Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Houston, we have a sleep problem

Namely, none of us is getting enough.

Certainly not surprising, considering we have a baby at home. It doesn't really bother me that DH and I are tired, I think it comes with the territory. But I don't think our poor little man is getting enough sleep either, mainly during the day, and that's where I have the problem. We are nowhere near desperation, as he is usually in a good mood until that bit of fussiness in the evenings typical of most babies, but he is not fond of napping and much prefers to party with his mom from sun up to sun down. On the rare occasions that he does get some decent shuteye, I notice an even happier baby, so I think the all-too-brief snatches of daytime dreamtime he usually gets just aren't cutting it.

Being a mom has really made me appreciate the deep truths of typical remarks dished out to new parents, such as "Don't you wish they came with an instruction manual?" Yes, yes I do. Because there are a million of them for sale on Amazon, and as all of them conflict, it'd be nice if he had come with his own. Whether it's two top respected pediatrician authors or two strangers at the grocery store, no one seems to agree on even the major principles of raising a baby. In fact, each side insists that the other is doing irreparable damage, and if you don't follow the right advice, your child will grow up to be stupid, lazy, fat, and emotionally impaired.

While I don't believe that for a moment, I do struggle with how to work on improving Bean's sleep habits. Somewhere between co-sleeping and crying-it-out, there exists a murky gray area with little instruction from "experts." It's time for Bean to transition to his crib, and although I'm not morally opposed to the cry-it-out method, I'm going to experiment in that murky grayness for a while in the hopes that it won't come to that. I bought two books that are highly recommended by friends and Amazon readers, so I'll start there. I've received a couple of very helpful pieces of advice so far: 1) instead of following one book like it's the Bible, pick-and-choose the techniques that work best for you and your baby, and 2) aim for improvement, not perfection, and don't beat yourself up over the hiccups that are bound to occur.

Wish me luck.

In other updates...

My mom left on Saturday. We missed her immediately! Thank goodness she was here, I think I would have had a nervous breakdown coming back to the house in the condition it was in without her help. Although we still have some boxes in the loft, mud room, and garage, by and large the house is looking great. And I love love love it here. Just as I suspected, the drab rental house was zapping my will to live. DH and I both agree that it feels like we've lived here for years -- it is our house. We still haven't met many neighbors, but I'm working on it. Yesterday, when I was walking the dog and baby, I passed a car in someone's driveway that had a University of Michigan alumni license plate cover. Inside their garage, I saw the parents holding a six-month-old little boy. Unfortunately, they were busy doing something, or I would have introduced myself. When I relayed the story, DH remarked that it's too bad we can't be friends with U of M fans. Only a man can hold a grudge for a college rival when we are 2200 miles from the schools.

Speaking of DH, he is galavanting around Washington, D.C. this week with my friend who lives there as a tour guide! (Okay, so he'd probably say he's suffering through a long, boring work conference with some fun side trips as time allows. Clearly we conceptualize the situation differently.) I've never been to D.C., and for a mere $1300 plane ticket, Bean and I could have joined him. Needless to say, I'm here pulling single-mom duty while he's across the country. It's a bit frustrating that I can't get anything on my 35-item to-do list accomplished, as my hands are constantly full of Bean, but I am enjoying time with him nevertheless. He's mama's buddy right now, and I'm absolutely eating this time up. I do have more of an appreciation for single parents, though. Bean decided to take full advantage of his brief diaperless state on the changing table the other day, and there was no DH to come running this time when I yelled, "We have a poop situation!"

He's coming back into town tomorrow, but there won't be much relief for me yet, as one of his friends from St. Louis is flying in tomorrow for a weekend visit as well. Unfortunately, Bean's got a few more months before he'll be ready to trek around Mt. Rainier, so I'll be hanging out at the casa by myself until the friend leaves on Sunday. It'll be worth it, though, if I can meet that Michigan couple on a walk. Maybe they have an extra "Go Blue" flag I can hang up in the loft while DH is out watching the Blue Angels air show.

Now that my mom's gone, the worry that she's going to start looking for a new job soon, because I can only offer her 21 hours a week at slightly more than minimum wage (which is extremely high in Washington, but nevertheless). I am tired of fighting so hard for day care in order to work, so I'm still flirting with the idea of staying home full time. I have a few other ideas for professional pursuits that I could follow on my own timeline, as I know I would need to keep that part of my mind engaged somehow. Not that the extra activity seems to be helping my brain much now anyway, but I can imagine how much worse things could get. Who knows, maybe you'll get lucky and I'll accidentally send my next credit card payment to you!


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you could write the instruction manual, you are taking a very common sense approach. Don't worry you WILL sleep again sometime before Danny is a teenager and then you won't sleep b/c he'll be out partying all night!!

Good luck with DH, I haven't had to go more than 24 hours without Sean and don't know how I would manage, especially when I was in the stage you are now!!!

lisawitt said...

We dont often have to do it, but we do CIO. We go by the 15 minute rule...and have never made it to 15 minutes yet! Also, what is bean sleeping in at night? We had troubles around 4-5 months and then I started using a sleep sack, and I swear he started sleeping through the night. I am a believer! :)

Sounds like things are going pretty well though. And I am SOO impressed you took on the plane! You go girl!