Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy nine months, little nap refusenik!

Hard to believe, but Mari is nine months today. She celebrated by skipping a nap again and only finally napped in the moving stroller. I ended up with lots of blisters and a sunburn. Sigh.

I do NOT think she's getting to the point where she can do with only one nap a day, though. She's been so clearly messed up all day when she's done that. But I've been trying everything I know to try to get her to nap. I'm hoping this really is just a wonder week/fussy phase because that would mean there is an end eventually.

Another factor that might be interfering with her sleep and napping is the number of developmental milestones she's been through lately. Just two and a half weeks ago, she was only creeping backwards. Now she's not only creeping forwards quite efficiently, she's crawling, can get from belly to sitting and back again, and most recently, she has started pulling up. She's also doing great at "walking" hanging onto our hands. Maybe she's so busy working on all these new skills that she doesn't want to sleep -- at least, that's how it seems to me.

I know she needs to sleep more. She's a much happier baby when she manages 14 hours of sleep in a day, though that's rare. But I feel like I'm giving her every opportunity to sleep. She just won't sleep as much as is good for her, damn it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A few days of sleep hell

It's been a rough few days, too rough to give me much time to post. Today seems to be shaping up better, thank God. But I don't know what the hell happened to give Mari such awful naps for the last few days.

On Sunday, Mari entirely skipped her morning nap for the first time ever. She screamed and screamed as soon as I put her down at more or less the usual time and wouldn't stop no matter what. A few times, I tried letting her get up, then putting her down again once she seemed calm, but as soon as she realized I was trying to get her to nap, she started screaming at the top of her lungs again. Eventually I tried taking her for a walk in her stroller, but while this has always eventually worked in the past, even though it tends to produce only short naps, this time Mari didn't nap at all. At one point she seemed to be nodding off, but then she jerked her eyes open and wouldn't close them again.

Eventually, she had a nap earlier than her usual afternoon nap, but she wouldn't go down again later in the afternoon. So she was exhausted and overtired by her usual bedtime, and though I tried to put her down earlier than usual, she again had a screaming fit and didn't fall asleep until 8:35 -- more than an hour after her usual time.

On Monday, Mari was set to refuse her morning nap again, doing the same screaming trick. I took her for a walk again, and this time it worked -- she fell asleep in her stroller, albeit an hour later than her usual naptime. I was expecting it to be a short nap, but accepted that as being better than none. But Mari had another trick up her sleeve. She ended up napping for more than an hour and 45 minutes, during which time I had to keep walking the entire time, since I know from experience that even a brief stop -- i.e. to wait for a red light -- wakes her up. So it ended up being a more than two-hour walk in total, despite my inadequate footwear, lack of food or water, and pressing bladder needs. I walked to Waterloo and back twice, and all around the neighbourhood multiple times. A death march commanded by a little despot. And that afternoon her nap lasted only half an hour.

Yesterday, Mari fell asleep for her naps without too much fuss, but both were very short (about half an hour and 45 minutes respectively) and so she was overtired in the evening. I tried to get her down at 7:00, half an hour earlier than usual, but she screamed until 8:05, despite many efforts at soothing.

Today hasn't been so bad. She had decent naps, though not fantastic ones, and went down at night with only a minimum of fuss. Trouble is, I don't know what I did differently today from the other days. Sigh.

One thing, though, is that I'm starting to think Mari is having tantrums about being put down even though she's obviously tired and even though she no longer WANTS to be rocked or slept with. So when she screams like that, I feel at a complete loss. There's really nothing I can do to calm her down anymore except let her get up and play more, which only postpones the inevitable and makes the overtired fits worse in the end. It would be one thing to do that if I wasn't sure she was tired enough to go to sleep, but the last few days I've been sure she really is tired.

I am starting to rethink how much it's OK to let her cry/fuss. I still don't like the idea of letting her cry alone. But when she was younger, she seemed genuinely upset or afraid of being left alone. Now I'm starting to think it's more tantrum-type screaming, which I don't want to indulge. I think it's time to think more seriously about actual discipline -- not punishment, but deciding what we want to teach her and using consistent methods to teach those things. At nine months (tomorrow), Mari is no longer a little baby simply communicating her needs -- I think she's learning to manipulate.

Incidentally, I'm no longer going to count the days since I started the NCSS, which I've deviated from anyway.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Day 114: Why won't she go to sleep?

Despite all the sleep problems Mari has had, going to sleep at night has seldom been one of them. Going to sleep for naps, yes. Waking up at night, yes. But she has seldom had trouble falling asleep at night, since she's tired then. Now, all of a sudden it's a huge problem. She still seems as tired as ever. She's still napping at more or less her usual times, though she woke up after only 40 minutes this morning and wouldn't go back down. We haven't changed the bedtime routine or her bedtime. So why is she spending so much time getting upset before she finally falls asleep? I'm mystified.

I do definitely think we're in a sleep regression. We're close to the 37-week "Wonder Week" so that may be part of it. I don't know if she's teething -- I can never tell. I'm afraid I haven't figured out a consistent strategy yet -- I'm alternating periods of letting her cry for 5-10 minutes with going in and soothing her, but she doesn't seem very soothed by anything I do. I'm at wit's end.

I know Mari's overtired and what she needs is more sleep. But I don't know how to get her more sleep. She won't go down for naps if she's not tired enough, and she keeps waking up before she should, both in the morning and from naps. How do I stop the cycle?

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 110: Feeling like I've stepped back in time

Wasn't it just a few days ago I was saying it seems like Mari has finally learned to nap? Uh, perhaps not. She slept for only 45 minutes in the morning but seemed fine when she woke up, so I didn't try too hard to get her back down. But in the afternoon, she woke up after only 25 minutes of napping and this time she was whiny and still clearly tired. So I tried to rock her back to sleep, as I used to do when she was a little baby. I haven't often had success with that technique lately, but today she did manage to drift off again after about 10 minutes. After she seemed good and asleep, I tried to put her down, but she started to cry again as soon as I so much as twitched. Fine. So I rocked her back to sleep and this time I held her even longer before even trying to put her back to sleep. I waited until my arm was asleep and so tired I was afraid I'd drop her. I tried moving just a tiny little bit -- nowhere close to putting her down. She screamed. I ended up holding her for a total of 45 minutes (including the first time I rocked her to sleep), until she slumped over in my arms and woke herself up. I haven't had to hold her for a nap for months. At least it bought her a little extra sleep, so she was in a reasonable mood when she got up.

What's going on here? Is this the eight-month sleep regression?

Day 109: Sleep disaster

And I thought being woken up at 4:40 a.m. was bad enough. Mari was up yesterday at 9:48 p.m., as if the previous sleep interval from 7:16 p.m. had been only a nap. She screamed and screamed and refused to feed, only calming down when we let her get up and play for awhile. She didn't fall asleep until 12:35 a.m.

She slept only a total of just over 10 hours out of a 24-hour period yesterday, when really she needs about 12.5 hours to function, 13 to be moderately happy. The nights recently when she slept all the way through the night, she got more than 14 hours of sleep -- a whopping and unprecedented 15.5 hours last Wednesday. I don't know why she suddenly stopped sleeping as well. I feel like I've been doing everything the same way, giving her every opportunity to sleep. It doesn't seem like she's teething or in pain, because she was perfectly happy when we let her get up last night. She just wanted to be up, though plainly it was the last thing she needed. Maybe she got a little too much excitement yesterday, with both her grandma (on my side) and grandpa (on Jon's side) being here and providing her with plenty of attention. That's the only thing I can think of. Sigh...

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dy 108: 4:40 a.m. wake-up call

I don't know what's up with Mari. She had three great days of sleep in a row. Good long naps and sleeping all through the night without a single waking, not even to feed. Then on Friday, her morning nap was only 40 minutes long, and she woke up once at night. Fair enough. Then yesterday, she refused to go down for a morning nap until 11 a.m., when she's normally getting up, and then only managed a 40-minute nap in the afternoon. I tried to put her down early, but she wasn't having that. She screamed her head off before each nap and before bed. She woke up once at around 1 a.m. to feed, then was up again around 4:40 a.m.  I fed her and expected her to go back to sleep, but she started screeching again as soon as I was out of the room. I then went in again to rock her to sleep, and she did eventually fall asleep. I kept rocking her for about 10 minutes, then gently put her down, and she started screaming again. This time there was no getting her back down. Sigh. So it was an early morning for the whole household.

I don't know what happened to get her off track again. I don't feel like I did anything differently with her. And there she goes, crying again. Sigh...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 104: Finally learning to nap?

I'm not sure if I'm doing anything differently, but Mari seems to finally be learning to nap. Lately we have had fewer and fewer 30-45 minute naps, which used to be our curse. I used to always have to try to rush in and put her back to sleep, but that was hit and miss. More than half the time I wouldn't be able to get her back down and she'd be cranky from not having slept enough.

Today, very unusually, she had two naps of more than two hours each. This is well-nigh unheard-of. I don't expect this to become a pattern, but certainly she has been napping for more than an hour at a stretch more consistently. And except for today, when she went down at 7:50, her usual bedtime of about 7:30 and wake time of about 6:30 (well, between 6:00 and 7:00 a.m.) hasn't been affected by her napping better. She's just in a better mood more often. Yay!

What's more, Mari slept ALL the way through the night last night -- 11.5 hours. Double yay!