Wednesday, October 29, 2008

seven months

Dear Auden,

It's been a busy couple of months, huh? That's nearly a third of your life! We uprooted you from our little apartment among the eucalyptus trees and never-ending sunshine, visited all the grandparents in a whirlwind, and slept in enough different beds to confound your little sense of direction. Then we landed in a new house, a new city, a new way of doing things that involves sleeping alone and being entreated to swallow foods of perplexing flavor and texture and not being allowed to grab at all those lovely speaker wires.

Sometimes I forget that you are just a baby. Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting you to take a nap, or lie still for a diaper change, or to stay out of the garbage can for crying out loud, that I forget to honor the gorgeous spark of curiosity in you. You! The you that you are becoming, separate from me, with your own will and your own way.

You are ticklish under your chin. You giggle when I shake my hair in your face. You put everything into your mouth and test it with slobber (plastic kitchen funnel, okay; cell phone, didn't make it). You like to hold my fingers while you fall asleep in the sling, and I marvel at how warm and silky-soft your little hands are. You have a sense of humor now -- you laugh at papa's funny faces, you squeal with delight when I magically reappear from behind a door. You blow a mean raspberry.

You have been crawling for over a month, and are now a pro at pulling yourself up on anything -- steady or not. You have also mastered the one-hand-assisted stand, which lends itself to grabbing at yet more (wires, buttons, books, CDs, plastic bags) toys, and is also useful for crouching down to retrieve dropped things. You are an intrepid adventurer, and have no patience for my limitations, and no regard for danger. Or gravity.

You have discovered the joy of your own voice: you can make it yell, you can pitch it high in an eeeeeeeeee of pleasure, you can do a syllable that sounds like blah blah blah blah. You have also discovered the strangeness of water, and watch with wonder when I pour it on you in the bath. Then you slap it with your hands. Then you flail your legs and splash furiously and breathe in excited huffs when it gets all over your face.

My heart aches at how quickly this time goes. Every day you do something new, adding tiny layers of experience and recognition to your world. And while I celebrate your growth -- what choice do I have? -- part of me wants you to stay small, to always fit in my arms, to always burrow your fuzzy head into my neck when you're tired. Even on days that are hard (and there have been plenty of those), I find solace in the fact that this is the only day like it that I have with you. That doesn't exactly make me less tired, but it makes me more grateful, more attentive, more painfully open to the fleetingness of your infancy.

My sweet, beautiful son, I love you full to bursting.



Thursday, October 16, 2008

the walking dead

Okay, not only did I have the longest, most graphic and disturbing dream about zombies the other night, but I'm starting to feel like one during the day, too.

Or, in other words, fear of sleep: redux!

I got a little cocky after those first few nights of abundant sleep, see, and figured we were on the up and up. Now I feel as though I've passed through the looking glass, and this is some wacky experiment where the hypotheses are actually the variables and the conclusions are anybody's guess -- there's been lots and lots of guessing, second-guessing, too! -- which makes for less sleeping and more living dead.

We were going to extend the nighttime sleep training to naps, which did not go over well (I'm not sure the CIO people intend for there to be two hours of crying, and then 30 minutes of sleeping) and then the nighttime success started to unravel, too. He started waking up every hour after going down, or every hour after being fed, sometimes crying for an hour and a half. So, this leaves me, what, 2 or 3 hours during which to dream about zombies?

Last night was actually okay, but after eating humble pie all week, don't think I'm about to brag about it. In fact, remind me not to write anything else about babies sleeping until, say, 2012, when this is all comfortably behind us. Knock on wood. But quietly, so you don't wake my sleeping baby.


Monday, October 6, 2008

fear of sleep: no more!


We bit the bullet, people, and got a crib. You may recall that I wasn't partial to cribs, or the cry-it-out school of sleep training, but if there's anything I've learned as a parent it's, well... you'll pardon me as I blog with my mouth full. Because why didn't we do this sooner? Ach, me.

We borrowed a book from our pediatrician about infants and sleeping, which pointed out some habits that well-meaning parents establish with their babies, only to have to undo them later. Namely, rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, and co-sleeping.

Let's see: check, check, and, oh yeah, check.

Man! You're a new parent, you'll take sleep in any form, on any surface, in a daze of horomones, and it's just easier to have the kid nestled into your armpit all night, and once you emerge from this hazing, well, it's become a Habit.

So it may or may not have been equally traumatic for me as well as Auden to sleep alone that first night, and I may or may not have taken him back into bed with me after just a few hours. BUT. I do remember the swearing -- and Jason remembers some wall-pounding -- in the wee hours of the morning in the not-too-distant past, so I held firmly to my resolve and to the assurance from The Guide to [My] Child's Sleep that I would not be a horrible and cruel mother if I let him cry a little. And the second night he only woke up once, and went back to sleep without eating. Imagine my elation! The only drawback to a schedule like this is that it isn't only my tears of joy that leak all over the bed by morning, if you know what I mean.

However, buoyed by the knowledge that he can in fact sleep for more than three hours at a time, I felt even more determined to tough out the crying jag that usually precedes said sleep. We still go to him every 5 to ten minutes to lay him back down (you know, with the pulling up and all), put the pacifier back in and soothe him a bit, but we don't pick him up and there is no feeding or rocking back to sleep. It hasn't exactly been easy, but I'm no longer prostrating myself in the next room shedding tears of my own. And doesn't that make everyone happier?

Coming up: Naps, the Next Sleep Frontier.