There are three variables that must be managed to raise a human child. Energy intake, waste removal and unit recharging. During the course of these past five months the first two have vexed us at the Trixie Update to no end. Longtime readers will recall the saga of Milk Week and all the work that the milk cycle entails. And of course who can forget the excretory nightmare of diaper explosions, leaks and general messiness as the diaper count numbered in the thousands. But these previous conditions pale in comparison to the duress and trauma caused by the third variable — Sleep.
It should have been obvious from the start. Milk and Bottle management? It takes a long time to starve. There’s always time to recover if we messed up a little. And the rest is just a little bit of soapy water and elbow grease. Diapers? Again, humans have lived in filth for centuries before modern times. At least we have the benefit of a washing machine. But sleep, that’s a whole other animal. How long can the human body function without sleep? A day? Maybe two – but what kind of decisions do you make under those conditions? Sleep deprivation takes an incredible toll on the body, and that is why Trixie’s sleep cycle has become the final frontier.
Trixie slept with us the first 3 1/2 months. This was not the ideal sleep situation according to half the parenting books out there, but the other half said it was ok. Our bed presented its own set of problems. A super-soft, pillowtop mattress with lots of pillows, blankets and two giant bodies surrounding Trixie is pretty much the textbook SIDS situation. The only thing that could make it more dangerous would be to throw in a nice big pile of cat hair. Still, she managed to survive and we enjoyed having the little peanut to snuggle with until she started to kick us at all hours of the night. Thus began the transition to the crib.
We let her cry herself to sleep in the crib. It’s painful to listen to at first, but after a couple of days you get used to it and after a week or so, it actually becomes pretty hilarious. All you are doing is gently laying her down in a nice warm baby-sized sleep space and she’s screaming like a cat being butchered. It does get funny. I understand it’s going to be even funnier when language is throw into the mix and she starts screaming “Help ME! Save ME!” in these benign situations.
The biggest problem in the crib transition brings us back to the first variable: food. When she was sleeping with us, Jennifer could feed her at any time during the night with very little effort. Now there’s lots of stumbling around in the dark, and bad decisions are made at 3 in the morning about whether we should put her back in the crib or take her to bed with us.
We are now acting under pediatrician’s orders not to feed Trixie between midnight and 5am. If she wakes up at 3am, we can go say hello and maybe tuck her in again, but no food. This schedule appeared to work pretty well leading up to the holidays and then it all went to hell. We’re still trying to recover but it seems that Trixie is totally regressing. And this is how things stand today. Every night is unpredictable but we continue to slog ahead with our sleep campaign dreaming of victory.
Coming Soon: Sleep Charts!