Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Baby Whisperer.... Or Something...

For all eternity many months now, Cadence has been on a SUPER late schedule. Which means our day looks something like this:

9:30 or 10am ish: Cadence wakes up and effectively wakes me up. She's quite a good alarm clock.
10:00am: Frantically run around getting myself and Cadence ready to bolt out the door to head to whatever mom's group event is going on that day that inevitably started at 10.
11:00am: Arrive at the activity of the day horribly late with a cranky and unfed baby, which of course means that I spend the next 20 minutes of the activity feeding the baby rather than participating in the activity...
1:00 or 2:00pm ish: Arrive back home exhausted from the morning's craziness and pray that Cadence will take a bottle and go down for even a short nap like a normal baby.
5:00pm: Finally give in to the fact that no nap will be happening.
7:00pm: Cadence surprises me with a mini-nap. A mini-nap is NOT the same thing as a nap. A mini-nap means that she is only SORT OF sleeping. Just enough to keep her laying still on the couch next to me, but not enough for me to move her to her crib, do dishes, clean up... really not even enough for me to stand up off of the couch. This leaves me with no choice but to sit in my paralyzed state on the couch and catch up on my DVR.
7:25ish: Mini-Nap time ends and we're back at it full force!
10:00 or 11:00pm: Cadence FINALLY crashes for the night.

Here are some really awesome things about this schedule:

  1. I get to sleep in every day. The way life should be! 
  2. She sleeps 11 to 12 hours STRAIGHT through the night, every night. Which is basically unheard of in the baby world. 
  3. I get to catch up on my DVR.
More recently though, the schedule has been inching later and later. The worst night was when Cadence didn't go to bed for the night until 1:30am! And then she wanted to sleep in the next day until past noon! Well, this schedule simply does not work! 

Here are the reasons why it actually is sort of a sucky schedule: 

Jonathon typically needs to go to bed at around 9pm ish in order to get enough sleep for his work day the following morning, which means that I stay up late with Cadence, he goes to bed alone, I finally get her to bed, join my snore machine loving husband in bed, and try to get some sleep. Jon's alarm goes off at like, 2am or something ungodly like that (probably more like 5am), and he proceeds to get up and get ready for work. He is not loud about this process, but I am an extremely light sleeper, so I am awake through the entire getting ready process. And I'm typically super excited to be awake really early after staying up late with Munchkin. After Jon leaves for work, I try to go back to sleep, and I usually am able to finally fall asleep right around 8:30 or 9, giving me about an hour or so more of sleep. 

Now, I know that there are many different beliefs out there about sleep and how it works... I however am a firm believer in the importance of REM cycles. I don't want to get all scientifical on you about this, because in order to do that I would need to have research and facts and other crap that are just not worth my time, but the basic idea I'm getting at here is that your body goes through REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycles, which affect the deepness of your sleep. In the middle of a cycle, you typically are deep into your best resting time, but in between cycles your body is a little more awakeish. If you were to sleep uninterrupted for as long as you could, your body would naturally wake up at some point, and that natural waking point is always at the end of a REM cycle. So, if you wake up in the middle of a REM cycle, you wake up feeling really tired and unrested. And when someone tells you "sorry I woke you up, go back to sleep," what they don't get is that going back to sleep is great, but when you go back to sleep you are starting all over at the beginning of your REM cycle, so you really won't be any more rested unless you have the ability to go back to sleep for an entire new cycle. If you happen to be a person who is not a parent, let me please express to you that this idea is simply IMPOSSIBLE with a baby under the same roof. Anyway...

Reasons why a late sleep schedule sucks: 
  1. Jon and I both go to bed alone and never get any parent only and baby-free time.
  2. My schedule is so opposite from Jon's, which means my sleep is always interrupted, leaving me feeling worn down and tired all the time
  3. Our mornings are always stressful and crazy since most mommy and baby activities start at 10 or 10:30
  4. Since Cadence doesn't really take a decent nap, I feel incredibly unproductive at the end of the day, which prompts me to stay up even later after she finally goes down for the night in order to get dishes or laundry or whatever done, which of course intensifies the problem. 
Despite the fact that I LOVE sleeping in late, I have finally come to terms with the fact that this arrangement is simply not working for us. Therefore, for the past 2 weeksish I have been desperately trying to move Cadence's bedtime earlier. I thought this would be easy. I figured, one morning I'll just set my alarm for early, go wake her up, entertain her like crazy all day so she doesn't fall asleep, and come 8pm she'll be so ready to crash for the night, and VOILA! New schedule. 

Didn't work that way. Apparently I have an incredibly resistant kid. But for some completely unknown reason (my best guess is divine intervention), after staying up late Monday night in typical fashion, she inexplicably woke up at 7am on Tuesday morning. Sometimes she does this because her diaper is soaked and she wakes up uncomfortable. I can always tell right away whether she's waking up for reals or waking up our of discomfort. The discomfort wake up is always accompanied by uncontrollable screaming. The awake for the day wake up is always sweet and babbly and happy. On discomfort mornings, I can usually change her diaper, give her an ounce or 2 of milk, and she goes back to sleep. But Tuesday morning at 7am she woke up for the day! So.... I was exhausted and surprised and also anxious to see how the day would go as a result. 

Tuesday afternoon we met some friends at the Village Fountain. Cadence wore herself out splashing in the cool water. Then we went and enjoyed some lunch at the Purple Cow restaurant with one of our mommy friends and her sweet baby girl. I was estimating that Cadence would probably begin to come unglued from exhaustion in the restaurant, but she sat sweetly and ate her lunch while my mommy friend and I talked for nearly 2 hours! Then we came home and I thought for sure Cadence would crash for a nap, which I was dreading since a late nap can sometimes translate into a late bed time all over again, but no! She played and babbled and laughed and ate dinner and was wide awake and HAPPY until she finally crashed at 7:30! 

I put her in her crib and she spent the next THIRTEEN AND A HALF HOURS in dreamland! So this morning I was thinking, "wow, with 13 1/2 hours of sleep, she'll probably be good to go for an exceptionally long time today, so it was probably just a fluke thing." But tonight she went down at 8:30! I'm so excited I could cry. Now the only problem is that my body is SOOOOO not used to falling asleep early, so I keep staying up really late despite the fact that I finally CAN go to bed early, so I'm even more exhausted since Cadence is waking up earlier now, but I'm sure I'll adjust. And it would figure that the first two nights in FOREVER that she has gone down early are when Jon is out of town, so still no mommy and daddy time, but maybe, just maybe, this schedule is here to stay! 

Now what are the odds that I just wrote all of this exciting news out for my bloggies (like homies... no? ok.) only for it to not last? Don't jinx it, Lara! 

Anyway, if any of you super moms out there have suggestions for how to help a child maintain a certain schedule, I would certainly welcome suggestions! However, I don't believe in the "cry it out" method, which typically means I get to hang out with her until whenever she's finally ready for bed. Hmmmm.... What has worked for you guys?

And finally, here's are some cute and completely unrelated pictures of Cadence, since no good blog post is complete without a dash of adorable.
This is her latest sign of affection: she holds her body up on hands and knees and rests her head on my knee. It looks incredibly strange, but it's actually really sweet and cuddle-ish! I think she likes doing it because it's easier for her to kneel on her knees when she's got me for added support and also because she can rest her head on me rather than hold it up. Too funny! 

And this is my sweet fall fairy at the Dallas Arboretum during their fall pumpkin display: 


  1. Just keep her on that schedule if that's what you want. Cannon has surprised me often by being able to go to sleep when I laid him in his crib. Meaning - I wasn't sure if he was tired, but he'd been awake for a while and it was "bedtime" so I'd lay him down, he'd talk to himself and sure enough the next time I'd check on him he'd be asleep for the night. You might not have to "cry it out" to get her on a schedule that works for ya'll. :-)

  2. Oh that would be so nice if she would let me do that.... I've tried many times, but she SCREAMS in her crib until I come back. I would love if she would just lay in her crib and babble until she fell asleep! I usually will let her cry for about 10 minutes and then I go get her, but I can tell by the way she cries whether she'll fall asleep in the 10 minutes or not. And usually it's not. So hopefully this new schedule will stick! My concern is that we're leaving town tomorrow morning and travel always throws us off, and then we'll hit daylight savings time, so a lot of curve balls are coming our way soon. I hope we'll be able to maintain our schedule, because that would be so wonderful!

  3. Some friend I am, took me a week to read this. Fail! sorry. Wow this is amazing. Cadence should call Jack and give him all her the question begs to be asked. A week later, how is it going?
    Um and obviously she is the most adorable fairy on the planet.