The twentieth of May is just around the corner for me. Olivia and Jake are staying with my very generous friend as Eric and I take a weekend away at South Beach to celebrate his cousin Tony's 40th. The very idea of thirty-six hours of sleep, lounging, and general celebration has us almost pre-drunk.
Large caveat: Olivia must be weaned and sleeping-through-
the-night before we inflict the kids onto Donna. And I am working hard on this; harder in fact, than I am on the last ten pregnancy pounds that now seem to be just part of my new makeup.
The inside of my brain looks like one of those prison walls where the inmate scratches tallies to denote time served. The scary part is that Olivia actually has digressed with her sleeping. She had graduated to a once-a-night waker (which I could have repaired with Donna with a healthily-loaded Nordstrom gift card) to (an unforgiveable, no present can repay) every two hours. And I have helped create that monster.
My darling infant is very amiable. When she wakes, a three-minute stint on the breast is all she requires to be completely content. I can then replace her in the crib and she is back asleep in less than fifteen seconds. Enabling her has been easier for me in the short term. I, too, am typically excellent at returning to slumber and managing the next day on clusters of two- to three-hour nocturnal naps. But it is starting to take a negative turn on me. I have the same sleep deprivation I had in her early days. My battle with migraines is becoming diurnal, and I am stuck in that can't-take-any-medicine-'cause-I-am-breastfeeding cycle. And truth be told, I covet a full nighter.
Be assured, I will not talk about various "get your baby to sleep" methods on this post. The mother vs. mother debate on this topic gets seriously ugly on various blogspots, and I won't name any books, or sleep expert's names for fear of my site being googled and discovered by the Attachment Parenting Police or the militant La Leche League. However, I have read enough to know that even my diminutive daughter's stomach is able to sustain twelve hours sans nourishment. And that this is an issue of her prefering to be lulled back to sleep by the human pacifier rather than by learning to do this on her own.
She falls asleep at 7:00 easily. She views this initial slumber merely as a nap, however, and wakes again around 9:00. A quick feed puts her back, but the two-hour stretches are now in motion. So last night, at around 10:00 as she called for a snack, Eric put the pacifier back in and we agreed to let her "cry". The fact is she wasn't crying, and she didn't need anything. She wanted something. The sound was much more of a yell, or a Native American war cry. This holler softened, then completely subsided, and she was back to sleep. But it was an agonizing ten minutes for me. She however did not stir again until 2:30, and I gave her a bite (I am first attempting the one-night waking indulgence and then moving on to the torturous sleep-through) and she didn't make noises again until 6:30 a.m.
I feel like a new person today. I won't even complain that my family tag teams me: Jake woke up once during the night, and Simon caused one flurry of "Whaaaaa, what's going on? A lizard, a frog???" For my goal is related to Olivia's sleeping. I know, you read earlier the part about weaning as well. I have attempted the bottle, which she bats out of my hand completely offended. I promise, there isn't a nipple I haven't purchased, a position I haven't tried, a person I haven't wheedled into trying to feed her. I have something up my sleeve tonight, a formula experiment if you will, and I will give you results later. But for the purpose of Donna's weekend, her learning to sleep is paramount. If she will give Donna a break at night, I can feel my friend will be rested enough to handle anything else. I can always call from the hotel to check on the kids. "What?" as I assume the role of concerned, incredulous mother, even through the haze of margarita. "She won't take the bottle? Hmmmmm...."