This past weekend we took our first overnight trip sans your dad. It went surprisingly well. You were a real trooper during your grandpa’s retirement party and you slept decently enough at night that I’m willing to overlook the 5:45 a.m. wake up.
However, we’re going to have to work our car travel. I know that you would prefer if I sat in the back with you but that just isn’t possible when your dad isn’t with us. We will most likely be taking many weekend trips without your dad because he has to work on Sundays and parties are typically on Saturdays or Sundays. So here are some ideas that we can work on to make the car ride less. . . loud and screamy:
1. Stop chucking your toys out of your carseat. I know it’s fun to watch them fall off the side, but I can’t pick them up off the floor when we’re driving 70 m.p.h. and you decide you want them back.
2. Keep your pacifier in your mouth. You prefer to nurse to sleep and you think the pacifier doesn’t cut it (Admittedly, when I put you in your crib after you’ve fallen asleep, I stick the pacifier in. Most of the time you don’t notice). However, I also can’t nurse you while we’re driving 70 m.p.h. Your choice is either the pacifier or nothing at all. Spitting it out and screaming won’t solve anything.
3. Eat when I offer. Gas stations and rest stops are very exciting places with strange sounds and different things to see. However, I promise you won’t miss anything important if you just nurse for 10 minutes. Plus, you won’t get hungry 20 miles later.
4. Just go to sleep. When we are driving during your naptime, it’s okay to fall asleep. I know the car sounds different and the carseat isn’t like your crib, but you eventually fall asleep anyway. If we could forgo the prior 2 hours of yelling, that would be swell.
5. The driver should have caffeine prepared before hitting the road. This one is for me. It’s not a good idea to go through the world’s slowest McDonald’s drive-thru while you are sleeping so I can get some coffee to stay awake (see aforementioned 5:45 a.m. wake up). Since I have to TALK RIDICULOUSLY LOUD when ordering into the microphone, you will wake up and yelling will commence.
I believe if we both follow through on these tips, our road trips will become increasingly happier.
During your first round of nap protests, I had several mothers recommend the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. “It’s so helpful,” they said. “It really encouraged me understand my baby’s sleep needs,” they told me. Consequently, I bought the book and plowed through it. Then I attempted to apply the advice given in the book to you.
You didn’t go for it, leaving me a hysterical mess because the book also assured me that if you didn’t get the “right” sleep, you would grow up to be a delinquent idiot.
Your own sleep cycle soon emerged: For several days you would take extremely long naps and go to bed well, then several days you would only nap for 30 minutes at a time and refuse to fall asleep at night. Each time you entered the anti-sleep phase there would be much wailing and gnashing of teeth because I was sure that your refusal to nap was a reflection of my terrible mothering.
At any rate, last week I thought we turned a corner with this whole sleep thing. For three days you went to bed at 7:00 p.m. and you took a good morning nap and a good afternoon nap–just like the book said you should. Then, without warning, you started waking up at 5:30 a.m. and taking 30 minute naps–just like the book said you shouldn’t. Cue the wailing and gnashing of teeth.
After the second day of this, I talked to your grandmother. I bemoaned the fact that you just wouldn’t take a decent nap and despite you continuing your 7 p.m. bedtime, you were insistent on waking up before 6 a.m. “That sounds reasonable to me,” your grandmother said.
“But that isn’t what the book said she should be doing,” I explained.
“Oh, throw that stupid book away. I’ve always told you that you gave up your morning nap when you were only a few months older than Babykins!” exclaimed your grandmother.
It was true, one of your grandmother’s favorite stories of my infancy is that I was a terrible napper and refused to take a morning nap well before I was a year old. Originally I thought this story was amusing, now that you’re here, Babykins, I realize the horrible reality of a baby who won’t take a nap. Oh, why did I put your grandmother through that?
Oh, right, because I was a baby.
However, it is a comfort to know I was a terrible napper and I didn’t grow up to be a delinquent moron. So there’s hope for you.
At any rate, perhaps 26 years from now you’ll have a baby of your own who won’t sleep. And I’ll tell you when you lament about bad naps that you would often only take 30 minute naps that made me wail and gnash my teeth. But I’ll do so with fondness and laughter.
P.S.–After I had this conversation with your grandmother, you took a 3 hour nap that afternoon. Go figure.
Today is a special anniversary. Admittedly, it’s an anniversary that will probably fade as life continues. But this year I have the presence of mind to mark it.
Do you know what today is?
A year ago I consciously became your mother. I held the pregnancy test with shaking hands, shocked by the small positive sign on the plastic stick.
While it took many more months for you to appear to the outside world (heck, it took many more months for me to even show I was pregnant), from that moment your father and I were no longer a couple. You made us a family.
And we thank God for you.
When you are older (God willing) and you are questioning my love for you, remember that I gave up eating cake batter and cookie dough when pregnant with you. Granted, I sincerely hope there will be more signs of my love, but this is a start.