Monday, January 17, 2011

Examples of how I am a Different Mother the Second Time

I recently had two conversations which gave me some pause to consider how differently I am mothering Mattias.

The first regarding was sleeping. Mattias is almost 10 months old. On a good day, he'll take (2) 45 minutes naps.  On a bad day, (3) or (4) 20 minute naps. As I told my friend the other day, I don't really worry about it too much because I feel I can't.  Noah, who no longer takes a nap, is bound to wake up Mattias. Sometimes Noah is being a loud and difficult to control 3 year old. And sometimes he's behaving really well until he need to use the potty and then (still) yells out "I need to potty!  Mommy, potty! Potty!" Or a toy slips out of his hand and falls on the floor. Or he closes a door (BANG).

Mattias almost always wakes up with the slightest noise. Or he inexplicably wakes up all by himself. I guess I can't only blame Noah... And he's so delighted to be awake again - there is no return to slumber.

Noah was a terrible sleeper at this age, too.  The difference is that Noah was a terrible sleeper his whole, entire life until age 2 years and 3 months.  Mattias USED TO BE a good sleeper. I think his recent bad sleeping is the result of our bad habits.

With Noah we tried everything. Swaddling, cotton pajamas, elevate the head of the bed, dress him warmer, dress him cooler, put a fan in the room, put him to bed earlier, put him to bed later, white noise, classical music, change his diet, ask the pediatrician, consult the blogs, consult google, humidifier, and any combination thereof.

With Mattias? Well, if he doesn't want to sleep, I put him in the carseat and run errands. Like I said, bad habits.

So the other day, when my friend recommended I try white noise with Mattias, I stood there in stunned silence. How could I have forgotten? Why haven't I tried that with Mattias?  Is three years really so long ago? Why am I not trying harder to get Mattias to sleep? Shock: I am a lazy mother! No seriously, why aren't I trying harder to get Mattias to sleep?!?

The other conversation regarding mothering revolved around potty training. I must have been really bored living in Germany with Noah, because we started doing potty training at 4 months. At that age, it's not really potty training, it's called EC for elimination communication. I would describe EC as initially the caregiver learns to listen/look for signs that the baby needs to use the toilet and then holds the baby over the toilet and Voila! the baby goes on the potty. Eventually, the baby gets better at communicating as well as controlling his/her own body and then it's more like potty training and less like ECing.

Yes, it works. Noah and I did it between 4 months and about 12 months. You might be getting the idea I'm quite granola. But really, I just like to experiment.

Noah still wasn't fully potty trained until 2 years and 3 months. But I learned a lot with all the ECing. I've been too distracted to do EC with Mattias, but I've been subconsciously operating on a theory that I developed while ECing Noah.

Which brings me to my excuse for all the lazy parenting that's going on around here.

It was Noah's magic number: 2 years, 3 months.

And the subconscious theory that I've been operating on, aka MY EXCUSE: babies often wake because they need to pee. So, even if we get the noise-thing figured out, there's still the peeing-thing. We either train them to sleep through the pee-thing, or we teach them to go back to sleep after they wake up. If you train them to sleep through it, nighttime potty training will be rough. Ideally, you teach them to go back to sleep. But that takes a lot of effort because you want them to wake up (to pee) and then you want them to go back to sleep. Either way, the sleeping and the peeing are tied together and probably can't be separated until the child is old enough to develop strong bladder control.

The result of this theory for me is that Mattias' sleeping can't be improved, so I just need to wait it out.

Is that a crazy theory? Probably. I've never read it anywhere. Or I don't think I've read it anywhere... I'm sure I developed it as an excuse for bad habits and lazy parenting.

I'm going to work harder to get Mattias to sleep better. Really. Because he was born a good sleeper. And I think I tried a lot harder with Noah, so I kind of owe Mattias, right?

1 comment:

Pregnantly Plump said...

Baby Plum's been having sleep issues recently as well. At first we thought it was teeth, then a stuffy nose, but I'm pretty sure that it's our Aerogarden. Its light is on 17 hours a day, and it's pretty bright. We've switched the hours, so it's dark at 3-4 a.m., and it's worked so far.