How awesome is awesome?

I decided at some point that this year I must make myself more awesome.

Now, I know I’m already pretty awesome, so why mess with something that works, right? Well let’s face it: awesomeness takes work. I’ve reached a balance point that I’m pretty comfortable with when it comes to feeling confident and like I have a good idea of what I’m doing. This is a nice place for me to be, and it’s become sort of easy to just be the awesome version of me.

The more I stay in this safe, balanced area that I’ve drawn for myself, the more stagnant I start to feel. It’s like if I don’t continue coming up with new and exciting ways to be awesome, then I start to bore myself. Once I start down that path, I worry that I’m not living up to my (awesome?) reputation with other people.

Whether or not this is true is irrelevant. I want to continue feeling like I’m awesome, which means I have to keep moving my version of awesome every once in a while to something out of reach, yet something attainable, and something I can work towards. I’m not really happy at one level for too long – I want to be better.

And so, my quest for increased awesomeness. I’m just working out what that looks like. I think in part it means allowing myself a bit more opportunity to try things (and risk failing at them.) But there’s more to it, and more for me to think about.

A happy, sleepy update

This week was rough. I kept track of all of Lyra’s wake-ups, and I made huge efforts to get her back to sleep without falling asleep next to her myself. I feel a bit bad for my co-workers – I was a sleep-deprived zombie all week, and yesterday I got downright delirious. I’m pretty sure I said some fairly nonsensical things… but I’m happy to entertain, if nothing else.

So here’s a basic rundown of Monday through Thursday night (I’m not counting the wake-ups she has before 11pm – she usually wakes once between 10-11.)

Monday Night: woke up four times between 11pm and 6:30am with Lyra. Longest sleep stretch was 2 hours – in fact, all night she was up every two hours.
Tuesday Night: woke up four times between 11pm and 7:00am. Longest sleep stretch 2.5 hours.
Wednesday Night: woke up three times, but this is less positive than one might think, since when she woke up at 5am I couldn’t get her back to sleep, so we were up for the day. Ugh. Longest sleep stretch: 2.5 hours.
Thursday Night: Adam had the idea to dress her up extra warmly for sleep, so I pulled out a fleece full body sleeper and put it on her at bedtime. We had stopped trying to put her in sleepers eight months or so ago – they used to seriously impede her crawling, since she had a weird crabby crawl thing going on. The feet would get pulled down off her feet and then tangle up her legs, and it frustrated her to no end. Her bedroom, however, has no heat balance – it’s either too cold or too hot. Lyra doesn’t like sleeping under blankets (and by doesn’t like, I mean she gets mad if we put them over her, and if we sneak them on her when she’s asleep she wakes up and kicks them off angrily.) She woke up twice between 11pm and 6:30am – at 12:45 and at 4:30. Longest sleep stretch was 3:45! And at 4:30 I got her back to sleep and she woke up at 6:30 for the day.

I am so incredibly happy about getting nearly four hours of sleep, and I have never before in my life felt like 4 hours of sleep is a lot. This morning, I feel like 4 hours of sleep was heaven, and I feel more rested than I have in three weeks or more.

So what worked on Thursday night? I think Adam’s warming her up for the night was the clincher. She used to sleep as much as five hours or more in our bed with us – and that may well be in part because she had a warm body to curl up against, and because our room is better regulated heat-wise. We didn’t really think about using a sleeper now that she’s walking – it hadn’t been an option for so long that it didn’t occur to us. I had taken them out of her dresser and put them in a storage bin for whomever clothes are being passed along to, but when Adam suggested it I knew where to find them.

Today I will get a coffee not because I need it to function, but because I am out having coffee with a friend.

Sleep is for the WEAK!

… and the very, very lucky.

The holidays pretty much destroyed what few sleep habits Lyra had developed to date, and the first two weeks back at work became a huge challenge. We were able to get her to bed, but she would wake up often, and after midnight all she wanted was to nurse in her sleep. Let me tell you, that begins to chafe a bit after a while. I’ve been spending most nights in her room with her, and when I try to cut the nursing in her sleep off she would have screaming fits of rage and frustration. It drives you to drink.

To complicate matters, about a week and a half ago I went to visit family, and shortly after Lyra’s nap she woke up, nursed, and promptly threw up all over me. It was extremely unpleasant. This was followed by five days straight of tossing her cookies around 3am (although she also managed to throw up twice on her uncle Jordy as well). There were five nights in a row where I was sleeping with her, she woke up, coughed, and cookies were tossed all over me, her bed, or the floor. That’s five nights straight of combination epic nursing and using me as a soother (ow) followed by sickness. The weird part was, in between she seemed perfectly fine: happy, energetic, no fever. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. She absolutely loved those 3am bathtimes. I wasn’t as big of a fan.

The daycare told us that nearly all the kids had it, and no one knew what it was.

And then Adam got sick. Although it manifested itself a bit differently, we are pretty sure he caught the same thing that Lyra had brought home from the daycare. He was sick for a good week, bad enough to stay home from work. I took Lyra to the doctor, who didn’t really know what was up and told us to wait and see how it worked itself out. That was Wednesday, and on Thursday the daycare sent notice home that the kids and many staff members had the Norwalk Virus. Joy of joys.

I still hadn’t fallen sick, at least not of the virus, but I had reached a point of exhaustion that I don’t think I’ve felt in years. Between Lyra waking up every couple of hours and having screaming fits or throwing up on me, and trying to hold things together at home with a sick husband on top if it, I could barely think anymore. In my weakened state, I caught a small cold – sniffles and sinuses, but thankfully no tossing of cookies.

By Thursday, though, Lyra was better. Adam was still not really well until Sunday. And I’m still just tired and sniffly.

After yet another night of Lyra having tantrums because I didn’t let her nurse nonstop, we had to figure out another sleep plan. I read the No-Cry Sleep Solution a month or two ago, and decided to take some ideas from it and see if I could piece together a plan for convincing the little girl that sleep is not the enemy. Last night was an initial attempt at implementing it. The main problem is that in order to get some sleep, I usually lie down in Lyra’s room with her when she wakes up. I’ll try to stay awake so that when she falls asleep I can climb back into my own bed, but I mostly lose that fight and the night passes. She sleeps longer when she has someone in bed with her. I can’t entirely blame her – I sleep better with someone else in bed too.

When I fall asleep in those times when I’m trying so hard to stay awake, I sleep terribly. I’m restless and I have bad dreams and I wake up frequently because I really want to climb back into my own bed. It makes me cranky sometimes. The grand plan (as it stands right now) is to get her back to sleep without lying down with her, which sounds simple enough. Unfortunately for me it means that she wakes up more frequently, so last night went something like this:

Asleep on the floor9:00pm Lyra’s bedtime
11pm 1st wake-up, back to sleep in 10 minutes.
My bedtime was somewhere between these.
12:30am 2nd wake-up, back to sleep in 15 minutes
1:30am 3rd wake-up, back to sleep in 15 minutes
3:00am 4th wake-up, back to sleep in 10 minutes
4:30am 5th wake-up, back to sleep in 20 minutes (I think I may have dozed off with her this time. It’s hazy.)
6:00am 6th wake-up, back to sleep in 10 minutes
7:00am I had to actually wake her up to go to daycare. She would sleep till 8am happily at this point.

(note: Back to sleep means she fell deeply enough asleep that I could leave without waking her. She’s pretty touchy at the best of times.)

Now that I’m looking at the list, it’s a bit scary. The longest stretch of sleep it seems I got last night was an hour and a half. No wonder I felt like a zombie at work all day. The sleep I did get, however, was deep and felt truly restful. It was in my own bed, and it was comfortable and cozy and under my down duvet.

What makes last night a success to at least a small degree was the complete lack of tantrums, and the fact that I somehow settled her reasonably quickly and still managed to go back to my own room. In theory, she’ll start to sleep for longer and longer, until eventually she sleeps through the night… whatever that means.

Yeah, my girl, she’s not so into the sleeping thing. I plan to keep track of the awakenings for the next while (however long I can keep it up I guess) to see if there’s any improvement. If there isn’t… well, I have no idea what to do next. I’ll worry about if it comes to that. I’ll just be happy to see her return to her old 3-hour sleeping spans. Five hours would be amazing.

I am my network.

MuddBunnies Labour Day Trip

I started this on New Year’s day, but didn’t have the time to really focus on it and finish it – so I’m doing that now. It’s a few days late. I’m sure you can deal with it. Happy New Year!

The rain greeted me for new year quite effectively – the mountains were invisible in the mist and cloud, and everything turned that pallid grey that Vancouver becomes in the winter.

There are plenty of things about 2010 that are worth noting in my life. For one thing, I’ll have been recording my life online for ten years as of May 2010. Adam and I will have been married for five years as of September 2010. I’m in my fourth year at the same workplace (an unthinkable anniversary, if you look at my previous job record of approximately 9 months per company.) How very strange.

This time last year was all about Lyra. Naturally, it is this year as well. Babies and toddlers pretty demand nonstop attention, and being a parent doesn’t just go away at night when I want to sleep, or during the day when I’m at work. It’s such a fundamental shift that it’s part of everything I do now, even the things I do just for myself.

She now picks up a word or two (or more) an hour, and recognizes and names objects, people, animals, and food regularly. She pointed at the Cookie Monster on my Sesame Street google doodle shirt today when I asked her to find cookie monster… and then she growled and went OM NOM NOM. She then moved on to pointing at Elmo and saying ‘Emmo’ – because it seems there’s no way to escape the little red monster. She meows back at Dayle and Sera if they make any noise, and knows them both by name. If I ask her what a cat says, she says MEOW. And she’s trying to say more complicated things, like octopus (ocopo) and alligator (agaga). She loves fish (ish) more than I can possibly explain, and will yell BALL before she bounces one across the room. She’s listening and learning, and it’s more fun every day.

I’ve been back at work for half a year now, and finally feel like I’m figuring out what I do again. It didn’t help that what I used to do basically changed while I was on maternity leave, and when I got back there were a bunch of new people on my team… and I had a team, which was also very weird.

It would seem that social media, that which I have been partaking in since about 1995 or so, has actually become a part of my job. I’m pretty sure I’m qualified (as much as anyone is, and more than most people at my office I think) to navigate these strange social waters, but it’s a weird thing for me to contemplate. Fifteen years ago I was lonely and bored and the computer became an outlet for me. The people I found on the far side of the magic box became my friends, therapists, family, critics, editors, supporters, fans, enemies… the online social realm was at one point more real to me than the physical world. My online life help me rebuild my offline one; it was good for me. I am a better me for having been a part of so many of these things, and in no way do I feel like I lost that time, that I should have been doing something more constructive.

The fact that my job actually integrates this part of my life now is, in a very real way, satisfying. The online world isn’t evil, or stealing my time from more valuable interactions (if I want to go biking, facebook and twitter aren’t going to stop me), and I don’t feel like it’s all taking over my life. I was addicted at one point – the late 90s and early 00s was probably the peak of that time for me – but there’s so much more to my life now that isn’t online that I’m pretty confident in saying that it’s not like that now.

Sometimes I do feel like I need to defend myself from the haters. There’s such a huge backlash against the internet from the folks who rant about how much they hate social networks, cellphones, or video games – much like when I first got involved in IRC and was labelled an antisocial nerd type. It was a way to make friends for an awkward nervous girl, and it worked rather well. I’m still friends with people I met online in social networks over 13 years ago. This is a part of my life, and I probably don’t really need to defend it anymore. I am my network. My network is me.