Ezra,  Family,  Miscellaneous,  Pregnancy & Birth,  What I Learned

What I learned in July 2015

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1. Never try to see fireworks that happen after a baseball game.

Especially when you have small children, because it will be just your luck that the ballgame will go to 11 innings and the fireworks won’t start til 11PM. There will be an epic meltdown around 10PM, you will resort to iPhone games, and your kid will STILL wake up at 5AM the next morning.


2. Ezra sleeps more / better than I thought he did.

I’ve been tracking Ezra’s sleep patterns over the last month (38 days, exactly). I have discovered that Ezra sleeps an average of 10.54459459 hours per day, total. According to The Internets, 10-12 hours per day for a 5 year old is normal.

Ezra’s problem is consistency in durations, nap durations, and wake times. 5 out of the last 38 days he has slept for less than 9 hours total. He had 11 days of sleeping 9-10 hours. 17 days of sleeping 10-12 hours total. And 3 days where we all went to heaven because he slept for over 12 hours.

I have not yet determined patterns as far as predicting when he will sleep well and when he will not. But aiming consistently for a later bedtime (8:15-8:30 PM) (if we can last til then) (sometimes we can’t), and limiting naps to Dr-recommended 90 minutes (which sometimes means closer to 2 hours depending on if I’m napping too or not), have helped to make things more consistent.

All of this really means one thing:

If I’m so exhausted that he goes to bed within the 7PM hour and he had a nap that day, I really can’t get too frustrated if he wakes up at 4 or 5 am. I just can’t. Does it suck? Yes. But he’s still sleeping. If I want him to sleep later in the morning, I have to give him a shorter nap, or stay up with him later. (Which unfortunately doesn’t always work, but does sometimes.)

The problem is that I want him to sleep 12 hours per day because I feel saner and nicer then. But, that’s just not how he’s wired. (Which, unfortunately, is also not abnormal for his age.)

This has had somewhat of a revolutionary affect my morning attitude problems. What it hasn’t fixed, coffee helps with.

coffee helps with

3. A few other things I’ve learned from tracking

Using this Autism Tracker Pro app, (which costs a pretty penny but, in my opinion, is worth it), I’ve also learned a few random things. Like…

I can expect at least one good screaming fit out of Ezra per day. Some days, it feels like he screams all day long, but in reality, it’s not always that bad.

Ezra has something against pooping on Wednesday, but will always poop on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (The other days are hit and miss). I’m not sure what that’s all about, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

He has a good appetite, but struggles with focus during meals.

He watches way too much TV. Like WAYYYYY too much.

4. When you try something and it doesn’t work, sometimes you have to try it again later. And again later. And again later again. And then it will work.

Speaking of TV… realizing how much TV Ezra was actually watching (which I sort of knew, but also was sort of in denial about), I knew we needed to change something.

Then I ran across this post in my Facebook feed, which was full of stuff I already knew, but was affirming anyway. Especially this:

It baffles me that the experts give warnings and criticisms, but nobody offers parents viable alternatives to using TV as a babysitter. …telling us it’s wiser to spend time talking to our babies, reading, singing and playing peek-a-boo isn’t addressing our issue. Most of us are well aware that we need to spend lots of time and energy interacting with our babies physically and socially. We also need a BREAK once in awhile. It’s a little insulting to me when experts say, “no, no, NO!” and then give advice that ignores the reason most parents use TV in the first place.

Yes, just yes. The article went on to give ideas about how to teach babies and toddlers to play independently in a safe environment. This is something that I failed to do as a young mother (at least failed to do consistently), and that (combined with Ezra’s personality combined with too-early introduction of TV usage), has created this almost-5-year-old child who, among with other issues, hates being alone and has awful independent play skills.

We’ve seen improvement in this area over the past year especially, but still have leaps to go and still have to fight with him to get him to do it.

The author of the blog post suggested story “tapes” or audiobooks.

Now, this is something that I grew up on. Story tapes were literally more staple in our home than Kraft MacNCheese is in most homes. I had tried to introduce stories on CD to Ezra multiple times between the ages of 2 and now. Unfortunately, he was never really a fan. Not to mention, most of the “turn-the-page-when-you-hear-the-chime” books are only about 5 minutes long. And by the time I got him in the chair, explained the instructions, explained them again, turned it on, dealt with him being frustrated when the pages didn’t turn the way he wanted, and finished the story–I had had little-to-no breaks and neither of us were really any happier.

Not to be deterred, I went to the library last week with a mission to find stories that were, simply put, longer…and didn’t involve books or page turning.

(I’m honestly not sure what took me so long to have this revolutionary idea.)

We started with the Barenstain Bears. And while I’m not a huge fan of them…I figure it’s better than half of the stuff he watches on TV, right?

He was pretty much hooked.

And over the last week, I’ve been able to put on a story CD for Ezra in the basement or in his room and have him be “entertained” without TV. NO JOKE.

Sometimes, he just sits there and listens. Sometimes he actually PLAYS. (One time, he kept playing AFTER the story went off. I just about passed out from the surprise.)

independent play

Sometimes, he even falls asleep:

falling asleep

Yesterday, he actually ASKED me to nap on the couch in the basement. And I couldn’t think of any reason to say no. This might be a new thing, we will see.

And so, now, look at this:


5. I love the YMCA. {Also, if I had been a member of the YMCA last summer, I might not have lost my sanity so badly.}

Last summer was so bad, see: When you are finished with being a mom {on hiding under the covers and calling it quits}, I was truly dreading these last 5 weeks of summer when Ezra would be out of preschool programming.

But thanks to the YMCA membership that we acquired back in November, we have been able to maintain a decent more-relaxed summer routine. This involves heading to the Y around 9, when their childcare opens. Ezra plays with kids in childcare for the two hour maximum–during which time I walk for about 30-45 minutes; then I work on my computer (or play on my phone, or listen to music or guided imagery), and drink FREE coffee in their lobby, while listening to all of the senior citizens chat about their heart problems and all that.

free coffee at the YMCA

When the two hours are up, I pick him up from childcare and we go swimming for the next 30-60 minutes.

Exercise for Mommy? Check. Mommy alone time with FREE coffee and WiFi? Check. Ezra playing with peers? Check. Exercise for Ezra? Check. Ezra and Mommy bonding time? Check. Three hours of the day eaten up and bodies ready for lunch and naps upon arriving at home? Check.

This, my friends, is why they created the hashtag #winning.

Now, just to give you the full picture. We still have to fill the hours between 5 and 9 AM. Most days he doesn’t want to go to the Y and will whine and fuss and I’ll have to tell him to put his shoes on five million times. Getting out the door is a challenge. And one day they did have to come get me to pick him up early because of his negative behavior. So it’s not all rainbows and butterflies and everything is awesome.

But it’s manageable. Very manageable. And I’m not having an end-of-the-summer emotional breakdown like I expected I would be having at this point.

(Check in with me again in three weeks just to make sure, though.)

6. People love to say interesting things to big pregnant women.

Honestly, I haven’t really minded too much when people ask when I’m due or about my baby. But there’s something about these last few weeks that makes me feel like I’m a magnet for those comments, and more.

In the past 5 days alone, I’ve been told, “you look like you’re about to pop” and that I’m “great with child.” I’ve also been asked when I’m due about 5,000 times.

It’s really really hard to stay in the mental game of being willing to go up to 42 weeks when everyone seems insistent on knowing when your baby is coming OUT and making comments about how baby is probably going to come early. When you know that it’s more likely that he won’t.


I’m sure that there’s a lot of other things I learned in July, but this post is long and the free coffee at the Y is calling my name. Also, Ezra just went into the bathroom to do business (which means in 2 minutes he will need his bottom wiped)…because, of course, it’s Thursday.

Linking up with Emily Freeman for What We Learned in July.  

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  • Amanda H

    I never understood why people feel the need to comment about a woman’s pregnant belly. I mean, it’s nothing adults haven’t seen before…or so I assume. When I was pregnant, I was told by a stranger, “You don’t have any water and will probably have a dry birth. It’s painful but doable”. I had to Google that one.

  • Kristin Hill Taylor

    I’m glad I linked up next to you at Emily’s!

    My 8-year-old girl has really gotten into sleeping in this summer. My 5-year-old boy has no idea how to make that happen and, really, I don’t think he wants to. 🙂 And speaking of kids, we’re in the process of adopting and people say the dumbest things to me too.

    Happy weekend!

  • TJ

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I like how you don’t give up but keep trying to figure out what works for your family. Amen to people saying no TV but not ideas on how to watch less. I have teenagers where we have seasons of too much TV and then seasons of hardly none. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well.

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