First Smiles

Do all parents feel like they just accomplished something comparable to running a marathon or completing their first novel once they successful have all their children in bed for the night? Mark and I usually begin the bedtime routine with a huddle to discuss our game plan for the evening. We break with a team cheer to get ourselves pumped, we put our game faces on, and then we get down to business. Some nights both kids are peacefully snoozing by 8:00 and we still have enough energy to do something other than zone out in front of the TV. Some nights it's almost 10:00 and I'm still rocking Nolan just counting down the seconds before I can change out of my spit up covered clothes, put on my pajamas, and hopefully make from the closet to my bed without falling asleep. On the few nights that I've put both kids to bed by myself, I have the urge to dance out my front door shouting the good news to the world while spinning in circles like Julie Andrews singing "The Hills are Alive". Then I imagine a big van would pull up and a crew of people would jump out holding microphones, balloons, and cameras. A man in a fancy suit would hand me a giant trophy or check of some sort.  

Up until recently, Mark has been laying in Beckett's bed with him for 30 minutes or so to help him get to sleep while I put Nolan to bed. In an effort to make bed time a one parent show, we decided that Beckett needs to get better at putting himself to sleep. As many desperate parents do, we tried bribing him (see fishing pole pictures below). Of course that only worked one or two times. Our newest plan seems to be working much better. He has a little lantern that we leave on and tell him he can read books in his bed as long as he wants, but he can't get out of bed. If/when he comes out of his room we just pick him up and put him back in bed without engaging in a conversation with him, even though he suddenly has 1000 questions and needs 10 more things before bed. I usually tuck him back in so that he is cozy and tell him I love him, but nothing else. The first night it took probably 10 or 11 times of doing this before he fell asleep. Tonight he only came out once. I'm so proud of him. I've noticed if I get frustrated or mad then he just gets upset and won't calm down to go to bed; the whole thing becomes a disaster. But if we stay calm, no matter how frustrating it can be, it goes much smoother. 

Nolan started smiling this week and it has been so fun! As I've said before, the newborn stage is not really my favorite, but once their little personalities start to come out I get very excited. I'm surprised at the high pitched notes my voice is capable of reaching when I'm trying to get him to smile. The higher the pitch, the bigger the smile. We're getting ready to take Nolan on his first camping trip soon. I'm really looking forward to it, and I'm also a little nervous. Long car rides with kids give me anxiety. I'm not too worried about how the nights will go, but I'm aware that those could be disastrous too. I'm sure there will be a few stressful moments, but we've never regretted getting out and doing stuff with our kids even though sometimes the easier option is to stay home.