Wake me up before you…

I used to be a morning person. Alright, to be fair I was an anytime person. The Woman has said that I’m the only person she knows that you can wake up in the middle of the night and expect to be completely functional and rational within 2 minutes. Some call it a gift, I call it… useful.

But while I could easily stay up until 2 and still be bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7 am for years, that came screeching to a halt at the most inconvenient time. A few months before the little moppet was born sleep started to become an issue for me. And then she was born. And, I don’t know if you know this, but newborns can cause trouble for your sleep habits. My night times went from only needing 5 hours or so to needing 8 hours to only getting 3 hours. Kids sure are inconvenient.

I don’t feel like rehashing the whole sleep progression thing again. Kayleigh has become an excellent nighttime sleeper these days, and that means that we get to sleep in past 7 am 99% of mornings. Of course not much further than that, mind you, since my internal alarm clock is now pretty much permanently wired for 7:15. Initially we were so afraid of this new morning routine not lasting that we packed our evenings with as much TV watching, Internet surfing, time wasting activities we could muster. That started a very bad habit of staying up later than was good simply to maximize the adult time – but without really doing anything beyond clearing the DVR.

So now I’m thinking that I need to re-wire myself back to being a morning person. It’s time for me to get up before Kayleigh and actually accomplish things. When she wakes up I should be sitting at my computer writing and listening to music while already showered, shaved and fed. For this to work some boundaries need to be put in place. Stop watching the umpteenth rerun of Scrubs simply because it’s on TV. Don’t try to start typing up a post at 11:30 with eyelids already drooping. And for goodness sakes, give Angry Birds a rest already!

Seriously, those green pigs can wait ’til tomorrow.

Daddy’s little chick

Since The Woman had to work this evening, I had the pleasure of listening to Kayleigh on the monitor talk herself to sleep all by myself. Perhaps I should explain. Our new nighttime routine – our magical routine that does not involve 45 minutes or more of rocking after 30 minutes of diaper change negotiations – actually ends with Kayleigh still awake in the crib not screaming her head off while we head downstairs.

Amazing, isn’t it?

The little moppet has gotten over her wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth when it’s time to fall asleep. Well, not entirely. She may cry out a little using every trick she can muster to keep us around. And after it may be upwards of an hour before the talking and singing finally quiet. But the end result is that our entire evening is no longer┬ádevoted┬áto ensuring a pain free transition to sleep – the process now unfolds rather naturally. Add that to a wake-up time of around 7:30 AM and life is good.

Of course Kayleigh still likes to toss a wrinkle into things now and then. I can’t really blame her for the cold she just caught, but the lack of blame doesn’t stop the snorting and coughing from waking us up. Thankfully tonight was another example of just how far things have come. About an hour or 2 after falling asleep the plaintive cries of “Daddy” came over the monitor – no doubt because I was the one to put her down, not a matter of preference. After hesitating for a minute or so, I finally ventured in.

Rather than being trapped for the next hour or so with multiple failed attempts at putting her back down as was once the norm, the procedure was fairly straightforward. Pick her up with a big hug, rebuff her attempts to go downstairs, let her lay herself back down, and then hold her hand for 30 seconds while she drifts off again. What a wonderful feeling that a little physical contact and some verbal reassurance is enough for me to comfort our little girl.

Best reality show ever

I caved. Or we caved. Somebody caved. After weeks of battling with the little one over her new desire to stand up in her crib in the middle of the night and demand attention, it was time for routines and reactions to be changed. And to help out, I finally ditched our el cheapo baby monitor and picked up one of those new fangled moving picture units. Only 10 or 12 months too late.

When a monitor was initially purchased, there wasn’t a whole lot of thought put into it. I wasn’t keen on anything beyond just audio – something just seemed a tad overkill with all of the video and motion sensors out there these days. Can’t we all just walk into the nurseries and accidentally wake wake our kids up while checking their breathing like parents did in ye olden days?

The issue finally came to a head this week when it was determined that we needed to know Kayleigh’s positioning before going into her room at night. Because sitting or standing while calling out for momma is a real priority over the typical grunts, sighs, groans, and grumblings let out while still lying down and half asleep.

In reality I’ve always liked the video feature because I’m very curious what our noisy little one is doing all night long with the tossing and the turning. For the first time tonight, I actually get to see those moments as they happen! So far she has straightened her legs out, curled them back in, rolled onto her right side, rolled back to her back and so much more. Seriously, I could watch this all night – especially if the night vision didn’t cast an otherworldly “color” on her (hooray for infrared).

P.S. First incident passed with flying… greyscale? She went back to sleep all on her own. Now if only I could.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead

I used to make fun of bloggers who disappeared once they had a kid. I used to do a lot of things. I don’t anymore.

A couple months after Kayleigh was born, my Mom asked me what caught me off guard the most. When it comes down to it, those questions can be such a paradox. I mean, I totally knew that raising a kid was going to kick my ass even if I wasn’t sure how. But does knowing that you don’t know mean that suddenly you know… Wow, I think I forgot how to write in English… So let’s just cut to the chase.

Sleep.

More specifically, the lack thereof. Whether you have kids of your own or simply experienced what it was like on Mad About You, everybody is familiar with the concept that new parents don’t get to sleep much. I was prepared for that. Hell, you could say that I’ve been preparing for it since junior high when I pretty much stopped sleeping normal hours. The Woman is well familiar with the notion that I would go to sleep after her, wake up before her, and yet still be more alert. So it seemed like I would be able to cover nights with a little less difficulty than most.

Yeah… right. Two things pretty much killed that possibility. First, during the months leading up to Kayleigh taking over our lives, I suddenly became tired – even though I was sleeping more than usual. This probably had something to do with the fact that I was involved with a huge relocation at work, demolishing the kitchen, demolishing and rebuilding what became the nursery, and generally running around like those proverbial headless chickens. Nevertheless, it threw off my body’s natural disinterest in sleep.

Second, once Kayleigh did arrive I found out that sleeplessness due to a baby is completely different from sleeplessness due to work, video games, horror movies, or moderate levels of alcohol. Our “night times” became ridiculously long – heading to bed by 7 PM and getting out of bed around after 7 AM – yet we only got a couple hours of sleep each night. Pretty soon we were scheduling our own naptimes with rather limited success, seeing as how she did not want to cooperate.

Of course nothing is constant with kids – babies that sleep well for months can suddenly start getting up every 2 hours – and as time went by Kayleigh learned to sleep through the night… wait… no. This has been pretty constant. She doesn’t like to sleep. At least not unless she’s in our arms. Otherwise it’s a bit of a struggle. We’ve had her in a bassinet, in a pack ‘n play, on the couch, in her crib, with us in our bed. It’s just not her thing. She wants to be awake and hanging out with the ‘rents. On the one hand I’m flattered, but on the other I’m tired. Actually, both hands are tired.

And so we continue to fiddle with her schedule, musical accompaniment, rocking rhythms, and chloroform dossage to take another step closer to that mythical being known as the child that sleeps through the night. Sigh. Actually, these days we’ve got her back in her crib after taking about a month off from it, and now that she can stretch out without headbutting Daddy the first half of the night is going much more smoothly. And that means that we can now take advantage of the time to get some sleep of our own. Or, you know, watch some TV, read message boards, and take stupid quizzez on Facebook. Yeah, now that Kayleigh is learning more about the wonders of sleep, maybe it’s time we get back to it, too.

I’ve rambled enough with no real point, but at least I’ve broken the seal again. Maybe I can figure out how to get posts in regularly during the 10 minutes that I’m not at work, taking care of Kayleigh, or sleeping. Well, maybe sleep really isn’t that important…