how to get what you need

January 27th, 2013

Party security. @troygronberg @secretagentjo

Elliora: DADDY I NEED RAISINS.

Troy: You’re supposed to ask nicely, like, “Daddy, can you please get me something?”

E: Daddy, can you please get me something?

T: No, you’re supposed to say, “Can you please get me the thing I need?”

E: Daddy, can you get me the thing I need?

T: I mean, you say the thing you need, like, “Daddy, can you please get me raisins?”

E: Daddy, can you get me raisins?

T: Can I get a “please” in there?

E: Please in there.

T: No, I mean, can you say, “Daddy, can you please get me raisins?”

E: …DADDY I NEED TOMATOES.

sleeping facedown on mom's lap is SO two days ago

Sleeping face-down on Mom’s crossed legs is SO two days ago. Face-UP is where it’s at.

This afternoon Elliora fell asleep in the car on the way home for a few minutes, which normally doesn’t affect her napping. But today when I brought her inside and nursed her, she didn’t fall asleep like she normally does. She was wide-awake and happy. I mentally shrugged, figuring she’d go to bed a bit early tonight, and we got up to play.

When her slightly-earlier-than-normal bedtime came around, she happily nursed and easily went to sleep, not even making a peep when I put her down in her bed. I went off to meet a friend at Starbucks for some companionable side-by-side laptopping, confident that she’d stay asleep…only to text my mom an hour and a half later and find out that she had awakened ten minutes after I left and had been awake ever since.

So I wasn’t surprised when she had a hard time going to sleep after that. I wasn’t even surprised at how hard she was fighting sleep; Elliora is very strong-willed and has been able to keep herself awake since she was born. What did surprise me was that when she flopped into a position face-up on my crossed legs, she relaxed and immediately went to sleep.

Nothing regarding this kid should surprise me anymore when it comes to sleep, though.

I’ve been gradually cutting down her night-nursing for a couple of months now, working my way up to eight hours without nursing. I did the same thing with Annalie, who was much more interested in nursing than Elliora ever has been, at about the same age. After a couple nights of her waking up and being denied a chance to nurse, Annalie just kinda went, “Oh, I won’t get fed if I wake up? All right then, I’ll just sleep,” and she stopped waking up at night almost entirely. The times she did wake up, it was easy to settle her back down by just patting her on the back and whispering to her.

Elliora, on the other hand, shows no sign of being even close to sleeping for eight hours without waking up, or of being willing to settle back down with just a touch and a reassurance. She does go back to sleep without nursing, so I don’t feel like she’s missing that. It’s more like she just isn’t a big sleeper. Annalie is like me: once we’re asleep, we’re out for the count and it’s hard to wake us up. I think Elliora just might be more like my brother: he has a hard time going to sleep and a hard time staying asleep, waking up more than once most nights. He’s been like that since the day he was born.

Elliora will sleep from bedtime (usually between 7-7:30) till around midnight without waking up about half the time. (The other half of the time, she might wake up once between bedtime and midnight, or she might wake up every hour on the hour. We never know which it will be.) She wakes up almost every night around midnight and usually takes about 10-15 minutes to settle back down with one of us picking her up and cuddling her. Just to keep things interesting, on some nights nothing on God’s green earth will calm her down for an hour or more.

Regardless of when or how often she wakes up, if we don’t pick her up, she will stand up in her crib and screeeeeeeeam and wake Annalie up. If we try to leave her in the bed and just pat her on the back, we have to physically hold her down to keep her from getting up, which makes her scream more, which wakes Annalie up. Annalie, very understandably, gets grouchy when a screaming baby wakes her up from a sound sleep.

The rest of the night is pretty unpredictable. Elliora usually only wakes up once between midnight and 4am, and can be settled back down with 10-15 minutes of cuddling. Or she might wake up every hour and need 10-15 minutes of holding each time, or she might just wake up and be awake for an hour or two.

Elliora has slept entirely through the night, from 8pm to 7am, exactly once in her life, on a night when we hadn’t done anything differently from any other night. So we know she can do it, but we have no idea how to make her do it again.

I would happily let her sleep with us and cuddle all night, but if she’s in bed with me and I won’t nurse her, she gets monumentally annoyed and will scream her annoyance for a long time. She’s also quite strong for her size, and trying to hold onto her when she’s struggling is difficult and exhausting. The times I have stuck it out and let her cry in my arms without giving in and nursing her, she’s screamed for two hours or more. Usually if I nurse her, she’s fine and will go to sleep eventually, but if I nurse her in bed I’ll probably fall asleep, and since she’s learned how to crawl we don’t feel safe leaving her in bed with us all night while we’re sleeping. She’s an explorer and she takes every chance she gets to wander off.

What it all comes down to is that Elliora is incredibly strong-willed. She isn’t a sound sleeper and she isn’t very flexible about her sleeping habits. She’s very good at letting us know how she’s feeling, and when she’s mad she screams about it.

It’s already gotten so much better than it used to be with her, sleep-wise. But there still isn’t much consistency, and that’s both baffling and frustrating at times. We know it won’t be this way forever, and we’ll deal with it like grown-ups and do our best to gently teach her, when she seems ready, how to sleep through the night without the all-night milk bar or on-demand snuggling. But we’ll still be really happy when she’s sleeping through the night consistently.

What about you? Does your kid have a sleeping habit that mystifies you, or drives you crazy? Or do you have one of those mythical kids who sleeps beautifully?

I’m SO close to 10,000 comments on this blog! Will this post be the one that gets the 10,000th comment!? I think it could be…and that 10,000th commenter will win a piece of custom-painted pottery, or something crocheted, or maybe something else entirely. It’s just my way of saying “thank you” for all for the great comments over the past four years. So gimme your two cents, and YOU could be lucky #10,000!

we’re in Oregon now

August 14th, 2011

three goobers

And Troy’s here! Yay!

happy to see Daddy