Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Controlled Crying (But Also Mini Elf Pancakes!)

Okay, so in less than two weeks now, Scott and I are going on our first 'just us' holiday to a location NOT Cabot, Arkansas, and we are incredibly excited about it. We are flying to Seattle, WA to visit our old friends Jonathan and Sarah. We first met them when Scott and I were dating, and they were living in Edinburgh. In fact, if I recall correctly, we actually first met online, on a Christian forum called Christian Guitar Resources (CGR). They were those couple-friends we've compared all couple-friends to since then. They moved back to the US shortly after their first daughter was born, and shortly before our first daughter was born. It's been about seven or eight years since we've seen each other. Here's the real kicker - just as we have moved away from Scotland, they are moving to Ireland. We're pretty pissed about it!

So while we're all still on the same continent, and since Scott is turning the big 3-0 this month, we are going to visit them. Without kids. That is, without even Jaguar.

My mom and step-dad are keeping all three kids for us for the four days and four nights we are away, which is awesome (thank you!!) and therefore, we have been on a mission this past week or so to get Jaguar sleeping independently. I am night-weaning him from the breast, and we are trying to get him to sleep in his own bed in his own room. We have never done the 'controlled crying' thing with our babies when they were young, because we feel babies don't just want but need their parents when they are little, but resorted to it around this 18 month - 2 year stage with all of them. Let me just say, there is nothing 'controlled' about this scenario. We aren't doing 'controlled crying' - we are doing gut-wrenching, boob-leaking 'controlled ignoring'. The only ones controlling anything are us, mum and dad, controlling our emotions and nurturing urges, [un]balanced with our increasing blood pressure and the probability of insanity.

Each night has felt like a slight step in the right direction, with obvious milestones in getting him there... you know, crying less, going to sleep faster, staying in bed longer. Scott's been documenting the successes (if it can be called that?) via Facebook with photos like this:

But last night? It was AWFUL.

He went down initially all right. Scott and I thought we were doing well. I went to bed early (thank goodness), so I'm not sure if he woke up much between my bedtime and Scott's. All I know is that at 2 something this morning, he came into our room wanting me.

He's come through to our room before, 4.30AM being the earliest, but this was too much. I knew his game; his sisters played it too. They realise that at 5 or 6AM I'll go ahead and pull them into bed with me to get those last precious moments of sleep before the alarm goes off, so they try coming in earlier and earlier. 2 something AM, though, is seriously pushing it, so I trudged out of bed and wearily carried him back to his room. He cried when I put him back in his bed, and I went to the living room to the couch to listen for him falling asleep. Instead, he kept coming back into the living room and I had to keep putting him back in bed. Finally, I got fed up and put him in his cot. I went back to my bed, noting the time was now 3.40... so unless that 2 something was 2:59, he'd had me up for about an hour or more with his shenanigans. Yet, not a few moments later, he was back in my room; he had climbed out of his cot.

I figured he'd get tired of that game soon enough if I just put him back into his cot. But after he climbed out three or four times, I'd had enough. I went into his room with him and laid on the bed with him, stroking his hair and back. He'd been crying and climbing for about an hour-and-a-half or two hours by then, so he quickly fell asleep. Not wishing to wake him, I closed my eyes and stayed there. Moments later, he sat up, fresh as a daisy, and wanted to play.


I was mad by now. It was well past 4AM, and I just wanted to SLEEP. I locked his bedroom door (with me in it with him) and pulled the covers over me. Let him play with toys while I sleep! But no. He spent another who-knows-how-long climbing over me, biting me, pulling my hair, pinching my neck. So I went nuclear. I held him tightly in my arms, hoping the struggle would defeat him. He fought only a minute, then went to sleep. The clock read 5AM.

At 5.30AM he woke me up with the climbing, biting, pinching again.

I went nuts.

At that point, Scott stepped in. I hadn't wanted him to wake up for all this. After all, he has to work all day, and while, yes, mummy-ing is work too, I can put Lolly in front of the TV, Jaguar in his high chair, and crash out for a few minutes on the couch (which later I did). But I couldn't take it any more and handed the responsibility over to Scott.

Can I just say 6.30 came way, way too soon this morning?

The girls came screeching into our room, excited about what Banoffee had done for them. I feigned disbelief. I told them they were still dreaming and to go back to bed (half hoping they would and we could accidentally sleep in for school). They insisted though that it was all true. That Banoffee Pie had made them pancakes for breakfast.

Sure enough, there was Banoffee on the table with a plate full of mini chocolate chip and plain pancakes! He'd even wrapped the pancakes in cling film to make sure the cat didn't get into them overnight.

The kids had a great time eating their pancakes with sprinkles and syrup. I was thankful that breakfast was pre-made so I could stay in bed an extra five minutes.

Let me humbly add here that mini elf pancakes were not a figment of my own creative imagination. I got the idea from here. I also took pictures of how I wanted the scene to look but could not because of said cat. In my mind's eye, the scene looked more like this:

Scott kind of couldn't believe the effort I went into last night to make this happen. Making tons of tiny pancakes, an apron and oven mitt for the elf, and even a little wire whisk. He looked at me half-jokingly/ half-seriously, and said, 'You need to get a job.' We both laughed but yeah, I really do have a bit too much time on my hands these days. Insert depressed sigh.
Banoffee Pie gives me purpose in life. That's a little pathetic.

Oh, and as for their Advent Activity today? Thank goodness it didn't involve glitter or glue. They just had to check my email for their messages from Santa. The messages are here: Fifi, Lolly & Jaguar.

Lolly couldn't believe she was on the Nice List. She actually said to me, 'I can't believe I'm on the Nice List! I've been so bad!!' I don't know if that's incredibly funny or horribly sad. I laughed though. I can't really believe it either.

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