Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Princess Phenomenon

Bean has been my wild and crazy, free-spirited, smarty pants little sprite since she came into our lives. She marches to the beat of her own drum, she likes what she likes and will not be swayed any other direction, she never ceases to amaze me. Girlfriend has loved Thomas the Tank Engine since before she was 2 (her 2nd birthday party was Thomas themed) and still looooooves him. From what fellow mom-friends tell me, it's pretty impressive for a 3.5 year old to still like something 2 years after she first became interested. She loves nature and science and math (so far, anyway... and I can only hope that she continues to 'get' it, because her momma and math do NOT get along, I don't want the same fate for her), she loves to read, and will listen to you read stories to her literally all day if you've got the time, and patience, to do it. I've never tried to guide her likes and interests, but rather let her decide what she likes and then try to foster her growth accordingly, in a way that celebrates her interest in whateveritisshelikesinthatmoment. There have been a few people over the years who've tried to suggest to her that she should like Minnie Mouse or Disney princesses or Angelina Ballerina, but she would just say, "no thanks" and continue playing with her trains or schooling me on the name of different dinosaurs.

Imagine my surprise when, about 6 months ago, she suddenly started asking to roll down the Disney princess aisle in Target. Imagine my surprise when she started asking for ALL THE DOLLS every chance she got. And then, Frozen came out in the movie theaters.

 It really is a great Disney movie.

It was all over before I knew what hit me. I know that she is just one of the hundreds of thousands of kids who have been sucked into the Frozen trance, and I admit I like the movie and soundtrack too. Each time she'd see the trailer for it she'd stop dead in her tracks and watch the screen, completely entranced. My mom and I decided to take her to the theater to see it - she was SO excited at the thought! She bounced up and down, excitedly talking about seeing the movie, and begging Jeff and I to take her to the store to buy Baby Anna so she could take her with to the theater. After asking her about 25 times if she was SURE she wanted to spend her Christmas money on another baby doll, and her assuring us that YES, she NEEDED to buy Baby Anna so she could see herself in her movie, we took her to the store and she bought her newest Disney baby. My mom and I took Bean, and Baby Anna, to see Frozen the next day and her mind was blown.

Since that day at the theater I don't think there's been a day that Bean hasn't sung, "Let it Go" or "Do You Want To Build a Snowman?" while wearing her Princess Anna costume gown and tiara that she bought - again, with her own money - from Toys R Us. The quality of the costume is terribly cheap and it's falling apart after being worn every day for about a month now, but she HAS TO WEAR IT every day. I think Frozen, and her obsession with it, has also ramped up her love for all things Disney Princess. If she sees anything with a Disney princess on it while we're out running errands she has to stop and look. She likes all the individual princesses, but she LOOOOVES Aurora, from Sleeping Beauty. She is legit obsessed. Why Aurora? I've asked her the same question, finding it strange since she's never seen Sleeping Beauty... She answered me as if I should have known; "Her hair is golden, and her dress is pink." Duh, Mom.

I don't know why little girls suddenly become OMGOBSESSED with Princesses, but the peeps at Disney know what they're doing while marketing to them. I don't think there is a store that we frequent that doesn't have something with a Disney Princess adorning the packaging. Seriously, we were at Sears looking at tools (for Jeff) and shoes (for me and Bean) and as we turned down one aisle of shoes, Bean spotted the one singular open shoe box sitting in a pile of unorganized children's shoes on clearance with not only lights (!!!) but also Disney Princesses, but most importantly - AURORA!!! Omgosh!!! I started to give her the disclaimer, "Babe there is only ONE pair of these shoes, I didn't see them on any of the other shelves. They might not be in your size." She pulled the box off the shelf and whatdoyouknow.... they were her size. Girlfriend couldn't be more excited!

I have to talk her into taking these off at bedtime. No, you can't sleep in your sneakers. LOL
Thankfully, for her, she did need another pair of sneakers and thankfully, for us, they were on clearance for $9.99.  A few days later the fam went to Lowe's to buy some paint (to makeover our laundry room) and since Lowe's is a hardware store you may not think that you would find Disney Princess stuff. If you thought that, you'd be wrong. We left Lowe's with some really great green paint, and a new Disney Princess projector nightlight. Aurora? Yes. She's included in the group of princesses. And that night at bedtime, Bean couldn't believe her eyes - there were princesses on her ceiling.

 Stock photo, but you get the idea...

Three days later and she's still trying to figure out how the princesses got inside that light, because, "Princesses live in castles not in lights!" Again... Duh!

Don't start to fret, we do not buy her ALL THE PRINCESS THINGS even though it sure felt like we did this past weekend. Rest assured, this is not a case of the body snatchers, Bean-Girl still loves Thomas the Train and never tires of his DVDs, but I fear that it won't be much longer and she'll be gifting her trains to her brother to make room for Princess castles or some such nonsense. ;)

 Sweet Bean, loving her Valentine's Day goodies.

(Disclaimer: I say "fear" and "nonsense" to make a joke. I don't mind that she likes princesses and am not discouraging her from liking them... I just find it funny/amazing/strange that about 6 months ago some switch flipped in her mind and she suddenly became obsessed.)

Monday, February 3, 2014

Let's talk about sleep, baby. Let's talk about you and me...

Wait... is that song not about sleep? My mistake. Sleep is 75% of what I think about these days.

I've mentioned before that Bug is not a great sleeper. He's getting better, thank all the things that are holy, but he's still not sleeping through the night. But, ok. I'm accepting that that is just who he is. It sucks sometimes, but I've had nearly 8 months of it, and he is who he is. I expect it when I lay down at night; I expect him to wake up the minute I fall asleep, and then I expect him to wake up every 3 hours after that. I don't like it, but I EXPECT it.

What I don't expect is for Bean to be sleeping terribly all of a sudden. Around Christmas she started waking up at 7 instead of 8:30. It was a sudden change that I assumed was due to her excitement about Christmas and Santa, I assumed her wake up schedule would go back to normal after the holidays. I was wrong. It doesn't matter what time she goes to bed, she's up for the day between 6:45-7:15. I know that that isn't that early, but when you already have one crappy sleeper, you want your other kid to keep getting up at 8:30 because you're tired, and want your sleep. News flash: when you're a mom it doesn't matter what you want, or that you're tired... these sweet love muffins you brought into the world now make all the rules and you just have to rely on coffee to keep you going. But her early wake ups aren't the worst part. The worst part is a new development. One that I'm smart enough to not assume is just some short lived phase. Whenever I assume the best, reality smacks me in the face and I'm stuck with a new, crappy, normal. So, I'm trying to reverse psychology this new development and hope that it doesn't become the new normal by accepting that it is. Got that? That sentence was confusing to type. But my brain is confusing lately, so... try to keep up with my nonsense. I'm sure by now the suspense is killing you, What is this new terrible sleep development?! you're shouting at your computer... You're on the edge of your seat... Here it comes, get your best mommy-advice ready because I need some magic ju-ju to help... The new development is nightmares. She doesn't call them nightmares, but she says she has bad dreams, ones that make her afraid of the dark (even though there is a nightlight in her room), ones that make her yell out in her sleep - usually just nonsensical words, but sometimes full sentences and sometimes just cries, ones that make her "not want to be left all awone", ones that bring her into our bed at 1am, nestled in between Jeff and I, where she tosses and turns and lays sideways and upside down and folded in half at her waist, and neither she or I are getting enough sleep. (Jeff sleeps fine, because apparently Dads have magic sleeping powers.) I always assumed (I really should stop ASSuming things) that kids slept great despite their wonky sleeping positions/movements, but every time she kicks or jabs me awake at night I open my eyes and her eyes are open too. She isn't getting solid hours of sleep, she's only getting 30-45 min catnaps in between thrashing around and head butting me. Even though it would start a bad habit, IF she came into our bed and just slept I'd let her do it indefinitely, but she's not. I'm not sure what to do... do I walk her back to her room and have to sit/lay in there for an hour or more until she falls back asleep? Do I invite her into our bed, wait for her to fall asleep and try to carry her back to her room? Do I sleep on the floor next to my bed? I don't know why she's having the bad dreams in the first place, but that's the issue that I really wish I could fix. I wish she'd just have sweet dreams and sleep peacefully in her bed like she's done for the last 3.5 years. When I ask her what she dreams about it's always about a kitty or doggies. She doesn't talk about them being hurt in her dreams, or hurting her, or fighting amongst themselves, so I don't know what it is about the dream that is waking her up but she's visibly upset each time. We have her go potty when she wakes up and she always pees a lot, so perhaps it's the urge to pee that's actually waking her up, but she still insists that it was the bad dream.

All I know is that if I don't get some sleep soon I'm gonna snap. I'm talking shaved head, umbrella wielding, crazy faced Britney Spears type of "snap"... not some funny anecdote type of "snap". I can't keep getting up with Bug 2-4 times a night but then only getting 20-40 minute spurts of sleep, while I'm being physically assaulted I'm in my own bed by Bean, in between his nighttime feedings.

Send help. Send positive sleep ju-ju my way. Send coffee. Send the Sandman. Something. Anything.

napping narcolepsy-style because she's not getting enough sleep at night.