Tag Archives: naps

The New Nightly Normal

My toddler has been sleeping a bit better at night than she was a few weeks ago. But that comparison is a bit useless since a few weeks ago what she was doing at night cannot be accurately described as “sleeping.” It pretty much couldn’t get worse, so improvement was just about the only way to go.

There were a few nights of substantial improvement, about which I tried not to get carried away with visions of such unattainable feats like “sleeping through the night” and “puts herself to bed.” There were a few nights of backsliding into some of the familiar misery.

After a few weeks of horrible night after horrible night, I finally sent my husband in to do the middle-of-the-night routine, figuring it couldn’t get any worse. My daughter normally flips out if her dad goes in to get her at night instead of me. The first time I sent him in, she didn’t cry as much as I expected, partly, because I think she was just so exhausted. Then she slept for a couple hours. I was shocked. A couple hours at that point was like a miracle. So, I let him take over the middle-of-the-night wakeups. And she started sleeping longer. I still don’t quite understand it.

His theory is that she just wants me in there so much that given the choice of being in bed or being held/patted by me, she will demand the latter. However, when he’s in there, she is more content just to go back to bed. There have been a few nights where she’s obviously in some discomfort and having a hard to getting back to sleep or in a good position that she makes him stay in there quite a bit longer, but otherwise, none of this approaches what was going on a few weeks ago.

There are two small drawbacks to this that my daughter likes to call:
1. Bedtime: “Since this is the last time I’ll see you tonight, mom, I’m going to make it count by trying to consolidate all the infuriating writhing and scratching and pushing into this time that I can. Oh, also I’m gonna take my time.”
2. Morning: “Since I slept a whole REM cycle, I’m going to wake up at 6am because surely you all miss me. Where’s the cat?”

As all you parents surely know, when the morning wake-up time gets shoved back, the nap times get shoved back and then you have a kid who’s hitting dinner time like a brick through a window and is overtired for bed making it harder for them to get a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes it feels like progress is riding in a really loud horse. A horse that leave messes and eats the furniture and kicks holes in the walls. You can barely greet your long-awaited guest because you are too busy trying to contain the damage.

The Preschool Shuffle

Oy-Vey! If you don't nap in your pjs, then you are a capitalist pig!

Over the next few of weeks I am going to be touring some preschools…because in order to get my son into a good preschool at 2 years old, the search must begin at least eight months prior. [slightly audible grumble on the deplorable state of early education access in America] Hi! I’m here to write a fun, non-political Mommy Blog!

One of the preschools I’ll be visiting is at the JCC. The other conducts everything entirely in Russian. My Catholic-raised, mostly-atheist, exclusively-English-speaking, South-Dakota-born husband’s brain may possibly explode.

And yet, somehow, that is not my most anticipated source of entertainment.

You see, the Russian preschool boasts of being like the preschools in the Old Country. By which, they OBVIOUSLY mean that the children take their naps in toddler beds with full bedding while wearing pajamas. This is an actual selling point.

I inquired about the teacher/student ratio and was informed that it was 6:1. Somehow during the tour I absolutely must witness how an adult gets six two-year-olds to change into pajamas and then change back into their regular clothes after the nap is finished. [cue the Mission Impossible theme music]

The epic sleep post

My child does not sleep.

I should have known that I would be in for a long, epic battle with sleep since I am a terrible sleeper myself. My husband was also a bad sleeper as an infant. However, I had hoped to coax my baby into a love of sleeping, deeply, and in age-appropriate amounts (every few hours as a newborn, and 15 hours a night when she’s a teenager).

Alas, it was not to be. From birth, she preferred to be held as she slept. Putting her down both shortened her naps and made her upset when she woke, provided you could even successfully set her down without waking her. Over the months, I developed the “amazing cakes” maneuver of setting her in her bed. Moving her from my lap or shoulder to her bed was filled with the same dread, tension, and controlled movements that the creates of ridiculously elaborate wedding cake creations use to move their competition cakes from their work stations to the presentation table. Except with my little babycake, there was no repair fondant laying around.

Great progress has been made, however. She no longer is as difficult to set down, no longer requires an hour or more of attention at 4am, and no longer demands 100% co-sleeping, among other improvements. I have patiently waited for her developmental milestone of sleeping through the night, a feat that has only happened once when she was around 5 months old and I woke up in the morning and thought she was probably dead and had a small heart attack.

Her 7 month sleep regression featured such glorious characteristics as waking up 18-24 times a night and waking up at totally inconsistent times in the morning. That period, which stretched from her 6th month well into her 8th, was just unfair to me, to the cat, and to Sleep as a Platonic ideal.

Now that she is 1 year old, she wakes up somewhere between 4-7 times a night. I consider a 4-wakings night a really good showing. When other moms tell me that their kids are driving them crazy because they wake up every night and I realize they mean that they wake up ONCE a night, I pretty much want to fill their house with bees.

She is really sensitive to sounds and light when she sleeps. I have to leave the room like a ninja. I have learned where exactly to step so that the floor doesn’t make a sound, how to prevent my shadow from crossing her face, where and when to drape her blanket. It’s a delicate task, easily disrupted by the cat skittering down the hall, my husband sneezing in the other room, or a car screeching outside. I go to great lengths to protect her sleep because I am want her to be healthy and the quality of her sleep directly effects my own.

Naps are also frustrating because each one can vary so much in quality, duration, how many times I need to put her back to sleep, and location. Sometimes she needs to have me by her side in my bed, sometimes she’s fine with being in her crib. Sometimes she needs me to walk in circles with her strapped to me in her carrier in 30ºC weather for an hour.

Anyway, last night did not go well, with her first five wakings all taking place BEFORE 1am. Hopefully tonight will be better. Hopefully, someday she will sleep through the night. Hopefully I won’t be dead from exhaustion by then or in prison because I filled someone’s house with bees.

What I’d do for awesome naps

The baby is taking an awesome nap.

Things I would do to produce this kind of result on a daily basis?

Brush my teeth with tabasco

Wear a dress lined with the scratchy part of velcro

Apply lotion to only one side of my body for a month

Give up 1/4 of my shoes

Get stung by a bee or bitten by 12 mosquitos

Accept the internet turning into just one page of amazing designer deals that I still can’t afford for one week.

Not eat ice cream…. for a whole…um… month. But these better be seriously good naps.


Too bad I can’t actually leverage any of this for naps.