Momma's Gone City

I never understood how crucial sleep is until I became a mother. I think about the days that I willingly pulled all-nighters, cramming on art projects during college or studying for exams, or staying up with friends and partying. The lack of sleep on those days was hardly a factor in my mental well being. Life with a newborn taught me real quick that chronic sleepless nights were damaging both mentally and physically and contributed to the deterioration of my rationale gauge in record time. Jack and I learned a lot together that first year especially, and while it was definitely rocky at times, I didn’t perpetuate those particularly troublesome cycles.

With Zoe, Beau, and Evvie I began scheduling the evenings very early. Lesson number one towards establishing a good sleep regimen was routine.

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Bath time: Starting around 7pm every night whether or not they’re sleeping at the time, I prepare a warm, soapy bath in a steamy bathroom with the lights low. They have all loved bath time, but Evvie was a slow adopter. She fussed at first so I didn’t leave her in for too long, just long enough for her to get used to it. She now will stay in the tub happily for as long as twenty minutes.

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Feeding: Once she’s warm and snuggly in her new diaper and pajamas, I nurse (or daddy bottle feeds) her for also about twenty minutes in a low-lit room where she usually sleeps which is ours, for now. We wanted to get her used to taking the bottle, and this is the perfect time for daddy-baby bonding, too. It’s important that she’s used to and comfortable with her surroundings at night time especially.

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Swaddle: After she’s done nursing, I make shushing sounds and swaddle her tight, rocking her while she’s still awake until she dozes off.

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Projector & Sound System: We’re incorporating the use of the Munchkin projector and sound machine lately, and while I haven’t used one before now, I’m really questioning why we didn’t. The functionality is clear and easy, especially for dimly lit rooms and sleep deprived adults. The white noise is really and truly a buffer for the various disturbances in the night like raccoons in the trash or Theo’s loud dreaming. We needed one for Beau’s room too for that reason.

This isn’t a perfect routine, but it’s worked with three out of four of my babies. We’re still up every two-four hours to nurse, but it’s such an easy process that we’re back sleeping after about 45 minutes. I still occasionally feel exhausted and run down, but compared to the sleepless nights and exhaustion that I felt with Jack’s first weeks, there is no comparison. I’m grateful for any and all moments of rest that I can find. While the swaddling and rocking sessions can’t last forever, I’m definitely trusting the bath time and Munchkin Projector & Sound System to last us at least through the first year or two.

Munchkin is generously offering free shipping to my readers! Code is CITYMUNCHKINS at checkout. Go forth and find your sleep/play/bath necessities, friends!

Thank you to Munchkin for sponsoring this post, and thank you for reading!

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There are so many layers to our days, most of which get discarded like tear sheets floating to the floor in the room that holds the master drawing board. Moments that I should be enjoying and building upon end up crumpled and pitched into the corner where the waste bin lies.

Beau has been so difficult lately. My hands cover my ears, my eyes, holding my head until the yelling stoops and the throbbing calms.

What starts as a really nice day, activity, adventure, moment, ends in complete and utter ridiculousness. He is elated, excited, bounding with energy and the next moment angry, sad and confused. He doesn’t know what he wants, or what he needs. I’m going to the ends of the earth or the corners of my heart, the end of my rope,

to listen
to hold him
to love him
to figure out how to fill this void that he’s feeling.

He’s two and he’s adjusting, but it’s been a strain on our family. The weeks have been long and arduous but peppered with beautiful moments, laughs, and tender conversations.

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This weekend was all about family. We locked it down and spent most of Saturday and even a good part of Sunday indoors despite the sunny 73 degree weather. It’s taken me at least a year to not feel completely pressured by the perfect weather to be outside enjoying it at max capacity every single day, but I think we’re there. Living on the East Coast will do that to a person.

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Jack is already at the age that he’d rather be hanging out with friends than his family, not that I can blame him given the crazy that has been happening at home lately. He’d gone to the patch with a buddy earlier that day, so we put on our tee-shirts and sundresses, piled five out of six of us plus Theo into the Suburban and headed to the pumpkin patch to feign fall and it’s festivities.

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We danced amongst the pumpkins, breathed in the therapeutic, salty ocean air and then made it home a completely filthy dirty exasperated mess. But it was wonderful and awesome and restorative.

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…And every day is a step in the right direction. For all of us.

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