Saturday, October 5, 2013

Co-sleeping...and why I haven't slept in over 2 years

I remember when I was pregnant announcing "I'm never going to co-sleep. I value my own sleep too much." I didn't put a bassinet or small sleeper on the registry, even though I wanted to breast feed, because I was also going to pump and we were going to successfully use bottles and the breast. I was so idealistic throughout my pregnancy, and why wouldn't I be? I didn't know any differently. 

Then The Midglet arrived and I was over all that, given a shock of a lifetime. I never wanted to put him down nor did I want him out of my sight. I was in love. I was in shock. I was in for a rude awakening. 

Someone fell asleep during tummy time.
Fortunately there was a soft landing.

I became the queen of co-sleeping, and my husband, Scott, was the king. This kid was always asleep on me, on him, or even on the dog. I called Scott one day and said we NEEDED this so he picked up a Fisher Price Rock 'n Play Sleeper and I put it next to the bed. I brought it with me wherever we went; it was super convenient for travel and I always wanted the little bugger at least next to me (if not on me). 
Even though we were successful in the bottle/breast endeavors and my husband was able to participate in the feedings overnight so I could sleep, I was blessed with the child that wanted to have a full feeding every 3 hours. Despite the pediatrician's reassurances "He just wants comfort, he's not really hungry," I was deflated in the middle of the night either by The Midglet or by the breast pump because I was a milk cow and would become engorged by hour 4. 

This was just the beginning of my sleepless nights as a parent. The Midglet breast fed for the first year, when he weaned himself around 11.5 months. He didn't sleep through the night until after 10 months, and even then I still had to get up to pump sometimes. After that came the lull that made us believe co-sleeping was over and done and we may sleep through the night some day. 

Ahhh, the idealistic dreaming of parenthood. Fast forward and we have sick nights, nights where we all fall asleep watching movies, and just the random "Mommmmeeeeeee" wailing and climbing out of his bed and I'm too tired to even recognize that I picked him up and brought him back to bed with me. Unfortunately for us, The Guide to Baby Sleep Positions: Survival Tips for Co-Sleeping Parents came out 2 years too late, however it does read as a look-back on our first 2.5 years sleeping with The Midglet. 

We also have the refusals to nap, the falling asleep in the car and then not making it in the house without him waking up, and my personal favorite "NOOOOOOO, I don't want to sleep in my bed!!!!" Then come the sweet moments when I wake up in the middle of the night because a little hand is reaching out for me, putting his little hand on my shoulder to be closer, or even trying to wedge himself under me just to be close to me. 

Scott and I complain we're exhausted and he needs to sleep in his own bed, but there's something about that little face whispering at me in the morning, or grabbing my hands and making them clap because he's singing "Happy and you know it" and it's time to clap. These little sweet moments when he's wide eyed and his imagination is running wild thinking about what he's going to do that day. Even those moments when he climbs all over me in an effort to get at the cat so he can "ticky ticky ticky" her under the chin as she attempts to run away. 

I'm happy to be exhausted if it means I get to snuggle with my little man, this one tiny human, for just a minute or two longer. I understand the idioms - don't blink, growing like a weed - because they're true. He's so sweet and lovable and I can't imagine a time when he's not going to want to snuggle up on my lap or cuddle with me in bed. I don't want to. I want to see this sweet face sleeping and waking up in the morning, even if it means I have to survive on vitamins and caffeine in giant quantities for a few years. 

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Trucks and Tutus

This is my son, affectionately referred to as The Midglet. He's almost 3. He loves trucks, cars, tractors, construction equipment, and just about anything with wheels. He also loves tutus, tiaras, barrettes, makeup and nail polish.

 One day, picking him up from school, he refused to take off the "tutu" from the costume station (really, a pink skirt) until I reminded him he had this tutu at home. He relented and removed the school's costume in favor of immediately getting his tutu at home.

He then wore this tutu for days, over his clothes, pajamas, even on a 6 hour car ride to visit his Nani & Pops. He was so proud, spinning around and telling Daddy & Pops he was a ballerina or princess. 

My husband and his father were not the most supportive of these developments, my father-in-law even said to my son he didn't understand what the Midglet was talking about when he was wearing the tutu, and that lit a fire in me. I don't understand why or how it matters that a 2 year old boy shouldn't be allowed to dress up however he chooses. Fortunately the Midglet didn't catch on to the meaning under the words because he was too busy twirling. Later that same evening, my son got all dressed up as a princess when we were spending time with some other friends & their kids. Dress, barrettes, tiara, dress-up heels, jewelry - the works. He was so excited and all the other kids didn't say boo about it. My friends and I thought it was fabulous as he was so happy!

He is a boy - he loves all things "boy" and then some. He wants to help me with my makeup in the morning and loves going through my cases (as a makeup artist I have a lot of products) and there are even times I'll give him some foundation or BB cream or finishing powder to play with because as I see it, what's the harm? 

My husband worries - he doesn't want him to get made fun of or bullied for choosing to go outside the box. My response? He's 2. He spent most of his first 2.5 years surrounded by women and his little BFF is a girl 4 months younger. He doesn't see the stigmas associated with dressing up in "girl" clothes, and why should he?

He loves to run and play and pee in the bushes (a byproduct of potty training during the summer). 
He also loves cooking and "helping" in the kitchen. He loves race cars and pirates and big trucks and monsters. He also loves Tangled and The Little Mermaid. He might live outside if we let him, while getting dirty and learning about nature. 

I'm proud he doesn't have to worry about what other kids or parents think about his choice of play. He loves that tutu, thinks it's the best thing ever one day, then doesn't look at it for another month. If he wants to dress up as a princess, I'll be first in line to help him find the costume he wants. I tell my husband not to worry - "He's just 2," I say. "There's nothing wrong with it," I say. 

I worry, though, too. I worry the Midglet will lose his innocence and one day recognize the message of "boys don't dress up in tutus." I worry he'll come home crying and upset because a less tolerant child (or parent) makes a comment that wrecks his sense of self and independence. I worry that I won't be able to kiss it away and that he'll stuff that tutu in the corner of his closet. I can only hope that my drive to instill in him his individuality and self-protection is enough. That he responds to someone less tolerant with a simple "I like it, and that's what matters." That he encourages that other child, or parent, to think outside the box. That he keeps teaching me what it is to embrace the not-so-obvious needs of a well-rounded parent.