Monday, September 11, 2006

Stop! Listen, What's that Sound?

Do you hear it? Not the bird chirping, nor the washing machine humming its spin cycle, nor even the whir of the laptop fan. It's nap time, and what I'm hearing is...nothing. Remember my concern over Timmy, who was to start full-time at the beginning of this month? His fretfulness, his lack of resilience, his clingy-ness? My belief that this was sleep-related, and that with some decent sleep under his diaper tabs, he'd cheer up? Well, I was right. Yes, I am smiling smugly. I think it's justified. If I hadn't been right, I'd be back to banging my head into walls. I was pretty sure then, and I've been proven right now, but hoo, man, I'm relieved. How did we accomplish this? I know you're all dying to know. Day One: Timmy arrives, smiling, at 8:20. By 8:40, he's rubbing his eyes. Up he goes to bed, where he's bundled, rolled in the flannel blanket. This makes him grin. A wee baby burrito. I sing him a song as he lies swaddled in my arms. He beams up at me. I place him down, pat his back as I sing a second verse, then leave. He was NOT impressed. Some experts suggest you stay in the room, others say go in at intervals, still others say cold turkey. Obviously, option one isn't an option for me: I can't stay in the room and leave the other children untended. Of the other two choices, I do what seems to work best. I like the idea of reassuring the child of my presence by visits of decreasing frequency, but I've learned that this just enrages some kids and makes them cry harder. No kindness in that. Timmy proved to be of the enraged school of response. He liked it when I touched his back and spoke soothingly, but when I left again? "GET YOUR ASS BACK IN HERE, WOMAN!!!" And he's right back to his original outrage. Okay, then. That nap took 32 minutes. The afternoon nap took 15. Wednesday morning, 6. Wednesday afternoon, 4. Thursday and Friday, a squawk or two as he settled, but then quiet. Today, first day back after a weekend, a bit of regression: 4 minutes this morning, 90 seconds this afternoon. The rest of the day? He's smiley, he's responsive, he's active. He plays with me, he plays with the others, he plays with the toys, he plays on his own, he tries to play with the cat. He explores, he vocalizes, he puts day-old dust-covered Cheerios in his mouth. (Where is he finding them??) In short, he is the very picture of a bright and sunny 12-month-old. Phew
Related posts: Later and Later Bedtimes Setting the Stage for Healthy Sleep (PiP) No-Cry (Gentle) Method (PiP) ~~~~~~~~~~~~ © 2006, Mary P


Blogger djdono said...

finally, a description that fits my eleven month old to a tee! he goes to bed at 7:15 and gets up at 6, if i'm lucky. he takes two 45 min. naps during the day, if i'm lucky! he is super clingy as you described. i'm at my wits end!

9/11/2006 03:12:00 p.m.  
Anonymous BeckaJo said...

What do his parents say? Have there been any complaints about him not sleeping at night?

I once had a parent ask me to keep her child awake so that he'd go to sleep earlier at night. Yeah, right. I was getting paid $3 an hour (high school babysitting) and damned if I was going to put up with her cranky kid all day! I switched his nap to the morning and everything was peaches and cream.

9/11/2006 03:40:00 p.m.  
Blogger Juggling Mother said...

wow, my kids are obviously stubbon little evil out-rage machines. They have all screamed for much longer than that!

But ultimately, I agree, it's a three day job & then they'll lern to go to sleep when put down for a nap. Mstr A & LMD both needed reminders every 6 months or so though:-)

9/11/2006 03:46:00 p.m.  
Blogger Granny said...

Nice going. It's what I've always (or almost always) done.

9/11/2006 04:28:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mamacita Tina said...

Excellent, hurray for you and Timmy!

Laurel and Ian are similar, I have to leave them cold turkey or they get absolutely hysterical each time they see me and we start all over again.

9/11/2006 05:12:00 p.m.  
Blogger Kat O+ said...

Your post reminded me of why I'm glad I have the Internet as a resource for parenting because if I'd encountered Timmy's symptoms, I would never have guessed they were caused by lack of sleep.

Slightly OT, my 2-year old just started using a bed and for the first time, I was tempted to throw all our bedtime rules out the window.

9/11/2006 08:24:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

djdono: Hello, and welcome! So your son is getting, at best 12.5 hours a day. In fact, this isn't dramatically short of the 13 - 14 hours he probably needs, but his behaviour is telling you he needs more. As you see, I use variations of CIO (cry it out) with great effect. If you can't stand the very thought, I've a post going up tomorrow at PiP that you might want to check out!

beckajo: In fact, Timmy is "sleeping better than he ever has! You must really be tiring him out during the days!" Which is what I'd expect.

It's a common misperception - that reducing the daytime hours of sleep will improve night-time sleep. Common, but wrong. It Just. Ain't. So.
All the experts - no-criers, cry-it-outers, and everyone in between - they all know that Sleep Begets Sleep. You want good nights? Give them their naps!

A fact which I repeat to my parents over and over and over again...

Juggling Mother: Short-term pain for long-term gain. And, as far as I've been able to work it, the only way that's effective when you've four or five to settle down at once.

Granny: It's straightforward, quick, and effective. And now Timmy is a sunny, happy boy all his waking hours. A veritable transformation, lovely to see.

Mamacita Tina: Awful, isn't it? Kind of like killing them with kindness.

Kat: I was just talking about that very concept with Laura (my partner at PiP) this afternoon: the internet, and specifically blogging, as a resource for parents. Isn't it great?

(And your link? She don't.)

9/11/2006 10:21:00 p.m.  
Blogger Lady M said...

I'm believing you experts here on the web - These days when the kiddo gets cranky, we try to get him to nap more. Works a lot of the time! Thanks.

9/12/2006 01:05:00 a.m.  
Blogger Kristen said...

Another example of consistency and confidence pulling through. I'm so glad he's calm and happy now...

9/12/2006 10:57:00 a.m.  
Blogger Jenorama said...

I would love to see you in action.

Where were you thirteen years ago???

9/12/2006 11:19:00 a.m.  
Blogger So-Called Supermom said...

Mary Poppins----oh, how I wish you were at my house right now!!! Read my post today and you will understand why! You have such a great sense about children----they are lucky to have you!

9/12/2006 11:50:00 a.m.  
Blogger Candace said...

People would look at me like I was insane when I told them my then-two-year-old would go to bed at 8 pm and wake up at around 10 am. She didn't nap and her behavior was perfectly lovely during the day. Wake her up at 8 am? Are you crazy? No, we moved our schedule around a bit (nothing drastic and nothing I didn't mind) so we didn't have morning activities. Her then-five-year-old brother loved the extra "alone time" with me in the morning, and when school started, getting him off to kindergarten without a toddler demanding attention was just heaven!

9/12/2006 11:56:00 a.m.  
Blogger mo-wo said...

Was it MIM who put it as sleep is a need, like food or diapers? That is a good nutshell for new parents to 'get'... and your methods are great -- N. uused them for E. when she first napped at daycare.. annd I was a baby-rocker at home. took 1 45 argument for them asnd next day a-ok.

Did you tell Muum how it worked? -- I'm sure ya did -- I remwember how grateful I was to hear how this had worked for N. It wa another great examplee of the hidden plusses of daycare. It pushed me to try more with my kid; try new things.

9/12/2006 01:35:00 p.m.  
Blogger mo-wo said...

sorry 'bout the typos I carry the baby for 10 gas fighting minutes after a feed and before nap... that's my blog budgetted time.. so it is all rushed 1 finger typing!

9/12/2006 01:38:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

LadyM: Fatigue and hunger: two huge crankiness-inducers. Then changes to routine, illness, maybe teeth, and finally (but NOT least) just yer garden-variety 2-year-old cussedness!

Kristen: Confident enough to take the kid on; not so confident that I didn't have serious cold feet once or twice! I am greatly relieved to be right.

Jennifer: Thirteen years ago today? Undoubtedly unkempt and smelling of sour milk, sleep-deprived, brain-muddled, and with a baby attached to one breast or the other: Emma was about six weeks old. Probably not yer best source of coherent advice...

Supermom: Comes with experience. How many people get ten years to sort out their two-year-old? Okay, I'm off to see what's up at your place now.

Candace: Just when you think you've seen it all... Of course she was perfectly lovely during the day! She was getting all her 24 hours' sleep in one immensely long stretch. It's a perfectly reasonable amount of sleep for a child that age, of course, only most kids do it in two stages: a long sleep at night and a 2 hour-ish nap in the afternoon. She was just exactly what you needed, though, wasn't she? Lucky momma!

mo-wo: Could well have been MiM. Could just as easily have been me! We are in total agreement on the importance of sleep to a child's health and well-being.

I've told mum about the bundling. I haven't told her about the crying: she recoils from that simile presents...she recoils from it a whole lot. Strongly. I'll get there, I'm just figuring out my approach. (No, she didn't tell me not to, but I'm also not about to ask permission.)

All typos forgiven. Been there. Long as the boy doesn't plork on the keyboard, everything else is gravy!

9/12/2006 02:56:00 p.m.  
Blogger kittenpie said...

A, good woman. Pumpkinpie has about 5 times over the last month decided not to nap.. She is relatively cheerful until just after dinner, when we need to start skipping the bath and hustle her into bed early. Ugh, how I hate those days. thank goodness they aren't too common. (And I do leae her in her in her crib with some books for about an hour to hour-and-a-half, so she gets some quiet time)

9/13/2006 10:23:00 a.m.  

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