Maddie is in the process of dropping her second nap, but it’s not shaping up to be a seamless process. We are trying to let Maddie guide the process, but so far, she’s changing the rules on a day-to-day basis.
The napping process is up in the air for now. There are days with short naps, longs naps and even days with no naps. The days with no naps produce one cranky little muffin who is ready to snap at a moment’s notice.
The transition period has been bumpy, but we are hoping the end is in site. As for Maddie, you know she wants to sleep, but she is fighting it left and right.
It’s hard to keep up with Maddie and her ever-expanding bag of tricks. She is 14-months-old now and has a startling grasp of the English language. Her spoken words are limited to Heyy, bye, Daaa and Maaa – but her comprehension of words and phrases is unmistakable.
When you ask Maddie for a specific item, she brings it to you.
Maddie, get your shoes – She comes back with her shoes. Maddie, please don’t do that – She stops to see if you really mean it and if you plan to do anything about it. And that’s really where the trouble has taken root.
Maddie is well aware of the things she’s not supposed to do and this has led to the development of some very mischievous tendencies.
First of all, Maddie knows she’s not supposed to open and empty her clothes drawers. Just this morning, Maddie wandered down the hall into her room and I heard her slide open the clothes drawer. I streaked down the hall to catch her in the act. She obviously heard me coming and was running out of the room when I arrived.
The drawer was wide open, but the antagonist had fled the scene.
As I was closing the drawer, I heard the oven door open in the kitchen – another forbidden activity for Maddie. (Yes, the oven was OFF!) I sprinted towards the kitchen in time to see the serial offender making good on another escape.
As I mentioned, Maddie is 14-months-old and is already employing bait and switch escape tactics. I can see this getting complicated in big hurry.
Maddie and I were playing strong well after her bedtime last night. It was just 15 minutes before eight pm and I knew we were playing with house money. Surely just one night of staying up late wouldn’t have any serious repercussions. I had the baby in bed at eight, just one measly little hour past her bedtime.
I went to bad that night with the satisfaction of a job well done. It never occurred to me that I was setting myself up for a beating the next day. However, as soon I got to the crib this morning, I could tell little Miss Sunshine was far out of sorts. OK, so she was a little bit snippy and a tad whiny, but surely that would pass – or would it?
It turns out that Maddie had a great deal to say about not getting enough sleep the night before. Every time it seemed like Maddie had turned the corner, she was bent out of shape again. She had some jovial stretches in there, but for the most part, it was a rough day at the baby office.
During mealtime, Maddie’s patience would dry up the second she did not get something she wanted. Even our outdoor time was a bit sketchy. Naps also helped for brief periods of time, but Maddie made today’s lesson very clear. Get me in bed at a decent hour or you will pay the piper!
Maddie’s driving continues to improve each day, but her parallel parking is still a disaster. Actually, Maddie was great a passenger both to and from the airport during this most recent trip.
We had to find the perfect balance of snack time, bottle time and naptime but it all seemed to come together with a minimum amount of carnage during these 3-hour-marathons back and forth to Chicago.
I’ve become the designated sleep whisperer for all trips surpassing the two hour mark. If I’m not driving, I’m in the back seat sleeping with my little commando. The motion of being a passenger in any vehicle or airplane puts me right to sleep. Maddie is not the best sleeper in a moving vehicle unless she’s stuck with me.
The best way to keep the baby sleeping comfortably in the car is to know where a pacifier is at all times. This is true even if you are sleeping right along with the baby. As soon as Maddie starts to stir, my eyes snap open so I can quickly locate the closest pacifier.
Maddie opens her eyes the tiniest bit. I pop the pacifier into her mouth. Then the baby confirms that she is in the company of loved ones. In less than 8 seconds the event is over and the princess is back in dreamland. I always make sure that I am not too far behind.
For whatever reason, this shared sleep method does not work for us during air travel. But at least Maddie gets a reasonable nap before we begin to battle the forces of evil at the airport.
Few things rip into a peaceful bedtime routine like the curse of the late afternoon/early evening nap. But what can do when that’s when the baby wants to nap? Apparently, not too much.
When Maddie snags a good nap in the morning or early afternoon, bedtime is a breeze. But if she is still napping around 4pm, undesirable nuggets can hit the fan with great velocity. There was a time when we foolishly believed that any nap the baby took was a good one. Maddie has been more than happy to dispel this misconception for us.
At 5pm this afternoon we could feel our anxiety mounting as Maddie slept like the angel she truly is. At this point we knew two things were in store for us.
- Once the baby woke up, she would be in a wonderful mood.
- Once it was time for bed, it would be time to pay the piper and deal with what we like to call the wild banana syndrome.
Both of these predictions soon came to pass. Maddie woke up sweet as sugar magnolias. She was fun, charming and bursting with love. We fed her pork and vegetables and she was the perfect little lady.
But once it was time for bed, a dark shadow crept over the house. That sweet disposition tuned sour and the angry bedtime antics began. First came the angry protests that quickly escalated into an-all out temper tantrum. The nerve of these idiot parents trying to put me to bed, do I look tired to you??
Letting Maddie work it out in the crib is never a big hit either. She expects full payment of these parental follies and wants it all up front. She also demonstrates great athletic prowess by flipping from one side of the crib to the other.
In the end, it just takes a little extra love and patience along with about 45 minutes of hanging out in close proximity to the crib. Eventually the queen burns herself out and is hopefully asleep for the night. All that’s left to do is go to bed early and hope tomorrow delivers an earlier naptime that doesn’t trigger another extended witching hour.
From the parents point of view, the sleep sack is a blessing – but I think our darling 7-month-old daughter Maddie, would beg to differ. Once you start zipping the sleep sack up with the baby inside, you have a life and death struggle on your hands. At least that’s my little girl’s reaction to the process.
Maddie takes the advice of the famous poet named Dylan Thomas who wrote: “Do not go gentle into that good night.” She actually takes things up a notch with her “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
Just the thought of being put to bed and zipped up into the sack is such an alarming prospect for my little girl. Her reaction is nothing short of bizarre. It’s like there’s broken glass or live bees waiting in the sleep for her.
For a while, I was actually fooled into opening the sack to make sure there was nothing in there that was causing any discomfort. That’s always a mistake though, because trying to zip up the sleep sack is like trying to put a rabid Rottweiler into a Tupperware container. Those pulsating legs have no interest in being tucked away and will fight until the bitter end.
The process itself actually takes a little less than a minute. Once my little angel is tucked away, all that anger and anxiety gently drifts away.
I have tried time and time again to talk her through the ordeal, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that I have to let her work it out. She doesn’t want to be soothed, she just does not want to put the outfit on.
However, as I noted a few weeks ago, putting Maddie into the crib without the sleep sack is a wasted effort. She will sleep no more than 30 minutes at a time without it. With the sack on, she sleeps anywhere from one to two hours with each nap. So that 30 to 60 seconds of raw carnage is obviously well worth the effort – its just a little bit confusing.