Naplessness

Ahhh, naps.  Seriously, I sometimes resent the fact that my kids all hate naps.  I tell them that one day, they will be my age, and they will wish they had napped when they had the chance (and then I roll my eyes at myself, which Kullervo says makes the whole world shake).  To Oliver and Hazel’s credit, they don’t mind if I take a nap after a hard night; they are happy to play together or watch a TV show so I can.  In fact, can I just take a minute to say that although I’m crabby and mean all the time, my kids love me anyway, and when I apologize, they just forgive me.  And I never feel like I deserve it, and because I don’t sleep it makes me cry.  But I feel so grateful to have such sweet kids who are willing to be so patient with me and with Hank.

So, at Hank’s age, he should be taking two naps, which should add up to a total of two and a half to four hours of daytime sleep.  When I started this whole maybe-my-kid-should-sleep-every-now-and-then thing, he would catnap when we were out and about, while I was driving the kids to camp, etc., and not get a good solid nap.  When camp ended, I put him down for regular naps and he just wouldn’t sleep.  He has gone a couple of days where he napped for a grand total of 30 minutes all day.

Sometimes I can lie down with him, hold him tightly, and he will fall asleep.  Sometimes that just means he’s screaming in my ears.  I feel like I’ve tried everything.  I nurse him until he falls asleep, but when I transfer him to the crib, he wakes up.  I nurse him until he’s drowsy, but not asleep, and when I transfer him to the crib, he wakes up.  I have held him so that he will just get some darned sleep, but he won’t sleep for that long on me, and then I can’t get anything done.  I have begun putting him down to nap and letting him cry for an hour, and then just giving on up on that nap and trying again with the next one.  But honestly, it’s exhausting.

So, while I’ve been doing that, I’ve been reading a bunch of books about sleeping.  My days and nights are literally filled with thinking about nothing but sleeping.  Either I’m reading about sleeping, listening to Henry not sleep, trying to sleep myself, or planning how to deal with the next time everyone is supposed to sleep.

So, naps are failing.  Hank wakes up so often at night that it would be funny if it wasn’t so terribly not funny.  It’s seriously ridiculous.  And I really feel like I need to figure out the best solution for us.  I don’t think that one size fits all.  I don’t think that an idea that works for some kids will work for all kids.  Over the last few days, Hank has shown me that if he decides that he won’t nap… there is nothing I can do that will make him nap.  I can ignore him for an hour while he cries… but then he will keep himself awake crying.  I think that he will do well with a routine… but it’s hard to establish a routine for a baby when there are two older kids.

And then, today, it hit me.  I was attempting to catch up on emails (ha!), drink a gallon of coffee (to keep me from sleeping), and listen to Hank not nap.  And I saw a calendar that showed that school starts for Oliver and Hazel in three weeks.  They have three weeks of summer left.

I had intended to spend a few days getting Hank on a schedule, and had anticipated that within three or four days, he would be sleeping regularly and our lives could go on.  This hasn’t happened.  Instead, Oliver and Hazel have been cooped up inside. Thankfully, we’ve had some rainy days, which mean that we would have been inside for a decent part of that time anyway.  But with no end in sight to the current dilemma, I made a decision today.

I am done trying to put Hank on a schedule until school starts.  I am going to spend the last few weeks of summer with these kids, and have a blast.  We are going to go to the zoo if it strikes our fancy.  We are going to go to the beach if we feel like it.  We are going to spend time with friends, and read books, and play outside with the neighbors.  And if Henry naps while we’re out, hooray.  If we are home and he naps, hooray.  And if he is a zombie because he has chosen to not sleep, so be it.  I am going to do my best not to take my sleeplessness out on my kiddlywinks, and make sure that the end of summer is great.

And when I made that decision, I breathed a big sigh of relief and really feel like I’m making the right choice.  Beyond that, all I want is for Henry to start sleeping well before he learns to call out for Mommy, because then all efforts to cry it out will go out the window.

Detaching My Parenting

Or, Maybe One Day I’ll Get Some Sleep

Or, My Baby Likes to Party All the Time

 

Maybe you don’t recognize me… I’m that girl who, a few months ago, was able to make a light hearted joke, play and have fun with her kids, cook a meal and maybe tidy up a room.  I used to be that girl.  Now I’m the girl who snarls at everyone I see, yells at my kids too often for being kids, feels guilty all the time about my apparent personality transplant, and only thinks that dark humor is funny.  In other words, I’m not myself.

Hank is nine months old.  He is generally delightful—he likes to scoot around looking for sticks to chew on outside, he eats like a superstar, preferring savory flavors to sweet ones.  He claps, he thinks his big sister is pretty much the funniest thing in the world (and she is), he chews up Uno cards (so we always know who has the yellow skip card), he loves taking a bath and wrestling with the kitten.  He’s pretty much awesome in all ways but one.  The child never sleeps.

For a long time, he slept in our room in the bassinet.  Then I looked at it, and saw that the weight limit was 15 pounds and he was 21 pounds… so we assembled his crib in Hazel’s room, and he started going to bed in there.  When he woke up at night to nurse, I would bring him into our bed and we would cosleep for the rest of the night.  It worked alright.  He would also nap in our bed, but only if I laid down with him until he fell asleep.

Then he started fighting going to bed.  Putting him down at night would take two hours.  In the meantime, I would not have tucked in Oliver or Hazel, or I would have while he screamed and I would rush through it.  It wasn’t working.  It also meant that we were eating out a lot because I was exhausted, or we would eat dinner super late at night because I couldn’t start cooking until 9:30 or later.

I wanted to go the no-crying-to-sleep route.  I haven’t found the magical solution that works though.  A few weeks ago, I decided that there were three problems:  1.  He didn’t nap.  2.  He fought going to bed at night.  3.  He didn’t sleep through the night, waking up 2-6 times a night.

I figured that the easiest thing would be to tackle the issues one at a time.  The thing that has been the most difficult on me has been the falling asleep at night.  Kullervo and I worked out what we decided would be a good bedtime routine for Hank, and started implementing it.  The first night, putting him to bed took two hours (and thankfully a dear friend had taken Oliver and Hazel to see a show at a nearby park, so they weren’t sitting at home being bored).  The next night, an hour and twenty minutes.  The third night, forty minutes.  The fourth night he went straight to sleep.  These were all done without him needing to cry.  I would do the routine, put him to bed, and then rub his back until he fell asleep.  Now I am able to do the routine, put him in his crib, and even though he often sits himself up right away, he winds up going to sleep without crying.  Success!  We even have been able to eat dinner before ten at night!

Next up:  naps.  Sleep begets sleep, so, I decided to tackle naps as the next step in my plan.  More on that soon!

Oliver’s Story

Earlier today, Oliver and I were chatting about babies.  I think we’d seen one on TV and Oliver thought it was cute.  Anyway, he then proceeded to tell me the following story:

“So, one time I [Note that this is Oliver talking, not me] had a baby in my tummy.  And it was born, and it was a girl, and she was so cute.   Like, so, so cute.  She was cuter than you were when you were a baby.  I named her Katy.  And I loved her so much.  And then she disappeared.

“But it was okay, because then I had another baby in my tummy.  And I loved her so so much, and she was born.  And I named her after you, Mommy.  She was so cute.  I just loved her.

“She had to go out to discover the world.  So I had to go with her, of course, because she was just a baby.  So I packed my backpack with all of the stuff we’d need.  Like, I packed a lot of corn, so we’d have food.  And other stuff too.  I loved my baby.”

Oliver’s Surgery

Oliver is having dental surgery tomorrow.  Genetics, playing a mean game of selecting the bad genes, chose to give him my teeth.  He needs crowns (stainless steel!) on his baby teeth, possibly extractions, fillings… the whole gamut.  They’re giving him general anesthesia.

I’m stressing.  I will be with him when they put him under, and will be there when he wakes up.  And I will be pacing the floors in between.  I’m bringing his Panda Bear, and everything is all set to go.

But he’s my baby.  And I’m scared.

11 Months

That’s what it took.

Eleven months–to the day–after having Hazel, I am back to my pre-pregnancy weight. Woohoo!

I would love to attribute it to hard work, but aside from a couple of months of intensive Wii Fit (not recent months, either), I’ve been a lazy bum.

What I think happened is that as Hazel started progressively eating more solid foods, my body stopped holding on to that last stubborn ten pounds, and I just dropped the weight. I feel like something similar happened with Oliver.

In any case, I feel great! Actually, I feel tiny. Mostly because I got new, knee high boots, and I can zip them over my fat legs–no small feat, considering that I haven’t been able to do that… ever, as far as I can remember.