Tuesday, February 13, 2007

2/13/07 One step forward, two steps backward

For once I'll try to write this quickly, to put this day out of its misery.

After two hours of crying last night, it came to be time -- past time -- to nurse Katrina. And so she went to sleep.

I feel irrationally angry at every sleep expert and advice-touter and method there is. It's supposed to be less crying each night, not more!

But once again, the difference in her nighttime sleep was...well, night and day. Falling asleep without the pacifier meant that she slept solidly, with only one wakeup at 3:30am to nurse. No waking up every few minutes fussing for the pacifier.

After yesterday's no-nap trauma, I was faced with a real dilemma today. What's more important: continuing the pacifier withdrawal, or getting good naps? This morning, I decided she needed a solid morning nap to start off the day, and gave her the pacifier so she'd fall asleep quickly and easily. And she did. Rationalization: fix things one at a time; I can't change everything at once. For what it was worth, I took the pacifier away as soon as she was asleep, so she didn't nibble throughout the nap.

So this morning, Julian helped me decorate some cookies, and I packed up a tortilla-cheese-pear rollup snack, and some valentines. Katrina woke up just in time to nurse and go to Kristi's for a Valentine's playgroup, though she woke up crying and grumpy.

Julian and I had a great time at Kristi's house, hanging out with friends, munching yummy snacks, and enjoying the kid mayhem.

Katrina, on the other hand, was fussy and unhappy, so I was very grateful for some help from Danielle, Kristi's photogenic nanny. Katrina did something for the first time ever there: she fell asleep on me! It was to be the first of many mini-snoozes throughout the day.

After Kristi's, I picked up Gabriel and took all three kids on a potentially life-changing errand: to enter the lottery at an alternative elementary school. The lady taking applications turned out to be a neighbor of mine who I'd met about two years ago, and I had a pang of guilt that she was volunteering at the school. Will I do that? I feel like I should!

(What did I say about writing this quickly?!)

The afternoon was a bust. Katrina was tired and miserable, but couldn't nap. I tried several times to get her to sleep without the pacifier, to no avail. Even with the pacifier, she slept for only 15-20 minutes at a time. She was a mess. While trying to make dinner, she cried so hard, and had been spitting up so much, that I was getting worried that her tummy was bothering her. After nearly an hour of nonstop carrying and bouncing (while trying to prepare dinner and keep the boys from throttling each other), I tried putting her down again, with pacifier, and she went to sleep.

Dave came home 5 minutes later to a peaceful scene, which Katrina joined about 20 minutes later, all googly and sweet. Wait! No fair! She hasn't been herself all day, and she reserves it for when Dave's home?! That sure took weight out of my story of how hard it had been this afternoon!

But now, I had to face: bedtime. After numerous times with the pacifier today, which seemed like the right -- only -- thing to do at the time, now I knew it was time to own up. Now I had to ask her to go to bed without it. Is that really fair? Doesn't sound like it. But not napping all day, like yesterday, is no good either. I'd forgotten that the worst thing about baby sleep is just not knowing what to do, what's right, what's fair, what works, what short-term victories sacrifice long-term success.

After nursing, bath, calm-down time (in theory), it was time to put Katrina to bed. She started to cry even before I put her down, knowing full well what was coming. And so did I. Would she stick it out for 2-1/2 hours, until enough time had passed that she was probably hungry now?

No! She didn't! After an hour and twenty minutes of crying, she fell asleep. I never thought I'd feel good about saying that. And I don't really; I don't feel good about listening to my baby cry for even twenty seconds. But it wasn't two hours like last night, and she did fall asleep on her own.

I think tonight we made an unwitting discovery that all the checking on her only sets her backward, since tonight we had to prepare for the cleaners and just couldn't pay as much attention. And, when she catches sight of one of us going into the room, she's re-energized. I hate to say it, but she really needs to be in her own room. Oh, Dr. Sears, how far I've strayed.

Did I say prepare for the cleaners?! Oh brother! Cleaners tomorrow! So much for making darn certain baby gets a good morning nap!

On top of it, after not eating dinner, Julian cried and cried and complained that his tummy hurt. I believed him, and tried to comfort him, but what can you do except wait? And sure enough, he produced, throwing up in his bed. So tonight, he's sleeping in the living room, close to us, with spare bedding at the ready. I give it 75% odds he'll throw up in the middle of the night. Unless he bounds out of bed in the morning and requests breakfast, he's skipping preschool tomorrow.

Just what I need. A tired, fussy baby, and a sick toddler when I have to be out of the house all morning.

Is it possible Julian didn't like the fish I served for dinner tonight? He spit out a huge mouthful of it, then didn't eat anything else. Gabriel, to my delight, couldn't get enough of it. "Mom, can I PLEASE have more fish?!" I didn't make enough; I had to give him most of mine. Yay! I forgot to tell him what kind of fish it was, a shame because kids always like funny names. He'd get a kick out of eating mahi-mahi.

You know, I'm glad this entry turned long, because it reminds me that really, I did have a good day. Though I feel traumatized and depressed by this baby sleep process, it's good to remember that I had a really fun morning, got an important errand run, and made a good step toward straightening out baby sleep tonight.

I just miss my cheerful, sweet, funny, outrageously smiley, happy baby.


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