1. I spent last week planning a surprise birthday party for Alex and it turned out awesome.
2. Casey came down with his first cold, which Alex and I both got and then gave back to him.
3. Casey is now fully weaned from his swaddle…only to end up most nights sleeping with us.
1). Last week I spent hours furtively planning a surprise party to celebrate Alex’s birthday. While his actual birthday was Thursday, August 21st, I planned his party for the following Saturday afternoon/evening. I’ve never planned a surprise party and while it all came together rather splendidly, I think I’ll wait a while until I plan another one. I was a nervous wreck Saturday as I watched the pieces fall slowly into place, leading up to the moment when Alex strolled into the backyard and discovered his friends and family gathered for a celebration. He was genuinely surprised and told me later that he hadn’t had a real birthday party since he was a kid. He was quite touched that everyone had come together in a celebration just for him.
I could not have put this party on without the help of our friends and family. Alex’s parents were a huge help!! I went over to their house early in the week to go over the menu, plan a decoy, and figure out what I would need from them including a table for food, serving platters, folding chairs, as well as the use of their kitchen and refrigerator so that I could surreptitiously store and cook all the food. To be fair, I wasn’t sure that Alex would necessarily suspect anything if I came home with 3 pounds of lunch meat, but I was afraid that he would eat it. Anyway, the day of the party, our good friend Austin was a huge help in getting Alex out of the house. Our friend Austin, who is usually such a ‘go with the flow’ guy, planned a day of disc golfing followed by a dip in his family pool which kept Alex away for about 3 hours while Alex’s parents and I set everything up. As I mentioned earlier, my nerves were a bit taught. There were cupcakes to ice, a food table to set up, chicken enchiladas to get in the oven, and oh yeah a 5 1/2 month old who was on his own schedule and decided he did not want to be put down!!!
In the end, everything got done on time and when our friends began arriving at 4, they all stepped in to help in whatever way they could. I had told Alex that he had to be home at 4:30 because we were going to drop Casey off at his parents house and go have a drink at a new bar that opened nearby. So at 4:30, he was texting me to apologize for running a bit late and to let me know he was almost home, and just after4:30 Alex walked up the driveway to find a wonderful group of people waiting to wish him a happy birthday. Alex just stopped in his tracks and got a big smile on his face. On his actual birthday, we had gone to dinner with his parents and come home afterwards for presents. His parents got him some good gifts, while I had simply given him a gift bag full of little toys from the dollar store and while he seemed confused and a bit disappointed that I hadn’t gotten him anything special, he did try to act excited about the mini nerf football, bite-size candy and bluegrass CD he found in the bag. To make matters worse (or better) none of his friends actually texted or called on the actual day to wish him a happy birthday! He assumed everyone had just forgotten and was sort of upset about it but it made the moment he turned the corner into the backyard and saw everyone there that much sweeter. And he forgave me for everything when I had him grab a disc out of his bag and led him to the back 40 where I had set up his portable disc golf basket. In the end, the evening was splendid. A great mix of friends, old and new, good food, and a happy birthday boy.
Later that night, Alex and I found ourselves sitting in the kitchen with a wide awake little boy (who had slept fitfully for a few hours but seemed to wake up once everyone had gone for some 1 on 1 time with his mom and dad). It was one of those wonderful moments in life where, exhausted and happy, we simply sat and recounted the events of the evening. We didn’t worry about cleaning up or whether people had a good time. It was simply a wonderful evening and we couldn’t quite bring ourselves to let it end.
Eventually, we had to go to bed. Over the course of the evening, both of us had slowly developed head colds and we could only ignore our need to lay our weary heads down for so long.
2.) All three of us woke up Sunday, stuffed up and snotty. Our poor little guy had gotten a bit of a cold earlier in the week. Actually he first came down with it on Alex’s birthday. After dinner he was obviously feeing punky and spent a long time crying in both of our arms at bedtime until we finally went to bed early and just brought him into bed with us. We thought it had gone away but then when we came down with it we probably gave it right back to him 😦 He wasn’t as upset by it as he had been the first night, but Sunday after the party was definitely a low key, stuffy day for all of us. Casey had a cough that lingered throughout the weekend, which worried me enough to call the doctor Monday, but after a night sleeping with the humidifier running it seems to be breaking up.
3.) And, throughout all of this excitement, all of the ups and downs of the past week, we have finally weaned Casey out of his swaddle!! I know I have talked in earlier posts about how wonderful swaddling worked to get Casey to bed easily in the early weeks and months. But now that he is rolling over, and after I watched him roll over in his swaddle as he woke up one morning, I knew we had to get him out of that swaddle ASAP. The problem was twofold. One, swaddled, we could count on the fact that it would be easy to get him to fall asleep and then stay asleep after we put him down in his crib. Two, without the swaddle, the unhindered movement of his arms meant that he continually woke himself up. So we started slow. Last week, tuesday I believe, we swaddled him but left his left arm out, free to move around. Inevitably, he woke up more frequently than usual as that free hand kept wanting to rub his eyes. We continued to swaddle him with one arm out for the next few days and Thursday, when he was sick, we just kept him in bed with us, sans swaddle. Friday, he was swaddled with one arm out and slept fairly well until the early hours of the morning when he woke up and, as I also woke up, I watched him turn over onto his tummy as he fought to get his other arm free. I was able to get him back down without any swaddle for about an hour until he woke up again at which point I just brought him into bed with us. I already told you about Saturday anyway, long story short, he is now able to be put to bed with out a swaddle. Hurray! I thought it would take a lot more sleepless nights but so far it’s been a fairly easy transition. We still fight with those pesky hands which want to rub his eyes anytime he wakes even slightly but we have sat and watched him and day by day, or night by night, he is getting better at putting himself back to sleep and finding comfortable positions to sleep in without waking up fully. Last night he slept for 3 1/2 hours with out a swaddle before waking up (at which point it was almost impossible to put him back down for the next hour and a half but that’s another story all together). Our next task will be to get him sleeping in his own room and not relying on ending up in our bed by morning, but I’m not rushing that transition because to be honest it’s a lot easier to just sit up in bed and nurse him when he wakes up, rather than walking into another room, and I don’t really mind snuggling with him, especially since it gets him to sleep in until about 9:30 most mornings!!!
So, 1, 2, 3, that’s what has been going on here lately. We are all feeling better, mostly and the sleep thing is a work in progress and will be for some years yet. Next up: we are just about ready to start solid foods!!