The Bear was up at 5:45am. We played for a few hours. He ate porridge with blueberries at 7:30. He was in bed for his first nap by 9, and was so exhausted he fell asleep in my arms. I woke him to burp and then gently laid him in his crib. He looked at me groggily and smiled. Then he rolled over to his side, Froggie clutched tightly in one hand, and promptly passed out.
For the next three hours.
By noon, we were up and ready to go -- had to stop and sign him up for swim lessons and then make a quick run to Target. When it's 107 degrees out, you pick your errands very carefully. We were home by 1:30 and he finished his entire lunch by 2pm. Things were looking like every other day of my life and I had no warning of what was about to transpire.
At 2:15, I carried him up to bed, again, bottle in hand and Froggie in the other. Scotty rubbed his eyes, yawned, and exhibited every other symptom of a tired baby. He sucked down all six ounces of his bottle, burped, and snuggled with me as I sang gently. I laid him down in his crib, tucked him in, and tip-toed out the door. Another successful nap, right?
He fussed a little for about 10 minutes. I heard him on the monitor and ignored it. Then another 10 minutes went by, and he still wasn't asleep. I began to pace. I hate this part about Motherhood - do I intervene? Do I ignore it? Does he need something or is he just fussing? If I go up there, will I actually re-stimulate him and then make it even harder for him to go down? Is he moving to one nap a day? (all of my baby books state that babies transition from two naps to one "between 12 and 21 months of age." Oh, that's specific. So helpful).
I waited until the fussing became all-out crying before I finally went upstairs. Was there poop? A sneaky burp stuck in his throat? Did Froggie fall out of the crib? Now that Scotty can roll over and pull himself up in his crib, it's getting harder and harder to convince him that this is a "sleeping" place, not a place to party and get your baby on. He thinks bouncing while holding on the to crib sides is the most fun thing, ever. But he definitely wasn't bouncing or dancing - no, he was full-out crying.
So when I opened the door, I wasn't surprised to see him standing up. What did surprise me, however, is the moment he saw me, he threw himself down on the crib mattress, tummy-side down, and began wailing. I mean, wailing. Romanian-orphan-baby-no-one-ever-picks-me-up wailing. Arms and legs flailing. He looked like he was swimming in his sleep sack, there was so much movement. His little fists were clutched into tight balls and he was literally beating his crib mattress with them. I just remember looking into the crib thinking, "Okay, drama llama. Get a grip."
I scooped him up, did a quick diaper check, and began rocking him. He immediately calmed down. And began giggling. And cooing.
Ooooh. I see what's going on here. He wants to play, not sleep.
I felt like telling him that in about fifteen years, he's not even going to want to acknowledge/admit that I'm his mother, let alone lose sleep to hang out with me. I know you think I'm cool now, but that will all change. Trust me. Get your sleep now so you can be an appropriately snotty adolescent when the time comes.
And not surprisingly, when I put him in his crib again, the screaming started. The flailing started. The giant tears rolled down his cheeks in droves but what me totally lose my marbles is when he combined all of this with little yelps of "Momb! Momb! Moooooooomb!"
So I did what any self-respecting stay-at-home-mother does. I walked downstairs, grabbed my cell phone, and texted my husband. It said, "Scotty has been screaming since 2:15. Totally being a butt cheese. Doesn't want to nap. I am done. Done."
When Brian called me, I finished up my very rational line of thought by telling him, through my sobs, that 1.) I hate him, 2.) I quit and 3.) I am going to back to work. Tomorrow. Because I can't take this anymore. I said all of this while watering the flowers in the backyard, my only escape out of the House of the Screaming Baby. I began to mentally write the Craigs' List ad for a 'Free Baby to a Good Home!' in my head while we were on the phone. Should I post it on Facebook as well?
By the time Brian talked me off the ledge (and we agreed that I did not have to go the grocery store in 107 degree heat after the emotional exhaustion of the afternoon), I reluctantly went back inside and up to the nursery. All was quiet. Did a coyote come and drag my child off? I didn't know, and there was no way in hell I was opening that nursery door to find out. For all I knew, a rattlesnake had entered the nursery, Scotty fell out of his crib, or he magically apparated. I didn't know and I didn't care. All I knew is that it was quiet for the first time in up to 90 minutes and I wasn't about to accidentally wake my child and have this whole bloody mess start again.
And within forty-five minutes, I heard baby coos on the monitor. Guess a coyote didn't break into our house. When I reluctantly opened the nursery room door, I was met by big smiles and silly wiggles. Like the last two hours had never happened.
I will say this: we never did the whole 'cry it out' sleep training when he was younger, because we never had to. But now that Scotty has a much better recognition of the world around him (and that we are still existing, just downstairs, thanks to object permanence), I might look into this technique. To save his sleep and my sanity.
It's so funny because this morning, Scotty launched into Nap Tantrum #2. But I was so much better prepared for it. It's like the first time something new happens as a parent, you freak out. But the second time? No biggie. I went up to his room every ten minutes, gently put him back on his back, tucked him him, rubbed his head, and left. And by the third time, he fell asleep. No Romanian-baby-theatrics, no beating the crib mattress...just a fussy kid who doesn't want to nap.
With his birthday approaching in the next few weeks, it makes me think of all of the other 'firsts' that will be happening...and who's tantrum will be bigger: his or mine.