We have a 2-bedroom house, with 4 humans and 2 dogs. Hubs and I share a room (obvs.) and so do the girls. The dogs get the living room. It’s been a fortnight now and we have successfully transitioned the baby into EB’s room at night. Yay! Except A2 isn’t night-weaned yet. I decided two nights ago that we had all lost our minds and somebody needed to find theirs (read: me) so this baby was going to have to learn to soothe herself once and for all during sleeping hours.
For those of you who don’t know, we did the extinction method for EB. Read about that here. At about 5-1/2 months I was being woken up every 45 min and I thought I would strangle someone. I’m back at that point with A2, even though she has a much milder 3 times a night routine. This has taken it’s toll but earned her an extra month of night nursing since I wasn’t crazy until this week. Why the crazy (besides mama being exhausted)?
- EB is adjusting to Montessori. This is “different” according to her. And it’s full time.
- We have to be at her school by 8:30. This is different for me, and impossible for us. More on this below with The Chart.
- A2 is getting less of me since I started working from home again. My attention is divided and she wants someone to hold her for crying out loud.
- A2 is teething (ouch. For both of us).
- I am transitioning from the pace of SXSW to trying to finish taxes and work at our company.
But all in all, things aren’t bad per say. Just patience is short and EB’s fuse is even shorter. First things first – get this baby to sleep more, longer, and I am a more patient mama. Last night was the 2nd night and how is this baby so much easier than EB was? She’s been doing great, except for the first crying jag at midnight the first night. Now she’s like, cool, I’ll just wake up when the sun comes up. Jeez.
To let A2 cry it out, Eebs has been sleeping in our bed. That means she’s is a chatty chatterbox till 10 pm till she finally passes out, even though the lights had been out for an hour and no one is responding to her kicking them in the face while she flops around. This is why I’m not a good-forever-co-sleeper. Sweet Cheesus, I need some room and I can only deal with so many people snoring next to me.
Because she’s been staying up, she’s a maniac in the morning trying to get her out the door in time for school. Yesterday was the disaster of all disasters. There were tears, forced dressings, no-breakfast eating, stanky breath, just get to school for the love of kittens. We were 20 min late. So I came up with The Chart. It’s in the testing phase right now, but I made a list of everything she needs to do in the morning and evening so we can do things in a reasonable amount of time so we can all SLEEP. It’s all about getting more time with eyes close and we are all happier people the next day. EB hits her sister less, enjoys food more, and puts her seatbelt on easier if she is rested. I sit patiently while she is the most independent woman on the planet when I am rested. And A2 just chills the eff out no matter what.
Here are The Charts. Here’s the link to customize your own for both boys and girls (free/printable). If she does something that she would normally do anyway, but doesn’t throw a fit, she puts a sticker next to the task. Like Wake Up – bam, sticker. Take of the PJ’s – pow, another sticker. You can see how the first day when we retroactively stickered her tasks (to show her how it works and to see how…little…was accomplished without the having of the fits. Today was much easier and she will get to fill in all of the morning stickers when she gets home from school, setting the tone for the evening tasks again. Hopefully. We have a sh-t ton of stickers since my mom is a retired teacher and we can try out this reward system without wasting money. I will think of a more permanent system if it ends up working.
At the end of the week, if she’s gotten enough (we’ll see how much is “enough” as time goes on) stickers, she’ll get some sort of reward of her choosing. I asked what present she wanted yesterday and she said “to get bigger and bigger and bigger” for her birthday, but I think she’s getting her upcoming surprise present and birthday party at Central Market playscape confused with an everyday present. So today her reward will be ice cream and a playground and our present will be a beer while letting her blow off steam. We deserve it.
I also took a morning off from trying to get everything in the world done and ate tacos and drank coffee with GS. She’s great to talk to about crazy-making babies. I think I am a great birth control for her.
We all gotta stay sane, people. Whatever it takes. And nothing works forever, but something new and different might work right now. I’m pretty sure that’s the secret. Sleep begets patience, patience begets clarity, clarity begets stickers. Do you have ideas for getting kids moving in the morning sans tantrums? I mean, besides bribery, of course.
I see the irony of charting to get babies and charting to get sane babies, BTdubs. It is not lost on me in my exhaustion.