Archive for February, 2010

Family Bed Hell

My youngest son, Bodhi, is right now on his own in his brother’s room having his first  “quiet time.” I put him in there after he flailed awake when I laid him down in my bed for his afternoon nap. He is supplied with a snuggly (his penguin, Darth Vader), books, and sleepytime music. At least the crying has stopped for the moment. I’m desperate. 

See, I have been nursing the guy to sleep for all of his nearly two and a half years and we do family bed, so there’s no crib involved. I guess you could say that we practice attachment parenting, though lately, he’s a little far too “attached” for my liking. For the past month or so, he falls asleep for naps easily enough, but either he wakes on his own 10 minutes after I lay him down in bed, or he does this flailing awake thing the moment he touches the mattress. So, on top of a non-existent nap, he has also been taking up to two hours to nurse down at night. On the nights that we don’t have the long bedtime ordeal, he’s awake 20 minutes after I lay him down and I have to repeat the whole nursing process over again. It’s driving me frickin’ nuts.

I know the kid is tired. I know he needs a long nap. When he has gotten a nice long nap (say 1 1/2 – 2 hours) in the past (fond memories), he wakes happily on his own and wanders out of the bedroom to see what I’m up to. If he has a brief nap, he wakes crying and will cry for quite a while until I go in to get him. If I catch him quickly enough, I can usually nurse him back to sleep on the couch so that I can read or watch a DVD – anything to at least escape mentally while my boy is sprawled asleep and nursing on my lap. 

A few times, I have refused to nurse after a lengthy time (a half an hour or longer) and have just held him and rocked him and after a long intermittent crying jag, he has fallen asleep after another hour or so. Once, he has fallen asleep in my bed with me rubbing his back after another hour and a half nursing ordeal. 

I don’t want to give up the nursing and I actually don’t mind that he’s up 2 -3 times a night for a quick nip, but he’s gotta take a nap. That is my only time to myself to actually think non-mommy thoughts. I’ve read the “No Cry Sleep Solution,” and the “No Cry Nap Solution” by Elzabeth Pantley and they sound promising, but I haven’t stuck with any one method. I’ve consulted Dr. Sears. But basically, they all say in the end something along the lines of “Remember, your little ones are only little for a very short time. Enjoy holding your baby while you can.” Ok. Ok. I get that. But, christ, I need a break! When my idea of a good time has become 2 minutes in a bathroom alone so that I can pee, we’ve sunk a bit too low. 

My first boy was a terrible sleeper too and between the two boys, I’ve been up many times every single night for nearly 6 years. I’ve come to accept the night time wakings. It’s the nursing marathons that need to end and the long naps that need to begin. Speaking of which, he’s been quiet for a while, so I’d better stop ranting and check on him…

But far be it for me to dissuade you from being an attached parent or bringing your kids into the family bed.  As long as you don’t mind someone clamped on to your nipple for three or four years and not sleeping, it’s really a great experience. Really.

Leave a comment »

Ready, Set, Garden!

My seeds and tubers are finally all ordered. I still need to research one more fruit tree (self-fertile?) to order to add to my other orchard items – 2 more rhubarb, 2 more raspberries. If all goes well, we should get our first harvests of raspberries and gooseberries from last year’s plantings. I don’t really have plans for the gooseberries except maybe in a pie. My great grandmother Bessie and grandmother Mary Helen used to make a gooseberry pie now and then from wild gooseberries that grew near their property. I think I even recall picking and baking one with my grandma one time, but I don’t have any memory of eating it. The varieties I ordered said they were good for table eating too, unlike most sour varieties. I hope this is true.

Our apricots won’t produce for a few more years yet and harvest is always iffy given the usual late frosts. Nature’s got to have her way. Last year, there weren’t many flowers on fruit bearing trees at all – no crab apples or plums, for the most part. I  think the squirrels are a bit desperate because of it. I’ve been helping those critters along with some sunflower seeds and peanuts and an occasional handful of walnuts or my son’s leftover breakfast and half-chomped apples. I’d rather feed a hungry creature than the compost. If I had chickens, they would be benefiting from much of the still edible scraps my kitchen generates. 

Chickens. My two attempts to eat eggs were failures. I ended up with nearly a full dozen hard boiled eggs that had to be tossed after sitting in the fridge for a month and a half.  I could always give eggs away – or eat them when the mood struck. I just want a few hens for pets that could roam around our backyard muttering to themselves in that cute chickeny way – brrrrpppp, brrrrpp.  We saw a small flock at the zoo in Colorado Springs this weekend. My husband is the only one opposed to having chickens because of the extra work involved. Of course, I would never order them from a hatchery. I don’t want to support the hatcheries because they kill most of the male chicks. Most likely, I would take a few hens off the hands of a farmer who didn’t want them anymore. My CSA, two years ago, made an offer to it’s members who were looking for hens. And, there’s always Craigslist. 

Though I would love bees, I think they are probably not a possiblity because our backyard isn’t large enough to accomodate them and the kids and maintain a safe distance between both parties. I’ll continue to research and maybe consult a beekeeper. 

My seed orders are already arriving and I need to get busy and organize them and put together a gardening calendar :  when to plant out what, when to start seed indoors, tentative harvests, etc. As usual, I’m sure I went overboard and ordered way too much. I need to get better at saving my own seed, so I need to research with what vegetables and fruits this is feasible in the small growing space I have. I know I can save tomato seed, even though I grow several varieties, and still be relatively sure that the seed will be “true” because tomatoes are self-fertile/self-pollinating (not sure which term is the most accurate). 

I’m being ambitious this year and have plans to deconstruct the raised beds in my backyard. I think they just don’t work in my drought-prone climate. The water seems to seep rapidly out of the soil in the bed and the soil ends up like a brick. They were supposed to allow me to have loose, loamy soil so that the veggies (especially root crops) could really dig in, but that has not been the case. If anything, my beets and carrots have suffered. So, if I have the time and inclination, more sod will get dug up around the beds, the wood frames of the beds will be ripped apart and the 12″ of soil will be spread out a bit and dug in with whatever native soil is beneath. I just can’t decide on a pretty shape for the new uncontained garden to take. 

To the drawing board…

Leave a comment »