Friday, January 13, 2012

A Bedtime Story - Sort Of

When Macboy was little, he was a very easy child. Partly because he was my only child at the time, but overall he was a pretty easy going boy.  For the first few months, he slept with me a lot. I was nursing and the Trucker and I were not living together, so it was just the easiest option for me to get some sleep. When the time came to move to his crib, the adjustment took commitment, but it wasn't very hard to get him to sleep on his own. I could put him down sleepy and he would fall asleep. When he came out of the crib, he adjusted well to the big boy bed with just a story and a few snuggles at night. In fact, those short snuggles lasted for a long time.

Art was not a difficult baby, but he certainly wasn't as easy as Macboy. He made almost the same progression as Macboy from sleeping beside me to a cradle beside my bed, then the crib. I was unable to nurse him so there wasn't as much opportunity or need to pull him in beside me. The Trucker was living here by then as well, and my super paranoid mom brain couldn't take it. Those nights that Art did sleep between us I woke up in so much pain from holding my arm just above him with a hand out so that the Trucker couldn't roll back and on to him!

Art was not as easy to get to sleep. In fact, he is still hard to get to bed and he's almost 8. In the crib, he would play, even if there were no toys he'd find some imaginative way to occupy himself. I'd have to go back and lay him down again. Sometimes there were songs, some stories. Often I would sit with my arm squeezed through the rails and rub his back or pat his bottom until he finally drifted off.  Then came the morning that I woke up and he was sitting on his dresser. Calling me out of my slumber through the baby monitor, just like any other day. Until I got to his room, of course! Imagine my shock at that sight!  His dresser was about a foot and a half AWAY from his crib and the mattress was as low as it could get.

Yep, it was definitely time for a big kid bed. 

That was painful. That was the day that Macboy's bedtime snuggles ended. Art would not stay in bed, or even in his room, for any amount of pleading. I tried all the tips from the books. Being silent. No eye contact, no words and just guide him back to bed. Yeah. Right. Just that easy. That book said a week or two should make a substantial difference. I did this for hours... for more than a month... and I ended up awake until at least midnight.... many, many nights. So, I gave up that trick. I tried slowly easing my way out of his room.  First sitting on the side of his bed, then a few days later I'd move to the floor. A few more days and I'd start inching closer to the door. I had to sit for hours, again. He just did not go to sleep. And no, for the record, it was NOT because he needed to drop his naptime. He hadn't napped since the day he got out of the crib. Actually, I think most days he didn't sleep much IN the crib at naptime. I just penned him in!

I finally thought it was going to work, I was almost sitting in the doorway and he would stay in his bed. He wasn't sleeping, but he wasn't getting up. So, one day I bravely slipped around the corner. Completely out of sight. END. OF. THE. WORLD. That was the LAST time this trick worked. Night after night, I was inching back in to his room instead. 

I felt like the worst parent EVER. I couldn't get this kid to sleep in any reasonable amount of time. I was tempted to just put a lock on the door and not pay attention to any noises or crying. But I'm a super paranoid sort, so that was just out of the question.  Finally, I just caved in and laid down beside him every night. Most nights it was less than a half hour until he was snoring. Some nights longer, but still light years better than it was before. I had to make up my snuggle time with Macboy at other times as I was never able to get back to him. The minute I left Art, he was out of bed.  

By the time I could actually get Art to stay in bed without me for at least a little time, Macboy was 'too old' for that stuff anyway. Sad to say... he still needs to be chased back to bed WAY too many times everyday.

Angel Baby was easy. A few months close to mommy, a few months in the bassinet, then straight to the crib in her own room. I could put her down wide awake in her crib and she'd go to sleep. Well, she'd dance and jump and rock for awhile but I didn't have to go back in there.  When the crib broke, she transitioned into a big bed pretty easy. I learned fast that I needed to keep her in her room but I wasn't going to be in there like I was with Art. So I put a baby gate in her doorway. As long as the gate is there, she'll get in her bed, do her little rocking dance and go to sleep. It doesn't even have to be latched in or locked. I don't even have to cover the whole door way. If she sees that, she stays in bed.

But crazy as I am, I have decided that she is big enough to have the freedom. Here and there I have had nights with no gate at all. When she wakes up she comes to get me. I guess I'm having a harder time with her on this because she doesn't talk as much as the boys did at this age. I feel like I can't explain to her that she needs to get me first.  I think I'm overthinking. I've never tried to explain it before and yet, that is what she does. 

Every morning, when I get up, I remove the gate. She wakes up, goes to my room to see if I'm there and if I'm not, she comes upstairs. I am always the first person she looks for.  I think she'll be fine.  I think I might go insane and worry like the donkey that I usually am in the scenarios, but I think she will be just fine.

I'm not really ready for my last baby to grow up, but I'm not going to keep holding her back either.  Wish me luck on this adventure!  I'm definitely looking forward to not having any baby gates in my house! (at least, not for my own kids.)

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Really Good Book And A Cup Of Tea

I've been through a rough patch, I'd say. It seems like each step forward meant another back. I haven't been going backwards, I just haven't been going anywhere! One thing after another. There is always another fire to put out somewhere. We finally catch up and then WHAM. Someone gets sick! Worst of it all is that I was the sick one. Seems like everyone kind of forgets how to live when a mommy gets sick. We're on the road to recovery. I hope.

Busy is good. Slowing down is good too.  I'm getting much better at taking time for myself and I think that's why I'm still moving. I've been keeping up with my exercise, well trying anyway. I've been playing with the kids, taking more family time and I've been reading.

A Lot.

I love reading. I love escaping to different worlds and losing myself in the characters. I love sharing the heartaches and fears. I love the suspense of 'what's on the next page?' I am terrible for starting a book and just getting lost in it. I've told you that before!  

Over the holidays, I read a ton. I read kids stories, of course. Christmas poems and songs. I read murder mystery, true crime and horror. I read teen lit and a little romance.  Do I have a preference in genre? No.  I tend to read more mystery and horror, but I'm really just a fan of a good book. A good writer can pull you into the story and nothing else matters. It reads so comfortably, it's just like reading a letter from a loved one. It feels right.

I find that if I get through the second chapter and I'm not totally engrossed in it, I will probably not finish it. That being said, there are a very small few books that I've picked up and not finished.  I love to read.

I greatly enjoy the way that my kids seem to have this same love of books. It thrills me to see them tear through a story in a day. they are both reading chapter books and novels now.  I hope they always love reading the way we all do now.

It reinforces my desire to write. I want to be that writer. I want some one else to pick up my writing and get lost in my characters. I want someone to feel the emotions I'm sharing. I want spread the feeling I get from every book I read. 

A smile, a tear, a giggle... a papercut from flipping pages so fast!

I'm still dreaming big. The difference now is that I'm acting on those dreams. I'm taking small steps to make it real.  One day, you will be able to buy MY book. I'm making no promises on the final outcome. I can't even promise what kind of book it will be. But I will live to see my name in print!

This post is actually my 100th post on Wendy Can't Cook. It has been so much fun to write and share my odd little mind with you for just over a year now. It's been a rollercoaster in many ways and I'm just so happy you came by to take a look.

Here's to another year and another 100 posts or more!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Did You Miss Me?

Hey... Check it out. I have a blog!


Where have I been? Lost, I guess.  I've been chasing dreams and chasing kids.  I've been doing a lot of really miscellaneous things. I guess I just sort of lost sight of my own dreams for awhile. See, I was writing a lot for a while, running two blogs and working and chasing kids. Finding occasional snippets of time to write something bigger and reading a LOT. Then someone said something to me that stung. I think it was along the lines of "oh, that blog thing."

To me, it wasn't just a 'blog thing', it was much more. I was meeting new people from all over the place and getting involved in a different community. I was enjoying my time writing and releasing so many thoughts from my mind that were just filling it up and preventing it from working right. It was giving me pride, that so many people would come back and read more. It was giving me that missing sense of accomplishment.  I can complete a lot of things in a day, but I really didn't care about those. I cared about finishing a post, no matter how small. And then watching to see how many people actually read it.

So, this little side comment should not have affected me. It became apparent that those closest to me thought it was just a way to ignore the other parts of my life that were, by their definitions, more important. I floundered for a while, I still tried to post now and then but meet my obligations. Then eventually it slowed to a stop. It's been much too long since I've been here.

I'm not going to say I haven't done anything for myself in this time. I've been writing still, just on paper more often. I was even at a point where after working on the computer for my job, I just didn't want to be on it anymore. If I couldn't easily do something from my phone, I just didn't do it.  I've been getting to the gym, spent a lot of time working for charity causes, playing with my kids. I've read more novels in the last few months than I have read in the last few years. I just didn't come back here.

Oh... dear blogger... as weird as you may act sometimes, I really missed you! 

I lost sight of what I was doing. I eventually lost sight of everything again. I got so wrapped up in just a few small things that I forgot why I started it. Yes, all of you who read what I write are important to me. I want to share something important, useful, enjoyable.

I started off that way. Then I also got caught in a rush of how to do it right... You must post everyday, you must have pictures, you must, must must......

You must write because you have something worth saying. I don't want to write fluffy crap. I don't want to write because I feel obligated to. I want to write because I am inspired. I want to write because I have something worth sharing. I want to write something that I would like to read. If I write everyday, it just doesn't flow that way.

So, I'm coming back. I won't always have pictures. I won't be here everyday. I won't feel like this is something I have to do.  AND more importantly, I will not allow those around me to make me feel like writing, whether here or on paper or even on the back of an envelope if that's all I have, is not important. It's important to me. I never let the blog get in the way of my responsibilities no matter what anyone else may have thought.

This blog has been my lifeline in times of need, my outlet when my heart was breaking and my own piece of property where I could openly and honestly laugh at myself. 

It is not dying. It is not forgotten.

I thank each and everyone of you who have helped me reach my own little milestones so I could eat cake along the way to where I am now (and to those of you who wish to help me hit 100 likes on facebook so I can have more). I thank you for your words of encouragement, your shared stories and your patience.

Another lesson I had to learn the hard way for the ten millionth time... What others say should not affect your choices. Life is not lived if you worry about what others think before you do what you feel right doing.  Not in the playground, not at school, not in real life and not here. This is Wendy's space.

Wendy Can't Cook... well, she can, but she aims to keep expectations low so she doesn't have to cook more than necessary!