The Reflection Post: What’s New, What’s Broken, and What’s to Love

The power went out around here at exactly five minutes past blog o’clock yesterday, so I missed you all, but hey – I’m here now! For this edition of what’s new Wednesday Thursday, I thought I’d take a look at some of the broader goings-on around here. We’re swiftly approaching miss Annabelle’s (one and a) half birthday, so I have been spending a lot of time looking at what works, what doesn’t, and what I’ve learned that I need to remember for next time. Perhaps my successes and missteps could be helpful to you, too?

I sort of went over breastfeeding last week, so feel free to refer to that post if you’re curious and missed it. If you want the Reader’s Digest version, it’s going well, but I’m sort of done with nursing to sleep. If there’s one breastfeeding related thing I’ll do differently next time, it’s finding loving ways to soothe my baby to sleep that don’t involve nursing.

Speaking of sleep…
Oh, goodness. Every time I think I have the beast that is infant/toddler sleep conquered, I am proven wrong. Very, very wrong. It’s hard. I have absolutely no idea how to do it “right.” Some advice leads me to believe that I should be putting Annabelle to bed at 6pm on the dot every evening, and other advice encourages me to wait for her cues and just go with it. No matter which option I choose, we have a frustrating (for me) dance of nursing, peeing, squirming, naming body parts, switching sides, and peeing again that lasts an absolute minimum of 40 minutes, but has gone on for as long as four (yes, 4) hours. Side note: It felt like a very cruel joke when I emerged from the four hour dance and could not for the life of me get my bottle of wine open.

I will say this: cosleeping works for us. When I go to sleep with Annabelle, it’s a breeze and we both awake rested. The trouble is, I need less sleep than she does, and there’s a good, long list of things I can only really accomplish when she’s sleeping. So, it only makes sense that I should help her get settled in for her first stretch of sleep and get me some mama time before she wakes to nurse and I take her into my bed for the night.

I have been trying different things and finally broke down and purchased some sleep books. The No Cry Sleep Solution has been mentioned to me many times, but Anna mentioned it at just the right time, and the toddler and preschooler version is now on its way to me, or more likely in my box. I also purchased a more mainstream book, which I may read a few more pages of before I toss it in the garbage. I think that may be a big enough topic for a post of its own, but feel free to add your sleep advice if you have it! We already have a consistent evening routine and fairly consistent waking and napping times, a bath at night, time outside each day, and all of that.

One thing that is going quite well is EC, or Elimination Communication. We are very rarely using diapers or waterproof trainers now, but opting for training underwear or bloomers instead, even for outings. I have tried to stick with a diaper at night, just to save the mattress in case there should be a miss, but Annabelle protests most of the time. She has been showing for preference for sleep au naturale, which is fine with me. She now lets me know that she needs to go by excitedly saying, “poot!” I think that came from poop, but you never do know. She names everything these days. (Other new words include beer and bra. I’m sure everyone who overhears our chats in public thinks I’m a fantastic mother).

I used to leave a little potty nearby at all times, so that Annabelle could go to it on her own when needed. She never did take advantage, however, so I stopped the practice. Today, there was one sitting out in the living room and while I was making coffee, Annabelle walked over to it and sat down. She sits on them frequently, but never uses them for their intended purpose without taking me with her, so I didn’t think anything of it and continued what I was doing. She then picked the potty up and brought it into the kitchen. This is another thing she does regularly, so again I thought nothing of it. Then I heard a splash. She had gone pee on her own – for the first time – but she had also poured it all over herself and the floor. Poor kid! I suppose I’ll be leaving a potty out all the time now, and watching a bit more closely when Annabelle sits on it.

I am definitely continually pleased with our decision to practice EC, and plan to do the same again if we add to our family. Of course our next will be a completely different child, so we may find that we do things in a slightly different way, but I can’t see myself going back to diapering!

I don’t have any recent babywearing photos, but here’s
Annabelle with the babywearing goddess’ cat :)

Babywearing, I should tell you, has changed. I’m surprised, and even a bit sad, to report that I have fallen out of love with my Beco. It just plain stopped fitting comfortably, no matter how I adjusted it. I asked a babywearing goddess friend of mine for help, as I was sure I just needed to adjust something differently – my favorite carrier ever couldn’t possibly fail me! Sadly, she confirmed what I feared – it just doesn’t work with my frame. She was kind of enough to let me borrow one of her Mei Tai carriers and I love it, so I have arranged to purchase a BabyHawk this weekend and I’m pretty excited about it. That will be my go-to for longer outings and hikes during which Annabelle may have long periods of wanting to snuggle up instead of walk. For short outings, I keep a pouch sling on hand so I can help her get comfortable quickly and easily while I do things like check out at the store, but for the most part, she prefers to be free and unfettered, so I’m not using any sort of carrier all that much these days.

If we have another baby, I think I will invest in a nice wrap for the early days. I was so intimidated by wrapping and tying before Annabelle was born, so I stuck with things that had more structure. I wish I had taken the plunge, however. My babywearing goddess friend has shown me a few different ways of tying wraps and they just seem like the most wonderful way of securely cuddling up to a wee one while keeping your hands free.

Overall, life with Annabelle is pretty fantastic. Yes, I’m exhausted some days and frustrated others, but this kid brings so much joy to my life that those feelings never stick around for long. When we go out, she chirps a friendly hello at every single person who walks past, and when she sees a dear friend she flails her arms and literally shakes with giggly excitement. Her curiosity forces me to notice things I never would if she weren’t around, and I’m regularly blown away and honored when I can learn new things about her. As her mother, it’s my duty to think she’s the bees knees, but seriously guys: she’s the bees knees.

What would you do differently with future children if given the chance? What are the best parenting choices you’ve made? What awesome things are your children doing?


If you haven’t already, pop over to my facebook page and say hello. I’m giving away some tasty Guam-my treats to celebrate my first 100 blogger followers and 300 facebook “likers.” 

7 thoughts on “The Reflection Post: What’s New, What’s Broken, and What’s to Love

  1. Annicles

    Having had three there will definitely be no next time but, if there were then…. I would be less worried about meeting developmental milestones and more interested in meeting the babies needs as they arose. In retrospect, I wish I had never, ever heard of either Gine Ford or SuperNanny. All my biggest mistakes came from them.
    Sleep would still be very important to me and I would still be aiming to get the baby sleeping through the night as soon as I could. My first three slept 12 uninterupted hours from 12 weeks, 2 years and 12 months respectively, so there was no magic trick, it just went with the baby and their personality. I would like to think that I would be able to tell the difference between a genuine need and anolder baby being clever to get attention during the night and be able to deal with it accordingly, but who knows! As I said once before, crying it out was the only answer with my second child and I am still ambivilent about it – it worked after nothing else had stopped the waking and screaming every 2 hours through the night for 2 years. I was the walking dead at that point!

  2. Gaby @ Tmuffin

    Ooh, I have so much to say about this one! First of all, check out my series about sleep that I started on Monday. (Next post Friday, and then two more next week). It's interesting. It's the thing I struggle with most.

    The thing is, I'm too lazy to try other ways to get baby to sleep. I do try to put Little M in his crib if he doesn't fall asleep after the first nurse, but my arm falls asleep dangling over the rail while I pat his butt. I give it about 2 minutes and then end up nursing him again.

    Also, about the Beco–my friend had one and swore on it, but it broke. She just went to Italy with her almost-3-year-old and borrowed my Ergo and said how much she loved it in comparison.

    And I didn't have a woven wrap until my son was 1. I love it. That's practically all I use for my newborn now. (OMG he is 7 months old.) Anyway, I used it when he WAS a newborn and I still love it.

    Finally, I awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award over at my blog. Come check it out when you get a chance!!

  3. Shannon Hillinger

    For us the only thing that stopped the hours and hours of getting settled into bed was time. Shortly after she turned 3, she was just ready to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep most of the night, but I don't think any of the advice we followed or tricks we tried really helped. And boy did we try a lot of different things.

  4. Dreamingaloud

    With both of our older kiddies 2 was the magic age of going from multiple wakings a night to sleeping through. One had been weaned for a few months at that stage, one was just on the verge of weaning. Our 18 month old is now nightweaning which is helping, but I know it'll really be another 6 months before I can count on more sleep. We co sleep, transition them to a mattress next to us when they are waking less frequently, and then in with their siblings when they're not going to wake them.

    Re slings – I had to abandon slings for all three before 6 months cos of my back/ shoulder problems.
    I loved Tricotti slings for when they were little, as they are just like a wrap, except simple, just two over lapping bands of jersey cotton.

    I found No Cry Sleep solution great, the most important trick though is not feeding totally to sleep… which you've already figured out.

  5. Melissa Kemendo

    I think I'm seeing, as you say, that there really is no magic trick. I know I can't let much crying (naturally there is a bit of crying when getting used to new routines at times, and that's okay) go without offering a bit of comfort, but I'm sure our day will come. On some level I'll probably miss having my presence wanted at bedtime. Funny how that works!

  6. Melissa Kemendo

    Thank you so much for your thoughts, Gaby! Nursing to sleep is definitely a beautiful convenience, and one I fully support the use of if it's working ;) Previously, I thought people who warned against it were nuts, or just hated breastfeeding. The trouble for us is that it has stopped working! It's no longer the magical sleep elixir it once was, and I'm stuck trying to nurse for hours on end while somehow finding another way to soothe the girl to sleep. Ahh, we will figure this out!

    Interesting story about the Beco. Until now, I had never heard of anyone who had one and didn't think it was the best thing on the planet. Perhaps I am not crazy after all!

    Thank you so much for the award! I am quite behind on my reading this week, but fortunately it's the weekend, so I can spend time thoroughly investigating both that and your sleep series in the next couple of days :) Hope you enjoy your weekend! xoxo

  7. Melissa Kemendo

    I don't know if that should be a comfort to me or not, but it is. Thank you, Shannon! Anytime something isn't going well, I'm tempted to blame myself and assume I'm doing something "wrong." I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who tries it all and just plain has a rough time with sleep. 


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