Here’s the thing. When your Little is born and you bring them home from the hospital (or birthing center, or swimming pool, or whatever), they kind of give you an instruction manual, but not really. There are some handouts and, if you’re lucky, the nurses showed you how to do some stuff — swaddle, feed, change, etc. You are enamored with your Little and you pay attention to them all the time. Screw those crazy people who said to sleep when your baby sleeps! You have this precious little being and all you want to do is hold them and treasure them and stare at them while they sleep. Folks, I did this. I remember the second day in the hospital with Little Man; Teacher Man had a meeting at school and I spent the whole hour and a half I was alone with Little Man staring at him sleep on my lap. Should I have been sleeping? Sure. After all, I had not only grown a human being, I had also pushed him out of me in the not too distant past, and was currently managing to keep him alive by my (almost) self! Sleep could wait! Let me look at and smell the baby!
You have been home for awhile and you’ve somehow managed to establish your new normal. You wake up in the middle of the night, carry on one-sided conversations, and do mountains of laundry. And all is right with the world. Your Little is thriving and doing everything he should. He even sleeps! Granted, most of the time he sleeps on you, but that’s no big deal, right? I mean, he’s only six/seven/eight weeks old. He’s a baby for crying out loud and all the books say that you can’t spoil a baby that young.
But somehow, magically, things shift. He’s much bigger now (say, oh, I don’t know, three months?) and still wants to nap with you. He sleeps in his crib at night like he’s supposed to and like the big boy that he is. But napping? Napping is a whole other thing.
So you start sneaking around like a cat burglar, hoping that he won’t hear you slipping out of his room after you try to ever-so-gently put him to sleep in his crib. But nothing works. He wakes up ALL THE TIME and those eyes POP OPEN like the possessed dolls in all those scary movies and you can’t do anything ever because you want him to JUST SLEEP. And I mean anything: go to the bathroom, make a sandwich, dust the living room (because, for crying out loud, people are going to start SAYING something about the dust bunnies), or even, I don’t know, stretch.
This brings us to now. Teacher Man and I decided that we needed to Do Something. As much as I’m not looking forward to going back to work (have we not talked about this? oh, wait, yes we have), we have to be prepared. And part of that preparedness means that Little Man can’t be held while he naps. Our pediatrician recommended The Baby Whisperer, so I figured we’d give it a shot (I will say this: all in all, I like it. I refuse to have Little Man cry it out and this seemed like a good compromise — I’m able to help him learn how to sleep and not just leaving him solely to his own devices). Last night was our first night on the program: Little Man went to bed earlier, was given a dream feed, and slept through most of the night. Now, granted, that’s not much different than what he had been doing previously, but still… win.
But, the napping. It was a rough day. I am knocking back a Cold One right now because it was a rough day. Granted, Little Man didn’t sleep on us at all today, but he also didn’t sleep much, either. He made it through about one sleep cycle per nap and then pretty much didn’t want to go back to sleep at all (even when he tried the shh-pat method, which did work most of the other times like going to bed at night and getting down for a nap in the beginning). Folks, I am exhausted with trying to get this small person to understand that all he has to do is take a deep breath and SHUT HIS EYES and he’ll fall asleep. Good grief! Needless to say, there have been MANY Hail Mary’s today and I’m sure that there will be many more tomorrow.
However, my husband wants me to look on the bright side (though, I’d rather garumph and complain about it even though I won’t feel better; aren’t husbands annoying when they’re right?), so I have to say this: 1) It’s only day one and it has to get better (please-say-yes-please-say-yes), 2) Little Man going to bed earlier means that I got to type this post, and 3) Little Man didn’t nap on us AT ALL today… a BIG step for him and a HUGE change when your whole world is as small as his is.
Also, I didn’t have to walk three miles each way to get water today and I wasn’t persecuted for my religion or being a woman; it’s all about the perspective, right? I am blessed in so many ways. I just need to keep remembering.
Now, it’s almost time for his dream feed and bed for me afterwards. Prayers and positive thoughts would be much appreciated. So would Cold Ones. I’ll keep you posted.