Dear Olivia: Week 19


Dear Olivia,

A napping schedule! We have one!


I know it took me a while to figure it out, but after dusting off many baby sleep websites that I hadn’t visited in, oh, about two years, I realized that you really can’t be awake for longer than two hours in between naps. And, as much as it crushes me to admit this, naps in the wrap or out and about in the car just aren’t as long or restful for you.

Even though naps this week have been kind of all over the map (20 minutes! 90 minutes! It’s naptime roulette!), and your nighttime sleep is still pretty abysmal, I feel like we’re sloooooowly making progress towards naps of a regular length and at regular intervals.

I’m not planning our whole day around your naps (we’d never get anything done), but if we’re home, I’ve been setting your sleep timer and putting you down exactly two hours after you wake up. Sometimes you don’t even make it that long, and I’m happy to attempt a nap if it’s only been an hour and forty-five minutes but it’s clear that you are done, done, done. 

So. This is what we do. First and foremost, I park your sister in front of the tv. Sometimes getting you down for a nap is a very quick non-event, and sometimes it takes quite a long time. We never really know.

Once Natalie is being entertained by the freakishly annoying Caillou, I change your diaper and usually put you in a fresh outfit. You spit up roughly one million times per day and we go through almost that many clothing changes. I imagine that trying to go to sleep in a shirt that’s all damp and sticky around the collar and with a bunch of gunk caked into your neck folds (yes, you totally have neck folds) would be uncomfortable, so I try to make that situation a bit better for you.

Then I zip you into your Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. This is an absolutely marvelous invention that serves the dual purposes of 1) muffling your startle reflex so you don’t whack yourself in the face while you’re asleep; and 2) making you look completely ridiculous. Every baby product should do at least those two things, in my humble opinion.

If it’s been an hour or more since you last ate, I usually see if you’re interested in nursing. It’s hit or miss with you. Natalie never, ever refused, no matter how little time had elapsed since the last time she ate, but you are a bit more choosy about when you want to eat. If you are hungry, the rest of my job is easy, since you fall asleep within minutes of eating. Then I carefully lower you into the pack ‘n play and quietly back out of the room. Boom, done.

If you’re not hungry I usually give you the pacifier and rock you to sleep. I know, I know, trust me I most DEFINITELY know this is a Bad Habit. But it’s so easy and basically foolproof and it only takes a few minutes before those heavy eyelids droop and you’re out cold. We’d been making great strides in the “drowsy but awake” department, but that all completely derailed when you decided to stop sleeping completely. So now we’re trying to make our way back to better habits, but also trying not to go completely insane in the interim.

It’s a delicate balance.

And then it’s really a waiting game to see how long you sleep for. I genuinely never know what to expect, which is totally, completely, utterly frustrating. I don’t know what projects I can tackle, or, if Natalie is also napping, if I have time to catch a few minutes of shut-eye for myself.

Since you’re still waking up roughly every two hours at night, taking a twenty-minute nap in the afternoon sounds like absolute bliss. So if the conditions seem favorable, if everyone is asleep and putting you down for your nap went relatively smoothly, sometimes I’ll attempt it.

I really should know better by now. I’m not sure how you know, but you do, you totally know when I’m trying to sleep. And that’s when a wail rises from the baby monitor, so I stumble to your side and assess whether or not you’ll nod off again if I give you back the pacifier, or if naptime is officially over.

Spoiler alert: it’s always over.

At least there’s plenty of coffee, right?

Love always,

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