First, let's start with the positive. Bean had his six-month check-up yesterday, and he passed with flying colors. He is 27 inches (74th percentile) and 16 lbs 11 1/2 oz (45th percentile) with a head circumference of 44 cm (51st percentile). He self-administered his oral vaccine and took four shots in his leg with minimal crying. The pediatric nurse examined his eyes with her light thingie and declared them the best eyes she'd seen that day. She also mentioned that she thought their color would eventually settle on green or hazel. I'm skeptical, as DH and I both have brown eyes, but maybe Bean got his from his grandpa. The nurse also said his lower front teeth are about to make their appearance, and based on his position and movement when she put him on his tummy, we are not far away from crawling. Eeek!
More with the positive: life as a stay-at-home mom. Or as I fondly refer to it, my sabbatical. (DH called it my "retirement" until I asked if that meant I never have to go back to work. Now he calls it my sabbatical too.) It's awesome, are you kidding me? With all the big changes going on around here lately, as well as living at least a thousand miles from any friends or family to lend a hand (it takes a village, and we are currently minus one village), I really feel it was the right choice to simplify my life and focus on the Beanster full time. I'm doing my best to make commitments to keep us busy and meet new people. Last night we attended preschool orientation, as our co-op program starts next Wednesday. And tomorrow I'm going to a nearby lake for a playdate with the LLL moms. We've also been trying new solid foods, although it's not been going as smoothly as I anticipated. The resulting poops are very interesting. Opening his diaper is like unwrapping one of those mystery-flavored suckers. You never know what you're gonna get.
But alas, it's not all fun and games around here. Naptimes are a nightmare.
They often come and go with a notable lack of napping.
I'm still using two different books (one no-cry, one that advocates crying if necessary) and tapping into the expertise of my friends and moms groups. From the experience of others, I am not given much hope. They struggle the same ways I do, just further along the path. From the two books, I've learned several things.
1. It is vital that babies get enough daytime and nighttime sleep to ensure brain development and best behavior.
2. Babies need to be taught how to fall asleep on their own (i.e. self soothe).
3. My baby is not getting enough daytime sleep.
4. If I let my baby cry himself to sleep, I am a "heartless" mother and my child won't trust me (book one). However, if I give in to his cries, he will grow up "bratty" and "fat" and suffer from ADHD, other learning difficulties, and insomnia (book two).
As you can see, I'm basically screwed. What's a mother to do?
I've dipped my toes into both approaches, with little success. Trying to teach him to self-soothe without him crying seems to be an exercise in futility. He loves his mom and seems only to get decent sleep either cuddling in my lap after nursing into dreamland or while I'm wearing him in my Moby. (Book two eschews babywearing for napping, by the way. The author says that if the baby is in motion while sleeping, either in the car, swing, or sling, it's not good sleep.) Anyway, if I try to get Bean to sleep independently without crying, I can literally spend the ENTIRE DAY doing this. It has happened. The result: he doesn't stay asleep for more than five minutes at a time, I'm exhausted, and the day feels entirely wasted.
On the other hand, I've been trying some good old fashioned cry it out for the past couple of days. Which is more traumatic, of course, with no better results to show for it. Sure, one time he only cried for 10 minutes and slept for 25. But still, according to the author that supports this method, sleeping for less than an hour doesn't really count as a nap.
Today I could only take the crying for 35 minutes (the book recommends an hour) before I went in to rescue the poor creature. He had been screaming the entire time, and the pathetic and terrified look on his face just crushed me.
I can imagine both author's response to my failure. You are not trying my method hard enough or long enough!
But as I type this, Bean is sleeping in the Moby, snuggled into me. He's quiet and content, and I'm happy to kiss his soft head whenever I please. I might just have to take these small moments when I can get them.
It's either that, or therapy for all of us.