Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Best Things in Life are Free

...like hugs, love, library books devoured guilt-free in a day, and bubble wrap.

That's right. Bubble wrap. We all love popping it and playing with it; I just didn't know my five month old would find the virtues of bubble wrap as well.

Mops sent Phoebe a package last week with some new bowls and spoons (thank you, Mops! We especially love our divided bowls at suppertime!) for our "big girl" eater. Since the package had her name on it, I thought it would be fun to take pictures of her "opening" it to send to Mops. And she totally had more fun than I imagined!

I think because I got out the camera, she knew that whatever we were doing was kind of special, and she got really into it. Well, she's all for discovering new textures, so when I opened up the box and there was something she'd never seen beflre, well... forget about it. She thought that bubble wrap was the coolest thing EVER. So what did she do with it? Well, I chose not to horrify my six loyal readers with pictures of her trying to pop the bubbles with her mouth. (I ended up washing the bubble wrap and allowing it to be a toy, supervised, in the name of exploration, for just a couple of minutes more. Swear. Please don't turn me into the parenting police.) Phoebs also thought the bowls and spoons were supercool, loving the bright colors. Unfortunately, by letting her play with them, she thought that meant she could also grab them at meal time. Wrong answer, sister.

Okay, baby's back to sleep and it's 2:06 am. That means I'm going to sleep. More on my thoughts about thebestfreethings at a much later, more humane time of day.

EDITED, 2:11 AM.
Just kidding. About going to sleep, not about 2:11 am.

Why do I blog at 2:00 while the baby is fussing? Well... it's not simple. Michael and I believe in helping Phoebe obtain independence in her sleep. This means, at developmentally appropriate times, we are gradually "stepping out" of the helping-her-fall-asleep thing. Most of the time, this simply means putting her down for naps while she's awake, allowing her to cry for a few minutes (usually it takes about five minutes for her to softly fuss to sleep and get comfortable), comforting her when she really needs comfort (we've spent a lot of time getting to know her cries!), and not rocking or feeding her to sleep at night. I realize that many people do not agree with these techniques, so if I just offended you, this is not intended to be a bash of any other type of parenting -- this is just what we do, and it's something that works for us.

Generally, Phoebe sleeps very well through the night. At about 7 weeks, she slept through the night for the first time and, for the next three or four weeks, did so off and on. At about 11 weeks, she got into the groove and stopped her middle of the night meals. Every once in a while, she'll wake in the middle of the night enough to wake us up...sometimes more than once on those nights. As she gets older, we're following our daytime policy when she cries during a sleep: intervene as little as possible.

This sounds really cruel. The truth is, her cries are generally soft, dreamlike; her eyes usually aren't even open, and she's just trying to find a more comfortable spot or her paci. She's fine. Not hungry, not cold, not in need of a diaper change technically... fine. So I'll get up, check on her, and go do something else while she tries to get comfortable. (I turn the monitor waaaay down and go to the living room or kitchen so Michael can get his zzzzs.) Usually by the time I've gone potty and made a pot of coffee for the morning (I'll need it), she's settled. In rare occasions, like tonight, she fusses off and on for an extended period of time. Right now, it's been almost an hour.

Truth is, I want to go in there, scoop her up, give her kisses, wrap her up, and rock her back to dreamland. Holding a sleeping baby might be like, one of my top three all-time favorite things to do. But I know that the more I do, the more dependent she becomes on me for sleep. I want her dependent on me for lots of things...for a long time... but not sleep.

Anyway, if I don't distract myself with something, I'll do just that. Now, tonight, I've already checked on her six times at least, patted her back or bottom, and given her a paci once. Also, after the first twenty minutes, I held her and comforted her, hoping also to coax out a burp. But she doesn't need more than that, so I wait. (Have you ever tried to sleep with a baby crying? YOUR baby?) And blogging, reading the news, whatever... it's quiet, somewhat distracting, and it keeps me from going crazy while Phoebe tries to settle down.

We're extremely blessed to have such a good nighttime sleeper, so we're fortunate that nights like tonight are the exception, rather than the rule. She does have them, though...usually a couple in a row. Sometimes we'll have more than one of these "periods" in a night. (I'm praying not tonight!) It's tough. Parenting is not for sissies, and most of the time, I am a big sissy. But God is gracious! I am thankful that He has given us peace about this decision...

...and now I'm making the decision to go back to sleep!


j&bH said...

i am very proud of you little mama! i miss all 4 of you (jakers is included in the count)...and i'm hoping that eventually, sometime soon, i will get to kidnap uncle gus and head down there for a weekend of hiding out in the aunt fave suite. for now, it is nice to read blogs and keep up from a distance (a too long, too ridiculous distance)

i love you!!!
talk to you soon,
mare (fave)

Carolynn said...

I'm right there with ya! Took the words right outta my mouth. Callahan and I had a rough day today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day(since it's my bday)! Hope to see you soon! Miss y'all!