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Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
I hate the book Bringing up Bebe. Not because it’s bad. Quite the opposite. I find it brilliant. And logical. And depressing. I’m only on chapter 6, but so far, every page has made complete sense to me.
I know it caused quite a stir when it came out. I wish I had read it then–before Emmett was born. I’m convinced he would be sleeping through the night by now. We might even be able to take Fia to restaurants. It makes me feel awful–like a lot of what I’m doing is now irreversible and insurmountable. Maybe the pregnancy hormones are still raging. Or maybe I’m just mad at myself for not putting down more ground rules with Cleo (nanny) about Emmett. Here’s where I’ve gone wrong:
The first few weeks of Emmett’s life, we all held him constantly. I get that. But then I started to notice if I didn’t hold him he often fussed a little in his swing/Moses basket/crib before putting himself to sleep. In the book Druckerman talks about, “The Pause.” In France, when a baby starts to fuss (not wail), the parents “pause” for a few minutes before doing anything. If it escalates into wailing, they pick them up, feed them, burp them, change them, whatever. But what they have found is that many babies fuss, then fall asleep. It’s their own way of self-soothing. Many do this out of the gate. In her book, Druckerman claims many babies sleep through the night at 2-3 weeks. But this “pause” window is finite. At around 4 months, if they haven’t learned to self-soothe, then you have to do hard-core sleep training.
I’m a Ferber fan, and we did it with Fia. But I am not excited to do it with Emmett. Unfortunately, our window is closing. He’s 4 months old this week.
He’s also on zero schedule. He naps when he’s tired. Usually when he’s being held. Or nursed. A lot of the naps are just 20-30 minutes.
Sleep? Some nights he goes down from 8:30 pm-5 a.m. Other nights he wakes up every 3 hours. There is no rhyme or reason.
Looking back, I realize that rather than capitalizing on his ability to put himself to sleep or get any semblance of a schedule, I just went with whatever happened each day. Still do. Cleo still picks him up when he fusses. I’ve asked her to give him a few minutes before rushing to him. Sometimes she does. Sometimes she doesn’t. I can’t blame her. I do the same thing. I’ve made us both inconsistent. I also nap with him on the weekends. I love his little body next to me. Every morning I put him in bed with me to nurse and get an extra hour of sleep. Should I stop?
With Fia, I had a lot more confidence in sleep training. She woke up at 3:33 every single morning. So I knew it was just a habit. Emmett is all over the place, so I’m not convinced that he’s not hungry or gassy. Plus, he is such a good baby 90% of the time. He rarely wails. He likes to sit in his carseat or swing and entertain himself. He laughs and coos. I hate to think about CIO with my little guy.
I might take off next week and just let Cleo do things with Fia while I tackle the schedule. Maybe getting the days down will help with the nights. But how? Even with naps, I get confused, then I give up. Am I supposed to do it every 2 hours? What if he sleeps for 20 minutes? Then do I keep him awake for 2 more hours until the next nap? There’s no way. Especially if there is a feeding involved. He’ll fall asleep on the boob. Guaranteed. But probably just for 20 minutes again. By that time, I know I’ll just say screw it and throw the attempted schedule out the window. I’ll continue to be consistently inconsistent. Unless….I really decide to commit.
But then does that mean he can’t nap with me on the weekends? What about the mornings? Can I have my cake and eat it too? I don’t think the French do (which is why they’re all so skinny–as also pointed out in the book).
He is my last baby so the heart part of me says “F-ck the schedule.” But then my brain part says, “Yes, it’s time to get some order back.” And I know most babies thrive on a schedule.
I can’t even tackle the restaurant ordeal in this blog post. Suffice it to say, eating out with Fia is an exercise in misery/exhaustion. In France, toddlers apparently sit quietly and eat.
I hate this book.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Newborn Care | Tags: Bringing Up Bebe, CIO, Druckerman, Ferber, french parenting, pregnancy, pregnant, schedule, sleep, sleep training, The Pause
Sunday, January 22nd, 2012
Okay, I’ve written about 13 blogs in 7 days about Fia’s sleep regression. I hesitate to even write this one for fear of jinxing myself, but I do think we’re slowly making progress.
We basically made a rule with ourselves that we go in the first time she wakes up, but not subsequent times. This doesn’t count the “encore” that happens every night when we initially put her down. She starts to cry/whine whatever right when we leave the room. I wait 1-2 minutes, then go in for the encore. Rub her tummy, re-tuck her in, and say goodnight. Occasionally it happens a 3rd time. It’s no biggie and it’s just the routine.
So here how the night wakings are going:
2 nights ago she woke up at midnight. I went in and was sharp mama. “Fia, lie down. Lie down. Go to sleep.” She obeyed, and I left. This is similar to other nights. Going in and just not saying anything and physically lying her down wasn’t making a dent. A lot of experts say not to speak, but with her, I think it works.
She woke up again around 1:30, 2:30, then 3:30. We just ignored her until the 3:30 one when I heard her say, “diaper change.” Granted, a heavy diaper has never affected her before, but I certainly couldn’t just sit there. I went in, felt it (it was 400 pounds), changed her quickly, then when back to bed. I think she woke up again at 5 or 5:30, put herself back to sleep and was down until 6:30!
In general I’m noticing progress in the duration of the screaming. The 45-90 minute torture windows are shrinking. I honestly don’t know how long she carries on for, as Phil knocks himself out with ambien and I put in earplugs. But I know they’re shorter durations. And by refusing to go in before 6 a.m., I am at least guaranteed a certain amount of sleep for myself, which I desperately need.
Last night she only woke up at 4 a.m. (in which Phil went in as “sharp dad.” FIA, GO TO SLEEP. NOW! he said.) Then she slept until 6:50!!! So that’s major progress. But I also know last night she was exhausted from prior nights of waking and today she is super well rested. So we’ll see what tonight brings.
But basically in following the pediatrician’s advice/Weissbluth/Ferber with a few minor modifications of our own, I think we’re getting there. I think going cold turkey and not putting her in bed with us really is the key. And probably how the problems began again. You can really tell when you toddler gets a good night sleep. They are so much happier. As are you. Yet another argument for sleep training. It’s for their own good. And yours.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday | Tags: CIO, Ferber, night routine, pregnancy, pregnant, sleep, sleep training, sleeping through the night, toddler waking, toddler waking in night, weissbluth
Tuesday, January 17th, 2012
Happily Eating Her Churro at the Zoo
God help me. I just wrote a post about feeling like a big crumb in letting Fia Scream It Out last night. Explained in the post that on a playdate yesterday my mom friend told me that perhaps she was waking up so often because of an ear infection. I didn’t really pay heed. Then, lo and behold, after 90 minutes of screaming last night, I went into Fia’s room and she says “Ear hurts.” I nearly toppled over.
Okay, she is just over 2 years old.
She always says various body parts are hurting, so I’ll kiss them. Ear has never come up. (Somehow, even though she gets gobs of attention, she must still be wanting more with these constant “hurts.” Maybe because new baby is coming?) I knew she must be telling the truth. And my puzzle was rapidly coming together.
For background: as this mom and I were discussing the ear thing, Fia was loudly playing with another boy, jumping up and down on his bed. She wasn’t paying attention to us or what we were talking about. Or so I thought.
Our sleep conversation used the word “ear” once…maybe twice. The whole discussion was about 3 minutes long.
When the doc came in to examine her ear this afternoon, she points to the opposite one. I instantly had this sinking feeling, like, Oh no, she can’t be making this up, right? Right?
He looks in that ear. Declares it perfect. Looks in the other one. Perfect as well. I am almost in tears. I’m so G-d D-mn tired, I can’t believe I still have no solution to her sleep issues.
But get this: I now think my little busybody overheard our conversation and somehow used it in the night. I know, that’s giving a 25-month-old a lot of brain credit. But I think it’s true. I think she is my little master manipulator. I cringe to think about her teenage years. We will definitely have to move to New Zealand and become sheepherders. That way when she sneaks out her bedroom window, she’ll only have the sheep to party with.
I tell the doc everything. Bunny clock, going in at 5, 10, 15 minute increments, letting her cry for 90 mins. And, of course I have to disclose that we bring her into bed with us when we can’t take it anymore.
He told me that the bed thing is the kiss of death. And that she might scream for 4 hours. But that if I want to have her back on her schedule, I absolutely cannot bring her into bed with us. Especially now that we know nothing is wrong with her. He said it may take 3-5 nights. I have 6 nights before my c-section. So once again, we’re starting tonight and this time refusing to give in.
I took her to the zoo after the appointment. As she chased a peacock, she turned and said to me, “Mama, ear hurts. Kiss it.” I looked at her, started laughing and said, “Fia, your ear does not hurt.” She got this mischievous grin on her face, laughed, and ran after the bird. I waddled after her. This girl is going to keep me on my toes. Always. She is trouble. Pure and simple. But I love her so. Now GO THE F-CK TO SLEEP!
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Must Read | Tags: CIO, cry it out, ear infection, Ferber, sleep regression, sleep training, sleep training methods, solving toddler sleep problems, toddler sleep problems
Monday, January 16th, 2012
Author’s Note: Join me every Monday as I share Fia’s ongoing milestone (mis)adventures–from potty training to talking to everything in between. Mayhem and mischief guaranteed on Milestone Monday!
I am writing this with bleary eyes today from another sleepless night. Just when I think I’ve got it down (wrote last week about solving the sleep problem), she throws a curve ball.
Last night Fia started crying at midnight. WTF??? I went in, laid her back down, not saying a word. Woke up again at 12:40. I laid her down again. Then at 1:30, she woke up, at which point I changed her diaper. She’s never been bothered by a heavy diaper, but am just trying to crack the code. Told her we weren’t coming back in.
She screamed for an hour. At 2:30, with neither Phil nor I sleeping, I gave in. Put her in the guest bed with me. I’d like to note there wasn’t one tear on her face. Nor a runny nose. So she was just screaming. I couldn’t fall asleep as she kept thrashing about in bed. I feel like hell today.
I think I may have to go to straight CIO (Cry It Out) tonight. Tell her when we put her down that mommy and daddy aren’t coming in until morning. And stick to it. I guess we’ll alternate sleeping downstairs (where we can’t hear her as much), etc. But how much you want to bet, just to mess with us, she’ll sleep through the night? (not complaining if that happens, but just making a point). I swear I am following a moving target. And I can’t keep up.
I think some of this might be the testing phase of a toddler. For example, when I was putting her PJ’s on, I pulled out the ones with monkeys. “No Monkeys!” she said. “Mice and cats.” Okay, so I got those out and put the monkeys away. Started to put them on her.
“No cats. Want Monkeys.”
“Fia,” I said, “Which do you want? You make the decision and it’s final.”
“Monkeys,” she said. So that’s what we ended up with.
She has a crib tent that we have started using (I wrote awhile back about how I didn’t think it would work, but we tried again and she seems to like it, or at least not mind it). With her screaming, and leaning over the crib, I can’t chance her falling out.
Last night we didn’t initially zip it. But at the 1:30 wake up, I went in and she said in a very emphatic voice, “Zip it!” So I zipped it.
She did the same thing the other night with Cleo when Phil and I were at dinner. Cleo zipped it and she slept the whole night.
But then last night after I zipped it, she started pounding on it (it’s mesh, so it doesn’t make a noise). She seemed like a caged animal. I couldn’t watch her flail like that. Which is why I finally just put her in bed with me.
I keep thinking of what my Brooklyn pediatrician told me last week in email when I reached out to her about the sleep problems.
“They are smart little buggers. Give them an inch, they’ll take a mile.”
So I guess I need to zip it when I put her down so it doesn’t become a reason for debate at 3 a.m. And make a decision to allow her to SIO (Scream It Out….my new acronym.). They say consistency is key. And not to mix methods.
We are 8 days out from the new baby coming, I am exhausted in this pregnancy and being tortured at night. I’m just not sure what to do. And that depresses me. Bleh.
Picture of crib via Shutterstock
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday | Tags: CIO, crib ten, crib tent, cry it out, Ferber, milestone monday, sleep training, solving toddler sleep problems, testing, toddler testing phase
Thursday, January 12th, 2012
Sleeping Sans Bunny Clock. Thank God!
Okay, so I just posted today a long blog about my latest issues and troubleshooting/advice in regards to Fia’s sleep regression. I said that she seemed to be grasping the idea that when, “Bunny wakes up” (the clock we got for her), “Fia wakes up.” I was hopeful.
However, today, I killed bunny. Yup. He’s dead. And I’m overjoyed.
Here’s what happened the night after I thought she was “getting” it with the bunny clock. She was up at 11, 12:30, 1, 2:30, 3:30, 4, 4:50….in which point I finally put her in bed with me. It was worse than her newborn days.
Side note: if you have a child who has been sleeping fine and suddenly there is regression, every expert tells you to examine what is different; what has changed. I couldn’t think of anything…until…
Bingo. It came to me bright as bunny (did I really just write that sentence? That is f–ked up).
She finally “got” that she had a job to do, ie. wake up when bunny wakes up. She didn’t want to shirk her duties or disappoint. She takes her jobs/tasks very seriously. She was up constantly checking on bunny. I even heard her through the monitor and every time I went in and laid her back down. She’d recite: “Bunny awake, Fia awake. Bunny sleeping, Fia sleeping.”
Poor thing, she was putting pressure on herself not to let us–or herself–down. What can I say? She’s a girl. She’s an overachiever. She’s obsessive. She’s like her parents. It breaks my heart. She is so sweet.
So last night I told her, “Bunny went bye bye.” (I may have actually used the word dead, because I was so tired I just didn’t care). I didn’t make a big deal about it though. I just said, “Fia wakes up when Fia wakes up.”
Here is where it gets extraordinary. She didn’t wake up ONCE last night. I mean, that hasn’t happened in weeks. She slept from 7:30-5:10. At that point I put her in the guest bed with me (can’t take her into our bed because Wayne is there snoring and spooning Phil. Yes, it’s ridiculous. Actually, Phil is spooning Wayne. Even more ridiculous).
I felt like a new woman today. Fia felt like a new tot. We were both so well rested. I pray my theory holds tonight and subsequent nights. But bottom line for anyone struggling with this is to ponder if anything has changed in your routine, etc. when the sleep regresses. Bunny was right in front of me and I didn’t realize it until it became an obsession for Fi (ie: waking up constantly).
I hope I never have to type a sentence with “Bunny” in it again. Seriously.
Categories: Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Mom Tricks and Tips, Must Read | Tags: alarm clock, CIO, cry it out, Ferber, sleep regression, sleep through the night, sleep training, toddler waking, toddler waking up in the night, weissbluth