Do you ever do Jedi mind tricks or enter "the land of make believe" to get you through difficult parts of parenthood?
Like how I constantly pretend that I am on "Survivor Chamblee" and am entering one of those hideous challenges that have you stand with 1 foot on a log in a lagoon, while keeping your hand above your head in swealtering heat for 20 hours straight. If that girl from The View can do that kind of stuff...then I can handle a few nights (read: years) of interrupted sleep.
The past 2 nights, I've told myself that I'll get immunity if I can just survice Felix's mysterious night wakings. Two nights of unexpected night wakings, and I am already acting like I've never been up all night with a colicky, ear infected, breastfeeding newborn. How quickly the amnesia sets in...
But I *really* do tell myself:
"Okay. Here's the deal, Ali. The challenge is this--walk around the room with Felix while he cries and contorts his body into the position he must have assumed in utero--the "tort twist"--you know, the one where his head is thrown back, askew, his hiney jetting out of your arms, feet crossed, making you wonder why he isn't in a full body brace, yet. Don't stop walking or he'll scream. Also, figure out a way to administer ibuprofen while he is being carried in the tort twist, not breaking your pace. Keep his wails to a dull minimum, or you'll risk waking up Miles. If that means adding some deep knee bends to the walk, do so. And above all--don't cry or complain. Immunity is at stake."
Ya know, for the past 2 nights, it has kinda worked.
We all know by know that my children are not what I would call model sleepers.
But they have come a long, long, way, and I feel like for quite some time we've been in a good spot with both the going to bed, and staying in bed situations.
But then you have those pockets of "regression." They used to be frequent during that fist year, and once Miles finished his first year, I was essentially experiencing Felix's first year, so I had back to back regressions. It was like breastfeeding and pumping--it just never really ended--just a continuation when Felix was born.
So now that we have had many months of predictability, these rough spots of regression sting a little more. Even if just 2 nights (please oh please let it only be the last 2 nights.)
And then there is the fact that the boys, IN TANDEM, took a course on stalling. It's not so much regression as it is a kink in the seamless bedtime routine. It's amazing the tricks they pull out to get an extra few minutes. Felix is smart--he may still be limited to at most 3 word sentences (although, the child's vocabulary is absurdly impressive), he manages to pull out an extra 10-30 minutes somehow.
Someone sings to Felix in the dark while standing by his crib at night--usually holding him the tort twist at first, before the transfer to the crib. Immediately upon turning off the light to start the process, he proceeds to ask for every other person to come in and be with him--if I am holding him, it's "Mahna!! Daddy!! Mi-yo!!" Even last night he asked for my brother, who is visiting, Seth. (I laugh when he is so tired, he throws your own name in there, not realizing you are the one holding him.)
So, Felix's preferred play list is composed of the ABCs and Baa Baa Black Sheep. But here is how it goes:
Felix (interrupting): Baa Baa!
Ali: Baa baa black sheep have you any...
Felix (interrupting): A-B!
Felix (interrupting): Baa Baa!
Ali: A-B, Baa Baa, C-D, Baa Baa
And at that point, Felix gets confused, and knows he cannot trick me anymore into not finishing a song, and having lullaby time last forever.
I know there is a time this kid will outsmart me in a way I cannot come back with my own tricks, but until then? Ali: 1, Felix: 0.
Some of the regression is predictable, some logical (some just slightly grating, like the above lullaby game)...and some a combination.
I am militant about naps. My children do not go to bed earlier, nor do they sleep in later if they miss naps.
They just become tragically overtired monsters whose only saving grace is that in the midst of sleeping disasters, they can simultaneously win you over with their big doughy eyes.
We've worked very hard at establishing good sleep habits for the boys, but I do try to be a little flexible on vacations and special occasions, but I've always experienced a predictability in that just about the 4th day into a vacation, the lack of sleep structure starts to bite us in the rear.
Currently, the routine is probably the same as everyone with babies and toddlers (this summer it has started later than our normal 6:30 bath start)
(and then additional hand clapping games or stories for just Miles)
Bed--and then see you in the morning between 6 and 6:20am--on a really lucky day, 7am.
Rinse and repeat. Predictable. Manageable. I've been greedy and asked Jeff Probst if instead of immunity, I could cash in for an extra 20-40 minutes of AM time for a consistent 6:45am wake-up, but negotiations are still ongoing with CBS.
But now we have some regression "stirrings":
Felix: teeth seem to be entering the picture--again. He is getting his 4 vampire teeth--or so I think--because he has gotten up the past 2 nights screaming and grinding his teeth (mentioned above). This is NOT typical behavior from this kid. He has also increased his cannibalistic nature during the day, and that is always a sure sign of impending teeth. Luckily, historically, he hasn't been an awful teether--that time was trumped by the sleepless 5 months of chronic ear infections that first year.
My hope is that the night wakings will cease after this week, and that Felix becomes a full fledged vampire soon (I hear they make good money these days thanks to that Twighlight series).
Next up--moving the boys into one room at night.
I'm a glutton for punishment.