Daylight saving time had nothing on us

Sleep has been so messed up lately that we didn’t even notice the daylight saving time change.

My mom did bedtime on Friday night because my wife and I were out on a date until 11:30 (cue applause). It didn’t go great… It’s the second time my mom did bedtime, but the first time she did it there was frozen milk to offer in a bottle. This was the first night Avery had to go to sleep with absolutely no milk. Apparently there were lots of tears, and she finally fell asleep at 9pm. She woke a lot through the night and wanted long cuddles – she clearly missed us. I felt really guilty.

She continued her 4:30-5:30am wake ups over the weekend.

On Saturday night she was awake from 11:30pm until 3am, trying valiantly to get back to sleep without nursing. She tossed and turned both next to us and on her own, she sang to herself, she played quietly with stuffed animals, but finally she started to lose her patience at 3 (as did we), and I nursed her to sleep (it took just a few minutes, after hours of trying on her own). And then of course she was up for the day at 5am.

On Sunday she begged to go for a nap at 9am. We had a friend’s first birthday party that day over Avery’s usual nap time, so we thought an early nap would be ok. She slept for 30 minutes. She was so exhausted that by the time we got home from the part she slept for 3 hours. She woke up at 6pm. Never a good sign for bedtime.

She went to bed at 9pm, and although she only woke twice through the night, I was so tired that I fell asleep sitting on the floor next to her bed both times and now I’m super stiff.

This is nothing too out of the ordinary for us, but the tough sleep stints are always hard. I know it will be over soon enough, and I just have to cling to that thought.

Anyway, we barely noticed that daylight saving time was occurring. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse that having to deal with transitioning a schedule-rigid kid to a different bedtime and wake up time… Either way, we’ve always had bigger sleep-fish to fry than to worry about a time change.

Advertisements

3 Things on Sunday

1. My PhD research proposal was accepted!! I waited a month for my advisory committee to come together for a meeting, and the meeting went amazingly well. I can finally – after 3 years and 2 other proposal attempts that fell through for different reasons – finally, move on to actually DOING THE RESEARCH and finishing this f-ing degree and get a job.

2. I had my first me-time in a long time getting my hair done this weekend, but thoughts of how expensive it was going to be and how much I just wanted to be home with my little family made the whole 2 hour process unenjoyable. It’s funny how you can be at your wit’s end with trying to keep up with your demanding toddler’s needs and then in only 5 minutes of being alone feel like your heart is aching from missing that wonderful, demanding toddler.

3. Night weaning is going really well, but sleep isn’t… It’s complicated. Avery has been sick forever and the cough still keeps her up at night. The doctor assures us it’s normal for kids her age in daycare to be sick for this long, and for things like runny noses and coughs to linger well beyond the duration of the actual bug. She’s also struggling with yet another itchy post-viral rash (apparently she’s prone to them). So she does a lot of crying through the night, and I used to be able to make her feel better by nursing. Now we just put a hand on her back and lay next to her while she fusses, and she doesn’t even ask for milk to help her get through it. She just deals with it. It makes me proud of her, and also sad that the instant comfort phase of her life is over. She makes her own comfort, now. That said, last night she was really upset, and I brought her into our bed to sleep on top of me. Just because we’ve night weaned doesn’t mean we’ll let her suffer all night or go without sleep.

The good news is, she usually goes from 7pm to 4am with only one wake up that we need to go to her bedside for (that one wake up takes 2 minutes for my wife and an hour for me, though). The bad news is, 4am is when she wakes up for the day now… We’ve let her have an earlier nap to compensate, but that just messes with her afternoon energy levels. Can’t wait for her to settle into the new normal without night (and morning) nursing and hopefully find a good rhythm we can all be happy with.

30 Days of Blogging, Day 5

I’m 99% sure that our recent sleep issues are due to the 18 month sleep regression. I know Avery’s only 16 (and a half) months, but she’s exhibiting all the signs. Her language is on the cusp of exploding, she’s got separation anxiety, and she just seems to be maturing into her terrible two’s right before our eyes  😛. 

As for the language boom, she says dozens of half words, like ca(t), mou(se), be(d) and ba(th). She’s also starting to sound out head, shoulders, knees, toes, eyes, ears, mouth, and nose (and elbow, belly button, and hair), while pointing to all of them (on herself, on us, on the cats, on dolls…). She has blurted out a few full words without the pressure of being put on the spot and questioned (like toys, elbow, and water). She does sound effects for dogs, cows, trucks, and squirrels (squeak!).  She has even tried to make the elephant noise.

All that learning has to be hard work on the brain, and it’s bound to leave her mind buzzing at night.

I’ll leave you with a random picture of her pulling my socks off today. She HATES wearing socks, and has recently started hating it when other people wear socks, too. 

Daycare countdown: planning sleep strategies

Avery and I start the daycare transition in 7 days. I am equal parts anxious and heartbroken, and excited for her to make friends and gain new experiences. Our daycare provider, whom I will herein refer to as Gwen, asked me to give her a list of Avery’s favourite foods and foods she doesn’t like, as well as tips for making her happy or comforted. Guess I can’t put “me” on the comfort list. 

Although I didn’t plan to be, I have been a bit of an Attachment Parent. I nurse Avery to sleep, and she naps on me for most naps. She has never been laid down in her crib and gone to sleep of her own accord. We have tried, but it’s not in her skill toolbox yet. So this makes me feel anxious as we prepare to put her in daycare. Please excuse my ramblings as I work out my worries in this post. 

Let me back up a bit and give an update about night time sleep and nap transitions. 

Avery has been showing us lately that she can put herself back to sleep when she wakes through the night, but nighttime sleep has still been a bit of a roller-coaster. Some nights she wakes every 20 minutes and bed shares for the second half of the night, and other nights she goes 7 hours alone in her crib. Sleep development is not linear, but big picture I see definite improvements. As for naps, I think she is trying to transition to one nap a day. She will often be chipper and awake until 11am, and then sleep soundly for 2 or 3 hours. With one nap a day, bedtime is a BREEZE. However, some days she is tired and cranky at 8:30am, and on those days we stick to two naps, which makes bedtime tougher because she’s just not quite tired enough. It’s a complicated phase that requires flexibility and being really in tune with her sleep needs on a day-to-day basis. 

So how does this impact our daycare prep? Back when I was interviewing daycares, I was adamant that they offer us two naps a day. I figured that because most babies aren’t ready to go down to one nap until 15-18 months, that my high sleep needs baby definitely wouldn’t be ready for one. Our provider (Gwen) agreed to accommodate, because she will only have two kids in her care for now, and they will both be 12 months. It was really great to ease my mind back when we were searching for a daycare, but now I’m thinking that the nap schedule just won’t work for us. In order to squeeze two naps into the short day before Gwen’s after-school kids arrive (and babies get picked up), naps are scheduled for 10-11, and 1-2:30. There is no way Avery will go to sleep 2 hours after waking. Not a chance.  

So for the past couple of weeks I have been trying to transition Avery to a 10am nap, and I have also been working on getting her to sleep for her nap without nursing. The 10am nap time works well most of the time, but some days she refuses completely and has one afternoon nap instead. I can only hope that Gwen will work with Avery’s day-to-day needs by helping her get to sleep with rocking if she’s emotional from being tired, or by letting her play quietly while the other baby naps if she is just too awake to sleep. 

As for the afternoon nap being too early, we are accommodating this by having me pick her up at 1pm for the first few months, until both babies are ready for one nap. However, I’m sure she will go at least the first month being too stressed to sleep during the morning nap, and will need an earlier afternoon nap. The daycare transition will probably make her tired enough to put a hold on the nap transition. 

Now on to my concern about GETTING AVERY TO SLEEP. Like most daycare providers, Gwen plans to put the babies in cribs, turn off the light, and let them go to sleep. One does not simply let my baby fall asleep. One actively assists my baby in falling asleep. I have been successful in cutting out the nurse to nap (although I passionately believe in continuing to nurse to sleep at night), but I’ve had to replace it with another sleep crutch – walking in the stroller. On the days we have one nap instead of two, it’s remarkably easier to get her to sleep. A few minutes of rocking will get her out cold, and I can even put her down to carry out the rest of her nap alone. I guess all I can do to help her get to sleep at daycare is to ask Gwen to offer her a bit of rocking, to wait until she is truly tired and otherwise let her play quietly, and to cross my fingers and pray and send positive vibes to her throughout the day and really just let it be. I’ve heard that babies will adapt to new routines with new people, and Avery has shown lots of signs that she is adaptable (in new situations, at least, but not really with new people…). 

So there’s my plan for getting through the awkward adjustment phase of Avery’s sleep at daycare. I’m super nervous, but I think/hope that 6 months from now I will look back on this and laugh and say what was I so worried about? 

3 Things on a Wednesday 

  1. We were all sick, all weekend. My wife took a sick day on Monday and it allowed me to take 20 minutes to get some garden weeding done and another 20 minutes to have a BATH!! (it has been so long since I’ve soaked…). But it’s true what they say, mothers don’t get a sick day. My wife is a mother too, of course, but being a salaried, Mon-Fri employee means she’s entitled to actual sick days. I see it from both sides – fair, because she has to rest up to be able to function to earn a salary, but fucked up because I have to function to keep a tiny human alive 24/7. Oh, modern family dynamics, how isolating and unrealistic you are. Despite the fact that I don’t like people that much, I sometimes wish we were raising this baby in a commune of hippy women. 
  2. Avery has been chatting up a storm, mixing consonants and playing with new sounds. My favourite is “Gah”, which we are trying to associate with “cat” (that would so be our child to say “cat” as her first word), and “Fuh” which kind of sounds like she’s trying to swear. Interestingly she has said “dada” a bunch of times, but she hasn’t yet been exposed to that as a word, so it’s just a random connection of sounds for her. 
  3. We are re-assessing our sleep plan. WTF else is new. My wife and I have struggled to get on the same page about infant sleep from the beginning, and I have avoided having conversations about it because I don’t want to have to face doing something outside of my instincts. I’m an attachment parent, turns out. Never would have expected it of myself. My wife’s philosophy is to let her know that we will always be there for her if she needs us (so no CIO, thank god), but to also show her that she doesn’t need us (so let her figure out how to get herself to sleep through lots of picking up briefly and putting back down). I like this philosophy, in theory, but it makes me sad to put it into practice. It might be more an emotional barrier on my part than an actual concern for Avery. I love sleeping next to her, feeling her breath, smelling her baby smell, and feeling needed. I love it so much that when we agreed to stop bed sharing at 6 months, I accepted my fate for the next [upwards of] 2.5 years as sleeping in her nursery chair with her in my arms. So now the plan is I won’t wait until I’ve nursed/rocked her for 20+ minutes before transferring her back to the crib (trying to ensure a deep sleep and sound-asleep transfer). It’ll be a pick up to comfort (the hand on her chest just aggravates her more now) and right back down once she is calm. My wife is also going to take over the first shift of wake ups that happen after we go to bed around 9:30/10 and I will start my shift around 1am so my wife can get some back-to-back hours of sleep before work. Evening wakeups are on me because that’s a big guzzling nursing time for her, like she’s trying to stock up for the night. 

Weekend update: Easter

It was a beautiful spring long weekend. My wife got four days off (her new job gives both Easter Friday and Monday off!) and we only spent one day away from home. It was ideal. Busy, but at least we were busy in our own home doing our own stuff. Oh, and we were both sick, which was exhausting. We caught Avery’s bug. 

Friday 

I prepared an Easter dinner to have with my mom, and I managed to get the house cleaned too, all while taking care of Avery. It was one of those super mom days that balances out the days where I can’t even seem to get dressed by 5pm. My wife got a lot more progress done on the chicken coop, and my mom got a good visit in with Avery. 

Saturday 

I got some plants for the garden transplanted into bigger pots until all risk of frost has passed (mid May), and we sat on our first pub patio of patio season. Avery couldn’t get enough of the fries. 

Sunday 

We went to the in-laws for Easter dinner and Avery had a great time interacting with all the family she used to have stranger anxiety around. Except for her 1 year old cousin… She still has some issues to work out with him.

Monday

I had to go to work to invigilate an exam and Avery stayed home with her Mo. More coop building ensued, and some relaxing in the afternoon. 

Sleep

Since I last wrote about the floor bed arrangement, we have changed gears with sleep arrangements again. She seems to have matured a bit in the needing comfort area, because when she wakes through the night (which is still every 30 min to 2 hours) she doesn’t wail or cry in a panicked way. She cries in a complaining way now. So for a little over a week I have been putting her to sleep by nursing in the chair in her room, and then transferring her to her crib. The first transfer of the evening is hard. She needs to be really asleep to go for it, so it can take an hour and a half still. But after that all it usually takes to get her back down is a quick (2 to 15 minute) rock. She sometimes rolls around to get comfy after you put her back down, too, so she seems aware that she’s going back in the crib alone. 

The problem I’ve had over the weekend is that I’m too exhausted to rock her back to sleep. My legs feel like they’re on fire and I just don’t have the will power and I instead sit down in the chair with her. Sometimes she nurses, sometimes she just cuddles. She falls asleep, but so do I. A couple of hours pass. This isn’t helping our “training” because she still spends half the night sleeping with me, and it doesn’t benefit me like bed sharing did because I’m so uncomfortable. 

My wife took some of the night waking shifts over the weekend which was great for our “training”, but she can’t keep it up once she’s back to work this week. This will be my greatest challenge – staying the fuck awake through the night.