Thursday, October 2, 2008

We're up to 5 words: Mama, Dada, Cat, Good, and Ba-ba (bottle)!

In my plan to wear the bugger out, yesterday I hauled the babe to a Creative Play class. I was curious to see him around other babies (he gets craaaazy with the excites) but also to see what exactly made it "creative". Have I spent months encouraging uncreative play? Is there such a thing? (Unfortunately my questions will have to wait until next week; the instructor cancelled.) Instead of taking the (increasingly antsy) munchkin home, I plopped him on the floor next to a very affectionate 10 month old and sat down for a chat with a couple of the other mothers. I always get nervous around NYC moms, especially overtly wealthy ones. I always feel like I have something to prove and end up turning into this hammy know-it-all, which is super fun for everyone involved. Plus, mommy chatter always turns to sleep which is dangerous territory for me. NYC attracts the competitive, and when you've got a gaggle of women who've left big, self-affirming jobs to raise tiny, rather non-affirming beings, it's easy to start Mommy Warring. Most mommies fall into one of two camps: the Schedulers (those who are convinced that your child will develop horrible sleep associations unless extensively scheduled, quoters of Dr. Weissbluth, devotees of BabyWise) or Attachers (convinced that your child will develop horrible sleep associations unless in the family bed, quoters of Dr. Sears, devotees of breastfeeding). I have fallen into both camps and think each one has merits, but until Moxie I'd never found anyone who fell into the middle. So when the dreaded "So how is he sleeping?" question came up I hesitated before telling the truth: that we rock him until drowsy (make that drooooooooowsy. I think he's technically still awake) and that we're fine with it, thank you, and when it stops working we'll figure something else out and yes we know we're doing it all wrong but we're really not interested in enduring CIO again. This is usually when it gets ugly (in a nice way. They're always very smiley when they berate) but before I could get through my shtick, Blond Mommy interrupted to say that she rocks her baby to sleep too. Turns out German Mommy rocked her baby too! Yet we'd all been made to feel like we were the only people in the world barbaric (or stupid) enough to still be doing it. Don't get me wrong, the boy has definitely had issues (see: the first 6 months of his life, recent regression) but compared to a lot of other kids I think he does pretty well. He usually sleeps from 6:30 - 5:20, takes two naps of indeterminate length (right now we're going on Hour Two), and he always gets 14-17 hours of sleep a day. (CAN YOU IMAGINE?) Now that I'm wearing him out he goes down in about 5 minutes and sleeps soundly unless teething/crawling/developmental BS takes over. Do I wish I could lay him down in his crib completely awake and just turn on his music and go? Actually, no. I really love sniffing his hair. When he's 3 and weighs 60 lbs we'll cross that bridge, but right now I thoroughly enjoy his sleep-induced affection. (At this last nap he spent at least 3 minutes pressing his drooly, wide open mouth against mine. So cute! So gross!) I love the fact that he has to rub his face all over my chest in order to get comfortable and his desire to pull out every strand of my hair. (Okay, that one I could live without.) It was so nice to finally meet other mothers who feel the same way, and to see the relief and the giddiness (and yes, the smugness) over the fact that we're not actually effing it all up. We hope.

Speaking of effing it all up, anybody catch the Sharon Stone thing? When a judge deems a celebrity unfit to parent, it must be pretty bad. (Robert Downey, Jr. wasn't even considered unfit, and he fell asleep in other peoples' houses.)


EBPitcher said...

Wow! 14-17 hours of sleep a DAY! Mine is 7.5 months old and only sleeps 11-12 hours a day (this week - although it had been as long as 13 hours/day recently). And I still rock him a little before he squirms so much I have to put him in his crib. Than he puts himself to sleep, thankfully. Usually with little screaming. (Nap time's over!) Enjoyed your reflections!

Doyce said...

Kaylee's three, and we have a kind of squishy routine when we get home. Snack, play, tv, dinner, bath, stories, bed.

When it comes to bed time, she pretty much just crawls in, tucks in, grabs her sippy cup of water, and waits to be kissed and hugged and then she's pretty much out for the next 11 hours.

And lemme tell yah, I rocked her to sleep damn near every night for months, not because she always needed it, but because it was easier than waiting out the whimpering, and I LIKED IT. Hell, I can think of a couple times when I dosed off while rocking her and woke up an hour later with her zonked out on my chest. I've done that... let her sleep in my bed...

Her sleep patterns are just bloody fine.

(Caveat: I do/did make sure of one thing - anything I don't want to become a habit, I don't do more than two nights in a row. Ever. Three nights in a row means she'll expect it.)

Ali said...

EB - I probably should have pointed out that this is a RECENT development, the long sleeps. Up until around 9 mo. he was an 11-13 hourer, so don't sweat it. I suspect it'll get longer soon. (Does your critter not nap at all? Holy smokes! You are a warrior!)

D - I keep that "three night rule" in mind, although I fudge it sometimes. He's still pretty malleable. Three years old - WHOOOOLE other story.

Ali said...

Oh, and EB - the boy was able to put himself to sleep at 7.5 months but it disappeared when he hit the 36 week developmental glitch, so don't panic if - IF! - your boy does the same. He'll go back to being able to put himself to sleep once his body is done freaking.

EBPitcher said...

No warriors here. His naps are all over the board as of late. Part of this was the teeth, and the cold, and the hurricane, and starting mother's day out, and crawling/pulling up, and...he's only sleeping about 10 hours at night which gets me up earlier than I wish with a little nap time during the day. At least he's sleeping through the night. We went through a period 3 weeks or so ago when he was up for 2 hours at night - wide awake. Thankfully that passed!! And now with MDO, at least he's exhausted 2 days a week and will come straight home and take a long nap, usually falling asleep as soon as we get moving in the car.
I'll start saying my prayers NOW that bedtime stays as easy as it is now. We've had our share of bedtime fights early on. Hubby even refused to put him down for a time because he didn't want to fight with the boy. We finally realized that food was the way to calm the son. Bottle = relaxation at our house.

Thanks for sharing!

Colleen said...

Alisha--I'm so glad you found some other mamas out there who are brave enough to admit to being, dare I say, it normal-healthy-middle-of-the-road. I'll bet before long you'll be the grande dame of a real salon of Normal NYC Mamas who are proud of the good job they're doing and the solutions they've found for their families, thank you very much.

And enjoy the rocking--it doesn't last long and is such a sweet memory. You have come through some seriously rough times with the boy, I'm glad you are finally getting to reap some of the rewards of hanging in there with him!