Archives for category: Sleep

Marco! Polo!

I love you. I love you, too!

The second comment often follows the first (and, in the case of Marco, is part of what makes it problematic as a first-name option, in my opinion).

In our house, we have our own call and response. It’s generally a sleepytime thing, at pseudo-naptime or bedtime. “Mama!” she’ll say, sometimes in her normal voice, sometimes softly, sometimes with her own special inflection. “Baby!” I reply.

Although we haven’t read it in a while, I’m rather certain that she remembers this from Richard Scarry’s Funniest Storybook Ever. Flossie loses her doll into the bread-dough trough, and when a strange loaf of bread says, “Mama!” (which may be spelled “Momma!” in the story), Lowly helps solve the mystery. In the final story, in which Lowly’s birthday is being celebrated with an enormous cake, the doll is in the cake. The doll says, “Mama!” as Flossie runs toward is saying (you guessed it), “Baby!”

And so it was tonight. The past few days have been rough. It’s Wednesday, and since Sunday, she’s had a cold or some viral infection – a runny nose, tiredness, a cough which sometimes sounds a bit barking – and she even threw up once, last night, when she cried too hard (after not napping, she also couldn’t go to sleep and was beyond distraught). A trip to the doctor today confirmed it’s not the flu or anything obvious, and to our relief and her necessity, she’s now in bed – her converted-as-of-last-week toddler bed! – asleep. It took many rounds of our call and response. If I tried to keep quiet to encourage sleep, she’d remind me of my role: “Say ‘Baby!'” And I upheld my end of the bargain. Sometimes I’d get quiet to imply the need for quiet, for sleep.

And she sleeps. To call, to respond, to know that someone is there – we all need a little comfort, sometimes.




(But bedtime was arduous.)

It’s easy to feel like a good parent on the days when everything goes right, when your toddler naps, when all of the games you play are fun, when dinner and your home improvement projects all turn out just the way you wanted to, the first time around.

This was not one of those days.

I cried, and my tears fell onto my shirt. My daughter, the object of both my love and frustration at that moment, had nearly grated her fingers, carried off the cheese I needed for biscuits, ignored at least three sets of instructions, and then methodically picked the blooms off of a stem of silk lily-of-the-valleys. To add to the mix, there was crying on her part, foot stomping, and general caterwauling. And that was just in a three minute span.

She looked up at me, eyes wide. “Are you sad?”

“Yes,” I said, and she hugged me.

“I’m sorry you’re upset,” she told me. I felt better – unprompted kindness does that – and told her I was going to put some water on my face.

She took two wooden utensils from the dish drain and went into the bathroom with me. Ugh – one more thing to have to wash again, to move, to put away. One more thing on top of one more thing.

She climbed onto her stool, stuck one utensil under the faucet, and turned on the water. Water trickled over the face of the wooden spatula, then she turned the water off, stepped off her stool, and started walking towards me, carefully holding the spatula. The water dripped off onto the floor, leaving both the spatula and the floor a little wet. One more thing to wipe up. “I’ll wet your face,” she said. “Take off your glasses.” (Of course, from her, that statement sounds like this: “Take ozh your gwasses.” Obediently, I did, and she gently ran the damp face of her utensil over mine, the curve of its face matching the curve of mine, and wet my face for me.

Never, I think, has something like a wooden spoon been put to kinder, gentler use. I won’t mind washing those again; I won’t mind washing those again at all.

When she wears her cheery red robe (see previous post), I feel like she’s auditioning for a Christmas pageant. All she needs is a shepherd’s crook or a small sheep, and she’d be a shoe-in.

Unfortunately, her face is trying to match her robe. When we were in Idaho, I thought it was as dry as it could be; humidity wasn’t high on the panhandle’s list of priorities. It seems that we’ve found somewhere just as drying (it rains a lot more, so I know humidity exists – it’s not the tooth fairy!). Her cheeks have thick vertical stripes of dry skin. With the naps she has skipped in the past week plus (this started last Wednesday, and today is Thursday) and the path her more frequent tears take, it also seems that her skin is a mirror of her sleep state. Tonight, even her eyelids were rosy, making the stripes longer, the look sadder. You know this look: it adorns the faces of college students at the end of exam week or a driver at the end of a too-long road trip. She’s exhausted, but again today, she wouldn’t nap. How long can this last?

I guess her face is trying to prepare for the audition, too. I just hope she’ll nap once try-outs are over.

There’s a fog that descends over you when you’re a parent. You can’t see too far behind you, you can’t see too far ahead of you; all you can see is what’s around you.

The fog was literal today, and heavy, as we drove from our town to the next. Each moment of the familiar drive was a small revelation, a lesson in attention to details. Does the road curve up ahead? What comes after this stand of trees? After the Smokehouse, how many driveways are there before the grocery store? With a visibility of five to ten yards, there was no time for anything but attentive awareness.

Taken from the blog Serendipity and its writer Paula, who got the picture from Flickr

It’s the parental state we seem to live in, too. We try to be attuned to her daily needs, to balance playing outside with down time, to be sure she doesn’t get too hungry or too thirsty, to expose her to the richness of the world. Sometimes, we try to look far ahead, but more often, we look behind. We look back at pictures from two years, one year – even six months – ago and we’re shocked. Did she really have so little hair? Were her cheeks really so much rounder? Was there really a time when she slept every two hours?? Living in the present is necessary: if we don’t notice the details of day-to-day life, we’ll miss things, both big and small.

Like tonight: I asked her what color plate she wanted (after she’d discussed, with Nene and Poppa via Skype, what color plates we’d use at dinner). She said,” Yellow. Actually, orngin [her way of saying ‘orange’].” When she went to bed, after a long and trying day which was nearly all downhill after 3:00, owing to being a no-nap day and having moms’ group at our house, during which she mostly snatched toys the second someone picked something up and cried, she gave me a kiss. Then, she gave me lots of kisses, kisses on both cheeks and on my forehead, back and forth, like a mama animal nuzzling its young. She covered me in kisses. “I love you so much!” she said. And so much of my frustration melted away. My within-five-yards lessons today: my daughter knows how to use the word “actually” and she is aware of, even if unable to control, her tired self and the frustration that she causes, so the kisses were love and apology and relief all in one.

I find some relief in the fog, too. Something’s ahead, something’s behind – but right now, it doesn’t matter. It’s enough to have this week, this day, this moment, with my daughter, my husband, my family, my friends.

Late afternoon on a no-nap day. Night time sleep: much better – only the one waking to potty, then sleeping until morning. Afternoons: hard. Very hard.

She borrowed – make that commandeered – her daddy’s iPad and had the companionship of her Pepper cat. What more could a girl want on an afternoon like that?

At dinner tonight, we asked her: “Will Baby Baby be a boy or a girl?”

A girl, she answered decisively.

Later, during the marathon putting-her-to-bed session, which began at 7:15 and ended at 9:28 (when I finally left her room, and she really was asleep!), she repeated her comments about Baby Baby popping out when it’s her birthday – with a twist. The socks are still an integral part of this, but this time, she said, “And you’ll wash the pink socks, and she will wear them!”

HappyGreenBee’s socks, the socks to which she is referring

She gave my belly two kisses for Baby Baby and patted me.

Does she know something we don’t?

Indeed she did perk up, like a flower in the rain. But I should have been more specific: I wanted a diurnal one, not a nocturnal one.

A moonflower is what I got.

She woke up around 1:30, chatty and happy. We knew she was feeling better – hooray! – but we’d feel better about her feeling better at a later time in the morning. Say, 6:00 or so.

Then she woke up around 4:30, and there was no going back. Among other things, she quoted Skippyjon Jones in the Doghouse: “It’s a three beaner!” Apparently, that was really, really funny at 4:30 in the morning, and we all laughed instead of being angry at being up so early. Matthew got up with her and had, from what I’ve heard, a joy-filled morning. I slept, so the same goes for me.

She tired earlier than usual – after a day of being down and a morning of being up ridiculously early – and so lunch was earlier, too. Somehow, she missed her mouth when she went to drink her water. She poured her cup without having it to her lips, and the water poured down her front. I gave her a disapproving look, and she offered back a paraphrase of our comments on love: “When I am naughty, you always love me!” “Even when you’re naughty, we still love you” might be the way we usually put it, but the sentiment is there. Love is unconditional.

No matter what time she wakes up or how naughty she is, we always love her.


We should have known, when she woke up early and a little fussy. We should have known when she only wanted to be held, and Matthew cradled her on his chest, as he had when she was an infant, and she nearly fell asleep there, in his warm embrace.

She snuggled this way at less than a month old, too.

We should have known when she napped at 9:15 in the morning – we should have known because of the napping, period.

If something seems wrong, it probably is.

After her nap, I checked, and her armpit temp was 100.9 – and you’re supposed to add .9 for a “regular” temperature, making it 101.8.

After spending at least half of the day in bed and eating only a piece of a pumpkin bar and half of a saltine over the course of the day, she called it a night by seven o’clock. Her adjusted armpit temperature was 102.3. Her eyes never had their alert look; they only foretold sleep.

She’s never been this lethargic, this happy just to sit on our laps or lie down next to us. I hope sleep does its restorative job and that she perks up, like a flower in the rain, by the morning.

Today we all went to see The Isle of Klezbos. If you want to watch a rollicking klezmer band, this is it. The clarinetist was my favorite – WOW! sums her abilities up pretty concisely. Our girl enjoyed clapping along and dancing and managed to make it through the entire concert with some snacking, reading, and playing with toys all thrown in for variety. The 4 p.m. start time helped, too – and the fact that her friend sat by us.

It also helped that she took her first nap in easily a week today. Sure, she fell asleep in the car after coming along with me to the doctor. Sure, she’d previously claimed, “I want to sleep in my tib!” before falling asleep to my rousing rendition of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”  Sure, it was after a fast-food lunch (it’s important to start teaching those healthy eating habits early…). But she slept for over an hour and a half, and we had the happiest afternoon we’ve had in weeks (I must confess that I sat in the car with her and read my book. Not productive but wonderful). A little nap’ll do that.

Now, we just need to see what tonight brings…and I hope it’s not more night terrors. I really, really hope it’s not more of those. Shouldn’t klezmer music smooth the way for a pleasant night’s sleep?