May 16, 2006

Ten Things I Have Learned about Olivia This Week
1. She has perfected her seal bark laugh and the maniacal look that accompanies it.
2. Pineapple makes her nuts. Not in a good way. More in a can't stop eating it, don't want to eat it kind of way.
3. She really can sleep in her crib. She doesn't love it, but she can do it.
4. Shaving cream can turn a screaming fit of a bath into a whale of a good time.
5. She has a temper. A crazy, don't mess with me unless you are feeling lucky temper.
6. Dog, dog, dog. Cars, cats, shoes and fans are all actually dogs.
7. She loves Moose (see #6) with a love that knows no bounds. He in turn feels pretty luke warm about her.
8. The plastic bee bath toy? Hi-larious.
9. She's really into me right now. In fact, I come in a pretty close second to Moose. This means that I can not leave the room during dinner, pee without an audience, or put her down within the first 15 minutes or so after waking from a nap.
10. I'm pretty into her, too. Being home with her full-time has been more challenging than I anticipated. I thought we would have a honeymoon period before we moved into the haven't had a shower in two days, sweet potato drying on my shirt, can I have my old job back phase, but with the sleep issues, and the teething, and the move, it has been a big adjustment. But I feel like I am getting to know her better every day and she knows that I will be there when that nap is over and that then we will walk or play or go to the park. She rewards me for all my hard work with gorgeous smiles and sloppy kisses and that's more satisfying than any paycheck* I ever cashed.


*Not that there is anything wrong with a paycheck. In fact, send your odd jobs and house-sitting gigs our way. Thanks.

May 14, 2006

And an update on the update...I had no sooner finished typing those lines the other night when O. woke up howling. It took us hours, many hours of back rubbing, shushing, and butt patting to get her to go to sleep and stay asleep. But she did. There has been a little back sliding and arguing over who's getting up in the middle of the night, and it still takes her awhile to go down, but all in all, she's doing great and everyone is sleeping better. I told Alish today that we are on to the next challenge and she said, "Oh no, that was it. It's all smooth sailing from here. You just sit back and wait for her to graduate from college."


May 10, 2006

Update: So when I posted yesterday, I didn't really think about the fact that I would have to write an ending to the story, to share the celebration or the unfortunate defeat. It's a little of both, mostly celebration, but some also humiliation on my part. I had to call in the big guns: my Mom.

Three hours and 45 minutes after being put in her crib yesterday, Olivia was still crying. She was also still standing up, chewing on the crib rails, and dirty. I got her out of bed. She finally fell asleep in the backpack on our walk last night. We had to wake her up to feed her dinner and then be nursed back to sleep.

So this morning, Nan arrived. And sent me away. I'm not even going to say where I went because it really is too embarassing. (my toenails look great. seriously.) Nan took Olivia into her room, read to her, rocked her, and then put her in the bed. She made her lie down, stayed with her, patting her back and soothing her, until she fell hour and a half later. She slept for an hour and a half and was in a great mood this afternoon. So this evening after dinner and a bath, I took her in, read to her, nursed her and laid her down. An hour later, she's sleeping.


May 09, 2006

OK, deep breathing isn't working, so I am thinking of moving on to wine, though it is only a little after 2:00 in the afternoon. What the hell? I don't work anymore.

I am sitting here listening, along with half the neighborhood, I'm sure, to Olivia wail and scream because I have put her in her crib and expect her to go to sleep. By herself. What the hell? Where's her glass of wine?

O. has never slept well. And I have never helped her learn. She was colicky when she was an infant and our mission was to get her to sleep, no matter what it took. And what it usually took was nursing or walking or rocking, or nursing and walking and rocking. As she got older, I continued to do those things, sometime six or seven times a night (or eight or ten, I lose count). She was hard to get to sleep and harder to keep asleep. I read and read about infant sleep and solicited a lot of advice, most of which I didn't like because it consisted of some form of "crying it out." The attachment parenting methods were basically what I was doing, but it wasn't helping her get enough unbroken sleep.

(One hour of crying so far, in case you are counting. I am.)

I have never liked the idea of leaving babies to cry it out. My whole purpose in life when O. was an infant was to keep her safe and healthy and make her feel secure. How could she possibly feel secure when I had seemingly disappeared, ceasing to respond to her cries? Falling Asleep: Sheer Exhaustion and Outright Desperation seemed a lesson best saved for college. But everyone agreed that Olivia was tired. She rubbed her eyes and yawned all day. She fussed and frustrated easily, but would not nap. And the nighttime routine, while allowing her a couple of hours of rest at a time, was wearing me down. So I tried to let her "cry it out." And she cried and so did I and so did my mom after we got into that one argument about it. We tried for days for hours at a time and she only fell asleep once. Once...on the first day, encouraging me to keep it up, but then it never worked again and everyone's nerves were shot. So we stopped.

We found other means that worked to some degree. My mom could wrestle her down to a nap and then sneak her onto the bed, something I could rarely do. Sometimes she slept in the car. I weaned her from nighttime feedings and that helped a little. Something would work for awhile and then quit, so we just adapted and went on. And I guess that is where we are again. While Marc was in New York and O. and I were at my mom's, she slept with me in a king size bed. Marc and I don't have a king size bed. We have a double and the three of us don't fit into it. No one is sleeping. And she is tired and twitchy and in a foul mood.

So, here we are. Everyone says she'll be better off. It will be harder on me than her. She won't remember it. Etc. Well, she's in her bed and she's screaming and it's been almost two hours. This better work or it's all been for nothing. Sleep, baby, sleep.