When there’s one thing you can count on with your baby, it’s very easy to get used to. For months now, our morning naps have been a non-negotiable fact of life. Sure there’s some hemming and hawing going on from time to time, but it’s never more than a five-minute process. That is until today.
This morning nap time ritual was shattered by a series of high profile temper tantrums that came straight out of left field. Maddie had a calm and restful full night of sleep, so there was no reason to suspect that anything was out of the ordinary.
Like every morning, the baby was beginning to wind down. She was in her favorite jumper, but the jumping had stopped. Maddie signaled me by rubbing her eyes and voicing a few gentle complaints that play time was over and she was ready for sleep. However, what Maddie really meant is that she was ready for her title shot!
I scooped her up and headed to the bedroom for some serious snoozing. Maddie snuggled up and closed her eyes for about five seconds before she lost it. She was really angry about something and ready to throw down. As far as I could tell, there was no gas, hunger or diaper issues so I tried again. She relaxed for another five seconds and then plummeted off the deep end again.
If she didn’t want to nap, there was no rush, but she didn’t want to do anything else either. So what do you do with a cranky little girl who doesn’t want to do anything? No matter what I tried, it was the wrong thing to do. This is when I decided to turn her over to our visiting housekeeper.
She speaks almost no English, but is more than happy to converse with the baby in Spanish. This occupied my little brawler for about 30 minutes before she was once again swinging for the fences and tilting at windmills. By the time 10am hit, Maddie and I were like two punch drunk fighters willing the other one to fall.
Finally at 10:15, my angry little Klitschko called a truce and slipped into unconsciousness. She was out cold while I was left to ponder what had happened to our mutual morning nap détente.
Whether it’s the new DOC headband or some diabolical conspiracy, Maddie the Sleep Slayer emerged from her lair Saturday night laying waste to all of those in her path. With her 6th month birthday just days away, the little girl spent the entire evening and early morning announcing her presence with authority.
The dream killer first struck just before 11pm and little did we know that this was just an appetizer for a night filled with sleepless thrills and chills. Normally we are able to pinpoint one distraction or another, but not this time.
When Maddie was at it again at 12:30am, I had a feeling the night was shot. The baby would wake up wildly unhappy and then completely chill out and smile each time we liberated her. The smile would fade into sleep within just a few minutes and then it was back into the crib. Forty minutes later, the princess was on the brink again and even a little bit of milk would only buy us another 90 minutes of sleep.
Maddie was obviously trying to soothe herself, but I we wonder if the DOC Headband is providing just enough discomfort to spoil a good night’s sleep. Even after several jarring wake up calls, the baby was again sounding the alarm at 3am. The parents were bobbing and weaving, but it was just a technicality, they were done and the baby knew it. The only work she had to do now was deliver the deathblow.
At 6am, in honor of MLK Day, Maddie let Freedom Ring yet again. I staggered over to her crib, lifted her out and her smile said it all, “I have a dream that one day every parent shall be awakened, every hope of sleep dashed, every drowsy eye opened so that all shall cater to my crooked night time schedule. Free of sleep oppression – Free of nap time – Free of all sleep no matter what form it might take – When we see that day brothers and sisters, we are truly free at last!”
College and professional sports coaches are often quoted as saying that nothing good ever comes from a phone call that wakes them up at 3am. The same can almost be said for parents who get woken up by tiny sleep terrorists like my 4-month-old daughter Maddie. OK – that’s not true at all, when I see that smiling little face, it really doesn’t matter what time it is, even though we have been stunned awake at 3am on back-to-back mornings.
The interesting thing is that the baby is waking up very happy. There’s no anger, she’s just impossibly wide awake for 3am. As parents, we take full responsibility for the baby’s recent sleep issues. We recently changed some of our sleep procedures for Maddie and obviously she has some objections she would like to voice. We recently moved the baby out of our room and into the crib in her own room. So far, she’s not a big fan of this shift and I have to admit that I really miss having her in the same room with us.
I have to admit that the lack of sleep has been a little bit debilitating and the baby’s temper tantrums during naptime are completely off the chart. She screamed (and I mean screamed) for ten full minutes every dang time I tried to put her down for a nap.
However, the process of building good sleep habits must press on and if Maddie is forced to take naps with her PaPa, he really couldn’t be happier!
It took Maddie all of about five minutes to turn down renewed calls for standard bedtime practices. After weeks of discussion, the parents passed the new sleep bill through the House and Senate, but after three tries at around 9pm, Maddie vetoed the measure once and for all and told both sides to look for a more reasonable solution.
The baby insisted that she would not fall victim bipartisan shenanigans and mindless infant sleep studies. Both parents created the measure based on studies suggesting that a firm routine needed to be established for baby’s bedtime.
Madeleine argued that these so-called studies were written by hacks – adults who don’t really remember what it was like to be a baby in the first place. She went on to dispute the findings and insisted that she would veto any sleep bill that came across her desk until she turns at least four months old.
The first attempt to put her down to sleep was initiated by her PaPa. He tried a light swaddle, some rocking and a gentle placement into the pack and play. This worked for all of about 20 minutes when Maddie woke up crying with some diaper issues.
Attempt number two: Maddie’s Mom walked around a bit and tried to soothe the baby before placing her in the crib. This time the baby lasted about three minutes. Legislators watched these events unfold with great interest and dubbed Maddie the “Sleep Killer.”
Attempt number three: PaPa brought the baby into the living room and patted her back to check for any excess gas. When Maddie produced a little burp – he thought he had cracked the sleep code for the night. He transported the baby back to her room and they rocked together in the glider. He felt the tension go out in Maddie’s neck and the sigh that hopefully signaled an end to this impasse. He shuffled her to the crib, brimming with confidence that this night session was finally over. One of the books had actually said to make sure that the baby was not completely asleep when you put her down. HAA, right! Hacks I tell ya!
Five minutes later, Maddie rejected the third and final sleep proposal. She cautioned lawmakers to rethink the sleep bill and see if they could go out and get a clue!