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Archive for the ‘sleep’ Category

Undies and Avatars

My Undies Are on Inside Out Today

I only discovered this fact in the middle of an interview when I reached back to find the cause of a tickle.  My tag, it turns out, was not designed to be on the outside of the undies.  I continued the conversation without pause.  No need to comment on the undie situation.  But I got momentarily distracted in the aftermath as it dawned on me that this was surely a sign that I needed more sleep.

You Too Can Have a Globally Recognized Avatar

Part of the reason I’m tired is that I was up late working on modifying someone elses blog.  Don’t worry, I was getting paid.  As my boss and I were picking through something, he suddenly realized that my photo was being displayed on his screen.  No one else had a photo next to their username.  Just me.  I’d forgotten I’d set up an Avatar to follow me around to various blogs so my face will show up when I leave a comment.

I thought you might like to know about it too.  Here you go.

If you still haven’t had enough of undies and avatars, watch this.  I keep getting it stuck in my head.  It makes me laugh really hard every time I watch it.

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Toddler Insomnia

just. spent. two. hours. rocking. patting. snacking. drinking.  rocking.  patting.  explaining.  rocking. patting.

she’s finally asleep.  i think.

please, let her be asleep.

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From out in the living room, I could hear her whimpering.

I waited.

She talks in her sleep so I figured she’d fall back to sleep in a minute.

But the whimpering continued. And it sounded distressed. So I went to check.

I opened the door and tiptoed into the dark room, searching for her little body in the light blue glow of the night light. But the lumps were all too small. Only stuffed animals on the bed.

So I searched the floor. Last night she’d rolled off the bed on to the pillow and then on to the hard wood floor. Not to comfortable, sleeping on a hard wood floor.

Still no toddler.

And then I heard the whimper again. It was muffled and worried.

I pushed the pillow away from the bed and ducked my head under. There she was, flat out on her back, squished in among crumbs, dust bunnies, and stray toys. Asleep, but apparently distressed because she was lying on a cold, hard floor, and there wasn’t enough height for her to roll over.

I have no idea how she managed to wriggle her way under there, but I pulled her out. This act of heroics, of course, woke her up. But that’s another story.

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but A__ slept through the night last night.  yes, three nights into night-weening and she was out like a light for 9 solid hours.

un-freakin-believable.

this is going so well, i’m almost scared to imagine what she’s going to get back at me with.

i say, ‘almost scared to imagine’ because i’m not wasting my time imagining.  i’m busy enjoying the sleep.

‘nuf said.  i’m going to bed!

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nurse to sleep no more

night three of weening off of nursing to sleep and life just gets better and better!

we are down to ten minutes of nursing and 15 minutes of back-patting (with NO crying!) while rolling around in the crib before she suddenly falls asleep.  if she were standing at that moment, i swear she would just fall over without warning; it happens that abruptly.

a couple weeks of this, and then we tackle night weening.  i daresay it will not be nearly as successful considering all of my attempts so far have ended when she screamed so hard and for so long that her body threatened to retch.

but that i will not think about now.  because i have a couple more weeks of this nice lovely bedtime routine to enjoy first.

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i discovered a photograph on my computer today.  it’s a hand-me-down (the computer, that is) from my dad, so there are frequent surprises: this was one of them.

it’s of me and my live-out-husband.  i was about 1 month pregnant at the time, maybe more like six weeks or so.  i have long hair that is pulled back in a sloppy hair-do of some sort.  it’s shiny and crazy.  my skin is pink and healthy.  i’m hot in a bohemian, live-how-you will, carefree, life is beautiful, athletic kind of way.  he wears his signature ratty tatty clothes.  scruffy untrimmed beard of several days.  he is also glowing.

it was a shock.  because now i see pictures of myself and i cringe.  my skin is sallow, with too much droop and yet pulled too taught.  the bags beneath my eyes are permanent.  my hair, cut short, is often on the frizzy side due to lack of care…or caring–i’m not sure which.  i am so skinny i look like i can be snapped in two like a dried twig.

i try to be a healthy mom.  i try.  i try.

i eat right.  i exercise.  i’m seeing a chiropractor.  yes, i’m overdue for the dentist, but only by a year.  i have clothing that is new.  i got rid of all the stuff that stretched with my pregnancy and then sagged with my too fast stress-induced weight loss.  i dress well.  but, somehow, i still look neglected.

maybe it’s because i have little time for sleep.

my live-out, on the other hand, is in better shape than he’s been in for years.  he goes to bed by ten every night, and that’s a late night.  he lifts weights every day.  he runs several times a week.  he gets his hair cut regularly.  he trims his beard.  gone is the ragtag man i fell in love with.  back, however, is the body i fell in love with.

he has gone from ragtag to hot while i have gone from hot to breakable.  what’s up with that?

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if you haven’t figured it out by now, i don’t parent by the book. in fact, i’ve never even read a parenting book. that’s a lie, i read the book about swaddling, shushing, swinging and a couple other ‘s’ words i can’t remember. the diagram for swaddling was really useful.  oh, and for the first 6 months of life, i obsessively checked the list of “what your baby should be doing” in the very terrifying “what to expect” book series.  i would like to burn all of those books.i digress.

i don’t parent by the book.

i parent from the heart, from the mind, from the spirit. i parent by listening to my child and figuring out what she needs. i parent by negotiating, compromising, and explaining. it requires a lot of patience and time and energy.  i parent by offering love, comfort, choices, and care.

i have a child who is very loving, very independent, very dramatic, very trusting, very inquisitive, and very brave.

i have a child who doesn’t sleep through the night.

she is 15 months old.

i have never been willing to let her “scream it out.” i did try it for a few nights, but after 45 minutes of screaming, i went in to comfort her and help her fall asleep in the way that i felt comfortable with. i feel comfortable helping her fall asleep. i don’t feel comfortable letting her scream at a time of day when she’s supposed to be relaxing.

for some reason, if infant sleep comes up in conversation, i feel obligated to say something like, “I didn’t have the strength to let her cry it out.” why have i always admitted that i’m the one without strength? why is my parenting style considered the weaker one? why, in this country, have we created this myth that a majority of babies sleep through the night, but only if you make them. you must force them to learn to “self-comfort.” you must force them to understand that no matter how much they beg, you will not come to them in the middle of the night. they must go it alone.

i thought of this particularly as i spoke to a young mom recently:  a lovely woman who i haven’t seen in many years. she has a seven month old: her first.  when he wakes at night–which he always does–she leaves him to cry for a half hour, and then goes in to say “you’re okay,” and pat him on the back. she lets him cry for another 15 minutes after that. and then, after all this crying, she goes in, picks him up, and he falls back to sleep within a minute. she even said to me, “it’s like he just wants a hug and to know i’m there.” but, for some strange reason, even this knowledge is not enough to convince her that if she went in to comfort him right away, he may just fall back to sleep faster and then sleep better knowing she’ll be there for him. she has to do what we all think we’re supposed to do: she has to make him fend off life on his own.

and here’s where we get to the black hole of the sleep controversy. if you are comfortable listening to your child scream for hours, that’s your prerogative. if you absolutely feel the need to “sleep train,” that’s also your prerogative. what gets under my skin, though, is the thought that with all of this “sleep training” and “crying it out” comes the relegation of comfort to the daylight hours. we are told not to comfort our children at night. we are only allowed to comfort them during the day. at night, a time when even adults get nervous; even adults hate to sleep alone; even adults see shadows and want extra snuggles, we have convinced ourselves that infants should be able to handle this time on their own, with none of the comfort they get during the day.  and parents like me, who believe that comfort at night is essential to a child’s well-being, are considered weak.

the first midwife i went to when i was pregnant told me that there had been a budget cut at the hospital. i could only have a midwife in attendance if i gave birth between nine and five.  i found a new midwife.

infants, toddlers, children of the earth, there has been a budget cut: you can only receive physical comfort (beyond back-patting) if you cry between 6am and 6pm. at any other time, you will have to comfort yourself. good luck. may the best baby survive.

(a note to the angry–i know this post will cause some of you to steam.  so be it.  i welcome your thoughts.  as i wrote above, this is a HUGE controversy in the world of child-rearing.  just as huge, i think, as breast vs. bottle.  blogs are places for discussions so feel free to explain why you think i’m wrong.  i like a lively debate.  written debate, that is.  in person, if you hollered at me, i’d run away crying with my tail between my legs.)

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