Epic Nap Battles
It is HARD when your usually agreeable kid goes from two two hour naps a day and twelve hour nights to zero naps a day and up three times a night.
I know it can always be worse, but when you're used to everything being so easy—for the most part—and so manageable with work and chores and dinner and cats and workouts and a husband...all day screaming and all night nursing can really throw a wrench in things.
We think he might be teething, but it's hard to say. His gums aren't puffy and raw. We don't see any nubs poking through. All we see is a really miserable guy who wants extra hugs and to nap only on mommy or daddy. The naps battles became a symbol of all the disruptions that happen along the road of parenthood and a reminder that these things are going to keep springing up and teaching me how to slow down, to pay better attention.
At first, Oliver's sleeping situation was really frustrating for me because I wanted him to be on my schedule. Why can't you just be how you were before? I'd wonder. Why won't you sleep? What is going ON? I'd give him his binky and try to get work done and there he'd be, on the monitor, standing at the corner of his crib staring at the door and crying like a little prisoner.
It was all so sad.
It wasn't until a week or so into our epic nap battles, after Raz had taken to rocking Oliver to sleep at bedtime again like we used to when he was a wee thing, that I started to think about the naps again and wonder if really COMMITTING to rocking and then sitting with him a little while he snoozed in my arms would help.
We tried it. He'd stand in his little prisoner corner wailing and I'd come and hold him, squeeze him when he tried to wiggle out of my arms, shush him, and sing to him, working hard not to rush him. After a lot of patience and a lot of false starts, he would finally give in.
And then I'd wait.
And I would feel tired.
And like a damn hero. But not too much of a hero until I successfully got him in the crib. That was the real test.
I'd wait longer than my body and my mind wanted to.
That's where I found the lesson.
It had to be in his time and in his way. I know whenever we have a rough patch next, this approach probably won't work. Every time we get used to one way, the ways change. But what I learned from holding my baby and staring at each other again—like we used to so many days and so many night early on—is that rushing him to feel better isn't going to make either of us feel better at all. I had to remind myself to be really really present with him. I had to be the person he needed, the person he believed would be there to make it all better.
And about two times out of a hundred these past two weeks, I have been. And I think I did—make it better, that is.
Two times is not nothing. In Babyland, two is something.
To all the mommas out there just doing your best—you're doing just fine. I'm right there with you. And we're nearly back on schedule...for now.