Ask Not for Whom the Nap is Blown... Napwars Continue

In the war torn world of Never-Nap Land, battle lines were drawn and mommies headed home foolhardy dreams of nap-training in their hearts. Babies began crib Odysseys and drooled more than fierce Charybdis could twirl.

Moving forward surrender set warring with implacable hope, while bleary-bright eyes gleam from boba bogs. Instant insomnia paints the eves ebony and compromises coalesce through the stages of grief



The long dark coffee break of the soul

Dear daughter,

You may think you have the monopoly on destroying my sleep, but I shall prevail! If it takes twenty cups of what I thought was "decaf" coffee imbibed in a short and highly energetic day, so be it. If it takes the hallucinatory tetris chimes of crying babies and a wired wandering mind. Bring it on. I will have my sleepless nights whether or not you feel the urge to squeal.


Monday night was not the most restful of nights.

It figures the first night in a week that baby decided to sleep pretty well had to be the same one that I spent all night awake trying to remember how to blink. Boing boing. Eyes go down and boing! Right back up again.

I did wonder why a stray question about whether the cleaners were coming the next day spurred me into a manic merry maid maelstrom last night. I did exclaim a few times that I was feeling oddly stressed and "keyed up" and couldn't quite figure out why. I did posit that it would be difficult to go to sleep that night because my brain wouldn't turn off. 


Somewhere in all that feedback, the brain resurged with a brief flash ... that new coffee I got. The one that was significantly cheaper than the one I usually get. The one I pored over (before I poured over, har har) trying to figure out "the catch" when I was shopping. Was that actually decaf? Was there any reason for me to think that it was?

Begin the first of many late night and early morning excursions into the kitchen area.

No.

No it was not.

Now if you're not particularly sensitive to caffeine, my cup and a half around seven p.m. probably would not bode well for sleep. If you're me, you might as well have razed your way through a meth lab on sample Sunday.

Yeah, so it's always good to check your beverages before downing them with abandon. Since I had previously had a tag-team father-daughter sleep diaspora, I was craving the deep ebony of a good (or cheap and acrid) brew. All day long. And I kept mixing in the almond milk and vanilla powder. It kept going so well with little tidbits of chocolate.

All night long I felt the after effects. I tried laying my head to rest several times but my manic mind taunted me with lofty agenda items each time we set adrift. Most of them were too loud for middle of the night action. Vacuuming, moving boxes and furniture, remodeling the kitchen... Ambitions best left for the dreamworld that evaded my roving soul. Instead, I alternated between checking the internet, going downstairs on some pretext, and waiting for baby to cry.

She barely did, of course. Several warning shots but few major action sobs.

We were both quite tired the next day, though I swear baby had the best night's sleep in a while. Perhaps it's merely that she quietly wore through the witching hours. I'm developing the theory that little one never actually sleeps, only sometimes being more discrete about her gymnastics practice. This is supported by the nap time monitor patterns during which noises will come every ten to fifteen minutes and after which she'll be quite happily on the other side of the crib/hanging from the ceiling.

Regardless, blowing through naps seems to be a developing baby trend for Miss Chaya. Not my favorite. I am so jealous of those for whom sleep crutches still work. It appears she's in a twilight area of being impervious to the old sleep crutches but not quite ready for daytime sleep training. I'm not really sure if I'm waited too long or not long enough but I certainly seem to miss the proverbial nap window on a regular basis. On the bright side, she's been sleeping much better at night and her mood is not significantly worse by the end of the evening than when she was getting her naps. Still, it would be nice to see that well rested baby we had for a couple of days before she rallied her defenses and rejected the well slept mantle. Of course today, she decided to mix it up and sleep an hour per both earlier naps. No, no she is no different for having done so but mommy enjoyed the quiet time.

Oddly I was far more tired after getting a real taste of sleep the following two days. Chaya remains about the same mysterious tired but not tired most of the time. Sometimes she's bright and sweet and others a raging maniac but at unpredictable times but always well correlated to her sleep patterns. So very, much a baby I suppose.





And my adorable delightful crazy baby at that. She can roll both ways, but not consistently poor dear... Until she masters this, there shall be no peace!







The five stages of parental sleep regression nap strike grief
Denial:

Huh. Always used to nap in the boba. What's going on here? Weird.

She missed that nap because she is going through a wonder week... No it's her stomach. Must be gas. I'm sure probiotics will help... Growth spurt. Teething? Somebody made a noise several blocks away. Bastards.

It'll stick. Just keep going. Keep walking through the back pain with that thumb in her mouth while humming Purple People Eater and hopping up the stairs on one foot... Who cares that you just heard a snapping noise from your back hip area and lost sensation in your leg? Baby will nap if you want it enough!!

Ok, forget that. Sleep training will work. It did for nights. Sort of. Until naps started really sucking. It will just take time. It worked great today... This is awesome. We're fine. I was just standing in the way of her good sleep.

Ok really maybe it's teething. Or she's sick. Or...

Ok naps don't really matter. She'll be fine tonight. Bad day-sleep doesn't mean bad... Oh good so much for all that Ferber work and progress. Leaving the baby monitor downstairs because really like I can't hear her?

Where's the coffee? Forget the coffee. Where's the chocolate-covered-everything stash. She'll sleep tomorrow. It'll be fine.

Maybe, well four months is tough. Maybe once she's five months old, naps will start to consolidate. Just laying the groundwork. Another day or two.

Anger

Screw you Weissbluth! And you Ferber. And seriously, nice sweet pediatrician lady. "Two two-hour naps a day and a shorter one"... seriously? What crack are you smoking.

All you experts and your "Put her down drowsy but awake" crap

HA! There is no such thing.

I take it back, there is a brief moment after a massive snit-fit in which she is vigorously sucking on my thumb, and nodding off straight onto it. This isn't exactly what I'd call drowsy, but it's as close as I've seen.

Baby goes from pleasantly alert to manically focused and intent to epoxysms of joy-mania-insanity with little ado; and she swaps states from minutes to minute. Maybe if I throw her into the crib with one hand while holding a book with the other and singing songs from it before running, I'll magically hit that sweet spot moment with the appropriate ritual. But I seriously doubt it.

And really? "Put her down at the first sign of drowsiness. E.g. yawning, looking away, zoning out."

If I were to do this, I would be putting her down as soon as she woke up. Baby yawns from waking shrieking to overtired shrieking and through the cute phases in between. Baby yawns to show off her beautiful gums. Baby yawns to taunt me. Baby yawns for all kinds of reasons that have nothing to do with anything that make sense to anyone but baby And if I put her down after that first yawn, baby boings back up. Drowsy signs my toosh





Bargaining

Two naps works be fine. I know 45 is not great but I'll take it. Ok if she'll just get this one nap today. Just twenty minutes. Seriously, if she'll pass out in the car even. Anything. I'll be happy. That's OK. Just play quietly in your crib. Quietly. Ok just don't scream... Ok fine if you pass out while nursing we'll call it even.

Depression

Oh God I give up. She will never nap. I am once more failing her as a parent. Her development will be permanently stunted and I will never have a second to myself. I can't leave the house because she's so overtired and fussy. And I don't want to miss a nap window just in case it's that rare one that sticks. I can't work. I don't have time to work out. I'm done. We're both just done. We'll be lonely hermits together and she'll grow up with several behavioral and mental disorders while I develop obesity related illnesses and developed my own disorders because I can't read a frigging drowsy sign.



Acceptance

Ok, it's just not going to happen. Or the naps will happen, randomly and without warning. I guess we'll just kind of keep trying and they'll stick when they stick.

I think I need to get out of the house now. Hey maybe she'll nap in the stroller? But if not, no loss considering she wasn't going to at home either probably. At least maybe she'll sit there and let me move. And if she cries and fusses, she's a baby. Other moms will understand.







I am going to let go a little and let the nap chips fall where they may... just enough so I'm not chained the the crib playpen o'fun. There are chores to do and other sleep deprived desperate moms with whom to share a coffee and a war story.





Does that mean her night sleep will go to pot? Lord knows. Probably. Where's the chocolate again? 





Napwars! The 24 Week Edition

And we continue on in the napwar battles of Mommy Wright and Chaya "The Beast" Papaya. I've ebbed on my enthusiasm for a strict nap training. And during the week, I've certainly fallen back on sleep crutches as well as they'll work. Chaya sometimes can be soothed into slumber (sometimes for a while and sometimes for exactly 38 minutes, which must be her sleep cycle length) in the boba again. Sometimes I let her fall asleep on me while nursing. Sometimes... well sadly she doesn't have any other reliable sleep crutches. No swings. No pack and plays. Cars don't usually work...

Of course sometimes she sleeps in her crib. Unpredictably. At least I think she does. She'll be quiet for long stretches of time. We have a video monitor that my sister sent me, but I haven't managed to set it up yet. I'm almost afraid to, except I suspect it will still be hard to tell at times. I think I really just need a little baby fitbit to tell me how much my child actually sleeps (the horror, the horror)

But yes, crib naps. There was Saturday afternoon. As is the recent trend, Miss Chaya's first nap did not stick. Having forlornly abandoned all hope of those who enter into nap-training territory, I spent the morning rediscovering the joy and aches of a long boba walk. Joyously, my baby appears to sleep while I am walking with her again. Achingly, she's now 15.5 pounds. Last time she successfully nap-walked for any duration, she was pushing 13.

Babies grow fast. And I'm learning that every little pound matters; oh, you buxom babes, I am so very sorry for your backs. I made it to about an hour and twenty minutes. Suspect I may have lasted longer but (1) Chaya opened her eyes every single time I walked into the garage and closed them each time I left again; this signified to me that she'd sleep, but only on the preset conditions of active outdoor walking; (2) it began to rain; (3) did I mention she's about fifteen and a half pounds and I'd been walking a while before she fell asleep? And that I had spent the morning walking on an incline on the treadmill?

I didn't mention all of that before, so consider it now mentioned. I finally rested myself up against Andrew's SUV for just a little too long and she stirred. And I finally chose that stirring to go inside and have a long coveted snack.

Her second crib nap went the way of her first: some fussing, some playing, and some completely unfathomable cross-crib journeys to grab toys and bury herself in them in inconceivable orientations.



I was quite happily planning to offer her up to daddy for a boba nap for the second/third attempt. Nostalgic as he used to let her sleep on him while playing video games - another thing that died away during the sleep regression follies. But the first time he loaded her up, she wanted to eat. And then she wanted to play. And by the time I'd cleaned half the kitchen, Andrew was asking whether yawning was a drowsy sign or not.. I said she yawned all the time, but yeah probably (considering it had been some hours since her last nap at this point and "drowsy" was an understatement). So up he went, merrily ad-libbing the nap routine by doing his part of the bedtime routine. I heard her fussing. Hooting. Yeowling. And he came down by himself while baby's inconsolable annoyances broadcast over the monitor. He announced he rather fancied a nap himself. And he promptly left me to listen to the miserable sobbing over the monitor.

I have to admit, I haven't had the heart to listen to her cry like that since the first week of nap training. I have typically left her upstairs as long as she is fussing or playing. But I've had a tough time holding out the faith to let her really lose her shit. And I almost retrieved her after about five minutes of purple-faced sobbing. Then I didn't. I don't know. It seemed like it was Andrew's nap somehow and I didn't want to interfere... just yet. There are limits. I said twenty minutes was my limit.

Lo and what the heck, she amplified right up until ... silence. It was so abrupt I thought she might have smothered herself on a bunny. It lasted for a half hour. Not sterling, but well, an afternoon nap rarely is...

So I've been trying desperately to replicate the absence of "nursing to sleep." This is not as easy as it sounds, since Chaya is a destractible little baby and I think she only feeds well in a dark room while drowsy. If I could attach her to my body reliably and let her nap on nip, I would seriously do it. I do, in fact, try this from time to time, but she kind of slips off and startles herself.

It's had a spotty success rate. Just like everything else. There really are no prevailing trends, essentially. Yesterday, she fell asleep while nursing and slept for an hour and ten minutes. She was grumpier and more tired after waking up, of course. This morning, she went back to sleep without protest at around 6 a.m. Then she almost seemed to go down without falling asleep while nursing this morning. But she made noise just frequently enough to suggest otherwise. In other words, it's all random, but for the surety that somewhere along the way, Miss Chay will not sleep enough for the day and will be kind of tired. Although she may end up manic, happy, grumpy... lord knows by the end of the day. And probably when she actually does sleep, it's just a sign she's feeling under the weather. 


Today's experiment produced two twenty minute to half hour periods of silence and some fussing in between. Interpret that as you will. I'm guessing it means mommy's in for a fussy little baby. 

And the weather, it is variable hereabouts...
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