Thursday, June 18, 2009

Happy Baby, Nap-less Toddler, One Tired Mom

I’ll start with the positives from the week – Charlie is sleeping SO well through the night now!! I almost hate to write that and jinx myself, but he has been sleeping 11-12 hours straight for the last week. I tell you, when a baby sleeps well, everything is much brighter! However… he has started sucking his thumb (I was in denial at first, but it looks like it’s really here to stay).

I think it’s great that Charlie can self-soothe, but I’m nervous for breaking this habit when he’s older. Oh well! I relented a little last week on my resolve to not give him the pacifier, but he wasn’t very good about keeping it in his mouth for longer than about five minutes. It would fall out and then he’d get frustrated. DSC_9045

See that drool down his chin? He is still teething like a madman. Chewing on anything he can get in his mouth (usually his fist) and I can feel something sharp on his bottom gums. I feel lucky that he’s sleeping so well at night when his teeth do seem to be bothering him. I think the fact that he can chew on his thumb helps a little.

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He is such a lovable little guy. I kiss, snuggle, and love him like crazy. I’m so glad to have this mellow, sweet baby at a time when…

DSC_9072…this darling face below is one of a boy who is giving me so much trouble. I would never look at this picture and think he had such a difficult side.   

DSC_9111But he has made this week really, really hard (these pictures are from Tuesday morning when he was playing with his cars on top of the radiator and actually in a good mood – that changed by the afternoon, unfortunately)

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I had a lot I needed to get done earlier in the week – the surprise for my friend, an article that was due, and a slew of other things.

Eli hasn’t napped since last Tuesday (as in June 9th) and it is killing me. Typically, I try putting Eli down when Charlie is going down for a nap so I can actually have a few minutes alone, but then Eli proceeds to yell, cry, make SO much noise in his crib that it either wakes Charlie up or keeps him from falling asleep. They are in separate rooms, but the rooms are right next to each other. So I spend most of that first 30 minutes or so, running up and down the stairs, trying to calm Charlie down, reminding Eli that it’s naptime and that he at least needs to be quiet.

But it’s a big joke because Eli has no intention or great understanding of being quiet. And after about 40 minutes, he’s yelling for me: “OH MAMAAAAAAAA! OH MOMMYYYYYYYYYY” over and over until I go in to his room (keep in mind that I wasn’t having much of a chance to be productive in those 40 minutes since I was still dealing with both kids – I especially can’t do anything that requires great focus because everything going on upstairs is very distracting). When I go in, he’ll say in a sweet, soft voice, “Quiet time?” and I’ll take him out of his crib and tell him he can read books or play with his blocks until I go back up to get him.

This lasts for about 5 to 10 minutes, if I’m lucky, before he comes down the stairs and announces he’s done with quiet time (and breaks down in tears if I try to take him back upstairs). This happened on Wednesday, when I was doing a phone interview with someone for my article that was due that day. Then the rest of the afternoon was so frustrating as Charlie was too worked up to take a much-needed nap and Eli was tired and clingy. I was so frazzled by the time that Ben came home from work! He took the boys out for a jog in the stroller and I scrambled to finish my article.

Today I tried shutting his door during quiet time so he couldn’t escape after 5 minutes, but this was VERY upsetting to him and not worth the aftermath. I called a friend and we met at the pool – I was so grateful that it wasn’t raining as was forecasted so we could get out of the house. Eli had a great time swimming, Charlie napped in his car seat, and we made it through the rest of the day without going too crazy.

So now I’m feeling stuck. How do I get much of anything done, when my barely 2-year-old has decided naps aren’t for him (and quiet time is not quiet or effective), but he is becoming less and less able to play on his own because he gets so emotional from being cooped up (awake) in his crib and then needs me to be right there with whatever he is doing for every other part in the day? Even if I don’t have an article due, there are always things I try to save for nap time that I haven’t been able to do. By the evening, I am so physically and emotionally drained from the drama of the day that it’s hard to do much of anything.

Every morning I tell myself that maybe it will be different, maybe Eli will nap (and believe me, he looks exhausted after lunch, but something changes when he gets in that crib), and when he doesn’t nap, I try so hard to be patient. But it’s hard.

If you made it this far in the post, I’m sorry because I know it’s long. I know we’ll adjust, that in time things will get better.

Hooray for the weekend that is almost here… :)

7 comments:

Hillary said...

I know how you feel about getting two kids to take naps. Leah will go through phases where she resists the naps and cries and whines. And some days I end up reading books, telling her a story or singing for 20 mins just to get her sleep. But I say to keep trying with him because it seems like he still needs it. I know it's exhausting. At least Charlie has been giving you some much needed rest at night.

Heather said...

You know how you always hear about those kids that just lay down on the couch and go to sleep when they're tired? I don't think those kids really exist.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that Eli naps today.

Zurmely family said...

i know it's terrible, but that's when the DVD player/DVR/cartoons come into play. when gavin was two and refusing to nap, i'd tell him he could watch a movie as long as he was lying on a pillow. sometimes he'd fall asleep but at least he would rest for an hour or so. there is always the "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." i find that if i just lay down with them for 15-20 min, as long as they're still and quiet, they'll fall asleep... sometimes we both will...usually an indicator that we both needed that nap. :) good luck. keep trying. and gear up - the terrible two's last a LONG time with boys! sorry, but it's true. ;) gotta love 'em!

Aimee said...

My kids always dropped their naps at about age 2 - it's very sad. I will hope that Eli is just going through a phase and he'll start napping again soon! If not, I like the DVD idea.

The Millers said...

Those are darling pictures of Eli-- it is hard to believe he would ever give you any trouble! But seriously, we are really struggling with Reagan right now as well. When Ellery refused to nap, that is when she started watching full-length movies. Up until that point the only tv/movies she had been exposed to were the occasional Baby Einstein. But when I got desperate for Elle to nap, I started laying her on the sofa every afternoon after lunch with her blanket and some milk and I would put on "Sleeping Beauty" which was the only Disney Movie we had at the time. Sometimes she fell asleep, sometimes she didn't, but atleast I had an hour and a half where she was occupied and not destroying things.
It is a slippery slope though. Since Elle was introduced to Disney movies at 2, Bennett was exposed at a much younger age, and totally became a Disney movie junkie. And Reagan was a junkie in the womb. Not really, but I know you are really careful with Eli and his TV time, so this might not be something you are interested in trying. Hope things get better soon.

Melissa said...

Both my boys dropped their naps right after their 2nd B-day. The days they would fall asleep they would not go to sleep that night until 10 or 11. They did quiet time shut in their room. I would give them something interesting/exciting before I left the room. They would cry after about 10 min but I would leave them for another 10 or so before I would go get them (Jack would wake up at first when Bradley would cry and it was annoying but he learned to sleep through the crying). After about 2 weeks we could go 20-30 min without crying and called that a good quiet time. Luckily a few months after they dropped their naps was also the time they began to play more idependently. Hang in there.

Katie said...

With George, a certain person with shall we say issues, I found that the timing of things made a huge difference. It took some trial and error but I found that putting him to sleep at 11:00am (eating an earlier lunch) made all the difference. If I left it too late he would either have a hard time getting to sleep, wouldn't sleep, and then only sleep for a short time. Then consistency also helped a lot.

I like the dvd idea. For a long time dvd's never worked for us because he couldn't sit still. Eli might have more patience though - it could be worth it just so that he can sit and rest a little. There are some wonderful ones - really good (and boring) such as Mr. Rogers, and I hate to say it -- but, for something really simple (and boring) Caillou.