In this time Marilyn has turned four months, yes it has been four months! Craziness. Everyone kept telling me that four months is the best, they start sleeping through the night, their personalities come out, etc. etc. Marilyn had been sleeping through the night on most nights, or getting up just once for a quick change & feed, which I can pretty much sleep walk my way through. However, since she has turned four months, this beautiful easy routine has disappeared. I sat at coffee, four weeks ago, with nine other women with babies Marilyn's age and was marveled that I had no complaints about my little one as many of the other moms had. I felt so blessed, but now she seems to be giving me a run for my money and has forced me to do one thing that I am pretty sure no interior designer has done before. At least not intentionally.
Last night Marilyn and I played the sleep game. She starts showing me she is tired around 5:45pm. I start to complete as many noisy chores as possible with her in my arms knowing that my time is short. As the faucets going and then the vacuum is buzzing she watches contently until she can have no more and then begins to fuss lightly. At this point I change her and put her in her jammies (that's what we call them) and sleep sack. We turn the lights low, turn on the fan, and begin the nightly feeding. On this particular night she fell asleep eating so I carefully got up from the rocking chair, detached her and set her ever so lightly in her crib. I tip-toed out and closed the door. I opted for granola and strawberries for dinner since I had little energy to cook and still had the last bit of her Halloween costume to finish. 15 min went by and she is up. I rocked her back down. 30 min pass and she is up again, but this time she is playing like she just took a nap, argh. I can't get her down and she is not showing any drowsy signs so I question whether her "bedtime" might be changing, for many of my friends this has happened. So I entertain her for a while until she again gives me those signs - mostly vocal. This time I draw a bath, which seems to be the golden ticket most nights. She falls asleep eating again, I put her down, but then she is up in 20 min. I rock her down this time and it does the trick. It is now 9:45pm. I finally finish her Halloween costume, take a ridiculously hot shower, and mosey into bed. As Robert and I are just turning out the lights, at mid-night, she is up. I change her, nurse her, put her down and tip-toe into bed and just as my head hits the pillow she is back up, yikes. As I smash my face into the pillow cursing myself for staying up so late and procrastinating on her Halloween costume Robert offers to grab her and bring her into bed. I agree. She nurses and then rolls over to sleep, but gets excited about the blankets and her new grabbing skills (just a few days old) and begins to play. Again I cursing my procrastination. I pluck her from our bed plop her in the crib and go back to bed. She plays for about a half hour then goes to bed on her own, no crying - Thank God!
She begins playing again at 5:30 am, yep, and begins fussing at 5:45 am, which means I am back up and to my mommy duties. As I am feeding her I realize that I haven't felt this tired in a while, a long while. We get some morning chores done, play in her new homemade gym :) and socialize with the doggies. Around 7:30am it is time for her nap we do our dance and she is down easily. At this point I crawl back into bed excited, because the first nap is the MOST IMPORTANT nap for Marilyn. She doesn't have it - goodbye day. It is strange. It is also the one she goes down for easily and sleeps the longest and soundest. I once tried to wake her up from one by vacuuming and she slept right through it. I managed to do the whole house, but then again that was before she was 4 months. She needs to sleep at least 2 hours for this morning nap or else she won't sleep the rest of the day and she certainly won't sleep through the night. When 8:30am came rolling around and I heard her playing my heart sank. I laid in bed waiting and praying that she would soothe herself to sleep but it would not happen. She was up. Its Thursday and farmer's market day so maybe she wanted to go, or maybe that would be my ticket to go. So I hurriedly get her and I dressed and head out the door. I had to pick up the dry cleaning so I do this first when I don't have milk in the car. As I am putting her in the car after picking up part of my Halloween costume at the cleaners I realize that I am being selfish and that she will not get the proper nap at Farmer's Market. I start to feel guilty and as I come up to the stop sign, I ponder, straight to the market or a right takes me home. I take the right. She needs her nap. It's Halloween, we are going to spend it with her cousins and I want her to be rested and happy, not tired and miserable. We can eat grocery store produce this week.
As we are approaching home I can hear her sucking her thumb and making her sleepy grunts. I sing obnoxiously loud to insure that she doesn't fall asleep before we get to the driveway, it works. We scramble in the house. Take off our warm market attire and do our change feed dance. She doesn't fall asleep nursing but she is calm enough that I put her down. She doesn't sleep, doesn't even try for her thumb she lays quietly and then turns into full on hysterics. I try all sorts of things, nothing works. We have crossed the bridge into over-tired and her room, which gets that lovely morning sun, is as bright as a fluorescent lit chain store. We got home from the cleaners at 9:15 and until 10:45am I try every trick other then stuffing her in the carrier and walking around the block, which only works for short naps. Then it dawns on me, its the light, it has to be, she is tired and even when she is over-tired it never goes on this long.
So the insane light turns on in my head. When I ordered the shade for her room I opted not to do blackout lining because the particular company that made the shade only offers vinyl lining. Vinyl is extremely toxic and one of the products that you are absolutely not to have near baby much less yourself. Alas her room is bright so Robert hung a wool blanket over the shade to block out the light which works at most other times of the day. This is extremely dangerous we realize. A) the tacks could fall out and land in her crib and she could ingest them and B) the whole blanket could come down on her and suffocate her. I always put her head on the opposite side of the crib for these reasons and had it in my mind that this was temporary. I found a company that makes non-vinyl blackout lining that is made in the USA so I quickly put in an order figuring that I could line the shade myself fixing our light problem. However this mill had a small fire and informed me that it would be another 6-8 weeks before they would be able to ship my order. It is a long time but my other option is something from overseas and I would rather have the piece of mind that it comes from the US, so I was willing wait. Except today that lead time seems ridiculous.
Mothers are known for doing totally odd things due to motherhood-induced-insanity. Some drive into the white house, run away, or harm their children. I am sure there are many more less tragic things that we do that don't make the headlines, but these are all that I can think of in my current delirium. It was these acts that inspired Marc Cherry to create the show "Desperate Housewives." Today I joined the club. Marilyn's hysterics were more than I could take, I could quiet her by nursing her, but she wasn't content and would not go to sleep, so I had to get creative. I had to block out the light, but how. I do not have any fabric that was thick enough, hanging a heavier blanket would be more of a risk, painting the windows (yes I went there) would be messy and would not be quick enough, and then I saw them. In our "garage" (or handi-cap bathroom) we have a bag of grocery bags from those occasions when I forget my re-usables. Like a flash of lightening, I cut them open and with some painters tape covered Marilyn's window with Whole Foods (they use non-toxic dyes as well as recycled paper - more insanity :) ) bags. The neighbors might think it is an eye sore but from the inside it looks more like those beautiful Northern Light displays. Marilyn watched curiously as I scurried around her room taping cutting and ripping up these paper bags. I think she liked the way the light slowly danced around the room until it disappeared. When I was finished and cleaned up I sweetly nursed her until she fell asleep then lightly detached her and placed her ever so softly in her crib, tip-toed out of her room and shut the door. She has been asleep now for an hour and 45 min, ahhhh.
A little insanity can be a good thing.
|Here is the window with nothing covering it, trust me it is way brighter than my camera captures.|
|With the blanket hung to cover window, light sneeks out of corners. It was "fluorescent" bright with it.|
|Taped up with the paper bags :)|
|With the shade down. Doesn't it look pretty? Northern Lights right? It is dark with a soft glow, perfect.|