The Great Sleep Stand-off

Since the night we returned from New York, Henry has been sleeping like a champ (with the exception of the one night Stevie and I kept him out almost 2 hours past his bedtime–lesson learned). It was like someone flipped a switch, and he went from being restless and overtired and waking/crying every hour until I eventually had to give up and put him in the bed snuggled in between us, to being able to eat and be put down in his crib still half-awake between 7:00-7:30 pm and sleep until 6:00 am without protest.

It really shouldn’t surprise me, this sudden shift in Henry’s sleep habits. Our lives have been a mess since Christmas with my crazy work schedule, school activities, and the sudden discovery of Richie’s cancer. We tallied it up, and we were gone more days in February than we were actually in our own home, flying from coast to coast and back again, waving at our normal routines as we blew past them in a frenzy. I would call bullshit on anyone who tries to tell me that babies are just a blank slate, that they don’t really know what’s going on so they should be able to easily adapt, because the moment we stepped back into our own home after it was all over, the moment we were able to really stop and take a minute and breathe, little H-man did too, and he settled back into his own crib in his own room safe inside his own home and he has been a completely different kid ever since.

Last night, we had what has become a rare bad night. It may have been the thunderstorm that blew through or a little gas from the broccoli H-man ate at dinner time. Or it may have been that he didn’t get quite enough milk before he fell asleep. I managed to nearly destroy my milk supply during my trip to San Diego–a combination of no sleep, long hours at work, and sporadic breaks between events. It’s been hard trying to build it back up, and some days have been better than others.

But whatever the reason, last night reminded me of how far we’ve come, and how awful it feels to get just a few hours sleep, shuffling like a zombie from my room to Henry’s, sitting half-asleep in the rocking chair, trying to stay just awake enough that I don’t drop him as I sit there feeling half-numb and completely drained.

So today, we’ll try again, and hope that this was just a blip on the screen.

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Nigh Nigh

So in the midst of all the recent craziness, Henry went and said his first word. Little man has been babbling for awhile now, but it seems that a few weeks out of the house and away from Cadence’s constant chatter spurred H-man to begin exercising his own vocal chords. And I dare say that now there just might be a 3-way tie in our house for who is the loudest (bet you can’t guess which 3).

Before we even left for San Diego, Henry’s sleep schedule was bordering on ridiculous. The dreaded 4-month sleep regression had hit us hard and never really went away, likely due in part to the fact that H-man started busting out teeth at 3-months-old. Add that to a week spent in a hotel room with me coming and going all hours of the day and night, an abrupt introduction to formula after my milk supply tanked and my freezer stash ran out, and then just a brief pit stop home before hopping a flight to New York for a funeral and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. And I wasn’t surprised that my baby boy revolted and refused to sleep anywhere but snuggled up tight against my chest clutching my shirt for dear life. The only bad part was that Stevie and I were sharing a bed that would only be considered regulation size of you were a card-carrying member of the Lollipop Guild.

So, considering everything else that was going on, I am pretty proud of myself for even realizing that Henry officially started talking while we were in New York. And while I may have missed the very first utterance, if my little H-man is anything, he is persistent.

“Nigh nigh. Nigh nigh. Nigh nigh nigh nigh nigh.”

I was only half paying attention. I saw Henry rubbing his eyes, and knew he was tired and jet-lagged. A few moments later, when I didn’t respond, Henry kicked up the volume and added a frustrated whine.

“Nigh nigh. Nigh nigh nigh! NIGH NIGH.”

“Yeah Henry? Night night? You tired little man? Time for night night?

Henry smiled at me and rubbed his eyes. “Nigh nigh nigh nigh.”

I took him to the bedroom, changed his diaper, fed him, and two minutes later, he was fast asleep.

The next nap time followed the same routine. And on and on.

And now that we are home and we finally seem to be shifting back down to low gear, H-man is not only announcing when he is ready to go to bed, he is also SLEEPING THROUGH THE FREAKIN’ NIGHT! Hallelujah!! I hope I don’t jinx it by mentioning it but H-man has slept well every night since we returned home. The first couple nights, he told us “nigh nigh” and went to bed around 8 pm, woke at 3 am to eat, and then back to sleep until 7:30ish. Last night, he went to bed at 7 pm and woke at 6:15 am.

I tell ya, after running on 2-3 hours a night for the past month, this is heaven.

Fingers crossed it continues.  

Focused

One of the most fascinating things about having a baby in the house is watching his little brain develop. Henry has reached that stage where you can almost see those little wheels turning as he observes and interacts with the world around him. Those jerky, uncoordinated newborn movements have been replaced with a laser focus and smooth deliberateness. I love to watch him hone in on something, reaching out with his chubby little arm and grasping with his tiny fingers.

For me, this is where things start to really get fun. Most, if not all, of the newborn stress has worn off. I’m getting a little bit more sleep. We’re stretching out an extra hour or two between feedings. I’m not off-duty by any means, but the moments when I feel like I can actually relax come a little more often these days. The newborn fog has lifted.

These days, when Henry’s not rolling around on the floor and exploring, he loves to spend time in his exer-saucer, working out his leg muscles and taking in the view of the world around him from a bit higher perspective. We’ve dubbed it “The Poop Chair” (for reasons I’m sure you can figure out without further explanation), and it cracks me up to see Henry sitting in it, playing with all the toys, and spinning himself suddenly around like Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers movies when one of us makes a noise or something catches his attention. It’s become his favorite perch to watch Stevie and Cadence and I play cards, or to keep an eye on me while I’m cooking dinner.

And sometimes he’s content to just hang out and study his toys and stretch as far as his chubby little legs will let him to see if he can get just one little bite.

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