Friday, March 26, 2010

Sleep Deprivation 101

I know that every kid is different, but I never expected to have a toddler who gets regular insomnia!

I hope someone can give me some insight into Henry's sleep issues. Here's the story.

I never thought I would share a bed with my baby, but living on the boat it has just ended up that way. When Henry was six months old and could stand up we felt that he was no longer safe sleeping alone in the v-berth with the railing we built for it. Rather than risk him falling out, I opted to sleep there too. Eight months later I still do. So, maybe that was my first mistake.

Henry starts his day between 7:30 and 8:30am, depending on his night. He normally naps just once a day now, usually from about 1:00pm-3:00pm. By 8:00pm he is ready for bed. He usually goes to bed quite easily, falling asleep within half an hour. I lay with him in the bed until he's asleep.

About an hour after he goes to sleep he wakes up and fusses. We pat his back and he goes right back to sleep. These awakenings can happen anywhere from 2-10 times a night. I'm used to this now, and as long as he settles right back to sleep I'm hardly disturbed at all. The major issue is that quite often, probably almost half of the time, he will wake up in the night and stay awake. He is perfectly happy most nights, just tossing and turning, and tossing and turning...for up to three hours some nights!! Why can't he go back to sleep?!?

I've tried giving him a bottle, which he drinks happily, then tosses and turns for a couple of hours anyway. I've tried changing his diaper, not changing his diaper, giving him Tylenol, rocking him, singing to him, not talking to him at all, getting him up, leaving him be...nothing seems to get him back to sleep any sooner.

My only idea is that it could be diet related, so I've started to keep a food journal to try to see a correlation between what he eats and whether we have a good night or a bad night. Henry also seems to be allergic to dairy. He is still drinking his milk-based formula, but can't tolerate homogenized milk, goat's milk, or soy formula. All three made him spit up. Also, when I first gave him milk and realized he was having issues with it I stopped giving him yogurt and cheese. This seemed to clear up the patches of rough skin (eczema?) on the backs of his arms.

When I asked our MD about his sleep he just said that if he didn't wake up crying or in pain he wouldn't worry about it. Easy for him to say, he gets to sleep all night!

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sunshine, Dentists, and a Weight Loss Challenge!

Well, obviously I didn't keep up with my promise to write daily!! I'm afraid it's just not going to happen. Oh well, this way I have more to tell!

Since I wrote last, we have had absolutely wonderful weather!! Most of the time, anyway. There were a few rainy, windy miserable days a couple of weeks ago that drove me off of the boat. I was fighting pretty hard to keep the sea sickness at bay, and finally gave in and made a trip to Peterborough. It's amazing what a week on solid ground will do to renew your enthusiasm for boat living.

Our week in Peterborough was lovely. Two days after Henry and I arrived the blue skies returned.

We had a wonderful visit with my brother Dave and his girlfriend Crystal. They are always a lot of fun to be with. Crystal and I decided to make a friendly wager. We both want to lose a couple of inches, and my New Years Resolution to lose those very inches resulted in a weight gain of three pounds!! So Crystal and I have challenged each other to lose an inch around our waists by April 15th, and a second inch by May 15th. An inch per month. Sounds do-able, right? Well, I think it's just the push I needed. I have been such a good girl about it since! We made this pact on March 15th, and here I am 10 days later having done daily abdominal exercises, walked a lot, and skipped all desserts!! I am determined. If I lose this challenge I have to buy Crystal drinks when we go for a girl's night the weekend after April 15th. Wish me luck!

I almost never floss. I worked in the dental industry for over ten years. I know I should, but like the majority of the population I just don't. For some reason I felt inspired last Saturday and got out the floss...and out popped a filling! Oops! So off to the dentist I went on Wednesday. Henry and I had a nice visit with everyone at the office. It's always great to see them again. Nia, our sweet surrogate Mom, even gave Henry an early Easter present, a lovely stuffed bunny! He just adores it, we've named it Peter Rabbit. Luckily Peter Rabbit helped to console Henry after my filling. He cried hysterically the whole time I was in the chair! I think he was afraid that his Momma was getting hurt. What a sweet boy!

That sweet boy continues to amaze me. He is so clever!! Henry is trying with all his might to repeat words now. He can't quite get them right yet, but he is doing really well. He can now consistently say apple, mom, car, arf, off, up, ouch, oops, hot, yes, ball, clock, and vroom. Today I told him I was going to call Poppa on the phone and he said, "Poppa" as clear as day! It is so cool to see him learning so fast. You can almost see the wheels turning. He understands instructions, and nods his head yes or shakes it for no, and he knows what he wants. He's very, very smart. I'm so proud of him.

I did a major Mom oops yesterday. We went for my dentist appointment in the morning, and I hadn't planned my day any further than that, so I packed accordingly. It was such a gorgeous day yesterday that I decided to take Henry for a walk in his stroller after the appointment. As we walked I thought I'd like some adult company, so I called Kim who stays home with Sarah, her three month old baby. We walked to Kim's house in the Distillery District and then Kim and Sarah joined us for a walk back to the Eaton's Centre. We shopped, talked, and had a wonderful day. Unfortunately I had come equipped with only one diaper. I changed Henry in his stroller at the park just before we met up with Kim. While we were shopping he stinkied his diaper again. Oh no! I couldn't leave him in it, but I was ill-equipped! So what did I do? Much to Henry's dismay I changed him...and put on one of Sarah's diapers. Size one! He wears a five!! It just barely wrapped around his thighs! Oh well, lesson learned, and believe it or not it did the job. We are going for a day long outing this Saturday to Elmira for the Maple Syrop Festival, and believe me I'm going to pack like a champ!!

I have had quite a social life lately. It's been great! Tuesday night I went to a Toronto Maple Leafs game! I haven't been to a hockey game for about seven years. (Except my nephew Nathan's games, but watching eleven year olds isn't quite the same thing) Andy and his Dad, John were given great tickets. Andy didn't want to go, he doesn't really enjoy it. Lucky for me! I had a great time. Andy hung out with Henry for the evening and John and I made a night of it. We were sitting right behind the Leafs' bench, just two rows back!! It crossed my mind, though, while I was sitting there that you can sure spot the mother of a toddler! I hadn't noticed that I had mashed potato on my pants, and I was yawning up a storm by 9:30! Ce la vie!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring has sprung!

Daily blogging has not been going too well, as you know. Part of the problem is finding the time, and part of the problem is finding something to talk about!

As I sit here typing now we are experiencing the first full day of spring rain. It's pouring out there, and the boat is rocking and rolling all over the place! A couple of hours ago I gave in and took a Gravol as the sea sickness was starting to get the better of me. I'm feeling much better now, and Henry has just been rocked to sleep by the wild weather.

Speaking of weather, this past week has been phenomenal!! We have had sunshine and warmth all day, every day. It's a shame to stay inside in such glorious weather, so Henry and I partook of the sunshine and walked, walked, walked! We took trips to the park, downtown and just up and down the street to enjoy that sunshine. Henry loves to walk on his own two feet, and giggles as he goes. He says Arf at passing dogs, and does a great imitation of a fire engine's siren! He's great fun.

Henry is growing so quickly! Every day when I get him dressed it is hit or miss whether the outfit I pick will still fit him! We just bought him some new shoes, as his toes had gotten pretty crowded in the old ones. He's starting to look so much more like a boy than a baby!! It's truly amazing watching the changes in him.

Charlie dog seems to be getting more neurotic. His poor behaviour is pretty intolerable sometimes! Between barking, chewing things and peeing on the floor, he's lucky that Andy and I are the type of people to commit to a pet for life, because I think a lot of people would have hung a 'free to a good home' sign around his neck and set him loose by now! Maybe one of these days when we have lots of money we'll invest in some training for the little beast. We certainly don't know what to do with him!!

Then there's Buddy. Good old Yellow Buddy. Yellow through and through. Buddy is afraid to climb the companionway, he's afraid of being picked up, and he's afraid of Henry. A gentle soul, Buddy is the best kind of friend, he listens well, is ever present, and gives you unconditional love. There is a sign on the PawsWay next door that says, "I strive to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am." Too true.

I can't wait for the rain to stop. It has only been one day and I'm already tired of wet dogs, wet strollers, and feeling couped up. Rain, rain go away.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

I feel that I've been a very neglectful Blogger since we arrived home at the end of August. During our trip there was just so much to tell! Every day we saw new places and had new experiences. It really wasn't hard then to find something to say.

Andy has been encouraging me to try to write every day. He says that people will be interested in the normal, everyday stuff too. I'm not sure if that's true, but I really enjoy writing, and do have thoughts and feelings that are note worthy to me, so to that end I'm going to try to get back to writing every day.

Henry takes up the biggest part of my days, so you will probably be hearing a lot about him! We have a lot of fun, a few frustrations, and learn from each other along the way.

Henry is walking very well now. He loves to walk outside, and it's hard to get him to keep hold of my hand. He's a very independent little soul. After breakfast every morning we get dressed, boots, coats, hats, mittens, and all, and go out to walk Buddy and Charlie. I used to put Henry in his stroller for this morning walk, but he really prefers to be on his own two feet, so for the most part we all walk together.

Henry doesn't like to do things the easy way, preferring the piles of snow to the flat sidewalk. He climbs up, trips and falls onto his knees, gets wet, then does it all again. This makes it very difficult for the dog walker. But hey, the fun way isn't always the easy way.

My little man is also starting to talk!! This is quite an amazing thing to me. The physical accomplishments are great, but having him able to communicate with more than pointing and grunting is incredible! It makes him seem so much more grown up! His vocabulary is growing daily. He can say hot, oops, ouch, and yuck (shows he's my kid!) and he imitates the dogs with an arf, arf! He also says car, clock, up, Dadda, Momma, bobba, and yes, much to my delight, instead of most kids no! It's really great hearing him. My little baby is not so little anymore.

We have turned a corner with Henry's need for Mommy. Over the past few weeks he has been playing more and more independently. He only really clings when he is getting tired. For a while he would have Mommy, and no one else...not even Daddy. That was hard for me to see, so I can only imagine how it felt for Andy.

Two days ago Henry and I got back from five days in Peterborough visiting my parents. Andy picked us up at Union Station, and the three of us went to get groceries. It was wonderful to see Henry not wanting Andy out of his sight for a change. Every time Andy went around a corner Henry would point and do his little, "oh, oh!" until he could see him again. Then his face would light up with a huge smile and a giggle.

Last night Andy and Henry ventured out on their own for a couple of hours. I packed Andy a 'man purse' with diapers, wipes, snacks and such for Henry. Henry went to Andy eagerly and waved bye to Mommy. No tears, no fuss, "bye Mom!". Off they went. They had a great time! Andy reported that Henry was bobbing his head and kicking his feet in time with the jazz playing in the truck, he giggled as he jiggled over bumps in a parking lot, they enjoyed visiting our friend Kim and her two month old baby Sarah, and Henry fell asleep in his stroller on the way home from downtown after they parked the truck. Everyone returned in high spirits.

While they were gone I enjoyed a snack and a hot cup of tea while I did some painting! Andy and my brother Dave made some doors for the boat in Dave's workshop. They turned out great, and Andy asked me to paint Sassy II and Jessica Rabbit on them, the same as is on the transom. It was fabulous to sit down uninterrupted for two and a half hours and do something creative!!

Now that Henry is a toddler I think we will both gain quite a bit of independence. I'm looking forward to delving back into some hobbies.

In other news, we have decided to sell our condo. With finances as they are, we are better served by selling and paying off all of our debt than by holding onto the condo and struggling to make minimum payments and never paying off any principal.

Being broke is quite a humbling experience. The best things in life are definately free, but having money sure does reduce stress!! My Dad always says , 'money can't buy happiness, but it could rent it for awhile!'. Well said Dad! We still have lots of happiness... in each other, Henry, and every time we step out onto the dock and see the sun shining, the ducks quacking, and another beautiful day. I just hate to see Andy working so hard and not getting ahead.

Being in business for yourself is fabulous when things are going gave us the freedom to travel, and nine months on our boat enjoying a life most people only dream about. Being in business for yourself when things aren't going well is stressful!! Not knowing how much money is going to be coming in is tough when bills are due.

Hopefully we'll sell our condo and make a good profit. Once we are caught up we'd like to sit down and really think about what's next. We love living on the boat, so we're in no hurry to buy a house and settle down. We love travelling. Andy HATES winter, so somewhere warm would be preferable. Andy also HATES washing cars!! Maybe we should sail off and find ourselves a quiet little island where living is inexpensive and Andy can do odd jobs to keep us afloat. He likes diving and could clean boat bottoms, he enjoys working on boats, and could do a huge array of repairs and maintainance for other cruisers, he's also thought of chartering out our boat and taking people for day sails. There are lots of ways to earn a living along the way.

We've basically discovered that we really want to live a life less ordinary, and if you don't care about doing what every one else is striving for, like buying a home, saving for retirement, buying nice things, etc, then you can take a leap and lead that life less ordinary. Life is short, and we want to get as much out of the experience as possible. I don't need a leather sofa and a fancy car, I need to enjoy life out in nature with my family by my side.

Spring is in the air. March came in like a lamb, with sun and spring warmth. I have to say we had it really easy this winter living aboard. We had very little snow, few storms and mostly mild weather. It has not been a hardship in the least. Now I'm looking forward to getting the plastic cover off and moving back over to the island. City side is very convenient, but the island is all about enjoying nature. It is very serene, and I think Henry and I are going to have a wonderful time this summer. (I say Henry and I because poor Andy is working, working, working!).

Well, I certainly have found a lot to say. Now I should wrap it up before Henry wakes up from his nap. I have dishes to do and a boat to tidy so we can get out and enjoy the sunshine this afternoon!!