Thursday, May 14, 2009

Baby Whisperer

I reached my breaking point Tuesday night. Annabella was sleeping in my bed and was up at 2:30 and wouldn't go back to sleep, instead playing and crying/screaming when I'd try to get her to go back to sleep. We finally got her back down, just to have her wake up at 5am and not go back to sleep for the day. The sleeping in my bed option was great when it was the no-cry method. Now that she was screaming even when I was holding her just right and snuggling with her and doing everything I knew how, I just couldn't take it anymore!

Annabella just couldn't fall asleep on her own, at least not if she wasn't in her carseat in the moving car. And the surest way to make her scream bloody murder would be to set her in her crib.

I know my lovely daughter is teething, and that can hurt. And I know that if I gave her baby Motrin and tried one more night with me that it might have been different, but I just couldn't take the chance. If I'd given her the Motrin and still had another night of her kicking and arching her back to get out of my arms while screaming as I'm trying to get her the precious sleep she needs, I don't know that I could've taken it.

So last night we tried something different (besides the Baby Motrin). We found Tracy Hogg's Baby Whisperer sleep method, and it sounded like something we could handle. Here's the gist of it: We do our nighttime routine, then put Annabella in her crib. If she cries, we immediately pick her up and comfort her. As soon as she is calm, we put her back in her crib. Repeat until Annabella realizes that crying will not mean that she gets to sleep in Mommy's arms and that she needs to sleep in her crib.

At first it was ridiculous. Annabella would be crying before I even set her down. As soon as her body was hanging over her crib there'd be screams. And the book didn't really make it clear what to do if that happened. So I made a rule that I put her down, then exit the room, touch the stair railing and take a breath, turn around and pick her up. Because really, she wouldn't have ever left my arms.

By the end it was taking much longer to console her, but she was staying consoled much longer. Jas and I also found that we no longer had to actually pick her up to console her, which was good as my neck was starting to kill me from repeatedly throwing her weight around to get her in the right sleepy time positions. We could just lean over the crib and rock her or rub her forehead. Sometimes just standing be the crib was enough. That right there was progress.

And after about 2 hours, she was done really crying. She'd half-cry/whimper a little, but was calming herself and didn't need us. And soon she was asleep!

Then in the middle of the night she put herself back to sleep with almost no effort from me after I'd fed her.

And at daycare today she took a 55-minute nap, which is huge! HUGE! I think 55 minutes of sleep might be a daycare record for her, let alone in one nap!

So right now I'm pretty much on top of the world, hoping that we've found our answer. Now we'll just see how tonight goes.

My subconscious might not agree with how great this was though. Last night I dreamed I was locked in my Mom's house and that she'd put a poisonous snake in there that was hungry and was chasing me around. In my dream I even though, "Mom's trying to kill me!" I'm not Freud expert or anything, but if I had to guess...I think maybe my subconscious thinks I spent last night torturing my child. Oh well, my subconscious can just suck it. This sleeping thing rocks!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Round 2

An 8 out of 10 bulging ear infection.

Sounds lovely, doesn't it? The doc said that if you or I had Annabella's latest ear infection, that we'd be on Vicodin. But kids are resilient he tells me, as Annabella sits there stoically.

Right about now I feel like the world's worst mother. You see, Annabella and I both got sick Sunday night. We were both stuffy and altogether miserable. And Annabella had a miserable night, waking at least one point in the night and screaming inconsolably for a minute or 2. Had I not been sick as well, or had she not calmed down and went back to sleep after just a couple minutes, I might have had the foresight to take her to the doctor Monday. But instead I was just consumed by my own sickness and Annabella was in a sour mood, but I mostly thought she was just bored by Mommy who was too tired to entertain.

Then Monday night came. And she was up every 45 minutes whimpering. And she had such a hard time sleeping. And I gave her Tylenol, but only grudgingly. And I saw her pulling at her ear and being unhappy, but I thought maybe it was just the pressure from her congestion. To my credit, the words ear infection did come to mind as well. But the last time we had her checked for an ear infection, she had a sore throat. And I felt dumb.

So Tuesday we make her an appointment at the doctor, partly because I think her ears should be checked, but hugely because we had to get her medically cleared for daycare due to all the swine flu scariness. And at this appointment is where we hear the phrases "bulging ear infection", "an 8 out of 10", and "an adult with this infection would be on Vicodin".

So thank you swine flu. Thanks for making us take our sick little baby to the doctor so that we could learn that she's in pretty bad pain with an ear infection. Mommy was a little too self-absorbed with her own sickness to see it :(

The good news is that the pediatrician went straight to Augmentin this time for her antibiotic, which is what worked last time, and Annabella slept much much much better last night. So hopefully our cheerful bundle of joy will be cheerier soon.