Dear Natalie: Week 28

Dear Natalie,

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.

HALLELUJAH.

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?

Love always,
Your Zombie Mama

natalie-week28

27 Responses to Dear Natalie: Week 28

  1. Lynda @MommyPowers February 13, 2014 at 11:20 pm #

    Omg! What a cutie! #SITSBlogging

    • Alexis February 14, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Hi Lynda! Thank you, and thanks for stopping by!

  2. Emmy February 14, 2014 at 12:33 am #

    She is such a doll love that picture! I hate to tell you this now, as you are in the midst of it- my oldest did not sleep through the night until he was 2, he would wake up yelling for a milk cup, which we would bring hit a zippy cup with milk, he would drink it and then toss it out of bed (this as all after he was 1) I did everything the books said and even talked with his doctor about it, who was stumped as we were doing everything “right”– my other two slept through the night by a few months old… so sometimes it is just the kid. She might be teething or something now that is waking her up if she had been sleeping through the night. So don’t give up! Coming by from #Sitsblogging

    • Alexis February 14, 2014 at 10:51 am #

      Hi Emmy! You’re so right, there are a million things it could be. Or maybe that’s just how she rolls. She is SUCH an easy baby in every way except for her nighttime sleep, so I am both grateful and afraid when I think about future siblings being completely different from her. Your oldest sounds very strong-willed; that is an excellent trait to have as he gets older – but small consolation as you’re getting hit in the head with sippy cups at 2am :)

  3. Denise February 14, 2014 at 1:02 am #

    That is an adorable photo! Enjoy your baby time…dropping by from SITSGirls.

    • Alexis February 14, 2014 at 10:47 am #

      Thanks, Denise! There’s so much to enjoy about the baby time – not that it is all pure bliss, but there’s definitely so much to be grateful for. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Rachael February 14, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Oh she is just too adorable! Great picture

    • Alexis February 14, 2014 at 10:46 am #

      Hi Rachel, thanks so much! Obviously I’m a bit biased, but I think she’s a cutie. I guess we’ll keep her :)

  5. deana February 14, 2014 at 10:31 am #

    It is crazy how fast they change in the first year! Even though parenthood is amazingly hard…it’s worth it! We live outside of Boston too! Hope you’ll pop by my blog. #SITSblogging

    • Alexis February 14, 2014 at 10:45 am #

      Hi Deana! A fellow Boston-ite! I will absolutely be stopping by your blog. I’m a tad behind in my commenting (and responding to comments!) but I’m going to keep at it until I’ve had the chance to visit everyone. Looking forward to it!

  6. Anitra February 14, 2014 at 10:39 am #

    What a sweet post and she’s adorable. So fun to watch them grow!! #SITSBlogging

    • Alexis February 14, 2014 at 10:44 am #

      Hi Anitra, thanks so much for stopping by! It is fun to watch them grow – I’m constantly amazed by how quickly it’s happening!

  7. All Talk Entertainment February 14, 2014 at 11:04 am #

    Awwww, she’s sooooooo beautiful. Keep doing what you are doing and she will pick up the pattern. I know the first time my child slept all night I woke up in a panic thinking something was wrong because I slept all night. It was scary and yet the greatest feeling ever. It’s beautiful watching their patterns change and not realizing they are teaching us. Then they will become teens and won’t teach us anything and they’ll say we don’t know anything LOL. Enjoy this time.

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 9:53 am #

      Thank you! Before I had Natalie other parents would tell me the same thing (about waking up even when your kid is asleep) and my response was always “pfft, you are too uptight, just relax and go to sleep!” But the few times in Natalie’s life she’s ever slept for a significant amount of time I absolutely woke up feeling like SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG. It wasn’t, of course, but it’s soooo hard to break that habit! I think I need to be sleep-trained, too :)

  8. Desperate Houselife February 14, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    What an amazing idea, writing daily letters to your (adorable, btw) baby!! #SITSBlogging

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 9:55 am #

      Thank you! I can’t take credit for the original idea – I saw that Elise (eliseblaha.typepad.com) was doing the same thing for her daughter, who is a couple months older than Natalie. I thought it was so sweet and so I borrowed the idea, and I’m so glad that I did!

  9. Andrea Kruse February 14, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

    She is adorable! I know it is rough… and it doesn’t help to hear that it will pass…because you are in the sleep-deprived moment now. I have 3 and my youngest is now 9 months. 6 months brings physical growth, a need for more calories and teething. It is officially not a great time for anyone. My perfect sleeper has been keeping me up, too. But I look at my 4 and 6 year old and give him another kiss and remember how I wish somedays I could go back to those months with them. #SITSBlogging

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

      Not that I would wish poor sleeping on anyone, but it’s always a relief to hear about other babies whose sleep becomes problematic from time to time. Makes me feel not quite as alone. I don’t mind hearing that it will pass – what gets to me from time to time are the sweet old ladies in the grocery store (that don’t mean any harm at all!) who are practically yelling at me to TREASURE EVERY MOMENT. Ahhh! I’m trying, but I’m sooooooo tired! Anyway – I very much appreciate your comment. Thank you!

  10. Adelina Priddis February 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    How are adorable!! I know it doesn’t help now, but the sleep eventually gets figured out. For now, enjoy midnight snuggles, and find time to take quick naps. They grow up too fast.
    #sitsblogging

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      You are so right – I know she’ll get there eventually, after all, most teenagers would sleep about 16 hours in a row if given the choice! I just hope I don’t have to wait 16 more years until that point :)

      • Adelina Priddis February 16, 2014 at 9:56 am #

        hopefully not, lol. I have a 3 year old that still likes to get up periodically and try and get in our bed, but then my 21 month old sleeps through the night beautifully.

  11. AnnMarie February 14, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    She is so cute! This makes me miss when Gia was this age. She used to be so good at going to sleep and then she gave up her binky and all Hell broke loose. She’s four and her bedtime routine is a terrible one. With three older siblings in their tweens and teens, it is so hard to stick to a routine for her and I am paying the price. #sitsblogging

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 9:47 am #

      Hi AnnMarie! Oh lord have I heard horror stories from other moms about their kids giving up the binky. Natalie has always refused one, even when there where times when I was praying for her to take it. Although now that we are past those desperate days of PLEASE JUST TAKE THIS PACIFIER I’m kind of glad that she’s ok without one! I can only imagine how crazy things must be in your house with 4 kids running around!

  12. myrah - Coupon Mamacita February 14, 2014 at 6:12 pm #

    Natalie is adorable and such a great time to enjoy our bundle of joy! Visiting from SITS.

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Myrah! Thank you! It’s true, 6 months is such a great age. Although there are moment when I think the adorable-ness is the only thing that lets our babies survive into adulthood! :)

  13. Photography by Faye Licari February 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    I love your blog and Natalie is just adorable! Yay you for keeping this record for her. #sitsblogging

    • Alexis February 16, 2014 at 9:44 am #

      Thanks, Faye! Even on the weeks when I’m exhausted and don’t feel like writing a letter I know that I’ll be happy I did in the long run :)

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