30 May 2009

No Improvement

Benny has been crying/whimpering/talking/wailing for over two hours every night for three nights. This is certainly the worst it's been in the past two weeks. Nate and I have a new plan. We're giving it a week (we're on Day 2). Before we would go in every 20-30 minutes to comfort Benny and trying to get him to sleep. That resulted in him getting worked up every time we left the room. So, we're letting him deal with things himself now. It's frustrating and heart wrenching, but it's not uncommon (according to some parents) for this to happen. Here's the most recent plan:

1. Put Benny to bed early between 7:30-8.

2. Benny can cry/whimper/talk/wail for an hour. We can check on him briefly and make sure he's not in pain, hasn't pooped, etc. Tonight I tried to get him back to sleep during my intervention, which was a mistake because he cried for another hour.

3. Go outside and drink a beer if this process is overwhelming.

I hate to sound obsessed about this, but a well-rested Bear is a happy Bear. The same applies for Mommy and Daddy. (By the way, Benny has now transitioned to calling us Mommy and Daddy rather than Mama and Dada. It is really freaking cute. It kind of makes up for the no sleep thing. Just kind of.)

29 May 2009

Two Steps Back

Ever since Benny started sleeping through the night at around 5 months, he's been a pretty fantastic sleeper. We could just lay him in his crib and he would chatter or fall right asleep. No muss, no fuss. Bed time, up to this point, has been pure bliss.

That all changed about two and a half weeks ago when we flew to Iowa for a long weekend. Benny put up epic struggles at nap and bed time. We would put him down, let him cry, comfort him, and do it all over again for an hour or two each night. We figured it was because we were away from home and he just wasn't comfortable. We also figured that once we returned home to the normal routine, the normal bed time would also return.

We are still waiting.

Benny has managed to put himself to sleep without issue a few times, but a vast majority of bedtimes have been filled with screaming and tears. Last night I put him to bed at 8:45 (later than usual). He battled until midnight. For three hours. He really just wants someone to be in his room with him. He will almost fall asleep. We will sneak out. As soon as he realizes that we aren't there, he starts wailing again and the whole process starts over. We're desperately trying not to start any new habits. However, the kid also needs to sleep. He seems very ready and willing to cry it out all night. I'm really at a loss.

He has had bouts of sleep issues in the past, but they usually only last about a week, 10 days at the most. Nate and I don't know what to do at this point. Let him cry it out? That's not working. Help him go to sleep? That's not working. I can't sit in his room for an hour before naps and before nighttime while he plays around in his crib and falls asleep. It's just not an option - mostly because I don't want him to get used to that sort of routine. Arggghhh. He's still crying. And it's been an hour and 15 minutes since I put him down. Double Argggghhhh!

27 May 2009

Making Progress on the List

Now that I am done, really done, with my dissertation, I feel like I can focus more on accomplishing items on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. I've even crossed a few items off the list. It has been rather difficult to do much of anything in the past two weeks with Benny's whacked out sleeping. The kid has reverted back to that period when he was about 18 months old when he wailed whenever we put him to bed. He's doing it again and putting up an even stronger fight. Often he has been crying for 1-2 hours (with a couple of interventions by me or Nate) before he finally lets in and goes to sleep. Then, on top of all of that, he has been taking sub one hour naps. But, I digress.

The list. Yes. So, I've successfully defended my dissertation AND graduated (#30 and #31). I've started growing an herb garden (#15). Today I added two items to the list that I had already completed, but that should have been on my list when I first wrote it (I think that's OK): Join a networking group (#72) and buy Benny a used bike trailer (#74). I joined a young nonprofit professionals group today, which should help me accomplish #11, getting a job. I found Benny a fantastic bike trailer on craiglist today for a fraction of what it would cost new.

I've even made lots of progress on other items that may take more effort and perseverance. I'll be running a half-marathon with a friend on June 14 (#5). I've been introducing new books into Benny's rotation (Once Upon a Potty, Elmo's Easter Hat, and Where the Wild Things Are). As expected, Where the Wild Things Are has been a big hit. Benny likes Max and his wild rumpuses. However, Benny is more apt to ask for Josh in Once Upon a Potty. He learned how to say wee wee (for pee) and pee pee (for penis) from that book. Sadly, it hasn't helped much with potty training.

Thanks to the list, I've also started to make my bed (nearly) every morning. Strangely, it has been a real treat to get into a made bed at night. I have to think of 26 more items for the list. And I will. But it may take me awhile. Especially if Benny doesn't get to sleep! (It's 9:22 p.m. and he's still awake. I put him to bed at 8:15 p.m. At least he isn't crying - right now.)

25 May 2009

Happy Spring!

Happy spring! There is nothing, nothing, nothing as amazing as watching a child run through puddles with an enormous smile on his face.
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Five Whole Years

Nate and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on May 22. Five whole years! It seems like a long time, but hasn't felt like a long time (well, it usually doesn't feel like a long time). This picture represents a lot about our big events in our marriage: A baby and a house.

Here's to you, my lovely husband.
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20 May 2009

The Bear: Early Spring 2009

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Benny has been busy growing and adding new words to his vocabulary (today he said "peach," "tire," and "Mama, get up" for the first time). He enjoyed our late spring snow storms and even participated in an Easter egg hunt this year. The photo in this post shows him trying (not very hard) to share an egg with his cousin, Avery. Good times.

Hello, Austin. We Meet Again.


It's hard for me to believe that I traveled to Austin nearly a month ago to defend my dissertation. These pictures were taken after my defense, during my celebration. A few good friends accompanied me to the Spoon show at the Red Scoot Inn. I had already had a fair amount of Real Ale Rye Moon Ale. Mmmmm. Good beer. Only sold in Texas. Boo.

I had a great time on the trip (minus the defense portion of it). Thanks to Bob, Tony, and Sarah for making the night memorable.

18 May 2009


As I was washing dishes tonight, I had a thought. I'm happy. I'm happy to have my evenings free again. I'm happy to live in a house with a yard. I'm happy to be planting a garden. I'm happy to spin and fall in the yard with Benny. I'm happy that we can sing "Good Day, Sunshine" together.

After an interesting (some good, some bad) weekend in Iowa, I had a really nice evening with my Brown boys.

08 May 2009

Is There a Doctor in the House?

My checklist to becoming a doctor (of philosophy, that is):

1. Complete three years of coursework. Check.
2. Pass comprehensive exams. Check.
3. Present dissertation proposal. Check.
4. Work (for a year and a half) on a dissertation. Check.
5. Wonder frequently why the hell why I decided to get my PhD. Check.
6. Defend dissertation. Check.
7. Wonder if I'm going to ever graduate. Check.
8. Sign a bunch of papers regarding dissertation, spend $22 to next-day them to the graduate college. Done.
9. Upload dissertation. Check.

In short, I'm DONE!

02 May 2009

Wee Wee in the Potty!

Benny wee weed in the potty for the first time today! And I wasn't even here. Way to go Daddy! As a reward, I bought Benny some Sesame Street training pants. They're so freaking cute. I can't wait to see him toodle around the house in them.

I'm (hopefully) working my last weekend. I'm still trying to finish up edits to my dissertation. It's been slow going, but I'm making progress. I have to admit that my heart isn't in these edits. I really am doing whatever I need to do to graduate in May. I should know more about my changes (whether they're accepted or not) by Thursday of this week. Keep your fingers crossed that I can submit this dissertation on Friday!

(Some day I will write a recap of my defense. Right now it is still too fresh. Like a fresh wound. That's right - a fresh wound. It kind of hurt.)