Sleep sleep sleep…

If there’s one thing I’d like today, it’s sleep! I think that as a new parent, you hear a lot of things like “Uh oh, you’re not going to get a lot of sleep!” but I don’t think you actually know what it means until you really experience it yourself.

Jacob was born at 8.00am – I laboured overnight and was a little bit tired by that morning, though I didn’t really feel it due to the euphoria and adrenaline of finally meeting my little baby. I remember the nurses asking me to sleep as they put him into the little crib beside me – and I couldn’t sleep! All I could think about was him (and all I was doing was taking photos of him!). I was told that he and I were fine and that I had the option to go home in the evening if I wanted to. Feeling a bit gung ho and like I was on top of the world, we agreed to be discharged at 6.00pm.

ImageOne of the photos I took of Jacob – oh, he was such a cute little thing!!

Oh my goodness, was I crazy? That night, Dan and I were taking turns cuddling our beautiful newborn baby who was just shrieking his head off all the way from midnight to about 6.30am. And that’s where I learned the meaning of “You’re going to lose some sleep.” It was only a few days later that we realised what would soothe him – this baby was a dummy-sucking baby! But anyway, on began our journey of interrupted sleep.

With this new “dummy” of his, Jacob was quite easily pacified. He did cry quite a bit (as babies often do) but we were able to get him into a 3-4 hourly routine (feed, sleep, wake up 3-4 hours later and repeat). And then he started sleeping 6-7 hour stints in the night (11pm to 5am/6am) which was quite a relief. And I thought, oh wow – have I actually got a baby that sleeps through?

I think another thing that new parents are not really told are the specifics of lost sleep – when it happens, why it happens and what on earth we have to do about it. Yes, I know I was supposed to do my homework before the baby was born, but nobody told me about things like wonder weeks, growth spurts, sleep regressions, etc. And so many times, people tell you that babies don’t go by the book (but I believe this is one area where they do go by the book, or at least it appears to be the case).

So, before anyone like me gets the impression that their child is a sleep guru, I just wanted to share some resources about these difficult periods of time. I’m not saying that your child will not be a good sleeper – I seriously hope and pray that he or she is, but it’s always good to know what to expect in case he or she isn’t.

Firstly, wonder weeks – at first I thought this was a good thing (and in a way, it is) like he’d become a wonder baby and suddenly learn how to change his own nappies or something. Wonder weeks are actually weeks of rapid mental development, where they make huge discoveries such as understanding cause and effect, recognising faces, mobility, etc. I know that I’ve looked at a number of resources, but this one from Essential Baby is quite a good one in explaining when and what happens in each wonder week phase.

Jacob is now about 39 weeks so he’s not really in a wonder week phase at the moment, but perhaps there are other things to explain his sleeping issues. When I say issues, I just mean interrupted sleep patterns at night. This time last week, he used to go to bed around 8.30pm and wake up around 3am for a feed, and then be fresh and happy the next morning at 6.30 or 7am. However, the last few nights, he’s been fighting off sleep so bedtime is usually after 9 (and it was 10 tonight because he crashed out at 5pm, so couldn’t sleep til 10) and he wakes frequently, only to want to wake up at 4.30am to play. No, 4.30am is NOT playtime.

Anyway, another thing close to my heart are sleep regressions, because Jacob seems to be quite “by the book” in terms of timeframes. So, I thought I’d worked everything out by 3 months and then when he turned 4 months old, sleep went haywire again. And I was asking myself “What am I doing wrong?”, “Is he teething?” (yes, he was actually – the teeth were moving under the gum), “How do I get him to sleep through again?”

It didn’t help that it was the heart of one of the hottest summers we’ve had in Adelaide for a very long time! But anyway, with a bit of perseverance, we got through it somehow (and it did help that Daniel was on school holidays, so he was here to back me up). Here is a good link with a bit more information about the 4 month sleep regression (and how to deal with it).

Next up, we had teething. Jacob was an early teether and his teeth were already moving around 4 months, but it was when he was about 5 months that his teeth actually cut through and we had a lot of tears (and a lot of Panadol). All the sleep routines we had were thrown out the window and a lot of cuddles were offered.

Anyway, when he was 6 months old, he was learning to crawl and probably had a growth spurt somewhere that ruled out all his 00 sized clothing. I remember when I was caring for him alone when Daniel was away on school camp, and I’m not sure why but he chose that week to put into effect his hourly wake-ups. It was quite a painful week, I have to admit, but we got through it!

And now, I believe we’re into the next sleep regression – the 8, 9, or 10 month regression coupled with a nap transition. So, basically he’s going through quite a few developmental leaps lately (and I notice them too – it’s really amazing). Here are a few things I’ve noticed happening in the last few weeks:

– He has sped up rapidly with crawling. Like, he’s pretty much walking pace if not faster. So if I put him somewhere and try to run off to do something, he’ll just catch me by the heel. When he’s in the bedroom (which is in the back of the house) and he hears Daniel open the front door, he heads all the way out there to investigate. I wonder if there’s such a sport at crawl-sprinting?

– He is always looking for me or for Daniel. If he sees me walk past the room he’s in, he’ll come looking for me because he knows I now exist even if he doesn’t see me. 

– Before, he would only say “Bababa” and “Gagaga” but lately he makes all these weird different sounds. It’s hilarious talking to him – he babbles things and does long “Ohhhhs” and “Aaaahhs”, or blows raspberries and makes rasping sounds. I love it when he’s noisy because I know he’s discovering new things that he can do vocally.

– He’s increased so much in coordination! The other day, I think he just discovered how to transfer things (in this case, a strawberry) from one hand to the other, and spent a good long time testing this theory. He also is much better at picking up things with his pincer grip, hence he can feed himself much more effectively now (unless he deliberately wants to squish something).

Aside from that, it seems as though he’s changing his own nap schedule. He’s been on two naps a day most of the time (and was relatively regular with them – 10.30am and 3.00pm) but now I’m finding he’s trying to skip his morning nap and will go down to sleep around lunchtime (which is a pain if he hasn’t had lunch yet, and then I end up feeding him lunch at 2pm!). But he’ll have a long sleep instead and power on until around 8 something at night. It’s still a transition so we still have struggles – I still try to put him down to bed at his old naptimes, but we can only wait and see what happens.

I read this resource which provides a bit of an insight into this particular sleep regression. This is another one from The Sleep Lady which helped me to pinpoint what he’s actually going through and how to handle it. This one is a blog post about sleep regressions in general, and I am looking to try some of her techniques (will report back on it later). 

If this all sounds like gibberish to you, don’t worry – if you’re not in that phase, I’d say don’t worry about it too much because really, there’s nothing much you can do to prepare for it (except to stock up on lots of chocolates and coffee). For now, just savour some beautiful shots (courtesy of mum in law) of Jacob playing in autumn leaves.

Image“Why are you not answering me, little angel?”

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“Maybe I’ll just chase the cat instead.”

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“You know what? Autumn is awesome!”

To all the mums out there – I wish you a restful night full of sleep and sweet dreams. ❤ Over and out (like a light!).

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Liebster Awards!

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To tell the truth, I’d never heard about Liebster awards before, hence why I was so excited to be given one! 🙂 I remember back in the day when we’d have to pass along questionnaire-type links via email or on Friendster (even before Facebook!) so this brings back memories. 

The Liebster Award is a blogger award given by bloggers to bloggers in order to broaden the blogging community. If you are nominated for the Liebster Award, you have a few rules to follow:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you
3. Nominate 11 other blogs with less than 500 followers
4. Post 11 questions for your nominees to answer
5.Tag your nominees & post a comment on their blog to let them know you nominated them
 
So a big thank you to Little Miss Prepared for nominating me and for leaving me a list of interesting questions to answer (and if you haven’t noticed, I’ve learned how to add a link. What a dumbo I was before, argh!) And here are the questions I was given!

1. Where is your ‘happy place’?

I guess I have a number of happy places (figuratively and literally), but I’d say my main motivations come down to three things:

1. Movies – Yes, I am that kind of person who can watch a movie and get completely immersed in its world. Particularly with epic movies like Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, etc. and some series like Game of Thrones. Call me an escapist…

2. Nature – I love nature – the more remote, the better. I love the sound of water, be it waves on the beach, rain on leaves or a waterfall gushing over. I love spring flowers and autumn leaves – and I’m sure I’d love the silence of snowfall, though I haven’t had much experience with it. Nature reminds me of my origins and of the Creator, and that’s probably the happiest place I could be.

3. Music – My happy place is somewhere between Comptine d’un autre été L’après midi and Divenire. Imagine a rainy day, with the wind blustering outside, and your fingers flying across the keys without even opening your eyes – because you’re not playing a piano, you’re singing it. It’s not just a song, it’s your soul dancing. 🙂

2. What is your favourite book?

Argh Bree this is a hard one!! There are so many books I love to bits. Probably my all time favourite is still Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. I think I’ve read that over 50 times (from the time I was about 10) – when you are that age and you are reading Harry Potter for the first time, you will sit by the post box waiting for your letter from Hogwarts. It didn’t help that I had owls living in my roof then!

I think I love that book because that’s where the journey of imagination began – before all the sadness and darkness, it was just a simple story about a boy whose mother sacrificed everything for him, but there still being a whole world of hope ahead of him. 

3. How many children would you like (can be in your ideal world)?

Ideally I’d like 3 – though I’d be happy to settle for 2. As long as Jacob is not an only child, that’s fine by me. 🙂

By the way, here is my little Jacob doing pushups in his pirate tent! I can’t write a blog post without posting a picture of him, haha! 

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4. How did you meet your partner or husband?

People say we are a match made in heaven, and funnily enough, we met each other at church. On our first date, we had coffee/hot chocolate and talked, then had dinner and talked, and had dessert and talked… and I thought, man, this guy’s going to make me fat! Haha! 🙂 We enjoy our indulgences. But honestly, I’m so glad we met at church because I wanted to be with someone who has the same beliefs as I do, and I’m glad we can bring Jacob up with this shared faith. 

5. What is your favourite part about being a mum/mom?

My favourite part would probably be having cuddles and smiles with Jacob. He has an infectious smile and no matter what’s happening, his smile makes me smile. I’m also blessed to have a teddy bear type baby, who is warm and cuddly all the time (plus he has soft fuzzy hair). My cuddle love tank is full to the brim and overflowing!

6. What is your favourite room/place in your house?

I actually really like my front garden, and the little staircase coming through it. We have lovely roses and lavender bushes growing, and it gets great lighting so it’s an awesome place for photos. Come to think of it, I took a photo there today! This is my new autumn outfit – okay, I admit that’s a spring skirt! I’m not very fashion savvy I guess, sigh…

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Okay, I know it’s not IN the house but I hope it’ll do! 😛

7. What was your reaction when you found out you were pregnant?

We were on holiday in Tasmania when I started feeling funny, so I bought a double pack as I was going to test twice – because once isn’t enough to convince me. I was actually a little skeptical when the first test was positive. We’d only started trying and I was like “No way!”. But the next day, we tested again and that’s when we started getting excited.

8. Were you hoping for a boy or a girl (or both in twin cases) and what was your partner or husband hoping for?

I’ve actually got to ask Daniel that one – I think he wouldn’t have minded either but is happy that we have a boy. We both initially thought it was a girl but were still over the moon when we found out it was a boy. And come to think of it, I always wanted to have a boy first (and then a girl). 🙂

9. What is your least favourite chore around the house?

Probably the one(s) that I never do! 😛 Out of regular house chores, the one I dislike the most is vacuuming (though steam mopping comes a close second). The reason – I hate cords! Even with an extension cord, I always seem to pull the plug out of the socket, knock something over or just trip over the vacuum. When I used to work in hospitality, I used to love vacuuming, but that was because we had backpack vacuums which you just wear on your back!

10. If you had to eat the same thing every day what would it be?

Hmmm… that’s a tough one because I’m always in different moods where I want to eat different things. Potato chips always go down well (especially just the plain salted ones). I must admit that, as Asian as this sounds, rice would be a fave of mine. When I was a child, I used to go out and just eat bowls of plain white rice lol. 

11. If you could go anywhere where would it be?

I really really want to go travelling all over the world, particularly to Europe and Japan, but not just the tourist attractions. I’m the kind of person who likes to live it like a local. So, I’d like to see back streets, little local joints where you need to know the local tongue to even find the place, etc. I’ve been sorta longing to see Ireland again (probably because I’ve been listening to Irish music lately), but anywhere in Europe is awesome…

 

The reason why this post is a bit delayed is because I couldn’t find enough nominees lol! Silly me for not blogsurfing more often – and I realise quite a few blogs I follow have more than 500 followers so I couldn’t nominate them! But here are my nominees!!

The Gwen Chronicles

Little Word Bites

Pianolearner

Great Little Stories

Grace

Don’t Smash the Piggy Bank

Small Steps, Big Picture

Voguezzz

A Few of My Favourite Things

Talking with your Mouth Full

Bump, Baby and Me

And the questions for you are:

1. Why did you decide to start blogging (and has this purpose lived on through your blogging career)?

2. What’s the weirdest thing someone has commented on your blog?

3. Who would you consider your idol?

4. Are you right handed or left handed (or both)?

5. Where were you born?

6. What is the most meaningful thing that’s happened to you so far this year?

7. If you were a cake, what flavour would you be?

8. What is your dream holiday destination?

9. What is your favourite nursery rhyme?

10. What would be your life motto?

11. If you had the choice of being born (again) into any family/place/circumstance, who/where/what would it be?

A pregnancy recap

I have indeed been rather random lately! In the last few days, I’ve been looking at old photos including those I took when I was pregnant. I admit that I had a good pregnancy and, despite the aches and pains, I sometimes miss that closeness with the baby a.k.a. the little alien under my skin.

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This was my pregnancy announcement photo and I have to admit I was arching my back to try and show off some sort of belly. I lost weight in my first trimester and I didn’t show til a bit later in pregnancy. It was quite annoying because people wouldn’t offer me their seats on the bus til I was in my third trimester, and even then, sometimes people wouldn’t move til I asked them to move.

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This was around Easter (so, like early April?) and I was about 4 months pregnant. Still not showing but looking a bit flabby. I tried to stay active during pregnancy – did pregnancy yoga in my third trimester, but I also walked quite a bit. On the day I was actually in labour (contractions were still quite far apart though) I went on a nice long walk with Skittles.

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In June, my workplace had a Casino-themed function and this was my only formal dress that still fit. I was about 6 1/2 months pregnant here (and had clearly put on some weight already). I had an issue with the slit of the dress as my belly kept pulling it up. It annoyed me that by this time, I could still not wear the maternity clothing I’d bought – it was still too big!

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In June, we also had my baby shower. I love this picture because, funnily enough, all three of the other girls in this picture are pregnant now! Not sure if there was something in the water…

WP_20130803_002This is a shot I took on my babymoon, where I was 37 weeks exactly. I was so blessed that I didn’t get stretch marks – it’s in my genes apparently. I put on weight on my thighs and hips though (as one would).

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And this was taken a day or two before I had Jacob. 🙂

Note to other pregnant mums reading – take lots of pictures because you are gorgeous. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. And don’t turn straight to daggy clothes – of course, wear anything you want when you’re at home, but don’t be afraid to do your hair, put on make up and dress up. Remember that you can (and should be) treated like a princess, though don’t be too demanding. Keep as active as your body allows you to, and remember that pregnancy is not an illness but a privilege. Be strong, because your baby needs you to be strong! 🙂 And he or she will love you unconditionally (as will you love him/her).

I know I was considered to have a good pregnancy, but it still came with ailments like tiredness, morning sickness, dizziness, susceptibility to colds (which I don’t usually get), sore joints, sore ribs from the baby’s position, interrupted sleep and, of course, labour and having a baby. I wouldn’t trade my pregnancy experience for the world.

And all that resulted in my little gorgeous boy, who is kinda a big deal:

WP_20140105_006The next time I check in, I’ll be in Melbourne! 🙂

Sleep and the lack of it

Last night wasn’t too great a night for sleep – I think daylight savings has thrown off Jacob’s body clock a bit. I don’t really understand how daylight savings works too, so maybe it’s me who’s not adjusted properly.

Testament of this lack of sleep is this:
I was out walking the dog and carrying Jacob in his Bjorn, when I met a guy with two dogs who struck up conversation.

Him: How old’s yours?
Me: One and a half years…
(He gives me an odd look)
Me: Ohh, you mean the baby!? Sorry, two months…
Him: Aw, that’s okay. We just had one – he’s only 10 days.
Me: Congratulations!
Him: Thanks – what have you called him?
Me: Skittles. Oh wait, that’s the dog. Sorry. Jacob.

I think he probably figured I was a bit out of it (or thought perhaps I liked the dog more than the baby), so he left soon after. Oh dear.

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Jacob clearly has no issues sleeping though. Anyway, speaking of sleep – it was something I always thought I could do without, or at least steal a bit from each day.

My first all-nighter was when I was 10 or 11 – we had to write a novella for English class and my inspiration only came the night before it was due. A lot of Nescafe was consumed that night (yes, I’ve been drinking coffee since I was in primary school). I also spent many a night staying up writing stories or songs – once the idea hit me, my brain would not shut off.

Then I went to high school & college, where there were quite a few middle-of-the-night phone calls, web-surfing to the wee hours of the morning or just sitting in bed contemplating the future. Of course, there were also times I got caught up reading a really good novel or watching an entire season of anime (like 30 episodes in a row)…

At Uni, I had my days of clubbing and coming home at 8.00am – also, assignments took significantly longer and once I was on a roll, I wouldn’t stop til it was done. I remember once after a long stint of not sleeping, I KO-ed around 8.00am and woke up at 9.00am the next day. It was very disturbing.

But I think I turned things around when I met Daniel. I eventually learned that normal people actually sleep at night, and a good amount of sleep is about 8 hours each night. It took me a while to stamp out my bad habits, but now I’m a full-on advocate of sleeping well at night.

Well, where am I going with all of this? I just thought that I’d be better at handling the lack of sleep, seeing I have a long track record. But no – this fragmented sleep pattern is making me little scatterbrained, a bit moody at times and a bit less productive.

But I think it’s all worth it – waking up next to the man of my dreams is pretty worth it. XD

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However, for mums-to-be (or mums-right-now), here are some ways to cope with the lack of sleep – I haven’t tried all of them but I really should sometime:

1. Talk about it – rant, rave, let people know that you’re struggling. You’ll find that you’ll get a few more supporters in your plight.

2. Sleep when baby sleeps – if baby has a nap in the day, take this opportunity to sleep too. Jacob doesn’t usually sleep for more than an hour at a time, but it still helps. My problem is I have daytime insomnia – when I was in play school, the ladies would pat my bum to try to get me to sleep to no avail.

3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew – Don’t try to take on too many responsibilities. If there’s anything I do wrong, it’s not saying no to everything that people want me to do. But saying no will evidently give me more time to relax, and more time with my cute baby (so it’s not always a bad thing).

4. Eat an apple instead of having a coffee – if you need to wake up, don’t pump your body with caffeine! An apple’s great and it’ll prevent that caffeine crash you have later in the day.

5. Get someone to help out – don’t be afraid to delegate. I sometimes get Daniel to change Jacob in the middle of the night (which is usually a bonus for him, because that’s when Jacob is bright and gurgling).

Enjoy the rest of the day, everyone! 🙂