Self-help

Who's tired? I'm tired. I thought everything was under control (in a limited fashion) and then a whole bunch of stuff fell off the track!

Yesterday was supposed to be Primal Scream Wednesday, but then the Wednesday babysitter (the "spirits ambassador") gave me less than a day's notice that she couldn't work Wednesday. And all our other babysitters were sick or working, and this is my kids' dad's super-crunch week at work, so I was the one who went in for 90 minutes and then took a personal day, featuring no posting access.

January 4 is going to be a relief.

Anyway, feel free to post a primal scream if you want. I'm instead going to try to think of what could make my day (and next two weeks) better *that I can actually control.* I know–novel.

Here's my list:

* more coffee

* suck it up and power through the 3-4 crappy work tasks that I need to finish but that keep getting pushed to the back burner

* accept help when people offer it! My MTTh babysitter invited us over for dinner tonight so I wouldn't have to cook! She's a peach. Other people have been offering nice things, so I'm going to accept.

* focus on what I'm doing, while I'm doing it. Don't borrow trouble.

What could make things better for you right now, that you can control?

131 thoughts on “Self-help”

  1. Less internet time – more work time.Less tv time – more Christmas prep time.
    I need to find a way to show my DH I appreciate him. He has been completely awesome the last few months, but I’ve been pretty wrapped up in my own crap and can tell he is feeling under-appreciated.

  2. *Take everything one day at a time…especially as we push through ridding our household of stomach flu.*Like @jac, Less TV time, more Christmas prep time. Thanks to the flu, I’m more behind than ever. Home sick still today, but L is back at daycare. So, tree, here I come.
    *Giving myself permission to cancel my first overnight trip to celebrate a friend’s 40th. She’ll be disappointed. I would have liked to try a night away – oh the sleep! But trying to make it work at this point could tailspin us back into sickness the whole Christmas break. Which would be worse. Much worse.
    *Write a love letter to my DH, whose 14 year transplant anniversary I completely forgot until I read his FB status update 2 days later. ARGH. How does this happen? OK, well I had the stomach flu, but still.

  3. Stop having unrealistic expectations that a 38 year old man who has acted like a 14 year old for the 7 years I have known him will suddenly start acting his age. He won’t. I need to get over it and lower my expectations.I am learning to face head-on all the uncomfortable, stressful realities of my financial situation, and am discovering that if I just focus on the most immediate problem, I am much less stressed. So to try to just think about what is right in front of me, and worry about the stuff that is coming when it arrives. I am also discovering that slowly, these problems that seemed in such an impossible knot are unraveling and getting solved in this manner.
    I am accepting offers from friends to bring dinner and wine/beer over to my house and allowing me to sit and bitch all I want. I have a wonderful group of friends. I normally don’t like to “bother” people with my problems, but I can’t afford therapy. So my friends are stepping in.
    I am constantly amazed by the feeling of good fortune I have, despite all of the shit going on in my life. I feel truly lucky and hopeful on many levels and have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. I want to allow myself the time and space to revel in that feeling. It feels wonderful.

  4. More help at work. I care for research animals, and they don’t take holidays…but everyone else does! which leaves me with a lot to cover over the holidays.But I’ll make it through, I always do. At least I can look forward to a week off to start the New Year.
    I could use hot chai/cocoa, some lovin’, and a really thoughtful gift from hubby to make things better.

  5. “* accept help when people offer it!”That! That! That!
    We’ve had some really great offers, and we are trying to figure out how to take people up on them.
    I need a primal scream, so I’m going to go ahead with that:
    We are having a rough week, and it’s likely going to get worse before it gets better. Project Wean Baby From Swaddle and Move Into Nursery has begun. I’m not sleeping any worse than I was so far due to the project, but the 2.75 yo? Is of COURSE going through one of those very fun periods of disequalibrium, affecting our days and nights. Hubby and I are zombies and still have to work all day. I’m getting little done at work because I simply can’t think straight.
    Oh, and even with medication, I still hate the winters. Stupid SAD. Someday I’m moving to Florida.
    Thank goodness the inlaws are in town and helping and my family has offered to help.
    This too shall pass. It’s all just a phase. It’s a short time period in the grand scheme of things. Yada yada yada.

  6. @caramama…come to California! I need a Moxie friend out here. Cloud is about 2 hours south of me I think, and we need more Moxites out here! Today it’s supposed to be 72 degrees.

  7. Yes to less internet time, yes to accept help when people offer, and for me, find a way to make friends and be willing to share my troubles with them.Along those lines, I have sort of promised my daughter that we could have a Christmas get-together/carol sing thingie at my house, and it’s a double edged sword because who would have a party if they wanted less stress? But isolation is very bad so maybe it will be less net stress. I don’t know. I haven’t invited anybody yet and it’s getting awfully late. Whenever I go to write the email I think about trying to get the house clean for people to come over and the wind goes out of my sails. So, encouragement for that would be most welcome!
    Also, I’m seeing a dr. today about possibly getting antianxiety or antidepressant meds. Sigh, disappointing, but maybe it will help.

  8. I’d like to let out a primal scream on behalf of my 27 month old who had three fall down, arms swinging, legs kicking, tears streaming meltdowns from the car into his daycare classroom this morning. His emotions are big, his body is small and why oh why can’t everything just always go his way??? And why did I have to forget a hair tie on this morning of all mornings?I’m leaving to go out of town for the weekend tomorrow and am stressed and I swear he’s picking up on my anxiety even though I haven’t said anything other than he’ll be spending the weekend with his brother down at Nanna and Poppa’s.
    I’ve just got to relax and trust it will all be okay.
    And I can post this here because no one I know reads this – my partner just realized that next weekend is Christmas and the nine year old should be with his dad since it falls on his weekend. Except she’s made plans for all of us to be down at her parents including the nine year old. Only she hasn’t run this by his dad. Who has never spent a Christmas weekend with his son since they’ve been divorced. And last year at this time the police were called over threats of not bringing the boy back Christmas eve as planned.
    Relax – let it go. Not my fight. Breathing.

  9. @Julie – Oh, how I wish I could. I dream of moving to San Diego. Unfortunately, hubby hates to fly and we like to visit our families pretty often. Families in Maryland and Virginia who also visit us and help us out so much.But someday… It’ll be Florida or California for sure!
    BTW, I think lowering expectations is good advice for a lot of different areas in life, especially around the holidays. It can be hard to do, but so worth it. I’m constantly working on that.
    Also, what you said about taking care of one thing at a time reminded me of something my client said recently. He said, “Figure out what is important and what is urgent. Take care of the important things first. The urgent things will take care of themselves.” It’s really true, if you think about it. And even though this was at work, he meant that the important things were family and health (based on our discussion).

  10. Caramama, “Project Wean Baby From Swaddle and Move Into Nursery” made me grin!I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said “I’d rather be here now” and that made me smile, as well. So that’s my mantra for today and tomorrow as we leave on vacation on Saturday. Only other Moms understand the stress of getting ready for a vacation with the kids! So much to do, this week my head has been spinning. I’m just trying to be present and also keep in mind that this is GOOD stress. Preparations for a happy time.

  11. @maria – have people over! Straighten a little and don’t wory about the rest. It’s always more fun than you think it will be and the benefits of singing/laughing with friends far outweigh the temporary stress of worrying about how the house looks. imo.

  12. My son is 19 months old and doesn’t quite get Christmas yet — and it’s the first one without my mom. This is the last year I can be half-assed about the holiday and at the same time give myself a break to grieve a bit. I plan to take full advantage.Also, it would help if I’d just learn to expect the passive aggressive crap from my mil. If I expect it, then it won’t throw me as easily and hook me into the drama. So the plan is: make my boundaries, expect some childish retaliation, understand that her son will not recognize it, restate the boundaries. Repeat.
    And my big sister will be here for a week. I can’t believe how much I miss her.

  13. I’ll just pipe in with my issues – I feel like Christmas is passing right over us. We have the tree and lights up but we haven’t really had time to do the fun stuff like go to see the Christmas lights, etc. In fact, we really haven’t done anything Christmas-y this month. And it is almost here so that makes me feel sad, overwhelmed and this feeling of urgency of finding the time to do some of those things…On a happier note, my husband and I have been seeing a therapist and really seems to be working. A side result of that is I’m trying out anxiety meds (I guess I am well overdo). First one wasn’t a fit (made me soooo tired and then I was an emotional wreck). Just started the new one and it made me completely spaced out yesterday. I’m scared it won’t be the right one either. I am really hopeful that I could find the right one by New Years so maybe that could help me start next year off on such a positive note. It is all this work (therapy with my husband, pyshc appointments for me, etc.) that is taking our time from the holidays but I guess in the scheme of things a functional/happy marriage and a healthier, more normal mom are the best gifts we could give our kids and ourselves. Problem is neither is here yet, we are just in the middle of all the work to get there.

  14. @caramamaI’m definitely going to mozz myself here, but Zoe ‘seems’ to have turned the corner. She has just blossomed of late and has become a pleasure to have around ( which she was not up until a week ago, believe me). She plays by herself, has become accomplished at jigsaws, she reasons like an older child. And her sleep? Let me say, there has been a world of change here (and she was a really really atrocious sleeper this past year)
    This has been a confirmation that it all really is just a stage. An exhausting, torturous stage, but something that does end, eventually. And in my experience, just around the kid’s birthday, if that helps ( her last really awful stage ended miraculously just after her second birthday lastyear).
    Just hang in there baby.
    So as a result of the above, I’m the happiest I have been for the last 6 months!!!
    I already have what would make my day better.

  15. @the milliner – good idea re: love letter! When we first started dating (11 years ago this month! holy crap!) we wrote love letters all the time. It’s probably been 8 years since I’ve done that.

  16. @maria…a laundry basket or several and a garbage bag…Don’t sort just dump, and hide it somewhere else. Done. Trust me on that…my house is the messiest and we have tons of company because of my husband;s job. Then at some other point you can sort the basket, which is less overwhelming anyway then sorting from the floor. Any other imperfections…well, I just say that I am lowering the bar, so that other people can feel comfortable with their realistic looking homes. It’s not nice to raise the bar high and make other people feel bad, right?

  17. @maria – Do it! You’ll be so glad you did. And don’t stress over picking up. Just shove it all in a closet and deal with it later. Isn’t that what everyone does? Oh, just me?@mom2boys – Your son and my daughter both! Tuesday morning, she had 3 meltdowns while getting ready for pre-school, including one of EPIC proportions (why? Because I brushed her teeth anyway! Heaven forbid!). It’s a tough stage, but we’ll get through it. And the 9 yo… not your fight. Just support in whatever way is best for you guys and help your partner through it, but you can’t fight that fight.
    @Rudyinparis – 🙂 Good luck prepping for the vacation! I’m sure it’ll be worth all the stress.
    @mo – You’ll get there! Keep trying the meds until you find the best one. Glad to hear that the therapy is helping.
    @paola – Yeah for being the happiest you’ve been in 6 months! That’s awesome! We are nearing the 3rd birthday (in March), so I’m hoping we turn a corner soon. Thanks for sharing how it’s been with Zoe!

  18. I took a vacation day yesterday to get a bunch of little things done yesterday and had another mom and her kid over to decorate Christmas cookies. The kids were not interested but the mom and I had a blast.I called an actual, real live, person on the phone, and facing rejection, asked her to do something. And she said yes. Swoon. And she decorates a mean cookie. Her Thomas Trains look like Thomas trains. Mine look like a blue #1 with a smiley face.

  19. And I hardly know her, but I didn’t really clean before she came. I made sure it wasn’t disgusting, but it was cluttered and the counters weren’t wiped, but I just ignored it (I did wipe around the toilet because with boys in the house….even I have standards).

  20. Well, I’ve made a dorky invitation, and I can’t fit everyone from my daughter’s class (who are basically the only people we know around here) in our house, so I’m just leaving some people out, and I’m going to eat some lunch before I send it and commit myself.I’m having a lot of doubts… no one will come, it’s too short notice too close to Christmas, people don’t like singing, blah blah blah. I’m trying to not listen to those voices.

  21. @maria- a variation on @Chaya’s basket clean up is one of my permanent organization mainstays- cheap cloth bins (like this: http://www.target.com/Fabric-Storage-Bin-Dark-Large/dp/B0015E7RMY/sr=1-2/qid=1261071019/ref=sr_1_2/191-7042664-3828262?ie=UTF8&search-alias=tgt-index&frombrowse=0&index=target&rh=k%3Abins&page=1). I store toys and other random junk in them. So cleaning up is just a matter of “pick it up and throw it in a bin”, and the bins go on shelves or under our footstool tings and the room looks neat in minutes.@Caramama- oh yes! Move to San Diego! But in all fairness, LA is sunnier. We have “May gray” and “June gloom”- but you can always drive inland for some sun.
    Anyway- I hope the sleep situation improves soon.
    @Julie- we should totally set up a SoCal Moxie Meet Up some time. Maybe we could meet in the OC and pull from both LA and SD. I think there are a few of us out here.
    My self help- just forgive Hubby for his recent snarkiness. I know its just lack of sleep. There’s nothing there to talk about, so I should just let it go.
    Also, we need to reinstate Friday night beers on the sofa to give us time to catch up with each other. The chores can wait.

  22. @Chaya – “well, I just say that I am lowering the bar, so that other people can feel comfortable with their realistic looking homes. It’s not nice to raise the bar high and make other people feel bad, right?” I LOVE IT!!!@SarcastiCarrie – That is awesome! Sounds like such fun, too.
    @maria – Yeah! Send it!

  23. @mom2boys – “His emotions are big, his body is small and why oh why can’t everything just always go his way???” I LOVE THAT! A perfect description of my 18 month old too.@caramama – “Project Wean Baby From Swaddle and Move Into Nursery”. That totally made me smile. I feared Project Wean Baby From Swaddle. A lot. Swaddling worked so well for 10.5 months! But in the end, we transitioned in about 2 weeks total, and it wasn’t a nightmare. Sending courage your way. And sunshine. It’s snowy and really cold here, but bright.
    @maria – Do it! Do it! Do it! Totally agree with the net stress theory. Laughter removes so much anyhow that you may end up in negative stress. Take all the shortcuts you need to. All you’ll remember later is the fun time you had (not how clean & tidy your house was).
    @mo – I know exactly what you mean about xmas. I’ve been feeling the same way. I’m trying now to focus on doing more Christmas-y things as we can for the next 1.5 weeks, and to not try to catch up on All That Was Not Done. Not worth the stress, and if we try to do too much, we won’t have fun doing anything.
    @Elaine – Had the same thought – that this is my last 1/2 assed year of holiday celebration (L is 18 months). My only excuses are lack of organization and forgetting that things take at least 3x longer than I think they do in my head. So, cheers to you on giving yourself a (much deserved) break.
    OK, now back to decorating the Xmas tree.

  24. @cloud – that would be a blast! I wonder why no one in CA is purchasing Moxie’s work product which would require her to come out here and train. Moxie deserves a Southern California vacation.

  25. Primal whimper here… My 7 m.o. was up almost all night with a cold. Wrestling her with the bulb syringe should be a new sport. DH moved into the spare bed so that I could try putting DD to sleep on her bouncy chair on the bed (so she could be somewhat upright). It worked… until mommy laying curled around the chair fell asleep and stopped rocking it. Pulled her back into bed with me and managed to get about 3 hours consecutive. Took my lack of sleep out on DH this morning (why did he get to sleep in the spare bed?? oh right, I have the boobs). The upside is that it’s made me realize how much sleep I must be getting normally to feel this crappy. I’ll get through it.Heading to spend holidays with huge east coast family (both DH’s and mine) and dreading being under a magnifying glass with said family for how we’re raising DD (she’s STILL in bed with you? are you feeding her AGAIN?). Upside: I have a great (if slightly nosy) family to spend the holidays with.
    What can I control? My attitude!
    @SarcastiCarrie – “blue #1 with a smiley face” cracked me up!
    @Maria – Don’t listen to the voices! Maybe invite just a few folks? Keep it small, intimate, and manageable, but festive enough for your LO?
    @Elaine – hugs to you. Be kind to yourself this holiday… and good luck with the boundaries. I hear you on the passive-agressive stuff.

  26. That I can control…hmmm….to just do my job and not stress about whether or not I will still have it in a few months.To take a minute and appreciate what we have and just be grateful for a warm house, family, healthy kids, great pets.
    To come to a decision on putting our house up for short sale or not.
    To apply for as many jobs as I can, and contact as many new publications as I can. Just because most people aren’t even giving me the dignity of a response won’t mean that no one will, right?

  27. I need my little one to sleep, for me, for him, for my marriage. We’ve tried everything reasonable and we are left with weissbluthe(Sp) after two weeks of no momma from 12ish to 6ish he still wakes up 3-5 times per night, the longest he’s slept since his 4 month sleep regression is 5 hours and that has happened 2/3 times. Its just killing me, I feel like I’m failing him somehow. I don’t know what the right thing to do is anymore, he is better on the nights where he does do better so I do think he has been sleep deprived, he’s not teething….I’ve read all the books tried different techniques and am just lost on this.
    Other than that feeling very grateful for my family, friends, we are so fortunate really really fortunate!

  28. **To not borrow trouble. Tomorrow’s evil is sufficient unto itself. TODAY is what matters. Right here. Right now. The past is over. Finished. Done. We are different now. The future could be ANYTHING. No day but TODAY! (sing it with me)**Also, for those of you following along at home, the OB prescribed some antianxiety meds for the “PMS paranoia” problem. Trying to be patient for them to kick in, but feeling confident that they will help.

  29. @Elizabeth – Just sending you big hugs and much commiseration. I wish I had answers, but alas, we’re in a similar boat.And no, you are definitely not failing him. Quite the opposite. For some reason, this is the way it needs to be for now.
    Sending good vibes your way for many more 5+ hour nights in the near future.

  30. Oh, and can I just say that I hate putting the lights on the tree. I love the way they look after, but what a pain in the ass.

  31. I need to be in the moment more, not stressing about work or Christmas instead of sleeping, just for example.@MrsHaley – no day but today, indeed! I love that show and hope your meds are helping.

  32. @elizabethWhen we sleep trained our 7 month old with a modified CIO method, it took us a whole MONTH for it to work. Have you seen any improvement at all? We managed to cut the ‘wake up every 40 minute’ thing out after 3 nights. This encouraged us to proceed. Your LO might just need a bit more time.
    Good luck.

  33. Ah, that I can control? I need to resolve right now to just deal with the fact that Mr. C’s family doesn’t make plans. So when I suggested to his mom that maybe it would be fun to do something or go somewhere special while we’re in LA for an entire week escaping from our remodel, that didn’t mean she would go find ballet tickets or plan a day at Disneyland or something. They just don’t. We’ll have fun, we just won’t know what it is in advance.And I need to focus on my job and engage with my boss even when he’s annoying. He’s a good guy and it’s a great company and great situation, I just need to check back in.
    And I need us to be well for, oh, a couple weeks, maybe, universe? Not that I can control that but…
    @caramama, almost 3 drove me BONKERS; in fact I think it was that that first made me write to Moxie for help. I think it’s a time when they gain tons of capability but they don’t know that they need to tell you about it, so if you help put on a jacket that they actually (since yesterday) learned to put on themselves, then donnybrook ensues. Hang in there!! It will get much better.

  34. @caramama, almost-3 kicked my ass up, down, back, and sidey-ways. (Actually, 2.5 to 3 kicked my ass, but almost-3 was a particularly kicky time.) We are just around the corner from 3 (birthday: Dec 8th) and Holy Cow! Unbelievable difference. Just in a week. We still get meltdowns, I still don’t do things right, but it’s like there’s a different brain in there — one that can hear what I’m saying, and understands that if he listens, and tells me what’s bugging him, maybe we can fix it, or maybe not, but if not mum will give him a hug and sometimes that is ok too. That sounds slightly incoherent, re-reading it, but I guess what I’m saying is, it’s like someone installed the logic upgrade, and now you can actually reason with him. He still doesn’t always like it, or get why X can or can’t happen, but he gets that there are reasons and that those reasons are important somehow. Oh and also? OMFG, he’s sleeping. And he’s started being very, very deliberately funny. I’m in love with 3. (3.5 is going to hurt, isn’t it?)

  35. I stayed home from work today because I’ve been pretending that I’m not as sick as I really seem to be. My shopping isn’t done (with my deepest loves left hanging) and I don’t have the energy to pack for the 800 mile trip on Saturday. I’d sob but then I start to cough and oh l-rd am I tired of that.I want to have a sincere holiday, which DH is with until he sabotages it.

  36. @Elizabeth- big hugs. I am on the other side of that time now, but I remember the desperation I can read in your post. Hang in there. Your son will eventually sleep.We tried so many things, and except for the nightweaning we did at about 10 months, I don’t think anything we did made much difference- our daughter just eventually figured things out on her own. We pretty much gave up and just concentrated on solving the problems that her poor sleep created rather than trying to fix her sleep. That was at least less frustrating. Good luck. I hope you all get the sleep you need soon!
    And thanks to all of you posting encouraging words about the 2.5-3 yo time period. It is kicking our butts now, too.

  37. to all you parents with children at the 1.5 – 3 yo time period — all I can say is: either my daughter NEVER went through that stage (insert sarcastic laugh here) or time has healed those scars because I truly do not remember those tough years.As far as my primal scream — it is on-going. I am two-weeks behind on Christmas. I was on jury duty for 6 weeks starting Oct 27; had to cancel my vacation at Thanksgiving time (which is when I normally start the Christmas process) and have been behind ever since.

  38. @elizabeth – how old is your little one? My DS never recovered from his 3 month sleep regression, but his sleep got markedly worse around eight months. It was killing us and the ped recommended CIO (because of the specific pattern of worsening inconsolability). Anyway, we did it and it worked miraculously and quickly (3 nights). But I think CIO works when the baby is at the right age (and developmental stage). Between 3-8 months we just suffered. He didn’t sleep at night he didn’t sleep during the day. But post 8 months, beautifully, every night + 2 day time naps. Genius. Lasted until well, 17 mos and the dreaded regression.

  39. Primal scream (of fear and frustration): My just turned four year old was evaluated for language delays. His brilliant preschool administrators decided it would be a great idea to do this after he’d attended the school for a grand total of 10 days (and was going through adjustment issues as a result.) Then they plunked him down with a large male speech pathologist he’d seen one time before the eval, so of course he didn’t speak as well or respond to a lot of questions. He was marked down on a bunch of questions that he responds to quite regularly around the house and in surroundings with which he’s familiar. Now they’re trying to force an IEP on us without so much as meeting with us, his parents, to discuss interventions we could try at home first!I am so frustrated! They’re basically trying to jam the whole process down our throats before the holidays because of their deadlines!! I am certainly not arguing that he doesn’t have speech issues – he does, and I’m the one who told them so when I enrolled him. But he’s also quite bright, so declaring him severely behind in language skills when he spells about 100 words on his own and learns more each day, reads stories to us happily every day, and is never happier than when learning new words makes no sense! I want him to get appropriate help, but I don’t want him getting a label that will follow him around for years!
    If anyone can help, I’d appreciate suggestions. Thanks!

  40. @CaraMama – If CA doesn’t work out for you, come to CO! We get 300+ days of sunshine, which works miracles for SAD.@Maria – Did you send it? Please tell us you did!
    So my primal vent is this: I HATE when people offer help, but it’s specific and conditional and not at all…helpful. Like when someone comes over to help with a 2.5yo and a 10 wk old b/c your DH has been gone all week and by 1:30 she’s sent 115 texts, popped a percocet and had a glass of wine. Next time when I say no thanks, I’m gonna stick to it, hurt feelings or no hurt feelings.
    I also get my panties in a bunch when people have opinions about my children – Oh, she looks so tired. Shouldn’t you be putting her to sleep? – especially, ESPECIALLY when said people don’t even have children of their own. I’ve got this under control thankyouverymuch. We went to a dinner party last week where only two other couples were married and no one had kids and I wanted to shove a serving spoon into my skull and twist it slowly.
    In other news, apparently we’ve started PLing. DH told 2.5 yo that he’d take a bath with him as long as he didn’t pee in the tub and that’s turned into peeing in the WeeMan 2-3 times a day. I’m not getting excited and hopefully my reluctance to spend my days inquiring about a certain penis and it’s mood will further propel his desire to do this on his own. Xmas miracle in the works? Let’s hope so.

  41. @cassieblancaWhat 3.5 year regression?? NO, seriously, I’m dreding that myself simply becasue I know my daughter isn’t as easy going as my son, who, BTW, sailed thru it without so much as a whimper. Bottom line: it really does depend on the child.
    @nej
    sorry, but what does PL stand for?? I know it has something to do with peeing, but nothing more.
    Oh, and I could do with new batteries for this damn mouse! Not a single charged one in the house.

  42. @ Maria – way to go. Hopefully you’ll be swooning like SarcastiCarrie (loved that description, by the way). Let us know how it goes.@monkeymama – Good luck with the relatives. My mantra is some version of “It’s not your call.” As pleasant but firm as possible.
    @ anon today – congrats and hang in there.
    Is it just me or is this thread starting to feel like our own little party? I picture us all in sweats and slippers, hanging out in someone’s messy house (mine will do). The milliner and I are in the corner toasting the last year we can let some things slide.
    Maybe it’s just me. Maria’s caroling get-together is catching.

  43. @Suzanne was just thinking of you and wilhelmina and feeling bad for not checking in for a bit ugh the holidays! Thanks for your sweet words, I know you understand! Have you sent in Daddy yet at your house?@Paola, yes we’ve given all the methods weeks and we have a really solid routine he is just really stubborn and wants his momma. He has shown some improvement, going down awake, sleeping 3 hours for the 1st stretch of the night, 3 hour chunks have been the norm for the last several days and are better than the 90 min. ones but he is almost 15 mths old now.
    @Cloud, Thanks for the encouragement! One of great reasons why this site is great:)

  44. I have a primal whimper. I’m 8 or 9 weeks pregnant (shh…it’s still a secret:)) And my husband is out of town for the week while I’m a SAHM for my 3yo DD. I am seriously running out of steam. He’s also going out of town for 2 weeks straight in January, and again, pretty much a week a month until this little one is due (and depending on how his funding works out, he may end up on a 10 week out of town project about 10 weeks after #2 is due). The worst part is that he’s not really happy in his job – too much bureaucracy and travel! *ugh*Things I can control – that I’m acting like a recluse b/c I suck at keeping secrets. I need to get out more and see people outside of my computer:)

  45. @maria, GO YOU!! That is awesome. Have a fabu time.As for me, ye gods, I need to use my work time to, you know, FINISH MY WORK rather than screw around on ye olde Internets. I am taking comfort in the fact that yesterday before starting work I had 7 stories due by EOD Monday. As of this evening, it’s down to 3; my plan is 2 tomorrow, then 1 on Monday. (Speaking of which, @AmyinMotown, are you looking for FT edit jobs or freelance? If the latter, we should chat offline.)
    And then there’s my mother and newly in recovery father spending Xmas with us. I honestly never thought they’d accept the invitation – we’ve lived in Northern New England for 12 years and they’ve never once come up for the holidays. So this is (mostly) good but also, ye gods, anxiety producing.
    And whomever was asking about 3.5? Ummm, just enjoy whatever sanity you have RIGHT NOW… just don’t take it for granted. 😉

  46. @Elizabeth – Well, we’ve sent Daddy in a few times, but haven’t started doing it every night (or at least every weekend night) yet. We just keep hitting hiccup after hiccup. The latest being the stomach flu for all of us. Daddy went in many times the night I was the most sick. Went OK, but as L had the whole flu thing, I had to keep BF him in small increments as it was the only thing he could keep down. And now we’re BF a lot more as he’s off cow’s milk until the resulting diarrhea clears up. Was supposed to go out of town overnight (so Daddy would be IT for 24 hours, along with daycare) but I’m still feeling sick and can’t bare the thought of the extra work it will take to prepare, so I’m probably going to cancel. Not to mention the fact that our big plan was to have Daddy do nights for 3 or 4 weekends leading up to the big weekend away, and in general, those haven’t materialized.On the up side, DH has been going in more to do wake ups, and I’ve gone out to a few dinners and things at night so I’ve had some me time. And, we actually had a friend come babysit to go out on our second date ever since L was born. (Naturally, he didn’t even wake up for the 4 hours we were gone).
    On the down side, I think L is going through the 18 month sleep regression as he wakes up a lot easier and is harder to put back down now. And is much more upset when he does wake up. Oh, yay. When the regression first started, I was pissed. But now it’s like, oh well, watcha gonna do? Who knows, maybe for you 18 months will be the switch to sleeping through.
    Wasn’t sure if you & Wilhelmina wanted to keep in touch by e-mail (or if the board is still up and running), but if you do, e-mail me anytime at suzanne[dot]sixdegrees[at]gmail[dot]com.

  47. A little encouragement for those of you with 1.5 year olds and crappy sleep- I was there this time last year.And then, not long after she turned 2, Pumpkin started sleeping through the night. In her very own bed. I have no idea why, but for us it coincided roughly with the move from crib to big girl bed.

  48. i won’t primal scream, but i will wave to all of you whom i’ve missed so much! it has been hard to keep to my “cut back on the internet and get some work done, woman” resolution (and i went on twitter instead to vent and get my fix), and we’ve had a ton of stuff going on here that has almost forced me get off of the computer anyway. construction nearly done! chapters written and waiting approval! inhome caregiver for my uncle! the list goes on and on!but i think about so many of you so often and wonder how you are, and stop in from time to time just to read up and catch up and miss how things were but am happy that so many of us have journeyed through and shared wisdom for so long that i always always can touch back to this community and feel good.
    anyway if i don’t have the chance again- the happiest of all holidays to all of you, especially you, moxie, and may 2010 be better for all of us in every way. xoxo.

  49. Ok, things I can control.* Try to meet my stressful work goals bit by bit rather than thinking about the whole and melting down from how impossible it seems. (Yes, I’ll be working all through Christmas break).
    * Spend quality time with my husband when we have extra hands around to play with DS.
    * Focus on how much fun it is to watch DS experience Christmas for the first time all over again. (And it’s supposed to snow tomorrow! Yay!)
    But I do need a primal scream, ya’ll:
    It’s the same as always – the 18 month sleep regression is KILLING ME. Last night he was up at 11, 3, and 3:40, then my DH miraculously got him back to sleep between 5-6. Neither of us did. At 3:40 he started crying (he was in bed with me). I was so tired and sickandtired that I started snapping at him, “Oh for God’s SAKE, STOP CRYING.” In my defense I can say I did not yell at him. But still: parenting fail. It only made him more upset. And when DH came and took him away he became hysterical. My theory is that he was convinced I was mad at him and he couldn’t stand to be apart with me mad.
    And second, I am still very very nauseous most of the day. And so very tired of it. So much Christmas goodies!

  50. @Suzanne, I will email you post holidays and will see if we can get Wilhelmina to join in, I believe she was interested in keeping in touch. I’m glad you made the initial plunge and got a date night, I’m sorry for all the sickness!! We had a set back from a cold and that broke my heart can’t imagine nursing a flu sick babe… I think the personalities our LO’s have just don’t jive with conventional sleep methods and I’m just not really willing to NOT go in at all and let him think he is totally alone, so maybe time will get us there in the mean time 3/4 nights per/wk if I get a 4/5 hour chunk downstairs I can survive. Still feel bad for him though:(Big hugs and will talk soon.
    @Erin
    M. is almost 15 mths old, is a super sensitive teether and while he did sleep better at night pre sleep regressions he was a 45 minute napper for a loooooong time so I believe his brain is just wired a little different. He does nap for now 90 minutes and nothing we did got him there so I suspect the same will be true for the nights.
    Okay gotta run heading out of town, scared crazy!!! He’s gonna be like what the @$@$#@%# is this pack and play!!!

  51. @paola – It took me two days, but I think I figured out that PL is potty learning. Maybe?I watched the SNL Holiday “Special” for a few minutes last night while folding laundry. I wanted to see “Gerald Ford” knocking over the White House Christmas tree, but instead, I got to see Adam Sadler tell me who is Jewish (Goldie Hawn! Harrison Ford! All 3 Stooges!), which was even more fun. Plus it’s fun to come up with things that rhyme with Hannukah. Like harmonica and marijuanica.

  52. @toninaJust repeat my mantra…”I am the mommy. I have veto power over everything” Get them to hold off until after the holidays.
    That goes for well-meaning in-laws too. I have veto power over everything.
    We had a bit of a situation over Thanksgiving when my FIL let my 5yr old dd ride on the back of the golf cart– full of kids–a 10 yr old driving– over grass and rocks on the farm. Without my permission or knowledge until I saw them out the window. I had visions of her smashed little head. Nobody got hurt, but man. When bro-in-law (the dad of 3 of the kids on said golf cart) said I needed to loosen up, I got all in his face. “When you wait 20 years to have a baby, you can be the paranoid, controlfreak, overprotective parent. In the meantime, butt out.” Yeah, fun times.

  53. @the milliner – I was estimating about 2 weeks for our swaddle transition, so it’s nice to hear that’s how long it took you. It makes me feel like I’m being reasonable! And I make hubby put the lights on the tree (and hang them outside) because I also hate to do it.@monkeymama – “Wrestling her with the bulb syringe should be a new sport.” Haha! And so true.
    @AmyinMotown – Keep at it, girl! Job searching is so tough, but surely something will turn up if you keep working at it!
    @elizabeth – We had a REALLY tough time with my daughter from 3.5 months to 9.5 months, and again from 11 months to 12 months, and again from 13 months to 18 months. Things did get easier. But it’s so tough to go through, and sometimes NONE of the techniques work. What got (and is currently getting) my husband and I through the tough times of sleepless nights and cranky days is that we kept (and keep) reminding each other that we are cranky because of lack of sleep. That we will get through this. And that we need to try not to take it out on each other. Good luck!
    @MrsHaley – I am following along at home (haha), and I’m glad to hear that you got some meds to help you. I hope they do the trick.
    @Charisse – Thanks. We are trying to hang in there. Luckily, she is so much fun and so amazing that there is a bright side to this age. 🙂
    @Cassieblanca – That helps me see the light at the end of the tunnel! I can’t wait until that improved logic kicks in! And the SLEEP! Wooo hooo! But yes, my guess is that 3.5 is going to hurt! haha!
    @Kathy B. – 6 weeks jury duty? Yikes!
    @nej – CO = Colorado, right? Isn’t it cold there? Hmmm. I’ll have to look into that. And I’m with you on the unhelpful help and assvice.
    @anon today:) – Congrats on the pregnancy! It must be so hard with your hubby out of town so much. I wish you the best of luck getting through it all.
    @maria – YEAH!!! I hope you have a great time.
    @pnuts mama – Happy holidays to you too! I’ll have to follow you on Twitter, now that I realize you are on. I’m not on very much, but I’m trying to get on more.
    @Erin – I hear ya on the snapping something that just isn’t helpful and it makes things worse. I try to remember that the next time I want to snap something, but in the middle of sleepless nights, it’s tough.

  54. @caramama…I’m with you on the move to Florida. 3 of the 4 people in our little family are summer people (hard to tell about the infant yet, but I bet she will be, too). My DH is a surfer, and living 3 hours from the ocean *kills* him. His stopping point is leaving behind family…er, I’m ok with that. ;o)My 9m.o. DD’s sleep habits are crushing me. She was up 7 times last night. 7! Both of my kids’ sleep was/is so crappy that I never really noticed the sleep regressions…it’s all sort of been one long sleep regression.
    We don’t do CIO, although I will let her fuss a few minutes on the off chance that she’ll fuss herself to sleep (rarely happens). Just can’t figure out if this sleep thing is me or my kids. Is it me? Is it them? Would they be better sleepers with different parents?
    I feel like I’ve investigated everything out there about sleep, and none of it really helps. My almost 4y.o. is sleeping better now, so I know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but dude, that tunnel looks reallllly long right now.

  55. @meggiemoo- its them, not you. Evidence: Petunia sleeps fairly well. Pumpkin did not. We haven’t done anything differently. They are just hugely different in the their sleep behaviors. Petunia can be put down awake and will sometimes cry to be put down so she can go to sleep. Pumpkin always needed to be bounced/rocked into deep sleep. Petunia wakes up and smiles at me. Pumpkin used to wake up and scream for food.I will say, though, that the crushing misery of the 7-9 month period with Pumpkin is what convinced me to try nightweaning at 10 months, and to my everlasting shock, it sort of worked. We got her to drop down to one feeding per night, with maybe one other middle of the night wake up (the details are fuzzy in my memory). After getting up with her 5 times a night, only getting up once felt terrific! We nightweaned by sending Hubby in instead of me until it was time to nurse, and slowly pushing back the time until the first feeding. It took some serious bouncing from Hubby, but I remember being shocked at how easily Pumpkin gave up a couple of feedings.

  56. @Cloud & @Julie: I’m in the OC!! I’m more a lurker than a commenter, but I do chime in here and there. So, I’m chiming in. Come to the OC!

  57. Not a primal scream today, just a huge thank you to the moxie-ites who have mailed me Christmas ornaments. (see my comment from the Primal Scream post Dec. 2 for background story.) It is incredibly heart-warming to receive treasured ornaments from your collections to help me re-build mine. What a wonderful community we have here. Thank you all.

  58. @Cloud – I tried that father-led night weaning stuff. It worked the very first time we did it (and then never again). Bobo would just fuss and scream, then fall asleep in Dad’s arms, then be put down and wake up again to fuss and scream and fall asleep, repeat repeat unti it was tim eto eat, then eat and be put down AWAKE not to be heard from again for at least three hours. And this was at 10+ months old, so he should not have been hungry, but I guess he was.Not at 13-months, we are experiencing a new kind of hell weaning from breast to bottle. (And continuing the futility of trying to figure out which combination of things actually matters on the sleep front. We’re now sleeping in a sauna trying to recreate the temperature at grandma’s house. We’re feeding forumla before bed, and now I am convinced that there is such a thing as a “lucky sleeping binky”. Ha!)

  59. @SarcastiCarrie- yeah, that sounds a lot like how it went for us, except Pumpkin just stopped waking up before “feeding time”. Every time we moved the feeding time back, Hubby pretty much had to hold her until it was time to eat. It sucked for him, but it only lasted a few weeks, whereas I had been getting up 3-4 times a night for months, while he got up once (he did one bottle feeding in the night). So I felt bad for him, but not too bad.The fact that I couldn’t get rid of that last night feeding until much later convinced me that some kids really are hungry in the middle of the night.
    I’ll buy the “lucky sleeping binky” idea- Pumpkin certainly had “favorites”, and once she was able to talk, would throw fits until we found the favored binky in the middle of the night (“NO!!! I wan’ the ORAN one!!!”) Good times.

  60. @Cloud, SarcasticCarrieI was NEVER able to get rid of that last night feeding ( in fact I resorted to calling it the First Morning Feed, making me feel a whole lot better)until I weaned completely at 30 months. Kids just know it’ll come. In fact, with no. 1, the moment I weaned him abruptly at 17 months, he must have sensed he wasn’t going to be nursed anymore, ‘cos he stopped bothering to wake up at 6.30 for his ‘first morninig feed’. They really do just know, don’t they.
    Oh and @meggiemoo, it really is them. I have a great sleeper, the best and a bad sleeper, the worst ( of all our friends I mean).I wish everyone could have at least ONE child who would sleep for them.. Perhaps you simply need to try for a third!

  61. @paola…LOL! Yes, maybe my sample size is just too small! I would go for a 3rd, but I’m approaching too old and DH had a vasectomy, so…I was really hoping the 2nd would be a sleeper after the horrid sleeping of the 1st, and in the beginning, she was pretty awesome. Then she must have realized the milk bar was open all night long and decided to take advantage. Maybe that’s how I should look at it…my milk is just too good to pass up. Hahaha….

  62. @paola – I think I could handle a ‘first morning feed’. It’s the feeding before midnight that kicks my rear end like nothing else. I am so disoriented when I’ve only been asleep 45 to 90 minutes. And then, our ‘first morning feed’ is at 4am. It’s like living with a giant newborn.

  63. @paola – PL is potty-learning. I cloth-diaper and the cloth-diapering community calls is potty learning instead of potty training. I think it’s funny because it makes me the potty “teacher.”@caramama – yup, CO is Colorado and while we do have some cold days, it’s actually pretty nice in the front range. I’ve been outdoors in long sleeves all week. 40 here feels like 60 somewhere else because of the intense sunshine. But then if you’re in the shade, it feels like 30. So we stay in the sun.
    And I’ll pipe in with “it’s them not you” on the sleep front. E was a craptacular sleeper. Did I say was? I mean is. And apparently will always be. B, at 10 weeks, is starting to fuss a little bit more to sleep, but for her that means instead of just falling asleep without a peep, she now fusses for 30ish seconds before crashing. God, I love her.
    And E didn’t sleep longer than 2-3 hours till he was 14 months and 4 days. I know exactly when because it was the day we finally weaned completely. My MIL had warned me that his father had pulled the same BS with her and sure enough. Like father, like son. Can’t live with them, don’t want to go to jail for shooting them.

  64. @SarcastiCarrie- the “giant newborn” comment cracked me up. And I totally agree about the disorienting feeling of being jolted awake too soon after you go to sleep. I have a funny story along those lines…Pumpkin doesn’t wake us up in the night much anymore. A few nights ago, she woke up and wanted me, so she yelled “Mooommmmeeeeee!” I jarred awake, and spent a good few seconds looking over at the cosleeper in confusion, wondering when my 2 month old had learned how to talk.

  65. Things that would make my day better that I can control:* 10 minutes of intense exercise every day (like running or something to get the endorphins going and force out that growing lump of Christmas anxiety)
    * melted cheese on toast with lots of pepper
    * limiting TV time (Morning kids’ TV is sapping my will to live)
    * more cheese on toast

  66. ooof. I found out from my four year old this morning that my ex introduced him to his girlfriend last night. A girlfriend I did not even know existed, despite the fact that we had an agreement to wait 6 months into a new relationship to introduce our YOUNG kids to that person.So I need to get a grip and remember that I cannot control him (yes, same 14 year old man I referenced above) or who he chooses to spend time with while my kids are with him, and that he did this to get a reaction out of me, which was successful. I need to not let his future attempts of getting a reaction out of me be successful – both for my mental health but also for the mental health of our kids. I think my reaction this morning (not over the top, but definitely surprised and angry that he had breached our previous agreement without discussing it with me) was probably worse for our son than the actual introducing our son to some new girlfriend. I need to remember it’s not what he does, but how I react to it that matters with my kids. My kids are looking at me for how a real adult behaves. They will figure out soon enough that their dad is incapable of behaving like an adult.
    But oh my God, I was f*cking pissed off this morning. Further evidence that he is truly a self-centered, passive aggressive and really incredibly immature human being.

  67. @ everyone on sleep. Nightweaning was definitely the key to my DS sleeping through the night. I tend to talk about letting him cry, but it was in conjunction with closing the nighttime all-you-can-eat bar. After that, we started having one early morning feed, and that was in when it was dark out. But I have been VERY lucky because my son has always been easy to wean – we’ve weaned in stages, and he’s acceded gracefully to each stage. Though he weaned *himself* off bottles when I tried to supplement him with formula. He was so p*ssed off about the formula he blamed the bottle! So he’s been on a cup since 12 mo.@ caramama and losing my temper: the hardest struggle I have as a parent are those moments when I know – I can see myself from a distance – doing the wrong thing, the thing that will make the situation worse, and I can’t stop myself from doing it. Sometimes I can get a grip, but usually in those moments my irritation is overpowering. Luckily, it’s not all the time. And I’ve noticed a pattern – night wakings 1 & 2 I can deal with pretty well; #3 pushes me over the edge every time. And he will NOT let daddy get him in the night.

  68. @carmama: The swaddling remark cracked me up, because I know EXACTLY what you mean! My son was one of those infants who couldn’t sleep without being swaddled. By the time he was 7 months old, it was July and he was sweltering in our un-air-conditioned house and wiggling free of the lightest-weight swaddle I could find. I had to get figure out a way to get him to sleep and to stay asleep, because he wouldn’t go to sleep if you just put him down in his crib in the swaddle. No, I had to let him fall asleep with me and then try to set him down in the crib without waking him. Our house was very close to our neighbors’, so if he freaked out with the windows open in the middle of the night, it woke both households!We finally gave up after a month of that routine. Coincidentally, we went to house-sit my mom’s air-conditioned house out in the country at this time. My husband and I finally hit the wall and just set him down in his travel crib. He freaked. He screamed for four hours without cease. It was just horrible. I felt so awful, but we’d tried to wean him from the swaddle other ways and nothing had worked. He finally fell asleep. The next night it took two and a half hours and I had to do it on my own. That was just hideous. The third night it took 45 minutes. After that, he fell asleep within 10 minutes, stayed asleep all night, and he never cried again at bedtime. I felt pretty awful at the time, but it really did work.

  69. Hit the gym. Just once. Then again a few days later. Then again. I can get childcare for 90 minutes once or twice a week. Surely I can control that! Life will be better with a few work outs.

  70. @meggiemooNo.2 was pretty awesome herself as a newborn ( slept 12 hours at 6 weeks until the 4 month regression!), and in fact her sleep after we sleep trained her at 6 months (not 7 as previously mentioned) was pretty good until 20 months when it went right down the gurgler. So, 16 months of waking up 4/5/8? times a night!! Not every night, but most.

  71. @Julie- Real adults get angry sometimes. I think your 4 year old can understand that. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Maybe just explain that you were surprised and reacted to that?@Julie, Julieta, other SoCal Moxieites- I’d love to do a meet up. I’ll try to organize something after the holidays. I am, however, going back to work in January, so forgive me in advance if it takes me a while to do it! Anyone who lives in the OC- you have any ideas where to meet? You can email me at wandsci at gmail dot com.

  72. I need another primal scream: OMG!!! Another really terribly crappy night in the caramama household! I honestly don’t know how much more of this I can take. These children have GOT to sleep! This boy has got to stop nursing all freaking night long and fall asleep some other way and STAY ASLEEP!Thank goodness for the inlaws. I’ve been up since 5:00 this morning and did not sleep longer than an hour at a time (mostly less) during the night. Hubby was in our daughter’s room for half of the night. My inlaws are now watching both kids so I can take a nap and hubby can relax (he can’t ever nap).
    @Elaine – “Is it just me or is this thread starting to feel like our own little party? I picture us all in sweats and slippers, hanging out in someone’s messy house (mine will do).” I love that image! I’m feeling that way, too–that is, when I actually have a chance to come back and catch up.
    @meggiemoo – Our stopping point for moving South or to CA is also family, for both me and my hubby. I’d probably do it anyway if it was just my family, but hubby hates to fly and is very close with his family, too. Oh well. When the kids are a little older maybe…
    @SarcastiCarrie – ” It’s the feeding before midnight that kicks my rear end like nothing else. I am so disoriented when I’ve only been asleep 45 to 90 minutes.” That’s me too!
    @Cloud – I’m hoping to start sending in hubby, too. Problem is that he gets pretty loud, and we want so badly to NOT wake up my daughter. But last night when I simply couldn’t take it anymore (it was already pretty horrendous for me by 10:00!), hubby went in and was able to get him to sleep and put him in the crib! It was a first for him with this kid! It only lasted 20 minutes, but that was par for the course all evening to that point anyway. We are hoping to have my daughter stay at my parents the weekend after Christmas and really work on ways for hubby and I to get him to sleep without me having to nurse everytime. And “wondering when my 2 month old had learned how to talk” was very funny!
    @paola – I wish we had one that slept for us! But honestly, because of the chance of having a THIRD bad sleeper, I really am done at two.
    @nej – “Can’t live with them, don’t want to go to jail for shooting them.” Bwahahahah!
    @Julie – I would be SO PISSED OFF! In fact, when I read your first sentence, I stopped reading the rest to check the name and blog address to make sure it really was you posting because I knew the whole seperation/divorce thing was so recent. I can’t even believe he is already dating and introducing them to the kids! INSANE! But good for you realizing that you are the only real adult that your kids have to look to. Good luck with curbing your future reactions.
    @Erin – That’s the worst! Knowing you are doing the wrong thing but not being able to stop yourself! I”m not suprised that you say it’s the 3rd night waking pushing you over the edge. It can be so frustrating. I’m usually pretty good at catching myself the minute after I’ve yelled or something. Then I do a deep breath and try to start over. But what can you do? I can’t be perfect 100% of the time. I’m trying for hedra’s idea of aiming for a “B” in parenting.
    @Tonina – You tried for a month and it didn’t work?!?! Oh crap! It must have been tough to go through the cold turkey de-swaddle, in the crib, but it’s good to hear that it only took four nights!

  73. Things I can control:+ Stretch, particularly back and legs (9 mo boy is 25+ lbs! Twin sister not far behind).
    + Plan weekday mornings to address children’s needs, so I can address my own more easily. Understand I won’t always avoid a double meltdown, but can be ready for work when sitter arrives.
    + Try to sort out where I need to provide structure, where I need to be flexible with the twins. They change so rapidly.
    Thankful for:
    + Two great weekends with the twins, where we could go out with them and spend time with adults. Each time they made it look like having twins is easy.
    + The children sleeping better for a couple of weeks after six weeks of colds, fevers, teething, traveling, double ear infection, and who knows what else. Only up once during night.

  74. @caramama: reading your second primal scream made me realize how spoiled I’ve gotten – this sleep regression is nasty, but it’s nothing compared to garden-variety little babies don’t sleep! I’m trying to brace myself, since I’m due with #2 in May. I wish you some blocks of sleep for the holidays!@ Wm G – on flexibility and structure, absolutely! My DS is a toddler now, so I’m constantly asking myself another version of that question – 1) am I turning this situation into a needless power struggle? and 2) Does this really matter? I have a lot of sympathy for all the “no”s in his life (No you can’t stick your finger in the electrical socket, no you can’t climb on the table, no you can’t put the pen in your mouth or have a sip of daddy’s wine) and try to keep them to a minimum. It’s such hard work trying to figure out how to be in the world!

  75. @caramama – ACK! Up every hour and then up for good at 5:00? Unconscionable! Sending you what good sleep vibes I can (though, with the sleep record in our house, you may not want my vibes…).@Erin – “1) am I turning this situation into a needless power struggle? and 2) Does this really matter?” Yes! And thank you for reminding me to ask myself this. I gave my husband a hard time for getting into a pointless battle of wills with our 3-yr-old last week (and not being the grown up and backing down, or being respectful and figuring out a solution that would make both parties happy), and then just this morning I had my own HUGE battle with said 3-yr-old to get his fingernails clipped. I regret that I didn’t just shelve the whole thing and do it some other time when tempers (his and mine) weren’t so high. It is so easy to get locked into thinking that once I’ve said something needs to happen it *must* happen, come hell or high water, or somehow my kid will be “getting his own way”, which must never happen. Ehem. I think that means my “Thing I Can Control” needs to be: Learn to be a little less stubborn, already.

  76. @Cassieblanca – I know. Sometimes it seems like something *must* happen and furthermore that we should be able to *force* them just to do it. In reality of course, trying to force often turns a simple situation (putting on shoes, letting go of dangerous object, etc) into a screaming mess. Making myself be patient for five extra minutes makes all the difference between screaming and happy compliance. And yet even though I know this, sometimes I just want him to do what I say!

  77. The British weather and my unwitting self have conspired to make my Christmas preparations so much easier, ahem.We’re in a small apartment in the East End of London with no snow and no ice. North London and then all the counties around us have for our standards thick snow ( 6 inches) which turned to ice very rapidly after falling last Thursday.
    England is not set up for it, it happens to rarely to make getting snow ploughs etc. a reasonable purchase for the local authorities. They do in Scotland where snow happens a lot more. So it’s abandoned cars on roads, the Eurostar Channel Tunnel grinding to a halt, no mail in villages, lots of power cuts and we’ve got nothing in central and East London.
    We’ve got a sweet house in a village that I part-inherited and sort of timeshare with the other beneficiaries and we were due to have my perfectionist vision of the English Country Christmas for those who live in the town (-;
    Real tree, real fireplace, real front door with wreath and lights, the meal and the trimmings, the stockings, the festive outfits. The cute and not grumpy toddler, bwahahahahaha.
    And me one tired elf with a daughter in the big birthday to come sleep disruptive stage. Not a card sent yet etc.
    But in a fit of preparedness we took down the festive outfits and presents and decorations and the other kit the week before to make travel light this week.
    It’s too dangerous to go now, once it thaws for Christmas day ( traditional that, next cold snap when everyone goes back to work)
    it will be too late to get anything ready so we’re having the urban festivities.
    With a tiny tree with tiny lights, a small string of lights in the window, no presents bar some stocking fillers for the nipper and no festive outfits to iron.
    She’s too young this year to have Santa fever and she loves having daddy at home for the first time this year and there’s lots to do around the city and there’s lovely food to buy. It isn’t all bad at all in the self help department.
    All three of our birthdays are between the middle of January and beginning of February and we’re all set for presents. They weren’t wrapped yet anyway (-:
    Elizabeth and Suzanne, I think of you both often, sorry the sleep is not better yet, and yes, I want to keep in touch! I’ll email when I can.

  78. @ALL THE BRAVE PARENTS STRUGGLING WITH SLEEP ISSUES!I have been there. I have oh so very been in the trenches, where nothing seemed to help, including 7 count em 7 attempts at sleep training with a baby who just screamed herself hoarse each time without ever going to sleep, and a week-long admission with my then-16 month old daughter to a sleep hospital.
    When she was 20 months old we discovered the “Failsafe” diet, which cuts out salicylates (including most fruits, sadly), amines, preservatives and additives and had her miraculously sleeping through the night within 3 weeks. The diet was developed by the Australian Royal Price Alfred Hospital’s allergy unit and changed our lives. Further information on the relationship between diet and sleep here: http://www.fedupwithfoodadditives.info/factsheets/Factsleep.htm.
    Really, really worth a shot, especially if your baby “jack in the boxes” (keeps bolting awake), takes forever to go to sleep, or has night terrors or prolonged screaming periods during the night, or if your baby’s sleep got worse after starting solids (bad sleep after 6 months is not always a sign of an 8 month sleep regression), or babies who seem to be teething for months/scratching at their mouths, or who have “sticky poos” or poorly formed poos or other poo-related weirdness, or who have eczema or asthma or family history of same, all of which can be key symptoms of intolerance, and ESPECIALLY IF YOU HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING AND NOTHING HAS WORKED.
    For my daughter, the main problems have been salicylates, preservatives, and additives. Amines not so much of a problem except for some set foods like banana (NOOOOOOOOO!). It turns out that in trying to be healthy and give her fruit snacks instead of biscuits, we were repeatedly shooting ourselves in the foot sleep-wise. Worth a note for North Americans: a huge trigger food for my daughter is corn.
    Of course since going on the diet with my daughter I’ve realised that my own digestive problems, which I had blamed on wheat, were the fault of the tomato I was invariably eating with it (pizza, pasta, etc) – clearly she inherited her salicylate sensitivity from me.
    In short, as we all knew, CIO is not the be-all and end-all and not all sleep problems are related to settling issues.
    Happy holiday season to all, no matter how you celebrate it, and may we all have a lovely silent night or two!

  79. @Loz, I agree that diet is a huge sleep disrupter, and corn intolerance is both tricky and underdiagnosed (including corn allergy) – often underdiagnosed BECAUSE it is so tricky. Fructose Malabsorption, same thing – ANYTHING that disrupts GI function can set up fermentation in the gut, and that blocks triptophan absorption, and low tryptophan means no serotonin or melatonin. No melatonin, no sleep. They need HUGE amounts of soothing to get to sleep. And some of the nursing may be hunger, but some for some kids may be just because the IgA in breastmilk coats the gut and reduces inflammation. My kids mainly sleep ‘normal’ with their proper diet, and ‘abnormal’ off it. Though my most sensitive child was a great sleeper, so it is definitely not 1:1.@Erin, sometimes it is just that we have so-so skills for a certain age (or that we at that age were parented in a certain way, or that we forget what that age is really supposed to be capable of). I find this is going on with us (again) as our kids outgrew our parenting skills one more time. Miss R in particular, as she’s a totally different child than the others. She knows how to work anything into a power struggle that she can win. Her time scale is twice mine, so by the time I’ve waited for her to be ready (which she will get to), I’m way past my internal limit. AHHHHH! We’re narrowing in on what she really needs from us in response, but it is still not on target yet. I recall the same time period being hard with Mr B, too, as I had to change goal, strategy, tactics, and techniques entirely across the board. But we did get more success with him, and I think we’ll get there with Miss R, too – and you will, also. But just so you know, I’ve been in the midst of doing something I know will fail with Miss R and have not been able to stop myself, either. KNOWING that it is the wrong track but being stuck not knowing what else to try or do. Choice between action and NULL (not even inaction)… I end up with action, just wrong action. GAH! Fortunately, my kids will push that until I notice (or maybe fortunately I notice when they push it?), and then we take a step back and form the alternate plan (I usually have to read a book to get through this stage, even if it is a book I already have – just as a way to sustain myself while I reform my parental shape to match the shape of the parent they need).
    @Sarcasticarie, there’s a reason we go to bed at 8:30 or 9 – in part because night nursing is less miserable when I’ve been down more than 45 minutes. Okay, so we still do it (because I can sleep in if it was a bad night, or get up at o-godawful-AM if it was a good night, and do chores then). And nobody nursing anymore. Still get the odd vomiting or potty incidents disrupting things, and apply the extra sleep time then. We basically decided that the only way to tell if it was a good night or a bad one was in the morning, so that was the only place we could add or remove sleep hours – and that meant that bed time had to be early on the front end.
    It was weird going from night-owl to morning person (I’m still NOT a morning person, but coffee helps), but I’m way more a SLEEP person than a no-sleep person. People at work look at me like I’m crazy, at least until I explain. If you track your child’s longest sleep pattern, then match up to that with the priority to try to get at least one 4 hour stretch for YOURSELF, and 7-8 total, you may be able to find a way through to the other side of the sleep issues.
    More in a bit, hopefully – I’m definitely doing the ‘less online time’ thing, and it helps a little, given how crunched the rest of our lives are. Priority is to maintaining the rest of our lives, at the moment, and given how run over we are by having a child outgrow our parenting skills (how come that is so hard EVERY time? sigh), I don’t have much time to give online… (though I miss it, too)

  80. @hedra – “Her time scale is twice mine, so by the time I’ve waited for her to be ready (which she will get to), I’m way past my internal limit. AHHHHH!” Oh Hedra, how do you always manage to hit the nail so squarely on the head? That is definitely, definitely what goes on with me and my 3-year-old. I go in all prepared to be respectful, to find a way of doing things that makes us both happy, to let him be pissed off at having to [clean his teeth, put his clothes on, get into bed, insert your own detested thing here] without trying to make him un-pissed-off. But! Then he just still doesn’t do whatever the thing is. Or at least, he doesn’t do it right away — or within the timescale that my internal clock says is reasonable — and then *I’m* pissed off, and start pushing him, which makes him resist even more…and then we’re spiralling down into a mummy-and-me meltdown (fun for all the family!). Sigh. So, how DO you manage to not get impossibly twitchy when Miss R takes twice as long as you think she needs to mentally get to wherever you need her to get to?

  81. My mother-in-law spanked T over the weekend while he was staying with her. She knows I don’t spank him. She confessed to doing it because she figured the nine year old would tell us at some point. I just don’t even know how I feel or what to say/do.

  82. I do enjoy going to bed at 9 pm. And I sleep until a child wakes me up (or a time I call “the time of no return” where I have to get up to make it to work). But something has to change here because a primarily formula-fed 13-month old does not need to get up 3 times overnight to eat. I am trying to be zen about it (trying). I figure he needs 24-32 ounces of formula/breastmilk/milk per day and I need to make sure he gets that during my waking hours so he doesn’t need it overnight. It’s just not working. I do not have the temperment to let him cry (but my huisband does). Do I take the big kid away for Christmas and let Dad handle it?For anyone looking for high fructose corn syrup-free egg nog…I checked the national brands, I checked the local brands, I even checked the “natural” brands, and they all had HFCS (as an ingredient in something called “egg nog base”). Our store does not carry any organic egg nog. However, of all things, Lactaid egg nog does not have HFCS (I’m guessing they can’t use “egg nog base” because it has lactose in it). We don’t have any lactose issues in my house, but we do now own Lactaid Egg Nog.

  83. @SarcastiCarrie – MIL in spirit , if not the law. It’s my partner’s mom and she, my partner, is sitting the fence. She supports my decision to not spank him, but she has spaked her son, our nine year old when he was younger, so she doesn’t feel the strong objection to spanking that I do. I don’t want to debate my parenting philosophy with my MIL who thinks I’m raising a tyrant b/c I ask him which shirt he wants to wear in the mornings and b/c I don’t just make him cry himself to sleep. They are good grandparents otherwise and T really enjoys spending time with them. We will all be at their house Christmas weekend and it’s going to be so uncomfortable.

  84. @Julie – The silver lining to this dark cloud? It is sad validation that you made the right decision to divorce him. The kids will get it someday, you’re absolutely right.@mom2boys – You must be so upset! And feeling like you suddenly have no say in how your kids are treated! I confess I don’t have a lot of restraint in these matters. What I’m about to say is definite assvice. If anyone spanked one of our kids, we’d be grappling with the knee-jerk reaction of treating it as reportable abuse, and then letting the chips fall where they may. But the fact that this is your MIL?! So complicated. Oh, why did this have to be your MIL of all people?? My thought is “Christmas is cancelled – you can’t come lady!” Seriously.

  85. @Cassieblanca and @hedra – Oh, the differences in our time schedules! I hear that. Especially in the mornings when I need to get us all ready for the day and out the door. The way I’ve been dealing with it is by trying to get my daughter to do something, and when she’s not ready, I go get myself ready (or partially), then go back and try her again. I find that this works better than keeping at her. It gives her time to get used to the idea and me time to get myself ready without sitting there waiting for her.@Erin – Sometimes it’s harder to go through the sleep regressions with older kids, because we expect them to be sleeping better or they WERE sleeping better and we’re not used to being up so much in the night. So those suck too! I really really wish you an easy, good-sleeping #2! Especially after such a tough pregnancy.
    @Loz – I keep wondering if it might be diet that troubles both my kids and their sleep. I’ve YET to do anything about it, even though I’ve talked about it and gotten good advice from hedra. Now that I’m at a breaking point, I think I will really truly do something about it this time. Thanks for the reminder and incentive. After the holidays, we will start eliminating things from our diets.
    @mom2boys – WHAT? It doesn’t matter if she doesn’t agree with your parenting philosophy. You (and your partner) are still the parents. If you have decided no spanking and she knows that and she did it anyway… well, I think that’s the bigger issue than whether or not spanking is right/wrong/good/bad/whatever. Can you explain it that way to your partner and then both of you talk with your MIL? Good luck over the weekend!
    @SarcastiCarrie – Oh, girl. I feel your pain. We’ve finally come up with a plan. The weekend after Christmas, my 2.75 yo is going to stay at my parents while hubby and I try to extend the feedings for the baby. Since he is just 6 months, we won’t push it too much, but I HAVE GOT TO get more sleep. Perhaps you could do the same with your 13 mo?

  86. I have a baby that wakes up every 30 minutes all.night.long. Totally wears me out since I have 3 other children at home as well.

  87. Thanks for the support. I am isolated with this issue. She’s not an easy woman to get along with and I am not good with confrontation. And he is a tantrum inclined two year old. But my ability to get along stops dead at the point where it meets my desire to protect/raise my son. So I’m stuck. Over Thanksgiving we stayed at their house and bedtime required its usual effort. I heard her outside the door say that I should just spank him and be done with it – at that moment I chose to just lay down with him and go to sleep rather than have to discuss her problems with my methods. But I never thought she’d take it upon herself to do it. Obviously there won’t be any unsupervised overnight trips to Nana and Poppa’s anytime soon but in less than a week we’ll all be there for two nights including BIL and his family and just ugh!!@Hush – The thought has crossed my mind but the guilt if I tried to cancel Christmas would be never ending.

  88. @SarcasticCarrie,Ouch, I hated 13 months. My daughter had a pretty nasty set back in terms of sleep at this age. And milk volume went up too ( I remember, this is when I started losing weight again). It went on until well after she started walking at 13 months, in fact this was my explanation for her bad sleep. Hope it gets better soon.

  89. Well, the party was supposed to be yesterday. And I got dug out an hour beforehand and raced to the grocery store only to get stuck halfway in my driveway on the way back. Really really stuck. So I was trying to shovel out, unable to move my car an inch, the back end sticking out into the street… Nobody helping me, people walking by and pickup truck after pickup truck driving by with hearty capable men in them, not helping me.And nobody showed up to the party. I was Pitiful Girl. It was a lot like my 10th birthday party, which nobody showed up to either, but with automotive stress added in.
    I know everybody was snowed in and it was right before Christmas and everything, but honestly my feelings were a little hurt.

  90. @mom2boys – We had a similar issue with my in-laws. We saw one of them being over-the-top mean to one of our kids. Our answer was no more supervised visits at all. This was hard for us, because previously they helped us a lot with babysitting.At first we didn’t tell them, we just were always there for visits and stopped asking them to babysit. When they noticed and asked about it, we said something along the lines of it being a lot to ask, the kids were a lot of work, concerned it was too tiring, etc. When they said that they felt that they could handle it, we said we didn’t feel sure because of what we had seen. (And actually, all of this was true. It was their tired, weak-moment reaction. And even though we definitely have those too, this was more than we could live with.)
    We left it at that. It has been a couple of years, and still they haven’t been alone with the kids for more than about 15 minutes. They ask sometimes, and we just say we are still not ready.
    Between you, me and the interwebs, we will never be ready. You don’t get to say evil things to our children (without apologizing to them!!) and still get to see them unsupervised. Not gonna happen.
    I am sure they spanked when their children were little, but I think they know that would be the end of even supervised visits.

  91. @maria – I’m so sorry. I could so relate to your indicision to decide to have the party in the first place. It is scary putting yourself out there and I was so impressed that you went for it. And I’m sure (if you are anything like me) right after you sent the invites, your stomach was tied up in knots a little. But you were excited at the same time. And then to have no one show up (even if the reason was completely legit) that really bites. I’m so sorry. I’m sure it will make it even harder to go for it and throw a party the next time.@mom2boys – I am so sorry. I avoid conflict like there is no tomorrow too. My MIL and I got along so well pre-kids but when my boys (twins) were babies, my husband and I elected to do some CIO and my MIL was over and she kept inching toward the door like she was going to go ahead and go in. It was hard enough to go through the baby crying but to have to manage her at the same time (my husband had to tell her that she could not go in there and to leave it be), made it so much worse. She’d mummble all the time about how swaddling was bad, how could we wake a sleeping baby to feed them, if they were crying why weren’t we automatically stuffing a bottle in their mouths, etc. It’s been really hard. Probably would have helped our relationship if I had been able to talk to her but I never could. We’ve “gotten past that” now that the boys are past infantdom but our relationship has never been the same. Good luck during Christmas… hope it isn’t too tense for you.

  92. @maria – Well, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t take it personally (actually, I would, but I’ll tell you not to), because really, a snowstorm. I will assume that they were all stuck in their driveways as well. I will also assume that they did not call to let you know they weren’t coming because they assumed you knew they weren’t coming (or were out in the driveway with a snow blower). It does kind of blow though.Bobo (13 months) is learning to walk. I guess I hope it gets better once that happens. My husband keeps saying we need to do something about it but then the night comes and we do the same thing we’ve been doing. Ugh. Maybe a Christmas miracle.
    The sad thing is I sometimes think I would like a 3rd baby, but then I remember, I could be like hedra and wind up with twins or wind up with a 3rd non-sleeper.

  93. @mom2boys – Well, it’s a difficult situation, that is for sure. Good luck handling it with grace. I’m sure we could find some Miss Manners response that could be delivered icily and get the point across nicely.

  94. @mom2boys – I’d be tempted to tell her that assault and battery is a crime. But only tempted. Wishing you a fairly uneventful Christmas!@maria – It was the snow! If some would-be guests live close enough to walk, invite them over again. Everyone needs a change of scenery when they’ve been snowed in a day or two.
    A pox on all those heartless pick-up drivers. How rude.

  95. @mom2boys- I’d be furious, too. I don’t know what I’d do, but I know I’d be furious.@SarcastiCarrie- I think you’re right and its the learning to walk thing. Or at least that is what I’d be telling myself. My approach has always been to wait until the proposed solution doesn’t sound more painful to me than the problem. Which is why we never really did CIO. Usually, things would magically get better right about the time I was hitting my breaking point.
    @maria- definitely the snow.

  96. I need a primal scream!!!!!!!For the love of Christmas, why oh why oh why does my DH think that it would be a good idea in the future to do the following plan for the holidays after we start spending Christmas morning at home next year when our son will be 2 years old (up to this point we rotated back and forth with his side and my side of the family and didn’t really have any of our own little traditions):
    Drive 2 hours north to take part in his family’s Christmas Eve traditions, including the candlelight church service that isn’t over until 8pm. Then drive 2 hours back afterward, praying our son (and any future kids) fall asleep and don’t wake up when we take them up to their beds). Then we set out all the presents for the whole Santa thing, get up early with our kids for our family traditions, then drive 2 hours north again to see the same people in his family and stop to have Christmas with my family too.
    And why did he mention this idea to his mom!!! (Who we already had a battle with over holiday plans this year and is big into the drama around the holidays!).
    He’s normally so logical and practical, I really questioned his sanity after my MIL mentioned this on Saturday and my husband confirmed he mentioned this idea to her after we had only briefly discussed our personal ideals for Christmas in the future so we could determine how to balance things out with the rest of the family while building great holiday memories for our own children in their house. I know we all want to share all our favorite childhood memories and traditions with our own children, but when each stop is at least an hour apart it just isn’t realistic to even consider attempting all this. Why can’t he realize it is time to start our own new family traditions for our kids to enjoy, that won’t run us ragged (did I mention I cannot ever sleep well in a car and I wouldn’t be able to sleep with him driving home late on Christmas Eve for fear he would fall asleep behind the wheel… he’s had trouble with drifting off while driving in the past!!). The kids will still have Christmas with both sides of their family without that extra trip tacked on. I hope he sees the light before wanting to attempt this. I wish we just found a system that worked well for the holidays, we’d stick with, without all this extra hassle and pressure 🙁 I used to enjoy Christmas, but all this stuff zaps a lot of my joy.

  97. I never had a postpartum rest. My birth “experience” and a host of drama/trauma before and after has left me exhausted and on the edge of PPD. I wish I had someone to take care of me and my family for a little while.I wish my husband would stop trying to “take care of things so I don’t have to” and start talking to me, taking care of himself, and strategizing with me what would help the most.
    I want him and I to stop snipping at each other. I want him to know I appreciate him. I wish I knew what to give him as a holiday gift.

  98. @mom2boys – So, so sorry about your situation. I read somewhere (can’t remember where) that people shouldn’t bring up family greivances during the holidays. That if there is something to discuss, it should be done at a later date (pre-determined, or not), and that the holidays should be to enjoy each other’s company etc. Of course, I think some things are too important to gloss over or put aside, even for a couple of days. But, then you have to make the choice of whether to talk to the person before hand, not go, or live with the situation.One of your options might be to agree with yourself that you won’t bring the situation up with your MIL during Xmas, and try as best you can (or fake it for your kids’ sake) to enjoy the holidays.
    BUT, then also set a date with yourself, for sometime after the holidays to at least voice your anger/concerns/issues with what happened to your MIL. I’m personally not always up for big confrontations, but I do feel better when I’ve at least said my bit. Especially concerning my son as I feel it’s my responsibility to stick up for him. You don’t even need to have a conversation with your MIL. It’s your feelings about the subject (even if they aren’t the same as your partner’s) that need to be vented. I think it’s OK if you and your partner perceive the situation differently. You still have an issue with your MIL and you have the right to express that.
    My BIL crossed the line with us a while back (nothing to do with DS, but still). I wrote a very direct e-mail to him telling him that I didn’t feel his behaviour was warranted or acceptable, and why. He never replied to me. And the next few times we saw him & his family were awkward. But, then, magically, I could tell he had a new sense of respect for me. And that he wouldn’t cross that line again with us. I would definitely say our relationship is deeper and better now. I still feel like we’re on thin ice now and then, but he invites us over often and wants to come see us and his nephew often too. Win, win, if you ask me.
    Good luck with whatever path you choose and don’t feel bad if you don’t confront. Somethings just work themselves out in other ways. Hope those days are at the very least bearable for you, but hope they are much more than that.

  99. hugs to Prism, mom2boys, maria, bec and everyone else who needs one!home with a sick kid, on the verge of getting sick myself. MIL in the hospital b/c of another fall which split her face open. DH hasn’t called her. am afraid he’s shutting down, but understand too. am supposed to be on wheat, oat, corn, potato everything free diet for adrenal & sinus probs. really annoyed.
    tired of feeling crummy. tired of not sleeping well, being worried about the boy’s stutter and poop holding. tired of trying to fix it all. tired of perfectionism & shame.
    grateful for my husband and all we’ve been through in our 17 years together, grateful for my therapist who recently made me take as my mantra “Everything I do is OK.” it may not work, be productive, whatever, but it is OKAY.
    grateful for our pretty tree, and that it’s solstice. The light is coming back people!
    wishing you all some joy & patience through the holidays.

  100. @the milliner – Very good advice I think. I’m going to see if I can send a message through the grapevine that I’d rather not discuss it at all until the holidays are over and see how that goes. I do want everyone to have a nice holiday. The rest of the family is coming down from the NE and it would be a shame to have a bunch of tension over this.@prism – carving out space for your new family traditions can be tough in the beginning but it can be done and hopefully with not too many hurt feelings. Good luck with the talk with your husband.
    @sarcasticarrie – I shall aim for grace and look for a miss manners line as back-up.

  101. @Prism – I hear you! I want to “do” my family this year and my husband put his foot down because he’s right, it’s just too much. (We did it once since kids, and it was too much.)I actually instituted (3 years ago?) Christmas Eve brunch at my house. Possibly more work for me, but everyone is welcome if they want to see us/the kids, and I keep it low stress enough with French Toast Casserole, quiche, cut up fruit, and lots of mimosas. Very few people have plans that time of day (some people do have to go to work on Christmas Eve though), so it usually works out well. Without Xmas Eve Brunch, we wouldn’t even see my mother over the holidays between visits with my father, my in-laws, and our own Christmas morning tradition at our house.

  102. Man the holidays are a tough time. It’s amazing how easy it is to hurt somebody’s feelings while trying to negotiate the whole who-does-what-where. I guess I should be grateful my in laws live thousands of miles away and refuse to travel on Christmas even to see their grandchild. But even before we had DS, we instituted a firm, every third year we’re on our own policy (ie not only not traveling, but no relatives), and told our parents this plan to make it perfectly clear.As for dealing with toddlers and negotiating with them without power struggles, I have to say one of the most helpful things I’ve ever read came from one of my Montessori books (not that this idea is exclusive to MM) – the idea that the baby isn’t a lump to be directed, but a human being worthy of respect. For some reason,thinking deeply about my son that way has helped our patience, creativity, and integrating him in our daily lives (ie, teaching him how to help us, giving him choices, narrating what’s going to happen). The impatient moments tend to strike me strongly because we’re so aware of working with him, rather than against him/ on him.

  103. Hey, does making Babble’s list make anything cheerier in your life? I was thrilled for you to see you there. Good job! (‘Cause we can’t say it enough, can we?)

  104. @Prism- in my experience with my analytical and logical husband, he just doesn’t think through the impact on the kids the way I do. I think this is because deep down, he expects them to be analytical and logical, too. They are 2.5 years old and 11 weeks old. Lets just say logic isn’t their strongest point right now.I have the best luck arguing with him on this by taking the issue apart and stepping through it- i.e., “Pumpkin will need to nap at 1 p.m. Where will we be at 1 p.m.? Well, she won’t nap there. If she doesn’t nap, she’ll probably meltdown spectacularly at about 7 p.m. Where will be at 7 p.m.? Hmmm. That doesn’t sound like a good place for a meltdown.”
    Between his willingness to try to do things and push the limits with the kids and my timid/freak out/OMG, they’ll meltdown nature, we actually manage to strike a nice balance most of the time. We had an EXCELLENT vacation in Oregon back in May (so before Petunia was born). Pumpkin is still talking about it, and both Hubby and I had fun, too.
    However, we had a disastrous outing just last Saturday night (poor naps + noisy, over-stimulating restaurant + attempt to go see Christmas lights = complete meltdowns from both kids). So, clearly, we have some work to do there.
    Good luck. I hope you can find the right balance with your husband and have a nice holiday!

  105. @SarcastiCarrie – French Toast casserole? Sounds delicious.@mom2boys – I caught my father being mean to my son when he was about a year…maybe even a little younger. It broke my heart. I wasn’t surprised (my father was really abusive to us when we were kids and it wasn’t until I finally stood up to him in my late 20’s that things changed) but I was disappointed. I know better than to think people can change, so I don’t know what I was expecting. Anyway, my dad will never, ever have unsupervised visits with our kids. I couldn’t forgive myself if it ever happened again. No real advice, just commiseration.
    @bec – I’ve been in your shoes and it got better for us, and I hope that it gets better for you. I really wanted my brother and sister, who live w/in 20 mins of us, to step up and help, but they don’t have children and I don’t think they really understand what help would look like or even that we need it. Once I realized that no one was coming to save me and that I needed to save myself, I turned a corner and got my ass in gear. Also, the weather changed, we figured out E had reflux, etc. so other things started to fall into place, which helped. Is there any one thing you can do that would make you feel more in control, more proactive, more positive? Because if you’re anything like me, then doing that one thing would make me feel better and the success would prompt me to keep the momentum going. And funny thing about husbands – I asked mine what’s the one thing I could do to make our relationship better through this trying time (we have a 2.5 yr old and a 10 wk old.) I asked him to really think about how I could make him feel loved and appreciated and less stressed. Is it be more physically affectionate? Have the house completely picked up when he walked in the door? Because whatever that one thing is, I am willing to do it because I love him and I want him to know it.
    @Claudia – a pox! I love it. Usually I wish diarrhea on people (it’s gross, uncomfy, annoying, but not really any worse than that.) A pox is a little more ladylike, so I’m adopting it. Unless the person’s a real jerk, and then they get both!
    My primal cry is that I am getting more and more anxious about E’s digestive issues. I’ve read up on Fructose Malabsorption. I’ve read up on Reflux/GERD. Now I read up on the salicylic/additvies issue from pp (don’t think it’s this since we’re super organic/non-additive anyway.) I can’t do the elimination diet since FMers can’t have brown rice. So it seems that until we go and see the specialist (not till Jan 20th!) I won’t know what his issues are and how to go about relieving his symptoms. And since the diets all conflicting foods (no corn! yes corn! no brown rice! only brown rice!) and since he’s 2.5 yrs old and doesn’t like food anyway, I don’t know what to do and waiting idly just isn’t my style (I’m sure there’s a lesson here!) And my DH is reluctant to do anything till we see the GI guy. But I suspect very little will come out of our 1st visit anyway, since we’re not even seeing the specialist, but the dietitian instead (no, there’s no way around this. Follow protocol blahblah.) So every night I go to bed and I lay there and feel really sad and lost and anguished over what my son can/can’t eat, what he ate that day, what his poop looked like, that he can’t sleep, what his diagnosis could be, what that could mean for him and our family, etc. etc. etc. So boohoo. For him, and for me. Because I’d give anything in the world to be the one with the issues if it meant that he was ok.
    But otherwise, enjoying the holidays. Found a flattering pose for B, so all our pictures of her this holiday will be of her in tummy time because otherwise, her second chin crawls up and takes over the cuteness of her face. Maybe we’ll all take pics in tummy time pose.

  106. @Hedra, well written. I have no choice but to ‘reason’ with my MIL over how I would like her to speak/behave with my children. She is part of the furniture seeing we basically live under the same roof and she sees (and often takes care of) my kids on a daily basis.In the beginning my reactions to inappropriate behaviour were knee-jerk and they got me nowhere. With her victimised personality and OCD, she would spiral downwards into depression, and it was so much harder pulling her out than not overacting in the first place.
    It has taken 5 years to get there, but now I can generally speak to her in a calm, civil way, expressing my thoughts on a particular matter without overreacting and getting her back up.
    I don’t have any choice but to have her in my kids’ lives. I am the one who suffers if she spirals uncontrollably downwards into depression. This is the best I’ve come up with to deal with certain inappropriate behaviour.

  107. One thing I can control:I can make myself eat breakfast. I am realizing that there is no way to avoid a parental melt-down later in the day if I don’t eat breakfast. Yes, mom, I know that you have been saying for years that I should really eat in the morning.

  108. @ Prism: I think one year at a time is a good mantra. You don’t know what will be happening 12 months from now, and getting through this year is enough on your plate for now. At the very least, leave next year’s plans until January.

  109. Non-Primal, Semi-Whine: Didn’t I just post about how awesome and low-stress my holiday was going to be? I think I did. This is hubris, and also, irony.Even though we called all the family over a week ago to finalize the plans that have been in place since last year, someone called today to change the plans, and woe, woe is me, Christmas is ruined (OK, not really, but still). Now the timing of Christmas events conflicts with nap, dinner will be late and will run into bedtime, and then, when will we open gifts? No one on that side of the family believes in opening gifts until everyone is there and not in the kitchen cooking. That means no gifts until after the late dinner. The kids will be tired and nuts. It’s a recipe for melt-down. So, I suggested just doing it the next day (Saturday) in a low-key, no time-pressure way, but from the reaction, you’d have thought I made baby Jesus cry on purpose. Eh.

  110. @cassiblanca, I push her (fail), I lose my temper (fail plus feel worse), I switch to humor/play (turn it silly) which relieves the tension but usually doesn’t improve compliance or pacing, we talk out alternatives (which she isn’t good at – she’s more of a witnesser than a thinker on such things, and she does NOT want me to coach her through her feelings, I think Maria knows that feeling too), and we come down frequently to last-minute time pressure and the final option being that I will have to do it for her if she does not choose to do it herself (and leave her with that choice). She often will choose to do it herself if I just leave her alone, but it takes the deadline plus the option of alone to work, and she also has to feel like I’ve invested time and attention in her process (I can’t start there, for some reason) for it to work, and even then there may be resistance and misery. She also has a much more rigid need for consistency than my other kids (absolutist thinker, more black/white and less gray), so giving three chances just means she wants a fourth. A timer that shows how much time she has left, and a race to get it done last-minute is better for her – which drives me a little crazy because, uh, that’s how I work best, too. Hmm, until this minute I was thinking she was a J (Meyers Briggs/MBTI) but maybe she is a P after all… Or more P than I thought, anyway. Or maybe she just works that way because everyone else in the family does (learned technique).

  111. @nej, you can go a long way toward proving the case on FM even with the brown rice. (Not sure why you can’t do white rice instead?) We did so without removing wheat on the first go, and that’s WAY worse than brown rice. We also still use some brown rice (in rice cake form), so …Just cut the other stuff back, and see what happens. It’s fairly fast to trial for ‘any impact’ (4 days), though doing it AT the holiday is kind of rough. Don’t make the mistake we made and trial applesauce at the in-law’s house on Christmas day, though, okay? (Nothing like cleaning catastrophic diarrhea off your in-law’s nice hardwood floors on Christmas day… especially knowing it is your own damn fault your child’s Christmas was mangled… not my most brilliant moment.)
    @SarcastiCarrie, you evil woman! Heh. (also for the rest of those figuring out how to do the rounds on the holiday)… Eventually our families got with the program. My dad has Christmas the weekend before or after Christmas (usually after), so that a) everyone can actually come at the same time, and b) nobody has to run off somewhere else at X time. So we all get to eliminate one event from the local rounds. WOO! He gets points and gratitude, we get an easier life, and we also get to see that set of sibs all at once. Win win win.
    Granted, that leaves us with three places left (home, my mom’s, and my ILs).
    Ep and I had a huge fight coming home from the three-point rounds one year (about 5 years into marriage, I think, not sure if it was before or after Mr G was born), because we had been trying to alternate each year – one parent got the eve and morning, one got the day and evening. But um, my family does Xmas breakfast, and his does dinner, so every-other year we were getting NEITHER meal, and the alternating ones we were getting both (feast, famine, feast, famine… AHHHH!). Ugh. With Mr G in play, we stopped the insanity by alternating evenings, staying home for the morning, hitting my mom’s for late morning through lunch-ish (which lets my brother also do morning at their place), then afternoon through evening at the ILs. Still a bit crazy, but it overlaps more. Plus the ILs decided to let each family open on their own (in shifts), which is a little less crazy (18 people if we’re all opening at once… it regularly took more than 3 hours to get through the presents, by which point the kids were glassy eyed and frantic with overstimulation). But it took some years to get there, and yeah, it took a huge argument in the car to get past the emotional need to do it The Way I’ve Always Done It (rather than The Way We Will Do It Together) – for both of us.
    @mom2boys, my mom tried to apply her parenting to my kids once, too. Fortunately we stopped the pattern before it got to the spanking part. What we did was talk about the underlying intentions, and how we are alike in what we want from these kids – we want them to grow up to be kind, respectful, intelligent, caring, contributing members of society. And we actually are the same kinds of parents underneath – we trust our gut instincts, we learn/ed from our peers, we follow/ed the best medical and psychological advice available to us. The only difference is that the research has moved on, the culture has moved on, and we know different things now than we knew then. Finding that common ground, and being able to say ‘We choose to parent like this BECAUSE you taught us that these outcomes are important, and these values are important, and we have decided that with current knowledge, this is the best way to get to that outcome that you so cherish and want for your grandkids’ made it possible for my mom to go from ‘how come you aren’t parenting like me, do you hate how you were raised, do you think I am/was a bad mother?’ to ‘my child is a better parent than I was because I taught her how important it was to be a good parent – she took everything I taught her and moved forward with it, I’m so proud to have been the foundation for her parenting, and so glad that she is grateful for what I taught’. It’s a challenging conversation to start, but it was in the end how we got there – and it allowed her to ask how to implement Our Way in Her Style so that she could apply what I had learned when I was not present. She isn’t mean underneath, but she also isn’t perfect – she backslides at times, but they’re at the level we can manage, and it also allows us to teach that different people have different needs, and different houses have different rules – that have to be respected, but can be worked with. (I never thought my mom would be open to me handing her books on parenting to read, but the fact that the publish date is WAY after when she was parenting us helps a ton – she can say ‘Man, I wish I knew this when you were little’ with a wistful/sad note rather than just rejecting it outright because it conflicts with her techniques.)
    Anyway, that’s a strategy that might work. Might not, but worth a try. I always find that starting from common ground is the best place to start these conversations, and the common ground is that you both love the kids and want them to grow up well and be the best they can be. And maybe also that you both have some difficulty with the challenges of certain age-related behaviors, and have to find ways to work with the developmental needs of that age. From there, there’s a lot of range to work, but it puts you both on one side of the line, and the problem on the other, just like we try to do with the kids.

  112. @ mom2boys – Gah! My first reaction would be to be scary-mad right in her face. And really, what good would that do? Good luck over the holidays. I’m with you; if she can’t handle your child without going against your wishes about not spanking, then she simply shouldn’t have him unsupervised until he is at a stage that she can manage the situation within your parental boundaries. I won’t let my son unsupervised with mil for a lot of reasons. In the past when we’ve had issues, if I thought I could remain calm, I’d talk to her one-on-one and explain that she had her time to raise her children the way she thought best but now it is my turn. All parents make mistakes and perhaps this is one of mine, but it is my call, not hers. She doesn’t have to like my decisions, but she does have to respect them. If I don’t think I can remain calm enough, I let my partner in on the conversation (but I try not to put him in the middle if I can help it) or let him convey my message. We’ve been doing this long enough that she knows if the message is coming from him that I must be over-the-top pissed.@ Loz – thanks for the info. I’m not having sleep problems per se, but the words bananas and asthma jumped out at me. Bananas past a certain ripeness make me wheeze. I’ll be looking into this diet for myself and watching my son for signs.
    That’s why I love this community, I find information I never knew I needed and would have taken me forever to hunt down on my own if I did have a clue. Reading the comments here is good use of what little down time I have (and why reading the comments is a better use of my time than actually commenting a lot). It’s like mining for mommy gold.

  113. @Maria – Sorry no one came! I’m sure it was the weather (it was INSANE here!) and not you, but that doesn’t really help, does it? Still, you should be proud of putting yourself out there. That’s a great step toward making good friends for you and your daughter!@hedra – What a great way to have the conversation with our parents about how we want to raise the kids! A side note: I had a real bonding moment with my mom when she saw I was reading Between Parent and Child, which was originally published in the 60s or 70s. She said that she remembered that book. I asked if she had read it, and she said yes, she read it and it gave her some really good insight in how she wanted to parent, because she did not want to be like her parents. I told her that I had been thinking about her a lot while reading the book–I kept thinking, that’s just like what my mom did! And then we laughed that it was definitely her and not my dad who learned from the book. He’s a good guy and dad, but definitely more mellow now than he was back then.
    Anyway, it was really neat to realize that my own mother had read and got ideas from the parenting book that I was reading, loving and getting good ideas from.
    @paola – I think it’s great that you are figuring out how to best deal with your MIL. It’s tough when we have to be the grown up and those older than us or our age can’t just step up.

  114. Amen to what @hedra said about starting off with common ground/’we’re together here, the problem is over there’, and also amen what @Elaine said about “let [DH] convey my message. We’ve been doing this long enough that [MIL] knows if the message is coming from him that I must be over-the-top pissed.” So true.I was just thinking another tactic that might work with @mom2boys’s overstepped boundaries is having your partner say something to your MIL like “I know sometimes DS can really push our buttons. So please let US, the parents, be the bad guys and handle all of the discipline. Meanwhile, YOU get to be the good guy, the Fun Grandma. We want him to have a strong relationship with you; one that he can look back on and cherish when he’s grown, with only the fondest memories of you. So when DS gets mouthy and you feel exasperated and like you want to yell or hit him, what we hope you’ll say to DS is ‘Just wait until your mother gets home!!’ Or give him a time out. (Neither of which is “ideal” perhaps but certainly have their place during those boiling point moments.) Good luck!
    And about family drama during the holidays -Can’t we just call the whole thing off? No? 😉 All of these comments serve as yet another future lesson I’m filing away in case I ever become a MIL myself. Dear Future hush: Whether they show up at my doorstep on Dec 25th (or whenever) or not, it’s not about me! So who cares? Pass the bourbon!

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