Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Operation Pequita Nap: Day 3

(I wrote this as it was happening; first draft was in the third person. I clearly am fighting within myself to both stay engaged and distance myself.)

10:05 am - Monito falls asleep

10:06 am - Pequita's snack time begins. Prunes. Mmmmm.

10:30 am - Pequita and I retire to the dark nursery and read Snowmen At Night twice with a bottle of breast milk. Pequita is so drowsy she needs help holding her bottle up.

10:50 am - I carry Pequita into her crib in the master bedroom and we turn on the white noise machine we sleep with. Still no blackout shades; no chance to get to the store yet. I lay her down in her crib, she starts to cry, the bottle quiets her although her eyes are wary. The phone rings* and I zip out to answer it so it stops bothering her. Screaming.

11:00 am - I go in to comfort her. I notice that in my mental disarray with all the crying and stress I forgot to raise the crib side. She could vault out of the crib like that with no effort at all. Damn. I spend a minute wondering if Child Protective Services reads blogs. I hug Pequita's now very sweaty head to my neck (it takes a lot of energy to scream with confused anger at the top of your little tiny lungs for 10 minutes straight) and she quiets down. After 5 minutes her breathing returns to normal & I lay her down again to immediate crying. I leave. I am on the computer in the office only about 15 feet from the crib listening to her scream and jump up and down (now safely) in her crib. Blessedly, Monito stays napping downstairs.

This is what I am suffering through, taken by poking the camera through the bedroom door. She cannot see it. I feel like I should be suffering, since she is. Skip this if crying upsets you. I would, if I could.

11:15 am - I go in to comfort her. Her whole body is now sweaty from exertion. I haven't been picking her up when I go in because she is so likely to fall asleep in my arms and I want her to fall asleep in her crib. I hug her, our bodies pressed against each other through the bars of the crib side. I support her butt with one hand and her shoulders with the other while cooing to her. She is so tired that she dozes off in this position, sagging against my arms. I lay her down and we start again with the screaming. As soon as I lay her down she moves, preferring to spend her time crouched in the corner of her crib nearest the door clutching the bars of her prison. I leave, hear Monito chirp and go fetch him. He grins at me and spits up all down my front, the smelly spit up that's been cooking in his belly for an hour. Luckily I am wearing Polartec and it slides right off my shirt onto the pile of clean laundry I was folding.

11:30 am - I go in to comfort her. 40 minutes of this process is my limit. In our last attempt, I patted her belly and cooed to her and she goes to sleep. She sleeps for 35 minutes. My rule is that once she sleeps and wakes, naptime is over. I can't put her through that again so soon. My hope is that the duration of sleep will increase as she gets less upset beforehand. Does anyone who has kids and is reading have thoughts? I am really not sure about this piece. There are books & experts who say all different things.

*Pequita now has an appointment with the University baby psych studies for tomorrow. Something about vision. That will help break up our afternoon.


Blue Hair Knits said...

I must be a terrible mom - but I would limit my comforting. Super Nanny had a good idea about sitting in the room - for the first day relatively close to the crib (bring your laptop), and then each day farther out until soon your in the doorway, and then BAM! you're free. We tried this with John when he was going through a phase and it worked. We also avoided eye contact when we did go in and comfort. A quick walk in, a touch on the back (return of the pacifier for us) and then quick departure - with visits getting fewer and farther between. Your hormones are making you soft. : )

Homestead Mom said...

That's the thing - there is no terrible mom choice here. I think that your way would go faster, but is harder for me. It is getting easier to leave her crying, as I get more experience seeing that she's ok later.

I'm totally soft now, it is true!

MSL said...

You have my sympathy. The crying at naptime is SOOO hard.

I am transitioning Henry (my 4 month old) to taking naps without being nursing down in preparation for starting a new job. Today he screamed in my arms for 25 minutes (and this was the third try) before the pacifier and rocking did the trick. At that point I was too scared to move him so we both napped in the recliner. He slept for 2 hours. I slept for 45 minutes and then read a book. Another one of those things that works with one child but doesn't with two.

- Michele

PS: Is the goal to get her to sleep somewhere where she cannot get into trouble or specifically in her crib? If the former, would some blankets on the floor surrounded by a Superyard work? Is she ready for a pillow? Maybe that might help on the switch from lap to mattress since she could still be semi-reclined?

Homestead Mom said...

Hi, MSL. Congrats on the new job!

My goal for Pequita is to be able to put her down in her safe crib without having to spend an hour nursing her, rocking her, tending to her solely. I can spend this time putting her down when Monito is asleep, but he is starting to be awake more and more. Eventually, I want to have them both on the same nap schedule so I can get things done and rest myself. Also, when Pequita is tired, she inevitably whacks herself on the coffee table or trips and hurts herself. I need to be able to put her to sleep when *I* know she is tired, and not wait for her to drop from fatigue. She is already sleeping with a pillow & a crib wedge, so is nicely reclined vs. flat. She just doesn't want to be away from us/me.

I also think that it is time to start teaching her limits in a safe and loving way, and sleep is a place that will benefit the whole household to get under control. Pequita is clearly very strong willed. As the normal screaming phase is starting up, I am ready to start giving her the confidence and security that some boundaries will afford her.