Sleep: good baby, bad baby, ugly baby

Good baby. Last week we had a successful sleep boot camp at our house. Objective: baby will learn to lie down and go to sleep on her own for naps and at bedtime. This after the past three months where she refused to sleep unless I laid next to her. I know.

We want our kids to eat vegetables. But we also just want them to eat.

I couldn’t subscribe to Cry It Out (CIO) sleep training methods, in part because I like her instinct to cry if something is wrong – it’s how she communicates danger to me. But mostly because it breaks daddy’s heart to hear her cry, and if I prevent him from “rescuing” her from the crib he slings such gems as, “you’re torturing her!” and “you’re killing her joy!” It’s as if my inner parenting gremlin has been made manifest in my spouse, only he is a shade darker.

So Avery cried very little around bedtime in her first year, and I went to bed at 6:30 pm most of the winter.

Then spring showed up, and no se puede no more, sir-e bob, thank you very much.

My idea: transfer A’s object permanence issue, aka where’s mama!?, to an innocent: meet Chloë.

So, Chloë became part of our family. She came to the table for eggs at breakfast, took rides in the stroller, got & gave lots of kisses, and was always available at bedtime. Because if Chloë is there, you don’t need mama. Right?

I also did a lot of crazy shhhh shhhh shhhushing as A went to sleep, progressively working my way out of view behind the side of the crib. Then, over a matter of days, I worked to crawl out of the room until I was shushing from behind the door. I know.

The good news is, it worked. Baby A started going down like butter on toast. We had at least several tears-free bedtimes, and I read at least several pages in my book in those precious sleeping-child minutes. But then this week happened.

Bad baby. Baby A is acting like she has no recollection of those happy times. For three days she has stood in the crib crying during nap time. I come in to lay her back down and find she has thrown Chloë out of the crib. Again with my shushing, this time without the lamb, and I work my way out the door. Again she’s screaming, so again I go in and find her standing up. This time she’s taken her pants off and thrown them overboard as well.

Ok, got the memo: When A’s pants come off, she is opting out.

I think we are making The Great Transition to one nap daily. Or its a sleep regression. Or teething. This brings me to ugly baby.

Ugly baby. Yesterday, having no idea when to nap my kid, I tried the nap prep (diaper change, milk, book) about every 40 minutes. Yes, her pants came off a few times. Around 11am she slept for an hour, so we did that again today and I offered a second nap at 3, which she opted out of. Fine; except that she was grumpy-tired from noon until an early bedtime at 6pm. Sigh.

As I write this, with my thumbs, it is 7 pm and I’m back in the bed, tethered to my young, with one of her precious arms wrapped around my neck, proving yet again that I’m only able to solve for my cub’s needs in time for them to change. Her other arm, is wrapped around a fluffy little stuffed lamb.


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