Monday, January 22, 2007

Bad Timing

I currently:

a- am recovering from mastitis (relatively mild but still a pain both figuratively and literally)

b- have a cold

c- may be experiencing the first tentative step toward a "return to my fertility"

Both a and c mess with my supply and b means I'm tired and cranky and just want to sleep for 4 hours at a stretch.

Guess when Charlie decided to start a new growth spurt...

I caught the mastitis really early so maybe I just have a skewed perspective but why do people keep asking me if I "nursed through it?" It seems like it would be really counter-productive to stop nursing- sort of like getting a cold and refusing to blow your nose.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Teaching My Baby to Dream

As you might be able to tell from my last post, we have been in the midst of a sleep extravaganza since about the first of the year. We had been giving Charlie until he was about 3 months old to really start to try to make a schedule (this may have been a mistake). He had been showing glimmers of sleeping if not well, then at least for several hours in a row at night and there had been a growing predictability to his days. Then there came teething and grandparent visits and unknown happenings in his little brain and the sleep became awful. I actually one night. I had been quite pleased with the fact that I had escaped PPD until that night. Apparently my mood can withstand any amount of hormonal onslaught but visions of hourly wakings (followed by 45 minute stints in the rocker) for the foreseeable future is enough to totally send me 'round the bend.

We purchased both the No Cry Sleep Solution and The Baby Whisperer. Using a hybrid of the two we formulated a plan and began Operation Sandman. We realized that a large part of Charlie's problem was that he was completely sleep deprived. So, my mission during the day was to manage to get the child who generally took 3ish 35 minute naps a day to take 3 1.5-2 hour naps a day. This meant that I spent a lot of the first week staring at the walls in the nursery rocking and rocking. Eventually we moved to the futon mattress (my husband has been sleeping in the nursery). I could actually feel my brain atrophying. Charlie has now, finally, moved back into the crib although I spend about 30 minutes of every nap standing watch, patting and picking up as needed. The rest of the time I stay in the nursery, watching for unexpected events as I flip through the internet or read. It beats staring at the walls but the intensity is draining. It seems that Charlie needs to be taught how to progress through REM sleep and light sleep so that he can make it back into the deep sleep.

In short, my baby doesn't know how to dream.

Since my husband is taking the night shift, starting around 7:45, when Charlie is done nursing and keeps him until about 6am, I have him until then. It leaves me yearning to be not the mommy. By the third nap, which is often the most challenging, (mostly because he should probably really be having 2 2-3 hour naps and 1 quick one but 2-3 hours is a little beyond us at the moment) I am sometimes ready to weep. I spend a lot of time reminding myself that this too will pass. I try to remember when it felt like he would never stop eating. I know that if I can just stick this out that I will have so much time of my own- probably 4 hours a day and then 2-3 after he goes to bed but right now I am in the midst of it. 2 weeks ago he would not have stayed asleep for 2 hours no matter what you did. Now, it takes a lot of work but it happens. 2 weeks ago he was up at least once an hour at night and now he can go at least 2 and often more. 2 weeks ago Charlie would only fall asleep in the car after crying and crying- tonight he did it with no fuss and in less than 5 minutes. So, there is progress but we are growing impatient.

It is becoming increasingly vital to my sanity that I do things to preserve me. My shower is a shining star in my day. I always put on something that smells nice. I have a growing fascination with nail polish and am wearing lipstick every day. Today I got in the car without my baby or my husband to go shopping for face cleanser and I cried from the sheer wonder of doing something for myself, by myself. This child has to learn to dream and soon because his mother already knows how. I need those 4 hours a day.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

From Charlie...

Charlie asked me to pass along the following information.

Greetings to all other infants in blogland!

I have been conducting extensive research over the last few weeks on methods to convince your mommy you don't need a nap as we all know that all the very best stuff happens while we are sleeping- I have heard rumors of a thing called "laundry," it is sure to be fascinating.

The following strategies have failed thus far...

1. Bellowing like a wounded moose

2. Bellowing like a wounded moose in heat

3. Bellowing like a wounded moose in heat while frantically flailing your arms and arching your back.

4. Burrowing your face into mommy's shoulder while frantically clawing at her chest, bellowing like a wounded moose in heat, arching your back, and kicking your legs.

Mommies are also very uncooperative! I have often tried doing all of the previous with my eyes shut as a sort of compromise. This is met with a snort of derision- where is the love? I have tried raising my eyebrows as high as possible to fend off the shutting of the eyes but this is of limited success.

Please notify me soonest when you find a functional strategy for convincing mommy you don't need a nap or if you find out what this fabulous laundry thing is.