Hello, my name is Jen and I'm the mother of a two-year-old who is addicted to trucks.
He eats, sleeps, and dreams about trucks. Excavators, backhoes, front end loaders. He knows all the names, and all of their parts. Shanks, stabilizers, and blades.
At bedtime, I draw pictures of various trucks on his back to help him fall asleep. I get in trouble if I accidentally draw wheels instead of tracks. I can never remember which truck has which, but he sure does.
The other morning Cole woke up crying at 5am, "Where'd my little purple garbage truck go?" Confused, I told him he didn't have a little purple garbage truck. He started bawling even harder. Apparently, he was dreaming about a rainbow collection of miniature garbage trucks and was crushed when he realized they didn't exist.
The same thing happened yesterday morning, but he told me he was looking for his "forklift," which sounds a lot like "fuck it" to the untrained ear.
How did this addiction happen? Seriously. How? Which allele in his DNA is responsible for this? It must be the one paired with the "compelled to grab my penis every 5 seconds."
With all of our gender neutral Melissa & Doug toys and all of my efforts not to influence my son's interests based on his genitals, this happens. THIS. This incredibly predictable and typical "boy" addiction. Trucks, trucks, trucks, and more trucks.
When he eats his cereal in the morning, he pretends that his arm is a crane as he mechanically tries to grab his spoon.
Every now and then he pretends to pull an imaginary dump truck out of my cleavage. "Here you go Mom!" And then I have to thank him as I pretend to hold the little imaginary truck in my palm.
When we are on the highway, the best way to distract him on the way to Grandma's house is to talk about every single truck we see. I'm constantly on truck lookout. Even when he's not with me. I've been known to film trucks working on the side of the road so I can excitedly show him when I get home, "Look Cole! An impact hammer!"
The garbage man on our street feels like a minor celebrity with the enthusiastic shouts and waves he receives weekly from my son. I should probably get his autograph...
Parents of boys, I have a question for you—does this phase end? Ever?
Honestly, there could be worse things, I suppose. At least he's not obsessed with hockey...
This title caught your attention, didn't it?
You're probably reading this with 3 hours of broken sleep under your belt and eyelids so heavy it feels like they're full of cement.
You're frantically drinking your eighth cup of coffee while shushing your newborn hoping that I'll get to the point, stop rambling, and offer you the magical sleep advice you're so desperately looking for.
I totally understand. I've been there, and I still sort of am there.
My first baby was not a good sleeper. In fact, he's two, and he's still not a good sleeper. At this point, I've tried everything. Seriously. Look at the various sleeping arrangements we've been through over the past two years! It's ridiculous! (click here to see illustration).
And now that our second baby is here, we are going through the newborn sleep phase all over again, except this time I also have a toddler to deal with through the night. The good news, though, is that my two-month-old baby is actually a better sleeper than her two-year-old brother!
Praise the Gods (all of them), I HAVE A BABY WHO SLEEPS!!! (And yes, I'm irrationally afraid that I just jinxed myself saying that out loud.)
So, what is different this time, you ask? How the heck am I getting my eight-week-old baby to sleep so well at night (only waking once or twice to feed)?
Well, I can't guarantee it will work for you, but this is what has worked for me:
1) GET A BABY WHO SLEEPS. Unfortunately, I truly believe that you either have a baby who sleeps or you don't. I think it's mostly genetic. All the sleep doulas in the world are shaking their baby whispering fists at me right now, because they want to charge you $1500 to come to your house and "sleep train" your baby. But I'm sorry, I think that's a load of crap for the most part. I had a serious talk with my daughter in utero and begged her to have good sleep habits. Really, though, I think I just got lucky this time around...
2) CO-SLEEP. There is a lot of literature out there about co-sleeping, and I fully believe in all of the benefits. Make your bed safe for co-sleeping, and enjoy the comfort of knowing that your little one is deriving comfort from smelling you and hearing you breathe right next to them. I seriously love sleeping next to my baby . . . until they get to the rolling phase when you end up eating their feet, but then again, they do have cute little feet.
3) SWADDLE. I didn't do this with my son because I was terrible at swaddling. I couldn't figure it out, and I assumed he didn't like it. With my daughter, I've discovered these velcro swaddle wraps that are super easy to use and they are honestly a lifesaver. I know there is some controversy about arms-in swaddling, but I choose to ignore it, because my eight-week-old baby is sleeping and there seems to be controversy about everything these days! So suck it. I'm swaddling, and we love it.
4) BREASTFEED LYING DOWN. Since I co-sleep, this is easy. I can feed my baby throughout the night while lying on my side, therefore, I don't need to fully "wake up" to feed her. This is amazing and relaxing for both of us. Go-go-gadget boob.
5) CHANGE DIAPERS IN BED. I'm all about minimizing how much I fully "wake up" in the night. I'm lazy. I don't want to move an inch more than I have to. So, I have a little table beside my bed (it's actually Maeve's co-sleeper that she doesn't sleep in) and this is where I keep my stash of diapers, wipes, and cloths. When I need to change her, I do it in bed and my feet never touch the floor. Sure, I run the risk of her peeing in my bed, but so far, so good (again, I probably just jinxed myself). Our change table is actually collecting dust! (Note to self: I need to dust.)
6) WHITE NOISE. I think we all sleep better with a little white noise to help muffle sounds that could potentially wake us. We have a white noise machine in my son's room (again, despite the controversy). Just use common sense and don't blast it at full volume right beside their heads.
And there you have it!
I hope this helps and I hope you get some sleep soon. Just know that you're not alone, and there are many many moms out there walking around feeling like they're on acid, because they're so f-ing tired. Trust me, I know. I'm one of them (less so these days, thank goodness).
Sending you a giant hug and even more gigantic cup of coffee!
You can read more about how elated I was when I first got a good night's sleep with my son, or check out one of my many stories about my crappy sleeping toddler.
Everyone, it seems, is obsessed with pregnancy. There are ten thousand kazillion websites (that's an accurate number) on the subject matter alone. When you're pregnant, everyone wants to talk about your pregnancy and touch your belly, while offering you unsolicited advice. When celebs are pregnant, we trash talk their wardrobe choices and analyze their bodies under a microscope (which enrages me).
But what happens once the beautiful (or ugly) little baby is born?
The topic of conversation shifts to focus on the new wrinkly human. And that makes sense, because people love talking about babies almost as much as they love talking about pregnancy. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with talking about babies, but it seems we often forget to talk about a very important part of the new motherhood experience:
THE POSTPARTUM PHASE
There is so much that goes unsaid about this incredibly important time in a new mom's life. And if you've never had a baby before, it can be overwhelming. So let me break down the postpartum period for you into a few sections that I think are important:
You thought shopping for maternity clothes was a chore? Try finding nice things to wear in the postpartum phase. It sucks. All of your pre-pregnancy clothes are still too small. All of your maternity clothes are too big. On top of all that, you need to find shirts that have easy boob access (if you're breastfeeding), and bras that will support the above-mentioned porn boobs. *sigh* Maternity wardrobes are a breeze in comparison to postpartum wardrobes.
YOUR MENTAL STATE
And last, but not least, your mental state. This is a big one, and of course, every woman feels different. Some women feel nothing but pure love and bliss after their babies are born, and others feel an emptiness. Some women rage, some women cry, some feel completely the same as they did before the baby. There is no way of knowing how you will feel, but all I can say is this: communicate your feelings to those around you. It's a very intense time in a new mom's life, and you'll need all the support you can get.
I'd like to give a shout-out to a very good friend of mine, Megan, who is talking about her struggles with postpartum depression and urging others to be vocal about their experiences and climb out of the darkness together. You can find her story and learn more about the awareness campaign here.
Porno boobs and blood clots (gag) aside, being a new mom, for me, has been an incredible experience. And I'm enjoying it in a new way the second time around. When you become a mother, it's like the doors to a secret club have been opened and you're welcomed in with open arms. At least, that's how it's felt for me.
Now excuse me while I go and get dressed (at 2pm) and try to find something that is at least somewhat flattering...