Posts Tagged ‘sleep’

For the last few days I’ve been getting a lot of double takes, some deep eye staring, and, frankly, a bizarre amount of attention.

The conceited part of me was like “yeah! all the weight loss is paying off! I must look gggggggggoooooood!”

I strut a bit when I think this.

But oh vanity, thy name is Erin!

Today I realized it wasn’t so much the thinner me people were staring at (though I still secretly hope that was part of it). People were actually staring at the crazy sick person who sounds like she’s been smoking a pack a day for the last 15 years.

For example, I came downstairs early the other morning to open the door for some handymen. They all looked shocked at my appearance at the door, but at least no one cringed. When I managed to whisper loudly that I was a bit under the weather, all of their faces changed to expressions of relief and pity. The foreman even managed a sad smile and said “That’s ok, honey. why don’t you go back to bed?”

I would have been angry at the patronizing tone of a stranger if I hadn’t actually been desperate to follow his direction and return to bed.


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Of the many thing motherhood means, it often means time management.

I know, exciting!

But seriously, an hour here, 20 minutes there, can mean the difference between a good day and a no-good dirty rotten one.

Let me give you an example:

In my never-ending quest to turn Baby C (now Toddler C) into a better sleeper, I am constantly obsessing about time:

nap time

bed time

the duration of sleep

wake up times

the time between nap and dinner

the time between dinner and bed

the time it takes to fall asleep

the time left before I lose my mind….

My ideal day with Toddler C consists of an 8 am wake up, 12:30 lunch, followed by a 1:30-3:30 nap, ending with a 7-8pm bedtime.

If things go even slightly off schedule, my whole day seems to go slightly off kilter.

If we get up too early, C tries to sneak in a nap before lunch or simply becomes unbearable with the extremely tired whining.

If we get a nap too early, C won’t go down for a second nap and then becomes unable to hold his head up after 6pm.

If C tries to go to bed at 6pm, he’ll wake up at 9pm thinking he’s just had a great nap (ya!) and try to get up.

If I somehow keep him in bed after he wakes up at 9pm, he’ll wake up at 3 or 4 am feeling completely refreshed and ready to start the day.

If C tries to get up at 3am, I then take him to bed with me, hoping we can sleep until 6am, praying he’ll take 2 naps that day so I can get some dang sleep, and close my eyes.

You can see how things sort of snowball, all stemming from just an hour off schedule.  Just an hour!

Imagine what happens when things get really off schedule.

And people wonder why I look tired all the time!

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As a mom forced to go solo with her one year old, I am constantly looking for ways to simplify my life.  And while some of you environmentalists may cringe at this, but I have found the disposable wipe to be one of my primary weapons in my daily battle for efficiency.  Do I feel bad about the 3-4 wipes I dispose of daily? No, I absolutely do not.  Three extra wipes in a landfill is totally worth my sanity.

(If you are neither a mom, dad, or lazy you will not find this post entertaining or informative.  Just a warning!)

Wipe 1-Clorox Wipes:

Lemony fresh timesaver

Because my baby likes to self feed, his high chair gets mighty dirty.  C also has a habit of squeezing food in his hands or mushing and then spreading food around on his tray, especially when he is tired.  C is also typical in his demands to get out of the high chair as quickly as possible, leaving me with little time to clean his hands and tray before freeing him from his plastic prison.

My lifesaver here is the canister of Clorox wipes I keep on the buffet next to the high chair.  These wipes clean and disinfect (which is awesome because that slick banana oil that gets everywhere seems to seep in, and by the way, is disgusting).  They are also much thicker than other wipes I’ve used, meaning they’ll actually scrub off dried spaghetti sauce as well as whisking away bits of soggy Cheerios.  One wipe can typically take care of the whole tray, unless we’ve had pizza and then I just use his stained bib to wipe up the tray (it’s already ruined, so why not?).

Wipes 2–Pledge Wipes:

Handy and Dandy

It is no secret that I have little time in which to clean, nor is it any secret that I don’t actually like to clean.  OK, it’s no secret that I HATE to clean, but that doesn’t prevent me from being house proud.  In order to save a little face, I will take 5 minutes (because that’s all I have) to wipe down every surface in sight before someone comes over.  I usually only have one hand to do this with, given C’s propensity to “explore” while my back is turned, so he sits on my hip as I move from bookcase to counter to mantle, swiping each with these miracles of home care.

Wipes 3–Neutrogena Makeup Remover, Cleansing Towlettes Night Calming

Fresh faces just a wipe away

So this last one is mostly because I’m lazy, or maybe just because I’m worn down at the end of everyday, but there are days, many days in fact, that I just want to go to sleep rather than deal with a whole rigmarole of nightly cleaning.  Sometimes I just want to go to sleep.  After I’ve put Baby C to bed, if I’ve managed to put C to bed, the last thing I want to do is stand at the bathroom sink washing, cleaning, toning, moisturizing, etc.  I just want my fact to be clean so I can get some sleep!  Is that too much to ask?!?!

Apparently it is not.  Several makeup and skin care companies now make these convenient towlettes.  So for those nights when it is just too much to get out of bed one more time, I keep a little box of these towlettes on my nightstand.  I just grab one and wipe away the day.  30 seconds later, my face, and my conscience, are clean, ready for some much-needed rest.

It may not be exciting, but sometimes it’s the little things that make each day a little easier.

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Occasionally Baby C will let me sing him to sleep and each time I am mentally grasping at songs I know the full lyrics to, suitable for children’s ears, to sing him to sleep with.

There are not a ton of songs that fit this description.

I typically end up singing him a fair number from the Beatles catalog, with some show tunes and folks songs thrown in there.

Here was the playlist (from my lips) tonight:

1. Blackbird, by the Beatles. Sung twice, with neither verse sung 100% correct, but at least I knew most of the words and it has a slow, soulful melody.

2. Yesterday, by the Beatles. I tend to sing this in “rounds”, that is I just keep going round and round from beginning to end, from end to beginning.  It works well, as C tends to quite down and slowly drift off (I know how he feels, loving this song myself).

3. Hey Jude, by the Beatles.  This is where I began grasping at straws.  I know approximately 75% of this song by heart.  I know all the words, but I always get confused about lyric construction, as it tends to go back and forth between verse and refrain at odd intervals.  When the music is on though, I can sing along.  When it’s in my head, it’s a little jumbled.

4. Edelweiss, sung by Capt. Von Trap in The Sound of Music. Now this may seem like an odd choice, but after my fumblings with the last song, I needed to follow it up with something strong.  I have known this song by heart since I was 10, making it easy for me to pluck the lyrics and music from my memory.  Plus, I can almost hear the harmony in my head when I sing it, making it an ideal lullaby with its soothing tones.

5. Tuppence a Bag, sung by Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. Ok, so I lost it a little on this one, but I think my mind was going with the whole “show tunes” theme.  I really only know about half of the words to this song.  It was not my strongest performance.

6. Something, by the Beatles. After the failure of the last song, I needed to return to my strengths.  C was asleep by this point, but to be certain, I wanted to add one more song so I could assure myself he was soundly under.  I don’t know why I didn’t just stick with the Beatles the whole time.  Though the refrain for Something is a bit fast, it’s easy to slow the tempo down while singing.  It actually makes a rather lovely lullaby.

Here are some other songs I’ve either used as lullabies or think would make good lullaby tunes:

Here, There, and Everywhere (Beatles)

Here Comes the Sun (Beatles)

She’s Always a Woman to Me (Billy Joel)

Morning Has Broken (Cat Stevens)

Bubble Toes (Jack Johnson)

Waiting for my Real Life to Begin (Colin Hay)

Inaudible Melodies (Jack Johnson)

Can’t Help Falling In Love (Elvis Presley)

Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Cousin Iz-at least that’s who singing in my head)

America (Simon and Garfunkel)

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Baby C has always been a cuddly baby.  Despite his best efforts to avoid sleep and forge an early independence, C loves to be cuddled.  He enjoys being held nearly as much as he enjoys his freedom.  He freely gives hugs, kisses, and smiles.

Yet despite all this, C does not like his head, hair, or face to be stroked as I try to put him to sleep.  He usually pushes my hand away or pins my hands down with his own.

Instead, in a reversal of roles, as C nestles into the crook of my arm, nuzzling my shoulder, he placidly strokes my arms and hands.  Drifting off to sleep, each gentle stroke becomes longer and softer, lulling himself to sleep with the movement.  Slowly his touch becomes a soft brushing movement side to side, barely moving his hands more than a few centimeters, until at last the movement ceases and he sleeps.

Though as his mother I feel I should be lulling my child to sleep with gentle strokes to his forehead, I couldn’t be more pleased at the love and affection my darling boy showers on me at, yes, the oddest of times.

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There were things that pre-baby I swore I would never do as a mother.  One of them was the “family bed” or “co-sleeping”.

Like most parents-to-be I thought that this was just another crack-pot, hippy parenting tool that made no sense to actual rational minded parents.  You can see how open-minded I was about the whole thing.

The idea of sharing a bed with my tiny infant was, if nothing else, extremely scary.  How could a parent share a bed with their baby? Won’t they roll over on them?  Flashbacks of high school AP European History lectures brought back snippets of information about high rates of infant mortality amongst the poor due to family beds.  Or was that high rates of infanticide because they were starving?  I don’t remember, but either way it’s scary!  I don’t want to kill my baby!

Yet, as sleepless nights turned into sleepless weeks turned into sleepless months, I found that I brought Baby C more and more often to the “big bed”.  C has always been a terrible sleeper, from the second he was born.  As a tiny infant, the only time he slept for more than an hour was if I (or somebody) was holding him.  I thought, surely he’ll grow out of this!  Babies sleep in cribs, don’t they?

Night after night, I would tirelessly walk down the hall with a sleeping C in my arms, place him gently in the crib and return to bed.  And night after night, I would make that trip in reverse.  As the hours passed by, and the number of trips down the hall continued to climb, I grew weary.  Several times I just feel asleep with C propped on a pillow in between my husband and I.  I would awake with a start fearing some catastrophe.

Despite my fears, I discovered we both actually slept better if Baby C was tucked in next to me.  I found a set of rules to help minimize my fears and to keep C relatively still.

1. I place a pillow in between my husband and I.  As a woman and a mother (and yes, I am being blatantly sexist here) I am keenly aware of my baby’s presence.  My husband could sleep through a hurricane, so a baby’s movements or cries are nothing more than a misting against the windows.

2. I wedge the barrier pillow on top of my pillow corner, so it forms a L and then I prop C into the corner of that L.

3. I keep an arm around C at all times if I can at all help it, usually curving my whole body around him.

4. No sheets, just the top comforter and I try not to put it over C, as sleeping in this close of quarters makes us both very hot.

And though, even with these rules in place, I still wake up several times a night.  However, it’s a heck of a lot better than trudging up and down the hallway all night.

So here’s my disclaimer:

I still put C to bed in his crib every night.  I usually give it two goes.  I am under no delusion that I wouldn’t sleep much better alone in my bed.  But after, 1 am I am unwilling to fight it any more.

I wouldn’t recommend this for babies under 3 or 4 months.  They are just too small!  They will get the same comfort from being swaddled or sleeping in the close quarters for their bassinet that they would get from the arms of a parent.  Also, at 11 months C can roll over if he’s stuck under a pillow or cry out if his daddy is rolling over on him (and yes that happened, don’t think I didn’t freak out, I did.  Hence the rules).  A true infant does not have the sub-conscious awareness to protect himself.

I honestly wouldn’t recommend this for everyone.  It’s strictly a matter of last resorts for this family.  But it works for us, for now.

I know that someday soon Baby C will sleep through the night, alone in his crib, again as he did for a few glorious weeks here and there over the last year.  I know that at some point in the future, C will refuse to sleep in the bed with us even if we wanted him to.  In the meantime, we’ll muddle through.

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Can I just say I am so over teething?  So over it!  Seriously, Baby C’s darn teeth need to come in!  Ok, here’s what we have so far (take a look at the illustration to follow along):

Baby Teeth Diagram and Alleged "Schedule"

C has his central incisors, top and bottom.  His top lateral incisors have cut through and are currently pushing down.  Well, is definitely pushing down, and the other seems to be struggling to move anywhere but I can see it clearly cut the gum.  The bottom lateral incisors appear to be coming in now as his bottom gum is red and swollen to twice its normal size.  His top gum is also inflamed, so maybe some more teeth are coming in up there too.  I honestly don’t know!

At this point I am just rubbing Baby Orajel on all parts of his gums and supplying him with a steady stream of Baby Tylenol.  I don’t know if they’re helping or if he’s just toying with me, but I’m hoping they help cause I really really need to sleep.

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