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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012
I was in my office this afternoon and Fia came in “to play.” Usually that entails trying to type on my computer, or getting out markers, pulling a Post-It note, and attempting to color on it. You can imagine where that leads: to bright purple all over my desk. I told her I was working and needed a few minutes of quiet if she could find something to do.
She wandered over to this statue thing of a woman and began talking to it. I was thrilled to see her play on her own. She doesn’t do it much and it was so cute. At first.
“Hi baby,” she said. “You need a nap.” She pretended to cover it/her with an imaginary blanket.
“You need a pacifier. I will get you one,” and so on. I was just sitting there smiling, thoroughly enjoying the moment. But then, her tone turned and I must say I was a bit shocked. She began screaming and really railing on the non-baby statue:
“Stop standing up in your crib!” she screamed.
“I am going to shut the door!!!”
“You get a time out!”
“I’m going to zip up the crib tent!”
I got up and went to her. “Fia, you don’t need to shout like that. Why are you doing that?” “Because the baby was bad,” she said. Huh? What?
Okay, what she shouted are all things we say–not shout– to get her to go to sleep. It’s a song and dance like many parents experience. But we never ever yell. Neither does Cleo. I’m around all the time and I hear how it goes.
We are firm, but never mean. I’ll say in a totally regular voice, “Fia, lie down. Fia, I said lie down.” She’ll look at me and grin. Sometimes I get down on her at face level, grin with her, touch noses, and we both laugh. It’s kind of our little “thing.” Then I say, “Okay honey, I’m going to have to take your pacifier away if you don’t go to sleep.” I usually gesture as if I’m about to pull it, then she concedes, lies down and I tickle her forehead.
Sometimes she’ll be standing in her crib and won’t lie down and I walk towards the door, like I’m leaving. “No mama! Tickle my forehead!”
“Then lie down,” I say, sternly. She does and I tickle.
We get about 3 sleep encores a night like this before she really goes down. I’m really never even frustrated by it. I figure this is just par for the course.
Also, in terms of time outs, I’m not just saying this because I’m her mom: Really, she’s only had about 3-5 of them in her life. I’m not a lax parent. She’s just a really good kid. She follows rules, likes order and routine, and is just an affectionate, goofy, fun-loving girl. She doesn’t misbehave much. Rarely tantrums. Something like the nighttime routine described above would never warrant a time out. She has to do something really wrong to get one. And she just doesn’t.
So what is up with her imitating us in such an angry way? It broke my heart to hear her shout like that. Is this a normal toddler thing or does she think we really yell? What is her perception of us? Of herself? That she’s a bad girl? Or am I overthinking all this? Please parents, help me on this one. I don’t want to lose sleep over it. It’s weighing on me.
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Monday, October 22nd, 2012
The other night Phil was out of town. I was having one of those cravings for Fia… you know, like the kind when you want to eat your child, yet you know you’ll never have enough of them to get full? It’s that insatiable feeling of mom-love. I decided to have her sleep in bed with me. I envisioned spooning her all night and getting some sort of tangible fullness. Uh-huh.
9:30 pm–in bed reading my book. Fia lifting legs in the air. “What are you doing honey?” “Making shadows Mama. Look!”
“It is two hours past your bedtime. That’s it.”
Book closed. Lights out. Fia puts hands in air. She swings her arms back and forth. I bark, “No more shadows!” I’m officially annoyed at my decision to have her sleep with me. Plus, I had to shut off my Kindle during a riveting reading moment.
11:00 p.m.—a foot is in my mouth.
12:30 a.m.—I am eating Big Bird.
1:00 a.m.—Emmett starts to cry. I hear him through the monitor. I sneak into his room to pacify. Pitter-patter. In come little feet. “Fia, go back to bed,” I whisper.
This is important for two reasons. First—it’s one o’clock in the f-cking morning. But second, Em is so sensitive to noise that if she starts talking, he’ll jerk up and start giggling. Yes, my baby laughs too much. I realize there are worse problems to have…but in the middle of the night, all issues seem insurmountable.
I get Em back in his crib, Fia back in my bed. I threaten that I’m putting her back in her crib. But I know she’ll wail. I can’t take the “you get to sleep with mommy tonight” back. I can feel Ferber shaking his head…
3:00 a.m.—an ankle on my ear. A thigh on my stomach. I am in a bad game of Twister and I’m losing.
4:00 a.m.–Wayne pounces on the bed and yowls. I curse myself. How did I forget about the stupid cat? Fia bolts up in bed. “Mama, Wayne is here!” Yep, didn’t know that. Thanks.
I get up, grab the 18-pound load of fur and sequester him downstairs.
5:30 a.m.—Em wakes up. This time he’s hungry. I sneak in again. Put him on the boob. Pretty soon her little shadow appears, then her little body. I have to whisper again, “Get back in bed. Shhh. Shhh.” Emmett pulls off the boob to look. It’s his big sister! Cue the giggling. I tell her to just lie quietly on the carpet in front of me so Em can’t see her. She does. And puts her legs in the air. Yep, the shadow game is back.
6:00 a.m.—Em is sleeping. So is Fia. I am wide-awake. The sun is rising and I can feel the bags pulling down on my face.
I didn’t get one cuddle. I am not full. But at this point, I don’t care. I just want my bed back.
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Monday, September 24th, 2012
There is no free pass in motherhood. A while back I wrote about why the boob rocks and how I would get extra sleep every morning because Phil had to get up with Fia. I would lie in bed with Emmett, he’d nurse and we’d both fall asleep for at least an extra hour. I was so thrilled–almost giddy–about this scenario.
Anytime I needed a break from the chaos or wanted to relax, Emmett and I would just disappear under the guise of nursing. Don’t get me wrong: I did put him on the boob. But it went beyond survival for us/him. It was more like the perfect excuse to escape when the going got rough.
Wow, kid #2 is easier on the mom, I thought with glee.
Well, I should have known better than to brag. Or get too far ahead of myself. Because when it comes to babies, they really love to f-ck with you. Just when you think you’ve got it down….
Emmett is now 8 months old and I’m more exhausted than ever. Granted, it could be because I listened to my friend Cassandra’s advice to “Mom-Up” and sleep train him, thus getting rid of my night village. (Damn you C!) So now, he sort of sleeps through the night. You know, the usual–consistently inconsistent. (That should be the slogan for babies, btw).
The mornings though are when I really get screwed. He is so excited about moving (almost crawling), not to mention he is an incredibly active baby, that now when he wakes up, there is no sleeping. He nurses and is ready to M-O-V-E. This boy waits for no one.
What sucks even more is he and Fia have swapped time zones. Em wakes up at 5 or 5:30 and she sleeps until 7. So I’m up before the sun, done nursing in 20 minutes, and attempting to think about the day ahead while Fia and Phil snooze away. Phil has very little sympathy. Why should he? He bore the brunt of early mornings for months while I smugly enjoyed what I thought was mother nature’s free mom pass. Ha.
Cassandra, I now hate your term Mom-Up. I want to Mom-Down. Somehow though it just doesn’t have the same ring.
Emmett–be glad you are so damn cute and happy. If you weren’t, your mom would ignore your early morning wake-up call.
I know this is one of many examples of the tables getting turned on moms, so please feel free to share your own sad tale. I may as well brace myself for more.
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boob, breast feeding, CIO, crawl, Ferber, Mom-Up, nursing, nursing baby, sleep, sleep train | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday
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.
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Bringing Up Bebe, CIO, Druckerman, Ferber, french parenting, pregnancy, pregnant, schedule, sleep, sleep training, The Pause | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Mom Situations, Newborn Care
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.
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CIO, Ferber, night routine, pregnancy, pregnant, sleep, sleep training, sleeping through the night, toddler waking, toddler waking in night, weissbluth | Categories:
Fearless Feisty Mama, Milestone Monday