December 14, 2011
If you can’t beat ‘em, wake ‘em up!

I think I’m traumatizing you, and I’m not joking. I worry you’re developing a sleep-associated fear of abandonment that will haunt you into adulthood. Your girlfriends will get annoyed that you constantly fear them leaving you in the middle of the night or that you suffocate them with cuddling when they would really just rather get some zzzs. 

It used to be that I could sneak out of the bed in the mornings, get ready for work, and leave without you ever noticing I was gone. You would sleep late with daddy, sometimes waking up to see I wasn’t there and just snuggling up to daddy before conking back out. It made me feel better that my time spent away from you was shortened because you weren’t even conscious for at least two out of the eight hours per day I have to leave you.

But now, you wake up the moment I inch away from you. Not just in the mornings anymore, either. Now it’s when I’m putting you to bed at night, too. I nurse you to sleep, and then your roll over so I can rub your back and sing Twinkle, Twinkle. But if I leave too soon, you wake up again.

You’re not letting me put diapers on you before bed anymore, so I have to wait until you’re asleep to do it. Last night, you woke up and even said to me “fall asleep,” which means you’re aware of the fact that I diaper you after you’re already sleeping. You’ll even lift your but while you’re unconscious to help me get it positioned correctly. 

We’re working out the kinks of the diaper situation. I tried again to see if you wanted to EC at night, but you’re too diaper-trained for that. You don’t even wake up until after you’ve already peed. Not a peep, just a wet mat and a few seconds later you roll over to get away from the moisture. I know you’ll quit peeing at night whenever we stop nursing, and that will eliminate the need for either diapers or EC. So I’m not worried about that.

And our new morning strategy is going well. I don’t even try to get you back to sleep anymore. For one thing, it never works. I just end up rushing to get out of the house to get to work on time with you clinging to my leg sobbing and me yelling at daddy to help me so I don’t have to slam the door in my crying child’s face. That always just ruins the whole day for me, makes me feel guilty and really sad and even more depressed about having to work to help provide for you.

So instead, my alarm goes off, and we nurse. Then when the snooze goes off the second time, I get up. You cry, and I say, “you want to watch me get ready? Let’s get that ooky diaper off.” You kinda cry at first, but then you’re on board with it. I sit you in the hallway with the light off and position you in front of the bathroom door. I wrap you up in blankies and give you a stuffed animal. Then we go back in the bedroom so I can get dressed. You still protest when it’s time for me to leave, but you’re much more willing to go to daddy and stay there. You know it’s time to “cuddle” and go “back to bed.”

The other day you even wanted to get in the shower with me. Then we stood you by the heater while I got ready. We put your pajamas back on, and you went back to bed with daddy for two more hours. Too cute.

One benefit of our new arrangement is that I can take you potty and put a fresh diaper on you, which results in two pees fewer building up in your overnight disposable. (On the other hand, it means we’re using two disposables per day instead of one. But you almost always stay dry in the second diaper as long as daddy gets up to take you potty, and then we can just reuse that dry diaper the next night.)

Another benefit is that if I have time, we can inspect your eczema, put on lotion, and brush your teeth. These things need to get done (at least!!) twice a day, but daddy and I aren’t always consistent. Sometimes he skips the morning round, and sometimes you fall alseep in the car so I can’t do it at nighttime. 

If I had more self-discipline, I would get us both up a lot earlier so we could have even more time together in the mornings. We could make smoothies or eat oatmeal together or even go for a morning walk or bike ride. But mommy is just too tired. Plus, my entire life I have never been one to get up earlier than is absolutely necessary so as not to be late for work or school.

I keep promising myself that I will get back in the habit of going to bed with you at 8 pm on the nights when daddy doesn’t work, like I used to do when I was pumping and therefore much more exhausted at night. Or when we used to have TV in our room, and I could watch in bed without disturbing you. [Although I’m really glad I don’t do that anymore because I don’t think it’s good for you to constantly hear TV in the background even if you’re not watching it, especially while you sleep. It’s not a good habit to have as an adult, and I did it for years in college.]

But for now, even just 20 extra minutes with you is good enough for me. And it’s certainly a better start to my day than the sound of you screaming as a I walk out the front door. So maybe there’s hope of not traumatizing you through sleep habits after all. I’m sure I’ll find plenty of other ways to traumatize you, but at least I can try to avoid one landmine at a time with creative solutions.

  1. wunkie posted this