Friday, February 28, 2014

Sleep, Redux

I don’t want to jinx anything by writing it down, but since the beginning of January, sleep habits have really changed for the better at Bulldogge Manor.  Mostly.  As I think I mentioned here before, Sean and I attended a sleep training class at our local Breastfeeding Resource Center, and it was both informative and interesting.  The class was on Tuesday the 7th, and the teacher recommended that sleep training start on a Thursday (basically so that you are tired on a Friday, but then are hopefully nearing the end by the following Monday), and since we wanted to get our sleep training plan hashed out, we waited until the 16th to begin.  Well either Owen knew something was up, or we happened to catch him right at the time he was ready to sleep better anyway, because in the nine days in between the class and when the training officially started, Owen basically sleep trained himself.

He stopped wanting to be in our bed, and after each nursing session would want to get back in his crib.  He also woke up less in general, too.  So on the first day of sleep training he woke up and cried from 10:45 – 12:15, with us going in as we were supposed to, first every 5, then 10, then 15 then 20 minutes and doing nothing but giving him an empathetic pat on the back and some kind words (which enraged him).  Then at 12:15 he went to sleep and slept until 5:30.  He then proceeded to basically sleep from 7:15 – 5:15 every day since.

We have had a few interruptions—once caused by the cold he had, and then the second time by our loss of electricity and ensuing freezing night plus a night in a hotel – but in general he always seems happy to return to sleeping in his own crib.  Every once in a while he’ll awake at 3, say, and cry, and one of us will go in and pick him up and give him some comfort, and after a few minutes he will dive back into the crib.  So at the moment, dare I say, his sleep is good.

Of course, it would be nice if he could sleep into the sixes instead of the fives, especially when he wakes up at 5:05.  But still!  After 18 months of waking up every two hours with him, and then the last six months of having at least once per night of him being up for an hour not being able to fall back asleep, this seems like a luxury.  I’m basically sleeping 7 hours in a row!  It is quite divine.

At the moment Owen is going through a short nap phase of only 45 minutes or so.  But really, who cares?!  He is sleeping well through the night.

I’m wondering though if one can sleep train a bulldogge.  Now that Owen is gone from my side of the bed, Dorothy has joined me there and when she sleeps, she is definitely a Velcro dog to the extreme.  I will often wake up and not be sure which limbs are mine and which are Dorothy’s, and really, there IS such a thing as too much togetherness.  Not to mention her loud snoring.

Dorothy thinking, I finally got my place back.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Social Owen

I wrote this entry below about Owen exercising in the mall in December, and then didn’t get around to posting it.  Sadly, because of the long and cold and snowy winter we’ve been having, the entry is still apropos:  it’s still too cold out so we are still taking Owen to jog in the mall.  He’s a little less apt to blow kisses at strangers, and more likely now to say hiiiiii in a high voice (like I use to talk to the cats) and wave by opening and closing his hand, palm up, and positioned at waist level so no one can see it.  He’s a friendly little fellow!  If someone stops to talk to him he will hide behind my legs, but after a minute or so of that he’ll get brave and come forward to interact.

Last Sunday it was warm and so we took Owen to the non snowy bits of our area (i.e. the street) and let him run around.  He still falls a few times per outing, but I figure the more he practices, the more he will get his footing.  Sometimes I’ll grab hold of his hood while he runs, but he understandably doesn’t like that.

So anyway, perhaps a few more weeks will bring spring and weather we can enjoy outdoors?  In the meantime, here is my Owen at the Mall entry from yestermonth:

It has been really cold here lately, which means we more likely than not find ourselves trapped in the house with a toddler.  It’s too chilly for Owen to spend time in the yard, and also not the right temperature for a stroller ride, even if he were inclined to ride willingly, which he still is not.

So we have resorted to being mall walkers on the weekends.  Owen loves it and the minute we get inside the mall starts walking at a very fast clip.  He also enjoys being social at the mall and will wave and make “conversation” with anyone who will catch his eye.

The other day we were in the Vans store, and Owen happened to be wearing his Vans sneakers.  The clerk told him he liked his sneakers (I think he actually said, “Dude!  Nice Vans!”) and once Owen realized that the guy was talking to him, he started waving at him.  But then he noticed himself in the low shoe mirror and had to squat down to see himself better, upon which he decided to sing to himself in the mirror with a few heartfelt “la la la’s!”.  And then he stood up and realized music was playing in the store so had to stop and dance for a bit and shake his booty.

It was a very cute sequence, at least to his mother, and also rather indicative of where he is right now:  beginning to want to interact with people he sees and very aware of what there is to be seen around him.

He likes to visit the toy store, of course, and the fountains, but mostly he is happy to just walk and trot and be out of the house.  And anything that expends some of his energy and tires him out is a positive.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Say Cheese, Owen!

For awhile Owen was saying "cheese" (although it sounded more like "chiz"), but we laughed too much when he said it, and asked him to say it too much so now he won't say it for us.  (He does do a great snort when you ask him what a pig says--it cracks me up every time.  And he'll do the snort whenever he spots a picture or figurine of a pig, so I have ample chances for merriment.)  But anyway, here is a sequence of Owen getting closer and closer and actually saying chiz:

Monday, February 10, 2014

Winter Be Gone

We had quite a “weather event” here last week, and it is not one I would like to duplicate.  After a big snowstorm on Monday, we then had a horrific ice storm on Wednesday, and our power was out for almost three days.  (And we are lucky—I know people who still do not have their power back).  We quickly learned that it is hard to have no power with a toddler.  We have a fireplace and kept that going, so that our living room was in the high fifties.  But how do you get a toddler to stay put in front of the fire so that he can stay warm?  That is the question. 

We went on many car rides, and also spent a lot of time at the mall and at Ikea.  

Owen took naps in his carseat, but of course they were not long naps, nor quality naps, so then he became cranky.  We spent time playing in the attic, which although usually a cold room, was warm compared to the rest of the house.  And there was also much weeping and gnashing of teeth (from me and Sean).

Finally Owen and I set out to spend the night in a nice Philadelphia hotel on Thursday, while poor Sean kept the fire going at home so that our animals wouldn’t turn into dogcicles and catcicles.  When he walked into the house after driving us to the hotel, it was in the thirties inside. 

He texted me the following photo at 5 a.m.  Glorious be!

Meanwhile, Owen and I quite enjoyed the hotel.  Owen thought maybe he could be the Eloise of Philadelphia.  Now all we need is a pug.

We have another storm coming on Thursday, and we all are a little PTSD about it.  If our lights so much as flicker, I will cry.

Dorothy and Plum, wondering if perhaps we forgot
to pay our electric bill?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sorrow In The Yard

How is my feeding of the birds going, you might ask? Well, I suppose it is going well, although there are now 18 of my least-favorite birds, the squabbling portly doves, who should probably sign up for weight watchers, pronto.  As should some squirrels, who are otherwise going to be too slow to escape from Dorothy if they keep hoovering up all the seed.  They can’t say I didn’t warn them.  Bulldogge is faster than she looks.

But anyway, I keep putting seed out and we keep getting winged visitors, probably at least twenty or more different kinds daily, which is nice.  And we have a hairy or downy (I can’t tell those apart) woodpecker couple who visit our suet feeder in the front.

We did have sorrow in the yard on Thursday morning when the biggest hawk I’ve ever seen appeared high up in the branches of our highest tree.  This hawk was seriously big—at least 26 inches tall, if not taller.  She was sitting up there minding her own business, and I thought it was odd, although not unheard of, that the squirrels and birds at the feeder did not disperse and instead just kept feeding despite the hawk sitting above them.  The reason for this nonchalance became clear when our neighbors informed us as we were going to work that there was a dead hawk in their backyard.  So our poor large girl had clearly somehow just lost her mate!

And so even though Walt Whitman is a poet I haven’t read or thought much about since high school, I feel the urge to quote him again.  Surely our hawk must have been singing such a song high up in our tree?

"...Low-hanging moon!
What is that dusky spot in your brown yellow?
O it is the shape, the shape of my mate!
O moon, do not keep her from me any longer.

...But soft! Sink low;
Soft! Let me just murmur;
And do you wait a moment, you husky-noised sea;
For somewhere I believe I heard my mate responding to me,
So faint—I must be still, be still to listen;
But not altogether still, for then she might not come immediately to me.

...O darkness! O in vain!
O I am very sick and sorrowful.

...O past! O life! O songs of joy!
In the air—in the woods—over fields;
Loved! loved! loved! loved! loved!
But my love no more, no more with me!
We two together no more."

Our backyard birdfeeder in happier times.