Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thinking for myself

I've wondered this week what in the world people did before the Internet. A quick look at my Google history this week would see these questions spelled out in full (as if I was writing to an Agony Aunt or someone!): "What comes first: bladder or bowel control?", "Nighttime dummy weaning: how to do it?" and "When should you take the Christmas tree down?" For the question about Christmas decorations, I found a page that spelled out the various merits of taking the tree down either on 12th night/Epiphany, or the day after Epiphany, and the best answer, I thought: "Whenever you want to." Amen to that.

Noah can officially claim to have had an dental epiphany, in that his next two teeth arrived on the same day - January 7th. The bottom right one and the top left one. The top right one is agonizingly close to being here, as well, but he has been a grumpy chap for the last week so they must be pretty painful.
Here he is, sporting some tasty-looking muck on his face and showing them off:


We also seem to have entered a major separation anxiety patch; there are moans and whimpers whenever I leave the room without him, and I'll soon hear him crawling quickly to find out where I've gone. The two intense first days of Blake's potty training probably didn't help with his clinginess; I basically carried him around the house as I followed Blake so Noah got even more comfortable being attached to my hip. I found out today that Noah weighs 19lbs, 5 oz, which also helps explain why my biceps ache - you try carrying around 20 pounds for what probably amounts to 5 hours a day, and I bet your arms will hurt too!

One of the things I will never be able to say about the Januarys preceeding my return to work is that they were relaxing. In 2009 we were tackling Blake's sleep with Lin, and as you know, we're hard at work at the moment with Blake and his "big boy" endeavors. And so it was with a slightly maniacal tone to my voice that I asked Matt on Sunday night what he thought we should do about Noah's dummy/pacifier. Noah really loves it, has always loved to suck, but there was one night last week where I had to get up about 4 times to put it back in his mouth when it had fallen out and he couldn't find it in the night, nor could he go back to sleep without it. I reminded myself that it was always going to be easier to break the habit now rather than later, and that it might be hard for a few days but would hopefully be worth it.

On Monday I gave it to him only very briefly, just right at times where he was getting really fussy because of being tired. He was really tired when we finally got him to sleep at just before 8:00 pm, which is late for him, but because of that he just went into his cot and fell right to sleep - no dummy. I tried to give him a bit of a dream feed around midnight, but he wasn't really interested. I went to bed, and the next time I heard him the clock said 5:34. The alarm clock is on Matt's side of the bed and my vision isn't super, so I definitely had to stare at the clock for a good few seconds to process what it was telling me. If it was true - and yes, indeed, that first number is 5 and not 2 or 3 - well, whoa - that's good!! I gave him a little feed and then he came into the bed with us (Blake was already there; not sure what time he came in) before sleeping til 7:00. Amazing! Before I got too too excited I asked Matt if he had gone to him in the night, but he hadn't, so basically Noah had just slept through the night, totally unexpectedly. Could it be that he was able to self-settle?!

Matt reminded me that morning that it could of course have been a fluke, but with a result like that I was going to at least do my best to keep a good thing going, so on Tuesday I didn't give him the dummy the entire day. This was a little bit trickier, as there were times when he really really wanted it, and he was very upset, very loud and very unsure about where his soother had gone. A friend from church came over with her 21-month-old son and her 2-week-old baby and I felt sooo bad...toward the end of the afternoon, I was convinced Noah needed a nap, but since he wasn't able yet to figure out how to get himself off to sleep, he pretty much just yelled the house down. I felt so bad for Lisa who had probably come over hoping for a bit of a change of scenery, some calm conversation, a nice relaxing cup of tea...and instead she got some ballistic child and his mother who insisted on trying to see if he would fall asleep on his own. When I realized I had broken a sweat in trying to get him to go to sleep, I gave up, but that meant he just didn't have an afternoon nap, so I wasn't sure how that was going to go down in the night (the whole sleep breeding sleep thing does seem to hold true for a lot of kids, but I'm not sure it ever has for mine).

Anyway, Noah went down pretty easily without the dummy, but then he woke around 11:30 pm or so and had another massive tantrum where he was inconsolable, arching his back and nearly thrashing himself out of my arms. Finally after about 20 minutes of patting, shushing, singing, rocking, and a lot of deep breathing on my part, we gave him a little bottle. He then slept through until 5:40!! Result! I gave him a meager breastfeed then, and he went back into his cot for a few minutes, but then stirred again close to 6. I decided I would try to just go ahead and give his morning bottle then, which he did have and went back to sleep until 8:45. Obviously this schedule is not going to be any good once I'm back at work and we all need to get out of the house at 7:30, but this is some good progress for sure. At least I know he is capable of sleeping longer stretches.

Today was another dummy-free day, and he was a bit more cheery today at times when he would have been in full meltdown mode yesterday. We'll see how tonight is, but maybe, just maybe, we might be on the right track. Of course writing that out means that I'm probably destined to his worst night ever, but I go to bed in hope.

While I can't claim to know what the easiest path to an unbroken night's sleep is, I do feel proud that I decided to make this change for us all. I'm telling myself it's one of those situations where it is going to be hard in the short term, but better in the long run. Short-term pain for long-term gain! Now I'd better be off to plan out tomorrow's meals. I'm thinking cold turkey and chocolate coins; they're both proving to be pretty effective.

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