We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Monday, June 04, 2007

A day in the life of a weaning Wombat

Weaning is actually going better than expected - I guess since I am not making him go totally "cold turkey" and since even he must have noticed there was a problem. I have never had trouble with milk supply - when he was little I used to produce too much, rather than too little - but lately I just haven't been able to keep up with his demands. It seems to be Mother Nature's way of moving us on to the next step.

Here's a 'snapshot' of our day (funny - I can't seem to work out where to start, so I'll just dive in! The times are of course just general indications - anyone with experience of toddlers knows they can't be predicted like clockwork... but the times are generally accurate give or take an hour or two, and some parent-controlled times, like dinner and bedtime, are always the same.)

At 6:30 pm, Daddy Yeti starts cooking dinner. Mummy and Wombat play in Valco playpen which has now been opened up and used as a barrier across quarter of the loungeroom. Wombat wanders around playing with his toys & pulling book after book from his bookshelf for me to read. I do a little handsewing, or if he is particular engrossed in some activity, I sneak a quick read of my own book (still slogging slowly through Ulysses... more comments about that when I finally finish it!) I keep a bottle of milk with us, and offer it to him at any opportunity.

7:00 pm is dinner. Wombat sits with his highchair pulled up to the table between Mummy & Daddy & eats off his tray. He has the same meal as we do - generally lamb chops and veggies. He particularly loves his corn-on-the-cob. For sweets he has yoghurt or home-made green apple jelly. More bottle milk or some juice to drink.

7:30 pm after dinner, I release him from his highchair and he "attacks" Daddy while I rinse his dishes, wipe the chair & put any scraps in the bucket for the chooks. Then Mummy and Wombat go into the bedroom for a potty-sit and pyjama dressing. Nana washes the other dinner dishes.

7:45 pm back to the playpen, all snuggly warm in his pjs. I help him choose four books and lay them out - he tells me which order to read them in, and we have quiet bedtime reading, with perhaps a little more bottle milk or water. When we finish the four books, it is time to find Daddy for his goodnight hug. I hand him over, visit the "big person's potty" & give my teeth a quick brush while he and Daddy say good night to Nana, and then to Mitch (the mad parrot). Mummy kisses Daddy goodnight and carries Wombat into bedroom. He waves to Daddy and shuts the door. (Yeti is still sleeping in the loungeroom, partly because it is more comfortable to have a heater on his back, and partly because he is a real night owl & so keeps different hours to a Baby Wombat :P we tend to meet like ships passing in the night which is a bit difficult on us both, but I hope things will get back to normal eventually)

8:00 pm Wombat and Mummy say their prayers, I put him into his bed (a king-single mattress with custom built "cot" sides) where he chews on his blanket. I change into my pyjamas, check my alarm clock, start the lullaby cd, rub some bonjella on his gums, give him paracetemol if needed (Nurofen works better, but Yeti suspects it contains opiates which would make him more sensitive to pain, so we have stopped using it), turn off the light and climb in with him. I breastfeed him to sleep, but he is generally so sleepy & full of milk & dinner by now that we both fall asleep before the lullaby cd is half over.

Around midnight he usually wakes up for another feed. This is when the weaning starts. I will give him lots of cuddles and reassurance, but I refuse to feed him. He howls in protest and I tell him, "I know, it's frustrating, but you're growing up and things have to change." He might cry and complain for more than half an hour, but eventually he will fall asleep again. If his crying gets too frantic to the point where he is really upset, rather than just complaining, we get up and visit Daddy for a few minutes distraction. When he is calm, we go back to bed and start the cuddling and reassuring again. It seems to go on forever at times, but just when I am about to give in, he will suddenly fall asleep, so I am learning to stick to my guns, and it seems to get a little bit easier each night.

2:15 am he generally wakes up again for another feed. The same process - lots of cuddles and reassurance, but no mummy milk. This morning he complained for half an hour then eventually fell asleep with his head buried in my tummy.

3:00 am Mummy gets up to study. Wombat often wakes up again, and every hour or so after that, but I listen to him on the monitor & judge his level of awakeness. He tends to give one or two cries and then go back to sleep, so I just keep typing (like right now!) and wait for him to settle. If his cries are very upset rather than just whinging, or if he doesn't go quiet after a few minutes, I go and give him a cuddle. Sometimes just a hand on his shoulder or leg will help him settle, sometimes it will take nearly an hour of cuddling. I guess it depends on how sore his teeth are. Before I start studying, I boil the kettle, wash his dishes properly, sterilise his bottles, wash the highchair again, and make a cup of tea! A quick email read & any blogging - and try to be actually studying by 4:30.

6:00 am When Wombat wakes up this time, I know he won't settle himself. I warm a bottle of milk and go in to him. He will refuse the bottle if offered and start to get very upset, so I give him his morning breastfeed. As soon as he stops sucking, I "detach" myself from him (often with great difficulty!) When he howls and tries to get back on the nipple I offer him the bottle again. He is usually still very sleepy, so he will take it and chew/suck on it for a while until his tummy is full, and then he will go back to sleep.

How long he sleeps after that depends on how awake he has been during the night - yesterday he slept in until 9am!!!

7:00 am I go out and hang any washing & give the chooks their breakfast (Wombat likes to do this with me, but it is generally well under 10 degrees celsius lately, and too cold for a just-woken-up Wombat, so I do it before he wakes up)

7:30 am he usually wakes up crying, but stops quickly and I can hear him talking to his toys and reading the cloth books I keep at the end of his bed. I let him play by himself for a few minutes while I quickly finish off what I am working on, then I go in, singing brightly "Good morning, Good morning, how is my boy today? Good morning, good morning to you!" I open the curtains and talk to him about what we are going to do today. Before the weaning started, he would often pat his blanket very charmingly and refuse to get up until Mummy climbed in to give him a cuddle and some Mummy milk. This was a highlight of our day and we both miss it - but he has suddenly started cuddling and patting his stuffed toys instead, so I join him in that. I get him up and get him dressed.

8:00 am Into the highchair for breakfast - a slice of raisin toast with peanut butter, then a weetbix, or a bowl of porridge (often with raisins, tinned peaches & yoghurt). Milk, water or juice. While he is eating his breakfast, I run a bath and put the immersion heater in to warm it up (we still haven't managed to replace the hot water system. It worked for a little while, but has kicked the bucket again.)

9:00 am potty-sit, nappy change and then into the playpen with Mummy for a morning of reading and playing. Mummy sneaks away for a few minutes to feed the parrot & take him out in the sun once he starts squawking for breakfast.

9:30 am bath time for Mummy and Wombat. I have my bath with him to save on water & heating (we use rainwater tanks, and since we are still in drought & nappies take a lot of washing, water is always low).

10:30 am About 3 hours after he wakes up, Wombat starts to get very floppy and fall over a lot - generally a sign that it's time for a nap. I warm a bottle of milk and we climb into his bed. I start him off with breastfeeding, and try to swap for the bottle as soon as I can. Unfortunately he is generally more awake than first thing in the morning and less likely to accept the exchange. He will be dozing very peacefully and almost asleep, but wake up as soon as I take my breast back. Offering the bottle will get me nowhere, and before I know it, there is one wide awake Wombat bouncing around the bed. This used to happen quite often anyway, but it is much easier to deal with when I haven't spent half an hour pouring breast milk into him! (After that kind of investment, I used to feel quite betrayed if he didn't fall asleep and give me some time to myself! When it is only the bottle that isn't working any magic I can be much more philosophical about it.) I pretend to be asleep and let him tromp all over me and give me cuddles for an hour or so, because at least that way we get a little quiet time even if not napping. If he does fall asleep, I sneak away to study.

11:30 am He wakes up, or we both get up. Potty sit/nappy change. Play on the verandah.

12:00 midday Lunchtime in the highchair. A sandwich, milk/juice/water and fruit. All the scraps are cut up and put into the chook bucket.

1:00 pm Potty sit/nappy change. Take the chooks the scraps from lunch, play in the yard, go for a bushwalk.

2:30 pm bottle of milk and books in the playpen. Start thinking about nap - especially if he missed the morning one. Same routine with feeding as the morning nap - but if he has missed the morning nap then he will often fall asleep before we get to the bottle stage, or I will be less draconian about letting him breastfeed himself to sleep. If he has napped well in the morning he will often skip this nap instead.

3:30 pm Wake up, potty sit, nappy change. Outside to wander around and play. Mummy brings in any washing off the line & we take the veggie scraps to the chooks & make sure they are all ready for nighttime.

4:30 pm starting to get cold, so back inside in the playpen. Mummy brings in the parrot and feeds it (Mitch sleeps inside during winter). Read books and play until dinner.

There you go, in case you were wondering what a day in the life of a 14 month old Wombat was like! Every day follows the same routine except for Thursdays, when Mummy leaves Wombat with Daddy after breakfast and goes out to teach her catechist classes from 9 until 11. When I get home, we head off for naptime, and the routine goes back to normal. I would really like to add Sunday mass to this routine as well, but with Wombat teething, it generally just doesn't work out. When he is a little bit older (or if the church was closer) we will make it a regular habit. Until then I hope God understands!

Well, my blogging has taken half an hour more than allowed, so I had better fast forward into study mode - hope you all enjoyed my day, and have a good one yourselves :D


Steff said...

Thats a very different routien to K at 14 months - but then I wish I had written down the routine more often it would help for analiese - You may have inspired me and I may write down Kaelyns routine for future reference and write when it changes

Scribbit said...

I'm tired just reading your schedule. I forget how much work small children are.