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Counting chickens

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Saturday, 31 May 2014; One Year and Sixty Two Days Old.

Ayla has officially “slept through” two nights in a row now, but I’m not counting my chickens just yet.

While I haven’t actually had to get up to Ayla during the night, she’s still woken at least once which technically isn’t sleeping through, but it’s certainly an improvement!

Instead of Ayla’s usual midnight cries that require my attention, Ayla’s been making more of a moaning, unsettled sound the last two nights, that sound like she might even been dreaming.

As I write this I realise how bad it sounds to say “I heard my poor baby moaning in the middle of night but I just left her coz she wasn’t crying” but in reality Ayla makes a monotone moaning sound most nights as she drifts off to sleep (my mum has a theory that it’s Ayla’s version of humming to herself, but whatever the reason it seems to settle her.)

Anyway, today I realised that Ayla’s full night’s sleep is probably, unfortunately, attributed to a new illness because today she’s had a mild temperature and been clingy and whingey all day.

I hope it doesn’t develop – my goodness we’ve had our fair share of viruses this past year – but for now it looks like a headache and sore throat which is certainly not fun for anyone.

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Attempt #2… Success!

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Tuesday, 11 March 2014: Three Hundred and Forty Four Days Old.

Ayla and I had our second attempt at day care today and this time it was a success.

Mind you like last week Ayla refused to sleep during the day for some reason, squeezing in just one 30 minute nap around lunch time, but she seemed happy and content enough to be sent off to school!

I was feeling much more relaxed too and I was really looking forward to starting a new chapter of parenthood that will mean mummy can get some time to herself every now and then.

So out came Ayla’s first set of daycare clothes (pictured) and her little baby sneakers. Her bag was packed with a hat, some nappies and cream, a change of clothes, a zippy-straw cup, some expressed milk and a bottle.

Then off we went!

We arrived just as the babies were waking up from their naps so the kids were bright, bubbly and happy; I was actually surprised at how friendly and outgoing some of them where, coming up to meet me and Ayla and promising to look after her for me.

I put Ayla down in the play yard and she sat motionless with wide eyes, staring at all the commotion around her. The other children kept bringing over toys for Ayla to play with, gently patting her head and trying to read to her but after about 15 minutes I think it got all a bit too much and Ayla started to cry.

I picked her up and gave her a cuddle and one of the day care mums brought out a baby couch for her to sit on. After a little while when Ayla seemed more settled and confident, I sat her on the little couch beside me and from then on in she was back to her old self.

After about an hour it was afternoon tea time at the centre and time for me to go to uni. The day care mums took all the kids off to wash their hands and get ready to eat and as I left Ayla was sitting up in a high chair about to get stuck into a piece of pear, a slice of orange and a square of sultana cake – happy as.

As I was leaving I tried explaining what was in Ayla’s bag, but I felt like such a bad parent when I could hardly answer any of the questions the day care mum had about Ayla’s routine!

  • Will she need a nap this afternoon? Umm… probably, she’s hardly slept at all today which isn’t like her.
  • What time does she usually go down for her afternoon nap? Umm… I don’t know, she hasn’t been having arvo naps for the last couple of weeks, but she used to sleep anywhere between 2 and 5pm!
  • Should we give her a bottle if we put her down to nap? Umm… you can certainly try but she’s never taken a bottle.
  • Which bottle should we use, does she have a preference? Umm… no, neither, both? I’m sorry! I’m just not sure, she changes every day!
  • How much food will she eat? Umm… that changes every day too! She was having three solid meals a day but lately she’s dropped back to just snacks and milk.

I was worried they thought Ayla was a spoilt brat but off I went to uni, keeping my fingers and toes crossed that Ayla would be her usual wonderful self and wouldn’t turn into a sleep deprived monster!

When my class finished, and I was pleased to have only thought about Ayla every fifteen minutes, I couldn’t wait to get back to pick her up.

I arrived to find Ayla exactly where I left her, sitting up in a high chair but this time having some pre-dinner snacks. When she saw me Ayla squealed with delight, throwing her plate of food to the floor and kicking her legs in uncontainable excitement.

The day care mum picked her up and brushed off the crumbs then took Ayla off to the sink to wash up. The whole time Ayla couldn’t take her eyes off me, pointing at me with her wide tired eyes.

The ladies at the day care literally gushed about how wonderful Ayla had been, and they had so many wonderful things to say that I don’t think they were just being nice!

Apparently Ayla had been truly wonderful and friendly, ate lots and played really well with the other kids. They said that she had had only one moment of sadness which was easily rectified by a bit of distraction, and one even said she would take care of Ayla any time!

I realised that although my vague recital of Ayla’s routine earlier could have come across as high maintenance, the truth is Ayla is just easy going and placid. Ayla doesn’t need strict rules because she’s happy to go with the flow and adapt, and that’s one of the things that makes her so damn lovable!

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One nap per day

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Sunday, 9 March 2014: Three Hundred and Forty Two Days Old.

It seems that Ayla has recently decided to have only one nap per day… just like a big girl!

Ever since our day care centre tour a week or so ago, where we were informed that Ayla would have only one nap at around 11.30am, my baby girl seems to have decided to start practicing.

See I usually allocate up to 30 minutes for putting Ayla to sleep, so over the course of the day I’ve found myself spending anywhere up to two hours sitting quietly in her room feeding, nursing and rocking her to sleep.

But now with just one nap around lunch time, Ayla and I have started to build a really good routine with playtime, meals, baths and bed.

I’ve also noticed that one sleep per day almost guarantees me a good solid two hours of time to buzz about the house doing the things I can’t get done when Ayla’s awake.

And, one sleep per day is also bringing Ayla’s bed time closer to 7.30pm than 8pm which is great news all round!

PS – if you haven’t already, please vote Ayla as the cutest baby in Australia and help her win a People’s Choice Award in the Bonds Australia Baby Photo Comp…. Thanks in advance! Click here to vote

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Rockabye Daddy

Friday, 21 February 2014: Three Hundred and Twenty Eight Days Old.

For the last few nights Ayla has refused to go to sleep unless her Daddy’s put her down.

It’s been a huge change for us and one that proves Baby Ayla is growing up all to fast, but as much as its made me feel a bit obsolete it’s also brought a new feeling of freedom.

While I still give Ayla her bedtime feed instead of backing that up with rocking and singing until she falls asleep the routine is now a family affair that Hubby and I share equally.

Plus, knowing that Ayla can go to to sleep at night in her Daddy’s arms means that we’re another step closer to being able to hire a baby sitter and have a baby-free night out!

It also makes me proud to see that Baby Ayla is gaining her independence and starting to make decisions about what makes her feel happy and content, not just what she likes and doesn’t like.

Growing up certainly happens fast, far faster than anyone can explain. I never thought I’d be using the word independent to describe a ten month old baby and I can hardly believe that in a blink of an eye she won’t need me at all.

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Setting her own pace

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Saturday, 15 February 2014: Three Hundred and Twenty Days Old.

It amazing how over time Ayla is slowly setting her own routine that is much more “in line” with what I expected!

I was one of those pre-parents who raved on about the plans I had for my first child, saying things like “my kid will be in bed by 7:30 every night” and “my kid will have dinner when we have dinner” and “my kid will eat what we eat”.

But the reality is, it’s nothing like that (* insert collective “I told you so’s” from friends and family)

Since Ayla was born I’ve slowly learned to go of the silly, unsubstantiated “rules” I’d made up for what constituted good parenting, and instead have allowed Ayla to set her own pace for growing and learning… within a loose set of “guidelines” that keep her from completely ruling the roost!

At times I’ve seen a few raised eyebrows from people who’ve been shocked that Ayla’s bed time was anywhere between 8 and 9.30, or that Ayla might go a couple of days without eating hardly any solids but hey, at the end of the day I think being flexible and intuitive has contributed to the happy, healthy Ayla we all know and love.

But as my return to work looms in the near future I’ve been questioning some of my decisions and worrying about how a 9pm bed time is going to be sustainable.

I’ve also spent many a long night wondering about weaning; should I wean Ayla, how can I get her to take a bottle, will she go to sleep during the day if she can’t nurse?

I’ve been trying to catch myself in the act of over thinking, reminding myself that it will all sort itself out in due course and, well, turns out it is.

Around 6pm each night, Ayla starts getting hungry for her dinner. By 6.45 she’s usually finished and having a bath and by 7.30 Ayla’s starting to get tired and rub her eyes.

By 8pm, for the last few days anyway, Ayla’s read a story, been cocooned, and tucked into her bed, preferring to fall asleep on her own now instead of in my arms.

Ayla’s also sleeping much better through the night, and we’ve finally returned to the 7 or 8 hours stints she had when she was six months old.

While Ayla still refuses the bottle, and still relies on mummy cuddles for her day time naps, having a consistent, calm and natural bed time routine is making a huge difference to my confidence and I’m sure the other things will follow in due course.

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“Sad Ayla”

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Wednesday, 13 November 2013: Two Hundred and Twenty Six Days Old.

Baby Ayla has been all out of sorts today.

I can’t work out if it’s teething, a lack of routine or if she’s just missing her Daddy, but the poor poppet has definitely been grizzly.

I’m so lucky that Ayla’s “grizzly” is what it is though; I tried explaining to a shop assistant today when Ayla didn’t smile back at her but the lady just thought I was joking!

“Sad Ayla” simply means Ayla is happy for less time ie; she gets bored quicker, hungry quicker, is less patient during nappy changes and other things like that.

But without Hubby here I was feeling pretty frazzled by the end of the day today. I felt as if my upper back had seized up from carrying Ayla around and giving her lots of cuddles, and I swear I still had Ayla’s voice ringing in my ears when I came to bed.

But on the upside, Ayla did fall asleep a bit earlier tonight so I actually found time to relax (on my holiday!) and watch a movie.

Here’s to a good nights sleep! 😉

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Well done Sir!

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Wednesday 11 September 2013: One Hundred and Sixty Three Days Old

Hubby has managed to get Ayla to sleep two nights in a row… Well done Sir!

It’s a big deal because Ayla’s been super clingy and unpredictably difficult when it’s come to sleep and bedtime lately and it’s been starting to get me down.

Some nights Ayla’s goes to sleep easily, other nights she fights tooth and nail. Some nights she sleeps ten hours, other nights she wakes every two hours. Some days Ayla naps for hours, other days she doesn’t nap at all.

It’s been tough phase for all three of us, and Hubby and I have found ourself questioning our methods, our capability, our reasoning.

True to form, I’ve researched as much as I can about babies and sleep in the hope of finding a solution but instead I’ve ended up more confused, frustrated and overwhelmed than when I started.

Then tonight Hubby pointed out that there’s not one other person in the world who’s the same as Ayla.

And of course, he’s right! It was like a light suddenly came on and I felt a big weight lift of my shoulders.