Posts Tagged ‘ naps ’

Fia’s Preschool Dilemma

Monday, August 5th, 2013

This is such a stupid dilemma I can’t believe it’s taking up brain-space. But here goes.

Fia is starting at a Montessori preschool in a few weeks. I know she will be sad leaving her current one.  So my first question is: When to break the news to her? A week before? A day before? I once said it casually, as in, “Fia, you are going to a new school in the fall.” I didn’t think she would actually “get it.” I’m an idiot. My daughter is not. She immediately burst into tears. So I changed the subject. I didn’t want her obsessing months in advance. She tends to be a bit of a worrier and I don’t want her to have needless anxiety.

Okay, dilemma #2: This school will mean a lot more schlepping for me. She is at her current preschool 3 days a week. It is about 6 minutes away. They nap them there (which she loves because she gets to nap with all her friends then wake up and play). For that reason, she goes from 9-4. The new preschool gives you two options: you can pick them up at 1 or at 2:30. They don’t nap them. Either way it cuts into the middle of her typical nap time. Which isn’t a huge deal, except….I DON’T WANT TO LOSE THE NAP!

It’s a 15-minute drive home in which she’s likely to fall asleep then not go back down once we are at home.

But my bigger dilemma is what to do about Emmett. He takes a 2 1/2 hour nap everyday around noon-2:30 give or take an hour on either end. So his nap is going to fall smack dab in the middle of pickup time for Fia. Which means he will either have to be woken up from his nap, or he will fall asleep in the car to and from, thus, not having a proper nap. Which all leads to ME! Their naps are my sanity. It’s this great time when the house is all mine and I can patter around either doing productive things like writing this blog, or unproductive things like napping while they nap.

But even if I had to give up their naps during the week, the naps are a cherished time for us as a family on the weekends. We always do something fun in the morning, then when Emmett goes down, Phil, Fia, Wayne (the cat) and I crawl into our big king bed and snooze. It is heaven. By giving up naps during the week I’m worried that she won’t take them on the weekends either.

I don’t want to hire a sitter for an hour-long window of time 5 days a week. Not that I could find someone anyway. I can expand into a few bigger chunks of time to make it worth their while, but not everyday.

Phil suggested pushing Emmett’s nap to 1:30. That way I can take him with me to get Fia at 1 and they both get home by 1:30. However, pushing his nap is easier said than done. I know he will fall asleep in the car. And once he snoozes for even a few minutes, I can rarely transfer him without waking him up, thus losing the rest of the nap.

So what to do? I know, it’s a huge problem. I’m sure you have all followed the puzzle on this and are ready to give me advice. The overachievers may have even taken notes. I mean, if it’s keeping me up at night, surely it will keep you up too. Then we will all need more naps.

 

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Why Do Co-Sleepers Use the Past As Their Argument?

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Here’s what really gets to me when I talk about sleep training. So many of the co-sleepers defend their position by comparing what people did in the dark ages with babies. Here is an example from last week’s post:

“In tribal times, you would have never made your baby cry all alone in a crib. And we wonder what’s wrong with society!!…Until the 1920′s, babies have slept with their parents for centuries. It’s still the norm in all other cultures other than in America.”

I’m not singling out this particular person. I appreciate she read my blog and took the time to comment. But this is the type of thing I generally see when discussing sleep training.

First of all, let’s get the facts straight. America is not the only country to put babies in a crib. Most of the developed world doesn’t co-sleep. That includes Europe and Asia too, which encompasses, oh, a few countries here and there. Let’s not forget Canada. You think crib makers only sell to the United States? Seriously?

But my real annoyance is the comparison of current day to that of tribal and biblical times and what those in third world countries do. I’m pretty sure a villager in Africa would be thrilled with a crib. I am guessing that is the least of their worries though.

Has anyone ever toured the Tenement Museum in NYC? It’s an amazing place. They have reconstructed a real tenement to show how families used to live. This is before housing and labor–including child labor–laws were enacted.  It was commonplace for a family of 8-10 to live in a 300-square foot space with no running water or electricity. No indoor plumbing. There was no room for cribs or separate bedrooms. Infants routinely died from diarrhea. Sanitation was completely lacking. To use those times as a barometer for what is good for today seems completely ludicrous to me.

Also, you think none of these people from past generations let their babies cry? Think again. Whether you were working all day in the fields or in the sweatshops of New York, don’t you imagine that parents were completely exhausted and just collapsed at night? They probably slept through a crying baby. If they did wake up, sure, mom put the baby on the boob so they could both sleep. I get it. It’s called survival.

Today in Sub-Saharan Africa, one in four babies under the age of 5 dies. Who wants to compare those statistics to what we have?

I know what you’re going to say: infant mortality rates have nothing to do with co-sleeping (unless you suffocate your baby, which does happen and thus why the AAP recommends against it).

But what irks me is this instant assumption that if something was practiced “for centuries” and still exists in villages in Africa, that we should use that as an argument for practices today. I spoke before about this in my case against homebirth.

There was a time when pregnant women were routinely drugged into a “Twilight Sleep” and strapped down unconscious to give birth. They were also given a pill to prevent their milk from coming in. Hard to fathom right? Seems completely insane. Inhumane even. But just because I believe in hospital births, epidurals and the beauty of modern medicine and vaccines doesn’t mean that I concur with the major and egregious practices of the past.

So sure, come up with why co-sleeping works for you: that you love having your baby snuggled tight next to you; that it’s a way for everyone to get more sleep; that it is your bonding time. Those reasons make sense. I did it too. Still do for weekend naps. Put Em on the boob and we drift off. It is heaven. It didn’t work for me at night because I was too paranoid of rolling on him. I was up constantly checking myself.  Now he’s in his crib and doing really well. So whatever works.

But for those of us who want to sleep train and have our babies in their cribs getting an uninterrupted 12-hour stretch of one of the most basic human needs, please don’t point to history and lambast us for our decision. And for the record, here is a recent study that backs up why sleep (and thus, sleep training for those babies who don’t just fall into it naturally) is so crucial. I’m just saying…..

Picture courtesy of Shutterstock

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Milestone Monday: Is No Schedule a Schedule?

Monday, September 10th, 2012

Emmett is sleeping through the night. Mostly. I know they say in 12-step programs, “Progress Not Perfection” so I’m using that mantra on the nights that he decides to cry at 3:35. Which is about every other. Some nights he is asleep for 12 hours. Others he still wakes up a few times. It could get frustrating, but I’m not letting it. Ironically with my night help gone, I am enjoying my nights more. As much as I loved my gals, it was “work” to be social at 10 pm when they came and at 6 a.m. when they left. (Yes, poor me, right?)

I think I’m finally pulling together some sort of a schedule with him too, but it’s taken 7+ months to get there. He now takes a morning nap and an afternoon nap. Occasionally an evening nap. Considering I only ever got 30 minute naps with Fia until she turned 18 months, I feel pretty good about what is happening.

But what I’m learning more than anything is that every baby truly is different. I know that sounds like the “duh” factor, but I honestly thought you sleep train every baby the same way, you feed them the same way, you nap them the same way. And some get it and some don’t. But now I’m realizing that as moms, it’s our job to follow the cues and make decisions accordingly.

What what worked for Fia (3 days of Ferber) didn’t work the same way with Emmett, so we modified. Sometimes that includes putting in earplugs and letting him cry. Seems like the more we go in to soothe, the more upset he gets. The nights that we don’t go in, he typically calms himself down and falls back asleep in under 7 minutes.

This could also be because I waited until 7 months to Mom-Up with the sleep. I know the older they get the longer it takes to train them.

For a Type-A like myself, this is a growth spurt. I like things bundled up neat and tidy. Including schedules. But what Emmett is teaching me is to go with the flow a little more.

My husband seems much more puzzled. “Why is there no pattern to when he cries in the night?” he asks in frustration. “Why isn’t sleep training working?” I just shrug and say, “Don’t worry, he’ll get there.” Then I remind him that nothing is foolproof in parenting.

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Fia Friday: The Pocket Crib

Friday, August 31st, 2012

In my constant quest to get my daughter to sleep past 6:03 every morning, I’m trying to come up with ways she can entertain herself. When friends tell me, “My baby plays quietly in her crib in the morning,” I want to spit. But one can always dare to dream…

The other night, after she was asleep, I put some books in her crib. I figured when she woke up, maybe she’d read them. Instead, I was awoken by two huge thumps. I raced into her room, terrified she fell out. Nope. She was just chucking the books out.

“No books in my crib!!!” she screamed.

OOhhh–kkkay. Didn’t know we had crib rules dictated by a toddler.

I told my friend Elizabeth about it, who did just about the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me. She offered to make me a “pocket crib.” I didn’t know what that was, but it sounded cool. And considering I can barely sew a button, it’s like she just offered to climb Everest for me.

Two days later, we had it. Fia and I made a big production out of stuffing it with books, animals, and a sippy cup. I explained to her how she can read her books and play when Mama is still sleeping. Unfortunately, she hasn’t grasped the concept so I’m still not that mom who can say, “My daughter plays quietly in her crib.” But for naps, she sometimes reads a book or two before falling asleep. I’ll take what I can get.

Elizabeth is now custom-making these by the way, so feel free to visit her website.

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Pacifier Anger: My Nanny Is Pissed At Me

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

The pacifier remains my ace-in-the-hole and the thorn in my side. If Fia is whining or acting bratty, I can threaten “no more bagdee” and she immediately reverses her behavior. I’m an army drill sergeant using a pacifier instead of a bayonet to get the results I want.

But Cleo, having nannied for 30 kids thus far (Emmett being #30) told me it was time to get rid of Fia’s paci, at least for naps. She declared that when Fia turns 3, we will get rid of it entirely. Clearly, this is not a democracy.

In theory, I’m totally down with it. In reality, I cringe. I wanted to beg Cleo to reconsider, as that stupid sucking thing is my last remaining bargaining chip. But I know she’s right. She even pointed out that Fia’s teeth are starting to buck a little. Of course a small part of me is like, “So what? She’ll get braces and we’ll keep the paci until she’s 5.”  But I know I’m being selfish. I have to remind myself this is in Fia’s best interest, not necessarily mine.

After our recent trip to Emmett’s baptism (where we gave Fia the paci for the flight and threatened to dispose of it every time she kicked the seat in front of her–which happened exactly once), we sadly said goodbye to bagdee during naptime. I wept.

Two weeks into pacifier sobriety, I had a shoot at my house. They wanted to see me in action with my kids. Fia came home from preschool, and without even thinking, I put her in her crib and stuck the pacifier in her mouth (it was in the crib from the night before). I even made a joke to the camera about how she still takes one. I was in such tunnel vision that I seriously forgot that she’d been without for two weeks.

Part of it was because I had been traveling for a family emergency, so I hadn’t been participating in naptime. And of course Fia didn’t volunteer it. Instead, she happily settled in without a peep and slept for almost 3 hours (another reason I love that thing. The naps are doubled in time).

Cleo was in the hallway and asked twice, “She went down without a fuss?”

“Yup” I said nonchalantly. I didn’t know why she seemed so surprised.

At 4:30 that afternoon I came in from an errand, and Fia is sitting at her highchair with the pacifier in.

“What is that thing doing in your mouth?” I asked sternly.

To which Cleo tersely replied, “Well, I guess since mommy doesn’t care if Fia takes the pacifier at naptime, she may as well have it all the time.” Then she stormed into the dining room.

It took me a second to put together the puzzle and then grasp the magnitude of crisis I was facing. Cleo was pppiissssseeeeeeddddd at me. Furious in fact.

“Oh my god, Cleo,” I stammered, as I followed her around the table. “I am so sorry. I totally forgot. I was so distracted by the shoot. I seriously just spaced.” She was pretending to dust the table but in reality was hitting it angrily with the cloth.

“You are really mad at me, aren’t you?” I asked.

“Yes, I am,” she replied, practically in tears. “I’ve tried so hard for two weeks to break the habit and then when you come in and give it to her, all my efforts go to waste. Plus, then Fia doesn’t listen to me.”

She was absolutely right. I really did feel terrible, though I did chuckle later at how irate she got. When I told my Aunt the story, she said, “Good for her for doing so. I’m with Cleo. And I agree: you gotta get rid of that thing.”

I finally got Cleo to believe it was an honest mistake and we both had a good laugh at how pissed off she was. Meanwhile, Fia is sitting there in hog heaven sucking on that stupid thing. I took it out of her mouth and explained how mommy made a mistake. Fia continued to remind me of it all evening. “Mama was bad. And made Cleo mad.” Mea Culpa.

So now, every morning, we take her pacifiers out of the crib and put them on her light stand. That way bad mama won’t mess up again. Fia can gaze longingly at them during naptime and I can dream longingly of sticking them in her mouth, knowing I’m being carefully watched.

I’ll admit over the weekend, when I couldn’t get Fia to nap, I tried to conspire with Phil.

“Can’t we just give it to her this one time?”

“No, absolutely not,” he said. I think he actually glared at me. I am in enemy territory. My only ally is a 2 1/2 year old. And she is the reason I’m on lockdown. Sigh.

 

 

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