Today was the day: The Last Stand. If we could get through this successfully, then we could adapt it into our everyday routine. To keep my spirits up, I played the Rocky IV soundtrack all morning. How could you not stay pumped up while listening to Eye of the Tiger, No Easy Way Out, and the Sweetest Victory? Today fate would declare the champion. Would I sweep the series and take home the grand prize, or would Ellie come up with a secret plan and make the biggest comeback in naptime history? Only time would tell. I was as ready as I was going to be.

After I finished reading Ellie her books and said, okay Ellie, it’s nap time, she started whimpering. “Nooo, not again.” I laid her in the crib and she whined while lying down. She whined about two minutes…and stopped. She rolled around for a bit…and then stopped. And after nine minutes of being in the crib, she fell asleep. NINE MINUTES! When I first heard about this from other moms, I thought it was a cruel joke. There was no possible way I could get Ellie to fall asleep by herself in a matter of minutes. It was impossible! And low and behold, on day five, it worked!

As I walked downstairs I was singing “we are the champions, my friends…” in my head. Was I worried about a poop waking her up? You betcha I was. She had two dumps in the morning again today. She’s a poop factory and it seems this nap schedule is making the factory line more efficient. I’m hoping third shift calls in sick. I tried to prepare the best I knew how. I fed her a little bit earlier, and waited to put her down a bit longer. That’s the best I could do for today. So I sat back and waited… and waited…

After forty minutes, she started to whine. Poop. The poop was back. It’s not the nap that’s the problem, it’s the poop! The poop I tell you! How can she poop so much? No wonder she’s so small for her age. I scoped out the situation again. The same thing as yesterday. Lying on her back whimpering and yawning. But then, after just a few minutes, it went quiet. Yesss!  Instead of making her uncomfortable, it probably just added a little extra warmth, you know? Now, I could relax. Now I could declare VICTORY!…  Right?

Thirty minutes later, she woke up crying. She was on her feet crying. She was awake. This totally sucked the wind out of my sails. Is this still a victory? I got her down easy before. I had already won. But it didn’t feel like it. She had been asleep for a total of an hour and ten minutes. That is a decent length for a nap. Not ideal, but decent. She was yawning and rubbing her eyes. Was it worth trying to get her back down? Do I pull a Rambo again? Was it possible? I decided to give it a try, but I wasn’t expecting much. After I changed her, I put her back in the crib but she never fell back to sleep. Even though she stayed lying down, this did not feel like a win.

What a week. It felt like it was a month long. It was five long important days that was filled with life lessons for both Ellie and me. If this week was a movie, it’d be a coming-of-age tale. (Queue in the cheesy Full House moral of the story music) I realized how much Ellie listens and understands me. She does so much more than I ever realized. I also learned that if I need to drop the hammer, I can and will. Not only was I authoritative with this nap thing, but I’ve applied it to other situations with her too. And she’s been listening! It’s really not about me winning or her losing, because in the end, we were both winners. I was able to take control and put my foot down, and Ellie learned how to soothe herself to sleep. I’ve noticed that Ellie has been so much more relaxed and easy going during the afternoons this week. I haven’t been staring at the clock waiting for Aya to get home from work, and I’ve been able to cook dinner without her freaking out and being extremely needy. I imagine that once this settles into a routine, I will be much more relaxed as well. So it was a win.

Even though I don’t feel the Sweetest Victory right now, I know I did a good job. And you know what, Ellie sure did, too.

8 thoughts on “THE FACEOFF: ROUND FIVE

  1. A little beat up but wiser…always gaining knowledge. Remember, they don’t come with an owners manual and as a parent for almost 36 years, I continue to learn, too. Love you! You and Ellie did a great job!

  2. fantastic series! entertaining reading and awesome graphics. 🙂 i can’t wait for the next experiment! good job to you and ellie.

  3. Loved reading your posts this week. I agree with Linda–there’s a pretty good book in these posts! You are a very talented writer, Matt.

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