I got a 4 hour stretch of sleep last night. It was the longest I've had in 3 nights. Theo, for God knows what reason, has been waking up about every hour or hour and a half. In the wee hours of the night, my utterly exhausted mind thinks maybe this would be a good time to throw him out the window. Or smother him with a pillow.
It's probably not his fault, though. Since he's been tiny we've been swaddling him before putting him to sleep, and I'm afraid our plan has backfired. Now he doesn't know how to sleep without being wrapped up as tight as... well, you know, something really tight. A mummy comes to mind. Anyway, we don't have any swaddling blankets that fit him anymore. So I often come back into his room to find one free arm flailing, slapping his face and waking him up. Then I think maybe I should throw the blanket out the window.
Not to worry, friends. With the break of day, my thoughts of infanticide and/or blanketicide all melt away. Daytime is all smiles and coos for Theo, and the past few days have ushered in his first giggles. There is nothing, NOTHING in the world cuter than baby laughter. Oh my god.
Simon is in his third week of preschool. He loves it, and we can see an inprovement in his behavior at home. He is better at entertaining himself, which is really a lifesaver for me. Last week I was the parent-helper in his class, so I got to witness the fun firsthand. My favorite moment was when all the kids started singing the Wonder Pets theme song together. It was clean-up time, and one of the kids said, "What's going to work?"
"Teamwork!" the class all answered. Then they started to sing. It was unbelievably cute. I guess we're not the only ones who love Linny, Tuck, and Ming-Ming.
I have been reading a new parenting book, and it's really good. I'm putting out a strong recommendation to all my friends with offspring. The author's goal is to give parents the skills they need to promote emotional health in their children. So far the focus has been on the way we speak to our kids. I'm learning how to praise more effectively, how to aviod judging his emotions, and how to quell conflict by mirroring his feelings. That last technique is fucking magic. It goes something like this:
Simon: I want to take my lollipop to bed.
Mommy: No, we cannot take candy into bed. You can see it again in the morning.
S: (whine and fake cry)
M: You are sad because you cannot take your sucker to bed.
S: (whine) Yes.
M: You are feeling disappointed that you can't take it with you. You are angry that you can't have it now.
S: (weaker whine) Yes.
M: You wish you could have it now instead of in the morning. You feel sad that you can't have your sucker in bed.
S: Yes. (hands me the lollipop and walks up to bed)
It takes a little time to mirror his emotions, but in the end he makes his own decision about what to do, and we don't have to have a battle. I'm not the bad guy who take his candy away; I'm the loving mommy who understands how he is feeling. It's pretty amazing, and as a result of applying these techniques, my last few days with Simon have been delightful.
Tomorrow is Simon's half-birthday, and I'm going to try a technique that isn't in my new favorite book, or probably any book. We're going to have a little party, then we're going to have a ceremony where we throw away all his sippy cups. We have been wholly unsuccessful in getting him to drink from a "big boy" cup, and I think it's time to draw a line in the sand. I thought a party would soften the blow. Wish us luck.