Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Night Stalker Loses the Pacifier 5

I had a list of things I was going to accomplish with Elisabeth once we moved back to California and before the baby came:

1)   Potty Train

2)   Transition to Toddler Bed

3)   Wean from Pacifier

Then we actually got to California and I realized I was too pregnant and tired to deal with any of those things.  Sure, we put Elisabeth in the Big Girl Bed, but it has been two months and she still gets out of it unattended, and I still occasionally put her back in the crib on nights she is particularly uncooperative, or nights I am particularly exhausted and can’t handle lying with her for an hour.  I know.  My inconsistency if probably not helping the situation.

And sure, Elisabeth uses the potty sometimes.  We were on a roll when I introduced itty-bitty cookies as an incentive, but then Elisabeth got over the “potty cookies” and opted to go back to the diaper.  The girl is smart – I upped my game and started using M&Ms. The “emma-emmas” were a big hit at first.  She was back on the potty.  But then one M&M per pee wasn’t enough.  “Two emma-emmas?” she would try to negotiate.  That’s when I threw in the towel.  Stay in diapers till you’re 12, for all I care!*

As for getting rid of the pacifier – yeah, right.  My half-assed attempts at potty training and establishing a bedtime routine were far too draining to even think about pacifier weaning.

Then I hit 34 weeks.  And I panicked.  Six weeks!  Only six weeks till baby arrived and I had accomplished nothing with Elisabeth! I had squandered a precious seven weeks and the time to buckle down was NOW.

I made a plan of attack: Get rid of the pacifier first.  I was already staying with Elisabeth until she fell asleep every night, so I could provide her with whatever comfort she needed in the wake of her loss.  And it would be a great, great loss.  Once she had adjusted to sleeping without her pacifier, I would work on getting her to sleep – by herself – in the big girl bed.  There might be a few rough nights at first, but surely Elisabeth would adapt to these changes fairly smoothly.

I should know better by now.

I decided last Thursday night would be the night.  My dad was out of town and my mom was going to be out late – I didn’t want any grandparent interference.  They see the pacifier as a harmless soothing device; I see the pacifier as stacks of future orthodontia bills.

Elisabeth and I had talked about how the “pacis” are for babies and she’s a big girl now.  She even once – unprompted – threw her precious paci in the trash after she said the babies needed it.  (Unusual logic, but I went with it.) When bedtime arrived hours later, I found her digging through the trash.  I decided with Elisabeth, we needed to go cold turkey.

Thursday night came, and as we climbed into bed, she asked for her paci.

“The pacis are all gone.  Remember? We had to give them to the babies.” I said in my most sympathetic voice.

Elisabeth made some form of agreement before moments later asking, “Paci? My paci?”

We went through this dialogue a few times before Elisabeth realized there really were no more pacis.  She whimpered and cried.  For like, a minute.

Then she started talking.  And talking.  And talking.  And singing.  And talking.   For two endless hours.

 

It dawned on me that she didn’t need the pacifier for comfort as much as I needed the pacifier for her to SHUT UP AND GO TO SLEEP.

 

At first her stream of consciousness was cute.  “Sweet dreams, sweet dreams, sweet dreams.  And then it rained and rained for 40 days and nights.  Sweet dreams. Sweet dreams.”  Thanks for that Biblical interjection, Elisabeth!   Or when she put her face up to mine and said, “I love you mommy.”  Isn’t she sweet?

But then the talking just didn’t stop.  It turned into: “I need water.”  “I need my baby doll.”  “Where’s my water?” “I need lotion.” “No lotion!”  “I need more lotion.” “I need to go potty.” (Now she needs to go potty? Highly suspicious…)  “I need covers.”  “No covers!”  “Rub my back.”  “Noooo, not that way!”  “Rub my tummy.”  And on, and on, and on.   At first I tried to appease her, but she was clearly un-appeasable.  So instead I lay next to her and contemplated smothering myself with a pillow.

Now, she had been itching her skin and head like mad (hence all the lotion).  At 9:00, after about an hour and a half of her shenanigans, I decided that she must certainly be suffering an allergic reaction and was in need of medicinal intervention.

Enter: Benadryl.  Judge me if you must, but I was desperate.  And I mean, she was really itchy.  And she really needed to go to sleep.

Elisabeth gulped the medicine eagerly.  “I need more medicine,” she declared.  I was desperate, but I was not that desperate.  “You don’t need more,” I replied.  “I feel better,” she decided.  Fan-freaking-tastic.  Does that mean you’ll go to sleep now?

I settled back down next to her and stared at her, waiting for her eyelids to droop.  Come on, Benadryl! Work your magic!

Turns out Elisabeth’s will power is stronger than Benadryl’s medicinal power.  It was another thirty minutes before Elisabeth finally succumbed to sleep.

I had prepared myself for tears.  I was ready to cuddle and comfort my sweet girl as she mourned the loss of her pacifier.  If she needed to cry herself to sleep, she could do so in my loving arms.  But I had not prepared myself for this verbal assault.  Oh no, she caught me off guard with her incessant chatter.  Well played, Elisabeth.  She talked so tirelessly I almost retrieved a pacifier I had hidden (just in case).  But she would not break me.  Not this time.

 

The next night my parents took her out to dinner while I stayed home to rest.  Nana and Baba got a little too friendly with the sommelier and ended up staying out till well after 9:00.

“She needs to go bed!  It’s so late” I shrieked at them when they finally got home with my daughter.  They hadn’t been around the night before – they didn’t know what I was in for.

“It’s late.  She’ll fall asleep right away,” my dad reasoned.

“Or she’ll stay away for another two hours and none of us will get to bed at a reasonable hour,” I replied.

I was right.   And this night was worse than the last.  Sleep deprivation from the night prior coupled with the late hour made her entirely unpleasant.  At first, she wasn’t too terrible, making me laugh as she belted out, “The Rainbow Connection” at the top of her lungs.  Then she began using her foot as a musical instrument, sticking it in and out of her mouth to make a popping sound. She thought she was soooo hilarious.  But soon her singing turned into whining.  “I cwanky.  I cwaaaaanky!” she wailed at one point, tossing and turning on top of her pillows.  Then close your eyes and be quiet!  I screamed.  In my head.  I screamed it in my head, I swear.

The grandparents and I all took turns with her before she finally fell asleep with her Nana at 10:30.

10:30.  No two-year old should be awake until 10:30.  It’s not fair to the parents.  Especially to the pregnant moms who can’t go break into a bottle of wine afterwards.

 

We gave Elisabeth a "No More Paci Pizza & Ice Cream Party." It didn't help.

We gave Elisabeth a “No More Paci Pizza & Ice Cream Party.” It didn’t help.

 

It has been a week now.  She has stopped asking for the pacifier, but she is still taking 1-2 hours to go to sleep every naptime and bedtime.  That is, when she naps at all.**  Do the math – that’s 2-4 hours per day I spend trying to coax the dear girl to sleep.  TWO – FOUR HOURS! I need those hours!  Those are my sleeping hours, my eating ice cream in secret hours, my catching up on Scandal hours!

What’s a mom to do?

No, really.  That’s not rhetorical. What’s a mom to do?

 

*I’ve heard good things about a 3-day potty training “boot camp.”  But I looked into it and it seems that you basically let your kid run around naked for three days peeing and pooping on everything until they get the point to go in the toilet.  Ew.  Like I’m said – I’m too pregnant to deal with that.

**If my daughter phases out her nap right before the new baby arrives, I will cry. A lot.

 

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Can’t Hack It

Posted on Apr 12, 2014 in Adulthood Stole My Cool, My Kid Stole My Cool, Pregnancy Stole My Cool

Can’t Hack It 1

I spent last weekend in San Francisco visiting friends.  Non-mom friends.  For the first time, the distinction between “mom” friends and “non-mom” friends became important; for the first time, I realized that though I like to think I can hang out with my non-mom friends just like I used to, I’m severely disillusioned.  Nope.  As a 33 weeks pregnant mom of a two-year-old, I just can’t hack it anymore. *** The week after moving back to southern California, a few non-mom friends happened to be in town.  After exchanging emails to make dinner plans, one friend suggested a place and time. 8:30. I balked. 8:30!? As in, PM!?  But that’s jammy time!  I hastily wrote my friends back, and after claiming jet-lag, asked if we could push dinner up to 8:00.  I really meant 5:30, but figured that might be pushing it for my friends whose lives don’t currently revolve around potty-training and early morning prenatal yoga.  So 8:00 it was.  The evening of our dinner arrived, and after chugging boatloads of coffee I made my way to the restaurant, praying I wouldn’t fall asleep face-first into my mocktail.* I managed to rally, but I got lucky that time.  So let’s examine last weekend, when a silly pregnant woman attempted to recapture her pre-children days. Friday night my girlfriends and I got together at a charming little Italian restaurant.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner and then lingered over wine.  (Well, everyone else lingered over wine.  I lingered over water.)  I love these girls.  I love catching up with them.  I love lingering over wine when I am actually allowed to drink wine.  But how does a sleep-deprived, third-trimester pregnant woman stay awake past 9:00 in a dim restaurant after eating copious amounts of carbs and cured meat?  It’s damn near impossible, I tell you. Everyone seemed a little spent after a long week, and decided to disperse after dinner rather than heading out somewhere else.  Thank the good Lord – I could go to bed!  Except I couldn’t.  My friend’s neighbor fell asleep with her television blasting.  My über-sensitivity...

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We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers

Posted on Mar 16, 2014 in My Kid Stole My Cool

We Do Not Negotiate with Toddlers 1

We do not negotiate with toddlers. I wish this were true.  But we do negotiate with toddlers.  At least I do.  All day…  Every day…  Go ahead and file this under, “Things I thought I’d never do as a parent.” -Sigh- Wouldn’t it be great to take a hard-line with these obstinate little ones? “Eat your vegetables because I said so.” “Put on your pants because it’s cold outside.” “Go to sleep because you need sleep to live.” Done and done.  If only it were that easy.  If only the toddlers would respond to logic and reason. But no.  Toddlers don’t respond to logic and reason because they’re not logical or reasonable.  They’re two; they respond to cookies and toys.  Either that or they’re manipulative little geniuses who know how to get exactly what they want  Maybe it’s both.  So instead we parents (or just me?) endlessly cajole, bargain, and outright bribe.  I didn’t notice my shameful behavior at first.  Then one day I realized almost every conversation with my 2-year-old involved some sort of “If…Then” statement. “Eat your vegetables,” became, “If you eat your vegetables, you can have more pasta.” “Put on your pants,” became, “If you don’t put on your pants, then we can’t go outside,” which became, “If you put on your pants, we can watch Elmo when we come back inside.”  When even Elmo didn’t work, it became, “Here’s my iPhone.  Look at pictures while I put on your pants.”  (For some reason, Elisabeth was vehemently anti-pants for a while.) When did every interaction with my child become a negotiation?  When will it stop!? I thought I’d be tougher.  I thought I would weather any tantrum and firmly hold my ground.  Eventually my toddler would listen to me and respect me, simply because I know what’s best. But holy cow – have you ever spent 30 FREAKING MINUTES trying to clothe a screaming, flailing child?  Or 30 minutes doing ANYTHING that should take 2 minutes, but for the innate need of these little people to assert total domination over you?  (I suppose it’s more PC...

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New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate.

Posted on Mar 11, 2014 in Pregnancy Stole My Cool, Travel Traumas

New Zealand, Part 1: Bananagate. 4

New Zealand.  I have to blog about my trip to New Zealand, even though it was two months ago.  My memory seems to be diminishing with each passing day of this pregnancy, so it’s imperative I document this trip now.  You know, so when I make our travel scrapbook 10 years from now I’ll actually have a record of where we went and what we did. You guys, New Zealand is stunning.  Gorgeous beyond belief.  I knew NZ was one of those places Damon and I had to visit while we were living in Japan, but I wasn’t all that sure why.  Because it’s pretty?  Because Lord of the Rings was filmed there?  I mean, a lot of places are pretty, and I don’t really care about Lord of the Rings.  But still, for no particular reason other than vague praise from fellow travelers, NZ was on our travel bucket-list.  And thank goodness it was. Perhaps we didn’t really know what to expect from our trip because it’s probably hard for most people – including myself – to articulate how incredible this place is.  Damon, Elisabeth, and I flew into Christchurch and spent 11 days traveling the South Island by car, spending one or two nights in a town before moving on to our next destination.  Even with 11 days, we only traversed the southern half of the South Island, but every day brought a different experience.  By no means am I a nature girl, yet I was rendered speechless by each beach, lake, mountain, glacier, waterfall, what-have-you we saw.  It was all magnificent. We’d be driving along, admiring one landscape – say,  rolling green hills dotted with sheep – turn a corner and be struck by a completely different, but equally stunning view, perhaps a glassy lake in the most brilliant turquoise color you’ve ever seen, or snow-capped mountains against a perfectly blue sky.  Even when it rained (which it did, a lot) it was still crazy beautiful.     We took our trip in early January, summer in NZ and therefore the tourism high season, yet there...

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Sayonara, Japan

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 in It's the Navy Life, Travel Traumas

Sayonara, Japan 6

A little over a week ago, Elisabeth and I boarded a flight from Narita to LAX.  This was our third NRT –> LAX, but likely our last.  At least for a long while.  Elisabeth and I are officially CONUS residents again, living in California for the next several months until Damon joins us and we move to Washington, DC. I don’t believe I’ve entirely updated this blog on our current situation, so here’s the short version: I’m pregnant (duh).  Damon is currently in Nevada participating in a major training exercise for the next several weeks.  When he returns to Japan, he will be doing work-ups for deployment.  If you don’t know what any of that means, that’s okay, I don’t really either.  Basically, he’ll be really, really busy and gone a lot.  And ultimately, he’ll deploy again.  All before the baby is set to arrive. Given his timeline and my due date, we decided the best decision for me was to move back with my family in California to have the baby and wait out the deployment.  So here I am. It was strange leaving Japan – and the Atsugi community – so many months before I had previously planned.  There were so many things on my bucket list left undone, and time I had counted on with friends that I had to sacrifice.  But ultimately, I was ready to move; I desperately needed an In-N-Out burger.  I lived overseas for 22 months, which hardly sounds like any time at all.  But since graduating college in 2007, that is actually the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere.  Crazy, right? If I’m being honest, I didn’t love Japan.  That’s not to say I disliked it – not at all!  It’s just that I never felt 100% comfortable in the culture.  Part of that is my own fault.  Before moving, I assumed I would fully immerse myself in the Japanese culture, and frankly, I didn’t.  When we moved, Elisabeth was five months old.  I struggled – more than I thought I would – with balancing parenting a baby (and then toddler) and...

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GIVEAWAY: Origami Owl

Posted on Feb 8, 2014 in Uncategorized

GIVEAWAY: Origami Owl 3

Hey Friends. Guess what? It snowed today. A lot.  Actually, it’s still snowing.  All the good parents of Atsugi took their kids out to play in the winter wonderland, while I was like, “Sorry, Kid.  It’s too damn cold.”  I enjoyed an indoor day, warm and dry, while – miracle of all miracles – Elisabeth napped for THREE HOURS.  I think I win this snow day. I’m guessing my U.S. readers know something about cold right now. Except the Californians. I hate you guys sometimes. But for everyone else who is stuck in freezing misery, I have something that might lift your spirits.  Free stuff! That’s right – I’m doing my first giveaway!  My friend Michelle is an independent designer for the jewelry line Origami Owl.  She has graciously offered one of my readers the beautiful silver locket pictured below. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, right?! Ok, given that it’s already February 8th, you probably won’t receive it by Valentine’s day, but perfect for adding a little cheer into this endless, dreadful winter, right?! Mommas, this can be a well-deserved gift to yourself.  Fellas, this could be a belated Valentine’s day gift after you either forget/screw up the actual gift you give your lady.  Either way, anyone can and should enter by doing the following. 1) “Like” My Kid Stole My Cool on Facebook 2) Follow @DianaLoveless1 on Twitter  (Yes I tweet.  I can hardly believe it myself.) 3) “Like” Michelle’s Origami Owl page on Facebook 4) Comment directly on this blog post telling me the best Valentine’s Day gift is you’ve ever been given.  Uh, I can’t actually answer that, so feel free to tell me the worst Valentine’s Day gift you’ve ever been given. Or gifted to someone else! That’s much more fun… Each of the above will get you one entry, meaning you have the chance to enter multiple times!  And if you want to check out more of Michelle’s merchandise, check out her website! The winner will be announced on February 14th.  Good luck!   P.S. Damon eventually took Elisabeth out in the snow so she...

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