Friday, October 19, 2012

Anna's Bedtime

Update: Annnnnnd I'm a moron. It took me two weeks - TWO WEEKS - to realize we move the clocks BACK in the fall. When I pointed this out to Jamie he said, "Yeah I know but you seemed so convinced..."  By then I'd already adjust Anna's bedtime forward by 30 minutes and I just decided to move it back to 8 and we'd cross our fingers and hope she did ok come November 4th. And she did. We're up earlier than I'd like to be, but bedtime is no problem. Hopefully she'll start sleeping until 8 again soon! And we'll try this again in the spring when it actually makes sense!

This week Anna is going to bed at 8:00 PM.

Next week she'll be going to bed at 7:45.

The week after, 7:30.

And the week after that? 8:15.

Why the crazy moving around of our one-year-old's bedtime? Are we trying to punish her and ourselves by deliberately keeping her from a routine?

No, of course not.

Two weeks from now, on November 5th, Daylight Savings Time ends. Which means if we weren't being all crazy about her bedtime now, it would go like this:

This week, bed at 8. Next week, bed at 8. Week after that, bed at 7.

The clock on the wall might say 8, but her little internal clock would be saying 7 and we don't think she'll just adjust automatically once we explain Daylight Savings Time to her. Of course I'd have to have someone explain it to me first. Why do we do this?

Anyway, our hope is that by moving her bedtime up by 15 minutes for the next few weeks that Daylight Savings Time will be a lot easier to manage this time around. I'll be doing it in the morning, too. She usually sleeps about 12 hours at night, so I'll be getting her up at 8:00 this week, 7:45 next week, 7:30 the next, then 8:15 and then 8:00. We'll be a little more lenient on that end, though. I'm not planning on rousing her from a deep sleep just because the clock says so or leaving her crying in her bed half the morning because it's not officially time to get up.

I can't take credit for the idea; it was all my Mom's, but I thought it was brilliant when she shared it with me. I figured if I was grateful for the idea you might be too.

I'll let you know in a few weeks how well it worked!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

I'm Exhausted

Not because I have two babies who take turns crying at night and keeping me awake (well I mean I AM exhausted from that. It's just not the exhaustion I'm currently speaking of).

I mean emotionally and intellectually exhausted.

Why? Because I can't eat anything anymore, let alone feed Anna anything, without worrying about what's going into our bodies and how we're getting it.

I've started reading nutrition labels. Let me warn you - that's a bad idea if you want to enjoy those delicious "fruit" snacks that actually contain nothing that could be considered fruit. I start to worry about Anna and Brooke's little brains and bodies. What am I putting in them??

So then I start researching. Annnnnnd enter exhaustion. There's SO MUCH to read! And I don't understand half of it. Alright, I say, we'll keep it simple. My kids will eat nothing but fruits, vegetables and whole grains. But wait! Make sure that produce is organic and locally grown! And don't be naive enough to think a package marked "Whole Grain" in the grocery store actually means the product is not full of chemicals.

Ah screw it, let's just make cookies. Bring on the chemicals, baby! I love me some chocolate chip cookies.

Hold up. Apparently the conditions the people growing my coffee beans, chocolate, and sugar cane are subjected to are horrific. Great. My kid's chemical-laden food destroying their brains was bad enough. But now our food is actually destroying the lives of children in third world countries.

Thankfully, there are people willing to offer an alternative! I go on blogs and read "Your chocolate/coffee/sugar/tennis shoes/clothing/electronics/etc. are being made by exploited workers in third world countries. Buy fair trade! You get your goods, they get compensated fairly. Everyone wins!" And I think "Yay! Something I care about - the developing world, people (especially children) living in horrific poverty and a very simple way for me to be a part of the solution."

Annd then I started reading again. I should know better. I start reading more about fair trade and find that it is at best a charity (and not a very good one) and at worst a marketing scheme that actually does long term damage in developing nations. Hardly a good solution.

Well, hello square one. Good to see you again.

Now I'm in the worst possible position. Just enough knowledge to not sleep at night with my belly full of my chocolaty, sugary, chemical-filled evening snack, in my foreign-made sheets and jammies. But not quite enough to know what to DO about it. And in the meantime, my children play with their probably lead-filled foreign-made toys while I do my research on my laptop, manufactured by exploited factory workers and miss out on the opportunity to partake in playtime and bond with my kiddos.

So here's where I've landed (admittedly not contentedly): I'm going to do my best. I'm going to buy the healthiest food we can afford and cut some corners so I'm not a slave to the kitchen. My kids are going to eat some processed foods because spending my life researching healthy alternatives and preparing them is just simply not feasible for me right now.

And we're going to continue to eat the yummiest coffee, sweets and chocolate we can find at the best prices while continuing to support charities that offer aid - real, documented, hand-up-not-a-hand-out kind of aid - to people in the developing world.

And I'm going to constantly be seeking ways that my life and the way I live it can lift people up instead of oppressing them. To do my best to stay heartbroken by the things that break the heart of God. To accept that I live in a fallen world, that life will never be perfect this side of Heaven, without becoming complacent.

We can't fix this world, because there is not easy, effortless, quick solution. But I'm not going to let that fact excuse me from trying.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Two Perfect

I don't frequently curse. Every now and then I may use a mild profanity when the timing is perfect and I know I can make Jamie laugh with a well-placed h-word or d-word.  I don't generally curse to express anger or frustration.

But last January, when those two lines appeared? Well, I might have let one slip. Maybe more than one. I might have been a little shocked. Ok, beyond a little a shocked. Completely and utterly shocked. Another baby? How could I be having another baby when my first baby is still a baby? I hadn't slept 8 straight hours in 5 full months! I was never going to sleep again!

For about 5 minutes, I freaked out. I laughed and cried at the same time like a maniac. I panicked about how Jamie would react when I told him. I started mentally listing all the reasons why having two babies so close together would be impossible. I couldn't do it.

And then I pulled myself together and decided since I was going to have another baby, I was going to be positive about it. And I committed myself to only focus on the good stuff for the rest of my pregnancy. Panicking and having meltdowns wasn't going to make it easier, so I would simply refuse to.

I didn't exactly obey my self-imposed optimism rule all the time. For the most part, I stayed positive, but I had a few sob fests, usually after Anna had had a particularly bad day. I would fall apart and ask Jamie, "How am I ever going to do this with two? I can't. We're hiring a nanny. I'm holding my sister hostage and forbidding her from leaving. I can't do this."

Just like the first time, my pregnancy flew by and before I knew it I was sitting in a hospital bed holding my perfect baby girl, still pretty convinced I could not handle being a mom of two babies only 12 months apart.

When Jamie brought Anna to the hospital to meet her little sister, she was a little off. Cranky, whiny. And she felt feverish. When we came home the next evening, she was still not quite herself and still felt hot. I was sitting on the couch, trying to nurse my newborn while my "big girl", who was still so very little, was crying and needed me. I felt so torn! I started crying myself. Was this what it was going to be like from now on? Never enough of me to go around? One girl would always be getting less of me than she needed? I was a little freaked out.

But here's what I've found: there are most definitely moments where I'm stretched thin. Usually they involve a nursing Brooke and a sobbing, tantrum-throwing Anna. But for the most part, having two has been such a blessing. I'm way more laidback about Brooke crying than I was with Anna (of course a lot of that has to do with the fact that she cries much less!) I will get to her and meet her needs as quickly as I can, but I've learned if she has to wait a minute, she'll be ok. I've learned to make the most of playtime with Anna. I might not be able to give her attention every waking moment, but I can make sure the time she does get is quality. And overall, I'm happier this way. I feel like I'm more focused. Playtime is playtime, and Anna gets 100% of me. When it's time to do housework, I have to give it my full attention or I won't accomlish anything. When it's time to feed Brooke, I sit down and focus on her and remind myself that this will pass all too quickly.

For right now, I feel like I'm the perfect amount of busy. Not overwhelmed, but just enough to make me not take for granted the time I do have.

But talk to me again in another few months when Brooke isn't sleeping 20 hours a day!

P.S. Blogger is saying I've used up all my storage space for photos, hence this photo-less post. That's also why I haven't posted a one-month update for Brooke. Pictures were taken, but I can't post them. I'll figure it out and get a post up soon, I hope!