We’re working on Cohen napping solo again this afternoon. Something about buying a house, taking a full course load, and keeping up my blog seemed too easy, I guess. I was still sleeping well at night and that simply would not do. So, I chose to begin teaching Cohen to sleep solo.
Don’t get me wrong, she still sleeps in bed with us. I don’t even need her out of our bed right now, but I do need her to be able to fall asleep outside of my arms. The only way she does that with me is if I put her in her swing. She is out there in her swing now and I can hear the grinding of the motor as she reaches up and pulls at the plush fish that spin on the attached mobile above her. She is outgrowing the swing. I had been in denial that this day would ever come and here it is.
A friend called me this afternoon, while I was in the middle of letting her cry it out for 15 minutes in her crib. We had already done a 10 minute stretch, after which I went in, picked her up, rocked her and then put her back down. I took the call because while I might have been a bit distracted from my friend, being on the phone would keep me from going back in there.
I explained to my friend what I was doing and he asked if most babies would just cry themselves to sleep eventually. I said I had heard this, yes. He asked then, why don’t I just leave her in there for 30 minutes? I explained that she has never been awake and alone for 30 minutes. I explained that this would be impossible because after only 10 minutes of her wailing my breasts begin to ache, my milk comes in, and I feel as nauseous as I did the first 2 months of my pregnancy. Little did I know that 20 minutes later I would be getting off of the phone with him and calling my husband for desperate support to keep me from going in there. He was busy. My mom wasn’t home. My mother in law was in a meeting. I went in there.
I put her in the stroller and took her for a walk. She slept for less than 5 minutes. At 2 p.m. this afternoon she has not slept all day and is in the living room brutalizing those helpless plush fish attached to swing that can barely hold her. Meanwhile I have an obscene amount of homework due this weekend that I have not even begun. The house is a mess and I have nothing planned for dinner.
Cohen wants me. She wants me all the time now. For me to leave her alone at any time seems to just piss her off. She isn’t scared. She is pissed. Last night Dan took her into bed so I could brush my teeth and get ready to go to sleep. She screamed for me and would not let him comfort her. We know better than to give into this behavior, so I just went about what I was doing, saying hello when I passed her, playing peek a boo while I brushed my teeth. Finally I was ready for bed, but she needed a fresh diaper. I went to her and picked her up to take her to change her diaper.After crying all the while I had been getting ready, as soon as she was in my arms she spun around to Dan and shot him a huge grin. As if to say, “I own her now.”
She is so aware of everything, so into everything. And while it is amazing to watch her grow and discover the world it is also no longer cool to have sex with her in the room. Which is a sort of non issue anyway since she is not only in the room, but in the bed.
Last night, after she fell asleep on my left side, I rolled over to cuddle with Dan on my right. We kissed a little and were each deciding if it was going to be worth getting out of bed to make love, or as so many parents do, should we stifle the urge and get our much needed Z’s. Being careful not to cross the “inappropriate touching while the baby is in your bed” line, Cohen rolled over three times until she was asleep, face down, pressed up against my back.
These are the time when change seems inevitable. No matter how hard it will be, this must change. I suggest to Dan that we could just roll down onto the floor and make love quietly on the dog’s bed. No? Can you believe he didn’t go for that? So, here we are, the adults, the ones that run the show and pay the rent, sneaking off into another room of the house again.
Her stubbornness is astounding and I know it comes from her father who is physically incapable of surrendering his original stance in any situation. This child is going to rub her puffy eyes, and doze off in the middle of crying and telling me she is not tired, only to snap awake again for a split second and continue with her argument. That’s fine. I did not marry Dan despite this quality of his, I love it. I envy his resolution.
Dan and I are both lazy when it comes to anything anyone else asks us to do. The only difference is that when Coco is 5, and asks me 150 times for a bag of candy corn I am eventually going to get so frustrated and frazzled that I will grab the bag and toss it as far from my body as possible so that she must stop pestering me and just leave me alone for five seconds in order to retrieve it, Where as Dan, steadfast and true, is more likely to break out his teacher’s voice, give her a resounding but loving “NO”, and send her off in a huff, short one bag of candy corn.
She's asleep. I just looked. All the fish are still on the mobile and while the swing bows under her weight, she naps another day. I don’t know whether to drink or do my math homework to celebrate.
After Note: Cohen slept from 2 - 4 p.m. in her swing. I nursed her when she woke and she fell right back to sleep for another 30 minutes on the couch.