If you had asked me what kind of parent I’d be, before I was a parent, I’d probably have said a number of things. Included in these things would almost certainly have been that I’d maintain good routines with my children, especially for bedtime.
We are a disaster.
Our “routine”, such as it is, consists of Pea coaxing Spud into drinking a bottle while Spud screams for an hour, or Pea feeding Spud while he chugs the bottle in one minute flat. These are small bottles, 1.5-2 oz. We are both empirically minded, and can find no pattern or clue as to why these are our two options, nor can we predict which we will get. Tired Spud is the worst at bottles, but we’re not trying to feed him when actively tired anymore. Bottle drunk or abandoned, we change Spud into a sleeper and a disposable diaper. I nurse Spud on both sides, and sing two lullabies*. If Spud is sleepy, I bop him about a bit until he falls asleep. If Spud is manic or over-tired, Pea bops him about because Pea does not smell like milk and is thus more calming.
This occurs anywhere between 7 and 10 pm. It can sometimes take that full window. Sometimes Spud falls asleep before we’ve even started, catching us off guard in the wrong diaper and daytime outfit. Sometimes Spud acts sleepy and then refuses to fall asleep for over an hour. Last week Pea took a bright eyed Spud who had resisted sleep for an hour and stuck him under a play structure. He fell asleep within a minute. Tonight I’m eating dinner alone, at 9 pm, while Pea bops a wide awake and wailing Spud. One of us nearly always eats alone.**
It is no wonder to me that Spud’s night times are still so broken and erratic, when his approach to night is so scattered.
WE are scattered, though. Pre-Spud, we’d eat dinner anywhere between 6:30 (rare) and 9:30, depending when we got home and whether we were heating leftovers or cooking something elaborate.
Pea doesn’t get home til 6:45 or 7 pm. Spud still naps sometime around 5 or 5:30, for 45 minutes. I think the solution is to prevent that nap, and move Spud’s bedtime up to seven, but what we actually want is an 8 pm bedtime with a 7 pm or later lead up to bed. We’d eat dinner at 8, Spud might sleep in a bit later to match our morning schedule.
He is reliably asleep at 9 pm nine out of ten times now, though often with a pop up. It is the exact time to cause maximum chaos in our evening.
We’ve moved his bedtime by three and a half hours in the last month or so, so I know we’ll get it pushed by this last hour eventually. He does recognize his routine, so we’re not completely failing at structure. His innate still-very-tiny-human chaos is currently a driving force though, and we’ve run up against our own vagaries of evening timings, where when it was a later bedtime, we were done dinner and ready to focus.
Lest this blog become like a friend of mine, who only calls me when upset and thus skews my view of her life entirely negative, here are some positives.
- Daytime Spud is delightfully predictable. Wake up, eat, diaper change, play/read/sing/hangout while I do things. Once 1.5 or 1.75 hours have elapsed from wake-up, naptime! Bopped to sleep, and, as of today, down in crib! (3 of 4 naps today were crib naps!) Naps are always 45 minutes long, regardless of location, so we run this cycle four times a day
- Spud has made giant leaps and strides in his grasping – immediately after I hit “post” on the entry where I was concerned he started grabbing toys and waving them around. Today he held a large stuffed die with both hands. He’s also started mouthing things. He’s also definitely turning to sound, and tracking sound with his eyes. Leaps! Bounds! I am relieved
- He’s sooooooooo close to laughing and it is so cute
* Lately a third lullaby, because I have discovered an apathy bridging on loathing for “Mama’s going to buy you a mockingbird” and so I’m phasing it out. Be better with your possessions, kid. Also why does a baby need a horse? Or a bull? Or multiple carts? Plus it rhymes “broke” with “goat”.
** we both ate alone, it turned out, and I’m posting this the next morning. Spud went down at 9 after MUCH protest. Popped up at 9:15, 9:35, and 9:45 before we clued in and I fed him again. He had been using the nipple as a lollipop earlier so I’d ended the session, apparently before he was quite ready. Slept 10-2:20, 3-6:15, 6:30-7:30, and now 7:50-9 and counting on me. A normal not-terrible night.