Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another project

We tried out another project from the dinosaur book. The preschooler cut out her own bits with her own kid friendly scissors.

The Tea Salon at Emporium

We stumbled upon the Tea Salon at Emporium with my sister and little niece. The 2 little girls were so excited by the pretty things in the store! The pretty teacups, the pretty plates, the gorgeous wallpaper... they hopped onto the couch and started playing tea party even before we had decided to sit down to have afternoon tea. 
We selected the high tea for 2 adults and the kids just ate whatever was served. Actually they only ate the pretty cakes and left the not so pretty ones for the adults. Gosh, how they have a  eye for things.
I thought it was a great place for afternoon tea. 
Enjoying her cup of tea

dinosaur art

I think having a preschooler means that we explore alot of the world and her interests together.  It also gives me a reason to pick up my art tools again and reintroduce creativity into my life. We were exploring dinosaurs and sharp teeth!
Posing with the completed artwork
Instructions from the book

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Masada sleep school weekend residential program

I couldn't find any blogs about the weekend program, so I thought I might share our experience.

So after little steps at Monash Council, we went on an overseas holiday (major disruption to routine), had different caregivers (who prefer that babies don't cry), I went back to work... So by 10months, baby was rocked to sleep for her day naps, sleeps on a person for the second cycle, rocked to sleep at night, and needed more rocking every time she woke up, and after 12am, I succumb to giving her the breast to suck while I keep sleeping beside her. We were needing to get up about 4-6times overnight.

So the decision to go to Masada to get some help. I didn't want to take a week off work, so opted to do the 2weekend program. The aim was to get someone to break the sleep associations that the baby had.

We got admitted Saturday afternoon, talked about our goals and routine and how to adjust the routine to an age appropriate routine. We handed baby over to help with the afternoon sleep, then the nighttime sleep. I was fortunate to have a room away from the babies, so I couldn't hear them cry (which is also odd for me). There were only 8 of us so it wasn't a busy and noisy ward.

The next day was us settling the babies and the staff teaching us what to do. I must say, I didn't get to settle the baby at all because she didn't hit the time for a grizzle.

Discharge was on Monday at 0800. I had intended to go to work but decided that bad city traffic and wanting to implement the routine at home, so I took Monday off work. I should have planned it better and taken that day off anyway.

We stuck to the routine and principles and managed a week with good day and night sleeps. I was wondering if I needed to go back to that second weekend and decided that we needed to consolidate what we had learnt.

Baby performed amazingly and sailed through the second weekend.

Now is the third weekend and we are doing 7.30pm to 6.30am night sleeps with no rocking, no breastfeeding, no patting. She is relieved to be in the cot. Hopefully she keeps going well!

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Working mum

I must say, other mummy's blogs make me feel like its a diary of sorts, sharing with others your story and sometimes your situation is similar to someone else's and could be advice for that other person.

Being pregnant the second time felt harder. The nausea and the fatigue during pregnancy was much worse. I felt like I was juggling between work, being on call, temperamental bosses, a toddler and pregnancy.

Luckily, darling hubby was amazing. He took care of the toddler and did most of the household chores during this time so I could rest whenever I could. My toddler hardly saw me on weekdays and learnt how to say 'ipad' before 'mummy'.

Luckily, my work colleagues were understanding and did some weekend on calls for me.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

On the search of free toddler fun: Springvale homemaker centre

Winter is too cold for outdoor fun, so we had to look for indoor fun for the little rambunctious toddler.

Springvale homemaker centre is about 20 mins from our place. It houses Ikea, Harvey Norman, Babyco, etc. We went initially to get furniture and electrical appliances for the new place.

Ikea was fun in terms of its displays and ideas. The toddler had lots of fun with jumping onto couches, playing in the children ikea section, playing in the ikea cafe playspace in the middle of the cafe. The service in ikea was a nightmare. We had to pick out our own boxes, cart them to another counter for them to be delivered. If you wanted help assembling the furniture, that was another company. Service wasn't seamless. Ah well. That's what you get with Ikea, I suppose.

Harvey Norman price matched my fridge and my washing machine, so I didn't have to make another trip down to The Good Guys. They delivered and installed those for abit extra. I was happy with the service here.

There is an indoor playground for the children to run around in. It's shoes off and no adults. But parents (being of all kinds), still went in to hover around their kids playing. Argh! Unless your child is a crawler or your child has a disability that requires your close supervision, just let them play. Watch in a distance please.

We happened to be there in the school holidays and the toddler managed to have a go at the 'zoo on wheels' section. She quickly got the hang of it and loved the little Panda she was riding on. I think the toy encouraged gross motor coordination. Brilliant invention.

We went back when Jimmy Giggle was there doing a meet and greet session. The queue was too long for a personal photo. The place was extremely crowded on a weekend.

Pluses: big covered carpark, parents room available, great family friendly cafe with Ikea, family friendly car park spots on Ikea's side
Minuses: I wish there was more eating places besides ikea and a cafe, I was also wishing there was a small grocer so I could pick up a loaf of bread along the way, rather than having to stop at another place.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Little Steps Program by City of Monash

I thought I should make a blog about our sleeping journey, although I must say it is pretty common, the troubles we are having.

Newborn, high maintenance baby, needing to be rocked or nursed to sleep, would not be put down in the cot, asleep or awake or drowsy, sleeps on parents' chest or lap, wakes up when you stop rocking, finally falls asleep and wakes up when she hears a noise and starts looking around being very distracted. On top of that, a toddler that barges in every time the baby sleeps, waking the baby up.

The deadline, going back to work at 5months post baby, so would need a routine and to be able to put baby down asleep, so 1 adult could care for 2 kids- a toddler and a 5month old, and cook.

So, at 3months, a musical mobile went up in the cot, baby C was enjoying time awake in the cot. We put her as often as possible on the floor and in the rocking chair, so she enjoys time apart.

Our eat-play-sleep routine became eat-play-eat to sleep routine. And then sleeping on the lap. And if I so much as sneezed, the baby woke up! Gosh, that's not refreshing sleep at all.

After reading a tweddle book (borrowed from the library), I had some quiet time before a nap, put her down, set my timer when I started my 'comforting' to her crying, but never seemed to get her any quieter in 15 mins anyway, so picked her up. I couldn't bear another 15 mins of heart wrenching crying, so toughed it out to 5mins the next few times with no avail. Maybe she's not developmentally ready, I thought, so gave up.

Picked up Elizabeth Pantley's book and thought I would at least use some techniques here. Repeatedly detach the nursing baby! Don't wait till the nipple falls out of their mouth. Try to create more than 1 sleep association. Put baby down!

Read divinity domestic blog about her Masada experience, and realised a dark room and a snug tucked in blanket was essential, so started to implement that too.

So the baby sleeps in her under-used cot for a grand total of 4 times x 15-20 mins after all this.

Come our 4month maternal child health nurse wellness visit, and our dear nurse broaches on the topic of sleep. At this point I was thinking or dreaming about Masada and whether I should give it a try. Our dear nurse makes a referral to Little Steps program and that afternoon I get a phone call from Natasha to say that they had a late cancellation, and they could have us in that Wednesday. Godsend!

There are 3 rooms, with 3 families and 2 nurses. They take turns getting to know the babies and families and showing us how to settle the babies down to sleep.

The things I learnt were:
-that the tired cues happen so early on and subtly and I had always missed them. My baby C was tugging her clothes and gazing away, mixed in with being engaged and smiling. No wonder the term 'tired cues' not 'tired signs'. By the time the cues are there all the time, they become tired signs and she is already too tired. The more tired she is, the harder it is for her to settle, the longer she was going to have to cry it out.
-settling was not about 1patting technique for 5mins. It is a variety of techniques used to see which one calmed her down. I don't have to pat her to sleep, I'm only patting her to calm down, and then I let her find her own way into sleep.
-being very firm about sleep. Sending the message that 'it's time for sleep' and persisting at it for a while.

It was very helpful to see a skilled nurse do the steps and see that baby C (and all the other babies) managed to settle and sleep in the cot. It gave me confidence that baby C was ready to learn this self soothing steps. I was now equipped with the knowledge and short experience of being able to help baby C in this learning.

Day 1 at home yielded all the day sleeps in the cot, we managed a second sleep cycle with minimal patting, then we managed a sleep with no patting (she did it all on her own), and a long sleep of 4hours (she has never slept independently for 4hours before, ever).

Today is day 2, and I'm hoping things would go a similar way. :)