Sleep, Eat, and Read Oh My!

So it’s been a while since I’ve updated, but there have been a lot of things going on with Miss Lily. Ever since we lowered her bed completely down to the lowest level, she had trouble trying to stand up in her crib — that is, until about 12 days ago. It became hard to get her down for naps and bedtime because she insisted on rolling over and crawling around. Then, I managed to teach her how to fall asleep on her own while she was on her tummy, crawling around. SCORE! It worked so well — until, of course, she learned how to stand up on the crib. Then the new game began, and all my old hard work of bedtime routine and her falling asleep on her own was out the window.

Lately, after our usual bedtime routine (bath, pjs, story time, binky and bunny, lights out), as soon as I turn off the lights, she starts getting really squirmy, like she wanted to play. Her eyes would start closing (as she has successfully associated “lights out” with “sleepy time” but her body wanted to keep on going. As soon as I put her in her crib, she would roll over immediately and start standing up. First couple of nights, she just wanted an audience. She wanted to practice getting up, and then getting down safely, but she wanted to do it while one of us was in the room. She wanted one of us to watch her to make sure she was being safe and that we were there if she needed help. Literally.

It was cute — until almost 10p rolled around and she was still up, getting up and down and up and down, over and over again, practicing. She’d count her steps in the crib while she was cruising to make sure she wasn’t going to get hurt in case she let go of the rail of her crib. Several times she fell over backwards, flat on her back, but she’d get right up again to start all over.

So then I emailed the author of the No-Cry Sleep Solution to ask her what the heck to do now. She gave me a few suggestions, such as putting her in a sleep sack, and taking her out on a walk, and staying in the room with her and rub her back and legs and stuff to encourage to her stay down and fall asleep. Did all of that. Didn’t work. She was sweating in her sleep sack, and got too hot and uncomfortable. The walk worked once, but didn’t work again after that. Rubbing her back and her legs and arms and stroking her hair worked once, but didn’t after that because she was just glad to have me in there as her audience. As soon as I stopped rubbing her back, she’d get into crawling and start climbing up the side of her crib to standing again.

After about a week of this, I was going crazy. When she usually would be down between 7:45p and 8p, she was going down any time around 9 and 9:30 and 10. Dave doesn’t approve of any method that allows her to even whimper, let alone cry, so it’s been tough. Right now, we’re trying some of Dave’s methods (which, admittedly, I don’t agree with completely but they do have some excellent nurturing points) to see if it would help her fall asleep happier and easier and quicker, like it did before. The past two days we’ve been doing it his way. First night wasn’t too bad. He rocked her out in the living room after my bedtime routine with her until she was drowsy, and then he put her down in her crib. She woke up a few times when he put her down though, insisting to be picked up and rocked again. The second night was longer and harder. She kept insisting that she not only falls asleep in his arms, but that she must STAY asleep in his arms too. Every time he put her down, she’d shoot her eyes wide open and the whole process would start again. Finally, he just left her in there, completely exhausted, and I went in to check on her. She was so tired and crawling around in her bed that she ended up putting herself to sleep. That took about 1.5 hours. Tonight, we tried an earlier bedtime routine (start at 6:30 instead of 7), just to see if we needed that extra time to get her to sleep. Dave did the whoolleee routine with her, from start to finish (outside of the bath). She was down by 7p. A little fussy, but fast asleep by 7. That’s a good change! It also has to do with the fact that she didn’t get a late afternoon nap, and only had the one 2-hour morning nap. She was exhausted!

Since starting Dave’s methods, she’s also been waking up in the middle of the night, sometimes a few times a night, insisting to be cuddled back to sleep. This may be due to something else and not due to Dave’s method, though. She did that sometimes with me too. She was usually satisfied when I just went in there to give her her binky if she woke up in the middle of the night, but now that she’s been cuddled and rocked to sleep for a few nights straight, she thinks she deserves this during the middle of the night too. Now, I wouldn’t mind, except that sometimes, it would take her a VERY long time to get back to sleep, and if I put her down in her crib, WITH binky and music on, she’d start whining and yelping really loud, so I had to pick her back up again (because according to his plan, which we are both consistently doing together, we don’t allow for her crying at all, not even whimpering). This has gotten me very cranky and tired over the last few days.

We may need to try my method eventually, if this proves to be harder than it should. She used to be able to put herself to sleep, and now she presents us with new challenges because she’s more mobile. But I believe she should be able to be re-taught on how to put herself to sleep, happy and all. Dave believes that this will come in time and we don’t need to rush things. She hasn’t been getting enough sleep at night the past few nights. Hopefully this will change. Last night, she only had 8 hours of sleep!! Poor baby. We shall see what happens tonight. If Dave’s method works, we’ll stick with it. I’m all for no-cry sleep solutions!

Here’s an example of what she’s been up to. This little girl is all about perfecting her challenges. She’s awesome. Very determined, motivated little one.

As for feeding, we’ve been introducing more finger foods into her diet. She’s getting used to being fed lumpier, chunkier foods, but she’s not really getting the idea that she can actually feed HERSELF. She plays with food with her hands, but puts inedible objects into her mouth. This girl is backwards sometimes! Heh. Last weekend, I gave her some tofu chunks glazed with cheerio crumbs. She LOVED it. But, she didn’t feed any to herself. She put it all over her face and hands instead, and I ended up just picking some up with my fingers and putting them in her mouth. She finished a whole bunch! But didn’t feed one morsel to herself. Heh. Oh well, baby steps I suppose!

She loves eating carrot sticks. Sometimes she is able to bite chunks off, but doesn’t know what to do with them in her mouth, so she spits them back out. I steam them so that they’re soft enough for her to gnaw on. She loves the taste of the carrots, but doesn’t know how to “chew” them with her gums.

Today, she tried oranges for the first time! She looooooved them. I had cut them into little itty bitty chunks so that she can learn to chew, and she just looooooved it. However, she still doesn’t know how to “chew” properly and ends up trying to swallow too-big pieces all at once. Sometimes, she’d make herself throw up in order to prevent choking. We hate when that happens. So we just have to go slower with this little one. I think, for what it’s worth, it will get easier when she has some front teeth, even though she wouldn’t be using them to “chew”… She seems to want to inspect new foods with her front gums before allow it to enter the rest of her mouth, so I think she’d try to actually chew on finger foods with her front teeth when she gets some.

So, in order to discourage fake-choking and therefore vomiting, we’re taking the lumpy foods veerryyy slloowwwwlllyyyyyy.

In other news, Lily is also standing on her own. For a few seconds at a time, but each time a fraction of a second longer. Heh. She also knows how to call “Mama” and “Dad dad” and knows how to call “Nana” when her Nana Sylv comes by. She also knows how to drink from a sippy cup. Granted, the ones we’ve had for her have been too hard for her to hold on herself and tip over, so I got her a smaller one yesterday and she took to it like a charm! She drinks water out of there easy peasy now! Our Lily also knows how to “smile” for the camera, and gives kisses to Mommy on command. Most of the time her “kisses” just means she’s gonna tilt her head towards my face, but sometimes I get the lovely, awesome open-mouth kisses. Hehe. She willingly gives her toy lamb an open-mouthed kiss whenever I ask her to though. I’m trying to get these on video but it’s hard because she’s so mobile!

This is her smiling for the camera:

Another thing I’m trying to get on video is her READING! Yes, you heard right, our Lily Bean can barely talk, but she knows how to read. Well, at this stage, it’s more like memorization of familiar words. We’ve been having her watch the “Your Baby Can Read” DVDs at least twice a day, and we’re onto the 4th DVD now. We’ve also been playing word flash cards with her several times a day. The same words over and over again, and introducing a new set of words every month. We’re now teaching her 30 words. She’s learned to recognize the first 10 that she started with. These include the words clap, hi, wave, elephant, nose, mouth, eyes, and a couple others I don’t remember. She knows how to “read” them, or rather, memorize their shapes and the meanings and sounds to them. We tested it about a week ago, out of sheer fluke, and asked her to pick out the correct word out of two cards, and she did it consistently 7 times in a row. I’ve tried to get a video of her doing this, but each time she gets bored after a couple of word games because she’d rather be crawling or cruising or playing! So far, I’ve only been able to get a photo!

Here, she’s picking out the word “nose” when I asked her to pick out the card with the word “nose” on it.

And now, for some more randomly most awesome cute photos.

Playing with her cousin Kennedy, who is 3 months and 1 day younger than she is!

We’ve been taking Lily outside more, as the weather gets nicer and nicer. Hopefully this trend will continue!

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Wow oranges! Yum! And she is so cute in that video of her standing. I love it! And as for sleep. I think she is just too dang smart. She knows how to get mommy and daddy to help her sleep :-) It’s way better than falling asleep on her own. They are pretty smart those babies! Good luck.

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