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Diary of a Night-Weaning Co-Sleeper, Pt 2

9 September 2014

First Mate’s Log. Thursday, September 4, 2014. Night 6.

We have hope that we are finally nearing our ultimate destination. Some of the crew report seeing glimmers of it on the horizon, though I remain cautious about entering into their enthusiasm. I do not want to give false hope.

The night was fairly calm. A few small storms, some rumbling in the distance, but nothing too severe. We were all thankful for a relatively calm passage.

First Mate’s Log. Friday, September 5, 2014. Night 7.

Rough seas, although some of the crew insist they see land yet on the horizon. We fought the storms as best we could to continue forward progress, but eventually the Captain couldn’t go on and advised we relent to the force of the gale. I was disappointed at turning back.

First Mate’s Log. Saturday, September 6, 2014. Night 8.

We recovered our route during the day and found ourselves not so far off course as I had feared. Tonight was almost smooth sailing – a few rough patches, but nothing our crew couldn’t handle – until just before dawn. It was as though the beastie lay in wait until we were confident of a clear night and then crashed in to destroy our hopes as well as our sanity.

For almost an hour we fought. The storm threw everything it had at us, but we fought back and held our ground.

First Mate’s Log. Sunday, September 7, 2014. Night 9.

He likes his new game, this merciless foe. We felt sure of a smooth seas by mere natural justice. It’s been too long. The crew felt deserving of a calm night, and they almost got one.

But again, just an hour before first light the tempest arose again, battering our senses and seeming to laugh at us all the while. He lured us again into a sincere calm, only to dash it away at the last moment. We fought hard nonetheless, and the vessel was strong. We did not relent.

First Mate’s Log. Monday, September 8, 2014. Night 10.

More of the crew are now insisting there is land on the horizon, and on a clear morning like this one I am inclined to believe them. It was a calm night. The beastie awoke once and the crew started to stir, but he swam right by as though he didn’t see. Some are saying he’s given up – realized he’ll never defeat our sturdy ship and determined crew, or we’re too close to journey’s end now for him to fight. Others are arguing he simply didn’t see us, or that there’s a God in heaven what kept us hidden for the night – knowing we need our rest.

I am hopeful the former are right, and I do believe there is something out on water’s edge – kissing the sun every morning. But I keep my opinion to myself for now. I do not want to inspire hope where there may yet be none.

Diary of a Night-Weaning Co-Sleeper

4 September 2014
(This looks like a totally cheese ball set up, but Husband took this and I was actually sleeping. Scouts honor.)

(This looks like a totally cheese ball set up, but Husband took this a couple months ago and I was actually sleeping. Scouts honor.)

Night 1: Saturday

Our alpha male is gone for the weekend, so this seemed like a good time to start night-weaning the Man Cub. Or as good a time as I was going to get. It’s a little like saying there’s a good time for a colonoscopy, or to go have your driver’s license renewed. Where “good” = “minimal collateral damage.”

Truth be told, 3 AM isn’t a “good” time for anything, least of all trying to calmly and soothingly (which is a word at 3 AM) explain to a one-and-a-half year old who has heretofore nursed on demand that, “We can’t do milk until after we sleep.”

“Oh, sure,” he said. And rolled over to go back to sleep.

And then I sprouted wings and the Bears won the Super Bowl and I woke up.

To screaming.

Horrifying, blood-curdling, the-neighbors-must-think-I’m-skinning-him-alive screaming. You know at the end of The Passion of the Christ, how Satan lets out that shriek-y kind of yell? This was worse. I actually started to believe that I was abandoning him in a deep, dark hole, the way he was screaming.

But I expected that. I read a lot of stories and most of them started like this:

The first night, he cried and screamed for 20 to 30 minutes. Each night got a little easier, and by the end of the week he hardly made a peep. But those first couple nights were just terrible! 

I would like to meet these women. And shake their hands. And slip them large sums of cash under the coffee table in exchange for whatever they’re sedating their toddlers with.

Because 20 minutes came and went.

And then 30.

And then 45.

After about an hour of writhing and flailing, and trying everything the clever little man could come up with -

Maybe if I lead her to the couch … Maybe if I lead her to the love seat in the nursery … Back to the bed …

He passed out.

Alpha texted the next day:

How was last night?

Screamed. For. An. Hour.

That’s all?

Remind me to stab you when you get home.

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Night 2: Sunday

Late to bed tonight, which is normal for a Sunday night ’cause we get home late from Nana’s house. Man Cub woke up when we got into the nursery, so I let him nurse a little to quiet down. And I explained, like the interweb said to, how tonight was going to go. And he smiled and nodded. No joke.

3 AM: Screaming

At least I’d learned from the night before to preemptively close the bedroom windows. Did I feel like I was sleeping in a green house with a wailing howler monkey? Of course. Was I worried about keeping the neighbors up? Only a little.

He cut down on the screaming tonight, though, and we were back to sleep in about 45 minutes. I can deal with that kind of progress. At this rate, we’ll be done and not nursing or screaming in the middle of the night in three days. Right on schedule. You know what I love about toddlers? How they always mind a normative schedule, and maintain perfectly predictable behavior patterns.  Read more…

Overriding Disappointment with Joy

26 August 2014
Photo Credit: Tyler

Photo Credit: Tyler

I was prepared to be disappointed.

We were headed to the Man Cub’s 18 month check-up, and after a friend’s shockingly bad experience with the same pediatric office, my defenses were up.

And rightly so.

The reception area needed a good sweep. The pile of plastic kids’ toys were fairly dingy – old and worn, broken or harboring dead batteries, pages faded and torn.

I know better than to expect to actually be seen by any doctor at or near my appointment time, but we waited for at least a half-hour and in that time I overheard the receptionist double-book the doctor for the following week because the parent on the other end of the phone didn’t want to see a nurse practitioner and didn’t want to wait a month.

When we finally were led back to an exam room, and all the usual measurements were taken, we waited another half-hour for the nurse practitioner to show up.

In a small exam room full of things that an energetic toddler wants to, but shouldn’t, get into – a dresser full of supplies, a sink, a garbage can, etc. Two chairs, a stool, and a mural on the wall do not keep a one-and-a-half year old entertained for a half hour.

Man Cub was getting irritable, and I was fuming. We’d been there for over an hour. Why close us in a tiny exam room with no toys if no one is ready to see us? How many time slots got double-booked today? Could no one be bothered to stick her head in and at least tell us it would just be 10 more minutes? 5 minutes? 20 minutes? “We’re really sorry, but here’s what happened …”?

The boy was, by now, loudly protesting his confinement, and as I perfectly agreed with his sentiment, I made only very feeble attempts to shush him.  Read more…

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