Thursday, January 15, 2009
In Which I Overlook The Glaringly Obvious.
The baby-toting had gotten out of control. Charlie needed to be carried around for over an hour every time he needed to go to sleep. You can do the math on that one...15 minutes to feed the baby, an hour and a half or two hours of being awake time, an hour of me doing nothing but carrying him around the house and doing everything except standing on my head to get him to nap, and then...a 30 minute nap. Start again. He got so mad that he refused the pacifier, being swaddled, and just about everything else except for me jiggling his ass all around the house, upstairs and downstairs and back again, for over an hour until he finally passed out and slept on my chest for half an hour. So I hopped online and ordered the Holy Grail of baby sleep...Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. This book seriously saved my sanity back when Ella was about 3 months old, and I couldn't find my copy on the bookshelf (it may or may not have been stained with wine and my tears as I desperately flipped through it searching for an answer). So when it arrived in the mail yesterday I dug right in, not really expecting to read anything I didn't already know, because hey! I AM A SEASONED VETERAN at this whole mom thing. I read and read and read, the chapters that outline the biological aspects of sleep and the different stages of sleep. Yadda yadda yadda, I knew all of this! My greatest fears were being realized: I just have a freak baby who enjoys sucking my soul out of my body by making me hold him 14 hours a day. And then. I came upon the chapter about Charlie's age group, one to four months. I'm reading, and it says, "Babies around 4-8 weeks of age should be kept awake for no longer than one to two hours." And I kinda stared at the book and thought, "Hmmm." Because in all of the things I know about caring for a baby and the shuffle of our day to day routine, I had overlooked one thing: BABIES GET OVERSTIMULATED. And once they are overstimulated, it is nearly impossible to get them to settle down enough to go to sleep. An overstimulated baby is like a Baby On Crack, all jittery and crazy-eyed and flapping their arms around at an ungodly pace. And I KNEW this. I knew it from way back when Ella was an infant and I was all Nap Nazi on her ass. Seriously, I don't think that child missed a single nap until she was two years old, and she very rarely misses one now, lest Evil Ella make an appearance. But I guess since she has turned into an actual person who can sleep around life's schedule and not vice versa, I had forgotten. And, oh, the glorious sleeping that happened in this house today. Three naps, all two hours each. And each wonderfully deep sleep took me no longer than about 10 minutes to make happen. No more carrying around a 12 pound baby for FOURTEEN HOURS A DAY. No more telling Ella sorry, but Charlie wants to sleep directly on Mommy so I can't play Barbies with you right now, and maybe not ever again. SLEEP! Charlie was happier, I was definitely happier, and even Ella said, "It sure is nice when Charlie sleeps upstairs." Now, we have yet to see if this affects his nighttime sleep, so I may be eating my words when I am awake at 3am with an alert and ready to party baby who got too much sleep the day before, but I doubt it. Hopefully Charlie adheres to the whole "sleep begets sleep" rule for babies and gives me a good night's sleep for once. And I will be looking for my Mother Of The Year award in the mail any day now.