Tuesday, August 26, 2008

mother craft

I never considered myself a crafty person, but with lots of time on my hands at the house while Anna sleeps, and all the inspiring pictures and tutorials in the mom-blogosphere, I couldn't help but find my inner crafter. It all started with some wooden letters of Anna's name. I found some paint to match her bedroom and looked at some idea examples at Hobby Lobby and whipped them out one Saturday. Then, after feeling something was missing and with an extra mirror from Ikea in my possession, I painted the mirror over the course of MANY coats of paint and several episodes of the last season of Gilmore Girls.

Once that craft was finished so successfully, I already had 10 different ideas for more. Here are the results:

I made the headband while I was in Ohio from baby tights and a flower from the $1 store

A tutu

Not as easy as I'd hoped-- and my machine went crazy, so you can see the stitching coming undone already. I'm anxious to try it with fusible interfacing and a different fabric

SOOOO cute and sewing machine free! I learned how to blanket stitch to make this and I have some more embelleshments planned on it like a jingle bell at the toe so Anna can make noise when she kicks.

I have the materials ready for another tutu, several more bows, a wooden flower with a knob (on which to hang Anna's princess towel), a pair of felt Mary Janes, and I'm considering making a strip quilt like the beautiful pink and black quilt Amber made for Anna's baby shower. And I'm starting to get the baby clothes bug after seeing so many cute clothes in online boutiques with ridiculous prices.

I'm having lots of fun doing it, and I like to watch Anna inspect the things that I make. She pulls on the flower on her hairbow and admires the letters and mirror above her crib. She ponders her colorful feet and sucks on the little bows.

Anna is starting to love to play as evidenced by this video.

Those are all her very favorite toys at once. She loves to talk to the little bugs that hang above her and she's getting really good at grasping the rings and pulling them to her mouth. I think she's figured out that if she pulls on them it makes the bugs shake and jingle. I tried letting her kick a pie pan about a week ago to make some noise and she really liked it, but it's turned into one of her favorites since we started putting shoes on her while she does it. It makes so much more noise that way!

Anna's becoming a much better behaved baby than she used to be. She can play on her own now and has a generally happy disposition with periods of fussiness rather than the other way around. She's getting better at letting strangers hold her... for short periods of time. She loves to talk and will have a nice conversation with you if she deems you interesting enough.

One thing Anna is not doing well is sleeping. She goes to sleep just great and falls back asleep easily, but getting her to sleep longer than 4 or 5 hours is a challenge which means I'm up feeding her twice a night. She goes to sleep around 9:00, wakes up between 1:00 and 2:00, eats on one side and goes right back to sleep, and then wakes up between 4:30 and 5:30, eats, and sleeps till 7:00 or 8:00. I tried (just once...) letting her cry when she woke up at 1:00 and she just cried until she was frantically screaming. I gave her her pacifier to calm her down and get her to sleep. She calmed down, but she didn't go to sleep for over an hour. I'm sure she was starving by then.

Up from a nap

She has occasionally slept better. Usually on Sunday nights when she's exhausted from our 2-5 PM church schedule, she'll sleep for 7 or 8 hours. But I don't think it's healthy to push her to the point of exhaustion just so she can crash for a long time.

Bedtime routine

Massage and PJs
Swaddled and fed

Around the time Anna was 6 weeks old, I read a lot. I read The Baby Whisperer, Happiest Baby on the Block, Baby Wise, and -- according to many of my friends-- the sleep Bible, Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. I took advice from each of them, though the last one mostly frustrated me and I had a hard time understanding what exactly I was supposed to do. I've tried moving Anna's bed time up by 20 min to push it forward like Weisbluth suggests, but when I do that, she just whines for a longer time and falls asleep at exactly the same time as when we started her bedtime routine later. So, I'm tired and frustrated and wondering what I'm doing wrong. I've decided to just stick it out till Anna's 4 month check-up which is less than a week away.

Sound asleep

And between crafting and worrying about Anna's sleeping, I wonder if I'm doing other things right in my life. Am I using my free time to learn new skills, to keep my mind sharp, to continue my education? Am I growing enough spiritually? Could I be doing more to strengthen my relationship with my husband? Am I reading to Anna enough? When do I start baby sign? How? Are we getting enough variety and nutrition in our meals? How do I decide who to vote for? Which issues are the most important?

As you can probably tell, it's been kind of a hard week. Yet another reason to lose myself in ribbon and glue guns.

PS-- This is my 100th post. Horray for me and my blog! Check out my picasa page (link to the right) to see pictures and video from Anna's 4th month.


Marci said...

Well, for someone who just recently found her inner crafter you have completely blown me away! You have accomplished WAY more in Anna's 4 months than I have in the 4 years since I started having kids! Way to go :-)! And don't stress about her sleep. She is still little and I think a lot of baby sleep habits totally depend on their "sleep personality." It sounds like you are doing what you think is right and that's the most important thing. If you don't go get her when she wakes up after 4 hours will she fall back asleep after awhile or does she get herself all worked up until you come feed her?

Rachel said...

I have no motherly advice, but I must say that your crafts look absolutely awesome.

lizzie said...

You are a crafting genius. Those shoes. Wow.

I have no advice about the sleeping thing. Simon didn't sleep through the night until he was 8 or 9 months, although towards the end he would just wake up once, at around 5:00 to eat. I was fine with it. I thought it was easier to go at his own pace than it was to try to manipulate anything.

As for the signing, I just checked out a book from the library, learned a few signs, and then signed them to him when appropriate. Diaper when I changed him, eat when I fed him, milk when I nursed him. He was really slow catching on. I started signing when he was 5 months and he didn't sign back until he was 13 months. Some people really like Signing Time DVDs (Simon won't watch one), but I kind of just picked up signs here and there and implemented them into our daily life.

I know it gets kind of rough when you have so much time on your hands and yet don't feel like you are doing much with it. At least it did for me. I think that taking care of an infant is so exhausting in every way: mentally, physically, spiritually, etc. Having a baby takes a much longer adjustment period than I expected, mostly because they change so fast and often just when you feel you are getting the hang of it, you realize they've moved on to something else. Something that helped me was realizing that just by being a mom I was being challenged in all of the areas you mentioned by having to make room for this new person. It takes a lot of faith, and even though I have felt spiritually weaker than I have before, I have also found myself praying over the littlest things. I've had to work to make sure that the baby didn't get in the way of my relationship with Micah, even though it often feels like he does get in the way. I hope that is helpful to you, even if you weren't really asking for help.

tpmotd said...


JP said...

Oh so cute! Anna looks very edible!:) Your crafts are amazing.

Karen Ahlstrom said...

Great crafts! Do you have a pattern for those blanket stitch shoes? Could you send me a link if it's online?

I echo Steve's comment about the baby rolls--Soooo cute! I seem to remember that he had plenty himself.

Babies don't usually sign back until at least 8 months -- though you can start with basics whenever you feel like it. They suggest waiting till baby is waving bye bye and pointing at things so you don't get discouraged. I really liked reading the original Baby Signs book and was surprised to find recently that the authors had written two more -- Baby Minds and Baby Hearts -- where they summarize the scientific research about how babies think and feel. It's very readable, and feels much less anecdotal than something like Baby Wise.

Anonymous said...

Hey Heather,

Regarding Baby Signs, check out this website


for a video dictionary of signs. I tried signs with Maya, but she only used them a short while before she just started saying the words. Some people believe the reason babies who use signs have larger vocabularies later in life is just because parents who sign to their babies talk to them, too. That is, you're saying the words while you're signing; hence, more language exposure. Interesting stuff. Oh, and I adore the rolls!!! Breastfeeding moms rule!

Rebecca Holt Stay said...

I am so proud!

rusted sun said...

You are doing a great job Heather. I think it is hard not to worry about what how our kids are going to turn out. I feel the same way.

The night before last Max woke up twice in the middle of the night. I spent the whole day bugged and upset that he had forgotten how to sleep. Maybe we just need to stress a little bit less (I say this as a reminder to us both).

Due to the fact that our kids our so close in age it is easy to compare. Max and Maya sleep well at night and on occasion roll over. Anna laughs more, smiled much earlier, grabs things and can sit up with a little help. They all have different skills. Let's just make sure they hang out more often so they can teach each other and we can remind ourselves that we are really having a good time.

kimlis said...

I don't remember ever getting up with my babies during the night except the first two weeks with second. Routine is good -- the bath and cuddling, rocking, singing. With C. she always had music to go to sleep by -- Primary tapes usually with some classic intermixed (I'm particularly fond of Tchaikovsky). I always figured a loving routine promoted the security needed to sleep soundly. Of course that is said of a toddler more than an infant. When younger, she loved baby music boxes to go to sleep by. You're a good mom; your instincts are no doubt quite right on.