Tuesday, March 26, 2013

...of nap advice

A friend of mine told me yesterday that Abram's naps shouldn't be going until 5:00 (this is when he usually wakes up).  I thought that she would tell me that it was because then he wouldn't fall asleep well at night - to which I was going to reply that he hasn't had any problem with going to be at 8/8:30, so I was ok with a late nap.  However, she warned me that if my children slept past 3:00 for their naps and went to bed too late, they wouldn't grow up tall.  I should mention that English is her second language and it was difficult to get much more of an explanation out of her, other than personal experiences she has had with people who put their kids to bed early and had nice, tall children.

Let me tell you that I scoffed a little in my mind at that moment, because 1) it seemed strange that anything other than genetics would determine how tall someone would be and 2) I don't see any problem with the way Abram's schedule has been and it is personally working really well for us.  Sure, he wakes up a little earlier than I would like (about 7am), but then he takes a good 3 hour nap from about 1:30-4:30 ish everyday and goes to bed at about 8:30 every night with no problems.
So I did a little research.  Come to find out, our bodies' growth hormones are in fact, tied to our sleep. You are probably thinking, "Duh, Anaka.  Everyone knows that."  Well I didn't, thank you.  But I do now.  However, it did not convince me to do anything to change Abram's schedule.  Apparently, growth hormone levels seem to be directly tied to slow wave sleep (as opposed to REM sleep).  Slow wave sleep is the deep sleep that we achieve usually at least one hour after falling asleep and when we get good amounts of sleep at night.  Actually, I read that REM sleep predominates around 8-10am and slow wave sleep predominates from 4-6pm. So the fact that Abram is waking up "early", getting a good, solid, deep three hour nap in the late afternoon, and sleeping a good 11 hours at night with no waking, would make it probable that he is actually getting fairly high amounts of slow wave sleep and, therefore, growth hormone.  Also, the growth hormone doesn't just affect height, but also things like organ development in children.

Interesting, right?  Who knew? I tried to stick to scientific study findings and article abstracts for my information, but will readily admit that I only did about 15 minutes of reading and research.

All of that to say that I am really blessed by my wonderfully sleeping almost two and half year old and hopefully he will grow big and tall because of it (but maybe his Daddy's height will play a role as well).

Regarding another napping child: Selah has been amazing these last few days.  I hesitate to talk about it here, because when I do, she inevitably stops being wonderful the next day.  But I'll just pray that it continues and thank the Lord for these last few days.  She has been going to bed at 7:30 and then waking up around 6:30. I've woken up (probably from slow wave sleep :) and had a hard time getting the motivation to hop up and go in a feed her, because she is just quietly babbling to herself and not crying.  But the last three days, when I finally go in there ready to feed her at 7:15ish, she has put herself back to sleep and then slept until 9am.  Not only that, but then I put her down at 10:30 for her first nap, even though it seems crazy that she would already be tired after 13 ish hours of sleep, and she take a 2-2.5 hour nap!  The only down side to this is that she is getting up right when Abram is going down and then she goes down for a short afternoon nap (from about 3:30-4:30) and there is maybe one hour where they are sleeping at the same time, if we are lucky.

But all in all, my kids have been providing many opportunities to thank God this week and I feel so blessed by Him through them and just wanted to document for posterity.  And make you read it.

You're welcome.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

... of 11 months

Late, late, late! But better late than never!

Date: March 24th, 2013
Weight: Weighed her in the appliance section on the scales in the grocery store and she was about 8.5 kg, which is roughly 18.5 lbs.  I looked it up on the growth charts and that puts her right in the 50th percentile.  Talk about sticking to her growth curve.  Incidentally, I weighed Abram, too.  He was 11 kg (about 24.5 lbs), which is the 5th percentile for his age.  Also, quite a consistent kid.  
Clothing size: 9 months.  The dress that I took her photo in is a 3-6 month from Gap, but I think it's just weirdly big.  My mom got it when she was born and I've been putting it on her every month or so to see if it would be the month it would fit her.  This month is the first time it doesn't look like she's swimming in it!  
Feedings per day: 4 or 5 nursing, 3 solid food meals.
Naps: Maybe a bit more consistent recently.  Usually one at 10 and one around 2, but those timings fluctuate depending on other timings.  A few times she had taken a 3 hour or longer nap, but it's sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the afternoon.  Then the other nap is usually pretty short.  Overall, she's sleeping pretty well and we feel really really blessed.
New skills: She knows how to do the real crawl now and will do it about 50% of the time.  Waving. Obeying certain verbal commands.  Best one: "Lie down, Selah" in her bed right before we leave the room. Eating peanut butter.  Taking bites from food instead of having to have everything broken into little pieces all of the time.
Teeth: Six.  I thought I felt one of the top side ones coming in the other day, but I haven't seen anything yet.
Favorite things: Being tickled.  Bread and hummus.  Bath time.
Least favorite thing: Being put in her high chair.  Being laid on her back.  6:00pm.

Brother/Sisterness: He almost cares about her and seems to like her more than she does him. I hear all these people talking about how their youngest, when they are an infant, just worshiping the older one.  She really likes it when he gives her attention and tries to make her laugh.  But if he's not actively engaging her, she just kinda plays around him.  But they don't fight or anything.  Yet. :)
This girl is the sweetest, calmest, most precious one I've ever known.  I might, just might, be biased.  But I think anyone who knows her would admit that she would easily be in their top 10 :)

Love you Sel Bel.   You are such an amazing blessing to your daddy, your brother and me.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

... of a sick house

We had a hard day yesterday.  Well, I had a hard day.  Today, I am better, praise God.  But it was some fun stuff.  I will intersperse recent cute pictures of the kids to try and off set the  unfortunate images of illness that might enter your brain during this story...

Thursday night started out like any other. Both kids in bed after having (a kind of light and early) dinner. If anything I would have thought that they might wake up early and hungry. I did not forsee Abram waking me up around 2:30 with the sounds of gagging coming loudly from his crib. When I ran to see what was wrong, he was coughing/gagging and I saw that it looked (in the dark) like he had thrown up just a tiny bit. He laid right back down and seemed tired and went right back to sleep. I laid down, praying that it was some weird fluke thing.
I should do a caveat here, explaining that our friends/housemates had just all gotten over a night and day of what was determined to be food poisoning, since four of them who had gone to a world market type thing and ate food and got sick that night and Steve (who had not gone) did not get sick. But they were doing better that day and Abram and I ate lunch with them-celebrating their recovery. Not sure if our sickness was related somehow or not.  I guess it doesn't matter...
You can probably guess why I'm telling you all of that. Because I started thinking about all the things that we might have eaten or done that would have made Abram wake up again at 3:15, with more gagging and, this time, more throwing up. I pulled him out of his bed and was holding him while waiting for Quinn to go get a bowl from the kitchen, when he threw up down my shirt (so lovely, right?) His hair and hands and clothes and sheets were all casualties, so he was taken to the bathroom and cleaned up while I changed his sheets and threw some stuff in the washer to be washed first thing in the morning.
He seemed to feel ok then, telling me his tummy was feeling better. So we put him back to bed in fresh everything. And we laid down. I did not have time to fall asleep - but of course Quinn did - before more gagging rushed me to his bed. This time, I held up the bowl to his mouth, in hopes of saving the minutes old sheets (not realizing in the dark that they had already been compromised). This was a grave error that I could not have foreseen, as the bowl amplified his coughing a gagging like a microphone. We lost the battle of trying to not wake Selah up with all of this at that moment.
Abram's clothes were changed again and his bed stripped and Quinn and I decided he would take him to the living room and he would sleep in the Peapod, which has a wipeable mattress. That was the last I heard of them and he didn't have any problems or nausea after that.
I realized that I was feeling nauseous the second I jumped out of bed to check on him the first time. The down the shirt incident did not help that feeling. Then, I had to feed Selah. She woke up around 3:30. She seemed like she was going to go back to sleep while I was holding her, but the second I laid her down it was apparent that was not going to be the case. She finally fell asleep at 4:30 and thankfully she and Quinn have apparently been spared this illness.

So, yesterday, I was pretty much out of commission and Abram seemed fine all day.  I will sum up my day with a direct quote from Abram while we were grocery shopping this morning:
"Mommy feewing better aday.  Mommy coughing a bunch... coughing a bunch in a garbage can and wying down a wot wesday."  Yep, Abram. Yep.
Praise God it was only a 12 hourish thing.  I hate coughing in a garbage can.

Monday, March 18, 2013

...of a machine

I am laying here in my bed at 1am listening to the sounds of my 11 month old quietly talking to herself after being awake in her bed for an hour. This child hasn't woken up five hours after going to bed since she was, maybe, two months old! She has been sleeping straight through 12 hours at night for about two months now, with a few rare exceptions when she woke up about eight hours in. But five hours!? And not going back to sleep!? She nursed and was definitely done and I've left her in there to try and put herself back to sleep, because at this point with this child, human contact would most certainly be counter productive.

I'm sitting here thinking of all the reasons she could have woken up and then not be going back to sleep. She usually goes to bed at 7:30, but after waking up early from her nap, I put her down closer to 7. She normally eats dinner around 6:30 and regardless of what table foods she eats, I've always followed it up with a jar of baby food (which she usually scarfs down). Tonight, she ate only table foods: cauliflower crust pizza and pears and bananas. She seems to like it, but it was slow going. She ate a good amount, but it took so long and she got so fussy that I just called it good and didn't do baby food. So maybe she's hungry and she's even more hungry than any amount of nursing could satiate. Maybe she's too hot in her little room. Or Maybe she's bothered by the fan blowing right on her.

I keep thinking all these thing and am working out in my brain how to deduce a reason for this strange deviation from her routine, so I can avoid ever doing whatever it is again. But it just hit me that my child is not a machine. She doesn't do the exact same thing all of the time if all the variables are held constant. I mean, I'm not a machine and it would be impossible for me to hold all the variables constant for her every night. And she's definitely not a machine. She is just the opposite. She is a little baby lady whose body is changing and growing every day. She could be getting new teeth, she might be having some tummy issues like I am having from that yummy cauliflower pizza, she might be working on a new skill and wanting to practice it at this inappropriate hour. Who knows. But I'm just glad that she and God are reminding me that my baby girl is just that: my baby girl. Not my baby machine. I would hate having a baby machine. But my baby girl? I would take her awake, asleep, fussy, happy, teething, smiling, eating, or dancing any day.

And with that Ill confirm that my sweet girl finally put herself back to sleep. Praise Jesus.

Here's hoping we both get a solid few hours of sleep before anything like that happens again.

Good night.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

..of Abramese

My two year old is just full of awesome little sayings that give me a window into the way his mind works and always make me smile. Here are just a few.

-He's been asking me to do things for "a little minute". "Mommy, play outside a little minute", "Take a bath a little minute", etc. I think he is confusing "just a minute" and "a little bit". Yesterday he told me to get off the couch, put my phone down and play a little minute. Like those exact words. Cute AND convicting.

-He uses "good idea!" a lot now, for himself and me. Like when he asks to play outside and I agree, he says "good idea!" Or I'll suggest something, like a craft project and while we are getting everything out, he says "Mommy, good idea!"

-All prepositions are "uh", unless prompted otherwise. "Play uh Siena and Augie", "Do uh computer", "Pray uh me". If I ask him to say it again, he will usually fill in the correct preposition. But it's his own little short cut.

-Every time he gets hurt or he hears anyone crying, he immediately asks to pray. Like he smashed he head into the concrete wall while jumping around with Augie on the Majilis cushions, which they know they aren't supposed to do for that very reason. Amidst wails of intense pain, he immediately was crying "Pray uh it! Pray uh it ". We do, right away, and many times we take the opportunity to also pray that he would be obedient and careful, if the injury was a result of the lack of those things. Amazingly, he ALWAYS seems fine immediately afterward, wants down, and starts playing again. Pretty awesome. I also know when he is getting a diaper rash, because he will constantly ask for me to pray for his bummy. If he hears any of our friends' kids crying next door, he'll tell me and then ask to pray for them. Hope this heart of prayer continues into his adult life!

-He knows all his colors, but calls "yellow" "white" every single time. He used to know yellow. This is a new thing and we are working on it.

-There are three questions I hear more than anything else during the day:
   1. "What's that sound, Mommy?" when he hears any kind of vehicle noise like honking, or revving, or squealing out on the street.  Many times I have to tell him that I don't know and he keeps asking until I take a guess.
   2. "What does ____ say, Mommy?" The blank is always one of his car, truck or train toys.  "What does the big rig say, Mommy?"  "What does the steam roller say, Mommy?"  "What does this choo choo train say, Mommy?" (all in Abram's cute little voice with no l's or r's or sp's) I used to always respond with some kind of car or truck noise, but while my throat has been hurting, the vehicles have been singing little songs about what they do.  Strangely, he has been asking this question much more often lately...

 3. "Where'd Sewah Bewah go??" when she goes down for a nap and he didn't realize it or he wakes up from his nap and she is still sleeping.  It's pretty awesome how much they like each other.  Sure, he is not always gentle with her or mindful of where she is on the floor and he doesn't always share his toys willingly, but he sure does love her a lot.
My pale baby and my orange baby.
Don't mistake this hug for a choke-hold.

 So, I thought I would document some of this adorable and incorrect grammar, before he (Lord-willing) starts talking all correctly and stuff :)

P.S. I wrote this whole post this MORNING, while both of my kids were sleeping!  Selah woke up to eat at 6 and went back to sleep (yay!!!) and Abram, who hasn't slept past 7 for the last week or so is still sleeping at 7:50 (more yay!!!)  Praise God for answered prayers.

... of an experiment

Selah is coming up on 11 months old.  She is sometimes crawling on her hands and knees, but mostly still army crawling, pulling up only in her crib, starting to eat table foods, babbling a few sounds (ma ma, da da, tha, tha, ya ya, noo, noo, etc), clapping and high fiving, and sometimes waving and signing.  By 11 months old, Abram was cruising around furniture, standing completely unsupported for small amounts of time, saying uh oh, walking in his walker, climbing onto and off of couches.  So I realize they are very different children.  Selah also cries significantly less than Abram did at this age and is over all much more passive.

So when I begin to compare what his schedule was like at this age and what hers is like, I realize I probably shouldn't be. But I would so love to be able to know what my day is going to look like so that I could plan my life.  I've tried to get her on a schedule using the method of waking her up at a certain time every morning, which worked for Abram when he was around a year old.  But she does this thing...

One day, it will be great.  I wake her up at 6am and put her right back down and she falls asleep and wakes up around 9.  Then she takes a two hour nap in the afternoon and maybe a 45 minute nap in the early evening.  Great!  I can handle that.  But then... the next day, I do the exact same thing: wake her up at 6 and put her back down... and she will not go back to sleep.  She doesn't cry, but she just rolls around and talks to herself and pulls herself up in her crib and then can't sit back down.  So I have to go in there, rock her, and lay her down, but she doesn't want to go to sleep, so she crawls to the side and stands back up and the whole thing starts over.  The other day, I left her in there for around 2 hours!  She never went to sleep.  Then I got her up for about an hour and she was crazy tired, so I put her down and the rest of the day consisted of 3 45 minute naps.  Not sure what this is.  But here's where my experiment comes in.

We are going to try an A/B schedule with her the next few days and see how it goes.  Today, I woke her up at 5:30, fed her and she went back to sleep until 9.  Depending on how she sleeps today (so far, so good), tomorrow I'm just going to let her wake up when she wakes up (usually around 7:30) and have a B day, which usually consists of three naps.  But at least I can plan on it.  That's what's important to me.  Then the next day, I'll try the A day again and see how that goes.

I know this is an uber boring post (except maybe for friends with babies like me who might empathize with my ramblings), but it's for posterity.  It's been really helpful to be able to look back at Abram's life and to really see what he was doing and when.  I get great ideas from my past self that I wouldn't remember if I hadn't written them down. So if we ever have another baby (not planning on it!), I will have two totally different children to compare the third totally different child to... :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

... of daylight savings

Daylight Savings baffles me.  Not the procedure, of course (although sometimes remembering to set me clock ahead at 2:00 in the morning was a little difficult...),  but the practice.  Only about a third of the world practices Daylight Savings.  Another third used to and the final third never has and probably never will.  We got used to it in America (having never lived in Arizona, but being a little annoyed when scheduling meetings with Arizonians) and now we don't have to worry about it here in the UAE, as they are a part of that final third.  This would be great.  It's so much easier with very young children not to have to deal with changing their sleep times twice a year.  However, now, we are wishing our families in the States were Arizonians.  Because Daylight Savings has made it very difficult for us to continue skyping with our parents who work during the day and want to see their grandchildren and want to go to bed at a decent hour.  We are now trying to figure out how we can do this, as being 9 hours ahead is much less conducive than being 10 hours ahead.

But, instead of going on any more of a tirade against Daylight Savings, I'll get to the point.  My wonderful husband is being so... wonderful and trying to give me a few hours at the end of each "work day" to review and prepare for my language lessons, catch up on email, and hopefully hit up this blog a bit more frequently than has been previously possible.  This is an effort on our part to update and satiate those kiddo hungry grandparents who we sadly may not get to see as often as we have.  So, I know I've said it before, but now I have extra motivation: I hope to be posting a bit more often.

Without further ado, let's get to some adorable pictures of the aforementioned kiddos.

From our friend's 10th birthday party:

It was a pool party, but neither of my kids really wanted to get in the water.  It was a little cold, can you believe it!?  We hear (from these friends - whose house and pool are right across the street) that the best swimming months are upon us.  Once we hit July and August the pool will be like a hot bathtub.  Fun stuff.
Right after he fell in face first  trying to catch a beach ball.  His response as I yanked him out of the water: "No way, thank you!"
Wanting to try and get them both ISR swim lessons when we are back in the States next summer, insha'allah.

Petting Tripod, the amazingly friendly three legged cat that lives in our friends' complex.  I would totally adopt him, if I could.  He was awesome.  Abram thought so too.  He reminded me of our sweet Obie (sniff, sniff).
Lady Baby in Daddy's hat.  

Family Outing to Al Majaz Park:
Yes.  Your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is a Cold Stone, a Baja Fresh, and a Fat Burger in one place.  TGIFridays not pictured.  This is now one of our new favorite places for so many reasons.  
I could not love this picture any more.


So attractive of both of us.
 When I said "adorable", I meant sometimes.
Baja Fresh and baby food at sunset in Sharjah.

Date night after dropping the children off in bed and leaving the monitor with Steve:
We went back and had ice cream.
I talked him into it with this face.

Ok.  That was longer than expected, but there was a lot of cuteness to catch up on (not including that last picture).  I hear Abram having a hunger meltdown in the living room, so I better go start dinner. 

See you soon!