Monday, February 12, 2007

2/12/07 Mom caves

I screwed up the day from the beginning.

Against my nap religion, I took Katrina to the Y this morning, hoping for a quick workout before she took her solid reliable morning nap. But when I picked her up from the Childwatch, the lady told me cheerily that Katrina had just woken up. Meaning, she got a brief snooze. The Childwatch ladies actually try to get the babies to sleep, figuring this is a good thing. And it is, for them.

But for me, disaster. Though I was glad for my quick workout, I paid dearly. Other than another 5-minute doze-off in the car on the way to pick up Julian, Katrina didn't nap again for 5 solid hours. That's an eternity for a baby, especially having essentially missed a morning nap!

After picking the boys up this afternoon, I took all three kids grocery shopping. I didn't want Katrina to fall asleep in the stroller, thinking foolishly that she'd have a better chance of taking a nap at home, so I carried her in the sling. She did fine, and even smiled weakly at people, though she was very very tired at the time. I thought I was really pushing it and that she'd zonk the moment we'd get home. Hah.

I was determined, at first, to get her to nap without the pacifier. But it became clear after many hours, including some futile crying alone in the bassinet, that she was way, way overtired and only continued to work herself up.

Now what? Do I stick out the learning moment, or cut my losses and do whatever it takes to get her past it?

(I might remind you the kind readers who don't have 4-month-old babies at the moment how stressful a tired baby is. They don't sit gurgling in a bouncer, they cry and fuss and cause intense stress for Mom. 5 minutes of that is intense, so 5 hours of it can drive you out of your mind.)

Desperate, I gave her the pacifier, and within minutes, she'd calmed down and was asleep. That answers that. The 5-hour nap drought was finally over. I thought.

I lay down right away, something I'd been waiting for all morning. Fighting a migraine, this day would have felt a whole lot different for me if Katrina had allowed me even just 20 minutes of a nap myself.

But it didn't end there. 15 minutes into her long-overdue nap, Katrina woke up suddenly, crying. Pacifier. 5 minutes later, more crying. Pacifier again. Instants later, more crying. More pacifier.

An all-too-familiar cycle. Not again! I gave up, picked her up and figured we'd just have to wait it out until the next nap. But she was way, way tired. I nursed her, put her down -- cried again. I threw up my hands and gave her the evil pacifier one more time.

And now she's been asleep long enough for me to type this tale, about 30 minutes. A record so far today.

Meantime, Gabriel fell asleep on the family room floor, in quite the odd position (knees up, hands under his back), and Julian is thankfully taking his nap too. All three asleep at the same time -- a hard-won victory.

I should have skipped the Y this morning. In fact, I need to stop going anywhere in the mornings until we get nighttime sleep and daytime naps straightened out. No more messing up naps. But I really want to go to the park tomorrow at 10:30 for a little Valentine's Day thing with my mom's group. Smack dab when baby needs her most solid nap of the day. I don't know how to make that happen.

What guilt today. Guilt at letting her cry. Guilt at using the pacifier. Guilt listening to a radio interview with an author who wrote about her experience with cancer and infertility. Here all these women call into the show to share their heartbreak with miscarriage and not getting pregnant, and I'm complaining about life with a bounding, healthy, lively baby I didn't even try for, at an age of drastically reduced ovarian function.

Then there's an article I came across while cleaning out old stacks of magazines, one copied from Mothering magazine and handed out at prenatal yoga, about babies "crying it out." According to this article, studies correlate even five minutes of crying alone to a damaged psyche, detachment to parents, and all sorts of problems later in life. That kind of guilt I really don't need.(Well, attempted guilt on the part of the authors, as I do know the difference between correlation and causation. Mothering magazine is full of weak claims that don't stand up to methodological scrutiny.)

And what about last night?

After an hour and twenty minutes of crying, with some breaks, and a lot of me picking her up and comforting her (moreso to comfort me than her!), Katrina cried herself to sleep. That's the first -- and so far only -- time. She woke up once at 3am, nursed eagerly, and went right back to sleep. That's one well-justified wakeup. That furthers my conviction that the pacifier is causing the nighttime wakeup problems. Two nights, no pacifier, and her sleep is completely different.

Yet out came the pacifier again today when I couldn't take the suffering anymore -- mine nor hers. I can't do that again, it only makes it worse for both of us. I think I'd have managed today if I'd been able to get 20 minutes myself this morning, just enough to tip the migraine battle in my favor. Migraines and momhood don't mix.

All this sleep angst doesn't make for very enjoyable reading, does it. The writing of it is essential for me though. On the surface, that seems counterintuitive -- why relive it?!

So, some fun baby news:

Katrina made her first raspberry today! The times today she was her usual buoyant self, she made all sorts of adorable sounds, including raspberries and variants. This provides no end of amusement to her brothers, of course. And it's a welcome moment of baby love for wiped-out Mom.


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