August 19, 2011

Don't you just love a bargain?

Sweet, quiet, safe, happy, healthy sleep for my little Pishy Poo.  I'm a self-admitted, oft accused sleep nazi with Vienna, and I have been since I regained the mental capacity post-birth to understand how much I believe in the science of sleep.

It's science.  

(I'm Ron Burgundy?)

At first, when the baby was just a teeny little newborn sleeping every two hours and eating every third hour (God, I don't miss those days- don't even get me started on breast feeding) this hot mama was a hot mess.  I'd bargain with the powers that be for just eighteen more seconds of sleep, PLEASE.  I knew that my mental faculties were fading faster than my waistline in my first trimester.  Sleep.  I needed sleep- we all needed sleep.  I read Dr. Weissbluth's Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child, and latched on to his theory of sleep training.

The subtitle should have been something to the effect of And Therefore Mentally Functioning Mothers Who No Longer Cry at Cat Food Commercials.  This book became my life preserver.  I do pride myself on a quick whit and a knack for grasping things spit spot, but at this point of my life, with a one month old- I was beginning to lose my concept of which end was up and I needed help getting this nugita into a schedule.

The very abridged, cram several chapters into several sentences, version is that at about 4 months old you can start to sleep train.   When the baby starts to mellow out, rub the eyes, minorly yawn- start to gear up for bed.  Put the baby down as soon as you can with a routine that over time the baby will recognize as bedtime cues.  I decided that the earlier the better to start to sleep train.  Via started to become lackluster around 7p.m. at about 2 months of age.  So we fed her a bottle and put her down.  Over the next month we gave her a bath, fed her and she was down by 6:45.  She'd cry at first, get pissed, then pass out.  We didn't get her when she cried (only when she screamed like something was really bothering her) and if she arose with fussiness during the middle of the night, we'd let her learn to self soothe.  It took steadfastness and dedication but by the third month, the midnight and any subsequent early morning feedings were a thing of the past.  I was able to count past 12 and I began to recall the whole alphabet.  We were moving forward.  All good things.

So, fast forward and now Vienna goes down by 6:15 every night, she wakes up for a bottle at about 6:15 every morning, and she is a happy baby.  Naps?  This is where the "nazi" thing comes into play.  Every book, regardless of paradigm or philosophy, states that any sleep is good sleep for a little one.  Babies develop neurologically at exponential rates when they sleep well because when they're awake they're able to make connections easier, their minds have more energy to absorb stimulus, their attitudes are positive, they eat better, and the mama's don't need as much hemorrhoid cream under their eyes.  We all win.

Wanna know what doesn't win?  Your daytime schedule.  Your errands and immersion in the world goes to crap and you have a two to three hour window to pack the kid, get out of the house, accomplish everything and be home in time for food and another nap.  What also sails away?  Your veneer of being a trendy, go with the flow, let the baby tell me what she needs type bark embracing parent.  And I don't care.  I'd rather have a baby that literally smiles and dives into her crib when it's time for a nap than to push it, make her overtired and have her not be able to self soothe herself to sleep at all.  NOT worth it.

I'm very proud to say that Nug Nug is a dynamite sleeper.  I'm sure some of that has to do with who she is as a person, but I also think that who she is as a person has a lot to do with how well she sleeps.  And, you know what, I'm proud to say that I do a fantastic job of protecting her sacred sleep.  I am this girl's spokesperson until she tells me to mind my own business (which won't work), and I take this job very, very seriously.

So, sleep on this one.  Now that she sleeps like a dream, I go in to check on her before I go to bed each night and this small but significant part of me freezes and freaks out until I look into her crib and put my hand on her body to feel it rise and fall with her breathing.  It happens during some of her long, heavy naps too.  I think, Oh god I killed her with sleep.  She's SO quiet.  Paranoia, much?  I trained her so well to sleep, now she won't wake up.  I just wait for the Irony of the world to terminate me with a health food cleanse or a gummy vitamin.  Sick, sick, sick.

Before I begged the universe to help her learn to sleep so my husband could keep me out of a straight jacket.  Now that she sleeps, I beg that she is sleeping healthfully and, you know, is still alive.  I'm constantly bargaining with whatever It is out there for my Girl.  

I do love a good bargain.

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