Henry had a very tired afternoon. I could tell that my little guy was exhausted and probably would have done much better with his second nap if I had been able to get him down to sleep, sooner.
I fed him dinner at around 5:00 and he played for about an hour after that. I washed him up and changed him in to pajamas at around 6:15, nursed him for a few minutes, and put him down in his crib by 6:35. He cried while I got the triplet's teeth brushed and *something* told me that he needed a little bit more time before being put to bed.
I scooped him up after about 10 minutes and sitting in our rocking chair, nursed him for another 20 minutes. After having my face sucked and and gummed by him for 10 minutes, I again put him in his crib at around 7:20 and he peacefully put his head down and fell to sleep before I left the room.
There are certainly times when I think about all the things I need to do and how convenient it would be to put him in his crib and have him go right to sleep. But then I have to stop myself and seize the opportunity to sit and rock him and have him gum my face, because the fact is - I won't be able to do this forever and it really is a highlight of my life.
Here are my thoughts on the day:
1) It is very important for me that Henry sleep in until at least 6:00 every morning. I truly believe that he is at an age where he can do this and I suspect that he just needs some time to get through that 2nd awakening on his own.
2) I know people who have children as old as six-years-old, that still wake up and start their day at 5:00. That wouldn't fly in this house because the earliest Charlie and I get out of bed (unless we have a plane to catch or they are evacuating our neighborhood because of wildfires) is 6:30. It is extremely rare that our children are awake before 6:45 AM and typically they are up sometime between 7 and 8. For those parents that have children that are waking up so early, if that schedule works for the family - great. But if not - I believe that the early wake up can be linked back to the child never going back to sleep after their 2nd awakening.
3) Several people have told me that they want to get their baby to sleep but they don't want to hear their child cry. Although no parent likes to hear their baby cry - I really believe that the process of self-soothing is an important thing for them to learn. As I mentioned yesterday, until a child learns to self-soothe, they will rely on you to do it for them. Although it would be nice to lay down with my child before they go to sleep at night - this is not something that I can do every time they go to bed. Nor can I rush in and give them their pacifier whenever it falls out, or rock them until they are completely asleep.
It can be terribly frustrating but the key to success is setting forth a plan. This whole exercise of writing down Henry's schedule has been great for me, because I have critically evaluated his nap schedule and wake up times much like I did with our triplets. When I would hear him wake up and cry after 30 minutes from his first nap - I would have already worked out my response. It's that "Not Knowing What To Do" that is horribly paralyzing and causes sleep deprived parents to run themselves ragged trying to figure out the next step.
Let them cry?
Pick them up?
Rub their back?
And now, I'm going to get up on my soap box.
It is amazing to me how many people are completely oblivious to the importance of sleep. When I was still working, I would go out for business dinners and notice small children sitting on their parents laps at 9 or 10 at night. When Charlie and I went to a movie last year, I couldn't believe that when we were walking out of the theater at 10:00 PM, there was a family walking IN with their two small children.
Last week, as I was walking around Target at about 9:00 PM I spotted a woman pushing a baby, I'd estimate to be 18-months old, in a shopping cart. The baby was wailing. She was rubbing her eyes and her cries sounded like someone was jabbing her with a needle. The mother kept hushing her and I overheard her say to her husband "I seriously don't know what is wrong with this kid." Because I have a really tough time keep my mouth shut when I probably should, I walked up and said, "I'm sorry, but I couldn't help but overhear you. And for what it's worth, I suspect that your daughter is crying because she is tired. I have three-year-old triplets and I know that they would have a complete meltdown if I kept them up past 8:00 at night." The mother told me that she thought that her daughter's cries were a result of teething.
As I've written before, I believe that teething is a scapegoat for a host of babyhood problems ... poor sleep habits and fussiness, being chief among them. I noticed that Henry is cutting his first tooth and yet he is sleeping well, aside from the issues that are physiologically normal for his age. I might be the only person in America to believe that when children are fussy it is because they are tired or hungry, or possibly - sick. It is not because they are in pain with their teeth. And if they are, feed them and put them to bed. They'll surely feel better when they wake up because chances are - they're tired, too.
Speaking of tired...
I haven't taken a shower in two days. But in that same time, I have cleaned up the house, folded and put away several loads of laundry; gone to the park twice; McDonald's, the after hours pediatrician and the post office once; cooked several meals; consumed an untold amount of chocolate; walked the dog; emptied the potty chair fifteen hundred times; tried to teach my three-year-olds how to blow their stuffy noses; established a sleeping schedule for our seven-month-old and blogged about it four times a day.
I'm off to bed.
Provided I don't pass out cold before I get there.