Thursday, March 17, 2011

Newton's First Law of Babies

1. A baby in motion tends to (or in this case will) stay in motion unless snuggled with by an outside source of body heat.

Lately, LO will not stop moving. He flails. He reaches. He bounces on my knee. He kicks in frustration. He makes motions with his hands as if he were Captain Kirk and sleep were "Khan!!!"

Even in slumber, the child moves. He will only sleep in his swing (and not very often in there) or in the car (if we are going at a steady rate of 63 miles per hour with no interruptions of any kind for gear-changing, braking or other types of slight changes in velocity).

This is becoming problematic. I can generally get him to take his first nap of the day without problems. (So says the woman who is currently waiting for the other bootie to drop as the child lies wakeful and potentially angry in his swing). His second nap of the day is harder, but if I can transition him from playing to nursing to swinging to sleep within the infinitesimally small optimal sleep window, I can generally get him to take a nap in the late morning/early afternoon. His late afternoon nap is generally an exercise in frustration for all involved, and the dog has petitioned me to please fix the noise pollution problem. But at least two days out of every seven, I can get LO to take an afternoon nap.

Then there is bedtime. I would like LO's bedtime to be somewhere in the 6:30-8:00 pm range. It would be great to have a well rested child. It would be glorious to have an hour or so out of every 24 when J and I are not specifically parenting. But LO thinks an early bedtime is for suckers. He screams when we put him in the swing. I have sat by the swing, singing to him for an hour at a time. I have snuggled with him in the swing (and I have the goose eggs on my head to prove the lack of real snuggling accessibility in that fershtunkiner swing). I have lain down with him to snuggle him into submission on the bed. The result: a child who is quiet and sleeping (or near sleeping) while I am there, and a screaming infant of rage the moment I get up.

I can't decide if the child is putting us on, or if we have the world's worst sleeper.

In an effort to determine how Machiavellian LO is, we allowed him to cry on Sunday evening, after a day of mediocre-to-awful napping, wherein I held the child the entire day and got nothing done. LO cried the heartrending shrieks of an abandoned child for TWO FULL HOURS. After two hours, he quieted down. I felt like we had broken his poor spirit, but still, I was thankful for the fact that the child was finally sleeping.

Then, to prove that as I am the Most Stubborn Individual on Earth (32nd year holding that title!) and probably should not have reproduced, LO started crying again after ten minutes. (I apparently will have some competition at this year's Mulish Awards Ceremony.) The crying was a great deal quieter, but that was only because the child had screamed himself hoarse. I cried Uncle and picked up the kid to nurse him.

Official score: LO: 1, Parents: -50.

Last night, we tried soothing the child to sleep earlier. He screamed. We gave him his regular bath. He laughed, then screamed. We snuggled skin-to-skin. He fell asleep, only to scream the second contact with Mom was broken. We bundled him up and took him in the car. He screamed through a tour of Lafayette.

At this point, it was 8:30, and I was pretty bushed myself. LO and I snuggled up together and went to sleep. He dropped off like sleep was the most natural thing in the world, and he loved his regular evening date with the Sandman. Apparently, if I want LO to sleep at 7 pm, I have to go to bed with him. And stay there. Damn.

I know part of this difficulty comes from the fact that LO is teething, and being by himself gives him no distractions from the pain in his gums. But this mostly has to do with the fact that I had to give birth to him in order to meet the only person in the world more stubborn than me.

On the plus side, I'm probably going to get all caught up on my sleep now.

Current Official Score:
LO: 25, Parents: -8 million.


  1. Enzo also had a lot of problems sleeping....consistency and determination. I married probably the most stubborn man on earth, its only right that I should get the most stubborn child. We went days without sleep, weeks without naps, and he still throws fits at nap time almost everyday. Both boys only sleep 45min-1.5 hours during the day and 11 hours at night, which at first I was frustrated with b/c some Moms get 18 hours of sleep a day even at 3. But not my boys they get their 12-13hrs a day and are happy. Your best bet is to read a book, say their prayers, and put them down for their nap at the same time everyday and let them fuss and complain (I use to go 2 hours for each nap/sleep but it varies), if they still don't sleep, keep them up until bedtime or 3-4 hours. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I am not stubborn and almost gave in many times with Enzo but I knew I had to nix the problem now or it never would be. GOOD LUCK! let me know if you have any tips of your own, b/c like I said it's still a battle here, although not as bad.

  2. No, honey, *I* had the Worst Sleeper of All Time...but I do feel your pain. And my WSoAT currently is an amazing sleeper at age 5 (started around 2.5), if you need a light at the end of the tunnel.
    What simultaneously comforts and frustrates me doesn't matter what you do. He will eventually sleep on his own, and will be whatever kind of sleeper he's meant to be no matter what you do know. So, do what you need to save your sanity and get your own rest - and when he's a teenager, wake him up early every once in a while shreiking "how do you like that! payback's a @#$# isn't it!".

  3. Erika, with any luck LO will continue the grand tradition of both his parents and be a morning person. Which will cheat me of the opportunity to shriek "How you like *them* apples?" at him at 6 am, but will make family outings easier.

    Today he's already gone down for his first nap MUCH more easily than he has in a few days. I'm thinking once he gets back into his rhythm, we won't have quite so many issues. Traveling to Grandpa & Bubbie's house a couple of weekends ago, then teething, then a Saturday outing to Indianapolis, then the time change all conspired to make yesterday a sleep desert. But we're heading back to normal (I hope).

  4. How funny. I'm still trying to CONCEIVE a baby, but your post really, really made me excited to have one. I used to crawl up my mom's back when I was sleeping, like I thought it was a staircase or something.

    I'm glad I came across your blog. Love your writing. :)

  5. @Jessica07, thanks so much for reading and commenting! I'm glad that my (mis)adventures with LO make you excited rather than scared of parenthood. :) Please, keep checking back!