Friday, December 5, 2008

How do you know??

Ok veteran do you know when your child is sleepy??? I'm dying here! Every time I think I know my son and can read him, he throws me a curve ball!

He used to be the BEST napper. I'd just put him in his crib and he was out like a light in minutes. No, scratch that, seconds! Not the case anymore. I put him down when I think he's sleepy and for up to an HOUR he'll babble and squeal away. When I come in to check on him, he'll be swinging from the rafters like a little monkey and having a grand ol' play time. Yes, it's all absolutely adorable when he's happy, but this cute play time always ends with him being over-tired, over-stimulated and screaming for an hour which leaves me wondering if I should:
a. give up on the nap and just deal with an over-tired and exhausted child for the next hour and a half (and risk the next nap being even worse) or
b. keep at it for God-knows-how-long and risk being in the position of forcing him to sleep when he's not sleepy (because remember I'm not a 100% sure he's sleepy right now).

After an hour of 'play time' (where I'm coming in every five minutes to pry him off of the side of the crib for the 100th time, lay him down and say "it's time for a nap.") and an hour of exhausted screaming (where I'm trying to comfort him and/or let him cry depending on how much patience I have left for this whole process), I'm cooked, he's cooked and I'm left wondering if I'm really cut out for this whole mom-business.

Admittedly, we follow a schedule, but I'm totally aware it is in a state of transition right now. We're in the process of going from three naps per day down to two. It's a loooong process that takes a few weeks/months and during that time you just kinda have to play it by ear. Some days he needs a third nap and some days he doesn't. Did I mention I hate these transitional phases?? I mean, life just runs so much more smoothly when I can refer to the almighty clock. I know what a lot of you are thinking, "that's not really parenting if you are just going by a clock!" But it's not that simple. Even when we're right on schedule, I still have to remain flexible...the clock is a guide. Every day naturally has wiggle room, and I still have to stay cognizant of any cues - like if he is sleepy, hungry, etc. But, for the most part, once he's on his schedule, you can almost set your watch by when he gets sleepy, hungry, etc. And, yes, I'm absolutely one of those moms that thinks children thrive when they have a steady routine, but this post isn't about debating the pros and cons of parent-led vs. child-led parenting...

Back to the topic at hand...a transitional phase, like the one we're in, almost always goes hand-in-hand with milestones and growth-spurts. And this almost always means there is a shift not only in the schedule, but also in his cues! It's because he's growing mentally and emotionally as well as physically and the way he communicates naturally changes during this time.

So when I'm supposed to be 'playing it by ear' and reading him the most, I don't have his nice reliable cues to read any more, I'm having to figure out new cues. It's like being handed a brand new child every few months and being told "ok, figure this kid out!"

So, how do you know? How do you know when your child is sleepy?? Because I used to know, but now I have no earthly idea.

On the up-side, this will all be my mom's problem for the next 24 hours. For the first time in 6 and 1/2 months Mr. C and I are leaving the baby with someone else over night for a much needed break. Pray for my mother. Little C really needs his Grammy R and I'm worried after she has had him for 24 hours she will resign from the position. Also, please pray for me because at the first real taste of freedom I might just drive to Mexico and change my name...


Debbie said...

Thanks for stopping by Blog Around the World. You are all linked up!

Kristen said...

I'm so glad yall are getting away overnight - much deserved! As for the napping/sleepy/schedule predicament, I hate to say it but it's totally normal and totally one of those things you just have to be patient with and re-figure out his needs/cues. My guess is that with his new-found mobility in his crib, he'd rather be playing than sleeping. I remember those days where you knew they were tired, but they wouldn't go to sleep. I wish I could give you the magic answer. The best advice I can give you is to remain confident that you still know what's best for Little C even when you're frazzled. One of the hardest transitions is dropping naps (you'll go through it again when he goes from 2 to 1 nap).

Erika said...

Silas is only two and I've already forgotten what to do during those difficult transitions. I do remember that just when you think you've got the routine down, something changes. THAT part is predictable. I agree with Kristen, just be patient. He'll get himself sorted down to two naps soon enough. Then you'll get comfortable with it, and it will change :)