A week ago (two weeks ago? at some point in the not too distant past? parenting time is a bit fuzzy.) I mentioned on Facebook that we were having a problem with Sam waking up every day between 4:45 and 5:15am instead of the much more desirable 6am and solicited suggestions for how to fix it. I got a lot of input that helped me learn that I never want to solicit parenting advice via Facebook, but not a lot of help in terms of getting Samuel to sleep later. However, IN SPITE of the many suggestions we got along the lines of “you can do nothing but wait” we have made vast improvement on this problem. So much improvement that he woke up this morning at 5:20am.
So okay. Maybe we haven’t made that much progress in the wake up at 6am direction. It still happens about half the time. However, this doesn’t mean we haven’t made any progress at all. It used to be that he woke up in the 5am vicinity, and then wailed until we came to get him. On at least a couple of occasions we made it as much as 45 minutes before giving up on the idea that he would go back to sleep if we ignored him. By that point his eyes were all red, his cheeks were covered in enormous crocodile tears, and I was going to a special place in Mommy hell reserved for baby torturers. Thankfully we discovered the power of the lovey.
For the uninitiated (I’m looking at you Charlie) the lovey is a handkerchief sized blanket with a head. I find them creepy in the extreme, who wants comfort from a blanket with eyes? I made fun of them mercilessly when I was still pregnant. But now I am eating my words with a healthy side helping of humility because the lovey is a genius, genius, baby soothing magician. Our mornings these days, rather than looking like a scene from the movie Scream (but without the blood) now look something like this:
5am – Sam wakes up and fusses a bit. Usually drifts back off on his own
5:10 – Sam wakes back up. Fusses louder in a “I really mean it people! I’m not playing here!” kind of way
5:12 – Richard* drags himself out of bed and into Sam’s room. Retrieves the lovey from the corner of the crib, chucks it at Sam’s head, and returns to bed. Sam fusses for approximately 10 seconds longer, then sticks his finger in his mouth and goes back to bed.
5:22 – Sam wakes back up. Fusses. Finds the lovey and the thumb. Goes back to sleep.
5:32 – See 5:22
5:42 – See 5:22
5:52 – See 5:22
6am – Mommy retrieves Samuel from crib and the day starts.
This may not seem like improvement, we’re all still waking up every 10 minutes, but in fact THIS IS SOMETHING I KNOW HOW TO DO. Mom. Dad. I owe you a big round of thanks. Because in second grade you bought me an alarm clock with a snooze button. So the past two decades of setting the alarm clock for before I had to get up so I could have the pleasure of thumping the snooze button and going back to sleep 1 or 2 times (or in college 10 or 20 times), that wasn’t lunacy, it was parenting practice.
*I feel nothing but glee when I report that this job is always performed by Richard. Way back when Sam was first born I made sure to pump a bottle or two during the day so we could share nighttime feedings. Then, around the 3 month point Sam started to have wakefulness problems post his bottle feeding to the tune of if I fed him he promptly went back to sleep but when Richard fed him Sam stayed up for the next hour. With total resentment at the unfairness of the universe I decided this meant that I needed to take over all the nighttime feedings. That sucked. But NOW being the lady with the boobs is working out to my advantage because the lovey is only accepted as a parent substitute from the boob-less one. If milk lady shows up then lovey is greeted with all the joy you would expect from a presentation of a poisonous snake into his arms. So ha! In this one tiny instance biology has worked in my favor.