April 23, 2014

guess who slept past 6:00 today?

I want to take credit for the self-declared genius, if not Pinterest-approved, idea of nailing the curtain to the wall for helping my son sleep later. I might if he sleeps later on more than one day. But I'll take this first day as a victory.

Yup, kiddo slept until at least 6:30. It's a win, people. A win.

I, however, was awake at 5:30 from the blazing sunlight invading our bedroom like a visual megaphone screaming "Get the hell up!" This does not make me happy. But the boy's sleep made up for it pretty quickly. Living farther north than my birthplace near Los Angeles has its downsides.

April 22, 2014

toddler bed transition tips and trials

In my last post on the crib to toddler bed transition, I talked about the initial transition. Well, weeks later we're still transitioning. In a sense.

It may be a transition to needing less actual sleep. It may be the east-facing window in his room. It may be the excitement of being able to get out of bed. I don't know. But this kid is getting up too damned early. Like 6 a.m. For me, it's a mental battle to not get irritated at the sound of him laughing and playing in his room while I'm wishing I could out-sleep the daylight invading our room (I just ordered dark wood blinds to help with this). As a working woman in my 40s, I've learned to be kind of a mid-morning person. But I'll never be a first-thing-in-the-morning person.

To see if it's me waking him up before it's time, I've already tried showering downstairs, laying in bed longer to avoid creaking the old wood floors -- even delaying making coffee, heaven forbid -- to no avail.

To help him start to recognize daily wake/sleep patterns on his own, I finally bought one of those toddler alarm clocks that turns green when it's okay to wake up. After several days of him not waiting for the thing to turn green, I moved the alarm from 7:00 to 6:45. This is starting to prove successful, and he is actually starting to wait to emerge from his room after seeing it turn green. That's why I'm considering it a tip.

This is good, just not quite good enough. Last night we kept him up until just after 7:30, a full half hour later than his regular bedtime, to see if this is truly a sleep issue. No difference. Though we'll likely move his bedtime to this time permanently, I'm convinced the early daylight is waking him up as much as it does me.

This morning, I literally nailed the curtain to the wall just under the curtain rod to block out some the early-morning light that insists on shining right on the corner of my son's bed (it actually worked quite well). I'm getting desperate. Maybe I'll paint that wall black.

What I want most in those hours is the delight of getting up before my son so I have time to get my wits together, pray for a few minutes, and maybe even take a whole shower without having to get up at 5:00. Then I am ready to embrace the day with smiles and giggles and breakfast.

Am I asking the impossible? Maybe. But it won't stop me from trying! It might stop me from trying to "sleep in" past 6:00, however. We'll see.

April 21, 2014

random thoughts: square meals

I suppose if I really want my son to eat meat, I should just call Costco and have them set up a sample table in my house. Because apparently that's the only way it's gonna happen.

when is it time to go back to work full time?

Yesterday, on a whim, I decided to see what openings there might be at the last place I worked before being laid off. What I found surprised me – they currently have several openings in the department I worked – and got me thinking.

Do I want to work there again?

Am I ready to work full-time?
Will my son be okay going to daycare 5 days a week?

What’s going to happen where I work now?

Before I could answer these questions in my head, I wrote an email to my closest contact there. She was my first supervisor, someone I admire very much, and probably the closest I’ve come to having a mentor. I invited her to join me for lunch to catch up. The gears in my head have been turning ever since, and I spent last night trying desperately to sleep.

When it comes to my career, I’ve always been fairly casual on-the-job but very proactive in-between jobs. While that MO never bothered me in the past, I’ve come to understand that until recently I simply didn’t take my career very seriously. Sure, every job I’ve had has built on my experience, and I’ve never taken a professional step backward. But I also haven’t found a professional home despite my searching – someplace I could settle in and count on advancing periodically. With my last layoff, I finally learned that no matter how hard I try to do the best I can, and no matter how grateful I am, things can still slip through my fingers and leave me standing on a cliff faced with yet another chasm of unwanted change.

My coworkers at that time showed me an unexpected level of support, and expressed more sympathy for me than perhaps I felt for myself. After all, there was nothing I could have done; I was one of several let go who still carried a Temporary status and was therefore vulnerable to budgetary constraints. After the initial “This too will pass” attitude wore off, though, I was angry for a little while. I fought against the temptation to wallow in questions like “Why is it always me?” and “Why can't I find a professional home when others stay at their jobs for 20 years?”
My challenge was to let go; to stop trying to hold on to unpredictable things, pray for my situation, and do what’s right in front of me. In this case, it meant staging our condo for sale, connecting with other moms through church, buying a house and moving, and settling into the reality of another dream that finally came true. I was grateful for the time I had to dedicate to all these things, and when I knew after several months I’d either have to pull our son from daycare or get some kind of a job, God provided one that couldn’t have fit my situation more perfectly.

In three months, that perfect situation (my six-month contract) will end and I have no idea if I’ll be offered something more or if I’ll be starting over. So it makes sense to shake the career branches a bit and see what’s going on. In other words, the timing could be perfect yet again. But I don’t trust what I see, not really. So I’m training myself yet again to let go and let God, and do what’s in front of me.
Then there's the issue of how this would impact my family, and what I could do to make the most of work and home. I still have my son every Friday, and I try to make the most of that time even though it can be exhausting. It's hard to constantly juggle life's demands and never know when I'll be given another ball to juggle or when one will be taken away. So I am intentionally recognizing the gifts of the age he is while trying to make the most of my current schedule. If I'm being honest, another way to put it is to say I feel like I can never relax because everything is temporary. It's irritating and stressful.

My devotional this morning is right on target:

Matthew 6:34
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious about itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

April 7, 2014

random thoughts: the power of scent

I love how my son's clothes smell like him even after I wash them. Either that or his soul is well-represented by Target's baby detergent.

random thoughts: playdoh is not food

Note to self: If you find out your toddler has just eaten a bunch of playdoh in a public setting like church or school, buckle up. It's gonna be a long, runny ride.

April 3, 2014

toddler bed mornings

Since we moved our son to a toddler bed and he's free to get out when he chooses, this is how our mornings go: Sometime before 7 a.m., he wakes up, toddles over to the door, sits by the door, and says "Hi." He will say "Hi" until mommy or daddy answers, but if no one answers he will tentatively open the door and come looking for us.

Pretty much the cutest thing in the universe.