Her Bad Mother

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Putting Things To Rest

It is widely agreed, among our friends and family, that WonderBaby looks a lot like me. There's a lot of Her Bad Father in her (her height, her cheeky smile, something about the curve of her brow), but at first glance the resemblance is most obviously to me, her mother: she has (as they say) my eyes, my ears; her colouring is mine, as is her big round head. (She also has my freakishly long spider-monkey toes, but most people never see those.)

Certainly, if you were to look at baby pictures of me, and baby pictures of WonderBaby, you'd see a striking resemblance:

Which is the be-wigged child of the seventies? And which the WonderBaby?

Of course, when Her Bad Father and I talk about what characteristics WonderBaby owes to us, we're more likely to discuss the quirks of her character than we are the colour of her hair or the curve of her cheek or the prehensile reach of her toes. We're more likely to discuss whether her giggle is mine, or her frown his; her love of books from me, her physical strength from him. We argue, lightly, about whether her stubbornness is due to me, or due to him, and we wonder aloud about how it came to be that two such (ordinarily) reserved people spawned such a spirited, gregarious child.

There is, of course, much that can be said about the question of nature versus nurture in the development of children; it would take multiple posts, I think, for me to sort through the questions and ideas that I have about the variety of influences that bear upon WonderBaby's development. The question that I have right now, however, is pretty specific: is it possible that children - babies - inherit from their parents, or from one or the other parent, their inclinations with regard to sleep? To food? To those things that we ordinarily regard as habits?

Sleep habits, eating habits - these are certainly shaped by a variety of influences, too numerous to list here. And I have no doubt that these 'habits' can be formed or reformed, to some extent, through all manner of intervention. But is it possible that these are also, to some degree, bred in the bone? That the extent to which they can be reformed is limited, to some degree, by nature - by an inherited nature? Or, simply, by a nature that asserts itself regardless of source?

I guess that this is just another way of asking: when it comes to certain issues - say, one's 14 month old baby being pretty set in her ways with regard to certain tendencies in the arena of, say, sleep (like, say, being resistant to having any during daylight hours) - is there a point at which you need to say, okay, fine, she's just like that, and roll with it?

And add, perhaps, by way of explanation: just like her mother?

I've never been what is usually called a 'good sleeper.' My mother tells me that she was nearly driven insane by my refusal, in infancy and beyond, to take naps. (She resorted, on the advice of her doctor, to sedatives. For me. Aah, the seventies! Dope the babies!) I've been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. And, I cannot make myself sleep during daylight hours, unless I am so physically bagged that I have no choice in the matter (after, for example, weeks of restless insomniac nights filled with endless Law and Order re-runs.) I'm a bad sleeper. Always have been.

Then again, does one ever really sleep easily near a rack of guns?

So when I fret and tear my hair about WonderBaby's sleep habits, am I, really, fretting uselessly, about something that is bred in the bone? Something that cannot be changed, or only changed with tremendously difficulty? We have, after all, tried everything: we've Sears-ed and BabyWhispered and Weissbluthed and Ferberized until we were blue in the face. And still, nothing changes: the best case scenario (which is, I admit, a pretty good case) is that WonderBaby sleeps 12 to 13 hours at night and then only cat-naps during the day; the worst case (the one that has prevailed over the last couple of weeks) is that she wakes during the night and still forgoes the daytime naps. Which is, I needn't tell you again, a little bit frustrating.

This isn't yet another plea for help. On the contrary: I'm trying to wrap my head around the idea that this is just the way it is. Not as a matter of surrender, but as a matter of being realistic, and being respectful of WonderBaby's nature. Perhaps not every baby can be a quote-unquote good sleeper (another post in itself - what is a "good" sleeper, anyway, and why is that the gold standard?); perhaps not every baby can be 'made' to cleave to the ideal standard of sleep. Perhaps I should be grateful that, under ordinary circumstances, WonderBaby sleeps so well at night. If she is getting, end of the day, the sleep that she needs, who am I to say how she gets that sleep?

Of course, I am the parent. She is the baby. It is my responsibility to make sure that her needs are met; it is my responsibility to make sure that her diet is healthy, that she is kept safe, that she sleeps. But is it my responsibility to make sure that she does those things according to a certain model? To insist upon that? Is it even right to insist upon 'models'?

I'm just looking for permission, I guess, to let certain issues go. To relax my grip on certain ideals, certain standards. To stop bemoaning the absence of the conventional nap in our household, for my own - our own - peace of mind, and, perhaps, so that I will be more accepting of the absence of the conventional anything in the future. Although it is, perhaps, not permission, so much as affirmation, that I'm seeking: that it's okay to relax. Go with the flow, so far as is reasonable.

This isn't, then, so much about whether so-called sleep 'habits' might be hereditary, or inscribed by nature, as it is about whether it's okay for me to chill out, for me to shrug my shoulders, just a little, and say, maybe, that's just how it is... to focus on the question of whether I can, she can, we can live with how things are, and go from there...

Because I have a feeling that that will be so much more restful...



Blogger Mouse said...

We think that karma has passed Trillian's eating habits on to Scooter. My mother-in-law absolutely cackles when we talk about his eating habits. His sleeping habits mimic hers more than mine too. So I guess I don't have a sense of nature vs. nurture on that, but I can tell you this...

After Scooter stopped nursing (because I had gotten into the habit of nursing him to sleep) and we moved him out of our bed, bedtime involved me sitting in the rocker next to his bed with my arm where he could touch it. For up to two hours. There were times I'd suggest he just sleep in our bed (because he'd fall asleep more quickly), but he'd decided he was going to stay in his own bed, so no go. It was miserable for that time, but I just couldn't do cry-it-out (both because of the heartache and the fact that he's the kind of kid who would just get more and more worked up). Eventually he would be OK with me leaving for a few minutes. And then longer. Now it still takes him a while to fall asleep, but that's mostly him laying in bed with one of us checking in every half hour or so.

So that's my long way of saying (1) I'm a big proponent of saying "that's just how it is" and ignoring what I 'should' be doing and (2) things really do get better.

11:02 PM  
Blogger mo-wo said...

It is ok. We have a small house. I fought the battle for naps forrrreeeever. Now I let it go a bit more. I have my ideals of course. Sleep and sleep soundly.. But after months of hiding in my bedroom - or the closet to create naps with near breathless silence and rituals that shame the church in their complexity... I let it go and roll with it. It is -- as you say more restful. Off to bed a bit earlier on those days and a lie down with a book for quiet time is nice.

And, my girl is a GOOD sleeper at 15 hour a day kid for 10 months or so. So if anyone is addicted its me...

By the way a lot our good sleep habits came from contracting out. My daycare folks seem to never have any problem. So be it... maybe she want to be with Mom. That's life. That's nice

11:09 PM  
Blogger Run ANC said...

Yes, I absolutely do believe that it okay to just chill out and accept that that is how things are. (I'm saying that knowing how hard it is for me to "let go" of my pre-conceptions of the way things should be, however...)

Apparently, I didn't nap either. My mom told me I didn't have to sleep, but I had to lie in the bed and rest till she came back, so that's what I did. I remember hours of lying awake in the bed waiting for "nap time" to be over. Parental thinking has changed since the 70's alright!

Your be-wigged and be-gunned photos made me laugh out loud!

11:13 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

As my little one says when I put him to bed "I so cute mommy!" If I were a cute as Wonderbaby I would never want to pause my cute show for a nap. The show must go on!

11:23 PM  
Blogger Robbin said...

I was never a napper. My husband, the part-time stay-at-home dad laments the passing on of these genes. Harry gave up naps except infrequently sometime under a year.

While most of the time at daycare he will sit quietly in his cot at naptime, he has been known to lead full-scale baby rebellions against the repression of planned naps. Our childcare teachers are tolerant, but less than thrilled by his precocious display of activism.

11:29 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Chill. Go with the flow. Enjoy the ability to leave your house in the middle of the day without worrying about THE ALMIGHTY NAP. Imagine the freedom! :)

12:07 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Wish Granted!!! (or permission or assurance, whatever you want to call it) I do believe that we have personality traits hard-wired into us which can affect things like sleep tendancies. My daughter napped during the day but rarely all the way through the night. I truly believe she just didn't want to miss anything. She lives in the moment, this girl. Now, at six and 1/2 years, with school keeping her busy and basketball, etc., she passes out at 8 pm and sleeps all night (most of the time). So, relax, get what sleep you can... it will change eventually.

12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please please PLEASE don't tell me that there's any sort of hereditary factor involved when it comes to sleep, or else I will be in a world of shit in a year or two.

I was a terrible sleeper. Worse than you, I imagine. Ever read my Dizzy Dreams post? I pray that my girls never put me (or themselves) through that kind of hell.

That said, I'm inclined to say go with the WB flow. Listen to what she's telling you. If she's perfectly happy sans nap (or with a catnap or two), then so be it.

12:26 AM  
Blogger m said...

I'm adverse to anything that can be claimed as hereditary, but that's only because my in-laws want to figure out where every single bloody thing about my son comes from. Even things that I know are hereditary I say "It's just him" because I want their madness to stop.

I say, that's just Wonderbaby. She's not into naps right now. Doesn't mean she won't ever be, but right now, no.

Also, your family was way classier than ours. My parents' rifles just were propped up in the corner by our front door all hunting season. Then in their bedroom closet the rest of the year. Nice.

12:41 AM  
Blogger SUEB0B said...

I was never a sleeper, either. I remember being in school, all of the kids around me zonked out on their little mats, sleeping...and me wiiiiide awake.

I'm still not a sleeper. I toss and turn at least 500 times a night.

I think it is our nature.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Girl con Queso said...

Oh I'm so with you on this one. The Hurricane is an amazing night sleeper, but SO not a napper. He completely doesn't get this from me. But he has it. And for us, since I've decided to roll with it, all of our lives have gotten better. Much better.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Lady M said...

We still get one nap per day from Q. Not looking forward to when that goes away.

Hereditary traits - Q dislikes having sticky fingers. Definitely from me, not his dad.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Crunchy Carpets said...

I think when we realized that Caity would sleep through the night when she was ready, then we could just adjust and get on with it. We stopped 'TRYING'...we adjusted to sleeping in two hour increments.

It took till two for her to start to sleep better and she STILL wakes through the night...but not so much.

Now we have the night owl boy who is just like his night owl dad and we have to cajole and threaten him to make him go to bed.

We could just accept this too..but beacuse my need for some alone time is so great....we still fight and fight and fight.

I do think they are born fully formed with attitudes to go.

Caity was pissed from the moment she arrived.

Adam was a thinker...and observer....and then take action....that is what he does now. He saw how it all worked and now we cannot bull shit him. He has won.


1:33 AM  
Blogger Lara said...

you're awesome. just wanted to say that, 'cause i've been bad about commenting lately.

that's all. :)

2:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, you need to shorten your posts. There are like 20 things in your story I would like to comment on...

Many traits are not hereditary genetically, like sleep, food, etc. but kids do take after their parents an awful lot. The kids are near their mother/father the whole time and of course feels and mimics parental habits. Nervous parents usually have kids that are hyper, don't sleep that well, and tend to be more difficult to manage. Calm parents usually have calm kids etc. Kids sense what's around them much more than we believe.

I think it's good to follow general guidelines concerning naps, food, health, etc. but also have the confidence to rely on your instincts as a parent. Or as you put it "okay, fine, she's just like that, and roll with it?" All kids are different and can have very peculiar traits (as you've noticed).

You can definitely let certain issues go, just don't let the very important ones go. Like vaccines, brushing teeth, education, etc. I'm sure it will feel like a relief to accept some things as they are and not try to resist forever. After all you baby is doing great and your concerns are just minor ones in the big picture.

Nice weekend


3:40 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

First of all, it is highly unusual for a baby her age not to need naps. But, then maybe she doesn't need much sleep. If she's not tired, then it might be okay. When my son was 20 months old, he refused to take naps. When I complained to a fellow mom, she said, it would come back. We battled over naps for as long as he took them, but he always was more rested when he slept. Oh, and the naps did make a comeback.

I'd try to just go for a walk at naptime, so she's in her stroller, but you can't force her to sleep.

Many folks do well with "quiet time", though my son won't stay quiet unless sat down in front of TV. (But he's already 4. And from what I hear of Wonderbaby she maybe would have problems with staying quietly put too.)

I only wish, my son had inherited my sleeping habits. I get to sleep the minute my head hits the pillow, then sleep undisturbed and awake nine hours later. Refreshing.

My husband and son in the other hand, toss and turn, awake frequently, and when disturbed in any way can't get to sleep anymore.

I always recommend "The No-Cry Sleep Solution" book. It is full of information about baby and toddler sleep and also of helpful suggestions.

6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If genetics has anything to do with it Wonderbaby comes by her sleeplessness honestly. Magill, Madeleine and Charlotte didn't nap. They also woke in the night. They are all still night hawks. I think Wonderbaby is very smart and stays up to watch over the kingdom.

7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have found that everything is more difficult with lack of sleep. Including mommy hood...I have a hard time without my full (8-10) hours sleep.

With a lot of nighttime fears including lack of sleep (on my part) I basically forced SF to sleep in the beginning. Now, she sleeps like a champion. I feel it's part of her to like to sleep (she's also not a jump outta bed type of person like me...)plus, she knows (with much coercion) thet nighttime is sleep time and noon is nap time...

We are having a hard time this week with the home improvements going on...and SF is bothered by the lack of naps...I can see it now.

I still wonder if her love for sleep was forced by me or just something she would have had either way...

8:00 AM  
Blogger NoodleMonkey said...

The hardest part of being a mother for me was learning to chill out and let some things go...especially when they were babies, I often felt that I was struggling to make them conform to what the books told me was ideal because if they were "ideal," it would mean that I was a good mother. When I stopped doing that (or at least stopped doing it so much) I found myself struggling less and enjoying them more. So as far as I'm concerned, permission granted!
Having said that, it still sucks when they're not sleeping...

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of COURSE sleep is physiological! (It never occurred to me that it wasn't - it's simply evident to anyone who knows more than one baby that babies are not blank slates upon which we can inscribe our preferred sleep patterns.) You do what you can to clear any roadblocks out of the way of your child's sleep (by controlling light, noise, temperature, etc.), and you develop your own habits (in terms of bedtime rituals and schedules) - but all that does is help the child maximize sleep: when it comes to the number and duration of naps, it's the child who dictates, and the best we can do is observe what patterns seem to result in the most well-rested child. And then a few weeks go by, and the pattern changes, so we experiment again, reset again. Sigh.

With Bub, there were always immediate, terrible consequences to any disruption of his sleep - naps were not a relaxing time of day for me because of the terror of what would happen if he awakened too early. It was very freeing when he got to the stage where he could make it through the day without napping. He still goes down for a "quiet time" each afternoon, but he doesn't usually sleep anymore, and it's SO much more relaxing for me just to be able to let go of my investment in his napping.

8:33 AM  
Blogger karengreeners said...

seriously, what's the point of fighting with a baby? why do we assume that our 'needs' should trump a baby's?

i won't say any more because i'm a bit of a hippie, except that, if wonderbaby is indeed inheriting your traits (and of course she is!), than the next generation is looking good.

8:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish that I had chilled out on the sleeping issue when Isa was little. I have always loved to sleep and when she was born I missed my 8 hours of sleep along with my 2 hour nap. It took my husband's intervention to get me to realize that it is okay to relax and go with the flow. Now, thankfully she has better sleep, but I regret that I did not enjoy the one on one times that we had together at the beginning at 4 am. But I guess that it is very hard to think straight when you are sleep deprived.

Enjoy the time you have with WB and try to alternate the nights when you or your husband get up to tend to her. This helped me a great deal.

8:58 AM  
Blogger Sandra said...

If Wonderbaby is doing fine (not totally crazed from being overtired by the end of the day and cranky as all get out), then go with the flow. Whatever works, do it. All the back and forth about pacifiers or not, cosleeping or not, bottle or breast, blah blah blah. Each child differs and each family is unique.

I used to feel like I was from Mars when Monkeygirl was a few months old and other moms would talk about how easy it was to go to restaurants and out for coffee. Their babes would sleep in the carseat/stroller for hours. I thought "what am I doing wrong if we cannot do that without a melt down?????"

Monkeygirl has actually gotten easier to take out. From hating the carseat and stroller, she now at 13 months can actually sit in a restaurant while we have breakfast. We need the toys to entertain (thanks Metro Mama for the idea of picking up a few small bags of toys at Value Village), but it is now doable.

The only thing I would consider is taking care of yourself. Wonderbaby, being high spirited as you say, needs a lot of interaction, and without any naps, there are no breaks for you. If you need a break, even a half hour for a coffee or a walk, figure out how to get that so you won't be completely run off your feet.

If you are fine, then no worries.

8:59 AM  
Blogger ewe are here said...

Yep. Just the way it is. Describes a lot of things when it comes to the habits of our wee ones.

Frankly, I was hugely relieved that MF turned out to not only be a fairly good sleeper at night, but napped pretty decently for his first year and a half, be it in the stroller, on a bed, in his crib... Why? Because I never did. My mom still complains that I never, ever napped, and required very little sleep at night. Her pediatrician for me finally told her to stop trying to get me to sleep; I'd sleep when I was tired. So she did, and everyone was a lot happier.

Before I had MF,t hough, she regularly hinted that I deserved a similar child .... ;-)

9:27 AM  
Blogger Amy Jo said...

I honestly believe that Sam has inherited my sleep habits. I have always been a light sleeper, whereas the husband could sleep through jackhammers in the next room. If I ever so much as creep through the hall outside his room during nap time and squeak a floor board, guess who wakes up?

9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I as a night owl as a baby and I'm still a night owl. Sometimes sleep can be viewed as a behavior...rather than a funtion of the way one is hardwired. My middle one could sleep sitting up (not that he had to). He slept well at night and took fabulous naps. The oldest one slept well WHILE he was a sleep, but he slept lightly. And he weaned himself from naps very early. (gee, thanks)The youngest took spotty naps, but he repaid us by losing consciousness by 6:30 or 7 and sleeping clear through until 7:30 the next morning.

And now? Every single one of them is still different...despite being raised pretty much the same. It's hard to fight nature, but I sense your struggle and send all good wishes your way.

11:22 AM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...



I don't know.

I'm annoying to some because I think often I see a resemblance between adopted children and their mom and dad. See, I'm not being rude or patronizing. I honestly see more than just, for example, features on a face. I see how the head is held, the mouth sets, the eyes move, the gestures of the hand...there might be some nature to that but there is an awful lot of nurture, too.

So if this?

Then why not that (sleep)?

My husband and I claim that all the time WRT our children.

Persistence wakes immediately full of energy. My husband blames me. ;)

Patience is a night owl. I blame my husband. ;)

Both resist naps and sleep. I blame my husband. ;)

Let me tell you what I have learned. You can think you know what is best for your child. You can think you know what you need to do. Most of this comes from some generic idea of "kids need..." and "parents ought..." and "it's best to..."

But in the end, WonderBaby is who she is.

I had to figure that out. I told myself, "The sooner you start working with P & P as they are, and find what works with them for who they is, the sooner you'll feel less like you are swimming upstream." Easier said than done, esp. since it is dynamic, but eh, I'm managing. :)

Every sleep book failed us too. It would work, then not.

It's basically taken 7 combined years of parenting (a mere drop in the bucket, I know) but I've grown to figure out a few things about my kids, which is, first and foremost, they have VERY BUSY BRAINS and do not like to stop, or cannot easily stop and turn off all that neural activity.

They happen to be kids for whom sleep is easily disrupted, by growth, development, illness.

That's their personality.

I can wish for a "sleep like a rock" kid all I want.

I've heard all (and then some) of the "things I have done wrong/ought to do" and then my kid will sleep *just as well* as the lecturing parent's child.

I had to decide whether I was doing it wrong, or just had kids who were different.

I went latter.

You'll figure it out too. Hang in there and GOOD LUCK!

11:54 AM  
Blogger Radioactive Tori said...

I have four kids. My first 3 are easy and act like their father with regards to sleep and personality. My fourth extremely challenging baby is me exactly. He has never seen me model these behaviors (because I am a grown up and have to live in the real world) and still he behaves exactly as I would if I didn't control my impulses. His sleep patterns are exactly what mine would be naturally, but since I have three other kids who go to school and need to be places I can't follow my own sleep pattern. I feel for my challenging little man because being him is going to be hard. He isn't a "normal" child, whatever that is, and he is not easy to live with sometimes. Just like me. It is either inherited from me, or some freaky fluke that caused him to behave just as I did when I was a child. Either way, I relax and just let it be how it is. I couldn't change him if I tried, and when I let go it stops being as stressful for both of us. That doesn't mean I am not tired when he doesn't sleep and sometimes frustrated by his behavior though.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

go with the flow - some things are PRE determined by genetics and there really is only so much you can (and should) do. My first two were great sleepers and i figured it was because i'd clearly done everything right by nursing to sleep and cosleeping blah blah blah. Baby #3 is a spirited baby who dropped down to one nap a day at about 8 months and dropped all daytime naps at 15 months. DONE. There is NO making this child sleep during the day and nighttime is still a struggle with frequent night wakings (she stopped nurisng at 10 months so that's not the issue). Sma mother, three kids in a row, same style, completely different results. She just is what she is. SHe apparently doesn't need (or want) much sleep and as much as that leaves me completely exhausted I've learmned to just accept it, go with it and honor her disposition, her temperament and her needs. Forcing the nap was a pointless battle that resulted in two very frustrated people and - mind you - not an ounce more sleep for anyone. Just relinquish control of the nap situation, trust her that she knows how much sleep she wants/needs and some babies really simply DO NOT (cannot) be sleep trained - no matter what method used. I know from first hand experience with my 3rd. She is her mother's daughter after all :)

12:06 PM  
Blogger Pendullum said...

My mom has said that through her preganancies she would know how we would sleep...
I was always up at night a real partier, but sister would sleep through the night and would become active at 6am, my brother up ALL the time, and my youngest sister would sleep during the day and up all night...
When we came out... we kept our patterns... she tried to breakus of them and as adults... it truly is our given times... my sister that would sleep through the night... STILL to this day has problems with being up past 10pm... but has no difficulty at all with a 6am rising...

12:07 PM  
Blogger Beck said...

It's horrible, isn't it? Not sleeping enough doesn't sound like a huge deal on paper, but once it's actually your life and there's no real relief what do you do? I copy by setting my own bedtime ridiculously early and having no actual life.
Having said that: there is a difference between not napping because the toddler has outgrown napping (and mine all did before they were two), and not napping because they can get away with it. Of course, my husband handles bedtimes, so I can pontificate all I want.... good luck.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

We've been through this at my house recently. We've tried all kinds of techniques too, and have wound up with Wonderbaby-sleep: one big chunk at night, and negligible naps during the day.

To hell with it. If Wonderbaby seems well-rested and is not obviously suffering from her 'lack' of sleep, just go with it. If the Internet has taught me anything, it's that there is real range of daytime sleep behaviours in happy, normal infants. (Let's not describe their tired, needing caffeine, mommies).

You're right to imagine you'll be happier if you readjust your expectations: instead of your and WB 'failing' all the time, you'll just come to expect a different normal, a new standard that you can in fact attain.

You cannot force someone to sleep. But you can decide whether or not be be upset about it. Go team!

1:05 PM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Oh yeah! I want some of the 70s drugs! You seemed to turn out okay, medication notwithstanding ;-)

1:09 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Go With the Flow is the ideal model, lady. The only thing I would say (unsolicited) is that if she does not seem tired then don't sweat it. (of course, there will always be Those Days).

All this said, it does not stop be from obsessing about getting Sam into Good Sleep Habits right now. And I mean obsessing.

Nice wig!

1:15 PM  
Blogger crazymumma said...

I love. l.o.v.e. the look on your mother's face. right now...as she reads this post, she is probably high fisting the air and screaming silently to herself...KARMA!

That being said, you do need down time during the day...have you gone over to the dark side of a teeny bit of TV yet? Slippery slope I know, but by whatever means ya know?

1:31 PM  
Blogger Piece of Work said...

I didn't have time to peruse all the comments, so I'm sorry if I repeat. When I first became a stay at home mother, lo so many years ago, there were lots of things that got under my skin. But the thing that really really bothered me was unloading the dishwasher. I unloaded that thing every day! It was such a pain in the ass! Where were all the fucking dishes coming from? And why WHY!! didn't my husband help me do it more often? I would get tense just walking into the kitchen and seeing that bastard dishwasher sitting there, all pretty and full of clean dishes. Then one day, I thought: oh well, it's just a dishwasher. The truth is, it takes less than 5 minutes to unload it. Once I stopped fighting the dishwasher I found I didn't even notice it anymore. There are lots of things like that about parenting. When you stop fighting, when you can let go of your preconceived notion (I'm not supposed to have to unload the dishwasher every day!!), then things become SO much easier.

Just my 2cents.

Hang in there!

Oh, and p.s. I LOVE to sleep, and I've always been an epic sleeper. Both my children are also extremely good at sleeping. So I do think biology has a lot to do with it.

1:38 PM  
Blogger toyfoto said...

Of course it is all right to buck the "model" of normalcy. It's so strange, I think, that we all want to be unique but we don't want to be different.

I really think you can help kids sleep by trying to minimize things which may be interfereing, but there are so many other components of our personalities that you can't change, nor would you want to.

When I was a kid I was a good sleeper. My sister wasn't. I needed sleep, whereas my sister needed to know what was going on. If something was happening she had to be in the middle of it all. That's just who she is.

2:16 PM  
Blogger kittenpie said...

My father always says that he has lazy mitochondria, that he needs way more sleep than average. I needed about 10 hurs a night for peak performance for most of my life, though it has dropped back to about 9. I often pass out early on the couch and sleep 11 or 12 hours when I am partiuclarly tired. This is not the dad I grew up with. So there might be something there, though of course it's hard to be sure. (I find it interesting, too, that I sometimes see my own expressions or habits in him on the rare occasions when I see him face to face. Strange, to meeet someone so not part of your life who is so part of you anyhow.)

And as to no naps, my solution is to enforce downtime on days when she refuses to actually sleep. So she spends 1.5 hours in her crib with some books and her few fave toys chatterboxing and so on, but it's quiet (relatively) time for us both. That was my friend's moms solution too, for my friend Alberta was notoriously hyper and nap-resistant as a child.

2:37 PM  
Blogger megachick said...

lamentably, these things seem to be inherited. if i could _teach_ my daughter to love sleeping, it would have happened by now. after all, she sees me nap frequently. but she takes after her father who couldn't take a daytime nap for a million dollars.

2:58 PM  
Blogger moplans said...

yup chill out. I fought the sleep battles long and hard and begrudgingly let the nap fade recently. I know what you mean about feeling as responsible for sleep as you do for proper nutrition. I really think you are doing the best you can. Check those charts in ferber and weissbluth regarding the total amount of sleep - it will probably make you feel better. I think 12-13 hours is about what they are meant to have in 24hrs so if she is getting it all at one stretch (w I pray she is again soon) then it is what it is.
Watch her and try to let her nap if you can but don't beat yourself up about it anymore.
One other note is that I always thought I was doing something wrong but when my child went to daycare the professionals also had a very hard time and often I did better on naps than they did (contrary to what Dr W suggested).

I wish you sleep

4:15 PM  
Blogger Phantom Scribbler said...

I could count on my fingers the number of times either of my children (5.5 years and 2.5 years) has slept 12-13 hours in a single day. I'd still have some fingers left over. And all of the fingers in use would represent days on which the child was physically ill.

So. Yes. Roll with it. That's probably how it is. And you're right that it will probably be easier to cope with when you're not fighting it anymore.

Caffeine in large doses makes it easier to cope with, too.

7:55 PM  
Blogger Lawyer Mama said...

You have the right idea! Shrug it off & say what the heck. It is what it is.

And buy stock in coffee.

P.S. Wonderbaby is absolutely friggin adorable, if I haven't told you that before. Love the baby fro.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahh sleep ... for those who have it is a non-issue ... for those who do not it is craziness. We have had some ups and downs as of late and oh boy do I miss the sleep action.

You are right to attempt to shrug it off, there is little we can do but try :D

10:19 PM  
Blogger Scribbit said...

Hey, I resent the "freakishly long spider-monkey toes" comment--myself a member of that exclusive and rather prestigious group of genetically superior beings :)

3:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let it be, let it beeeee... since we're being 70's.

I'm convinced that my screwed up work schedule (I rise at 2:30am two days a week) messed Jake up in utero and there's nothing to be done about it.

He wakes up at about that time (I do too, even when I don't have to go in) and I think it's because it's what he experienced since he was conceived.

I can't do anything about it... so I accept it.

WB is one gorgeous baby!

6:38 AM  
Blogger The Domesticator said...

I would let it go. One less battle to fight. She just may not need it. One of my kids was like that...gave up her nap at about 14 months old. I would try to get her to sleep, to no avail. Then I realized I needed her to sleep more than she did!

Oh and that photo of you and your mom by the gun rack? *LOL* Great "shot"! ;)

10:45 AM  
Blogger Canuckedup mama said...

I'm on the side of letting it go. Motherhood requires sanity. I'm no expert and my LittleJ is only 6 months old, but the only way I get through every day is by rolling with the punches and doing the best that I can.

I fretted immensely after reading Weissbluth because my girl wasn't falling into the patterns he described despite my best efforts. My father told me that perhaps my daughter wasn't following the "rules" because she hadn't read the book. (After four solid months of little or no sleep, that's the closest I've ever come to decking dear old dad). But it did help relax me a bit about the whole thing.

Now, sometimes she naps/sleeps at night well, sometimes she doesn't, but I have not discovered the secret of MAKING the child sleep so I just go with it.

A good friend says she thinks of everything her 18 month old daughter does as a phase because it always changes on her. Good, bad and ugly. Sleep, behaviour and every other habit. I have adopted this theory to keep myself sane.

As for the nature v. nurture debate, I've just started reading "What's Going On In There?: How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life" by neuroscientist Lise Elliot. In chapter one she seems to be in the "it's a combination of both" camp...if it varies significantly later on I'll let you know :-)

Sorry, I've left a bit of a novel here. End babbling.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Letting it go is wise. Even though you are the mother, it doesn't necessarily make you the boss. Just make sure Wonderbaby doesn't know that though.

5:23 PM  
Blogger Domestic Slackstress said...

Not only did my father have a fully loaded gun rack bolted to the wall of our family room/basement ... there he also bolted an 8 point buck in all its taxidermied, dead glory. To add insult to injury, or in this case, hunting/shooting death, he even had the poor deer's hooves mounted. They were bent upwards in odd rigormortus (spelling) formation, holding the gun that took its life. Talk about scary for a little girl in the 70s. I hated that thing, even if it did taste pretty scrumptious in stew, burgers and meatloafs all winter. Ew.

2:31 AM  
Blogger Gidge Uriza said...

I sweat a lot of stuff with #1. I wanted to do it right, it was so important that he got everything that "they" said he needed.
But 19 months later when OOOPS we had the twins, I had to adjust and it was really rough at first. I had to realize that as long as we weren't malnourished and no blood was shed, we were okay.

It's tough to realize that despite your best efforts, they will thwart your efforts to be perfect.

8:15 AM  
Blogger tallulah said...

You only have one child. If you had several say, more than four...you probably would be more on the "go with the flow" side!

4:02 PM  
Blogger petite gourmand said...

great post, and I hear you loud and clear.
what is normal anyhow?
somedays Lulu naps, somedays not so much.
some nights she goes down without a fuss at 8pm and sleeps straight through until 7-8a.m. alleluia!
but most often it's more like 9, or 10 and gasp even sometimes 11 p.m. I guess she wants to stay up to catch the news...
But all you can really do is go with the flow.
Oh and quite the photo with you and all the guns..

8:40 PM  
Blogger joker the lurcher said...

normal? we don't do normal in our house! i know for me that once i accepted things were as they were and stopped fretting about it things felt way easier. i was still tired but at least not tired, anxious and feeling a failure as well. and when she is an adult being able to get by on little sleep will make her a captain of industry or whatever rocks her boat by then!

3:18 AM  
Blogger the mad momma said...

I was a bad sleeper and when I complain to my mother that the Brat doesnt sleep through the night at 20 months, she grins evilly and says its justice. i think we are all falling into too much of a pattern of following the book. I dont know a child who will not sleep if she doesnt need it. if she sleeps in breaks.... get used to it.. i am... all the best either way! ur a terrific and insightful mother...

8:13 AM  
Blogger Felicia said...

The gun picture is priceless.
Neither of my kids napped much beyond around 18 months. We moved when my son was that age and he just got thrown off. Not that my daughter was a great napper...she went from two 45 minute naps to 1 one hour nap. No three hours to get things done for me. But they went to bed nice and early, where all my friends had to rock and soothe until 8 or 9, and couldn't come and enjoy a girls' night out. So sometimes no napping can be a blessing!

9:31 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home