Helena wanted to help with dinner prep the other night so I gave her a vegetable peeler and a piece of ginger. Not five minutes later she comes back, handing me the ginger:
One of the unspoken rules of “Military Spousedom” is to keep your fears under control. Its normal to be scared/freaked/overwhelmed but it doesn’t get you anywhere (and any more in control) to outwardly express the stresses. They’re understood and there are multiple sources for relief on post. But when it comes to speaking to civilian family/friends about your struggles you don’t bring it up.
But even if we’re not talking about it. Even if we claim we’re “okay.” Or we talk about it being hard but not delving into it…occasionally the pain of the military will surprise you.
Deployment is an understood sadness. Training months are understood. Being away from family and friends. But its always the small things.
Today Eric and I were talking about Helena’s upcoming photo day. He joked about his photo day occuring today and that his were a tad more grim.
“Why? Because you’re not allowed to smile.”
“No. Because they’re taken in case we die. They have to update their photos with new awards… in case we die.”
And it all comes flooding back. A soldier’s life is death. Its focused on deterring death, encouraging death, avoiding death, facing death. And when I’m abruptly reminded it shocks my whole system.
Same reason I’ll never wear his “tags.” Tags are for a dead soldier.
I went on amazon and bought all the top books on baby sleep and development. I read through them all, as well as several blogs and sleep websites. I gathered lots of advice.
You shouldn’t sleep train at all, before a year, before 6 months, or before 4 months, but if you wait too late, your baby will never be able to sleep without you. College-aged children never need to be nursed, rocked, helped to sleep, so don’t worry about any bad habits. Nursing, rocking, singing, swaddling, etc to sleep are all bad habits and should be stopped immediately. White noise will help them fall asleep. White noise, heartbeart sounds, etc, don’t work. Naps should only be taken in the bed, never in a swing, carseat, stroller, or when worn. Letting them sleep in the carseat or swing will damage their skulls. If your baby has trouble falling asleep in the bed, put them in a swing, carseat, stroller, or wear them.
Put the baby in a nursery, bed in your room, in your bed. Cosleeping is the best way to get sleep, except that it can kill your baby, so never, ever do it. If your baby doesn’t die, you will need to bedshare until college.
Use the same cues as night: cut lights, keep the house quiet and still. Differentiate naps from nightly sleep by leaving the lights on and making a regular amount of noise. Keep the room warm, but not too warm. Swaddle the baby tightly, but not too tightly. Put them on their back to sleep, but don’t let them be on their backs too long or they will be developmentally delayed. Give them a pacifier to reduce SIDS. Be careful about pacifiers because they can cause nursing problems and stop your baby from sleeping soundly. If your baby sleeps too soundly, they’ll die of SIDS.
Don’t let your baby sleep too long, except when they’ve been napping too much, then you should wake them. Never wake a sleeping baby. Any baby problem can be solved by putting them to bed earlier, even if they are waking up too early. If your baby wakes up too early, put them to bed later or cut out a nap. Don’t let them nap after 5 pm. Sleep begets sleep, so try to get your child to sleep as much as possible. Put the baby to bed awake but drowsy. Don’t wake the baby if it fell asleep while nursing.
You should start a routine and keep track of everything. Not just when they sleep and how long, but how long it has been between sleep, how many naps they’ve had per day, and what you were doing before they slept. Have a set time per day that you put them to bed. Don’t watch the clock. Put them on a schedule. Scheduling will make your life impossible because they will constantly be thrown off of it and you will become a prisoner in your home.
Using CIO will make them think they’ve been abandoned and will be eaten by a lion shortly. It also causes brain damage. Not getting enough sleep will cause behavior and mental problems, so be sure to put them to sleep by any means necessary, especially CIO, which is the most effective form. Extinction CIO is cruel beyond belief and the only thing that truly works because parents are a distraction. The Sleep Lady Shuffle and Ferber method are really CIO in disguise or Controlled Crying and so much better than Extinction. All three of these will prevent your child from ever bonding with you in a healthy way. Bedsharing and gentler forms of settling will cause your child to become too dependent on you.
Topping the baby off before bed will help prevent night wakings. When babies wake at night, it isn’t because they are hungry. If the baby wants to nurse to sleep, press on the baby’s chin to close its mouth. Don’t stop the baby from nursing when asleep because that doesn’t cause a bad habit. Be wary of night feeds. If you respond too quickly with food or comfort, your baby is manipulating you. Babies can’t manipulate. Babies older than six months can manipulate.
Sleep when the baby sleeps. Clean when the baby cleans. Don’t worry. Stress causes your baby stress and a stressed baby won’t sleep.
A friend of mine wrote this and was interviewed for the today show about it. Lol
So far we have referred to a lobster as a dinosaur and a camel as a lion dinosaur.
Apparently we’re all dinosaurs.
“I love yoga! I love yoga! I love yoga!”
-getting dressed for school where Yoga occurs on Wednesday, Helena
Her yoga often sounds like “Yoda.”
obviously adorable either way.
This morning I woke up and began to “prepare” breakfast for the girls.
Helena sat down with her breakfast I’d “prepared” (opened. It was yogurt) and notifies me “teddy bear breakfast too.”
I looked and saw teddy bear seated at the table, tucked in, wearing a bib.
An elf of some sort (read: Eric) had seated teddy at the table.
On Xmas Eve we were sitting around talking about the gifts Santa wouldn’t bebringing my nephews and Eric said “I always wanted a pogo stick!”
My initial reaction wasn’t to consider why he wasn’t ever given a pogo stick but to surprise him with one instead. Since we were in Indiana on Xmas Eve I secretly ordered a pogo stick on our drive back to Indianapolis via my phone and had it delivered to North Carolina.
We arrived back home 10pm that evening and Eric ran to post to check in before midnight. By the time he arrived home he saw his last, remaining gift from Santa. I had gone to bed ( but wasn’t asleep) and I hear him exclaim “A pogo stick!!”
And then I heard “boing boing boing….crash….aw crap!”
It all made sense to me at that moment.
I hope my friend doesn’t mind that I’m going to share her story on this humble blog. I just feel that this is the perfect example of military life (and the wild-crazies of life in general).
My friend gave birth this week.
9 months prior…
This friend found out she was pregnant after her husband had deployed on his first deployment to Afghanistan. PF (Pregnant Friend) had caught the curse—well meaning independent educated military spouse becuase frustrated by lack of job opportunities and the becomes pregnant (sound familiar). She had the task of informing her husband that he would be a father via skype.
The deployment was initially scheduled for 9 months so my friend’s due date was cause for question. This was also the reason PF2 (Pregnant Friend 2) chose to go to her parents’ home state while she was expecting. Luckily, for PF and PF2, the deployment was shortened to about 6-7months.
PF had a ton of morning sickness. More than the average pregnant lady. And came to find out….
After informing her husband, yet again via skype, that they were expecting twins (and subsequently every father’s first concern “how are we going to pay for twins?!”) she invited PF2 to stay at her apartment since her husband would now be home early.
The date of PF2’s arrival to stay at PF’s apartment I got dinner with PF and as she returned to her apartment she came to discover her apartment building had caught on fire. Yes, on fire. That evening PF2 and PF stayed with a friend that had gone home with PF to borrow some books.
PF then was taken under the eagle freedom wing of the military and they did everything in their power to help her. Remember, PF was alone, pregnant with twins, and now, homeless. They gave her emergency housing on post, shuffled her through the insurance fiasco, and found her housing on post as quickly as they possible could. (she originally lived off post but the help and assistance from the military created trust in their ability to handle any other trauma that could befall her).
But that also meant she had to MOVE all her belongings into a new house while very pregnant. Without her spouse. Luckily she had a few friends to help her. Additionally, she helped PF2 move into her new home.
PF2 ended up going into labor weeks early and the Red Cross was able to get her husband home in time.
Since then, PF2’s husband and baby have been healthy and happy. And they have a place to live. and PF’s pregnancy has had every known complication in the book.
But now they are here…the hard part starts, right? This is what is known as “Army Strong.” For every story like PF’s there are a billion others that are similar. I have many friends with similar stories.
E is away for a few months, training. It’s the first time he’s left since I’ve had Dorothy. It seems to become more difficult to be separated as we add more babies to the nest and more years to the babies.
Got a job working on the weekends at the Y. It’s not many hours (and was actually lowered today…) but it is something for my ego and for a free Y membership. So far, it’s working out pretty nicely.
Dorothy is sitting up on her own. Eating solids. And pretty much being the sweetest, chillest baby. She should soon be moving into the crib which is the same room as Helena (hence the delay, I didn’t want her to disturb Helena’s sleep too much).
Helena’s vocabulary is constantly increasing. She repeats every sentence I say. Some of her favorite words are Peanut Butter, Water, Flower, Airplane. She’s potty training and I’m thinking we might be trained in a month or two… she seems to be getting the idea now.
The weather in NC is fall-like but still warmer then I’m used to. I’m looking forward to the winter weather we will have for our short Xmas Break home to the midwest.
You know you live in a military town when you knock on a neighbor’s door to borrow not a cup of sugar but a canteen.