Archive for July, 2013

The suggestion box is open. And tired.

I’ve been pretty much obsessed with sleep for as long as I can remember. My mom tells me that as a child, I used to dive into the crib at bedtime. Not much has changed since that time. Well, that’s not true. A billion things have changed, but I still love my bed. And sleep.

Obviously, since Bear got here,* we’ve gotten a lot less sleep. Since she started sleeping through the night (and I don’t count 6 hours or whatever they pretend is sleeping through the night – I’m talking 10+ hours) at about six or seven months, things got a lot better. For all of us. But there’s a problem. At least I think it’s a problem. And I feel bad complaining because she’s generally a good sleeper. And I know it could be worse (I’ve read the horror stories and have even heard a few from friends). But still. Ok, here it is. It’s no shocker to anyone who knows me, or to anyone who has read the previous post, or to anyone who has a child, or to anyone who has heard of children, so here goes: she gets up too early. There. I said it. It’s true! Too. Damn. Early.

It would be one thing if, at 5 or 5:30, she said from her crib in a sing-song voice, “Mama, Dada, I’m ready to get up now!” or even, “bababababababababababababa!” But she doesn’t. Sometime between those criminal hours, she whines, she cries and she sounds just miserable. We’ve implemented a new policy in which – unless something seems genuinely wrong – we don’t go to her until the clock has a six in that starter position. On day three of this new scheme, we did not hear from her until 6. Hooray! We were geniuses, I silently told myself. It worked! I was so proud of her. Of us. All was right in the world. Until the next day when the 5 am moaning began. And so it has gone.

Again, if she seemed rested and ready to greet the world at 5, I like to think I would suck it up and move on. Sure, I’d complain, but I wouldn’t be as interested in solutions as I would be in just taking a nap. But I feel like she’s unhappy when she wakes up and I don’t blame her. It’s too early! She’s not thrilled to see us when we walk in her door. She looks at us like she’s miserable and wants to still be sleeping. If we give her a bottle of milk, it soothes her, but if we were to give her say, Cheerios, she is not interested. So, I don’t think it’s hunger. When she finally does get up, she’s usually a happy little clam, but I can’t help thinking she’d be a happier clam if she slept to a more civilized hour. Now, before you suggest we move her bedtime later – or earlier – I’m going to tell you to holster those suggestions. Not that I don’t appreciate them, but we have tried. She gets up when she gets up no matter what time she hits the sack. I’d be interested in other suggestions, though. Let me get you all the facts first:

She usually goes to bed between six and seven. She’s very good at telling us when she’s ready with some pretty unmistakable clues, like lying down in Gracie’s bed or under the coffee table. She’s also not above giving us the clichéd eye-rub. She has lots of stuffed animals she loves in her crib with her, including Piglet (from Feebrain) and Cooper (from GAOOG). Thanks, loves. She usually has a book or two in there, a blanket and some other random things. Lately, we have also added a bottle of water after she has gone to sleep. What else? We don’t have black-out blinds, but because she goes to bed when it’s light out, I’m not convinced the light is bothering her in the morning (though I obviously could be completely wrong). She sleeps with white noise. She never seems to be bothered by a wet diaper and, in fact, the past couple of days we’ve used disposable diapers (due to a yeast infection), which are wicking away the moisture more than the cloth guys she’s used to. I can’t think of much else that would be relevant…

Ok, so any suggestions that would help this little Bear of mine sleep until the clock started with a 6 would be A-ppreciated. See that capital A there? That was no accident.

* And, honestly, since before she got here. At least for me. That last month of preggerdom was brutal for my sleep. I was soooo tired, but could never get comfortable long enough to sleep for more than a couple of hours – sometimes minutes – at a time without having to shift. That damn round ligament pain. And I’m sure all of my tossing and turning – and giant body pillow – wasn’t awesome for AO, either.


Up too early

These days, Bear is getting up criminally early. If we were able to get her to sleep until 7 am, I would probably break down in tears of happiness. And confusion. Usually, she gets up sometime in the 5 am to 5:45 am zone. I recently discovered that if I give her a bottle, and tell her to go back down to sleep, she will sleep (or at least lie down) until anywhere between 6:15 and 6:45. Oy. And yes – I know she’s not supposed to have a bottle in bed (and maybe not even a bottle at all at her age. Her age! Can you imagine?!) – but when the clock is screaming 5 something, and I can barely make my eyes adjust to the world – a bottle she gets. [Sometimes the bottle has milk, sometimes it has water.] UPDATE: We are experimenting with not going to her until the first number on the clock is a 6. She has been strong-willed in her crying, but with the amazing video monitor we can see that she lies back down. And then gets up again. Very Chumbawamba of her.

When it’s a week day, whoever gets up with her just sort of lazily hangs out in the living room, reading old sections of the Sunday Times or watching whatever is on the telly at that hour. Earlier this week, AO read the US Weekly on getting ready for the royal baby. I’ve been watching some Tour de France, adding the word pelaton to my vocabulary. When it’s a weekend morning, we try to get out of the house so that (a) it’s something more fun than our living room and (b) the other person can get some much-needed sleep. On Saturday, AO took her to the westside farmers’ market and for breakfast at HyVee. [Sidenote: Aaron recently asked me, “Do you think because we had Molly last year, the opening of the HyVee is the most exciting thing to happen to us this year?”] Because it’s summer, there’s a lot of options on the weekends. Even with lots of options, though, there’s still a limit to what time those options start. In taking the Sunday shift this week, I worried I’d be at a disadvantage. What opens at 7 on a Sunday? Bear and I headed out the door shortly before 7, saying goodbye to a sleeping Grace-a-fur, to see what we could see.

I decided to drive to Hubbard Avenue because I thought they might be open and I thought they might tolerate us and because I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go. I first noticed that there are a lot of people who walk their dogs at 7 am on a Sunday. I mean, maybe not a LOT, but a lot more than I would have thought. It turns out Hubbard doesn’t open until 7:30 on Sundays, so Bear and I took a few laps around downtown Middleton, checking in with Trulia on the few houses we noticed for sale. At 7:33, I parked the car in front of the restaurant and released Bear from her five-point harness. A grandpa-looking figure was walking towards the front doors with a toddler beside him. I immediately felt I’d made the right choice. After Bear finally decided to make her way through the doors, we were seated at a table and given a basket of crayons and a paper coloring menu. I think a lightbulb actually appeared over my head: this place is ok with kids. I mean, I know the staff is made up of individuals – some of whom may love kids, others maybe not so much – but as a whole, I felt welcomed. I’m sure I sound like a dunderhead talking about this, and I’m certainly not articulating it well, but I want to be conscious of where I take Bear and make sure we’re not unduly annoying people while, at the same time, getting out and about in the world. Alright, so, anyway, we settle in and Bear orders the one egger, which is one egg (didn’t see that coming, did you?), a piece of bacon, hash browns and a biscuit. Yes, it’s a ridiculous amount of food for a 16-month old, but I like that she had choices on her plate.

Bear with her breakfast

Bear with her breakfast

She really enjoyed the bacon and the biscuit, preferring to chomp right into it instead of letting me break it apart. I don’t really blame her. I’m sure I’m going to sound like whatever is worse than a dunderhead when I say that I was shocked by how many people were at the restaurant. I mean, when we walked in, I was certain we would be only the second group of people there (after the grandpa + granddaughter duo), but no – there were probably at least five other tables with peeps enjoying coffee and conversation, or maybe the morning paper. Or both! There was no stopping these early birds. And people kept coming in. I even saw a young, 20-something couple and the woman was fully made up. A couple of groups of five or six friends were getting together in what seemed like mini-reunions. Some couples came in and chatted with other couples they knew.

It seemed like we had inadvertently stumbled upon the happiest place on earth.* I’m pretty sure we’ll be back soon.

After breakfast, we drove downtown and parked by The Plaza. We walked down State Street to the Terrace where I thought we would see some ducks. Nope, no ducks. Were they still sleeping? We walked back up State Street to the Square. I sort of felt like we were seeing what happens in the theater as they’re getting ready for the play to start in a couple of hours. I felt like I was seeing behind the scenes, into a world that is obviously always there, but one which I was never aware of. I’ve lived here my whole life. I worked on State Street for years. I’ve worked on the Square for almost nine years. I don’t think, though, that I’ve ever been downtown on a stiflingly hot, Sunday at 8:30 am. It was fascinating.

This weekend it’ll be Up Too Early: the Saturday edition.

 *Bear broke that spell, though, when I dared to change her in the bathroom. I tried to tell her, “There’s no crying at Hubbard Avenue! Didn’t you see all those smiles out there?” She calmed down once the changing was over and made herself happy again by touching every stool on her way out the door.


Steve sent around this amazing video yesterday and it has made me delirious. I admit that when I first saw the commercial – before I’d heard a word about it – I hit the pause button and rewound it to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing. And then I think I texted GAOOG to tell her what I had seen. And how amazing it was. These kids’ reactions, though? And their take on comment trolls? I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. It seems there is hope, after all.

Who wants to go with me?

Goodness, he continues to amaze.

Bear at a party

Let’s try this whole blog thing again, shall we?


July 2013

Join 78 other subscribers