Friday, July 30, 2004

Huge news: Spencer went to sleep without crying last night! We kept waiting for him to begin complaining, but it never happened! Now, we know this doesn't necessarily mean that he won't cry tonight, but we are so thrilled with this first! Last Friday evening, night one of Ferberizing, we had some doubts. But in one short week we have observed continual improvement and hit a huge milestone last night!

After work yesterday we met Carol and Brian at Cold Stone Creamery for the World's Largest Ice Cream Social to help benefit Make-A-Wish. Free ice cream cake for everyone!

Spencer's teeth have finally broken the gums! They aren't poking through yet, but you can catch a glimpse in picture 74 of the July album taken during Spencer's bath last night.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Spencer went to school today! (Whew.) However, we learned they are not allow to let the children cry unattended in their cribs, so Spencer's routine will be altered there. But they did agree to no longer feed him or rock him to encourage sleep.

Last night no visits to Spencer's room were required, as he fell asleep before we had planned to check in on him. He stayed down all night, and woke up happy this morning after 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Yesterday I found this article reviewing an upcoming book Why Love Matters which made me feel a bit physically ill to read how leaving your child to cry can affect the development of a child's brain and personality. I finally exhaled about 3/4 of the way through when it was explained that the infant's cortisol levels are pretty much set by six months of age. This concurs with Dr. Ferber in that children younger than this age are neurologically too immature to calm themselves. It is so hard to listen to him cry, but is 5-7 minutes of complaining harmful? Uninterrupted sleep is ultimately best for the child, and I trust that this small period of focused training will reward him (and us) in the end. We have seen great improvement night after night - by establishing rigid meal times, nap times, and appropriate evening routines to help Spencer's body get on a clock so that he is ready to go to sleep when bedtime finally arrives. Jim and I continue to refer back to Dr. Ferber's book for guidance (i.e. learning that Spencer's inconsolable middle of the night screaming on Monday was possibly a partial-wakening due to sleep terror, and we now understand how better to respond to this in the future.) But reading about these findings from the scientific study in Why Love Matters really causes me to take a step back.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

With Spencer being out of sorts, it was not a huge surprise that sleep didn't go so well last night. Although we went down ok (only one visit at the adjusted time and he was asleep shortly afterwards) he woke up around 1:15 this morning and would absolutely not go back down. After tending to any potential discomfort (new diaper, orajel, and tylenol) he was still in utter distress an hour later. With no previous nighttime (or naptime) complaining reaching 20 minutes, we caved and picked him up for comfort. He must have been feeling so awful because it was still another thirty minutes before he went to sleep, despite all of our efforts to calm him down.

His rash is still around today, so we're still home again together now.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Spencer did great on Sunday with his sleep! He stopped complaining before we ever needed to check on him at naptime, and at bed time! Actually, he took his two afternoon naps in the car to and from his first Astros game! (New pics at the end of this album.) I could not believe how many babies were at the game - there was actually a line in the ladies' room to use the changing station! (And there was a baby on the field too!)

Unfortunately, all of the fun came to a halt this morning. Spencer seemed a little bit off his game as we were getting ready for the day. A quick temperature check revealed 100.2, which meant we couldn't bring him to school. When a rash appeared later in the day, we made a quick visit to the pediatrician who concluded this was likely some generic virus that needed to run it's course.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Saturday evening, a.k.a. night two of Ferberizing Spencer, went well. Last night required only one visit, and he was quiet about two minutes later. We have been extremely diligent in sticking to his appropriate pre-bedtime routines and stand strong for the post-bedtime interventions which are all part of the method. Overall, yesterday was a great day for Spencer. He napped on a good schedule, ate meals at his regular times (also critical parts of the success of the Ferber method,) and we were rewarded with a baby who was happy virtually the entire time he was awake. We even made time for a quick family trip to the pool in the afternoon, which we have all been enjoying very much.

He is currently down for his morning nap, and no visits were required! (Not that he didn't complain, but he had settled down and was quiet within a few short minutes.)

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Night one of the Ferber method: we braced for the worst. Two interventions were required last night (one for each of us.) And boy did they suck. I mean really, really suck. But, several minutes before time was up for the third one, Spencer had fallen asleep. He woke up about an hour later, cried for 30 seconds, and went back to sleep until 7:00 this morning. Sounds like a good start so far, however Jim discovered in some research online that night two is commonly found to be the toughest.

This morning's nap followed the same pattern. Two visits to a possessed-sounding Spencer in his crib. But a few minutes after the second visit he went to sleep for a nice one hour nap. (A bit longer than his standard 30-40 minutes.) And now he is currently down for his afternoon nap - and no intervention was required! He quieted down one minute before we were planning to check in the first time! Progress? Perhaps. We'll see what this evening holds...

Thursday, July 22, 2004

This morning when I dropped off Spencer I hung around for a little bit and took pictures of some of the babies (and toddlers) enjoying Water Play! It was super-cute.

This weekend we are preparing to begin teaching Spencer to go to sleep using Dr. Ferber's method. I know there are plenty of critics out there, but unless you have also read the doctor's book, and understand pros and cons of this and other methods, I really don't want to hear it. I'm tired of hearing stories of "friend's of friends that tried it and it didn't work," or "people created their own version and it didn't work." We spoke with Spencer's pediatrican at our visit last month and he said Spencer was mature enough, and that this is a good approach to take.  We'll see how things are going at this time next week...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Today I had jury duty. It was nice to go to the local courthouse and leave home at 8:15, rather than having to be out the door at 6:00am to serve downtown. It became apparent right away how 'small town' the whole set up was - they didn't use our juror numbers for panel selection, just went by what row we were sitting in! As the one bailiff said "I didn't go to attorney school or nothing." Gee. It totally blew my mind during voir dire (which the bailiff admitted he didn't know how to pronounce) the stupid things people would say with the obvious intent to try and get struck. I really don't understand why people try to get out of jury duty. We should be thankful for our country's legal system. And, these particular trials (we were told) were speeding tickets. Hardly the type of case that would take weeks out of someone's time. Somehow, I ended up on the panel. I won't go into any of the painfully boring details of the case, but it was ridiculously lame. Prosecution presented the police officer and the radar speed. Defense presented nothing besides a headache - introducing so many hypothetical cases which were not germane that even the judge had to interrupt and ask him what his point was. And when the defendant took the stand, all he could say was that he was not going that speed, but he had no idea what his speed was. Good grief. In the jury room, I quickly volunteered to be the foreman. It took us less than 10 minutes to reach a unanimous verdict of guilty and determine an appropriate fine. The much more interesting part of the day's experience was trying to find a place to pump at the courthouse. We had a well-timed 30 minute break (after our panel was selected, while they were going through voir dire for the second panel) but it took bailiffs and clerks 10 minutes of running all around to finally figure something out.

Spencer continues to grow and delight us every day. We introduced meat in to his diet last week (ewww) and added mango yesterday. We have expanded lunch at school to include vegetables and fruit and put them in these awesome bowls which Kim introduced us to.

Monday, July 19, 2004

The faces in Spencer's class are changing quickly. Last week, three month old infant Paul started (man, is he little! and he only comes three days a week) and it was also the first day for 10 month old Taygun (rhymes with tycoon.) He is a very handsome little guy! Fortunately, so far both boys seem to have easy going dispositions. Alexa 'graduates' to the toddler room at the end of this month, and Alane heads out in mid-August. At that time (assuming no more new faces) there will be a total of 7 infants - big girl Alessandria and six boys!
This weekend we took Spencer to the neighborhood pool again. He just loves it! Pool pictures and a few from Tracy's baby shower have been put in a new July photo album.

Friday, July 16, 2004

TGIF. It's been a good week, highlighted with our monthly Mommy's Night Out. It is really helpful to get out and socialize and meet people going through the same thing with babies in the house. And to ask advice of those who have older little ones. I feel lucky to know have friends like Ronda who take the reins and organize events and go out of their way to make sure everyone feels included.
Spencer's sleeping habits have regressed terribly. With one exception in NY, he hasn't slept through the night since the end of June. It's been a rough week for Jim and me. And how terribly cruel that right as I come to terms with giving up a pump in the middle of the night in order to *finally* get some sleep, Spencer throws us this curve.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Last night Jim and I went to the show and had a blast!

Monday, July 12, 2004

What weekend! On Saturday we drove down from Chappaqua to Aunt Carol's house in Philly, where we met up with my cousins and their kids too. (Peggy was able to make the drive down from Quakertown to come meet Spencer!) It was fantastic to get all of the little cousins together. Per 5 year-old Ethan's request, we all played baseball in the backyard for a large chunk of the afternoon. And to cool down afterwards, the kids played around in a kiddie pool. Spencer toppled over into the cool water a couple of times which upset the grandmas, but, after being initially startled, he was really just fine. For me, one of the best parts of the day was after Spencer got his evening bath and changed into his PJ's. He was hanging out on the bed, joined by cousins Sophia and Ethan, and all three of them were just giggling and having a great time. More pics have been added to the (now enormous) July album.

Spencer and I traveled back to Houston yesterday, our first flight alone without Jim. Fortunately, Spencer was a pretty good traveler. In my definition, pretty good means he cried for 5-10 minutes on three or four occasions during the four hours we were on the plane. Of course, during those time he was crying it was tough knowing his mouth was very close to another passengers ear. The lady kept trying to encourage me to nurse him to help calm him down, but I had no plans to do that on this flight. It's one thing to sit next to the window and have your husband on the other side shielding most of the view, but no way was I going to nurse the little guy sitting less than six inches from a stranger on one side and an aisle on the other. Baby Einstein on the laptop DVD player also helped quiet the cries.

It was good to finally get home last night. I think Spencer was happy to see some familiar sights here too. He had tons of fun playing with the toys were borrowed in NY, but he is especially fond of his Jumperoo here! He didn't sleep great last night and hopefully will settle back in to his routine soon.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Today was a fabulous day for baby Spencer! This morning mom took him for a walk in the stroller around Chappaqua while running a couple of errands. We met up at the library for infant laptime. Inside, we made new friends with infants Charlie and William and Ross and Presley and Mikey (who were all very close in age to Spencer!) and the lone girl Layla who just turned one. We sang many of Spencer's favorite tunes and learn a few new ones as well, including one which I believe is now his new favorite. Something about froggies jumping, and we insert a different baby's name each time we repeat the verse and lift them up so they can take turns 'jumping' way up high. Spencer giggled like crazy and we requested an encore. In the afternoon we headed over to Amy's house to visit with her and Zachary, and her folks Gail and Rudy stopped by as well. Spencer was so well behaved, I don't think he cried at all the whole time we were there! We played inside where Zachary shared his toys, and his mommy! We also spent some time outside on their fabulous new swingset. Pics from the last couple of days have been added to the July album.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Spencer has not been sleeping well at all here. He slept like a champ our first night, but has been waking up during the night a bunch since that teaser. Although he usually quiets down and goes back to sleep relatively quickly most of the time, waking up to screaming and the shrieks through the diaper change are draining. Last night, he woke up at midnight, 1 and 2. After the third wake up, I just brought him to bed with me where he slept peacefully until 7:30. Waking up hourly is painful. When we get back to Houston, it will be time to teach him to go to sleep. He needs to learn to calm himself back down to go back to bed without our help.

This afternoon we walked across the street to visit Spencer's girlfriends. Emiliana was absolutely delighted and 'held' him most of the time. Upon passing him off to her, she was a bit surprised by his weight for such a little guy. "El es un poco pequeno Y un poco grande," she decided.

Yesterday Spencer enjoyed his very own water play in the backyard. Mom bought a small inflatable baby pool for him and we enjoyed some afternoon snacks outside while Spencer splashed around and had a great time. Here are some pics of our trip.

Monday, July 05, 2004

All is quiet here in NY at mom's house. The baby is sleeping (for now, at least) as I sit outside in the backyard to catch up. It's about half an hour or so beyond sunset. way out here in the burbs, there are no street lights, or ambient lights of any kind as we are so used to in Houston. The perfect time to catch the swarming fireflies all around me, as I'm sure Spencer will be eager to do next summer. It's dark enough to see them glow, and still light enough to just make out the silhouette when they are flying around. Growing up, this is about the time of night when the neighborhood game of ball would break up, as it became just a bit too dangerous when we could no longer quite make out the approaching ball. Of course, as kids, we were not astute enough to pick up on this until someone would actually get bonked.

Jim's back in Houston now after our whirlwind weekend here together. It always seems like there simply isn't enough time to get everything accomplished. For Spencer and I, our social calendar for the rest of the week is already filling up and I knjow we'll leave here thinking the same thoughts as last time, "if we only another day or two..."

Poor Spencer's day did not start off well. He's been having some 'trouble' in the diaper area, including some embarrassingly loud grunting and crying in a restaurant last night. To try and help things along, we indtroduced prunes this morning. Unfortunately, they did not seem to agree with him and mom got to witness the projectile vomit. After throwing two quilts, the boppy, all of my clothes and all of Spencer's clothes in the wash, we were finally able to start our day around noon. I just don't know where the time goes here.

OK, now it's actually dark, and the bugs are out en force attracted to the light of the laptop.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I recently discovered the sweet little card that was attached to the Father's Day present Spencer 'made' for Jim at school.
This is my hand.
My hand will do
A 1000 loving things for you
And you will remember
When I am tall...
That once my hand
Was just this small.