Mommy’s naptime schedule

Ha! Did you think this was a sleep schedule pour moi? Hardly. These are the activities I ALWAYS fit in during Max’s naps in order of the difficulty of doing them with a baby (And, let’s face it, the fun factor of doing them with a baby). I have learned this through trial and error since becoming a mom. I have definitely been forced to get my priorities straight.

1. Use the bathroom (Because I like to do this alone whenever I can. Usually there is a baby and/or assorted cats in there with me. Cats do not seem to get that it is not good to rub around their owner’s legs when said owner is sitting on the toilet.)

2. Eat. (Because the baby will either howl and make you feel guilty because you stranded them in their Jumperoo so you could have two hands to eat or they will babble adorably and make you feel guilty for wishing you could hear the TV over their adorable babble. I love to watch TV while I eat.)

3. Get dressed. (Again, I like to do this alone whenever I can.)

4. Any chores I have time or energy left to do.

Before I go, thanks for your patience with the dearth of posts lately. We moved in to a new house and there has just not been enough time or energy to post the last few weeks. I’m hoping to get back on track now.

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Resolving

To be a better wife. Meaning I will no longer kick my husband when he snores at night when I meant to only nudge him to get him to roll over.

Sleepy parent dialogue

Me: Honey, turn over. I’m having trouble sleeping and you’re snoring.

Husband: Wha??

Me: Turn over. You’re snoring.

Husband (attempting to scoop me up like a baby): It’s ok, sweet boy. Go back to sleep.

Me: Honey, I’m not Max.

Husband: What?

Me: I’m not Max.

Husband: OK. (Goes back to sleep.)

Me: Why didn’t I just let him scoop me up?

Husband remembers nothing of this the next morning. Isn’t he sweet? He’s so nurturing, even when he’s sound asleep.

Sleep shouting

Sleep is one of my favorite topics these days, for obvious reasons. Anyone with a baby is VERY interested in sleep. How to get it, how to prolong it, how to stay asleep once you get there. I have had many sleep troubles in my life, but I have never had trouble staying asleep once I got there until after I became a mother. I would have trouble getting to sleep, yes. Staying asleep, no.

My husband has absolutely no trouble falling asleep most nights. He sleeps so hard, in fact, that he has no idea who he is or where he is when he wakes up, especially in the middle of the night.

Max is also a very good sleeper. He has been falling asleep between 6 and 8 p.m. (The time varies with his naps.) and sleeping until either 5:30 or 6:30 in the morning. He eats and then goes right back to sleep for at least an hour or more, thank goodness. (I’m sorry if I have detailed Max’s sleeping schedule on this blog before. If I take the time to check right now, there will not be a new post tonight.)

So, you can imagine our surprise when Max awakened at 3:30 a.m. a few weeks ago. I figured he wanted to eat. Chris got up to get him for me. As I was lying in bed waiting for him to come back, I suddenly heard a loud, sprightly shout of “BABY!” over the monitor. “What the HELL is the matter with him?” I thought. I waited for him to come back in the room and asked him why in the world he was shouting at Max at 3:30 in the morning. Turns out Chris did not realize it was 3:30. In fact, I had to tell him three times before he realized what I was saying.He thought it was time to get up.

Turns out you have to strike the right balance between sleep and lack thereof when parenting. Since you cannot be guaranteed a regular amount of sleep on a regular basis, you have to stay just sleep-deprived enough to be aware when you wake up, but not too sleep-deprived as to be dangerous. I have noticed myself that I seem to be slower and, well, stupider on the mornings when I suddenly get a little extra sleep. It is evening out now, but it turns out that, even with sleep, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Luckily for our son, I am usually pretty with it when I first wake up, and Chris generally sleeps better than I do and gets better as he wakes up, so there is always a lucid parent to pick up the other one’s slack. Lucid enough anyway.

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.

The BABY is supposed to be the one keeping me up

“Thump. Meow! Thump. Meow! Thump. Meow!” (Angus attempting to open a bathroom cabinet that doesn’t completely close.)

Belle uncharacteristically walking over our sleeping bodies in the middle of the night.

Angus puking for a grand finale, just as the sun was coming up.

Me, wondering why I ever became a kittymomma.

OCDisastrous

Since my teens, I have had a touch of OCD. Well, maybe more than a touch, but fortunately, not the level of Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets. I am able to control it when I want to (while going crazy inside 😉 ), but only to a certain extent.

It started in high school and escalated during my super-neurotic, overachiever state in college. I had to check all of the door locks every night in a certain order. Luckily, we had a small apartment with only two doors, which were in the same room. I hadn’t yet progressed to checking windows and the stove and oven yet. However, I spent an inordinate amount of time checking those two doors. No matter how long I stared I could not convince myself that the damn doors were as locked as they were going to get. Finally, I would convince myself that I could believe my eyes (I’m not really sure how long that took, but it was about the same amount of time every night.) and go to bed.

This continued even after I moved into an apartment of my own with chains and security bars on the door. (Hey, I lived in a college town. Those are candy stores for predators. I’d already caught a Peeping Tom at my bathroom window.) By then, I had started checking the windows. (Yes, Dad, this is what happens when you tell your children too many stories about how every stranger they see is a potential kidnapper. How even the seemingly harmless older couple across the street could be kidnappers and you should never, ever even make eye contact with anyone you don’t know, because you might disappear forever and meet some horrible fate.)

Now that I am living in a house with my husband and child, my routine runs a bit more smoothly. I do check everything, but I only do it once (most of the time). However, I have added a few weird things. For instance, I always check my husband’s deodorant bottle and container of hair product every morning to make sure he has put the lids back on properly. (I don’t want the cats getting in and eating any of that stuff.) However, I am also a multi-tasking mommy these days. I attempted to check the deodorant a couple of mornings ago while also brushing my teeth and moving my compact. (All after about a month of not really sleeping.) Of course, on that one morning, the lid wasn’t on all the way. The deodorant fell, knocking the compact on to the floor, causing me to take both the Lord’s and his Son’s names very much in vain. Blasphemously in vain. Noting that my prayers might get through faster if I would stop insulting two out of the Big Three, I apologized and prayed that my son hadn’t woken up. He hadn’t. Thank God. (And I say that respectfully.)

You’d think I would have learned my lesson from that incident. Oh, no. Yesterday (Again while Max was napping. I get in to so much mischief when he naps.), I just had to make sure the top was securely on the Tupperware container containing the previous night’s brisket, which was now my lunch. I tested it once. Not good enough. Twice. Still not good enough. A third time. The top flies off and the bowl skitters toward the microwave. I meekly replace the lid and put it in the fridge. No more checking. No more blaspheming. My son stayed asleep. I guess I am learning to let go of my fears and neuroses after all. A few more accidents should cure me completely.

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.)

Yea! My son is sleeping through the night.

Unfortunately, I wake up every morning with the front of my nightgown soaked in milk and yet still feel like my boobs are going to explode.

Insani-tea

I could not sleep all night on Saturday. At first, I thought I couldn’t sleep because my husband had the gall to fall asleep while I had to stay up nursing and I got really, really mad at him. However, I realized even I couldn’t get mad enough to stay awake for hours when I am exhausted from caring for a newborn. Then, I remembered it. The English Teatime I had consumed with my mother after 9 p.m. Normally, I would never do that, but I was so exhausted that I was certain it would never be able to keep me awake. I am here to tell you that it did. I was awake all night Saturday, not because my baby was awake (He slept like an angel, of course. A snorting, snuffling, sighing, farting angel, but an angel nonetheless.), but because I consumed too much caffeine too late at night. Is there such a thing as too much caffeine in a new mom’s world? I’m afraid so, especially when you chase it with a bowl of Bluebell Homemade Vanilla and Hershey’s syrup.

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