Friday, April 11, 2014

Bottle It

The other night we were sitting around the dining table, eating super. Gavin vigorously shoveling handfuls of food into his mouth wide open, but half of it ending up down in his bucket bib.  Then Dillan came along, as he always does and started sniffing around the high chair, hoping to find a lost piece of cheerio.  Gavin took notice an proceeded to drop food into the floor. This is something we've been working against for a while, but is a phase through which all babies go.
So, I told him a stern "no Gavin. do not drop your food into the floor. you eat it." And went along my business.
Baby kept eye contact as he picked up another bite of food and hung his arm over the tray and let go of a tine piece of food.  I, again said no.
On the third time, I pat him on his hand right after he dropped the food and said No.
I then got the most perfect upside down U-shaped frown I've ever seen. And the biggest puppy dog "i'm sorry mama" eyes I have ever ever seen. And if I wasn't already a pile of mush in the floor, Gavin picked up a bite and held it out to me to share solidifying my fate.  That boy has me.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Our Sleeping Story

Gavin has never been a great sleeper.

If you've been reading here for a while, or if you've ever talked to me in person - you know this. I've been tired for almost a year. I've learned to live on few hour increments of sleep. But even that wasn't the worst part. I think that comes with the parenting territory, ya know? Babies don't sleep long and what not...

But that wasn't Gavin's only "problem". He was colicky. So for, yeesh, how long? Maybe 2-3 months he would scream for several hours every night. It's funny that I really can't remember how horrific it was actually - only that at one point I remember thinking, "this is horrific". 

After that, Gavin's sleep crutch was nursing. Tugging away until he'd pass out and then I'd make the highly skilled magical transfer to the crib. And this worked out really great, until he grew too big for a swaddler. 

We'd have a mostly rough nights with a few good ones so I partly felt like it would eventually work itself out. That somehow, Gavin would learn and become a "magic" baby that everyone on Facebook seems to have and I could get on with my life and stop running into walls and what-not. 

But that didn't happen, and after encouragement from friends and extensive online research, we decided to cry it out. This was probably around 6 months. And yes, it was the only way we could get him to sleep. He wouldn't rock, he wouldn't nurse anymore, he would cry in the swing, he'd cry regardless, so he may as well cry in his crib.

And it was hard. I shut down. Like a lot of anti-CIO postings I found online, it goes against that "maternal instinct" that is commanding you to go pick up that baby of yours. So I scrolled through pinterest for hours at a time, the "mood" timer on my BabyConnect app reminding me every 15 minutes to go and comfort him. At which he would get even angrier because mama would not pick him up like he wanted. And eventually he'd fall asleep - and he'd actually sleep. There were nights we got up to 10 straight hours. And then I became superwoman. But there were nights we got 5 too... 

Gavin went from crying for 45 minutes to only whining for 5 before sleep and now he doesn't make a peep when I lay him down at night.  He's currently teething 4 top teeth, so his sleep isn't great, but he's not usually screaming when he lays back down. 

There are nights when we back track. He has mental leaps, and he has sore gums, and he has new tummy feelings from trying new foods, but he knows his routine, and he knows that mama means business when she lays him down, so these episodes aren't near what they were when we started.

I'm not advocating that CIO is absolutely the solution for everyone. But was the best for Gavin. I think that's what being a parent is all about. We absolutely know what is best for our own individual children and ourselves. I tried cosleeping with Gavin but side-nursing made my back hurt something terrible and I didn't get any rest because Gavin wanted to snack every hour or so.  

So, here are my 5 tips for Crying It Out:

1.  Start a routine. For probably 5 months we've done the exact same thing every night at the same time. Gavin eats, takes a bath, gets a lotion massage before jammies, we pick up the toys taken out throughout the day, read a couple books, pray with Daddy, and nurse. Of course we've strayed from this a few times to go out etc., but overall this is our routine.

2. Find a happy place.  Y'all a six month old has a super developed set of vocal cords. Gavin's screams are somehow the loudest thing I've ever experienced.  My happy place was pinterest and tumblr sitting on our bed with the door closed. Our rooms are right across from each other so I had no issue hearing him. I could mindlessly scroll and be able to listen to Gavin. 

3. Know your baby.  Well duh, I know that you all know your babies, but listen for his cries. I know when Gavin is screaming because he's angry, and I know when something is wrong.  One night Gavin woke at about 5 am with a cry that sounded terrified - not at all like his upset I just woke up whine. Usually I kind of take my time going to him to give him an opportunity to quiet back to sleep but I didn't waste any time going to him that morning and sure enough, he had thrown up from a little stomach bug that we didn't know he had.

4. Stick to your guns.  My friend encouraged us to start CIO when Gavin was around 5 months. And we did - but it was hard. And often times Nathan or I would give in and go pick up the little guy. Had we really stuck to it he might have been better at putting himself to sleep sooner. And if it only took mom or dad 15 minutes to go pick the baby up - baby knows to cry for at least that long and longer next time...

5. You're doing a great job.  That's all. Parenting is hard and you're doing great.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Hooray

In about 10 minutes, Nathan and I will be out - without the baby! I have to admit I feel a little like a pro parent with my baby already down for the night, my hair up in a tip-top-to-knot, and even lipstick!
This feels a little different than our typical date night because we are going out where there will be other friends, which now thinking about it, I don't think has happened since Gavin arrived!
We are going to see one of our favorite bands - Snarky Puppy - who just won a Grammy! They are super fun jazzy funk, and really very talented.  We saw them in Roanoke a few years ago and are so excited to see them again live!

Take a listen!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Church Plug

Well I skipped a couple of days out of my 4 week challenge, but I'm back in the saddle tonight long enough to share with you a current project with our church here in Nashville.



The Axis church is fundraising, which, yes I know, may invoke a few digital eye rolls, so I want to share this video with you!  We want to continue to share Jesus with the people of the Germantown/Salemtown community and buying our building is the best way to do that. Please pray for our partners and our church leaders and the hearts of those we contact during fundraising. Thanks!










Monday, February 10, 2014

Quick one

I'm here tonight with only 50 minutes to spare for my daily post.  And if it weren't for my deep need to meet this goal, I wouldn't be here at all. 

Sundays are always a busy day, and I guess they shouldn't be but I rev myself up at about 8 pm with trying to get organized for the week. Groceries, lunch packing, meal planning...there's always a lot to do. 

Gavin starts a new day care tomorrow so I'm off to try and figure out what his schedule is...I hope you all have a great Monday :)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Gavi's first snow!

This morning Gavin slept until a blissful 8:30 am. When he awoke, I went in, nursed, and set him down on the changing table to, well, you know, and I pulled open his shade so that he could see up at the sky.  When the shade lifted up I literally gasped.

Thick, chunky flakes of snow were falling and the ground had an even coating over it. The road had splotches of white and wet and I knew I had to get outside in it. It has seemed that there's been an excessive amount of snow across the country, everywhere but middle tennessee. Just a couple hours north, east, west and even south (I'm looking at you Atlanta) have had huge snowfalls by comparison.  And I've been a teensy bit jealous.

I zipped Gavin up in his bear suit, pj's and all, and set up my tripod outside. 






It was a total trial and error with the camera auto-focus and timer, hello focused fence posts, but it's documented. The chunk's unamused faces and all!










Then I tried to get a few of him tossed up in the air - because usually, he loves that. And I thought of man if I could capture the joy in those little squishy features I will have succeeded in life. But look at that face...



So unamused! Even out of focused he's just like, "Mom...Mom, calm yourself..."

So I stuck him in the snow and thought, now the magic will really happen. And it did.



Oh chunkums, you're such a great sport!



Friday, February 7, 2014

One day at a time

Yesterday, I challenged myself to write a blog post every day.  Yesterday, I claimed to miss this blog of mine and the opportunity it gives me to share thoughts and ideas.  But tonight, I realized it is 10 pm and all I want to do is curl up in bed with a whole bag of ginger snaps and watch some "Chuck" on netflix. This challenge may prove to be harder than anticipated. I already feel myself coming up with excuses somehow.  Things like, "I don't have photoshop so how can I edit pictures now?" or "my house is still an explosion of boxes, how can I share anything about that" and even "my life's not good enough to share"...

Sheesh. When it comes down to the honesty of that last statement, I realize the lies that Satan has been feeding me have really piled up.

I've started to believe that somehow, the home we've made isn't good enough to share... somehow my place and current phase of life are somehow worth less than others. That since my home is not a show house, and I don't have any time (or let's face it funds) to make it exactly how I want or "photo-worthy".

But, Jesus has already made me worthy.  He's already taken all of the "not good enoughs" and replaced them with perfection. My life is worth sharing because Jesus has redeemed it. Because He is what is worth anything.




Thursday, February 6, 2014

Space

The past few weeks have been crazy for the Merricks.  We've bought a house, moved, unpacked (well, sort of), renovated, tore it out, re-renovated, battled illness, eaten out waaaaay too much.

We've felt crazy, we've felt out of control, we've felt a little lost.  Jobs have changed, hearts have changed, fears have changed.

It's been a time of reflection.

It's been a time of serious prayer.

And it got me thinking about this little space of mine.  How I've missed it. Not many come here to read, and even fewer "follow", but it's been my sounding board.  I know I've said it before but I have missed writing. I've missed writing about the mundane. About the weird position that Dillan has fallen asleep in, or about the weekly task of documenting Gavin's picture. 

A couple nights ago, Nathan set up my computer.  I have my own little space in our bedroom. A space where I can light a candle and shut myself out for a few minutes. So here I am.

I'm not great at making goals, and I'm even worse at meeting them. But, for the next 4 weeks, I'm challenging myself to write something. Anything. Just be here. Unplug and share something with you. 


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