Ava’s first Christmas was wonderful! Christmas Eve we had a house full of guests to exchange gifts and celebrate Uncle Doug’s birthday. Even her Grandma Eula came to visit!
Everyone (except Granddaddy, Grandmommy and Goggie) eventually went home to carry out their own holiday traditions. At our house there was lots of cooking (mostly by Grandmommy), lots of eating and lots of ooh-ing and ahh-ing over Ava- which she enjoyed immensely! We watched How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Jim Carrey version) and chased Ava around the Christmas tree. She was very fascinated by all of the packages and their ribbons. She inspected each package closely and decided she liked the ones with curling ribbon best. She would stand next to the package with the ribbon extended and giggle. It was very precious to watch. The clever girl also discovered that she could push the smaller packages close to the larger packages and use them as steps to get to the tree! We eventually decided to remove any fragile gifts into another room.
We also started our own tradition of reading The Night Before Christmas to Ava before putting her to bed. Michael’s sister, Jennifer, gave us the book the Christmas before.
Christmas day was magical for all of us thanks to Ava! She was in no hurry to actually open presents and I don’t think we even started until nearly two o’clock! But once the wrappings were ripped there was no holding her back! She wanted to help everyone open their gifts. Grandmommy helped her inventory her very first stocking-, which included new spoons, a princess beanie and some other goodies.
Uncle Colin and Dianne arrived as we were opening gifts and Ava had to show them her Monkey Dance! Wish there was video to share with everyone but the only recording was not very well executed...
Our intentions were to have Ava hang out in her playard while we ate dinner. But Ava would have none of it! She wanted to sit with everyone else at the BIG table. So she did, on my lap, right at the center of the table. She also wanted to eat what we were eating. But not off of a “baby spoon”- no way! She wanted to eat from a fork- just like everyone else. And she did. She had sweet potatoes, cranberries and turkey from a fork and “chatted” with everyone at the table. It was very precious to watch, but also a little sad as I realized she is growing more and more and becoming less “baby-like” with each day.
Christmas night was another story. Gone were the “precious moments” to be replaced with exhaustion and aggravation as our little darling refused to go to sleep for the night! Gone were our hopes of a nice evening alone in front of the tree planning for the New Year. After rocking her for two hours she finally went to sleep a little after ten! By which time Mommy and Daddy were exhausted and just went to bed too. Of course she woke several times during the night requiring one (or sometimes both) of us to tend to her. The next day a much-needed discussion was had about how to address our darling baby’s sleep habits.
The Cry It Out Method:
I swore I would never do it because I didn’t want my baby to think I had abandoned her but after months of continuously interrupted sleep and most recently two nights of refusing to go to sleep I had to reconsider. So, on my way to work that Monday I re-read the Baby Sleep book our friend Lindy had given us and the Baby Manual that Daisy had lent to us and made a plan.
1. We would start a bedtime routine of bath, play, bottle and a book read by Daddy.
2. Then I would place Ava in her crib while she was sleepy but not asleep.
3. I make a mad dash to the shower at the other end of the house so I won’t hear her cry!
4. Michael times her crying and consoles without removing her from her crib at five minute intervals until she falls asleep.
I definitely think I got the better end of the deal! And guess what? IT WORKS!!! After only three nights Ava was not only able to get herself to sleep, but she also soothes herself when she wakes in the middle of the night- which happens less frequently now. For the past two weeks (knock wood) Ava has slept 10-12 hours a night virtually uninterrupted. It has been a very pleasant two weeks around the Johnson house!
Now we are gearing up for our trip to Las Vegas in January and Ava’s first birthday in February! Stay tuned….