Big Brother is keeping you awake

I don’t know if I have mentioned this on this blog before, but I have suffered on and off from sleep issues since high school. Becoming a mother has not helped with those sleep issues. Between night sweats, hormonal highs that caused my mind to chatter incessantly even while I was asleep, and sleeping in the same room with my husband and son (Sorry, I love you both, but you are both loud sleepers at times.) there were about three months there when I really never shut down completely at night.

Luckily, I can handle a certain amount of sleep deprivation due to my years as an obsessive-compulsive, night owl student. However, three months is a little much, even for me. “Just wait until he is back in his own room”, I thought, “That will fix everything.” (Meaning my son, not my husband.)

Boy, was I wrong. I have decided that baby monitors are a huge scam, unless you have a huge house. Our son’s room is right next to ours. We hear him if he really needs us. In fact, you can hear a baby when they really need you in practically any size house. The child is not going to let up until you hear them, believe me.

Still, I spent that first night on alert, listening to every sound he made, believing that I was keeping him alive by staying awake and monitoring his every breath. Finally (Actually, later that same night.), I came to my senses and turned the monitor way down. I reasoned that I needed to sleep at least a little in order to properly care for my son. My guilt over turning down the monitor kept me awake. Sheesh.

So, I am tentatively and conditionally adding baby monitors to my list of scams in the baby merchandise world, along with changing pad covers. They do serve a purpose at times, but they sometimes make it seem like you’re never off duty. Of course, as parents, we never really are, but sleep is the closest thing we get to a break. Embrace it as much as you can.

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Soothing toy or baby voodoo?

My husband and I recently purchased a Baby Einstein Baby Neptune Soothing Seascape for our son. My sister had one for her son and she let me try it out at her house one week. Max seemed to like it, but he didn’t seem completely enamored of it. I guess it is hard to be soothed when your almost-two-year-old cousin is running around and you are in imminent danger of having your head stomped on.

Tiffany said the toy definitely helped them, so I finally overcame my mommy-brain a couple of weeks later and found one on Amazon and purchased it. When it arrived, my husband found some batteries and we set it up next to the bouncy seat in the kitchen while we ate dinner. Max seemed even less soothed than before.

We have been trying to train Max to take naps in his crib for about a month now, in preparation for moving him back to his room at night. We had had very little success. I would get him to sleep, only to run back in to his room three or four times within a forty-minute time frame to replace the pacifier and soothe him back to sleep. I set the turtle up on the side of his crib the day after its arrival with a little hope still left.

Lo and behold. Max began to stare at the turtle with the most curious look on his face. He looked like he was being soothed against his will. It’s the only way to describe it. He was calm, but looked puzzled by it, with his little brow all furrowed. However, he was asleep within minutes. This miracle has been repeated several times a day for the past week.

After the delight and surprise wore off, I began to wonder. Was I really soothing my baby or does the toy have some kind of baby voodoo that compels them to sleep against their will? And if it does, is that really such a bad thing??

Despite the guilt over my caving in to “mechanical parenting” (Lord, how I wish I had never heard of that phrase.), I have come to know that naptime in the crib during the day is a beautiful, beautiful thing. For a few brief, forty-minute to one hour periods a day, my house is mine again. Plus, it takes surprisingly little time for me to miss that smiling face. Which smiles a lot more when he gets proper naps.

I think I agree with my mom. “Mechanical parenting” be damned. Or, at least, not eschewed completely. As Mom wisely said, “If it makes him sleep, just enjoy it.” Or something to that effect. (Sorry, Mom, anything said to me more than a day ago is usually long gone these days.)

New mom fears/difficulties conquered this week

1. Taking my son’s temperature rectally.

2. Putting a new crib sheet on his mattress.

3. Taking him to the grocery store by myself. No crying or dirty diapers! However, two separate Good Samaritans (one of them a new-ish mom herself) did help me get his carrier in and out of the grocery cart. Thanks!

I hate …

fitted sheets. They are ill-fitting, sweat-inducing, snapping-off-of-the-corner-of-the-bed-suddenly inventions of the devil. And yes, I think it is completely fair to blame the inventor of fitted sheets for my difficulties in and sheer loathing of putting them on the bed correctly.

Finally, changing pad covers. At the risk of sounding like a comedian with cliched material – what IS the deal with changing pad covers? They aren’t difficult to put on, but do they have any purpose other than being cute? I think I am just about over them. My son usually pees on them within two diaper changes of their replacement, so they’re in the wash most of the time. He usually lies on a cloth diaper, which is placed on top of the contoured changing pad. Everything wipes easily off of the changing pad with a baby wipe. Now, exactly how is the changing pad cover making clean-up easier?

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