Category Archives: Sleep and Nap Time

It is Now Safe to Use Approved Electronic Devices

Last week I flew to Boston for work.

It was a great time.  I have never been to Boston, and the hubby got to join me, sans children, which is a treat in itself. Things got a little crazy in the hotel restaurant with some shady dealings involving ridiculously over-priced greasy bar food (hubby) and a misleadingly innocent white chocolate raspberry martini (my bad).  Being the old foogies that we are, we looked forward in anxious anticipation to our hotel, not for the magic of the marital bed, but for the even less rarely visited miracle of sleeping in.

Ahhhhh.

Pure, uninterrupted bliss. Hours to lounge and sleep in as long as we wanted. No where to go, no toddler in too-small pajamas flinging herself and her stinky feet into our faces. No cranky baby with crazy hair demanding food the instant she awakens. No breakfast to cook, dishes to wash, naps to conquer, or laundry to fold.

Just the downy softness of our previously inhabited hotel bed sheets. Yes.

So of course, it would be fitting that at approximately seven o’clock am, the emergency alarm in our room would sound.

Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. (Imagine here the most annoying sound in the world.)

Here imagine the hubs and I, after recovering from mild heart attacks, springing out of the bed with all of the agility one can muster in a chocolate martini induced fog.

“Attention guests. The sound you have just heard is our emergency alarm. There is no need to panic. If you hear the evacuation sound alert following this message, you are to proceed to the nearest exit. If your floor’s alarm does not sound, please await further instruction.”

Superb.

The so-called “evacuation alarm” for our floor (the 12th, awesome) did not sound after the message, but the alarm and lights continued to flash in a most reassuring way. Now, here we observe the difference in the male/female make-up.  Or maybe, just our particular make-ups, but an interesting study nonetheless.

Somehow, before I had even registered what the message had said, Ben was fully awake, dressed, and heading for the door.  What the? How is that even possible? And more importantly, where is that man of action at two o’clock in the morning when the babies are awake? (Just kidding here, actually Ben is awesome at night awakenings.)

While I took the alarm and comforting robotic message that followed to mean what it said…namely, not to evacuate, it’s just a precaution, and we should wait until further instruction, Ben heard “GET OUT NOW!!!!”  He was in full-on panic mode.  He tore around the room, throwing articles of clothing at me, screaming at me to get dressed.  I was thoroughly perplexed. I needed to pump, put my contacts in, gather up my luggage, straighten my hair…what was all the fuss about? I imagined some elderly gentleman pulling the alarm in the hall and the ensuing chaos that followed.  I highly doubted there was need for evacuation.  I am a mom, I know these things. We moms have a gut feeling when something is wrong. Surely, I had time to get dressed. Right?

The fire trucks racing down the street towards the hotel finally convinced me otherwise.  So I left the pumping, left the contacts, left my People magazine with the latest on Brad and Emily on the desk.  Somehow, this ended up as any other morning, with me stumbling about the hallway in my pajamas, half asleep with morning hair and bad breath.

Halfway down the stairs (we were on the 12th floor, remember?) they canceled the alarm. I hated to say I told you so, but I did.  The alarm was explained away as a “health concern.”  Elderly gentleman with chest pain, perhaps? Yup, told you so.  Ben continued to stay angry at me the rest of the morning for valuing my People magazine over our lives.  Point taken, but again, I remained firm in my stance that I would know when a real emergency strikes.

At least I hope so. After we got back to the room and I finished getting ready, I did start to get a little scared at my reaction.  Was I too nonchalant about the alarm? Should I have bolted out of the door immediately? I took the time to throw on my glasses, put on socks and shoes, even combed my hair.  What’s the right reaction?  Do you risk looking like a fool bolting out of the door in a bathrobe when it’s not a real emergency?  Or is the real fool the one who takes the time to get dressed and pack up, as I tried to do.

I realize that real emergencies do happen.  That people discount the severity of some emergency situations, and as a result, lives are lost.  But on the flip side, treating everything as an emergency and panicking, causing chaos and congestion on the stairs as everyone tries to exit at once, also can be life-threatening.

It was interesting start to our mini-vacay, and probably not one I care to repeat.  It’s weird how you grow older and things that once seemed so exciting and wordly, like traveling and staying in hotels, become inconveniences.  Is it disenchantment or just realizing what’s really important in life?  I remember being so exited when I was little about getting to stay in a hotel.  I actually have several journal entries about vacations we took…entries leading up to the big day, looking forward to staying in a real-live hotel room, excited entries capturing every detail of the trip.  Looking back, I think those visits were $59 Days Inn specials on the way down to Florida so my dad could sleep a few hours, but to me, they were magic.  It makes me feel sad and disgruntled that traveling and hotels don’t hold that same appeal anymore.

I still like traveling for the sake of getting outside of myself. For stepping out of my comfort zone and making myself get dressed, leave my house, entrust my children to their grandmas for a night.  I like feeling like a part of something bigger than myself.  I like people watching at the airport, imagining others’ lives, joys, and sorrows.

I don’t like the crowds, the germs, the emptiness I see in others, the loneliness of travel, the worry of what could go wrong.  Here is a chance to get on a tangent, so I’m going to go for it: I especially dislike those people on the airplane that shoot out of their seats the second the plane is stopped and pile up in the aisle, ready to pole-vault themselves out of the door.  If you are one of those people, seriously, what gives? Why can’t we all just wait our turns?? I explained my annoyance pertaining to these people to Ben at the start of our trip, and he gave me an all-knowing Mother Teresa smile and patted my hand. He would show me how it’s done. Patience and kindness, my dear, he assured me.  By our last flight, he was elbowing twelve-year old girls out of the way and shooting me looks of exasperation as yet another person from the eight rows behind us somehow managed to beat us out of our seats.

I don’t understand what the big hurry is.  If we all just waited out turns, let each row file out in a neat and orderly fashion, wouldn’t it be so much nicer?  But underneath  my surface annoyance at the inconvenience of waiting, what really bothers me about it is the underlying assumption that these people consider themselves more important than their fellow airline passengers.  They have somewhere important enough to be to justify cutting off half of the plane and holding everyone else up.  They have a laptop, Blackberry, headphone, Ipad, and whatever other sundry electronic devices people have to make themselves feel important. So get out of the way.

I do not have any of those fancy schamncy electronic devices. I’ll admit,  I am using a laptop right now, I would like a phone with a working camera, and I would love an electronic reader because I go through books like Mya does diapers, but I am also not apt to work anymore than I have to to pay for such items.  I also like to safeguard my time and myself from too much technology.  I worry about letting the computer, the TV, the ceaseless and mindless “entertainment” robbing our chance to fully live our lives.  I mean, there is even TV on our gas station pumps and in cabs.  Are we really incapable of just thinking our own thoughts while we pump gas?

I get that a lot of it is necessary and convenience. I would love having directions and Google at my fingertips.  It’s fine, if you don’t let it overwhelm you, if you don’t let it define you.  I just hate seeing all of these people traveling who hide behind their equipment, who are checking their smartphones the instant the flight attendant deems it safe to do so.  Is that really necessary?  I don’t think so.  I think a lot of the time keeping busy with all their stuff keeps them from being still with their own souls for a minute.  I know it’s scary to be completely by myself…sometimes I don’t like what I find.  The tortellini incident comes to mind…

Ben and I held hands, we talked, we read our People magazine during our flights.  (Ben pretends he doesn’t read those things, much like he tries to pretend he didn’t watch the Bachelor with me, but he is an over-the-shoulder reader. Don’t let him fool you. ) It was nice.  It was nice to just be quiet for a little bit.

Life gets too noisy sometimes. With emergency alarms, with babies, with keeping up with the latest Iphone.

You know what would help?

Sleeping in.  I should try that sometime.

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The Baby Who Never Sleeps II

In true mom guilt style, after all my ranting and raving, Mya woke up sick this morning! So, I am now reduced to feeling wretched for complaining about her night awakening–maybe she was genuinely miserable! I’m not sure if it is a cold or teething right now. I never dealt with this with Ada…I literally just noticed teeth sticking out in Ada’s mouth one day. “I guess she was teething,” I told my husband, “Who knew?” Again with the mom guilt.

That being said however, I wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who offered me advice, because (proud moment, pat on the back) I did make some progress in getting her down for naps and bedtime. Most of the advice offered I have been following (consistent routine, favorite bedtime cues, fan, etc.) but for some reason, it genuinely never occurred to me to be persistent in my efforts to lay her down. As in, if I laid her down and she popped right up, ready to party, I didn’t persist any further, but just picked her up and took her out of her room. In my new enlightened state of motherhood however, I simply laid her back down on her stomach, (yes, she sleeps on her stomach) covered up, patted her bottom and made the universal “shhh shhhh” baby sleep sound.

And it worked! Consistently, for three days, it worked! It took a few times, but eventually she stayed down and sang herself to sleep. Now I am worried my excitement has been short-lived, due to the aforementioned sickness, but I guess we shall see…

The middle of the night awakening hasn’t improved in any way, but I am proud of my efforts so far. I am still undecided if I should be nursing her or not, but I have been reassured in hearing that other moms struggle with the same problem! I’m worried that the whole night nursing leads to a lifetime poor sleeper though, as Ada pops up at least once a night…never failing to scare the beejuzus out of me when I spot a silent, lurking figure in footie pajamas standing in the doorway.

It seems like a lot of the mom advice (excuse me, and dad!) can be summed up in that we, as parents, really have less control than we like to think…some kids are good sleepers, and some are, well…not.

On the plus side, I got to snuggle with my poor sick baby today…she was miserable, but it’s the only time she likes to snuggle with me, and I’ll take whatever I can get.


The Baby Who Never Sleeps

Calling for some tried and true mama advice today…I have an eight month old who refuses to sleep. Seriously, she will not sleep. I will admit partial responsibility for this, as I am someone who always has nursed my babies to sleep and subscribed to the “nurse on demand” philosophy with my first daughter, thus creating an expectation that babies do not ever sleep through the night.

But then my good friend Cayce loaned me a book “The Sleep Lady” and I was introduced to the idea that lo, and behold, perhaps some babies do sleep though the night, and maybe, just maybe, they don’t need to eat every three hours!

So I was determined to start off better the second time around with Mya. I would not nurse on demand, I would teach her good sleeping habits from the beginning. Unfortunately, Mya had other ideas. From birth, she fought sleep with every fiber of her little being. Ben and I endured countless sleepless nights, and eventually found a little repose by letting her sleep in her carseat or even, much to my profound shame, her swing. She literally just would not sleep, or even relax. The book talks about ensuring that babies are laid down when they are “still drowsy, but awake” to teach them how to put themselves to sleep. A theory that completely makes sense to me and one I wholeheartedly supported. But there is no such as drowsy with Mya. She is either fully alert and ready to party, or completely exhausted and throwing a temper tantrum.

And so it has continued. I am utterly crushed that I have never been able to snuggle and rock Mya to sleep. With Ada, she would nurse and happily snuggle with me in bed, we could nap together, or rock for hours. Mya will have none of that. She pushes off of me, cranes her heard around, wants to see everything that is going on, is afraid she will miss out one second of fun with her older sister. Ben and my mom have been the only ones who can rock her to sleep. For some reason, with me, she knows she can fight me. It’s devastating. There is nothing I love more than snuggling with a sleeping baby. 

During the day, I sometimes have success with getting Mya to sleep for a nap after nursing her, but a lot of times she has to cry herself to sleep because she will just not relax. I’ve tried the going in and reassuring her thing, but that only fuels her anger, as she now not only suspects I am refusing to pick her up, but seeing me provides confirmation of such indignation.

Last week, I stated an earnest quest to stop the nighttime madness. I was determined to let her learn to put herself to sleep and not feed her at all, especially now as she eating “real” food at meals. And so my friends, she has been up every night for hours at a time. Last night was truly miserable. From 4:00 AM to 6:00 AM wide awake and fighting, awakening her sister, complete and utter anger at me, her mother, for not feeding her. And the silent anger of my husband next to me projecting the thought of “Why don’t you just feed her? 10 minutes and we can all get some sleep” like a dagger at me. And then there is the persistent nagging guilt of wondering if she is genuinely hungry, even if I fed her a mere three hours ago…

Any advice out there for a baby who will not sleep? Do I continue to let her cry it out? Is there a chance that the “reassuring” pat on the back every 20 minutes will not work for every baby, as it only makes her even more upset when I leave?

Help please!