Category Archives: ZzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzZz

A Few Sleep Tricks

Let me preface this by telling you that I only have two kids.  So I’m pretty much talking out my ass.

That said, my honey and I have picked up a few tricks along the way concerning babies, toddlers, preschoolers and sleep.  I feel like the difference between parenting the first baby and the second one is that everything we thought or said the first time ended with a question mark.  With the second baby, our thoughts and ideas end with periods.

Trick #1  The Feather Ruffle

I don’t remember which of the umpteen sleep books I read this in, but check it: if your baby keeps getting up at the same times every night, try sneaking in about an hour before they usually wake up and “ruffling the baby’s feathers.”  You actually wake the baby up out of whatever level of sleep he or she is in, but not all the way.  This changes the sleep pattern ever-so-slightly, and they forget to wake up at their regular time.  Cool, right?   I like to just run my hand down his back a little or ruffle his hair.

Pros: 1. It might actually work.  And if you can get it to work three nights in a row, you may be in the clear. 2. Your sleeping baby is so cute.

Cons:  1. You still need to wake up.  But since the baby doesn’t wake up all the way, there is no putting back to sleep involved. 2. It might not work — because babies are tricky like that.

Trick #2 The Dream Feed

You probably know about this one.  But basically, you take the baby out of the crib at 10 or 11 pm, and give the baby a bottle while he’s still asleep.  What is this a trick for?  Well, when baby is first learning to sleep through the night, you can tank him up one more time before his long fast.  We are currently using it on Trucker, even though he’s 18 months old, because he’s been waking up a lot and won’t go back to sleep unless we feed him.  Which, you know, we were kind of sort of supposed to stop doing a long time ago.  For some reason, when we remember to dream feed him around 10, he doesn’t wake up.

Pros: 1. This is a nice place to sneak in a bottle for the non-lactating mom when baby is still a wee one.  2. It sometimes works. 3. Your sleeping baby is so so cute.

Cons: 1. You need to remember to do it.  This may not be hard for a raring-to-go non-lactating mom looking for some bonding time.  But for moms of a second baby who is 18 months old, and I speak mostly for myself and my honey… well, we keep forgetting to do it.  And when we forget, we don’t sleep so well. 2. Once your baby has teeth, or at least I think this is the case, one is supposed to avoid the baby sleeping with milk in her mouth.  Am I right on this one?  Well, that brings me to the next trick:

Trick #3 The Water-Milk Switcheroo

If your baby is drinking from a bottle, and she insists on waking up a couple of times a night to drink milk, pull a one- two- switcheroo on her.  Just put water in the bottle.  Many babies will not bother waking up when the milk thrill is gone.  Not Trucker.  Hence the dream feed.  But at least I lose the milk-in-the-mouth guilt.

Pros: If it works, you get to sleep and you save money on milk!

Cons:  Your baby might just get mad and refuse to go back to sleep. So.  Good luck with that.

Trick #4 Wait a Week or Check the Teeth

Sometimes babies just go through developmental milestones that make them lose sleep.  (I’m pretty sure adults do this, too. At least I do.) Sometimes, you’ll have a hellish time for about a week, then baby will get back into his groove.  And sometimes, baby’s gums just hurt like hell.  If he’s getting a tooth you didn’t know about, some tylenol or teething tablets or whatever pain-relief regimen you choose may be in order.

And that’s my unsolicited assvice for the day.  Good night and sleep tight, my people.

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Morning Sickness

No, I’m not pregnant (though I am experiencing several annoying pregnancy symptoms.)

I’m just sick of the morning.  5:23 am, to be exact.

Sometimes it is 4ish.  Once it was 3.

Trucker is a big fan of the sunrise.  He hasn’t missed one in what feels like a year.  And he’s just creeping up on 15 months old.

Sooooo.  Wait.  Have I neglected to blog about my new downstairs neighbors, Startle and Smokey? OMG.  I have not.  Well, our much beloved and quite deaf previous downstairs neighbor unfortunately passed away many months ago.  We loved her.  LOVED her.  May she rest in peace.  I contacted several friends with small kids and had them calling the management company asking about the apartment.  Who did they rent it to?  Who?  Smokey and Startle: a 30-something childless couple who somehow manage to smoke heavily enough that our entire apartment smells — especially our bedroom, not to mention the entire hallway of the fifth floor.  A couple who decided to not use the master bedroom with an attached bath as their bedroom, but have rather chosen the room under the bedroom of my two loud sons.  And they like to sleep in on the weekends.  This couple is in constant fear for their health, despite the offensive smoking habit.  Their health, it seems hinges on not being startled.  By noise.  Like, oh, the sound of a hulking one-year-old throwing his sippy cup to the floor.  Or moving furniture.  Or pulling the shopping cart down upon himself.  We are loud.  I would not like to live downstairs from myself, it is true. But I’m ready to take up tap dancing, I’m so over these people.  We’ve been breaking our backs trying to keep the noise down to a dull roar.  If Startle comes up here again (she has come up three times,) I’ve decided to tell her that her coming up does not make it quieter, it only makes me feel bad.  And to tell her that if she comes up again for noise, I won’t try to keep them quiet any more.    Then maybe she’ll appreciate the fact that my kids pretty much never play in their own room any more, and most of my energy is spent trying to get Trucker to at least throw things onto the carpet, not the slim strip of bare floor (coop rule of 80% floor coverage, check) where he prefers to throw things.

[breathe, ohm, breathe]

So, anyway, out of sheer good-neighborliness and coop rules, I can’t even put Trucker down on the floor until 6.  He’s loud.  And if he gets near something to throw or climb or topple, he will do it.  He’s a Truck. So if he gets up at five, it is a lot of heavy lifting. Or, I’ve found that the only way to not carry him that early is to lay on the couch, lay him on my belly, and turn on NY1.  I’m not proud.  But if I don’t he’ll sliver off of me and start eating the plants or climbing onto the dining room table or some such Trucker stunt.

My point, and I do have one, is HEEEELLLP!  Do any of you wise women have any advice for getting the Truck to sleep longer?  We’ve pushed his bed time back about 30 minutes.  What else?  Anything?  Anything?

Thanks in advance,

oneofhismoms

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Blogging Around

We have come into the practice of sitting in a folding chair outside of Cakie’s door as he falls asleep.  To some of you this may seem extreme or unnecessary.  (My mom keeps asking me if we still do it.)  To us it is a giant leap from when we had to sit in his room right next to his bed in the dark doing Kegels or meditating or anything else that can be done in the dark without moving or making noise, before we ever-so-carfeully tippy-toed out of there to freedom.  The folding chair in the hallway is nothing.

I have a point, I swear.

Part of the point being that now I can grab a book from the hall bookself and read it while I wait for the Cake-meister to go to dreamland.  Last night I was reading Bird-by-Bird by Anne Lamott.  It is a silly little book about writing that has a few tasty kernels of truth and wisdom.  I’d bought it when I was in grad school for poetry.  I’m pretty sure when it came out, people didn’t have email so much.  The chapter I was reading was about “calling around.”  Essentially, Lamott was suggesting that when an author is bored and/or lonely, he or she should call people who might have information that would be of use to them for their book.  Here’s my point.  Did you see it coming?

I need some information from you, my dear dear readers.  I’m waiting for some interviews to come back.  In the meantime, I’m trying to draft a chapter about the range of emotions a non-gestational co-mom experiences during her partner’s pregnancy.

Can any of you share?  With permission to quote you in the book?  I want to know what kinds of unexpected or expected, even, emotions came up for you while your partner was pregnant.  How did you feel, or what did you think when you first got the test results?  How did you respond to the ways other people treated you or your partner?  What made you relieved, worried, crazy?

Please share.

XOXO,

ohm

PS you don’t need to leave it in a  comment.  Email me!

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December, Sleep

My best friend from high school had a Calvin and Hobbes comic up on his bedroom door.  I don’t remember exactly what it said, but basically Calvin was totally stressing out because it was the last day of the summer and there was no way he could possibly have enough fun in one day.

Suddenly it is December.

I keep telling people I’m going back to work in January.

Truth is, I am going back for two days in December, right before the vacation, so I can get paid for the vacation.  Right after those two days, I’m going to my mother-out-law’s house for Christmas.  So really, my time as a stay at home mom to a little baby ends in December.  And here it is.  I can no longer say, “I go back next month.”  I know that I’ve been home a lot longer than many people get to stay.  I don’t, however, feel like I’ve had ample time to enjoy it.  Ample time would be a whole year.

My friend SN asked me to post about sleep.  People with babies my age start to worry about it now.  Usually when it is time to go back to work.  When Cake was a babe, I took my February vaction and dedicated it to sleep training the boy.  He was waking up three times a night and taking over 45 minutes to get back to sleep each time.  I did “The Baby Whisperer” technique (it is a book;  a rather condescending one, at that.)  It took two nights.  The technique, called “pick up, put down” was a sort of modified cry it out.  But instead of leaving the baby alone in the room to cry, you stand there by the crib and pick the baby up and tell him you love him and to go to sleep, then you put him right down.  Repeat.  Repeat until the kid gets the picture that you will not be rocking him for 45 minutes more.*  The first night was the hardest.  Just awful.  The second night was the same as nights had been before the first night.  Every night after that for the next year and a half, he slept through from 7 to 6ish.

Back then, I swore that when I had our second child, I’d keep him on a schedule and teach him to fall asleep on his own, yadda yadda.  Of course that didn’t happen.  Now we’re doing something that makes very little sense.  I call it the hope-the-baby-will-sleep-through-the-night-of-his-own-accord technique. Uuuh.  It isn’t as hard with this guy.  Trucker only really gets up once on a normal night, if you don’t count the 5 am wake up.  But he goes right back to sleep both times.  So I am actually getting a fair amount of sleep.

One of th promises I made to myself was to avoid nursing the baby to sleep.  Yes, it is sweet.  Yes, it is easy.  But it makes the baby need you to put him down.  I don’t want to be the only person who can put him down.  I just don’t.  It should be able to be anyone who [ok, right in the middle of typing this sentence, the baby woke up and i nursed him back to sleep.  This is going so well!] can rock or pat or calm him, not just the one with the lactating parts.  I was doing a good job.  But as you can see, something went awry this week and now he’s wanting to be nursed to sleep.  And I’m doing it.  And it is making me even more upset about going to work.

I know that he will be ok.  I know that he will adapt to daycare.  I will adapt to work.  We will all manage to get out the door and to our respective places on time.  That’s all intellectual.  Emotionally?  Just take a guess.

*I know you are not so foolish, but just in case… please don’t try “pick up / put down” based on my blog post.  Go get the book from the library, if you want to try it. There’s other scheduling stuff involved in the technique. I think the author’s name is Tracy Hogg.

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A Few Words About Sleep

Cakie stumbled out of his room about 45 minutes after he started his nap.  He walked over to the ottoman, lay on his stomach, stuck his butt up in the air, and fell back asleep.  He’s still asleep on the ottoman two hours later.  Am I willing to wake him up in an effort to get him back in his bed? Hells no.  Trucker is also asleep in the livingroom.  He’s in the Snap and Go.  (Oooh!  Yet another benefit of this stroller!  It lulls babies to sleep.  Even those who hate their carseats.)  Having two sleeping boys is akin to winning some kind of mommy prize.  I made a quiche!  Now I get to blog!  Woo hoo!  I can even abuse some exclamation points in the process!!!

Last night Cakie had his first sleepover at another kid’s house.  Our very very wonderful friends had offered the sleepover as a “helping gift” at our shower.  Boy did we need help.  See, I sleep trained Cake at 6 months old using The Baby Whisperer.  (The author and the book are a little bit nuts, but it worked.)  He slept pretty much 7pm-6am for the following 1.5 years.  Ah.  The good old days.  Then we got his big boy bed.  We haven’t had a full night of sleep since.* Once he realized he could escape his room and come visit us, he has done so several times a night.  We (by we I mean my honey) put him right back in bed.  He still gets up several times a night.  Sigh.

Trucker, on the other hand, is a sleeper!  God love him.  Last night while Cakie was waking up our friends, Trucker slept from 9 pm to 11 pm when I came in and nursed him, essentially while he slept, and then he slept until 5 am!  He’s my hero.

The thing is, sleep becomes an all-consuming issue for parents.  It really comes down to the essentials once you have a baby, food (both in and out) and sleep kind of take over your lives.  Sleep is so tricky.  Everyone has different theories about what works and what will harm your kid for life.  People get very uppity about what worked for them, but that doesn’t mean it will work for your kid.  Or they act like you’re really going to pay the price later if you do one thing “wrong.”  The truth is, maybe you’ll pay the price later, maybe you won’t.  I always resisted the family bed, because I didn’t want to have to struggle to eventually get our son out of the bed and into his own.  I didn’t want to end up sharing a bed with an eleven-year-old.  Little did I know that we’d have that struggle without ever really having the family bed.  I still think part of me would love the family bed.  I do love waking up with the boy and getting all snuggly and happy to be with my family.  The truth is, Cakie sleeps like a propeller.  And when he’s in my bed, I don’t sleep.  I think even if we had a California King I still wouldn’t be able to sleep with him in the bed.  So it isn’t an option.

Sleep is very tricky, because it can be disrupted by the simplest things.  Take, for example, Mr. Ottoman over there.  It is almost 4 pm.  So even though I’m enjoying this quiet, two-sleeping-boys afternoon, I know I should probably wake him up.  On the other hand, maybe he needs the extra shut-eye from waking up my friends last night.  (They, at least, do have a king-sized bed.  Luckies.)  Oh.  He’s moving.  So’s the other one.  I guess I don’t need to ruminate over that question much longer! Gotta go.

*Not counting when my honey and I went away for a weekend while I was pregnant and Cakie stayed with my mom and brother —  for whom, I might add, he slept through the night.  And last night.

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