Goodnight, you princes of Maine

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.

7 thoughts on “Goodnight, you princes of Maine

  1. Turia

    I think they have an immpecable sense of timing. P stopped her weird army crawl and started to properly crawl the day before we had an OT coming to the house. So we had a conversation where I explained about how weird the crawl was and then P showed off how she is a perfectly typical nine-month-old baby, thankyouverymuch.

    Assvice but Spud will probably need the fourth nap for a bit longer. Most babies transition to three at four months or so. And when they consolidate they often start to lengthen out from cat naps, starting with the first one. And there is no reason why he can’t be on an eight to eight routine (or thereabouts) if that is what works for you. Keep at it and he’ll get there. 9 is huge progress!

    He is doing great! You are doing a great job! They are so insane in the beginning but if you keep at it one day soon(ish) you will have a predictable routine and a set bedtime and it will only take 15 minutes or so!

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      Oh well done P! Of course it was the moment the OT arrived, babies are so persnickety. I’m not going to keep Spud up, I just think when he drops that nap will be when we’re able to get to 8 pm reliably. If he wakes up at 6:30 pm, he’s not really ready for bed at 8.
      We’ll see, he’s off that schedule today after deciding he didn’t want to nap in the grocery store until I had two items left to pick up, instead of his usual which involves a long nap and then waking UP when I have two items left. Babies.

  2. Jenny F. Scientist

    I think nobody is quite the parent they thought they’d be. But routines are much easier with older kids! The two year old asks for nap at the same time every day! (“Mama I wanna go nap nap.”)

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      That is likely very true. I’m a better parent than I thought I’d be in some ways, so I’m hoping it all evens out. And yes, I think much of this is the erratic nature of a very tiny human. Being asked for a nap sounds delightful!

  3. Mary

    You sound like a great parent. But I was a little taken aback by this:

    “I bop him about a bit until he falls asleep”

    Where I come from, to “bop someone about” means to hit them (usually not too hard, but still) As in “my little brother was playing his bassoon off-key, so I bopped him about until he stopped”

    I take it you meant something else…..

    1. labmonkeyftw Post author

      Oh my goodness, we’re certainly not bopping him about in your context!!
      Holding him up at our shoulder, and swaying/bouncing/humming. Perhaps a derivative of be-bop, in this case? I’m not sure where it comes from for that meaning. Definitely an interesting regional word, I do know it in the meaning you thought of first, but only once pointed out. It wouldn’t have occurred to me it could be interpreted that way!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s