will tackle the home school thing again, but the memory of the last attempt is still too fresh for me to be so optimistic about my ability to overcome my own sloth. Thus I'll soon be hitting Costco for school supplies. If you don't hear from me, I'm probably buried under boxes of kleenex and paper towel rolls.
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