Thursday, September 9, 2010

How I Stopped Being a Flake (For Now Anyway)

Yesterday morning it took me an hour to get a diaper on Hannah.  She clung to me like a baby monkey as soon as she realized I was about to lay her on the changing table, and then, before her butt even hit the table, she had flipped herself onto her stomach, thrown her legs over the edge, and was on the floor faster than I could process what was happening.  (I never really let go of her so no, she didn't hurt herself in the giant jump down.)  At first I was sympathetic. I figured that the crazy sores (which are healing) and rash (which is new and covers her whole butt and looks terrible) are painful and so she obviously doesn't want me coming near it and slathering pounds of goo all over it and then trapping it inside the moistness of a diaper. So I laid off and contemplated staying home so she could continue to run around diaper free.  But here's the thing: I NEEDED to get out of the house.  The reality of being a stay-at-home-mom really hit home this week.  Eric went back to work last week, and this week, I decided to let Hannah go down to one nap a day.  This means that I now have to have on my mom face ALL MORNING LONG.  This is quite an adjustment to make.  Two naps (two breaks) was really working for me.  We had stayed home all day on Tuesday and it was mind numbing and also stressful because I couldn't get anything done. I tried to take a few minutes on the computer to look up some dinner recipes she while played independently but nope. The second I flipped open my computer Hannah was right there beside me banging on the keyboard, making windows open and close, freaking out the caps lock button, and wreaking havoc all over my little on-screen world.  I closed the lap top, hid it, and sat down on the floor with her for a bit. The clocked moved slower than it's moved in a really long time, and I flashed back to rainy days as a nanny, hanging out in the basement for hours on end while the older child, who has the world's longest attention span, sat contently and quietly in a box that he was pretending was a canoe and I desperately thought up ways to entertain myself without being a bad nanny. "Ummm...I'll be right back, I'm just going to unload the dishwasher."

So when Wednesday rolled around I was determined to start the schedule I'd planned out last week. Wednesday was story time at the library.  Since that doesn't start until 10:30, I figured we could head to Target first.  At 9:00 I took her upstairs with the intent of diapering and clothing her and getting the heck out of dodge for a couple of hours.  At 9:15, I was rethinking my stance. Maybe she was really that uncomfortable that we should just stay home and diaper free for another day....Pondering....Thinking...Considering...No. Nope. We. Are. Getting. Out. Of. The. House. So I tried again. And again.  And again. The same scenario unfolded a couple more times.  I returned to reconsidering my stance.  What would Super Mom do??  Ahhh, screw it. Who cares. This time I made up my very indecisive mind: we were leaving the house. I'm the mom, and I said so.  I get to say stuff like that now that I'm a mom. I get to make up the rules, and although I try to make them with her best interests in mind, that does not mean I lay down and let her determine the day.

It took me an hour to come to that decision, and my waffling is probably why it took an hour to get the diaper on her.  At 10:00, I snuck the diaper on her while she was walking around.  Yes, I thought to try that sooner, but it didn't work earlier. At 10:00 it worked.  Unfortunately, my ability to gob on pounds of gooey-ness were severely inhibited by our lateral diapering stance so she had to go dry.  It didn't seem to bother her, not even after a giant dookie in the toothpaste aisle.  I rushed her off to the bathroom to change her immediately, and she laid there still and serene and peaceful...

Her wild woman wriggling has cropped up repeatedly since then, but now that I realize that she's not in THAT much pain and now that I know what to expect, I catch her right after her initial flip and flip her back to her back. I'm getting faster. She's realizing I mean business.  She's persistent, but so am I. Patience.  I wasn't born with it, but I'm learning. Diapers are now being changed again in under an hour.  But mostly I just let her run around naked peeing and pooping on everything in the hopes that the air will dry out the rashes and sores. This has amped up the potty training but with no significant progress except that I think that Hannah is starting to understand the action of peeing and the word "pee" in conjunction with it.  She will sit on the potty, but not for long and not at all if she has to pee. I've gotten better at determining when she needs to go, and I sit her down accordingly, but those are the times she's pretty quick to get back up.  Apparently, she prefers to pee while standing.

So, we're working through round 2 of the wiley, wriggling, diaper changing phase, and since we already laid the ground work the first time around, it's easier going this time around.  I wish I could say the same thing about round 2 of sucky sleep, but success has been slower there.  The good news is that I learned (both through reading and through the pediatrician) that the little chimichangas go through developmental surges on their birthday and half-birthday; knowing that has made this last month less frustrating.

Part of the problem is always my indecisiveness. It takes me a very, very long time to make up my mind about something. I like to research it thoroughly, hear testimonials, maybe make a few test runs.  When I do commit, it's on and good luck getting me to change my mind. But until I've decided, I'm flaky and wishy-washy and just plain annoying. I couldn't decide what to do about her sleep. Everything I read said that 15-18 months is the magic number for giving up the morning nap.  I heard mixed testimonials, plenty of friends have taken their baby down to one nap a day way before this magic window.  And as for the test runs, well, Hannah managed, but she didn't thrive.  I could tell she was sleepy and having a hard time getting through an entire day with just one nap, especially if the one nap ended up not being good.  I also read that in the transition period, their one nap a day will be earlier than a regular afternoon nap because they won't be able to make it all the way to 1:00 and that this period will be frustrating and lengthy...Taking into consideration that babies in the 12-15 month age range need about 14 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period and that my baby has been consistently sleeping 11-1/2 to 12 hours a night (though she's been waking up once or twice most nights this past month), she really only needs a 2 hour nap.  Since there have been some days recently where she slept till almost 8:00 a.m., and there is no way I'm getting her to take a morning nap when she sleeps that late, I decided that we are now in the transition phase in which she will take only one nap, but that nap will be midday rather than afternoon.  Nap time is at 12:00, and  the cool thing about that (now on day 3 of this schedule) is that when I lay her down right at 12:00, she pretty much goes right to sleep. I just lay her down and walk out. She screams but not for any more than a minute.

It's still not really enough sleep. She hits a big lull around 3:30 every day, getting fussy and rubbing her eyes. I end up sitting down with her in a quiet spot and nursing her.  After about a half hour she has enough energy to make it to bedtime, but barely.  Which brings me to weaning: that's not happening.  She actually started nursing MORE than before for a while there, and I let her because she had diarrhea and a terrible rash and her sleep was irregular so I felt like she needed it. Also, since I couldn't decide on her sleep schedule, her nursing schedule was out of whack too, and there are only so many problems I can solve in any given moment.  Now that I've got a sleep schedule figured out, I'm working on figuring out a new nursing schedule and work toward weaning.

The really cool thing about this new schedule is that selfishly, it fits my life too. With Eric back at work now, I can't just go gallivanting off to the gym while she takes her morning nap.  If I'm going to the gym, she's gotta come with. Also, I signed her up for a gymnastics/toddler tumbling class on Monday mornings. I was worried about how that was going to work out if she needed a nap.  All problems are solved.  I've got activities planned for every morning of the week to get us out of the house for a couple of hours. On Mondays we'll do gymnastics. Tuesdays I'll take her swimming at the indoor pool. Wednesdays are story time at the library. Thursdays and Fridays are mama gym days because I like those 9:30 classes, and she loves the daycare at the gym anyway.

I don't do well in a state of spontaneous limbo so I'm hugely relieved to be returning to a schedule and a routine, especially one that is so balanced and ensures that both Hannah and I are getting what we need: exercise, stimulation, and socialization.  Funny how my needs are so similar to hers...

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