Archive for the ‘ Sleep (or Lack Thereof) ’ Category

Starting Solids

Saturday, July 14th, 2012


At Vera’s four-month appointment, the doctor mentioned that a little rice cereal in her belly might help her start sleeping through the night again. I just couldn’t bear it. Roy started solids at 6 months old, and I assumed I’d wait that long with the chunky monkey, too.

And then I didn’t get a decent night’s sleep for another month and thought, What the hell? Let’s give it a shot.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an eater:

Rice cereal went over well last weekend. She’s still deciding about banana, which we sampled this week. Avocado and sweet potato, purchased today, are next in line. It’s a new era.

Part of my hesitancy last time was that feeding a baby in a manner that did not involve simply attaching her to my boob sounded like so much work. Choosing the right foods, plus the right amounts, plus watching for allergies, plus using the correct BPA-free eating equipment, plus choosing a proper eating space, plus finding the time, plus cleaning up a new mess. And so on. The “eating thing” loomed, ready to topple what little hard-won confidence about kid-having we’d finally established those first few months.

Once we dove in, it was actually pretty fun. We made our own food. Roy and I would cruise the local farmers’ market for in-season possibilities, then drag the haul home, where Clint and I would cook and puree it, then freeze the leftovers in ice cube trays for future use. We’ll do the same for Vera.

Hopefully she’ll show her appreciation by sleeping through the damn night.

When did you introduce solids? Why?

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Sleepless in Minnesota

Monday, July 9th, 2012

There’s a superpower that comes with having a toddler and an infant: The Ability to Function on Very Little Sleep. Personally, I’d rather have the ability to fly, but we take what we’re given.

Four hours straight? That counts as a full night. Three two-hour increments? Yes, please. Even five consecutive hour-long naps is better than nothing. Which is only a little less than what I got the other night.

I overshot my caffeine intake. Then, on more than one occasion, Roy decided he needed my body (and only my body) next to him in his big boy bed. Vera threw extra nursing sessions and a 3 AM solo dance party into the mix. The next day, I was a drooling, zoned-out shell of a woman with the patience of a hummingbird. So pretty.

My friend Liz up the street has kids roughly the same age as mine. That night, she posted on Facebook: “Need a new bedtime routine for chubby buddy Frank, our current state of affairs is DRIVING ME FRIGGING BONKERS!”

Desperate, yes. But the fact that she possessed the energy to use all caps and an exclamation point told me she had yet to hit bottom.

Liz and I often have super interesting conversations. They go something like this:

Me: “Yeah, we didn’t get much, OK, hey, please stop that Roy. Let’s do something else, OK? Thanks, sweetie. Uh. What was I saying?”

Liz: “Sleep. I know. He cried for two hours straight last night. I don’t, um, Vivi, let’s go upstairs then. Here we go! Up!”

Me: “Yeah, I’m not sure if it’s teething or a growth, uh, whatever. Spurt. Growth spurt. Spurt’s a word, right? Spurt?” [Baby starts crying.] “Hey, little lady! What’s wrong?”

Liz: “Yeah, spurt. I know. Who knows? I’m thinking about letting him cry it out. Here you go, Viv.”

Me: “Shhh. It’s OK. Shhh. Hold on a sec?”

And then we solve world peace. The end.

With Clint it’s an unfair pairing. He’s more well rested, which is good for him. Yay, I’m happy for him, getting all that great rest. So happy.

Working against him: The fact that he’s my husband and therefore should know how to read my damn mind.

Me: “Please put that thing back in the, um, thing for me. Would you?”

Clint: [Pause.] “First: What thing?”

Me, gesturing: “The, uh. You know.”

Clint: “No. I really don’t.

Me: [Staring, with eye daggers.] “C’mon. Help me here.”

Clint: “I want to.”

Me: “Do you? The thing!”

And then he hands me a bottle of really good wine, which I drink, and then I “sleep” all night long. The end.

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Coping Tactics

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

My last post made it clear that we are in the thick of things. Thanks for your comments and private messages of support and commiseration. All very much appreciated.

One of my favorite pearls, from Anti-Jen: “You’re doing a good job. That job is to make sure those kids know you love them. That’s pretty much all there is to it.” A nice way to boil it down. Plus, it makes me feel semi-competent. I may not be able to find the magic solution that immediately cures Roy’s separation anxiety, or gets Vera to sleep through the night, but making sure they know I love them? That I can do.

We are moving in the right direction. The last two days at daycare drop-off, Roy’s clinginess and pleading disintegrated into nervous whimpers, rather than heartbreaking wails. And last night, at one point, Vera slept three whole hours in a row. That’s enough to shove me over the hump and into the “well rested” category.

I’m fine with copping to difficulty. I certainly don’t see much good in perpetuating the myth that parenthood, or life, for that matter, is a breeze. I’m not, however, one to wallow for too long, if I can help it. I feel uncomfortable if I’m not doing something to make things—at the very least, my mindset—better.

Here are a few things I do to get by:

1) Exercise. For me, it’s running. Always has been. On extremely stressful days, my husband will hand me my running shoes and force me out the door because he knows I’ll come back happier. I also appreciate yoga. These days, I’m doing baby yoga, so I can bring Vera with me. I like to multitask my bonding.

2) Drink. Coming off nine months basically alcohol-free, I’m still a lightweight. A little glass of wine or one quality microbrew after the kids are in bed slows my brain down to a better, more manageable speed.

3) Vent. I’m lucky to have some incredible friends. Ones kind enough to ask how things are and then be ready to listen to the honest answer. Sometimes it helps to have a sane second party help you sort through things. They know I’m always willing to reciprocate. As soon as I’m sane enough to do so, that is.

4) Appreciate. Especially when I’m feeling like everything’s too much, I make a point to focus on a few very specific things that make me feel incredibly lucky. An awesome writing assignment. A clear view of the moon. Vera’s roly-poly thighs. Roy’s nonstop hugs. Clint’s mean meat-smoking know-how and Manhattan-making skillz. I’ve no shortage of things to appreciate.

5) Blog. If you’ve been reading Love & Diapers long, you know that I kid. During times of stress, it’s crickets over here. I’d like to be showing up more regularly. I’m going to try. Apparently, it would help. Did you see the recent study that shows the blogging relieves stress in new mothers?

What helps you feel less overwhelmed?

 

Image: Red wine pouring into wine glass via Shutterstock

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Adjustment difficulties

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Life’s moving pretty quickly over here. Vera turned four months old last week. She’s rolling over and holding her head up and filling out six-month clothes quite nicely. Time is moving so quickly that sometimes, it’s hard to catch my breath.

I mean that quite literally. Sometimes, it’s so overwhelming that I have to physically stop and breathe in and out. In and out. Slow my body down, and try to get my mind to do the same. I know. It’s exactly because I feel that I can’t stop that I must. Yes, I must slow down.

Yet one more thing I must do. Just what I need.

Do you know what I mean?

I can’t believe the last time I posted was Vera’s first day of daycare. Honestly? It went pretty awfully. She didn’t sleep and cried a lot. Her mornings usually consist of lots of sleeping and no crying whatsoever.

The bigger, more heartbreaking challenge, however, was Roy. We tried Vera on half days. That first one, Roy was so excited, until I can to pick her up—and not him. I’d told him that would happen, but he’s two. He had no idea how that would feel. Clearly, it felt awful. For both of us.

I thought he’d get used to it. He didn’t.

I ended up taking Vera out of that particular equation. My provider also has a new baby, and another provider is helping her in her home, so there’s a lot of new going on there. Vera’s back to sleeping and smiling. Roy, on the other hand, has decided he doesn’t want to go to daycare anymore.

We’ve never had this problem before. Usually, at drop-off, I can barely coax a good-bye kiss out of the kid, he’s so excited to hang with his friends. Now, it’s all sobs and clinging. Breaks my heart. I have no idea what to do.

And while it’s true that Vera is sleeping wonderfully during the day, she’s decided to quit doing so at night. Girlie came out of the womb sleeping for 4-hour stretches and became a regular 9PM-to-5AMer in no time flat. Then, for the first time in her life, she started waking up every couple of hours. Then she went ahead and switched her nursing style, and my nipples hurt like crazy.

So, to recap: I somehow gave my toddler a severe case of separation anxiety, my infant has decided to recapture the newborn state she never had, and I’m having a hard time finding a minute to chill the f out.

Not that I expected life to be easy right now. I didn’t. I really didn’t.

Not that life is without its beautiful moments. It isn’t. It certainly isn’t.

But it’s hard, too.

Deep breath in.

Deep breath out.

Suggestions welcome.

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Co-Sleeping Against My Will

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

My baby wants to sleep with me. Which is understandable. She spent over nine months inside of me. Apparently, I’m a hard habit to break.

Problem is, I’m not comfortable with it. Despite the incredible feeling of her warm little snoozing baby body next to mine, plus the perk of being able to kiss her fuzzy head with minimal effort, I don’t sleep well. I’m too nervous about one of us rolling into the other. I’d much rather tuck her into something-or-other next to the bed, where we can get sleep independently, yet I can attend to diaper-changing and nursing needs immediately, before getting more sleep. That’s the goal, right there. More sleep.

Roy had no problem with our setup: Pack ‘N Play with Newborn Napper next to the bed. Took to it right away. Vera, on the other hand, will not have it. Not at all. I try. I’ll set her in there, where she’s OK for a few minutes, then when the fussing starts, I’ll pat or rock or insert pacifier until she calms, and then we’ll do the whole process over again, and again, and again, for up to a hour, when I give up and snuggle her into bed with me because I want to sleep. After all, light sleep is better than no sleep at all.

Part of me wants to give in and just figure out how to co-sleep as safely as possible, at least until she’s old enough for me to feel comfortable letting her cry it out. After all, she’s my baby. My last one. And her wants and needs are so basic and primal right now: Food, attention, a clean diaper and to have me sleep next to her at night. Plus, I know plenty of people who co-sleep (or co-slept) and love it.

But the bigger part of me wants to track down the miracle solution. The product that will be different enough from my Pack ‘N Play that she likes it, but similar in that it fits right next to the bed. It’s hard to know what to invest in. The last thing we need is another big hunk of plastic taking up space and collecting dust. Another big hunk of plastic that solves my involuntary co-sleep situation? Yes, please.

 

 

 

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