We Survived – The 18 Month Sleep Regression

We did it. We survived the monster 18 month sleep regression and almost with our sanity and collective cool intact.

Now, I know. We’ve only done this parenting thing once, but I’m serious- we get complimented on our 22 month old EVERYDAY. She is a happy, intelligent, thoughtful and imaginative child, that very rarely has tantrums that we can’t work thru. We happen to believe that she is so happy and well adjusted for a couple different reasons, but the chief one is:

We’re attached parents. This is a pretty broad statement, but for us, it means simple things, like never turning down a hug, or keeping her with us the majority of the time. Plenty of people ask to babysit her all the time, but honestly, we believe the best place for her is with us,  and many studies show, children with strong bonds with their parents THRIVE instead of just survivin… Which brings me to the next reason I feel Izzy is THRIVIN’ – my story is a SCHEDULE and ROUTINE and I am sticking to it.

No, really. And I’m not the only one that feels this way

Doctor Approved!

Other Parents Agree!

Every day, Izzy has a fairly good idea how the day is going to go. This creates routine which is comforting to kids. They learn by constant repetitive actions and motions and words. Of course a schedule would help them learn what to expect come bed time.

But now for our regression story, and how we are now at 22 months and shes been back to her normal 7:30pm bed time for over 3 months, which is officially regressions butt kicked, in my opinion.

Right before thanksgiving, and around the time Izzy turned 18 months, we did this crazy little thing called moving our entire lives… coincidentally, this happened right when 4 of her teeth all decided to start moving around and coming in. AND at the same time that mrgillis and I decided that enough was enough, and the bottle had to go. That was actually the easiest of the whole shenanigan. But that’s a whole other blog… so back to the matter at hand.

These seemingly trivial events all collided one evening, to be very specific it was the night of mrgillis’ grandfathers 98th birthday gathering… we took Izzy out after supper and let her eat a little bit of my cake and ice cream… everything seemed good when we left there around 7, knowing Izzy would be up a bit later then usual.. and this turned into an Izzy that was restless at 8 and screaming when we tried to take her to her room. She was beside herself and demanding snacks and drinks. She was in a rage until she cried herself to sleep by nine. She then, slept thru the night like normal, and went down for a nap like normal, only to be a mess the next night come bedtime. She wanted her cup, a peanut butter sandwich, ALL the toys.

NOTHING about her old routine would soothe her, and the bottle was out of the question as she had already gone over a week without one. It was night after night of this same rigamarole for two weeks straight.

And one night, after I had picked everything up and said “no more toys, honey, it’s time for bed” and she launched into  another screaming fit, I cracked. I took every toy and book we had for her and put them in a big box and said, “Toys are for daytime.”

I got on her level, which at this point was the floor because tantrum, and said very simply, “I love you and you need sleep”. I picked her up, took her to her room and had to lay with her for over 30 minutes of flip out crying, tantrum and anger.

She fell asleep earlier then any other night in the last 2 weeks. Mrgillis and I went to bed before 10, FINALLY. It was amazing.

The next night, we went back to the old routine- bath, jammies, books and cleaning her teeth. I went into her room and withstood a 15 minute rage of flying elbows, headbutts and scream/crying. Then she was asleep.

The next night, we followed routine, I steeled myself for another 15-20 minute crazed fit of hysterical toddler, and low and behold. She didn’t cry at all, she laid in bed with me, playing gently with my hair for 15 minutes or so, until she fell asleep.

Now at 22 months old, she willingly goes thru her bedtime ritual, sends kisses to her father after a big hug goodnight, and lays calmly in bed with me, until she falls asleep. Some nights, we’ll lay there for longer then other nights, but all and all shes asleep every night by 7:30 and sleeps thru until 5 or 6.

So, routine and schedule, folks. Routine And Schedule. Its not that hard for me, because, much like a toddler, I get very grumpy when my regular schedule has been interrupted.

Until next time, have a wicked great day!

The Why and The How of It – Cloth Diapering

Before we even knew we were officially going to have a kid, we knew we were going to at least try cloth diapers. And then, we had Izzy and by one month old, and barely ten pounds, we had her in cloth diapers I had painstaking made myself- two ply flannel diapers, stuffed with an absorbent pad also made of layers of flannel, pinned with baby safe pins and then covered with plastic like undies that I found for cheap at the Amish store.

As she got bigger and started moving more, we invested in out very own stash of the new kind of cloth… a soft inner shell, sewn into a poly water proof fabric, with micro fiber inserts and snaps to adjust to all sorts of sizes. At just shy of 20 months old, and at 30 pounds, she still fits into these. That’s 15 months in these diapers- but our stash is 30 strong. We bought most of these in packs of 6 on amazon – later, we bought just a bunch of inserts so we could double up on the absorbancy as she wet more heavily.

But here is the real nitty gritty on the why, the how, and then the other why and how again.

  1. Disposables are expensive. –  now I know some of you people are looking at my link to a pack of 6 diapers with six inserts for 30 bucks and saying to yourselves, no cloth diapers are expensive. And you would be sorta right. Yeah, $5 for a single diaper seems like kind of a lot, but the reality is these diapers have an infinite amount of uses, WITH PROPER CARE(see #2)…. compared to a 20- 39 cent disposable that gets tossed in the trash Every. Single. Time. Your. Kid. Goes. When they are really young, that is a lot. That’s like up to 10 or more times a day. Which you guessed it, can add up to like 4 bucks a day. In. The. Trash.

Now, we don’t use cloth at night, because its crappy to have to change a whole bed in the middle of the night, and with a baby that happens often enough as it is.(UPDATE : as of feb 2017 we started putting her in cloth overnight, same as during the day, and it IS WORKING. Like not just working, but working better then her disposables were, so just wanted to clarify that)

Also we use a babysitter three days a week, so we send her over to them with disposables. And, while we were moving and didn’t have ready access to a washing machine, she was living in sposies. We are big believers in using what works. What typically works for us is using cloth the majority of the time because-

2.We have a really GOOD care routine. This is the core of the cloth/sposie debate in most peoples minds. How can you get the urine and poop really, actually out, without destroying your washing machine? Well the truth is, no single wash routine is going to work for everyone, or even most of everyone, or even two neighbors.  Truth is, you’re going to have to do a little investigative research of your own- in your own domain. Really get to know your water hardness level. Do you have high iron or calcium? They have free tests you can get online but if you want a really accurate one you’re going to have to shell out about 10 bucks. This is important because you’ll want to put additives into your wash as, no just regular laundry soap is not enough to clean even your regular laundry, but that’s another blog entirely.

Our personal care routine is as follows, but this is just an example – we wash diapers no more then every 48 hours.
I make sure all inserts are pulled out of the diapers pockets, and I also make sure that any waste has been flushed down the toilet. And to do that I use the Scrape and Swirl method of cleaning. This is not pretty, but its the gods honest truth. I literally take pooh diapers, plop the excess into the toilet and then use an old metal spatula to scrap the rest of the ickiness into the toilet as I gently swirl it around in the water (and yes this is to avoid splashback)
(And, Yes, I know. The things we’ll do to save money. )
To wash we put a heaping 1/2 cup of Borax, heaping 1/2 cup of Washing Soda and line 2 on our detergent (Wisk) into the bottom of our washing drum. Then go in all the diapers and inserts. I wash on a normal, heavy soil cycle, with a 30 minute soak time, followed by an extra rinse and spin. My machine is a top loading, HE General Electric with an actual agitator in the bin. I know.. I love my washer. It is the most magnificent washer ever AND we got it on clearance, on a labor day sale. Original price was over $800 and we got it for half that.

When the diapers are done washing, I dry the inserts in my dryer and I hang the diapers to dry “hot dog style” like so:

3. So the other why we use cloth – yes, we are concerned about the environment. You can’t really want a sustainable farm and not be a bit worried about throwing thousands (average of 7 dirties a day, multiplied by 7 days a week, multiplied by 52 weeks a year, times about 2 years equals roughly 5000 diapers in the trash at .30/diaper that is $1500… in the trash, and that is all low ball estimation most parents will tell you kids go thru like 10 diapers a day) of dirty diapers in the trash, to go to a landfill, to sit for goodness knows how long because disposable diapers are relatively new, and we DON’T know all the possible long term consequences for our one planet earth. We feel better knowing that by saving money, we are also helping to keep some trash out of our ecosystem.

Every earth day, my school would send all of us to go clean up trash at some local park or such and every year, I remember vividly how many dirty diapers we picked up. Literal BAGS of dirty diapers. Ick. This convinced me, even as a young and out of touch teenager, that having a kid, just didn’t need to be so wasteful.

4. Ok, so seriously, cloth diapers are so stinkin’ CUTE. And the kids, when they wear them, their little butts are so adorably fluffy. I have literally, dozens of pictures of her in her cloth diapers because they just make me feel so giddy sometimes. I never claimed to be a normal, mature adult here tho. And I also just happen to get giddy over the thought of saving money. I really am that cheap.

5. In my personal experience, cloth diapers fit better and lead to fewer blowouts with the poopie ones. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of urine leaks if you don’t change your kid often enough, but that would happen in any diaper, really. And does- at 20 months old and in 3t clothing, izzy was regularly leaking out the side of her disposable at night. We have since started using overnight pull ups. Ugh- so pricey. But not having to change the sheets and an angry child at 2:54am is worth almost anything.

So that’s about that. We really stand by our decision to put Izzy in cloth, for the majority of the time and should we ever have another kid, they’ll be going in cloth too. And after we’re all done, we’ll be donating them, so they can help another family save some serious cash as well. Because oh yeah,

6. The cloth diapering community is very helpful, and very large. Whether you have questions about laundry soap or finding second hand diapers, there’s a whole big cyber neighborhood of people that feel the same way I do and are willing to impart their experiences to newbies, or anyone even just interested in learning a little bit about cloth. I have spent time detailing everything to an amazed best friend, just because she asked questions.

Here are a couple more good cloth diapering resources to check out:

Fluff Love University -This website is ridiculous good. Like there is nothing, cleaning wise, that I could ever try to explain, better then they already have or could. They also have a facebook page, and its well worth a check. I’m pretty sure its a closed group and you have to ask to join tho.

Thinking About Cloth Diapers-This one is also very well done, but is less science, more feels. There are some great tutorials about how to fix diapers when things like elastics or snaps break, which has only happened to me once. It was a back elastic on the pocket and it slipped its original stitch. It was a little difficult to get the elastic back in, but easy enough to sew it back together. There really is much more as well, you just have to go look tho.

The Rebecca Foundation is where we’ll be sending ours when we’re done. They are a really wonderful program, started by a nine year old with her mothers help, to end diaper need.

And that’s about that, I’d say. Until the next time, have a wicked good evening.

A letter to our daughter on her first birthday

Dearest izzybug,

What a year, my darling little girl. 

As I look up at you, standing in the living room, giggling to yourself and playing with your toy box, I am overjoyed at your very existence. I, nor your father, have never done anything as amazing as raising you. And wowzas, has it been amazing. 

We talk about the day we had you, like it was yesterday. You, once this barely 8 lb bundle of dimples and gnomish chub, are thriving. You are, sorta, walking. You are, sorta, talking. You love music and dance with the classic grace and flair of your mama…hahaha. You love being read to, love playing with mega blocks, stuffed animals get and give the best hugs, and I don’t mind (much) when you pinch my tattoos in tiny human wonder. 

I’m so proud of you, in so many ways that it’s hard for me to concentrate and write down what you have really accomplished this year. It’s been amazing to watch you discover food, drinking from a cup, trying to climb, learning to be gentle with the kitties. You’ve started clicking your tongue at them, like your dad and I. You love being outside, in your swing or on the grass, staring at the chickens and calling to them. You love the flower section of any store, the soft petals and rough leaves a delight to your fingers. You walked your best steps so far, trying to get some of my kiwi. You’re a little nervous around dogs, but you love people- Always greeting everyone with a smile. You love taking things apart. You refuse to eat unless you can feed yourself, for the most part. You got your top two canines in before your front teeth. Every single thing about you is amazing. Every. Single. Thing. 

There have been some missteps, some falls, some outright failures, but those are on us, not you, little one. I hope to remember that, while you grow- to remember that you are constantly growing and learning, and we are here to guide you, catch you when you fall. 

Gosh, it’s a little overwhelming. All the feelings, you know? We want so much for you in this life, but mostly, we want for you to feel safe, and free, to be your own person. Sometimes that can be hard, living in a small town in a small county in a large state. But I promise, your father and I will be there to support you, help you, LOVE you, for as long as this life lets us. You are our sunshine, our bug, our most amazing and profound accomplishment. You are our little girl. 

We love you, 

Your mom and dad. 

Long time, no blog. 

Last time I wrote, I was in the middle of Apple season. The baby was sleeping well so I had tons of energy. My husband was in one piece, so we were accomplishing lots. I was in a great mood, so life seemed like a long road of beautiful scenery for me to enjoy along the ride. 


This face? Capable of nonstop crying for two hours? Naaaah…

Then, in literally one night things went bad. Then to worse over the last couple weeks. 

Izzy hit the 4 month monsters, which meant going back to an infant type sleep schedule. Thankfully she only takes 15- 20 minutes to feed and settle most times, but that’s 2-4 times a night. I got exhausted fast. 

Then my husband had a serious of unfortunate accidents… Starting with stitches to one finger, followed by a wrenched thisclosetobroken leg ending with not one, but two, flare ups of an old back injury. This means he’s been bed ridden for most of the last three weeks. While I have been keeping house, kid, kitties and chickens up… Well the best I can. At the same time as working part time and trying to tie up the loss ends from this harvest. 

Life has changed a lot for Mr. Gillis and I over the last couple years. Life changes constantly… But nothing that we’ve experienced together prepared us for parenting… Let alone parenting while one of us has been out for the count. So imma gonna blog about it… 

The truth. The truth about it all. 

  1. It is super scary. Like wake you up in the middle of the night because you HAVEN’T heard any weird noises from the bassinet/crib/side sleeper/ whatever next to the bed. Like, “is her soft spot growing together to fast?” Or “am I giving her enough to eat?” And my personal terror inducing paranoia “OHMYGOD DID I HURT HER?” . The list goes on. You learn the signs of GERD and what increases the chances of SIDS. You wonder if that’s a flat spot developing on the back of their head and if they’re getting enough tummy time or…. Well you get the point. There are a million and one things that can all go wrong. You will at some point have some of the minor things, maybe even a major thing happen to you and your kid. The only thing you can do is be prepared for anything, have a surplus of all thing first aid-y and try to maintain a sense of humor so as to avoid losing your mind. 
  2. It is super rewarding. Even in the early days when all they can do is sleep, eat, yawn, cry, stare and make lots of dirty diapers. You look at that little gnomy face and feel so overwhelmed. Sometimes not in a good way, either. But the majority of the moments are when it’s overwhelming love… And not just for your baby. I remember when my husband looked at me and said “she’s the greatest accomplishment of my life.” I already loved the man, but holy did my heart feel close to bursting. And then your baby starts growing In leaps and bounds, because of your nurturing…. Well the satisfaction is pretty indescribable. 
  3. You will do anything, anywhere to make your kid smile. I have found myself in the middle of the grocery store, blowing crazy loud raspberries in order to crack a smile from my very serious infant. And it works. And it’s totally worth it. 
  4. Every baby is completely different. There is no truer statement. My little one didn’t give me her first real smile until after 8 weeks. Now she smiles all the time. She said her first word (MUMMA!) at 4 and a half months. She just discovered her toes at 21 weeks. She did rollover the first time at just 10 weeks, but we’ve been doing tummy time since day 2. But that’s not really the point. Every kid develops at a different rate and order the first couple years. I saw myself constantly comparing her to what different charts and articles about where she should be. It was just driving me crazy. And not helping her. So I quit. I talk with our pediatrician when I have concerns. I feel much better. 
  5. It does put a bit of a crimp in spontaneous activities. We are so very lucky that our daughter enjoys going out and about. She isn’t so overjoyed about being in her car seat unless it’s in motion, but we do get to go do our grocery shopping with very little to no fussing on her part. I’ve never been so aware of other people’s children as I am now and I always feel so bad for parents that have a small child that isn’t content to get wheeled around. 
  6. This is a more personal mommy one- it’s ok to be unsure of your new post partum body. I gained 60 lbs with my pregnancy. It doesn’t just melt off. The stretch marks don’t just disappear. Breastfeeding isn’t a magical weight loss solution for everyone. Working out for longer then ten minutes with a newborn is extremely hard, and the workouts I did were focused on healing my diastasis recti. And honestly, at 5 months post partum, I am still not working out every day. If I can I see it as a mini victory. If I can’t, I don’t let it bother me. I’m down to the last 20 lbs and as long as I keep going in this trajectory, I’ll be back to my prepregnancy weight in a few months. If I’m not, it’s ok too. What matters is the health of our baby and myself. 
  7. Learn about growth spurts and wonder weeks. They aren’t exact, but it will give you a better understanding of your babies development. Knowing our baby is due for a sudden developmental leap helps me in a lot of ways. It makes me more empathetic to all of us… It helps me ground myself in knowing that she is just doing what all well nurtured babies go thru. 
  8. The mothering instinct is strong. A couple weeks ago, I convinced my husband that our family needed another kitty. Not because I’m hormonal and want to smother everything in love, mind you. No, because all the shelters around here are full of kitties with no homes. It was completely altruistic. And you know what, if your instinct isnt like that, that’s good too. You have less kitty litter to deal with. 
  9. There will be moments where you want another one RIGHTNOW. And other moments when you couldn’t imagine doing this again. Once again, this is a decision for your family. Just know, this careening back and forth is totally normal. 
  10. There will never be enough hot coffee. You’ll get a cup and someone needs something. Welcome to the true nature of parenthood. Your needs are always second, unless you have a partner in crime. Then sometimes you get to go pee before your bladder explodes, from drinking all your old cold coffee. 
  11. This list is not complete, nor will it ever be. Every day you learn new things, create new stories, feel all the things… It just keep going on and on. I’ve been working on this blog post for weeks. If I don’t just bite the bullet, it will never get published. 

So here I am biting the bullet. I’m sorry I didn’t get to give Apple season the attention it deserved. I did get apple sauce made and frozen. My crab apple jelly only got to the juice stage. Apple butter never even got considered this year. I was so excited to do all the things and share them with the three people that read my blog (hi mom!), but that is the ultimate parenthood lesson. Do what you can, don’t beat yourself up to much, end the mommy wars, starting with yourself. 

I’m going to try very hard to not let it be a month between now and my next blog. I’m not going to be upset if I end up playing with my little girl instead. She’s 5 months today and is discovering new things so fast. I really don’t want to miss out on anything. 

So until next time, have a wicked good day.