Cracking the Sleep Code

It’s been 5 months and 23 days since little H-man made his grand entrance into the outside world, 5 months and 23 days of adjustments, 5 months and 23 days of trying to figure out our new normal, 5 months and 23 days of wondering if there really is such a thing as normal.

I’m not going to lie, for every amazing moment there has been an equal and opposite frustration. For every smile, there’s been a tear. I don’t care what anyone says, that’s how it is with babies. It can’t be magical all the time.

But the hardest thing about those early months of parenting? It’s gotta be the sleep-deprivation. It makes you crazy and angry. It makes you forgetful. It makes you cry over silly, stupid things. It makes you feel like a complete failure.

Spending your days walking through a fog is bad enough. Spending your days in physical and emotional agony because your brain and body are teetering on the razor’s edge of reality, that’s the sort of torture they use to make terrorists talk and the sad fact is, it’s happening to mothers in every corner of this country.

But somehow we survive it, the way we survive so many things. And one day (maybe suddenly, maybe gradually), we realize that things are turning around.

It’s been 5 months and 23 days since little H-man arrived and he’s finally sleeping well, and sleeping consistently, through the night. No screaming. No waking every 45 minutes. No endless hours walking back and forth to his room and bouncing and rocking and feeding and trying to calm him down. The past three nights, I’ve been taking Henry up to bed at 7:00. First a feeding. Then we brush his teeth and gums. We rock for a minute and sing. Then a few kisses and as soon as he buries his face in my chest and pushes himself away, I tell him good night and lay him down in his crib. I turn on his little light show, that will move and play music for 10 minutes before shutting itself off.

The first night, he cried. Of course he would. I was mixing up his routine and he didn’t know if he liked it. I let him fuss for a few minutes then picked him up, calmed him, and laid him back down.

Repeat.

This went on for almost an hour. He calmed a little faster each time, until I could just put my hand on his belly and shush him. Then suddenly, he drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake up until 6:30 the next morning.

Night #2 was more of the same, only better. Henry only fussed and cried for about 20 minutes off and on while I patted his back and shushed him. Then he dozed off and slept from 7:30 p.m. to 6:45 a.m.

And tonight? Well, tonight there were no tears at all, just pure sleeping baby bliss.

It seems we may have cracked H-man’s sleep code. Keep those fingers crossed for us, folks. This just might be the beginning of a very beautiful thing.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 8

I see a meme floating around Facebook every now and then that says:

MjAxMy04ZjUyY2FiYzg3NDdiZjZh

Yeah, I’m just about there.

Henry recently went from sleeping 6-8 hours a night back to being up every couple hours. To say that I’m exhausted is an understatement. Stevie has offered to get up and take a night shift, but since I’ve gone back to work I’ve gotten seriously stingy about using any of the frozen milk I’ve stashed unless it’s absolutely necessary. And on top of the recent sleep regression, little H-man is teething too.

Double whammy.

Leo and Cosette must have been reading my mind because we woke this morning to discover they’d fashioned their own little fort out of books and wrapping paper, and were snuggled up in a couple of Santa hats.

Silly elves.

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365 Project – Day 272 – Just One Of Those Days

Did you ever have one of those days where you are just not thinking clearly? You probably don’t even really notice that something is a little off. You walk through the day in an oblivious haze, until something snaps you out of it and commands your attention.

Today, was just one of those days.

I know that I’m preoccupied. After being sick for a week, I’m back to furiously working to finish up my sister’s engagement photos, while preparing to head to Omaha on Sunday afternoon for a photo shoot with an adorable family and a 3-month-old little boy. Steven’s Mom and brother Keith are also flying in tomorrow for a visit, and we’ve been on pins and needles all week just waiting for the time to pass until they arrive. So yeah, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot going on in my mind.

Funny thing about life though–about the time that you are getting a little too frantic, running around, trying to get a million things done, there’s always something that derails you. It’s like the Universe is throwing out a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) reminder to slow down.

Sometimes it’s an accident–you’re rushing around trying to get dinner ready and instead of paying attention to what you’re doing, you are thinking about the three dozen tasks you need to accomplish before you go to bed, and the next thing you know you slice your finger open with the paring knife.

Somtimes it’s an illness–you work non-stop day and night to finish up a big project before you go on vacation and then you wake up on your first day off with a raging fever and a nasty sinus infection.

And sometimes it’s just pure ridiculousness, like tonight. So, I was in the middle of trying to finish half-a-dozen things before I sat down for dinner. I found a stopping point with my photo editing, then uploaded a few for some friends to look at and critique, rotated the laundry, carried a basket of clothes upstairs to fold, started dinner, folded clothes and then put them away, realized that Cadence’s dresser drawers were full of clothes that she had grown out of so I took a moment to clean them out and reorganize, hung up a few jackets, threw the outgrown clothes downstairs for Steven to Space Bag, and then finally finished up our gourmet dinner of hot dogs and mac ‘n cheese.

Phew! I’m tired again just writing about it!

It wasn’t until later, when Steven was cleaning up the kitchen and I was putting Cadence to bed, that we noticed anything out of the ordinary. I put Cadence in her crib, kissed her goodnight, and then returned to the kitchen where Steven was just washing the the last of the dishes.

He laughed when I walked in, and told me to look in the refrigerator.

Apparently between making dinner and pouring Cadence a cup of milk for bedtime, I somehow misplaced the cap to the milk. And I didn’t just forget to put it back on, I flat out lost it. Like, the sucker is gone. We checked the garbage, the refrigerator, the drawers, the cupboards, the space between the fridge and the counter, everywhere we could possibly think of, but it is nowhere to be found.

On that note, I would say it is definitely time to get a little sleep.

Luckily, I’ve got some MacGyver skills to keep the milk from spoiling.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to those days when your head just isn’t in the game. Thank goodness Diane and Keith are coming for a visit so we can spend a few stress-free days just hanging out and relaxing!

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