Our night weaning journey, even more questions answered.

After Dreaming about sleep for years, The Piano Man and I decided to try Dr. Gordon’s method for sleep changes and the family bed and blog about it.  You can read about night 1 night 2 night 3 night 4 night 5, night 6night 7 and the one month update.  I also answered one round of questions about our experience here and a second round here.

 

Originally I tried to answer all your questions in one post but it was too darn long, you can find more questions here.  Much too long for sleep deprived people to read any way.  So I broke it into two parts.  I need to make it clear, I am not an expert, not a doctor, and have no background that qualifies me as an authority on the subject.  All I have is my experience as a mom and what I’ve learned along the way.  I’m happy to share my opinion with you but please keep in mind it is just that, my opinion and based on my own personal experience.

 

What do you do if baby just screams bloody murder when DF/DH/partner goes in to settle them? Do u finally give in and give em the [email protected]@b?

First I would try to sooth them without the breast but with cuddling with me.  Sometimes I think it works great to have the non-breastfeeding partner to do the soothing when night weaning.  Other times I think the child becomes confused, not only do they not get to breastfeed, they don’t get their mommy.  There is a significant bond between mother and child and that bond still needs to be honored.  Smunchie still wants me at night, even if it’s me without the bobbies.  Honestly, I think being denied access to the mother could be traumatizing if her presence is truly what the child needs.

If that still didn’t work and if the crying crossed the line of what I can comfortably accept as just expressing anger into feeling abandoned or betrayed then I would nurse.  I would do so because I would have to consider that my child is responding this way simply because they are not ready to night wean.  In Dr. Gordon’s plan he warns that there may be a few nights that are really rough but by this point most parents would be doing this they would know the difference between angry cry and totally confused, scared cry.

 

Could you have coped with this method on your own, or do you think it worked so well because you had the help of your husband on the worst nights? (Single mother here, trying to work out how best to go about on my own)

Yes, I do think it would have worked on my own.  There were a few nights that I did it completely on my own because Squiggle Bug needed The Piano Man.  The hardest part for me on my own was staying awake enough to follow through with the plan and not just nurse so I could try to sleep.

 

Do you regret not night weaning sooner? Also, sometimes my 12mo will wake up and be up for 1.5-2 hours at time. Does night weaning help with this problem also?

Part of me wishes we had tried it sooner but only because I was feeling so incredibly burned out as a parent and getting sick of breastfeeding.  Those feeling have completely lifted with the night weaning, not that I always love breastfeeding but I am enjoying it more and can relax to be more in the moment.  However, I’m not convinced that earlier would have been right for Smunchie and would not have ended well.  So I don’t regret the decision to wait until I felt she was ready.  Yes, the night weaning has helped with the extended night waking/play time thing too.

 

Not sure if you could answer this one, but I was wondering what age would a baby/toddler wean himself the night nursing, if the parents are not actively trying to encourage him/her to stop nursing in the night.  I have a 11 months old that wakes up 6-7 times a night, to nurse, If i do not nurse her she is crying in a very panicky/distress way.  We co-sleep and we do get our rest for the time being, but would be nice to have a bit of a perspective.

Usually between 2-4 years old if it’s on their own.

 

I’m curious how you arrange the sleeping surfaces in your bedroom?

I don’t have any pictures of my bedroom or I’d show you.  It’s a tiny room with not a lot of room once the bed is in there.  Our queen-sized bed is against one wall with Smunchie’s pack-n-play directly across from it against the opposite wall about 2 feet from the end of our bed.  That’s usually where she starts out and stays until her morning waking any more but when she was waking she’d end up in bed with me.  Often, even still, The Piano Man ends up in Squiggle Bug’s room sleeping with her as she still wakes during the night.

 

What foods do you offer that you think help with more sleep/less waking?  Sometimes I wonder if dinner wasn’t substantial enough when my 11 mo old wakes in the middle of the night.  Why almond milk? i’m feeling the pressure to start cow’s milk but I, myself, don’t drink cow’s milk so I’m hesitant to offer it.

We go for high calorie, high fat and high protein foods in the evening. Rice and beans are a favorite with some avocado, Greek yogurt, meat (providing Smunchie will eat it, often she won’t), nut butters, cheese, quinoa (she LOVES this), eggs, veggies in a “cream” sauce (we use Greek yogurt for that usually), hummus (I make several varieties including traditional, black bean, white kidney bean, etc.) avocado with anything, and almond milk. As to why almond milk, we’re an omnivore family but Smunchie doesn’t like cow or any other mammal milk but mine but she loves almond milk. I like that it is a good source of protein and is yummy. Since we have no nut allergies in my family I don’t have to worry about giving my kids nuts after 12 months.

We offer a cup of water usually with her meals and she drinks almond milk because she doesn’t like any other milk. Smunchie still nurses often, several times a day. She’ll continue for a long time still, a couple of times a day I’ll offer her a cup of water and in the evening she gets a cup of almond milk as we read stories. But it doesn’t replace me, not by a long shot, she wants to nurse often!

 

What’s your bed time routine for Smunchie?  How do you get her to go down without breastfeeding her to sleep?

Because I have older kids or used to be on-call to attend births I always felt like I had to be sure my babies could go down without the breast.  Here’s what works for us.   Around 7.15-7.30 or even 7.15-8.30 (flexibility is crucial in our family, the reality of having older children with activities) we start getting ready.  A story or two (usually French selections daddy reads) with Smunchie and Squiggle Bug on the couch while Squiggle Bug drinks a cup of milk and Smunchie a cup of almond milk.  Then brushing teeth and getting into pajamas.  After giving good night kisses to the entire family we split up, The Piano Man taking Squiggle Bug and Smunchie is with me.  On night’s that he’s working I work it out on my own.  I nurse Smunchie for a bit while reading to her but I haven’t let her fall asleep consistently on the breast for a long time now so when she’s done she sits up and we read a few more books.  Then I say a little prayer with her, we snuggle, I start singing something and stand up, she hands me everything she wants in bed with her (usually a couple cooks, her lovey and her doll and sometimes random things like shoes), I lay those down and then she reaches for me.  We stand just outside her bed hugging while I continue to sing and then I lay her down.  I stay in the room singing for a bit until I can hear her settling and then I tell her good night and slip out.

 

I can’t stress enough that being flexible and figuring out what works for your family, not following a set schedule of what someone has predetermined your child should be doing at what age is crucial for the night weaning experience to be free from trauma.  Please don’t take what I’ve shared as what has to work for everyone.  Thank you for letting me share our journey with you.

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Our night weaning journey, more questions answered

After Dreaming about sleep for years, The Piano Man and I decided to try Dr. Gordon’s method for sleep changes and the family bed and blog about it.  You can read about night 1 night 2 night 3 night 4 night 5, night 6night 7 and the one month update.  I also answered one round of questions about our experience here.

Ah… she sleeps.
Between the Facebook page, comments on the night weaning journey blog posts and emails I received quite a few questions about our night weaning experience.  I need to make it clear, I am not an expert, not a doctor, and have no background that qualifies me as an authority on the subject.  All I have is my experience as a mom and what I’ve learned along the way.  I’m happy to share my opinion with you but please keep in mind it is just that, my opinion and based on my own personal experience.  There were several questions so I’ve broken them up into two parts (you can find the second part here) in addition to the first round of questions I answered a month ago.  I hope you find these helpful.

 

When is a good time to start thinking about night weaning and moving baby into their own sleep space? How do you go about it? How do you know if they’re ready?

I really think the answer to this is very unique to each family and each baby.  If by own sleep space you mean their own room I’m really not sure.  We’ve done it different every time but what I have noticed is that when the child is ready they will a) do it on their own and b) it won’t be a struggle.  We’ve had difficult transitions and easy transitions.  Now though it’s kind of easy, nobody in our family is in their own room, everybody shares.  When the transition happens they get to be with a big sister, which they usually think is pretty cool.  At 3 years old Squiggle Bug still comes and finds us though, she’s in our bed more than Smunchie is actually.  She just has a higher need to be close to someone at night.  Sometimes she seeks out a sister but usually she prefers her daddy.  We’ve felt that they are ready when they are sleeping well, enjoy the bedtime routine, like the idea of their own space, and seem to be exerting their independence a little more.

 

How do you night wean when your baby doesn’t take a bottle at all! Only uses norma cups or a straw!

Smunchie doesn’t use a bottle and she doesn’t really care for sippy cups either.  She does, however, love regular cups.  What I do is let her take a drink from the glass of water I have by my bed every night if she seems thirsty when she wakes.  We just sit on the bed together and I help her hold the cup steady while she guides it to her mouth to drink.  It works great for us.  If thirst is what woke her up she will settle quickly after that.

 

What are some cues that your baby maybe ready for night time weaning (currently 9 mos and night nursing 3-4 times)?

Studies have shown that babies under 12 months still need to wake often to eat both for nutrition and for safety in their sleep cycle.  So I don’t look for any signs of readiness before 12 months.  After the one year mark though any combination of these may be signs of readiness to night wean:

  • Seems tired and grumpy during the day.
  • Eats well (solids and breast milk) during the day.
  • Has moved through some of the major milestones such as walking.
  • Does NOT have intense separation anxiety.
  • Is not actively teething or sick.
  • Seems frustrated and restless at night at the breast
  • Wakes to nurse but falls quickly back to sleep without really eating.
  • Shows basic understanding to phrases like “all done.”
  • Shows interest and awareness in bed time routines and day time vs. night time.
  • May play putting toys to bed.
  • Responds to soothing other than breastfeeding (i.e. rocking, singing, back rubs, etc.)

I think night weaning is most successful if the child is truly ready for it, please don’t expect that just because your child is over a year they will be ready to night wean.  If it is a giant struggle or at any time the parents feel this is all wrong and not what they want to be doing then they should stop.  It is possible that a child won’t be ready one month but will be the next.  Remaining flexible is perhaps the most important key to night weaning.  Maybe all of parenting actually.

 

Help! I’m tandem feeding and can’t cope ending 2 children at night. My 21/2 year old is up for 1-4 hours 4 out of 5 nights! How do I night wean her gently?

I recommend Dr. Jay Gordon’s technique or The No Cry Sleep Solution.  I’ve used both and found them to both be helpful.  To help prepare for the transition, work on establishing a home rhythm or routine, particularly for going to bed.  It doesn’t have to be a strict schedule, just a regular pattern to your days.  I also highly recommend reading the book Nursie’s When The Sun Shines to read with her.  For gentle night weaning keep it mind that what makes it gentle is you continuing to be available, just not offering the breast.

 

How have you and The Piano Man adjusted to the night weaning? Was it harder or easier (emotionally speaking) than you thought? Would you use that method again?

The first few nights she slept completely through the night I would wake often, like my body was just programmed to wake up several times.  I adjusted pretty quickly though and one reason I think we were ready was that I didn’t get engorged through the process, was able to pump but not overflowing.  The Piano Man did fine though he’s still getting up at least once a night with Squiggle Bug (he’s her night time parent of choice, I suspect because I was often nursing Smunchie when she’d need someone) so we’d still like to get that worked out for his sake.  Emotionally I was very ready though so it wasn’t very hard at all.  I thought it would be and there was a twinge of sadness that this phase is over which makes her seem so much bigger to me now.  But that twinge is nothing compared to the frustration I felt at being so tired that I wasn’t the kind of mother I wanted to be during the day to all of my children.

Yes, I would use this method again.  Simple and easy to follow while still maintaining that night time parenting availability we are committed to.

 

I need to night wean my 18 month old! He is only nursing at night and it’s just to fall back asleep. Less than 5 minutes but can be up to 4x a night! I am due in Nov with #2 and don’t want to nurse the two together. Is that bad…?

Nope, it’s not bad.  If you are comfortable with it, if it’s working for you and your family then no need to change.  There is no rule that says you have to night wean or ruin your child.  If it’s not working for you then work to change it.  Maybe try night weaning sooner rather than later though, just so your son doesn’t blame the baby for the change.  Be prepared too, there could be a regression in other areas after his sibling arrives.  That’s not a bad thing, just part of processing the added element in his environment.  Another idea would be to wait until you’ve actually tried it with both, you may not mind it as much as you think.  It’s important to remember that you won’t be pregnant any more so the frustration and feelings you may be experiencing now could change.  Whatever you decide to do though try to remain flexible and enjoy the journey.  Do what is right for your family.

 

How did you transition Smunchie from your bed to her own? Did you feel like you were missing something? Or was it more of a relief that you got your bed back and sleep? I’m a SAHM with only one 16 month old. I’ve tried putting DD in her own bed which is right next to mine but I find I actually sleep less.

Five for five now, I sleep better when they aren’t in bed with me.  Every body is different and some love sleeping with their babies, others don’t mind and some of us can’t stand it.  I’m the last sort.  I do it because I believe it’s what she needs and there are moments when I love it.  They’re brief moments.  But that’s ok, I don’t mind.  There are plenty of other parenting responsibilities I don’t like either but I’m going to keep doing them for the safety and well being of my child.  I started the transition when she was still an infant by laying her down during naps.  It was no problem to just extend that to night sleeping as well.

 

My DD is 10 weeks old and has slept through the night since 1-2 weeks old. No matter what I did to wake her up at night to eat she would cry and “yell” at me and go right back to sleep refused to nurse for more than a min or two. She still sleeps through the night for a good solid 6 hrs but she sleeps in a cradle next to my bed. What is the best way to transition her to her crib?

Personally, I’d keep her in your room.  In your room in her crib or cradle doesn’t matter.  There are some major changes coming up that will completely change how she sleeps at night and not only will it be easier to meet her needs during those times if she’s still in her room, you’ll be able to do so sooner which will go a long way in helping her feel safe and secure.  Plus, hopefully actually get more sleep.  As to how, we always tried transitioning at nap time first.  Lay her down in her crib after following all the same routine you already do getting ready for naps.  Stay close by so you can comfort her easily if need be.  She may not even notice.

 

Have you noticed an increase in day nursing? We’re 3 weeks into night weaning and it seems like DD can’t get enough during the day.

Yep.  Specially in the morning.  Smunchie now wakes up around 7.30am (except for the last week, she’s started favoring the 6am hour) and cuddles in bed to nurse.  It’s usually a long session.  Then we get up, do our morning thing and within 20 minutes she wants me to sit and nurse her again.  Another long one.  Then breakfast with the family and almost without fail another boob session following the family meal.  After that she doesn’t nurse again for a while, usually around nap time.

 

I can’t stress enough that being flexible and figuring out what works for your family, not following a set schedule of what someone has predetermined your child should be doing at what age is crucial for the night weaning experience to be free from trauma.  Please don’t take what I’ve shared as what has to work for everyone.

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Sleep is the bomb. One month night weaning update.

After Dreaming about sleep for years, The Piano Man and I decided to try Dr. Gordon’s method for sleep changes and the family bed and blog about it.  You can read about night 1 night 2 night 3 night 4 night 5, night 6, and night 7.  I also answered one round of questions about our experience here.

 


It’s been a month since our night weaning journey.  So where are we now?  Zombie parents?  Or happy shiny, awake parents?

Night weaning 18 month old Smunchie turned out to be a very good idea for our family.

Night weaning 18 month old Smunchie right before a 2 week road thrip?  Risky.

When we decided to give night weaning a try using Dr. Jay Gordon’s method of night weaning it came out of a desperate necessity to increase the amount of sleep we were getting.  The timing was little more than reaching the end of our rope just as we felt that Smunchie was showing signs of being ready to give up her bobbies at night.  As we began planning to follow Dr. Gordon’s strategy I hoped it would mean that before we left for a 2 week driving vacation across the midwestern United States The Piano Man and I would be able to get enough sleep to not make driving any riskier than it need to be.

It worked, we actually hit the road feeling well rested and Smunchie sleeping anywhere between 8-11 hours each night.

This part of the plan was great, being rested before going on a 2 week cross-country driving trip?  Yes please.

But I was concerned.  I know big changes to a toddler’s routine can throw everything into a tailspin and everything from eating to sleeping could become unpredictable.  Sleeping in a different place most nights, meeting lots of new people, hiking, long days on the road, and all kinds of variables outside our control definitely count as big changes to Smunchie’s routine.  I was concerned that our recent night weaning would become completely undone and we’d be saying “well, she WAS night weaned but now…”

This part of the plan was about as brilliant as those polar bear swims they do in places that freeze in January.  Could be fun and life changing but most likely is just going to kill something you’d actually like to keep on your body.

I had no need to worry though.  Smunchie rolled with the punches and though she developed an amazing ability to transform into one angry flailing octopus any time we headed toward her car seat, sleep was something she approached as a familiar friend.  Hotel room, friends house, sharing a bed with her sisters, on a fold out with The Piano Man and I, in a friend’s Pack-N-Play or even on a palette on the floor she slept.  Which meant we all slept.  Which meant we all actually enjoyed the trip and had more to talk about than “all I really remember is nights of crying and being really tired…”

(Which is why this post is punctuated by random hipstamatic pics from our trip.  That way I can just tell my mom to check the blog to see pics of our trip.  Enjoy!)

Being well rested probably suited the diabolical plans she was concocting to destroy her car seat.  Thankfully, she couldn’t execute them just yet.  I’m hoping the seat has a few more years before she exacts her revenge.  I’m pretty sure I heard her talking in her sleep in the hotel one night, something about “seat… no, no, nooooo!.. go away… poop… chocolate… big sister…”  This could end badly.

We’ve been home for a couple of weeks now and Smunchie is still sleeping through the night without nursing.  She’s recently started having occasional wakings that seem like she’s had a nightmare but a cuddle and gently whispered encouragement and she’s back out in no time.  If she does require something more we’re at a place where we aren’t so drained that we can’t be completely present with her.  The couple of nights she’s had a rough time for some reason I have been able to handle well, more aware.

Some observations since night weaning Smunchie:

  • Random hugs.  Instead of wanting to nurse every time she sees me sometimes she’s satisfied just to get a big squeeze and run off to the really fun stuff in life.
  • When she does want some boob time though it’s a longer, more focused and more real feeling feeding.  And I enjoy it more.
  • It could be coincidence or it could be related but she’s developed a lot more personality and suddenly reached some social milestones almost over night.  I suspect better sleep for her has something to do with this.
  • When she wakes up in the morning she is really, really up.  She’s well rested and ready to get rocking and rolling.  Which is kind of irritating me since she’s decided she’s wide awake at 6am lately.  She’ll play in her bed sometimes but thankfully Lolie is also an early riser so the 2 of them go off to play together in the living room and I snooze for another 45 minutes or so.
  • More often she wants to nurse to sleep at night but then doesn’t ask for it again if she does happen to wake during the night.  I’ve been stopping her with “bobbies all done” when I can tell she’s going to fall asleep and sometimes she complains about that but usually it goes well and she’s clearly ready to go to her bed.
  • I still can’t get over how I feel.  My back pain has diminished to almost none, my fatigue is also mostly gone (except when I stay up too late doing my own thing- such as writing this post, can only blame myself for that!), and my energy level is way up.  It’s great.  With all of this I’m so much more the parent and partner I’ve wanted to be for so long but struggled with just because of sheer exhaustion.
  • I shower more regularly.  Seriously, I really do.  I also actually get dressed, more than the yoga pants t-shirt look.  I’m even wearing jewelry again AND cute shoes.
  • My productivity and my fun-mom-energy has been great.  Not perfect but I never will be, I can live with improved.
  • Patience is a virtue.  And one directly linked to sleep for me.  There’s more to it than that but all my girls have noticed.  I’m more patient with them, with myself and with the thousands of drivers in Houston that oddly enough don’t have working turn signals or at least don’t know how to use them.

Right before we decided to night wean I was struggling often with feeling like I hated breastfeeding.  Me, The Leaky Boob hating breastfeeding?  Yep.  This admission, even just to myself, was a bit horrifying.  However, it was there and I had to examine why.  Within a week of Smunchie being night weaned that feeling was completely gone and though I’ll never completely love breastfeeding (I’ve shared that before) I am enjoying it much more now and am ok with going on for a good while longer.

So all in all this night weaning experience worked very well for us.  I’m glad we waited until we felt the time was right and I’m beyond thrilled Smunchie agreed.  We’re no longer zombie parents, at least not most of the time.  I’m pretty much a happy, shiny awake parent now and it’s been loads of fun.  In the time since we night weaned not only did we travel for 2 week but we raised a whole batch of frog eggs all the way through, made numerous batches of play dough, had loads of living room dance parties, done special outings, seen a couple of movies at the theater, gone on bike rides, played in the sprinkler, spent hours coloring with sidewalk chalk, taught Lolie how to knit, gotten most of us back into knitting (turning fall-ward I think), had more dates with The Piano Man and… probably way TMI… I’ve had a whole lot more sex and it’s the really good kind too.

This sleeping thing?  Yeah, it’s the bomb.

 

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Changing Our Sleep Patterns- Night 7 and My Dream Came True

I didn’t need to dream of sleep last night.

According to Dr. Gordon’s plan, night 7 introduces the last phase of his plan to help families change the sleep patterns in their family bed.  It’s not a lot different, just reducing some of the comfort measures but still being close, touching and verbally comforting them.  I figured it would be another unpredictable night.

I was right.  But not how I expected.

Official anylasis?  The best night ever.  For Smunchie and I any way.  Check out the timeline.

Timeline-ish.

8.15pm- Smunchie goes to bed.  We had several friends over for our twice a month dinner and discussion so things were super busy right up until bed time.  She settled well though and went down with no trouble.

11.14pmish- I went to bed.  Smunchie stirred a bit and that was it.

2.40amish- Squiggle Bug came into our room and got upset for some reason (I’m not sure) and The Piano Man went and slept with her on the couch when she refused to go back to the room she shares with a big sister.  Smunchie did not wake even with all the noise.

7.09am- I hear some fussing at the end of the bed and look to see then looked at the clock.  Smunchie stood up and started talking to me, I went and got her and realized I was leaking, it seems sleeps does these boobs some good.  Back in bed together she was so very cuddly and happy to help me with the leaky boobies situation.  It was a long nursing session, a far cry from the 2-3 min. quick sips she had been doing.  Happy and content after a good 25 minutes we looked at books together in the morning sunlight.  It felt good, so good.

In case it doesn’t jump out at you, Smunchie slept from 8.15pmish to 7.09amish.  Eleven hours.  Today I’m smiling easily, busy, productive, enjoying my children, excited about some up coming plans I had been dreading because I didn’t have the energy, playing with my kids, caught a frog with them after checking out the 7 frogs we found swimming in our kiddie pool this morning (and the string of frog eggs too), planning to make some yummy and healthy treats for all of us, looking forward to cooking with my kids and having dinner with some friends tonight.  Smunchie is also energetic, super happy and into everything today.  She and I are feeling pretty good.

The Piano Man is tired.  Squiggle Bug’s sleep issues have been long and on-going and her daddy is always her person of choice when she’s struggling.  We’ve tried to get her to sleep through the night several times but it always ends up short lived.  Hopefully with Smunchie getting more sleep we can work on a gentle approach for our more high needs sleep fighter and The Piano Man will be able to feel more rested as well.  I imagine my energetic and enthusiastic self is very annoying to his sleep deprived self.

I don’t know if this change is going to stick or if tonight will be a totally different animal. Anything is possible but even if it is a more difficult night I feel like I can handle it just because I’m feeling so much better.  My gratitude to Dr. Gordon for such a simple, easy to follow plan to help a family in need of more sleep to find it without compromising the family sleep arrangements.  This was a good fit for us.

To read about this whole process, you can follow our progress using Dr. Gordon’s method and read about night 1, night 2, night 3, night 4, night 5, and night 6.

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Changing Our Sleep Patterns- Night 6, I Think We’re Getting There

“Daddy, can I help you make the muffins?”

The Piano Man is the baker of the house.  He has quite a few apprentices.  I am not one of them though I do make bread.  His most faithful helper is 3 year old Squiggle Bug.

“Yes, you can help.”

“Ok.  I will take a lick and you will make the muffins.”

The start of our morning after Night 6.  (If you haven’t been following our journey through night weaning using Dr. Gordon’s method it starts here and you can read night 1night 2night 3night 4, and night 5.)

It’s kind of like that in other areas too.  Figuring out the parent-child relationship.  Somethings are obvious such as changing diapers, feeding, and keeping them safe.  Some are less so like making muffins, playing dress up together and how you’ll be interacting at the park.  The dynamic is constantly changing too, one day they become aware of muffin making, the next they want to help by licking the spoon and the next they’re kicking you out of the kitchen and making the muffins themselves.

Official analysis of Night 6?  I can really see how it’s working.  Much closer to a full night’s sleep today than we were a week ago for sure.  We’re really doing this.  We might also need a new mattress.  I could have had 9 full uninterrupted hours of sleep last night and the only reason I didn’t was because of me.

Timeline-ish

8 or 8.30ish- Smunchie to bed.  A shorter going to bed routine than we normally have, she was super ready for bed.

midnightish- The Piano Man and I go to bed.  Late again!  I haven’t grown out of my teen late night habits still.  Having been in the performing arts for so long old habits die hard.

4ish-  In pain, I was tossing and turning trying to get comfortable.  For the last 3 nights my back has been bothering me.  I can’t think of anything I did (other than a few injuries years ago including a bad car accident and a bad stage fighting accident) but I suspect it’s a combination of odd sleeping positions when I fall asleep comforting Smunchie and just that I’m actually sleeping longer stretches and our mattress is old.  We probably need a new mattress.  As I sat up in bed trying to stretch my back and rub out the knots I couldn’t believe that I was awake all by myself.  Smunchie was still in her bed at the end of our bed snoozing yet I was up missing out on sleep.

5ish- Squiggle Bug came in looking for daddy.  I’m not her go-to-person most of the time, something that is bittersweet for me.  I love how deeply connected she is with The Piano Man but I’m also kind of jealous.  She didn’t want me so she and The Piano Man left to go to her bed.  I was rejected to the bed to be alone.  Kind of unusual.

5.30ish- Smunchie wakes.  I get her and she holds on tight.  We lay down and The Piano Man joined us again.  This time she ends up going to him when I answer her request for to nurse with our standard “bobbies all done.”  In just a few minutes she is calmed by him patting her back and soothing her with “mm-hmm” again.  She takes over his side of the bed and he goes back to Squiggle Bug’s bed to sleep.

6ish- Smunchie wakes again and I’m very tempted to nurse since we’re so close to 7.  The Piano Man comes to help again and somehow I end up on the other side of the bed.  Together we patted and rubbed her back, spoke softly to her and helped her settle.  We all 3 end up in bed together.

7.30ish- I wake up to Smunchie sitting next to me playing with stuff she found on the bedside table, talking gibberish punctuated with little sighs and giggles.  The sweetness gets to me, I kiss her back and she turns to give me a body slam hug.  I’m surprised that for the second day in a row she doesn’t ask for bobbies first thing, instead she finishes hugging me (um, I can’t breath, could you get off my face please?), climbs over me and on top of daddy.  Our day has started with hugs, cuddles and playing before finally moving on to bobbies and muffins.

As I write this Squiggle Bug and Smunchie are rocking out to some Bernstein, happy and energetic and very inviting.  I’m think I’m going to go join them, I even have enough energy to do more than a couple slow turns with fake enthusiasm and am ready to bust some moves.  My back is feeling better this morning and I’m ready to join the living room dance party.

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Changing Our Sleep Patterns- Night 5

Continuing our way through Dr. Jay Gordon’s method of changing sleep patterns in the family bed (or family sleeping space as the case may be, we kind of take up the whole room).  We have crossed Night 5 off our list.  You can read about how and why we decided to start this here, as well as read through night 1, night 2, night 3 and night 4.

Official analysis?  Not terrible, not great but love is in the air.  Oh, and I can already tell I’m feeling better for getting more sleep.  What’s crazy is that this really is more sleep.

I like more sleep.  Even just a little bit more sleep.  With just a little more sleep I’m moving beyond just surviving.

We went to bed late again last night.  Usually on Saturdays we aim for a 10.30 bed time for the grown ups in the house but The Piano Man got bit by something on his hand while setting up the kiddie pool earlier in the day and it was looking really scary.  Concerned, I Googled.  Bad idea. When it comes to the internet and insect/arachnid bites, the intent of the internet is to scare the crap out of you.  As a friend of mine said “Dr. Google = Dr. Scary.”  Took me a while to be convinced his hand wasn’t going to fall off and he wasn’t going to die in his sleep.  Also, I had strange dreams.

Timeline-ish

midnight- We finally head to bed.  Smunchie wakes as we do, The Piano Man and I comfort in bed together, it’s a joint effort.  Lots of back patting and mm-hmming.  Took no more than 10 minutes.

12.30-5ish- moved Smunchie to her bed at some point, I don’t actually remember doing this.

5ish- I think I was dreaming when Smunchie woke because it took me a bit to register that it was her and not some child in my very odd dream about art work, spiders (thanks to my Googling) and some old friends.  Reality was way better than my dream.  The Piano Man got her and began to comfort her.  Pushing away, twisting, fighting cuddles, Smunchie would have none of it.  As much as she loves her daddy at this moment, this time, he was not the person she wanted.  It kind of sounded like he was pinching her.  Good thing I know he’d never do that.  He sat her on the bed and through her tears she crawled over to me.  When she reached me her crying stopped, I propped myself up on my elbow and she wrapped her arms tightly around my neck.  Following the lesson of the night before, I soaked it up until she let go.  Then, even in the dark, her little hand went straight for the neckline of my pajama top and with a little tug she said “bobbies.”  Kissing the top of her head I croaked/whispered “bobbies all done.”  She didn’t ask again but she did launch into a very angry sounding howl.  For a moment I considered going ahead and nursing her, we’d had a good stretch already and we could all probably just go back to sleep faster if I did.  Getting increasingly more sleep already helps me think a little more clearly it turns out and I remembered that I don’t do more than doze with a baby attached to the breast.  And we’d already come this far.  I whispered and sang to her, patted the bed beside me and she laid down.  For about 20 minutes she alternated almost falling asleep and then revving back up, remembering she was mad about something.  In that time she only asked to nurse once more.  Occasionally she tried to push me away particularly if I offered her a drink out of my cup (hey, it worked the night before!) or her sippy.  I continued to pat or rub her back, cuddle her close, and sing or offer our sing-song “mm-hmm.”  At some point 3 year old Squiggle Bug tried to join us but The Piano Man took her out of the room and slept with her until his alarm went off at 6:45.  It was after Smunchie and I cuddled for a while that she seemed frustrated with me as though I was crowding her, pushed me away and fell asleep.  So did I.  The last time I looked at the clock was around 5.28am

6:45ish- The Piano Man got up and ready to go.  He said there was a moment when he looked at Smunchie and I asleep in the bed and thought how sweet we looked.  Clearly he doesn’t mind the drooling, crazy hair look because I was totally rocking it.  The Piano Man here: the two of them were utterly adorable, each of them with an arm thrown over their head, on either side of the bed, sleeping soundly.  Beautiful.

7ish- The Piano Man came in to kiss me good bye and let me know he was leaving (I hate when I wake up and he’s not there, even if I knew he would be gone).  Smunchie’s eyes fluttered and within seconds she was sitting up and reaching for him.  Standing next to the bed her daddy cuddled her in one of her long, pressing hugs.  A rejection apology hug.  I think it made him feel better about earlier.  It didn’t end until he had to peel her off of him so he could leave.  He laid her down next to me and I got a special squeezy hug of my own.  Releasing me, she laid back next to me on the pillow and smiled and chatted with me.  I think it was all about the sun, the smell of our clean sheets and maybe asking where Ciel was (in her bed).  She copied me while she jabbered away, stroking my cheek as I stroked hers.  I asked if she would like bobbies, she smiled, looked at my chest and said “ah, ah” showing me her wide open mouth, a funny little practice left over from correcting the lazy toddler latch she had developed a few months ago.  Together we eased into the morning with my milk filling her tummy and all that she is filling my heart.

I’ve gotten through lots of nights with babies and toddlers.  Each child has been a different experience for so many reasons not the least of which include all our unique personalities and how The Piano Man and I have evolved as parents.  Still, I had forgotten how new stages and changes make me more aware and grateful for what I’ve had, what is now and what is coming.  Smunchie and I are doing well and perhaps paradoxically, enjoying each other more through this night weaning process.  This is starting to feel more like a relationship with interactions beyond meeting physical needs for safety, provision and comfort.  My love for her has always been strong but I sure am enjoying her developing expressions of love for her daddy and me now as well.  I suspect that this has been there for a long time but with more rest I’m actually able to observe and enjoy it because I’m not as consumed with just trying to survive.

We’re headed to bed here in a bit, we’ll have an update on night 6 for you some time tomorrow.

By the way, The Piano Man is fine, it looks like he’s going to live AND keep his hand.  After sharing the pic with a few doctor friends and talking with one at church this morning, we think he’s just have a bad reaction to a fire ant bite.
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Changing Our Sleep Patterns- The 4th Night and Big Change

Oh my goodness, what a night.

Sometimes my goals in parenting are very clear if a little complex and lofty.  Other times they are a little vague and simple.  It’s the simple set that I think is probably the most true, the most realistic and the one we’re mostly likely to see come to fruition.  That set can be summed up in one short sentence: don’t screw them up too much.  Along this parenting journey we occasionally are given glimmers of hope that it may be an attainable goal.  I’ve been hoping that night weaning isn’t going to screw Smunchie up too much.

We have now made it through the fourth night, a night of major change.

Official analysis?  Nothing could have prepared us for this night.  It was a shock to the system.

I had been dreading this night in particular once we decided to go with this plan and we had considered drawing the process out a little more.  After reviewing what was supposed to happen with the second set of 3 nights we decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea to make such a huge transition on a Saturday night because The Piano Man has to get up early for work and sleep deprivation and playing the piano don’t mix so well.  The transition had to start Friday night.  We read the section pertaining to the second set of 3 nights from Dr. Gordon’s article and found much support in this:

“Yes, for the past many months we have enjoyed voting “1 to 2″ — non-democratically — in favor of . . . the baby. ‘Anyone want to get up all night, feed and walk the baby and be really tired all day and the next day too?’ Well, the vote is 1 to 2 in favor of the baby.”
Now, what we’re saying is, we will sometimes be voting two to one in favor of the baby’s family. This “baby’s family” concept may be abhorrent to he who considers himself the King of England, or Emperor of the Whole World, but our knowing he has that feeling of power allows us to confidently demote the dictator to a majority-respecting member of the family. His family.

It is time for Smunchie to be a majority-respecting member of the family.  Her family.

We reviewed The Plan.

Bed Time. Our bed time routine works really well for us so it would remain the same.  It’s flexible but within some parameters that help our little ones shift gears.  Us too, actually.

Wakings. From now on between midnight and 7am there are no feedings.  We decided we’d both participate in comforting her and if need be I’d leave and go to the couch.  When she asked for bobbies I’d simply say “bobbies all done” then we’d rub her back, cuddle, hold her, etc.  I was really concerned this wouldn’t go well and thought this plan sounded weak.  Still, I wasn’t sure what else we could do that wouldn’t end up traumatizing all of us.

Bed. Again we decided the goal was sleep, not getting her to sleep in her own bed.  We’d save that transition for another time.  She starts out in her bed already and then joins us and the last few nights she’s been transitioning back to her bed just fine.  We’d keep her in bed with us.

The reality

The evening was dedicated to a rambunctious game of Pictionary with the whole family.  The 3 big girls are now old enough to really get and play the game and with a parent on each team and the 2 younger ones on laps we drew and laughed our way into the night.  We had a blast eating brownies and guessing each other’s scribbles.

Timeline-ish

8.30ish- Smunchie was in bed around 8, was awakened around 8.45 thanks to the loud bigger people playing on the other side of the house.  That early I nursed her back to sleep and she was out again in no time.  Even with all our noise she didn’t wake again for a long while.

11.30ish- The Piano Man and I headed to bed.  Anxious about the night ahead we thought maybe we’d try a dream feed when we went to bed.  Scooping her up it felt good to hold my sleeping little girl.  Not wanting to nurse laying down in bed, I sat on the end of the bed.  Her eyes fluttered and she murmured “bobbies” which made both The Piano Man and me smile and I got her latched.  She nursed so well.  With a kiss on her head I put her back in her space and crawled into bed, hoping for at least 2 hours before the drama started.

3ish- This is just a guess.  We know it was after 1.30am because The Piano Man looked at the clock when he went to the bathroom (and came right back, no napping on the toilet this time).  Sometime after 1.30 but well before 6, Smunchie woke up.  I laid there waiting for The Piano Man to get her thinking we had decided he would try to get her to calm down without me first.  Apparently, I imagined that because he doesn’t remember us ever talking about it.  Turned out well though, he didn’t get her, I did and we stood hugging for a little bit before I brought her into our bed.  Those standing cuddles were something special, her arms tight around my neck, her body pressing against mine with all her might.  Something told me that it wasn’t the bobbies she was needing right then, it was just to be close to me.  For the first time in a while I breathed in her scent and buried my nose in her neck in the middle of the night.  I have not been enjoying her at night for so long now because of the depth of my fatigue.  This brief moment standing together in the dark was one of the connections Smunchie and I have.  And we can have them during the day too.  I laid down with her, making sure she had her lovey and Ciel.  The familiar request was made but this time I responded with “bobbies all done” and cuddled and kissed her.  This wasn’t the response she wanted at all, of course but instead of starting to cry she whimpered “bobbies” again.  She didn’t pull at my shirt, she reached for my neck and held on tight.  Rolling over on my back I cuddled her on my chest, her head pressed against my cheek.  We stayed that way until she threw herself off me and asked again for the bobbies.  I responded the same and offered the sippy cup of water we keep by the bed.  This time she started to cry.  I tried to rub her tummy and pat her but she pushed my hand away.  Thirsty myself I reached for my glass of water and took a drink.  Smunchie sat up and signed please, stopping her crying.  With my hand steadying the glass, she directed it to her lips and took a drink.  She drank and drank, gulping down water pausing twice to take a breath.  Thirsty girl!  When she was done she asked me for bobbies again and was met with the same response.  Again she whimpered then turned and flopped down on her belly, drawing her lovey and doll close, and began to make little complaining talking sounds.  Grumbles really.  Laying down I began to rub her back.  A few minutes later she heaved a sigh and fell quiet.  Shortly after I could identify the long breaths of sleep.  This whole thing took maybe 10 minutes.  I waited for her to wake again and demand the bobbies. Would it be 5 minutes?  Twenty?  An hour?  I expected it so much I had difficulty falling back asleep.  Eventually, watching her rhythmic breathing next to me, I surrendered to sleep.

6ish- I tossed and turned, struggling to get comfortable for hours and finally decided to move the still sleeping Smunchie back to her bed.  It went without a hitch.

7.30ish- “Bobbies?”  I sat up and looked at the end of my bed where I could see a wisp of blond hair and two bright blue eyes peeking over the side of the pack-n-play.  The eyes smiled then vanished.  Going to her bed I saw Smunchie gathering her lovey and baby doll, stand up and hold her arms out to me: “mama!”  In my arms she patted my chest and said “bobbies?” again.  Snuggles and milk, we woke up slowly enjoying each other’s company.

Today I feel more rested.  My back hurts from sleeping in a strange position but I feel a lot better than I have been feeling.  For the first time I feel I can see that Smunchie too feels better.  Though she’s been a cheerful, easy going baby, this morning she hasn’t seemed nearly as tired and has more energy.  I think she has needed more sleep too.

We will be more than fine with night weaning.  It meant a lot to me that just a cuddle without the bobbies could be such a comfort for her.  She didn’t just love me for the bobbies, she loved me for me.  Being close can happen without the bobbies and we can still rest in peace and security of the love we have for each other and the love of our family.  I know tonight could be a total disaster but with this in my heart, my body more rested, my mind more clear and the knowledge that Smunchie is ready to be a majority-respecting member of the family I’m not dreading it.  We’ll be fine.

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If I Don’t Remember It, It Didn’t Happen, Right?

The Piano Man responds to my post about night #3 of night weaning where I shared that we think he fell asleep on the toilet.

So, being the genius parents we are, did we go to bed before midnight last night? No. We pushed the envelope even further, staying up past 1:00 am. When I say “we” I really mean Jessica, as I was dozing on the couch from about 11:45 on. And when I mean “dozing”, Jessica informed me this morning that I was snoring with my half a glass of red wine in one hand and the book I was valiantly trying to read in the other.

Jessica here: In defense of my stupidity, I was having a work Skype conversation with the other coast, I wasn’t just being a rebellious kid staying up late.  Mostly not anyway.  Sorry, back to The Piano Man.

With a crick in my neck and realizing it was 1:20 or so, I decided not to fight sleep anymore and go to bed without Jessica. This is unusual for us, romantic saps that we are; usually we synchronize our bed time. But every once in a while we break the pattern out of necessity. Much to my surprise, by the time I was ready to climb into bed, Jessica was right there with me.

Apparently, last night marked the point where I crossed over from our zombie state (awake but extremely tired) to something I don’t have a name for: mostly asleep with moments awake. Apparently you can’t dance just above the sleep line forever. I was pulled under.

The consequence: when Jessica wanted to review the details of last night, I couldn’t remember much of anything. It may well be that I fell asleep on the toilet. Terribly embarrassing, but at least I can honestly claim that I don’t remember. And this isn’t like “the Hangover” movie. This was honest-to-goodness fatigue-induced stupor. Usually I get embarrassed just at dozing on the couch, because it reminds me of how my Dad’s sleep switch would click over every night at 9:00, even if we were watching a captivating movie. But I have no recollection of spending countless minutes on the potty, so I don’t think it really happened. Whatever helps me sleep at night, right?

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Changing Our Sleep Patterns- the 3rd Night

Perhaps one of my most crucial parenting tools is coffee.  I know, lots will tell me it’s bad, I shouldn’t drink it and doing so while nursing is probably going to cause my child to grow a 3rd eye.  Since I’m convinced that not drinking coffee could lead to much worse, I’ll take my chances.

We made it through the 3rd night.

Official analysis?  Night #3 was tolerable.  A marked improvement over night #2.

So far with this experience I can say that every night has been different.  Which is probably good, not sure I could handle multiple nights like night 2.  At least not in a row because really, who knows what tonight will bring?  Not me.

After stumbling around yesterday attempting to use grunts as a form of communication I was hoping for an easy bed time.  It kind of was.  The entire day yesterday was the kind that you just file under “glad it’s over” and hurry up and forget it.  With the exception of Smunchie, everyone in the house struggled and I never figured out if they were picking it up from me or if they too were tired and grumpy.  The crankies woke Smunchie up from her nap after just 25 minutes so I was really worried about bed time.  Squiggle Bug is 3 so I probably don’t need to say more but I will, she is in a major testing phase right now.  It’s normal and healthy but has been extra challenging because of our sleep issues with Smunchie.  Yesterday she pulled out all the stops and I had to dig down deep to find the most loving and patient grunts I could manage.  We got through and bed time was surprisingly easy for Smunchie, almost impossible for Squiggle Bug but by 8.38 they were both down.

I hung out with The Storyteller who had also had a rough day and needed some positive mom time.  When I apologized about being short with her earlier she said “it’s ok, I heard Smunchie last night.  She was mad at you.  So I thought maybe you’d just let us do whatever we wanted today because you were tired.  Sorry, I tried to take advantage of you.”

I knew it!

As I was finishing up the post about night 2 Smunchie woke up around 10.  She nursed and fell quickly back asleep at the breast.  I hoped that would mean she’d stay down longer.  Wrong.  At 11.40 she woke again and since our window begins at midnight after changing her diaper I nursed her.  She must have been hungry because she really nursed well, let go, burped and threw her arms over her head and passed out.

I felt confident that the night was not going to go well.  She hadn’t even slept more than 2 hours without waking yet and she usually did a 4 hour stretch.  Sleep horror movies begin this way.

Timeline-ish

1amish- The call for bobbies was issued again and some how she ended up in bed nursing.  I don’t remember who got her.  I think I fell asleep for a moment but when I woke she was still latched and sucking.  “Bobbies all done” was met again with her unlatching and rolling over.  I can’t believe how easy that has been.  This time I kind of froze for a moment, afraid that the bobbie-monster would rise again in a few minutes but nothing happened.  Scooped her up and put her back in her bed before zombie-mommy drug her butt back the entire 2 feet back to bed.

3.45ish- This one happened but I remember nothing about it, zero details.  Smunchie got bobbies I ended it before she was asleep and she did fine.  It was remarkably unremarkable.

4.13ish- I looked at the clock this time when I got her.  Since I fell asleep the first time because I was too far gone to keep myself awake to be sure I didn’t nurse her to sleep and because the 2nd time I wasn’t even sure actually happened, I really tried to rouse myself.  While I was nursing her The Piano Man left the room, I’m wasn’t sure why but she didn’t notice and when I thought that was enough I mumbled our end phrase.  This time she let go and fussed, kind of a grumbly whiny fussing at me but she rolled over and cuddled with her lovey and Ceil.  Wakefulness hit me from my bladder.  Hoping to bed share for the rest of the night I was waiting for The Piano Man to return to stay in bed with her while I peed.  I waited.  And waited.  Afraid I was going to have my first accident in probably 30 years I finally got up.  Somehow, she knew it.  Before I was even out the door she was crying.  I soothed her and apologized telling her I had to go potty and oddly enough she calmed down and resumed her deep breathing.  Odd, very odd.  I peeked into Squiggle Bug’s room but no Piano Man and the couch was empty too.  Puzzled I got to the bathroom which was closed.  Someone was in there but I didn’t know who.  I had to pee but if I knocked I risked waking someone so I figured they couldn’t be in there long.  I was wrong.  Stepping repeatedly on the creaky spot in our hall hardwood floor I hoped whomever was inside would realize there was a lurker in the hall.  Eventually the door opened and there was The Piano Man looking very confused.

We think he fell asleep on the toilet.  He doesn’t actually remember anything about any of it.  I guess you take sleep wherever you can get it sometimes.

4.45ish- back to bed, Smunchie was sound asleep on her tummy in a starfish position taking up the entire bed.  I moved her to her bed.

7.30ish- I wake up to laughter.  Smunchie and Squiggle Bug were both in her bed playing.  They were laughing so hard and having so much fun.  Smiling at the sound before I even opened my eyes, I thought we are in for a much better day today.

See how well we’re hanging in there?

Sleep deprivation, our constant accessory.

Tonight we’re supposed to begin the second set of 3 nights.  The prospect is a little scary and have I visions of a bad horror movie where you yell at the idiotic characters as they run straight to the bad guy.  I’m not going to think about it just yet though, I’m going to enjoy the day with my family before some work appointments in the afternoon.  Being more rested today I am looking forward to some together time without the baggage of crippling fatigue.

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Changing Sleep Patterns- Night 2.

I started this post at 10 something this morning.  It is now 9.25pm.  You probably already know how last night went in the great “I Dream Of Sleep” saga.

When I woke up this morning I thought “well, this will be a good blog post.”  I use the word “good” loosely.  Very loosely.

The verdict is IN!  Night #1 = fluke.  It really WAS too easy the first night.  Smunchie is not about to take this night weaning thing laying down.  Bah-dum-bum-bum. Pardon the lame pun, I’m zombie-mom today.

Look at my darling Smunchie.  Doesn’t she look so sweet?  It is possible this is just a facade and underneath lurks a fierce bobbie-monster.

Official analysis?  The night #2 sucked.   Dr. Gordon warned us it would be hard.  The man was not lying.  I think he may have understated it a little.  Doctors do that you know, “this may be uncomfortable” means “this is going to hurt like hell” and “These will be hard nights” means “You will feel like you are being tortured.”

I thought I would check the clock and have an idea of when things happened but apparently I have a selective memory as to how I function in the middle of the night upon being awakened from sleep.  It’s bad.  Trying to be aware made me remember how I felt after having my impacted wisdom teeth pulled when my mom was telling me to put on my seat belt and I tried to say “I am” but instead as I grunt an unintelligible sound a slippery and unstoppable ball of drool slid out the side of my mouth over my drooping, swollen lip all while thinking I was moving my hand reaching for the seat belt but it laid limply in my lap.  Take that image and imagine that same person is trying to get a small, very determined, rather angry, surprisingly strong toddler to stop breastfeeding at night.  This explains SO much.

Timeline-ish

8pm- Smunchie in bed after stories, bobbies, brushing teeth, more books, and singing.  No problems.

Midnight- The Piano Man and I to bed.  Too late again.  But look at that, 4 hours of sleep without a peep from Smunchie.  This is typical.  We suspect it is because we are NOT trying to sleep and she has no reason to interfere with us doing the dishes or picking up toys or maybe even getting some work done.

12.10ish- Smunchie wakes up, we do the short feed but I’m worried she’s already fallen back asleep.  When I whisper “bobbies all done” she immediately pops off and rolls over to go to sleep.  I think “I’m a ROCKSTAR!”  The Piano Man and I share a “she’s-so-cute-and-this-is-awesome” smile.  The kind that makes me think dangerous things like maybe we should go for one more.  I move her to her bed and we all go to sleep.

Sometime between 12.30 and 2am- that smile and dangerous thought leads to some potentially dangerous activities but fear and panic of what could still be to come in the night once again work their magic powers and our current method of birth control holds.  Sleep is made the priority.

After 3.30ish- Now things get really fuzzy.  Smunchie wakes up, I lay there hoping she’ll suddenly decide that what she actually wants is to sleep and stop asking for bobbies.  Then I realize that’s not going to happen so I decide to get her.  Only I don’t actually move.  I think I’m going to but I don’t.  The Piano Man gets her and gives her to me, we nurse and I fight like crazy to be aware but I still somehow manage to doze and roll away from her a bit and she loses the nipple.  Freak out.  This is what usually happens and we do this dance until… well, I don’t know when because I never really sleep and I never really wake up.  Get situated again and she sucks like she’s holding on for dear life.  My brain is making random shapes and I have some stupid Katy Perry song that I hate running through my head and I may have mumbled “stop it, just stop it” but that was about that dumb song.  When her suck changes I croak (no sweet whisper this time) “bobbies all done” and she lets go and rolls over.

Though I’m in a sleepy stupor, I’m impressed.  We all settle in for a picturesque sleep in the family bed.

3 min. later- Smunchie sits up suddenly and starts asking “bobbies?”  From some place in my head free of any Katy Perry music I register the question and think it sounds cute.  She was not going for cute.  It quickly escalates to anger.  How DARE we take her bobbies away?!  She was USING them!  Crying and repeating that one word she starts pushing me, pulling me, sticking her hand down my shirt, body slamming me and then pulling a move worthy of a WWF broadcast, an elbow blow to my head.

I forgot the plan.  The truth is, drooly, dozing me is no match for bobbie crazed Smunchie.  The Piano Man pulled her off of me and cuddled and cooed and I have no idea what else because I kind of tuned it all out.

Sometime after 4am- She would settle, almost asleep and then rouse again to let us know how angry she was.  This happened so. many. times.  We took turns with the comforting, I even sang “You Are My Sunshine”, which may not have helped things since it sounded I had cotton packing in my cheeks and my mouth open for hours.  I rubbed her back, The Piano Man held her on his chest, he patted her, she and I laid with our noses touching, she tried to push us both out of the bed and claimed the center going the wrong way. I thought “I’m so not a rockstar.”

4.30ish- Squiggle Bug woke up.  No big surprise, it was kind of noisy.  She wanted daddy.  Daddy comforted her and came back.  So did Squiggle Bug.  I gave her a hug and Smunchie got jealous.  She tried to throw herself off the bed to claim me back for herself.

4.40ish- At some point, I don’t know when, The Piano Man went to check on Squiggle Bug who had gone back to bed (actually, the couch) and Smunchie had the biggest melt down of the night.  Hitting me again (which I don’t permit so I moved out of her way) she turned her extra angry voice up a few notches, climbed out of bed and stomped off to find daddy.  I didn’t even know she could stomp.  Twenty pound ball of bobbie crazed, exhausted, mad stomping off to find daddy.  He brought her back and tried to leave again but she wouldn’t have it so he laid back down.

5somethingish- Our “mm-hm” chant started, she flipped flopped all over the place with The Piano Man and I perched on about 3 inches each on the sides of the bed.  I also ended up in the bed the wrong way for some reason once and we had a smiley, sweet, let’s play few moments in there. Lovey was lost track of several times and the baby doll was thrown out of the bed once.  I started thinking maybe I should give her the bobbies so we could get SOME sleep when all of a sudden she began scooting/crawling backwards toward the end of the bed.  Because he doesn’t act like he just had his wisdom teeth pulled when he’s supposed to be sleeping but isn’t, The Piano Man bounced out of bed (I kid you not, bounced) and got to her before she landed on the floor.  To his surprise she pointed to her little bed, he took her to it, she tossed in her lovey (a small blanket) and Ciel (her baby doll) and reached for the bed.  He gentle placed her in her bed and she immediately fell asleep.  I glanced at the clock, it was just before 6am.  I think, the numbers were really blurry.

7.30ish- Smunchie stands up and calls for bobbies.  We cuddle up and nurse and I still feel like someone gave me some drug and dug around in my head for a while.  Once done with the bobbies she sits up and giggles, points at something on the night stand and in general acts like she had a great night and seriously mommy, what is wrong with you and why are you talking funny?

It was after we got up and stumbled toward the kitchen to get coffee started that I learned that The Piano Man sat with Squiggle Bug for a bit before she’d let him go back to bed.  Today was rough, we’ve been a tired, cranky family.  All except Smunchie, she’s been all smiles and giggles, rainbows and butterflies.

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