Wednesday, February 06, 2019

I Sleep Trained MJ and Almost Gave Up!

Our start with MJ wasn't fabulous... he really gave us a run for our money. But over the months, we got most issues sorted, and he stopped being a cranky baby and stopped rejecting bottles (he feeds super well with bottles now, thankfully).
BUT he's a horrendous sleeper! At first I thought maybe it's just a newborn thing. So I gave it 3 months, and then it was still as bad... in fact a bit worse with him waking every 2hrs at night instead of 3hourly, crying the house down until he got milk. I read that most babies can sleep through the night when they hit 6 months, and their bellies can store more.  

He hit 6 months but it never got any better, not even a bit. So at this point, I've never had a full night's sleep since he was born (except for one night I was in Batam and left him with my mum)... A typical night - put him to bed by 7pm, 9pm dream feed (if I don't then he will wake shortly after 9pm!), 11pm dreamfeed and I turn in for the night myself, 1am he wakes cries and I feed, he takes maybe 30mins to be rocked to sleep and I can't put him down otherwise he wakes immediately so not like I can co-sleep and lie with him, by 3 am he wakes again, I feed him and he is awake until 4am if I am lucky, if unlucky then 5am he sleeps and I can sleep again. 6am he wakes up for good and my day starts. A few days of this is ok... but MONTHS of this takes a great toll.. both in terms of physical exhaustion and mental stress too. Really some kind of hell. One that I didn't experience with Myla cos she dropped her night feeds and slept through the night on her own when she was around 6-8 weeks old until today.
So I made the (somewhat difficult) decision to start Sleep Training him, and read up about the different methods. I decided that the Feber method would be most feasible. This is with controlled crying, where the parent checks in on the baby at specific time intervals if they are crying. 

So that first night, we did our usual bedtime routine. Milk, bath, diapers and pajamas (multiplied by 2 ah, because I have to do the same for Myla as well, that's why around 5-6pm it's crunch time at our house lol) and then finally read a story together. Put myla in her playroom (she sleeps in there temporarily while I sleep train MJ). Then instead of rocking MJ in the tula and pace about the house like I usually do, I just carried him for a while, said a few soothing words in our bedroom (his cot is in our bedroom), and then put him down, said goodnight and left the room.
Sleep Training Night 1 : He spent the first 20mins just rolling around in his cot and cooing, very calm. So I thought, hmmm this isn't so bad.
 Then instead of sleeping, he started crawling around. (He's quite an early crawler). And then came the crying.
 and hour later... CRYING HYSTERICALLY. And in his desperation, he freaking hit a new milestone and pulled to stand in his cot and was cruising around the edges. WTH... the boy wasn't even 7 months old yet. Of course I was doing all the check ins but there didn't seem to be any progress.

I was wondering how long more do I let this continue. It's past the one hour mark.   :(  But if I call it quits now, then the past 1 hour of struggle would have been for nothing and we would be back to square one. And how long can I continue to live the way it had been going the past 6 plus months??? That's not a great option.

Suddenly, and the 1hour and 20min mark, he fell asleep. AND HE STAYED ASLEEP UNTIL 7AM. That part really shocked me, I thought for sure he would wake in the night and I would be in a dilemma of whether to feed him or rock him or let him cry it out (again!!!???).
By the way, it's important to keep a journal when Sleep training so you can see the pattern, what works or doesn't work, if there's progress etc. My journal is just scraps of paper ... cos I'm like that one... lol.

That 1 hour 20 mins was hell. I knew we were in for a tough first night (compared to some babies who like cry for 30 mins the first night and then fall asleep) because our boy is kind of strong and strong willed.  But it can only get better from here right?

Sleep Training Night 2: He cried for 40 mins, and slept through the night.
Ok, 40 mins is still pitiful and heart wrenching but it's a lot better than night 1. At least it's sub 1 hour. Yay... night 3 will prob be 20 mins?

Sleep Training Night 3: He cried for 45 mins. What the hell man... no progress and it's night 3. Most of what I read online in forums and stuff, babies have a tough first 2 nights and by the third night no more crying.

Sleep Training Night 4: He cried for 1 hour 10 mins. This is a huge set back. Why are we back to this point again? I've been very diligent with the sleep training and not breaking any rules (like using old habits like rocking him or feeding him to make him go to sleep even if he'll just sleep for 2hours max and I have to repeat again).

I decide to give this one week. Mostly because after he goes over that hump of falling asleep on his own, he's then able to sleep through the night and not keep waking and he's able to self sooth and he wakes up happy.

Also, not all babies will have linear progress (most of them do.. like 70% success within 3 days or something and it just gets better each day).. but some babies (MJ is always that "some baby" btw) will have what is called an Extinction Burst.

An extinction burst is a concept from behavioral psychology. It involves the concept of elimination of a behavior by refusing to reinforce it. The undesirable behavior worsens before it improves when you are trying to get rid of it.

Sleep Training Night 5: Same story but he cried for 30 mins instead

Sleep Training Night 6: Wow we are pushing a week now and he isn't magically falling asleep easily when I put him down for the night like what I read online (that most other parents are describing). He slept after 15 mins of crying

Sleep Training Night 7: SAME 15 mins. But less crying during this 15 mins.

Sleep Training Night 8: This is where we are right now, today. He took 20 mins to fall asleep but he hardly cried during this time.

I had forgotten what several hour blocks of sleep felt like. It actually feels like sleep now. Life is starting to feel good again. MJ sleeps soundly and he wakes happy, not cranky, and our daily routine goes much more smoothly (because I am not disgruntled from lack of sleep). I might get fatter, because I can lie down at night and not have to carry him and walk around for several hour. But ok la, that's a good trade off.

So yeah, sleep training was heart breaking especially the first few nights, and it was disheartening when he was regressing and not progressing as quickly as other babies did ( I kept thinking maybe this won't work for him and we should stop)... it didn't work magically overnight... BUT IT WORKED.

We are still in the midst of training and I'm fearful of regression, and I kind of can't believe he's actually sleeping all night (because hello, this boy woke every 2 hours every night, plus would not go down easily after each waking).

I'm very glad I decided to sleep train. Not all babies need it but I think the babies who do need it will benefit from having it. And life is so much better now for us.

If you have any questions etc feel free to leave a message, I'll try to help (though I'm no expert but I feel I've earned my stripes cos MJ not an easy case uh!)

Monday, January 28, 2019

Myla Goes to Work

We travel, and Myla gets excited about going on HOLIDAYYYYY but I don't think she has any concept of countries or that we are in an entirely different country when on holiday. Lol. Similarly, every weekday morning when Adamson leaves home, she will say- Daddy go work. But she doesn't really know what it means or where he goes to.

So Adamson thought it would be a good idea to take her to work with him last week. Just so she can learn what an office is and where he actually goes to everytime he leave in the morning for work.
She had an awesome time at the office, and it was a good daddy daughter bonding day for them.
 She also went around the desks asking for work. "Is there any work for me????!!!" and everytime she finished a task (which just involved colleagues giving her scrap paper to deposit in the shredder haha), she would go back to their desks to collect her pay (coins) and put them in her purse. He said it was so cute that when she collected more money, she would exclaim "Yay! More RORRIPOPS!"

At the end of the day, he took her to buy lollipops with her earnings. I think it was a fun day for both of them and a good learning experience for Myla.
 While they were at work, I took the opportunity to revamp Myla's playroom so that MJ has more crawl space in it and her play areas got more organised.
She has her kitchen space, her block building space, her musical instruments area (all these she's super keen on at the moment)... and I did up the other corner of the playroom to become her "office", she has a desk which she can do her reading, colouring (and also her eating haha) on and behind it, her bookshelf. on the right of that (can't capture in pic) is her puzzle corner where all her jigsaws and flashcards are. She was so delighted to see it when she got home.

P/s - I'm just doing this short blog post because I can't sleep yet, my adrenaline levels are through the roof because I just started sleep training MJ tonight. I hope the rest of the night goes well. Will update on how his sleep training went, in a week or so from now (hopefully we don't give up halfway). Meanwhile Myla and Daddy are sleeping in the spare room while I sleep train MJ. Those that did sleep training, how many nights did it take?

Shit shit shit  some dog just went yapping loudly outside and I see MJ stirring (through the baby monitor)... my heart can't take this. Please don't wake up crying because I don't know how much more I can take to just not rock you back to sleep or give you milk to fall back asleep (and resume your habit of drinking every 2 hours through the night! Gah!).

Monday, January 21, 2019

Letters to Myla Rae & MJ : Gigi Mouse & Soothing monkey

Open when you just want a little dose of nostalgia :)

Dearest Myla Rae & MJ,

Today is just a little fun fact share, and a glimpse into your toddler/babyhood 'friends'. 

For you Myla Rae, is this Fisher Price monkey I bought for you. It's actual name (on the box) is Soothing Monkey and guess what? That's your exact name for it too... lol... we didn't rename him Johnny or whatever haha, we just referred to him as Soothing Monkey before you could even speak. So once you were talking, you called him Soothing Monkey too.
He's a cuddly blue monkey and when you hug him, his belly glows and soothing lullabies are played for 15 mins. You have been using this monkey to self sooth at night since you were about a year and a half old. Whenever you wake in the night and want to get back to sleep, you hug soothing monkey and drift right back to dreamland without waking any of us up. (But, you've always been a good solid 12 hour night sleeper since you were newborn. For this I thank you lol).
For MJ, there's this blue baby Mickey Mouse that your Auntie Amelia and Uncle Qin Xue gave you when you were newborn.

Myla named him Gigi Mouse for you because you can't talk yet. And in her baby speak, she cannot pronounce Mickey Mouse, so it comes out as Gi Gi Mouse. That's how his name came about.

You will play with him a bit, but you don't really cuddle toys yet. I use it mostly as part of your bedtime and nap time routines because I tap his bum and a white noise (heartbeat) plays for 20 mins. It helps you fall asleep.. somewhat. Haha. Unfortunately , you're not a good sleeper and now you just turned 7 months old but can't sleep through the night yet (you still want milk.. or sometimes wake to just have a cry/crawl/singsong/shout, every 2-3 hours. You better make it up to us when you are older!). We are getting the hang of this.

I hope you both still have these toys... or maybe MJ you might have some other version of soothing monkey or something else that works for you as an object of comfort. I never got attached to any object of comfort (like cho cho) growing up, I'm the same today with material things, I don't hang on to stuff or hoard/clutter. Your Godpa/Uncle Wesley had a red tellytubby (oh oh!)hahahhahahahhahahaa. It still exists in G'ma G'pa's house today.

Okie just a short letter today, love you both.


Friday, January 18, 2019

How Quickly Can “love” Really Happen?

Spoke to a good girlfriend recently and she was ranting about her new boyfriend. He sounds like an absolute asshole and doesn't treat her well at all. Heck, doesn't even treat her neutral. 

When I advised her to leave him. To my horror surprise, she exclaimed "BUT I'M SO IN LOVE WITH HIM!!!"

Girl, you're only dating. This is the honeymoon phase.

Yet, you’re having all these issues from day 1 and he treats you so badly... your response is... to fall in love with him????

In love with him? Or in love with the idea of having him as a partner/bf/other half? Those 2 are very very different things ah.
From my experience, love really only comes later on. A relationship starts with just a whole bunch of attractions. With Adamson, I was attracted to his strength, how hands on with Myla he is, his intelligence, drive and determination, how he has presence in a room of people, how he thrives in the role of the alpha and the protector. From there, I became in love with the idea of being with.

But it is only with time and after many months of going through tough stuff together. Only then will you start to fall in love with the person... not just the idea of being with him, beyond the superficial levels (like ooh arm candy or man he's a good catch). Every trial and tribulation we weather through, every joy and triumph  we share is a bonding experience and from this closer and closer bond we form, love grows. 

At this point, I should also mention, that life is not a bed of roses ah, so don't expect it to be all bonding bonding bonding. The reality is, on the flip side of all that ... with every selfish gesture displayed, every disagreement or contention (of which there will be many as we are all but human) it will eat away at that love. I see it like a tank. The tank gets filled as you go along, but it also empties out a bit here and there.

If you're fortunate enough to have found the right person for you, then the tank fills a lot faster and stronger than it empties. If you're not a good match, that tank will eventually dry up and no amount of "IN LOVE" can fix that. It is only things like delusion, or fear, or insanity or perhaps still being in love with the idea of having him that makes you stay.

What do you think? How quickly can love really happen? And can it truly be love without all those stages that come before?

Monday, January 14, 2019

Our Winter Seoul-stice

We spent Christmas in Seoul, Korea! 
This post is a bit overdue, but I still want to share some great memories (photos) of our family trip last month. 
First, here's what winter packing for myself +baby+toddler looks like  -_-  . See already, don't feel like going on holiday.  Hahaa, damn a lot of logistics.
But hey, we made it.. with 2 suitcases and 2 carry ons, for both myself and Adamson and our 2 little ones (most of our baggage space is their stuff).
We flew SQ, it's the first SQ trip for both Myla and MJ...  and yes, finally having flown SQ with babies, I can definitely confirm that the SQ crew are much more accommodating and helpful than other airlines when it comes to families with very young children/babies. To us, this is especially appreciated because MJ is quite difficult to travel with (cranky and very sensitive to changes). With Myla, I always just took the cheapest flights/airlines cos she's easy to fly with. From now on, I want SQ. 
The flight was so good, no crying from MJ actually, surprisingly. (I still have PTSD from when he cried super duper loudly and for a super prolonged period of time when he got overtired and wouldn't nap on our (silk air I think) Phuket flight last November). So stressful!
Adamson's Mom, Sister and her husband joined us on this trip so he booked a spacious Airbnb apartment for all of us. This apartment was fabulousssss so much so that we even said to each other one night that we wouldn't mind moving in permanently lol. Location was great, walking distance to all the must go spots like Myeong-dong, the palace, night markets, the monuments etc.
Heated floors, and 4 bedrooms, and lots of space... plus modern style and fully equipped ( I even did all our laundry in their washer and dryer so no need to do laundry back home after our trip. Yes that's such an auntie perk to look out for hahaa... but hey I'm a mum of 2 with no helper or childcare... these perks MATTER!)
Oh, did you know, my husband is McGuyver? He managed to anchor MJ's YaoLan to a travel pull up bar, with some army toggle rope. I am impressed and also grateful, because MJ needs his Yaolan to nap  -_-  (did I mention he doesn't like changes to his routines...). So if you also have a high needs baby and are using a yaolan, you can use this hack when travelling too!
The view from our apartment the first morning. Love the vibe.
At night it's quite a busy place, with mostly bars and restaurants but within the apartment it was quite sound proof. 

Good thing is, we managed to get a few nights of just us two out and about. We left the apartment after the kids slept. And we were always pretty close and can get back in like 20mins comfortably if MJ wakes and won't go back down.
Our first couple's time out, we had korean bbq and I tried that live octopus thing for the first time. I liked it !!

You know, we never had a disappointing meal in Seoul at all. Every place we chanced upon was really good. 

The only place we could not walk to was Noryangjin Fisheries Wholesale Market. It was like 30 min cab ride. Worth the journey, if you go to seoul, and you like to eat seafood, and the freshest sashimi, go to this fish market.
Lots of stalls to choose from, just go with whoever looks nice to you because the prices are all around the same. 
Sashimi heavennnnnnnn
What happens is, you pick your live seafood from the market, then the market stall owner will take you to a restaurant on the second floor where your seafood will be served to you, however you want it done (raw, boiled, steamed etc).
We picked an Alaskan King Crab and it was then served to us steamed.
Good lord. The sweetest and freshest crab meat I every tasted. I've had Alaskan king crab legs at buffets in Singapore before, but those didn't taste anything as good as this one. Price wise was quite dear though, around $200 for one. However, that's still a  pretty good rate for this kind of crab. The rest of the stuff at this fish market like oysters, and salmon sashimi are actually very very affordable, you can stuff your face without breaking the bank.
One of the afternoons, we walked to Bukchon Hanok Village. A bit of a back-breaking trek because MJ heavy but at least he slept cozily all of the way. 
Very thankful for having the Tula to carry MJ all over, plus the On the Go blanket which clips on over the tula from @maisonelmesasg
One of our final nights there we went to have some street grub (after the kids slept). 
This night was cut short because MJ woke up though lol lol. Oh wells.
Eating piping hot and freshly cooked food while it's chilly outside, mmmmmm nice.

Only one minor bummer of this trip was that it didn't snow. :( Adamson asked if I wanted to go to Japan in a month or so, so I can finally experience snow. Tempting but cannot ah... must recover from this trip first, travelling with baby + toddler really no freaking joke. I'm glad we made this trip though and it went really well (just that it was super tiring for both Adamson and I), so many memories made and moments enjoyed. 

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Crocodile Meat for Your Dog :)

Okay furparents, here's what was in my latest haul from Kohepets Online. They have food, treats and supplies for not just dogs but cats and other small animals too. Delivery in Singapore is free (and pretty fast!) for orders above $60. 

There's 3 items I want to highlight as it's my first time ordering these and they're new.
First is a crocodile meat jerky treat - Underdog Crocodile Air Dried Dog Treats $18. This is made in Singapore with real crocodile meat from the farms in Singapore. Underdog Crocodile Air Dried Dog Treats is especially recommended for dogs with food allergies and intolerances and it's suitable for all ages including senior dogs like Lola.
It's a great treat because it's high in protein and low in fat and are a great source of essential amino acids. Lola loves the taste and she will slowly chew and relish each piece.
Next is Stella & Chewy's Stella's Stew Cage-Free Medley Chicken, Turkey & Duck Recipe Dog Food $7.50 . It is a delicious and complete meal for adult dogs. Made with cage-free, real muscle poultry meat. It is also grain & gluten free. You can also use it to rehydrate freeze-dried raw food and kibble, or as a treat or topper for your dog’s meal. It's so juicy and tasty.
It's important to provide our pets with all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, problem free and maintain a shiny coat. This is easy with a yummy supplement like PetAg Vitamin & Mineral Gel Dog Supplement which you can just add a small pea sized amount into the meals. It's chicken flavoured!

Do check out Kohepets for your pet's needs, it's my trusted source and has been for many years now :)