Tonight is the longest night of the year, and apparently the longest night ever. So it is fitting that last night I decided to start with some light sleep training for the wee one. She is already so fat and happy, and we are already so accustomed to bouncing her. I just remember fat little baby Henry, gaining weight steadily and the bouncing getting harder and harder...so here we are trying to help sweet little Marnie learn how to sleep, and so far...not so bad.
I've had her on a schedule for about a week now, and it looks like this:
7:30: wake up, 1st feeding, she hangs out in her bassinet and watches the wind blow through the trees outside while I fix us all breakfast
8:30 first nap
9:30: wake up, 2nd feeding, play with Henry and Marnie
10:30: second nap - sometimes in the wrap if we go outside to play or run errands
12:00/12:30: wake up, 3rd feeding
1:30: third nap - her longest nap of the day
3:30/4:00: wake up, 4th feeding
5:00: fourth nap
5:45: 5th feeding, time to get dinner ready - she plays in her bouncer until she starts fussing, then into the wrap for her last nap of the day
6:30: fifth nap
7:15: wake up
FIVE NAPS. Of course, this schedule is flexible - a partly aspirational - based on when she sleeps and eats. I mostly try to have her awake for 45 minutes - 1 hour, and eating every 2.5 - 3 hours. It works pretty well most days. If she seems hungrier or to need me more some days, she gets fed and worn in the wrap a lot more. Her night wakings are still ridiculous - 11, 2, 4/5/6. But she's still young and I mostly feed her when she wakes up, but Mark will take her if she does her gassy fussy wake up at 5 and won't go back to sleep. It's very kind of him, and I'm not sure at this point how to get her to stop waking up at those times other than not feeding her. I hope at some point she gets the drift that it's not worth waking up for if she's not eating. [Nervous laughter]
Anyway we didn't do sleep training with Henry until he was about 9 months old. 9 months! He was still waking up all the time at night and I was back at work full time and just exhausted. I look back on the things I did and can't believe the willpower and tenacity I had for that first baby. I guess you just don't want to mess them up...and then you have a second baby and think WHAT WAS I THINKING. For me, I realized that most of the decisions you make as a parent are shaping you - as a parent and adult - rather than shaping your kid into what you want them to be. I didn't want to let Henry cry when he was a baby, but none of us were sleeping and it made for a miserable time most nights. I wanted to be a compassionate parent, but I wasn't doing what was best for me or Henry. So I'm trying to do a better job this time around. And also I just want to sleep again. There is a funny written-for-adults kids book called Go The F*** to Sleep and I think of that every time it's 4 in the morning and my loud snorting grunty baby won't settle. It makes me laugh, and the sense of humor is the only thing between me and insanity, so thumbs up!
It's a cruel thing - non-sleeping babies and tired mothers. Because if you were reading above, she takes 5 naps during the day and then there's bedtime - that's 6 times of putting a baby to bed every day. And if you have a baby that hates to sleep, your life can get frustrating so quickly. That's why we do the wrap, we have nightly dance parties (me, Henry, and Marnie), and Henry actually has been so pleasant and sweet. Sometimes after I've put Marnie down for a nap, he looks around and says - Hey lets wake up Marnie!! He adores her. If she cries, he puts his fingers in his ears and looks at me, annoyed, then he'll say, Mama, Marnie is calling for you.
Once we get this sleep thing down, I'll start venturing out of the house a little more. But honestly with these dark and cold days, we are just as happy staying inside baking cookies and watching Christmas movies together. Not a bad life.