The first day of summer was a Friday for me and Becca, and my first day back will be a Friday at the end of the month. Each week, Friday comes again, and I am usually discouraged. Another week, come and gone, and I am tired of being at home with my non-napper and as of late, non-night time sleeper. Some weeks Friday means we are going somewhere fun, and other weeks Friday means we have one more day while Kip works a Saturday shift to try to figure out sleep. He works again tomorrow, so we'll give it another go. I remember naively telling friends that my goal the first week of summer was to stay home so we could figure out naps. Seven weeks later, we have nothing to show for it. Rebecca loves a cat nap when she wants to nap, and Mama is tired. It is super discouraging to work hard for a nap that is only long enough to reheat a cup of coffee.
I have googled all the things and come to so many different conclusions about sleep. My friends have helped generate theory after theory about why she refuses to nap as well as brainstormed solutions. We have tried less time awake, pacifiers, the magic Merlin suit, crying, rocking, cuddling, swaddling, white noise, the ergo, car naps, stroller rides, but there isn't a magic combo for Rebecca. The pediatrician told us at our four month appointment that it could easily take two more months to get naps figured out.
Yet I keep trying, saying a little prayer each time I walk out of her room that THIS will be the time she stays asleep. Today she napped for ten minutes and five minutes after two different attempts. Yesterday morning she napped for an hour. She's not fussy in between her short naps, and I took all these photos of a happy baby who had slept only a total of 15 min of sleep over six hours of awake time. She's seriously committed to her nap protesting.
But it wears on me. Kip gets home, and the witching hours begin. We have tried more feedings, a consistent bedtime routine, much earlier bedtimes, one last catnap, baths every night, and more rocking, cuddling, praying. Each night she consistently sleeps 30-50 minutes and wakes up again. The sleep books make me think this is because she can't transition into the deeper sleep though I also have wondered if it's a fourth nap she hasn't dropped yet.
She won't let Kip comfort her, as much as he would be happy to, and there has only been two nights all summer where she didn't have the second wake up. For a while I tolerated it because she would then give me five to seven hours of sleep. And in the middle of the night she can get herself back to sleep with minimal fussing. But the past two weeks she has refused to go back down easily to start the night's sleep, including a couple nights where the protest lasted until midnight. Thankfully I am obsessed with watching (and rewatching) The Great British Baking Show on Netflix and now PBS. But by Fridays, I'm rather defeated, knowing that the cycle starts again in the morning.
She is adorable. People regularly comment about how cute she is when she is out and about, and I have found myself responding with, "Yep, but she sure doesn't sleep." She has given me a run for my money. Pretty much everything about being a mama is harder than I imagined. Ironically I worried a lot about pregnancy and delivery, and those turned out to be the easiest parts so far.
My friends with terrible sleepers tell me it will get better or that it won't, but we will survive. And my friends with good or average sleepers hear my stories, count their blessings and offer support. Rachel encouraged me to write it all down because we've come a long ways from the days where I couldn't imagine nursing my baby without pain and worried about how much she weighed all the time. I write on a day when I'm all too aware there are far greater problems in the world, but this is what's happening in our corner. It's made me tired, overwhelmed, frustrated, guilty and impatient with this perfect gift we were given in February. I love her so much it hurts my mama's heart to hear her so upset when she should be asleep, and I know sleep would do her (and me) so much good. Kip's ridiculously patient and encouraging, and we'll keep trying to figure it out. She's totally worth it.
Thanks for reading a much longer and heavier post than normal. I'll get back to posts about trips and fun things we've been up to if she ever sleeps again. But hey, at least you got some cute photos for a Friday.