It’s the same old story.  Ellie doesn’t nap well at all.  This is not new information.  But I’ve realized over the past few weeks that it’s been a long time since she’s had a normal nap in her crib.  This is not good.  I most often go for a drive which puts her to sleep.  I’ll then tip-toe up the stairs with her still in her car seat.  I’ll hold my breath while I set the car seat down and turn the monitor on.  And then I disappear into the silence and make my way downstairs.  It’s never a guaranteed nap, but it’s my best shot.  I’ve realized I’ve been cheating the system.  She’s going to outgrow that car seat, and soon, and then I’ll be stuck.

With this realization, I’ve been trying to give her a proper nap in her crib.  I used to do it frequently.  Never at the same time, but I was able to.  So I know it’s possible.  I worked very hard to get her to be able to sleep in her crib for a nap.  I feel like I’ve undone all my hard work, and I was ready to make a change now.  But as they say, bad habits die hard.

For the past weeks we’ve been going through the “dance.”  She starts showing signs of being tired; rubbing her eyes, yawning, getting slap happy, being whiny and clingy.  This is usually around the time of her bottle so I prepare her bottle, put a fresh set of drawers on her and head upstairs.  Eight times of out ten she falls asleep drinking the bottle.  I stand while holding her sleeping limp body.  She looks so peaceful, and so asleep.  I hover over to the crib and stand there waiting to make my move.  I feel like I’m disarming a bomb.  I need to be precise in my movements or the whole thing will be over.  I hold my breath and gently and delicately put her in the crib.  But as soon as any part of her body hits the mattress, she opens her eyes.  And then she sits up, stands up, and gets up.  Sometimes she wails.  Sometime she smiles and claps.  So I pick her up and she instantly collapses asleep on my shoulder.  We repeat this move about three times.  This is usually when I’d give up.  But this past week I’ve been pushing through.

I’ll bring her back downstairs and monitor her moves and actions.  I’ll be on edge as I stare at her trying to read her signals.  Is this the RTF?  Is this Bruce?  Is she hungry or tired?  She yawned!  Let’s do this.  I’ve ended up spending a good four hours just trying to get her to nap.  Well after a week of this charade, I decided I’m not going to even try to get her to nap until 3:00pm.  I’ve noticed that I have a higher success rate in the late afternoon, so why waste the first half of the day trying to put her down to no avail?  It might get ugly in the afternoon, but I was gonna stick to it.  Easier said than done.

Finally 3:00pm arrived.  She had on a clean diaper and everything.  We went upstairs and she instantly fell asleep.  I’m talking PASSED OUT!  It was time for the moment of truth.  Was she going to make it to the crib?  I gently laid her down… and up she popped, crying and flipping out.  Damn!

Some other moms have told me to try “quiet time.”  “If they don’t sleep that’s fine, just do a “quiet time,” they’d say.  So I left the room.  She’d eventually stop crying right?  After forty-five minutes of “quiet time” I figured she would not be falling asleep.  “Quiet time” consisted of me sitting downstairs staring at the wall listening to her cry, waiting for her to stop and fall asleep.  Or stop and play.  Or just stop.  But I couldn’t take it anymore.  When I opened the door to her room I saw her standing in her crib, tears streaming down her snot covered face.  She was whimpering and quivering.  I had also brought a bottle with me.  As soon as I picked her up she stopped crying and then she devoured the bottle and passed out.  AGAIN.  Heavy breathing, a slight snore, I mean, out! So once again, I picked her up and gently put her in the crib.  Do you want to guess what happened?  She woke up!  That’s what happened!  Crying, flipping, twitching, arching her back, the whole deal.  Now I consider myself a patient man.  But this was definitely challenging me.  I don’t know if I wanted to scream or cry, but I was clenching my teeth.

This was not the Reverse Tooth Fairy or Bruce.  I’ve learned to be able to tell the difference.

Finally, she stopped flipping out and she fell asleep in my arms.  I decided, why try? I would just sit there in the chair and let her sleep in my arms.  I was weak and weary.  I had fought, and she had won.  After about forty minutes, I was starting to get uncomfortable in the chair and adjusted my position.  By her reaction you would have thought I pushed her off the bed.  I tried consoling her but it didn’t work.  Have you ever tried holding onto a 23lb flipping slippery fish?  I laid her on the floor and just watched her as she thrashed around and screamed.  She looked like she was wrestling an invisible dog.  I just sat there blank and watched her for a good ten minutes.  And then I closed my eyes.  I sat there with my eyes closed listening to her scream and thrash around.

For the next hour and a half until Aya came home I had to hold her standing up.  I couldn’t sit.  She wouldn’t let me.  I had to be standing.  Ellie looked at me and I looked at her.  Neither of us said anything.  She would let out an occasional whine and then I would grumble.  We both couldn’t wait for mom to come home.  I think maybe next time, I’ll just go for a drive.

One thought on “WEAK AND WEARY

  1. Oh, man! That sucks! Whenever we’ve had nap problems, we’ve done the cry-it-out method. It never works the first day, but it has ALWAYS worked around day 3 or 4. Those 3 or 4 days are miserable, but after that… imagine putting an awake child down in her crib, leaving the room without hearing a peep, and having her sleep for 2 or 3 hours every day! It’s TOTALLY worth it!

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