been a while since i've posted. oops.
anyway, we had a much better week this past week. we've gotten a lot more smart about getting beatrix the sleep she needs, and it's improved the quality of life at our house dramatically. she takes her naps, still only a little while at a time, and we all get to enjoy her awake time a little more than before. there's a palpable lack of tears in the house from both bebe and mommy, and daddy doesn't fear coming home from work so much. how did we do it? well i'll tell you one thing- it wasn't from following the instructions in some dumb-ass book.
i like to believe that most problems/issues can be resolved by breaking them down to their simplest form or forms. occasionally there are certain variables that due to the nature of the issue cannot be removed, but for the most part, problems seem insurmountable because we allow too many of those unnecessary variables to cloud up what's really going on. babies are built for this kind of nonsense because there are an endless number of variables from baby to baby and endless number of 'experts' who all write books to publicly disagree with each other, and not to actually be helpful. expert 'a' says items one through ten are to be ignored but extra emphasis should always be placed on item eleven. expert 'b' says one through seven are crucial, while totally ignoring the existence of items eight, ten, and eleven and stating that nine is only important if one falls into an obscure (but of course important) demographic that expert 'c' says doesn't occur anywhere but in the remote rain forests of brazil (i hear there are some of those left). then some a-hole from the new york times writes an investigative report that debunks all contemporary theories and the next round of books get published. but i'm not bitter. really.
when your baby isn't sleeping, you ask yourself 'why.' and somewhere between the asking and the answer, all manner of useless crap works its way into the formula. soon there's so much other stuff for you to focus on you're not sleeping either. food allergies, textile allergies, noise sensitivities, light sensitivities, odor sensitivities... any or all of these things could be considerations. part of the problem here is that there are no wrong answers. for the majority of babies, and even assuming that all babies are different from one to the next, these *could* all be factors. they are all things that will upset the routine of most babies, but are they, or any one of them, responsible for what's keeping your baby awake?
any one of those things could play a part in the overall problem. let's stop and look at 'death' to illustrate my point. LOTS of things can kill you, just ask my wife. objects of rock and ice from deep space passing through our atmosphere and landing on your head would certainly cause 'death.' and it's something you should be mildly concerned with. there are thousands of such objects that make it through our atmosphere each year. LOOKOUT!
however, more people get killed crossing the street each year than by being hit by meteors. and the most common reason for those traffic deaths is simple: people who are not watching where they are going walk directly into the path of a speeding automobile and get creamed. LOOKOUT!
and in this case of 'death,' there's a simple reason why that person got hit: they failed to pay attention. to their surroundings, to where they were headed, to the people around them who all stopped trying to cross when the light changed, to current fashion trends, etc.
now let's pretend that 'a sleepy bebe' is that automobile. and the fuel for this automobile is 'lack of sleep.' and the more 'lack of sleep' you give to 'sleepy bebe,' the faster she's able to go (or, the less she's likely to sleep). now we, as the parents, are that doomed pedestrian, so that speedy auto is not our friend. but there we are, walking along, not paying attention, and POW! that kid runs us down every time. so what's the simplest way to avoid being hit while crossing the street? watch where you're going. which is exactly what we had been sucking at. we couldn't for the lives of us figure out why we kept getting hit. and instead of doing the simplest, most effective thing we could do, we considered every other thing we could, egged on by the doctors and experts of course. i.e. what is causing 'death' to occur in this instance?
we must not be wearing the right shoes- CRASH! we're trying to cross the street at the wrong time of day- POW! we're not eating a balanced diet- screeeeech....WHAM!
man, we almost got away on that last one, but we got hit at the last minute anyway! what are we doing wrong? and has anyone seen my other shoe?
well, as it turns out, diet did (we think) have something to do with it. part of bebe's lack of sleep stemmed from bad gas and spitting up because something mommy was eating would get inside her little body and wreak havoc. she'd wake up all night long grunting and covering herself in milky puke. fun! but not so easy to sleep through.
but what about once we had eliminated the most common food allergens, thanks to an insane two week diet mommy has been on? she still wasn't sleeping easily, wouldn't take naps, and would scream all day long. now what? actually, one of the points that the 'sleep expert' made (to his credit) was that parents who have a difficult time getting their kids to sleep are often missing the sleep cues their child graciously provides. he shoots, he scores- we were totally missing her sleep cues. and like little doorways into dreamland, these cues would open... and then slam shut. and the more we missed, the smaller those doorways got, and the louder they slammed shut.
when babies get sleepy they become quiet and withdrawn. this is your cue to scoop them up, get them to a dark, quiet place, and gently woo them to sleep. whenever bebe got quiet and withdrawn we'd look at each other and say 'this is awesome! she's just sitting there, zoning out! she's like a cute little vegetable, just sitting there not requiring anything from us. not even soy sauce! as if we were going to chop up her little vegetable self and make a tasty stir fry!' an hour later, when she was overtired and screaming bloody murder, we'd be singing a different tune. probably 'highway to hell' by ACDC, or something similar. this made for one of the worst weeks we've ever had with her: as she was transitioning to this slightly more advanced sleep routine, mommy and daddy were bouncing down the street towards that busy intersection, huey lewis on the walkman, blu-blocker shades on, not a care in the world. LOOKOUT! WHAM!
well, things are different now. we look both ways and hold hands. and at mommy's insistence, we all wear helmets. hey, you never know.
this weekend we had regular naps, and the awake time in between was the best. who knew that once your baby gets the sleep she needs, she'll be happy and fun the rest of the time? i should write a god damn book. it's even easier putting her down for the night, and thanks to mommy's diet she's sleeping for longer blocks between feedings. this baby stuff is a freakin' piece of cake. enough with the analogies- on to the pics!
one last note: regarding my other blog (whatever we lose, link above)- there are now daily updates going on there. the stuff that's going up now is polaroids starting with the real old-timey 3x4 peel-apart photos. they're all taken with the pro-pack, which is essentially a pinhole camera- no real focusing/exposure control. sometimes you get lucky and the photos come out, but usually it takes a few tries. so much for instant. but when they do, they tend to have a liquid, dreamy quality. apart from the instantly developing photo and negative, it's pretty bare-bones photography. after that stuff will be the polaroids that most people recognize- square image with the white border, the kind the camera spits out and you shake and watch develop. fuji still makes the 3x4 film, but polaroid recently stopped all production of the other type, so whatever is out there in the world is all that's left. too bad because the images are cool, but ultimately an expensive indulgence compared to 35mm film or digital...