16 July 2014


Four weeks into my Mommy-In-Training program, I was feeling great. I had figured out the balance of caring for a 6-month-old, completing personal errands or tasks, working out and maintaining sanity. I found solace in the weekends; Sundays were my days. The vibe was good, and then the little man decided to change the game.

Yesterday I turned on my computer, aghast to find the time to be 2:03 p.m. I lost out on yet another cup of warm coffee, the breakfast I was planning to prepare became my lunch and I cannot even tell you the last time I had had a moment to myself in the bathroom. I felt like it was 10 a.m., mostly because the little one had only been up for two hours, but I finally had a handle on the day.

It felt great to have a handle on the day – and to realize that my friend would be arriving home from work in just a few hours – but I also felt a bit like my day was ending before I was ready. The little man has apparently inherited, along with his father’s facial expressions, his non-traditional sleeping habits. A fan of sleeping for a few hours at night and then crying every hour thereafter, he was wide awake before I was (my alarm is set for 6:45).

This was the day that I thought the words, “I need more sleep before I can handle you. How about 30 minutes? Can I nap for 30 minutes and then we can try this again?” I actually tried negotiating with a 6-month-old. I thought to myself that if I was not responsible for a child, I could have gone back to sleep…unless I had another job that also required me to be awake early on a Monday. So I grabbed the little man and whisked him into my room.

Sitting on my bed with a giggling, raspberry-making 6-month-old before 7 a.m., I began to think of how life changes when children enter the scene – for good. Paul and I quite often say things like, “I’m tired. I am going to nap.” And then we joke about how we would not be able to nap if we had a kid in the picture. I now know that I can only sleep when the kids sleeps and if he’s awake, I am not sleeping no matter how tired I may be.

All the jokes relating to people without kids vs. people with kids began to fill my head as I thought about the simplicities we enjoy, like doing whatever we want to do whenever we want to do something. Michael McIntyre has a hilarious bit about leaving the house. “People without kids say, ‘Let’s leave the house’…and then they do!” It takes me three trips to get out of the house for a walk with a stroller and I am not chasing around a toddler who needs shoes and a coat that no one can actually zip.

My friend who birthed the little man said more than once, “You just do, because you have to.” I had told her that I don’t know how she does it and, Saturday, while noticing that it took two of us to leave the house with a baby, I couldn’t help but exclaim, “I have no idea how single parents do this!” Yes, I am the stupid, outspoken, annoying person without kids who says all those things that actual moms never, ever want to hear.

We had play time until 8 a.m., when he decided he was ready for a nap. He slept in his crib the majority of the morning but the last hour and a half or so he spent in my arms because I just wanted to hold him a little while longer. And, for the record, I never expected him to sleep as long as he actually slept. I tried waking him around 11:15; I tried again around 11:30 and 11:45 but he just wouldn’t open his eyes. I finally succeeded in witnessing the awakening at noon when I told him that he just had to get up.

This week I was feeling like I had it all figured out. I know my general routine, accepting that the schedule will never be the same. I know the difference between his hungry cry and his sleepy cry. I know when his grunts are just grunts and when his grunts mean he is doing something in his pants. I know how to play the binky/bottle game and win. I know how to make him stop crying. I know how to manage caring for him while taking care of business and accomplishing tasks like completing two – yes, two – loads of laundry and the dishes all within a couple hours. Yesterday I cared for a child and still had time to read a book (well, at least a few chapters) and enjoy an evening run. Minus a minor rolled ankle injury, I was successful. I realized that I can handle this.

Then the game changed.

Last week was the first week that the little man slept in his crib all evening. This week we are sleep training. There are new rules and new sleep schedules. Last week, the little guy would be up around 8, we’d eat, go for a walk at which time he would have a 30-minute nap, we would get back inside, eat some more, have some play time and then he would nap again, anywhere between an hour and three hours, depending on his state. More play time in the afternoon, another bottle and then mom would be home.

This week, he is awake before I am, two days running. He is ready for playtime by 7 and then he crashes before 8:30. He sleeps for three hours in the morning and then we start the day again. We are no longer using feedings as sleep enticers so the binky/bottle game is over. No more bottles in the crib. Game changer.

I thought I had my schedule down but now it seems my schedule needs adjusting. Tomorrow I will set my alarm for an earlier time. I will be ready for immediate play time and a bottle and then prepare to do a workout and eat breakfast before noon. Bring on tomorrow!

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