Monday, November 9, 2009


"Rising up! Back on the street. Did my time, took my chances. Went the distance now I'm back on my feet. Just a man and his will to survive!"......That's my theme song as I prepare for my night with Matthew....I know it's been a while, but I've been busy and therefore, tired!

We are 5 months (almost 6 months) and things have not changed. Matthew is still waking every 2 hours and one parent is on the couch with him while the other is sound asleep in bed. Guess who has Matthew duty tonight. I'll give you a minute to think.................................................
"How do you do it?" some people ask. I honestly do not know. It is quite comical when you sit back and look at it. I know one day I will laugh. It will probably be when Matthew calls me asking what to do about his own child stripping every last bit of sanity from him. For now, I only laugh because I know of nothing else.

The problem is that life does not stop just because Matthew is not interested in sleeping. We still have bills to be paid, stomachs to be fed, and bottoms to be cleaned. Oh yeah, and I'm married too!! The weeks, now, just pass by like extremely long days with naps in between. You have an idea of how we spend our nights. Most of the time I am on the couch with Matthew because I only work part-time. The rest of the household is usually up and going by 7:00 a.m. Showers, hair, teeth, clothes, diapers, and breakfast all have to be done in about an hour. If it is a work day, the day starts about an hour earlier if I can manage to be coherent. Then it is out the door for Daddy. If I'm working, he takes Matthew with him to Grandma's and I take Nathan to school. If I am not working, but have had a rough night or have an errand or two to run, Matthew might still get to spend quality time at Grandma's. Regardless, whenever I start my day it doesn't end. Usually at work I yawn and talk about my kids all day...funny, but I actually miss them when I'm gone and I look forward to coming back home. I read a book once and it said that is "L.O.V.E.".....If I'm at home, I usually fix Nathan some breakfast, turn on Curious George and lay down to steal just a few extra moments. Matthew is pretty good in the morning. I'm wondering if it is because he's so tired from the night before! IF I'm able to steal those few extra moments, they are short. Curious George is only 30 minutes long with an educational interlude in the middle. By the time it is over, I've been up at least 3 times!. I assume I have a normal day as any other stay-at-home mom does. You know, the usual: diapers, tantrums, bottles, crayons on walls, laundry, Y&R....Then dinner time comes. Don't be fooled. Dinner is no more fun when you are at home than it is when you are at work. In fact, to me, it is more stressful because I feel all the more guilty asking my husband to stop by Chick-fil-a on his way. (I have convinced myself that although Chick-fil-a is fast food, it is more nutritious than McDonalds or Wendy's) After dinner, bath/play time, and a little Jon & Kate or Real Housewives of Atlanta it is time to get ready for bed.

*Enter the Rocky theme song* I put my sweat pants and hoodie on as I jog in place stretching my neck muscles. I swallow a few egg yolks, punch the air a few times, and I'm ready!!

Nathan, these days, is not able to fall asleep on his own. If we do not lay with him, he will stay up until 12:00 or 1:00 in the morning. So around 8:30 or so, one of us retires to the bedroom and the other is on the couch. There is just one flaw to this method. Well, not one flaw. But you know what I mean. Whoever puts Nathan to sleep, also falls asleep. So the other is left alone with Matthew for the rest of the night. It's a good thing we have DVR! Last night I started in the bedroom and ended on the couch. When I woke up, I had better knowledge of the rise and fall of the Berlin wall and suddenly had an opinion about communism and fascism. (That's another blog) And so again, I will let you guess who is doing what at this moment...............You guessed it! The boys are sleeping and I'm blogging.....Good night, All! I'm going to try to catch the 1.5 hours I have left of this episode!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Trading Spaces

So, it's 8:30 a.m.. I think I am awake for the day now. That's pretty much how we survive around here. We wake up so frequently that each time, we have to assess whether or not we can attempt to catch a few more zzzz's or go ahead and face our other 10 million responsibilities in life. This morning I woke up on the big couch cuddled under my favorite ladybug blanket with my sleeping baby Matthew in my arms. I guess I caught the last leg of the night. The sound of Nathan's whimpers woke me up this time instead of Matthew's screaming for a bottle. I'm not sure what he was whimpering about. He probably woke up and realized that his toys: Curious George in an airplane; Rocket from Little Einsteins; and his new hard plastic T-Rex that he brought to bed (our bed) with him had mysteriously made it to the ground. From my position on the couch, I could see the bedroom. I watched the events unfold and I chuckled to myself. L'Erin had the privilege of falling asleep in our bed for the last leg of the night. He also heard Nathan stressing over his lost friends, but tried his hardest to remain sleeping and hoped that Nathan would follow suit. C'mon now! Nathan only got louder and more stressed, so Daddy had no choice but to save the day. I laughed to myself (quietly not to wake Matthew) as I watched him avoid the world outside of the covers and roll to one side of the bed to search and ROLL to the other side. Fortunately he was able to recover the lost and Nathan was satisfied.......for the moment. Next, Nathan decided he wanted some goldfish crackers. I was further amused to watch my husband try to bargain with our ever independent toddler: "Want to lay down and watch Curious George with Daddy first"? With a very decisive and confident tone, Nathan replied "No I want to eat breakfast". I watched my poor husband rise out of bed in defeat and come in to make breakfast for Nathan. It was not long after our apartment began to become alive, Matthew decided to also wake up for the day. We had survived yet another sleepless night with Matthew.

I know you're wondering why or how we manage with one in the bed and the other on the couch. I really do not know how we ended up with that arrangement, but I can tell you that it was not our initial intention. As a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite! You see, I practically held Nathan the first year of his life. He was a rather easy baby compared to Matthew. I do not remember exactly when he started sleeping through the night, but it must have been early because I do not remember nights like this with him. He was just my first baby and I pretty much ruined him when it came to the "sleep with mommy" department. When I was pregnant with Matthew, I vowed that I would NOT do that again. I told myself and everyone else that Matthew would sleep in his own bed from day one! Maybe even his own ROOM from day one!......Go ahead and say it: "How's that working for ya?"

Well, it isn't. It's not working at all and neither is anything else! We have just fallen into this exhausting routine of trading spaces throughout the night. Sometimes one of us will be brave and man the entire night on the couch with Matthew; especially if the other has an important day ahead and needs the rest. But most of the time one of us will get to fall asleep in our bed (yes, with Nathan) while the other attempts to put Matthew to sleep. Sometime in the middle of the night, the one in the bed will hear the commotion in the living room and come in to rescue the other. At that time, we trade with a new bottle in hand and lay down with Matthew on the couch and the other person finishes the night in bed. "Why the couch"? You ask? Well, it's easier to get up from the couch and it's closer to the kitchen. It's also closer to the boys' room which is why Nathan sleeps in our room.........Take a moment to pass your judgements.

So last night was my turn to fall asleep with Matthew and somehow I woke up with Matthew! That's an indication of a rather long night! We had gone our separate ways around 9:30 p.m. Nathan was already in bed, but had trouble falling asleep so L'Erin went in to seal the deal. Matthew was struggling himself with some congestion in his nose. That has become a common occurrence with him. Yes, I have asked the doctor many times and she tells me it will just go away. (Please don't get me started on wasted co-pays!) Anyway, he had eaten his last bottle at 6:30 p.m. so we were doing pretty good to be at 9:30 and he wasn't incredibly fussy. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you! We started the cereal, yesterday, that the 60 year old man suggested to us! I gave him cereal yesterday morning and things went great! He ate the entire serving and seemed pleased with it. It was much better than our last attempt. Naps were good, but our results were a little skewed because we were in the car most of the day. But back to the night....around 10:00 p.m. I suctioned his nose for him and made a bottle for him and more cereal. According the 60 yr old man and everyone and their MOM this was supposed to make magic happen. He'd be so full that he would sleep 4-6 hours maybe even 8! ...........ok so let me tell you!......He ate his cereal and drank his bottle. He did have that "oh my belly is so full" daze. I thought this was it for SURE! I even thought, man, if this works what will I blog about? He finally dozed off around 11:00 p.m. I thought I'd finish watching The Dr. Oz show. He was discussing the 5 deadly medicine mistakes that we make that I wouldn't want to miss! Then I remembered that the show was recorded and I could watch it another time! (In the mean time I just wouldn't take any medication). I laid Matthew in his bed without incident and decided, again, since this was going to be THE night I'd take back my bed! I crawled into bed with L'Erin and Nathan who were already asleep. I couldn't fall asleep right away. I tossed and turned and tossed and turned. I was slowly fading when I heard a noise. Two days ago we took Nathan to see a show about dinosaurs. They were life size creatures with real life sounds and everything! I thought maybe I was dreaming about the Raptors outside my window or something. I quickly realized it was Matthew waking from his cereal filled slumber. "Wow", I thought, "I tossed and turned for 4 hours? It will probably get better as I get used to sleeping again". L'Erin and I both woke up and went in to get Matthew. I checked the clock to measure our new progress and it said............11:50!!!!!!!.......Are you kidding me???........

Well, surely he couldn't be hungry! I mean that stuff is supposed to last like a whole shift! So I rocked and bounced and patted; rocked and bounced and patted. And Matthew screamed and kicked; and screamed louder and kicked harder. Finally after 15 minutes of torture we caved. We made him another bottle. Matthew was so happy to finally receive it and happily nibbled himself to sleep. Somehow L'Erin ended up holding him. We were awake again so we passed the time watching a documentary about LA County jail. (I know, very relaxing). I finally dozed off and L'Erin woke me up so that I could go to bed. After a while I woke to the sound of the Raptors again. It was Matthew kicking butt in the living room. I went in to offer my assistance. The time? 2:30 a.m.!!! L'Erin let me go back to bed as he calmed the storm, Hurricane Matthew. Again, I fell asleep and "WAAAAHHHAAHHH" I stumbled into the living room. L'Erin was in the kitchen making another bottle. It was 4:30 a.m. I picked Matthew up out of his bed, grabbed the fresh bottle and laid down to feed him. Once he fell asleep, I laid him in his bed and went back to the couch. 6:30 a.m.: "WAAaAHHHAAAHH" I fed him and went back to sleep. Now 8:30 a.m. and it's time to get up for the day!!......Thanks, Mr. 60 yr old man, with grown children, for your rice cereal suggestion! Keep 'em coming!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Ah-Ha Moments!

It's about 3:30 a.m. and I have Matthew duty. I thought tonight would be the night!-- Rewind 5 hours ago--His final night feeding was at 10:00 p.m. I couldn't sleep so I sat up watching an earlier recording of The View and chatted online. Then Nancy Grace came on raising my blood pressure! (but that's another blog) Matthew woke at 12:30 a.m. screaming with a vengeance. I picked him up and held him as Daddy made his bottle. He dozed off before the bottle was finished, but I still gave it to him and he sucked happily and sleepily (is that a word?) until he was out like a light. I could tell he was full and satisfied because I coughed and he didn't even flinch. Normally, he would scream at the top of his lungs and I'd spend the next half hour putting him back to sleep!! I thought this is my chance! My moment!! I slowly sat up on the couch holding him firmly against my chest. I stood up and stood still for a moment to make sure he did not feel the change in altitude. I quietly tip-toed into his room careful not to wake him. I thought, "I should only turn the closet light on because the 'big' light will wake him". "THUMP", "CRASH", "BANG"...Ahhhh!!! I kicked Nathan's ride-along Spiderman car into his Cars movie pale which happened to have Buzz Light year and Woody resting inside! As I bit my lip to recover from my throbbing toe, I thought "It's over now! Surely he's awake", but he wasn't! Matthew slept through the ordeal all the more giving me hope that tonight was a different night. I wasn't sure if it was a full moon or not, but I could feel it and the fact that he sustained such a loud noise confirmed it! I laid him in his bed and rocked it a little giving him the car seat vibration kind of feeling to make sure he stayed asleep. When I felt he was out, I slowly crept out of the room and turned the light out and "ROOOOAAAHHHHOOOO" a police or ambulance siren blared from inside of the room. Another one of Nathan's toys, that is sensitive to light, set off. I stood there in the dark and held my breath to see if Matthew would wake. He didn't!! I tip-toed out of the room and did the pee-wee herman dance in victory! I turned out all of the lights and I finished watching Nancy Grace as my poor sleepy husband lay snoring on our love seat. He had stayed up to have a conversation with me in support of Matthew's wake spell, but he couldn't hang. I draped a blanket over him and laid on the big couch. Then I took inventory: Matthew is asleep in his bed, My husband is asleep on the small love seat, I'm on the big couch, and 2 year old Nathan is in MY queen sized bed with 4 pillows!! Ah-ha moment #1: Take back my bed!! I tried waking L'Erin, but he was just too comfortable or sleepy. So I dared, yes DARED, to go into my room and lay in my own bed. I thought, tonight is going to be THE night! so why not?? About an hour later, L'Erin woke up and realized I was gone. I'm sure he must have thought we were abducted by aliens or something. I'm not even sure he even knew where the baby was, but he figured if I was sleeping in the bed he'd figure the rest out in the morning.....And now, 3:30 a.m. Matthew coughs and he realizes he's been asleep and is not in my arms. As I lay on the big couch once again rocking and bouncing, rocking and bouncing this 17 pound hunk of baby lying on my torso singing himself to sleep, I log on to Facebook to see what's going on and my chat feature tells me I have ZERO friends online. Yep, it's true I am the ONLY person, besides Matthew, awake at 3:30 a.m. in the morning. In my head Elvis sings: "Are you lonesome tonight". And I have Ah-Ha moment #2: I should blog about this! I have no one else to talk to at this hour, why not myself!

Let me introduce myself and this blog's namesake, Matthew. I'm a part-time working mom from Dallas-er-Irving, TX. I have been married to my husband, L'Erin, for 3 years. We have 2 children: 2 year old Nathan and almost 5 month old Matthew. Matthew was born at the end of May this year, 2009. It was awesome to be home during the summer. The only down-side was that Matthew never caught on to the whole sleeping through the night thing.....

In the beginning, it was normal and expected. Newborns don't sleep. We had been around that bend once before so no big deal. By 6 weeks, things had not changed. He was waking every 1.5 to 2 hours for a bottle and would squirm and scream at each feeding. We had done everything we knew to do at that point. We changed from Playtex drop ins (My favorite bottles) to Dr. Brown's and we changed formula from Similac to Good Start Gentle ease. At 8 weeks we went to his pediatrician looking for answers. We thought we were exhausted then! She diagnosed him with acid reflux and suggested we stop nursing since we were having to supplement anyway and give him Prevacid to ease the symptoms of acid reflux. At 12 weeks she suggested we change formula to Enfamil A.R. with rice cereal in it......Fast forward to 21 weeks and we are STILL waking up every 2-3 hours to feed. Nap times are not much better. We are getting about 30 min every 3-4 hours.

I'll let you take a moment to pass your judgements and explain all that YOU would be doing or have done to get your child to sleep through the night. I can hear Aunt Gertrude now: "Child when I had my babies they were sleeping through the night at 2 weeks old! Just put a little salt, vinegar, Robitussin, and Jiffy cornbread mix in the bottle, lay him down at 9:00 and he'll wake up at 7:00. Yes, Aunt Gertrude, but look at your children now: One is in prison, another is 40+ and still living at home, and another is on a cocktail of meds for a variety of psychological and emotional problems!................Trust me whatever you have done or would do, that is legal, I have done! I knew it was bad when, today, I got advice from a 60 year old man!!!

Matthew's pediatrician referred us to a Gastrointerologist thinking that maybe his reflux was worse than normal and could be the cause of his waking. We went to see him and, of course, Matthew laughed and cooed like a fat happy baby showing no signs of distress or illness. The GI told me to give him prune juice every once in a while and that I was just part of a small group of unlucky mothers with a baby who just likes to eat every 2 hours. "And that's okay" he said as he gently touched my shoulder in sympathy. Prune juice? Really? And you call yourself a specialist?? ......for the record, the prune juice didn't work. It only created more work for me!

So at Matthew's 4 month well check, I took the opportunity to really grill the pediatrician on techniques and solutions to my problem. Yes I only work part-time, but I'm a zombie. Not to mention, I have a 2 year old to care for. I NEED SOME SLEEP!!. So the doctor listened to my story and asked me tons of questions to make sure I wasn't suffering from post-partum depression and she whipped out her RX pad! YES! I knew there was a magic pill for this! Give it to me! I've got PPO!!......As she writes, she says to me "I'm going to refer you to a book" A book?? A BOOK!??? I thought you went to school for all of those years and read books so I wouldn't have to! What did I pay a $20 co-pay for?? The title was something with "Happy Baby" in it. I looked at Matthew on my lap drooling from his big chubby cheeks and counted the 4 fat rolls on his thighs and thought: "Does he look unhappy?? I don't need a happy baby. I need a SLEEPY baby!!" I was already reading a book at home anyway! Someone suggested "The No Cry Sleep Solution" to me. I remembered I had it because it was not too long ago that I packed that book up along with other baby items that I was ready to give away. The book suggests that I log the baby's sleep habits so that I can choose the best solution to get him to sleep. I plan on logging, but I haven't yet because I'm TIRED!! And the doctor wants me to read ANOTHER book??......Did I mention I had a 2 yr old?

So this is where we are. 5 months, officially, next week and still awake 3-4 times a night. I don't know what to do. The "specialist" said the good news was that he'll grow out of it by the time he's 12 months old. Good news?? Sir, that is 7 months away!! I'm going to try the sleep log starting tomorrow night and also the rice cereal (AGAIN) that the 60 year old man suggested today. Maybe we'll figure this out!

Since I signed up for this blog and began writing, Matthew has already had a feeding and is again, asleep. I should get some shut-eye now. We'll see you tomorrow night!