Sunday, November 12, 2006

It's all about the lovey...

I haven't spent a lot of time kvetching about it because usually I have a hard time finding the humor in it, but little E is not the greatest sleeper in the world. Perhaps it was the seven nights he spent in an isolette in the NICU, perhaps it's just the way he's wired, but this kid NEEDS to be on people. Not near, not next to....on.

And so for the past six months, in addition to being "Mommy, the food", two or three or four times a day, I become "Mommy, the bed". You can watch a lot of TV being "Mommy, the bed", but you can't really accomplish a lot. Thus, "Mommy, the keeper of the house" is in dire need of the ability to physically telaport herself through time and space to get the laundry done and cook a meal. I will just say that Martha Stewart would consider my house uninhabitable (and that woman has done time in prison!)

Don't get me wrong, there's almost nothing sweeter in this world than a sleeping Ethan. And being "Mommy, the bed" gives me a front row seat to all his almost irresistibly edible cuteness. Many times I have found myself staring adoringly at his little snoozing face wanting to reach down and swallow him up in one bite. But cute only goes so far when you realize that your arm is falling asleep AGAIN, you really have to pee and you're dying of thirst. I still believe that the joy that was my July kidney infection/hospital stay was a result of not having enough water to drink while Ethan was a newborn because I was stuck on the couch for literally hours and hours at a stretch without a drop of water to drink as my poor kidneys tried to make do with the drops they could squeeze from whatever food I happened to be able to eat in between naps and the incessant scream-fests that were the early days.

"Well, Sarah, put him down, go pee, get a drink and come back, silly!" Ha Ha Ha, I say. Even in the deepest of sleeps, this little stinker would know when his head met with anything other than the crook of mom's arm and the wailing would begin. I tried this over and over again until I realized it was simply not worth the trouble it took to soothe him back down. And so I sat with him. For hours. For months.

Until last week. I decided that the "on mommy" naps had to end.

Now before you "tsk tsk" me and throw the "bad mommy" award my way, I made this decision not for my own sake, but because I was noticing that Ethan was no longer the deep, peaceful sleeper he used to be when he was on me. The slightest movement from me would stir him and his naps, well, they sucked. (But while I am so busy explaining myself to the internet about why I won't let my son nap on me anymore, I'll throw this out there---why shouldn't I be allowed to take my own feelings into account when I decide what parenting choices to make? I am bombarded with so much stuff about how I have to do everything just perfectly and selflessly for his benefit or I will be messing him up for life and only have myself to blame when he starts beating kids up on the playground and smoking in the boy's room. I happen to think there's got to be a balance of what works for baby and what works for mom, or mom's going to end up being the one beating kids up in the playground and smoking...anywhere).

Anyway, I digress. Ethan was not napping well on me and we needed to make a switch. If that means that I get some time during the day to wash a dish or make a shopping list, more power to me.

And so the quest to find the perfect nap setting began. Husband has been putting Ethan to sleep at night in our bed. Thus, the bed seemed logical. But the end goal is the crib. The thing cost a small fortune and so far has only served as a place to pile laundry, to dry the little man after a bath and the occassional session of tummy time. So I tried the crib. And I tried letting him "cry it out".

Um, no. That lasted about 45 minutes. Yes, I know I did it wrong; I went in to his room every 5 minutes and cuddled and loved him because I just don't have it in me to let him scream. If it were simply a fussing or a little cry, I could cope. No, no, no. All out "I'm on fire"!!!! screaming is more Ethan's cup of tea when he's left alone in his crib. One afternoon was enough for me to realize that that method wasn't going to work for us.

It occurred to me that what was missing in the crib was me. Or something to remind him of me. And so a drive to Target solved that problem. Yes, mommy is best, but a plush little lovey that's half teddy bear, half blanket aint' half bad.

I am telling you, somehow this little piece of fabric and bizarrely disembodied teddy head has revolutionized sleep in our house. I held it three or four times while he nursed and now, all one has to do is give Ethan his paci, his lovey, tap him bum a few times while whispering sweet nothings and the little man is off to dreamland. Okay, sometimes there are some tears, but they are few and far between and they smack of "boo hoo, I don't want to nap", not "someone save me! I'm on fire!!!" And the naps....they are in the bed. Not on mommy. Next week we will attempt to revisit the crib and see how that goes.

And now I can start finding other ways to procrastinate instead of cleaning my's not like Martha Stewart is planning on visiting anytime soon.


Anonymous said...

Yay for you...and E..and yes I agree with you that you need to make sure to weigh your own needs so you can make sure to keep meeting his...I imagine this is the beginning of the journey to get him to be independent.. I can only imagine (& look forward) to the mixed feelings about that..
your sis

Amy said...

That is so awesome that you transitioned him!!! We also have that same lovey and Jack likes to sleep with his head on it.

Let me also recommend the Baby Einstein turtle crib soother thingy. We now put him down, turn on the turtle and he goes from protesting to sleeping in under 5-10 minutes.

And I am all for making parenting decisions with Mommy's happiness in mind. A happy Mommy usually makes for a happy baby.

Anonymous said...

I am hardly one to cast stones -- I held my son and rocked him to sleep every night for 18 months. Yes, 18 months. He's 19 now, so it all worked out, but.... 18 months. What was I thinking? Oh yeah, that he was the most previous thing int he world and I wanted to hold him all the time! My poor daughter, 2nd child, got... very little rocking. But she loves me more now, so what does that say about my rocking?

Anonymous said...

Yeah Sarah! I am so happy that you are no longer known as "Mommy the bed"! Yeah for you and for little E! Congrats on making one transition...keep us posted on the one to the crib!

Alice said...

Great job!
I totally feel your pain as my little boy pretty much needs a boob in his face to fall asleep, and the whole nieghborhood knows it if he wakes up with out it staring back at him! I think it's important to make decisions for the family and that absolutely includes you and your feelings and needs.
Way to go, and let us know what happens with the crib!