Now that you are a little over six months old, your days look quite a bit different than they did three months ago.
(Sadly, your nights are actually worse. Bedtime is a much easier, much happier affair, but your sleeping is actually worse than it was back then.)
For starters, you’ve decided that you’re not a morning person. Usually your dad walks to the train station to get to work and is out of the house before you or I even wake up. In the interest of establishing a better routine, however, I try to get you up around the same time every day. Typically that time is 7:30 – 8:00 a.m.
Anyone reading this is throwing tomatoes at me right now, and I know we’re so lucky that you make up for however rough the night was by sleeping in. I have no idea what I’d do with a baby that was up and ready to party at 5am. I really don’t.
That being said, we’re struggling right now to get you to sleep more than 2-3 hours in a row at night.
But this letter is about your daily routine, not about how sleep-deprived we all are again, so let’s focus on that.
Your first nap happens right around 9:30, and you usually sleep for a solid, blissful 90 minutes. This is my prime time for getting things done, because I lose both motivation and the chance for you to take another long nap as the day goes on.
And now I’m sitting here trying to think of what we usually do when you wake up. We have about three hours to kill between your two naps (yep, unless your naps are abysmally short, you only nap twice a day now) and I can’t for the life of me tell you what normally happens during that time. Errands, cleaning, dumping out your bucket of blocks and refilling it over and over and over again, the occasional playdate. That sort of thing.
Then you sleep again, at which point I either a) jump back into crossing things off my to-do list, or b) brush all of the baby chew toys off the couch and sit down and watch Downton Abbey. Completely depends on how the night before went.
Usually we don’t do anything terribly exciting after your second nap, although you are fascinated by, well, pretty much everything that I do. Your eyes track me wherever I go, and you constantly lunge forward to try and grab whatever I may have in my hands. You’re my sidekick and you keep me company while I fold laundry, make dinner, or just hang out. I love to go for walks with you, but that hasn’t happened lately because it’s been FREEZING outside.
But it’s my understanding that it’s good to get out of the house every once in a while (I kid – for the stay-at-home mom, it’s a necessity), so I bundle you up at 5pm to pick your dad up from the train station. These trips are much more pleasant these days, since a few months ago you would cry the whole way there and the whole way back. Now you are completely chill and just sit quietly and look out the window, to the point where your dad and I suspect that you’ve fallen asleep by the time we get back to the house (usually not the case; you’re just exceptionally well-behaved in the car).
You keep us company while we eat dinner (confession: usually we drag your highchair into the family room and face you away from the tv so we can still watch it. It’s a terrible habit, I know, but – that’s how it usually goes down.) and we entertain you for a bit before it’s bedtime.
Your bedtime routine was a bit, um, loosey-goosey until very recently. The time we started bedtime, the time you actually went to sleep, what the routine entailed – it was all over the map. But like most human beings you do very well with a solid, reliable routine, so that’s what we established. The only wild card is your bath, because you are not bathed daily.
Sorry for being terrible parents.
Anyway. Bedtime! You eat, we read a few books (always culminating in our favorite, The Going-to-Bed Book, and then we change your diaper and dress you in your pjs. We put you in your crib, zipper you up all snug and warm in your wearable blanket, kiss you on the forehead, and say goodnight.
Then we walk out of the room and close the door, and even though you may squawk briefly, you settle down and fall asleep within minutes.
This is such a huge difference from how we were doing bedtime previously, which involved 3-4 feedings, lots of rocking, at least one extra diaper change, and much teeth-gnashing as we closed your bedroom door only to hear your siren wail start up again. Sometimes it took two hours before you finally fell asleep. We were all completely exhausted and it was completely unbearable.
But now you can and do fall asleep on your own. Do I miss cuddling with you and nursing you to sleep? If I’m being honest with myself, a little bit. But knowing that you don’t rely on me to sleep is incredibly freeing – for both of us. It was obvious you were so frustrated and so tired before, that you wanted so desperately to sleep but you just couldn’t.
And now you can. And I’m so proud of you.
So let’s work on the nighttime sleeping now, hmm?
Your Zombie Mama