Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sleep (or lack thereof)

Here I am again, folks! One daughter is napping peacefully, like a little angel. The other is talking, singing, banging on the walls, rummaging around in her closet, and generally just not sleeping. Can you guess which is which?

I would like to say I don't care, as long as she doesn't wake Audrey up...but I do care. Nobody in this family is getting enough sleep. Nobody. Audrey happens to be the best sleeper out of the four of us, and even she isn't getting enough. Katie woke up three times last night. Twice she woke up and screamed "POTTY!" and Dada took her to the potty. Once she woke up just plain screaming. And a couple of times she woke me up by talking in her sleep. Add those to the two times that Audrey woke up to feed, and the 30 minutes or so I spent pumping at 3 am, and I am one tired mama.

Dada is tired, too. Not only is he on "Katie duty" at night, but he is the worst sleeper imaginable. It takes him forever to fall asleep, so every time Katie wakes him up it's an ordeal. Three times in one night means that he got maybe 3 hours, tops. And not consecutive hours, either!

I think it might be time to take back the nighttime reins from Dada. We had decided that I'd take care of Audrey and he'd take care of Katie at night, but I don't think it's working. Katie's room is right next to Audrey's. I sleep in Audrey's room, next to her bassinet. If Katie wakes up, I'm going to hear it, so there's really no point in making Anthony get up too. Of course, he often hears Katie even without the baby monitor - she's that loud.

Sigh. Can I just point out how unfair it is that I finally have a baby who sleeps, but I'm STILL not getting any sleep myself? Audrey has been sleeping 5-6 hours at a time every night since she was about a week old. It's so good it's ridiculous. But Katie has to find a way to wake up screaming right in the middle of that 5-6 hour stretch, so I never get more than 3 hours in a row. Thanks, Fate or the Universe or Murphy or whatever. Thanks a bunch.

And napping. What is it with napping in this house? Katie hasn't napped in days and I can see it's taking its toll. Her little eyes look tired, she's crabby a lot, and we've had full-on screaming meltdowns in the evenings. I do everything I possibly can to ensure that she naps. I keep a consistent schedule, I use blackout curtains and white noise, we read books to wind down, and we have a sweet little tucking-in ritual that Dada and Katie invented. I even moved her naptime earlier. What more can I do? Give her a shot of whiskey?

And don't think we can just make her bedtime earlier or that she'll sleep later in the mornings. Oh, no. We've tried both. She'll only sleep about 15 minutes later in the mornings, if we're lucky. And putting her down early just results in more talking, singing and kicking the wall.

As I sit here listening to Katie on the monitor, not sleeping, I'm starting to dread the rest of the afternoon. The later it gets, the crabbier she gets. 5:00 is known as the witching hour for many families, not just ours, but it's 10 times worse if Katie doesn't nap. I'm also realizing that we're out of leftovers and that means I'll have to try to cook something around 5:00 too. OMG.

I pray this is just a developmental phase, or a growth spurt, or something. Lots of parents tell me their child gave up napping at age 2, or age 1, or some horrifically early age. But the sleep books all say that toddlers need naps until age 3 or 4. Whatever the case, I don't think Katie is getting enough sleep, day or night, and I don't know what to do about it. Help us, Mr. Sandman!

I'm sorry, I didn't mean for this to be a whine-fest. I'm just so tired and crabby. But things are looking up: tomorrow we go to the occupational therapist for Audrey's breastfeeding issues. We've been waiting almost a month for this appointment so I'm super excited. And, it's my birthday. So maybe we'll have a little bit of extra luck and get these feeding problems solved once and for all. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Let's hope a picture is worth 1000 words...

And here it is:

I have about 100,000 words to write, but no time in which to write them. I've been blogging like crazy in my head again, usually sometime between 3 and 5 am when I'm trying to get back to sleep.

By some miracle, both of my girls are sleeping right now. Even more astonishing is that I actually prefer them to sleep alternately (although a few minutes of overlap is nice.) The reason is that I like to be able to actually give one child my full (ish) attention, instead of trying to juggle them. I say full-ish because I also have to still do dishes, laundry, wash bottles (long story) and do all sorts of other householdy things that just won't wait. Don't worry, I am heeding the advice of "let the house go and spend time with your kids". Boy am I! This house has never been such a disaster. I think for my birthday I'm going to ask for house cleaning. I'm tired of living in squalor!

I hear Audrey stirring in the other room, so let's pray she falls back asleep while I write a quick update. Breastfeeding is still not going well, though it's going a heck of a lot better than it did with Katie. Neither of my girls latch(ed) well. With Katie it was just impossible to breastfeed her, so I pumped 8 times a day for a year. Pumping 8 times a day (that's every 2 hours, in case anyone's counting) is utterly, certifiably insane. Pumping 8 times a day while your toddler tries to tear your baby's toes off, squirt laundry detergent into her own mouth, draw on the walls with a pen and pour water all over the carpet...well, that's more than I can take. And yes, all these things have happened within the last 24 hours. If I had to list all the things Katie has done while I was either pumping or feeding Audrey, I'd be here all day.

Yes, you read that right: I *am* doing some pumping. I am in the process of trying to transition Audrey back to breastfeeding after a couple of weeks of feeding her with a syringe. This means drawing up some breastmilk into a syringe, attaching a thin flexible tube, taping the tube to your finger and letting the baby suck the end of your finger. The milk flows into her mouth through a tiny hole in the end of the tube. It's supposed to be better than a bottle because the finger is made of flesh instead of silicone, and the milk doesn't pour out as fast as it does from a bottle. Anyway - we did that for about a week and a half, and then we tried a bottle. The bottle was way easier to manage, but I was worried that Audrey, like Katie, would never want to go back to breastfeeding. Luckily, she is back on the breast using a nipple shield and an SNS. I'm starting to bore myself here, so I'll just say that the shield helps her latch on and the SNS helps her get milk faster than she would without it. For now, it's working. She's gaining weight and growing like a weed.

But it's hard! I guess I forgot how hard it is to have a newborn. I, unlike other mothers, am nearly always unable to tell why my baby is crying. You're supposed to be able to tell a hunger cry from a gassy cry from a tired cry...I'm just awful at this. I've been offering Audrey the breast whenever she cries, figuring that sucking will comfort her even if she isn't hungry, but I'm quickly finding out that if she isn't hungry she will SCREAM at the breast and fight and push away. But she also does that if she's too hungry! Gaaah! And Audrey is much less able to tolerate a wet diaper than Katie was. Katie couldn't have cared less if she was wet.

Crud - Audrey's up - guess I better do a diaper change! Til next time!