Monday, September 9, 2013

Sleep and the crazies

The crazies

I wrote this whole nasty post about my mother 4-5 days ago but didn't publish it. I knew I'd regret it. I'll give you the bare bones.

1) she visited over labor day weekend
2) she is crazy
3) I did my best to meet her craziness with calm and respect.
4) I failed sometimes and succeeded sometimes

You want a little content with that outline of the process? Ok. I will oblige. She has this unconscious fantasy. The fantasy is about how she wants my baby to be hers. She wants to have the baby and push me out of the picture. She made several comments about how she could have the baby and I would not be there. To the point where it completely freaked out Mr. A and he ran after her when she took Gummy out for a walk in front of the house.


She is crazy.

I'm hanging by my fingernails for my therapy session tomorrow morning. Between her and the tedious in-laws who have major issues with overstepping boundaries*, Mr. A and I are both doing MAJOR work on our issues on setting boundaries with scary, authoritarian parental figures. And doing that work with the actual scary, authoritarian parents themselves. So far, neither of us have gone up in flames, but we keep expecting to be psychically destroyed by each our narcissistic parent.** So far, everyone's psyche is somewhat intact, although personally, I'm rattled.*** And to be honest, Mr. A is looking worse for wear.


Bedtime routine is going swimmingly. I do it on my own all the time and it feels like a well rehearsed dance, with room for improvisation, but with the steps mostly defined. And my dance partner is well rehearsed.

We started sleep training the weekend my mother was here. That was a poor choice. But it had to be done and Mr. A was home. And Gummy (and Augusta) were ready. It was awful for at least 2 nights. But it's much better now. We do have a few things to iron out, but at this point, she is waking up infrequently, and when she does, a simple replacement of the soother in her mouth does the trick. Still, I want to get to the point of putting her to bed and picking her back up 12 hours later. Not always, but most of the time. I'm pretty sure she is capable of it.

But right now we are sticking with the expectations of 10 hours in her crib without being picked up. And after those few rough nights, she has been fine with it. But the window is 7pm to 5am, and most mornings, she, like the birds, is up at 5am. Back down from 7am to 9am, but there is a two-somewhat-difficult-hour window when she is up and one of us needs to be up with her. And it's mostly me.

I am hoping that she will soon knit those 2 extra hours of sleep into her night sleep, so that she can sleep 7pm to 7am. But I am not holding my breath. And frankly, it's easier for me to be up early than to be up late at night.

There are lots of pros and cons to sleep training. I feel like I can see why people are against it. And I also see why people would love to do it but it's just not something that they can do. It's emotionally difficult to hear your child cry and not respond (or wait 15 minutes to respond). You have to have a clear idea of why you are doing this. You also need to believe that your child is fundamentally ok. It is the right thing for us and I'm glad we are doing it. But please know that this is not a comment on your parenting decisions.

Ok, Gummy Girl is up from her nap and I  want to post this now. More on eating and day care to come.

* Mr. A's father stating that they would be coming over for a visit EVERY WEEK.

** My kingdom for psychoanalytical training.

*** I broke some dishes a few days ago in a fit of desperation and rage. Gummy was asleep upstairs and Mr. A was gone and the cat was outside. No one was hurt. Except the dishes. And my sense of being a sane person. 


  1. I had to read the paragraph about your mother a few times and with every "reread", my eyes got bigger and bigger. Whoa. Bless you and your husband for getting through that weekend!! I hope she's a nice, safe distance away that visits are somewhat farther apart. The heart grows fonder that way, no? That's how I feel about my family. I love them. From four states away.

    Sleeping training is so hard. I've had enough close friends to know that no matter what method you use, it can be a struggle. Sounds like you are ALMOST there!! xoxoxo

    (dish breaking...I'm going to have to remember that as a good stress reliever!)

    1. she is one province over, and is about to be on the other coast. SCORE! I like the 4 states rule. Like it a lot.
      I don't recommend doing what I did, which is breaking the denby. Use the cheapest dishes you've got if you're going to go that route.

  2. Yes, your mother....oh my word.

    10 hours a night sounds divine! And if she can do twelve, awesome! I think sometimes it's just not possible to sleep train and it doesn't have anything to do with philosophical objections. i.e. I had absolutely no trouble (well, some) listening to Tiny Boy scream for A MONTH at 7:00 pm for an hour. But can't get any less sleep than I already am in the middle of the night. (And, yes, this is partly why I have a 22 month old who doesn't sleep) Chicken and egg.

    1. Honestly, Gwinne, I was a bit reluctant to talk about sleep on here because you would for sure HATE me given what you've been going through with TB.

  3. Oh, goodness, no! Sleep is a good thing. Going to try to get some of that right now :)

  4. Another thought: have you tried putting her down just a bit later, like fifteen minutes at a time to try to shift her whole sleep cycle later? Because maybe 8-6 would be better than 7-5 if she's going to do 10 hrs?

    Also, maybe she doesn't need that much total sleep? Like 10 hrs, plus a morning nap plus an afternoon nap sounds right, if naps are good length. Or 11-12 hrs plus only afternoon nap, but she's young for that move...

  5. Like Suzanne, I had to read that first part several times. WOW...

    So glad sleep training is going well. That's great!

  6. I am feeling like building physical fences for you at this point. That is some crazy stuff to deal with on both sides. Sleep. 12 hours seems like what people want, but after 15 months, we get 10 hours and call it a day. We are slowly getting close to 11 and maybe that 12 is on the horizon. But, 10. It's a world of difference. The sleep coach said to expect 4 days of awful, pull your hair out awfulness. If you are getting somewhere after 2, you are way ahead.

    8-6 is what E has done for the last 4 months and it is a world of difference.

  7. All i can say about your mom Glad she doesn't live too close! In-laws weekly though...yikes!
    We didn't sleep train I'm too weak i guess. We Co-sleep though which brings its own arguments but it works for us.
    Breaking dishes...there are worse things to break and if you felt better afterwards then go you!

  8. All i can say about your mom Glad she doesn't live too close! In-laws weekly though...yikes!
    We didn't sleep train I'm too weak i guess. We Co-sleep though which brings its own arguments but it works for us.
    Breaking dishes...there are worse things to break and if you felt better afterwards then go you!

  9. I had a chemistry teacher who used to break eggs. She said it was cheaper than a divorce or a grievous bodily harm charge.

    Normal grandparent fantasy = you leave the kid there for a few hours, once every so often, and go on a date. CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY = your mother. Many, many words of praise to you and your spouse for managing to be so sane in the face of so very much crazy. And also for being sane despite being the product of so much crazy!

    (I like my parents and they live two hours away right now. Dr S's parents live... about three states away.)

  10. AIIIIIIIIIIIIIII! Keep the baby away from the crazy woman! I have a really hard time trusting my mother in law with my children and she has not indicated that she is a crazy person, so I can only imagine... I admire you for even trying to meet this with calm and respect. It doesn't sound like it deserves it. I'm sorry she interfered with your happy existence.

    We had some major challenges in figuring out the in-law boundaries. I remember a lot of me hating my husband in a silent fuming way. We are only now wrapping up the process of ironing some of that out, so, again, applause for you both. You are working on it, and it's HARD.

    I'm so happy that sleep training has not been a heartbreaking disaster. As you know, I am SUPER PRO, for my family. And they do brilliantly, though I should also note that they do not sleep 12 hours. They sleep 11ish, or 10.5 ish some days, and then get ignored. I should explain that they are not screaming in despair for an hour--they are making little peeping, squawking noises that indicate they would like me to come get them. But I do not, because MAMA DOESN'T GET UP UNTIL 6:45, AND SHE MAKES COFFEE BEFORE SHE SEES ANY BABIES, FOR $@^)@'S SAKE. Ahem. I hope it continues to work well.

  11. Wow your mother does sound like a very difficult person. Kuddos for surviving that trip!

    That's awesome she's sleeping so well at night, Ian didn't sleep through the night until he was about a year old but we didn't really get into the sleep training until later either. Hope things continue smoothly and you feel your sanity return now that your mother is gone!

  12. Wow, that crazy part was really crazy. I'm sorry you had to go through this, and glad that you made it out ok, minus the dishes perhaps. I do like Suzanne's 4 state rule.
    The sleep part, well, I don't know anything about it yet but I'm glad it worked out for you. Shifting a bit towards later to bed, later to rise would be my suggestion, too. If only because I'm not particularly useful at 5am.