I let you cry because I am selfish. Sleep training and independence.

Babies are not always easy sleepers. Some wake up one time while others wake up ten times. For the the lucky people who have babies that sleep through the night at the bat, I hate you. Ok, I do not really hate you, but definitely jealous. Yes, thats the right word. Jealous.

I had to sleep train my son. He was the worst sleeper on the planet. I do not blame it on the breastfeeding. Yes, he wanted to nurse every 2 to 3 hours at any given time and when he was going through a growth spurt, he wanted to nurse every 1.5 hours. Try doing that during the night and sleeping in between. They say that if a baby eats enough, they would probably sleep a lot. Well, I call bull because I at times, overfed him, and yet he chose not to sleep at all.

That is because I became his crutch. His bad habit. I gave him everything he wanted. Every cry, every little whimper, I was there to console him. He could make one tiny little noise, and I would jump at the chance to make sure he was fine. To snuggle and cuddle with him. It was my favorite.

I did this from the very beginning. So when it was time for me to let go of my favorite past time due to my lack of sleep and the fact I was no longer a functioning human being, my little man would not let go. He refused to let me go. He refused to sleep. He knew I was pulling myself away. It did not mean I loved him any less, but I needed him to be independent and to be an amazing sleeper all on his own.

This is where sleep training came in. Sleeping is a skill. Being able to sooth oneself to sleep is a skill the body has to learn. It does not come naturally. Babies are born with a clean slate. They learn as they go and as parents we have to be there to help them and guide them. That is our job.

I read up about every kind of sleep training out there and I tried practically all of them. I refused and I mean REFUSED to let my son “cry it out.” I thought the Ferber method was drastic and psychologically damaging. That was before I did any real research on the method. After some reading and coming up with a plan, I gave it a go and put everything in motion. Now. like any sleep training, everyone in the house has to be on board. One parent does not sleep train alone. One parent does not do all the work. Unless, of course, that parent is a single parent which is another conversation for another time.

The first few days are hard. I am not going to say it is easy. Listening to your pride and joy cry because they refused to sleep is hard. What took me a few days to figure out were the different cries my son would give me. He had his pain cries, his tantrum cries, his hunger cries. Each had their own distinct sounds. I needed to be able to distinguish from all of them. I never took the time before because I took every chance I got to jump up and save my son from ever crying. The first few nights he gave me the pain cries. Change is hard. He was use to me nursing him and rocking him until he fell asleep. That would take anywhere between 45 minutes to 1.5 hrs. I would then lay him down and he would be awake again within 3 hours. Who could live like that? I did that for 6 months.

Enough was enough. I needed my sanity and I needed me back. I was selfish but I needed him to let go too and so it began.

The first few nights, I would nurse him until he was drowsy but awake. I gave him a kiss and laid him down in his crib. Gave him his pacifier and turned on his crib soother. He was fine until I headed for the door then he started to cry. Bawling. I let him cry for about 5 minutes then checked on him again. I however had to fight the urge to pick him up. He gave me as many sad faces he could come up with. I would give him his pacifier and turn on his crib soother if it had turned off and walked away. It was hard. It was not like I was abandoning him. He just needed to know that I was still there just not the way he was use too for 6 months.

We kept up this method. We stucked it out with our plan and it worked. After about a week, he would nurse and I would lay him down and he did not cry, not even when I left the room. I offered him his pacifier and turned on his crib soother. He would look at me and knew it was bed time. He would just fall right to sleep. It was glorious. And not only did he go to sleep, he would sleep for 12 hours without waking up. The first few nights, he did wake up a few times, but less than what he use to wake up too. And as each night progressed, he woke up less and less.

Now I have this amazing little sleeper who goes to bed on his own. Who knows when it is bedtime at night. After bath time, lotion and some snuggling, he knows what will happen next and he does not even fight it. He welcomes it. He knows that after a full night of sleep, he wakes up a happy smiley child. He is ready to play and I am full of energy to give into every little mischievous little adventures we get ourselves into.

So parents who say this is psychologically damaging, its not. I make sure that I give him enough attention to let him know that I will always be there for him. Day time is learning time and play time and night time is sleeping time. It worked for us and even though I started trying this CIO method for selfish reasons, I am raising an independent person. One who is learning how to do things for himself and not relying on mommy to do everything for him.

I feel like I did something right and only time will tell how independent he becomes. But for now, needing my help to get to sleep isnt something he needs.

Of course, I do not want him to grow up too fast. After all, he is just getting ready to turn one. Thats another milestone, I am getting ready to freak out about.


Breastfeeding and my all too intimate relationship with my pump!

I learned right away that “breast is best.”

Breastfeeding a child is a lot of work and it takes a lot of time and dedication. And why not? It has so many benefits that I am not going to get into because its obvious. I wanted to breastfeed my little parasite when I found out I was having it. (That parasite turned out to be a bouncing baby boy. He is my favorite little man and I love him even though the last post I wrote when I was pregnant, I might add, would suggest otherwise).

I did the research all day everyday. Every night, before bed, I would read blogs, do research, found books because I knew no matter what happened, I was going to educate myself. I refused to give up. This was happening. This baby was going to get the boob and dammit, he was going to love it.

Well, he came and of course he loved it. Baby M latched the moment I gave birth to him. The moment they handed him to me, he slithered his little body up to my breast and latched on. It was magical and amazing. I felt like an awesome mom.

I know this doesn’t happen to everyone and I am not trying to offend anyone whose babies didn’t latch on right away. Some babies need some help and it can take a few tries. For some, it can take a few weeks, but the point is, don’t give up. It will happen. Patience and perseverance is the key.

Baby M might have latched on right away, but it didn’t mean that we were in the clear. We hit our hard days. Those days came by fast. My milk didn’t come in right away and my poor little man cried and cried. He cried for over 3 hours straight the first night I brought him home. My milk didn’t come out fast enough and I didn’t produce enough at first. But when my milk did come in, finally, we were happy again.

Breastfeeding soon became a norm in our house. After the engorgement and a few stints with the clogged ducts, I thought it was pretty easy. I have become so comfortable with it, that I would whip my boobs out no matter who was in the room or where I was when I was out. When Baby M was hungry, he obviously had to eat and I was not going to make him wait. He gets some serious “hangry” fits.

Now if you know me, you know I am a huge planner. I plan as much as I can and do whatever it takes to make sure it goes my way. I am kind of a freak about it. Well I was so worried about breastfeeding and making sure that Baby M had enough milk that I practically had this really twisted relationship with my breast pump.

Now I am guessing you want me to clarify.

I was practically attached to my pump. I thought that my son would wean himself too early or that I would give up, so as my back up plan, I pumped milk and boy did I go overboard. I planned my day around my pump schedule and Baby M’s eating schedule. He was a little harder to predict. Babies do not eat on a schedule, they eat when they are hungry and with their tiny stomachs, it happened at random times. Now some moms will beg to differ, but my son ate on demand.

I would pump for 15 minutes 6Xs a day. Yes, do the math. Thats a lot of time to be attached to my pump. I would wake up in the middle of the night and pump milk when I should of been sleeping because I was always worried that I didnt have enough milk to feed my little man. Needless to say, that got old really fast after a month.

I kept trying to quit, but I got it stuck in my brain that I shouldn’t because it would have been selfish of me. So instead of quitting, I complained about it. I hated my pump but I just wouldn’t stop. It was seriously draining. I do not know how I would have done it, if I had to work. Thats not a can of worms I want to think about. I would have probably lost my mind.

My pump and I had this really intimate relationship. I took it everywhere with me. I had to have it by my side. It was sickening. It was like the controlling boyfriend that mentally abused you, but you couldn’t walk away from the relationship because it would have devastated you. It was toxic. To think, I did all this put up with all of this because I was AFRAID that I would give up breastfeeding or my little man refused to nurse or wean. These things often made me crazy just thinking about it. The hormones from breastfeeding controlled my life.

Now here we are 9.5 months later, and I am still breastfeeding, but I have slowly started to wean myself from the pump. My son now has teeth and with his biting, I often want to quit, but I cant. I feel selfish and I want my son to be a healthy baby boy. Formula isn’t bad either and that fine. I know there are women out there that would have done anything to be able to breastfeed and I shouldn’t take it for granted. It has been an amazing experience. I had hard days but in the end, that time spent with my son was wonderful. We have an unbreakable bond from it. It was our time.

Now with my pump, that relationship is pretty much over. Once I discovered that my chest freezer was getting obnoxious, I knew it needed to end. Pumping is a lot of work. I could literally write a manual called confessions of a pumper and it would probably sound psychotic because it was. I had good intentions for why I started in the first place, but it was misguided by fear. Fear that I should not have had in the first place. But I accept that and now I am OK.

Time will only tell how long I last. Breastfeeding after all is still a sacrifice. After all your baby gets everything momma eats, and I pretty much still eat whatever I want, but I have to keep in mind what is going in.

This has made me all kinds of crazy, but in the end I would not give it up for anything.

Pregnancy glow: Fact or Myth

Having a child is supposed to be a joyous time in anyone’s life. Personally, to me, it is. I had an amazing first pregnancy, and I loved every minute of it. My second, however, I would beg to differ and I would love this little parasite to end the torture that it is currently inflicting on my body.

Now, pregnancy has its ups and its downs. For some, they feel wonderful and look amazing. Like those women you see on the cover of pregnancy magazines. They have that pregnancy “glow” that women look for when they become pregnant, but what is this “glow” everyone desperately seeks?

The “glow” is the radiant, beautiful appearance that pregnant women apparently project. I have heard it more than once. “Awe, you are absolutely glowing,” is one of the more famous lines I have heard thus far by multiple people. And yet, I look in the mirror and see me. Same old me. Was I “glowing” before I was pregnant? I sure hope not. I don’t feel any more beautiful than I did before my husband lovingly knocked me up. Or so he likes to phrase it that way.

I can see at times what people are talking about. The pregnancy hormones have done some wonders to my body. My skin tone has evened out more, my hair is more soft and beautiful even after not showering for a couple of days, my nails are gorgeous (and I normally hate my nails), and boy has my body changed a lot more than my first pregnancy. Yes, I am putting on the baby weight in all the right places and my boobs went from being a good handful to breaking my bra seams. I will admit that I do feel gorgeous, beautiful, etc at times, but lets face the facts here, there is no way that feeling lasts forever let alone all day.

Bottom line is, getting morning sickness fucking blows. This is all part of the “glow.” Yes, there are women who bypass this altogether, and for those lucky bitches, fuck you. But there is nothing beautiful about throwing up at random times over stupid things.  There is nothing amazing about eating certain items that the little parasite is requesting, and even at times, I can barely keep that down. Some of these odd craving combinations are extremely gross, but my taste buds will deceive me completely and I will think its the best food ever! I still can’t believe that this blueberry size virus is controlling my whole body. (I can’t decide whether to call my baby a parasite or a virus, therefore, I will refer to the baby as both).  And even though my breasts have become fuller and much larger, there is no point when I can barely allow my husband to touch me because they hurt and or too sensitive. Yes, it’s there for the little parasite to enjoy after it is born. I get it. I know most of this disgusting feelings eventually passes after the first trimester, but in the end it’s what the baby wants.

Pregnancy obviously affects everyone differently. Like I said, my first one was spectacular. I was like a pregnancy unicorn. It was full of rainbows and happiness. Or maybe I felt that way because it was my first child. Who knows.

The “glow” has its good days and bad days. I am not going to tell you if its fact or myth. Every pregnant women can decide on her own whether or not she has the “glow.”

At times, I feel absolutely gorgeous and nothing or no one will tell me otherwise. I look at myself and I am super excited to be pregnant again. Plus, my husband does so much of the heavy lifting in my life and makes it easy. He can at times be over-attentive, overprotective and treats me like glass, but I get it, I am carrying his child and he has no grounds to complain. Like I would let him anyways, otherwise I would probably eat his face off then the baby would force me to throw it up. I am after all sacrificing my whole body for this.

Then there are days where I am exhausted, tired, nauseous, and I feel utterly disgusting and wish I could take back ever reconsidering having another baby. I was stupid enough to think that my second time would be as simple as my first. Well, it’s not. I just have to ride out the storm.

I know that once the baby arrives, I will be extremely happy and all this up and down torture will be worth it. I love being a mom. It’s the best job in the whole world. I had one child for 7.5 years to myself and I am finally ready for another one. I cant wait to meet my little one and although I still have a lot time left, some of the fun stuff is starting to begin.

My husband and I are having a blast picking out baby names, designing potential nurseries, and shopping for some baby odds and ends. I guess the “glow” comes when I am at my happiest. I feel such joy and love when I bring up my pregnancy to total strangers or when they ask how far along I am. I can see how I light up about it. Glow even. But the moment they ask about the horrendous side effects of pregnancy is when that feeling disappears. So if people could avoid that subject of morning sickness and crazy weird cravings that disgust normal non-pregnant people, I guess every pregnant women could experience the “glow.”

Sex as a sport

Before you read any further, I am not going to share with you my personal experiences with people or any intimate details. If you think that’s what I am sharing, please exit this post now.

So how do most people view sex?

In college, I was surrounded by people who viewed it as a sport. How many people can they sleep with in one night, in one week, to one month. They would keep track and share their details with each other. Keeping notches above their bed frame. It is amazing the things I learned. I was never the type to do that. Keep track of my sexual conquests. Although I enjoy the act, I do not plan to bed as many people nor do I share intimate details about it with my friends, but I do still view it as a sport but not in the same way one might think.

People often define sport as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often in a competitive nature. I can put sex in each one of those requirements. I use sex as a sport against myself. Twisted, yeah it can be. Sometimes I view myself as a lover, but most of all I view myself as a performer. I like to think about it this way: being a great performer will in turn make me a great lover. 

I want to make sure I am in good enough shape to keep up. Practicing as much as I can to better myself at what I am doing with my partner. The competitive nature in sex is not against my partner at least not in a way where one person “wins.” The more often we play together, the better we get, and the more enjoyable it becomes. Challenging each other in every way possible.

Sex should not be sinful and it should not be a used just for procreation. Yes, I do see it as an intimate act, but if I play hard, work hard, in the end I will achieve what I wanted to begin with. To be the best lover, performer I can be. No one wins or loses. Just trying to perfect and reign in my skills. Challenging myself and always striving to be better. Allowing myself to open up and try new things. It may be scary, but the bigger the risk, bigger the reward. Right?

Life Black Out

Have you ever gotten so drunk that you forgot what the fuck happened the night before? Now, for some you, that’s a yes. Hell, I even have done it on multiple occasions. Of course,  mine consisted of a mixture of drugs and alcohol. PS, not a good combination.

Now have some of you forgotten parts of your life? I am in that situation now.

Maybe because my life is moving at super speed, with everything that is going on, but I find myself not remembering certain years of it. Literally, I have blocked out or blacked out certain years of my life.

Now, why the hell am I trying to go back and “re-live” my past? I do not fucking know.  Maybe I am a masochist and I just like remembering the torture I put myself through to get to where I am today. Again, I do not know. But what I do know is this– I can’t remember.

I literally can not remember certain years. YEARS!!! Like 365 days worth of my life. And not just certain days here and there, like a whole damn year or multiple years! I am trying to think back why I blocked out a period in my life. I mean I can think of a few things, but should some jackass affect me so much that I chose to pretend like he was never part of my life when clearly he was. Yes, this is over some asshole that popped up in my mind randomly.

I know that I have not slept or eaten for a couple of days now. Maybe because sleeping makes me go back and recall my past, and thinking about it makes me ill to my stomach, but why now? I do not miss that life and I certainly do not regret it, but like I said, I mentally blacked out that year(s) of my life. So restless brain, why are you bringing it up? I find myself trying to recall what happened and why it happened. Does it feel like I got no closure and my mind is trying to piece together everything I tried my hardest to forget?

Actually, I did forget but something triggered a neuron in my brain forcing me to face this.

They say time heals all wounds. I call bullshit. You just forget and move on, but the wound will always be there in some form of a scar. It doesn’t hurt anymore, but that symbolic mark will always be there. (That may not make sense, but it does to me)

What I am trying to say in my rambling post is this– if you can completely black out parts of your life, that is kind of awesome. For me, I feel that way. I know I went through a very dark period and I did things I am glad I can’t remember. A part of me is sad about it because I thought that “time” I chose to forget, was one of my happiest times. And yet when it was over, I never looked back. The memories I thought I would cherish forever, I don’t. The people I met then (who are no longer part of my life), I could really care less about. I mean if they died tomorrow, my life would not change. I do not think I would even feel bad even though I may or may not have loved them once. That sounds heartless, but that’s how I feel. Its like they never really meant anything to me. I desperately want to FEEL something, and yet, I can’t. I literally don’t feel any kind of joy for it. I feel mute. I guess that’s still some form of feeling.

I have a misconstrued memory of that time. I literally can’t piece together the good times or the bad times. It just confuses the hell out of me. Oh well. It is what it is. Stupid response but I can’t think of a better phrase.

Its like I got wasted for 365+ days straight and didn’t realize it. Fuck, maybe I did. Its a life black out.

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Megan Elizabeth

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