We are getting reacquainted with our Life Before Vacation around here, which consists of a complete re-evaulation of the way things were and whether or not we want to make them that way again or try to use our transition time as a double up transition time and make some changes. Some good things need to be relearned and some bad things need to be shed. Unfortunately, it seems like what I thought was 'good' and what Alice thought was 'good' are two completely different things. Her wonderful new sleep routine was the first thing she thought we were tossing out the window upon our return (though she slept well while we were gone) and it has been a bit of a struggle to get her back to what I have learned to call our 'Is This Really My Child?' once a night waking for feeding amazing routine we had gotten on before our trip to NC. We were on a really fabulous 2 week run where I would put Alice down for bed around 7:30-8 and she wouldn't wake up until 2 or 3am, I would feed her and then lay her back in her crib and not hear from her again until 7am. You maybe asking yourself why I am so enthusiastic about having to wake up in the middle of the night. To which I would reply, just ONCE?!?! Sign me up! The best part is that even if Alice would sleep all the way through from 7-7 I would be up at 2am anyway having to pump to keep my supply up so if you think about it, by feeding her I am just using my time really effectively. And my milk really because to this day Alice won't drink my milk if it has been frozen. I have even tried mixing it with her food and she's like, 'Ugh! What the hell did you DO to this? Don't you know it is supposed to come out of a boob, not my oatmeal?' But I digress.
So, sleeping. Still a battle. I am constantly trying to create a happy, healthy, comforting sleep environment for her to ease herself into slumberland instead of having to constantly battle her into unconsciousness and create a negative/punishment association with sleep and I am learning that there is such a fine line with a willful baby. It seems like such a simple thing too- you are tired, you sleep. You stay asleep until you are rested, then you get up and go about your business. Apparently it is that way for just about everyone but us, but you know what? If that is our biggest struggle, so be it. It could be (and is for some people) so much worse. I am just happy that throughout these 7 months, I have managed to discover the bizarre things that will actually help soothe Alice to the point where she can at least get the sleep she is getting-pinkie sucking, squatting, shhh-ing, sometimes even making weirdo squeaking noises that can sound like a mouse or even a puppy whimpering. The most important thing I have learned so far about motherhood is that my personal dignity is waaay down the list of things that matter. Far ahead are Alice's check list of well-slept (see above list for loss of dignity), fed (I have flashed more people than I want to know, I am sure), and happy (dear lord, I will do anything to make that child laugh-you saw the video of the spin around hops). Which is how I know I am doing a good job.
This week, Alice and I have a wonderful new game called 'Church Hat'. It started out as 'Toy on the Head' but as we became more selective in our choices the game actually took on a level of dignity it originally lacked. How it works is, I put a toy on her head. Alice is aware of it and it eventually falls off. I pick it up and put it on my head. She gets a glint in her eye as she realizes that not only was that thing previously on her head, but that was pretty much how it looked. Once she smiles I say, 'Oooo, would you mind helping me off with my fancy hat? I just can't get it' or something similar and I lean over for her to yank it off my head for me. Once she gets it I put it back on her head and she gets a kick out of yanking off her own head. Then we pick an even fancier 'hat'. She loves it and it is really great to see her anticipating me putting outrageous things on her head and holding super still so they will stay on longer.
And yes, we took Alice to a bar. So many bars up here sell good food so we went to a favorite place and got a burger. It was Speed Metal night (well, 5pm) so Alice had to yell extra loud to be heard by all the patrons.
And while we were in NC, my sister took this amazing photo of Alice! This is how a real photographer does it. Beautiful, right? Get her to take some great photos of your family in the Raleigh area (paisleypictures.com) or beyond. If you were to zoom out of this photo just a bit you would see my sister's dog (ie: Alice's new friend) running round, my neice spinning around in a huge circle skirt, and me doing both a physical and audible impression of a frog. That is how we get the smiles people. They don't come free!