My success story about napping jinxed us. Well....not exactly, she isn't a terrible napper, but it isn't going as easily as the Baby Whisperer made it sound. And it's incredibly restrictive: like my mom said, "she's in charge right now." The Baby Whisperer would not agree, insisting, "she's a baby." Anyway, the thing with napping is that there is a very small window and if you miss it, that window closes and you're stuck inside with a screaming child who went from sleepy to over-exhausted in about 60 seconds. I've discovered that Hannah's window of awake seems to last for no more than about an hour and a half, often less in the morning. She woke up a little after 8:00 today and was ready for a nap again around 9:20. I'm good at catching the signs in the morning because I do very little other than focus on her for that period. I put her down and she fussed tiredly for about 5 minutes. I went in at one point because the fussing was kind of loud, but her eyes were closed peacefully and she wasn't moving anything except her mouth so I rubbed her back for a few minutes and then tip toed out. I haven't heard a peep since. Success!! But the morning nap is easy. Sometimes the afternoon nap is equally as easy, but inevitably, at some point during the day, I will want to run a quick errand. So when she wakes up and is finished eating, I make the errand our "activity." Unfortunately, once in the Baby Hawk or car seat, Hannah begins cat napping. The Baby Whisperer did not explain what to do with a cat nap. Do I start the cycle over with feeding and activity time? Maybe an abbreviated version of each? Or do I still count from the last time she woke up and try to put her down an hour and a half later or whenever she is displaying her tired signs? The thing is, I would just ignore advice and go with her signs, but by this point in the day, there is too much going on (maybe daddy is home now or I'm trying to make dinner or...) and I always miss the signs, but never by much so I rush to put her in her crib but, it's too late, she's overtired and screams bloody murder. Thus begins our evenings. Meltdowns begin around 5:00 or 6:00. Usually around 7:00 we decide to bath her and get bedtime started because she is so clearly exhausted, though every time I wonder if it's the right thing because Hannah is not yet a fan of this early bedtime and anyway, as soon as she's sleeping, if I'm not sleeping too, I'm only cheating myself so I have too choose: quiet alone time with the hubby in the evening or sleep? I typically lean toward sleep. Not that we are ever actually given the choice anyway; no matter how early we bathe her and attempt to start bedtime, she will find a way to stay up until at least 9:00. So bedtime for us is at least a 2 hour ritual every night. If I didn't eat dinner before we started, I'm not eating till morning because by the time we get her to sleep, I'm exhausted and drop off pretty immediately. On Thursday she kept me up until almost midnight. This was particularly painful since I was ready for bed by 10:00. Fortunately, once asleep she sleeps between 4 and 6 hours. The night that she was up until almost midnight, she slept till 5:45. So that's nice.
The bottom line there is that my mom is right, she's in charge in the sense that I have to revolve my life and activity around what's best for her because if I don't, we all pay the price. She is not an easy baby who will just sleep wherever and whenever she needs to. She needs me to pay close attention to her messages and put her down in a quiet place at the right moment and to do that, I need to not be distracted. That means that until she is able to stay awake a little longer, I probably need to have a sitter while she sleeps so I can run my errands during nap time.
We've also been trying to introduce her to her crib at night time. Since she is able to fall asleep there for a nap, I figure why not for bedtime? I certainly can't get her to just go to sleep in the bassinet, and often, even after I've rocked her to sleep 6 different times, her eyes still shoot open when I lay her down. She seems to know that mommy and daddy aren't going to sleep yet and if that's the case, then why should she? She did end up falling asleep in the crib last night (for the second night, though not in a row) and then we just ended up missing her. The room felt empty and weird, and I didn't sleep too well anyway because I was watching the baby monitor like a hawk. Once she gets the hang of sleeping in her crib for the first part of the night, we'll work on sleeping there for the second part...in the meantime, I need the sleep so selfishly, it is easier for me to bring her to bed with us when she wakes up and let her nurse and sleep next to me until morning. Anyway, I love the snuggling and so does she. I started the Baby Hearts book and it upset me because it talks about how a long time ago people believed that babies didn't need love to survive, just food and shelter, so babies in orphanages were just given the basics with no snuggling and love and their death rates were enormous as a result. How terrible is that???? I read that part on the second night I was attempting to get her to go to sleep in her crib and although she has already passed out successfully, I ran in and picked her sleeping body up and placed her in her bassinet beside us. In addition to needing love and warmth, they also learn to regulate their breathing by being close to us. I didn't know that. So now I'm more focused on yogic breathing when I'm holding her....
I realize there aren't a lot of paragraph breaks in this post--it ended up being a rambling mess and will remain that way because I feel better having gotten all that out of my head. Catharsis was the name of this game and it's been accomplished.