Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Land of confusion

Welcome to a world where a recalcitrant 3 year old is put back in diapers and an obstinate 9 month old sleeps until 9:30 a.m. after being up three times the night before and thus begins skipping morning naps well before any "baby expert" says they should. (Actually, we all slept until 9:30 a.m. two days in a row. And, no, it doesn't make me any less exhausted.) I am lost in the land of confusion without a map or a compass or even a sherpa.

Almost every night I skim through a favorite parenting guide, "Your Baby and Child" by Penelope Leach, searching for clues, something that I perhaps missed that may be the key to why one won't train and the other won't sleep.

The worst part of going back to diapers, besides the searing sting of parental failure, is that Danny knows how to remove his own clothes and will attempt to remove his diaper AFTER he has pooped in it. He's confused. Danny asks for a pull up in the morning. I oblige but tell him that he can't poop in it. Two hours later, he does. I put him back in a diaper. He later tries to pull it down and makes an unholy, poopy mess. He sits on the potty, squeezes out a tiny tinkle and says "I all done." He knows on some level that he should use the bathroom instead of his diapers, yet his exasperated mother put him back in diapers. The laundry and the utter despair every time he soiled himself was just too much to bear. We thought about just putting rubber pants over his underwear but I am in no mood to clean up poopy underwear. Period.

I'm confused. It is beyond baffling as to why he progressed so far on his own and now barely cares about the potty. He had been using it on his own without reminders, pulling his own pants down and back up, and even taught himself to pee standing up.

As for the infant, I've probably screwed up her sleep habits for life. When Danny was 9 months old, he was self-soothing (he would suck his fingers) and sleeping through most nights (6 to 8 hours). I like to think that we took some steps to get him there because, really, we had no one else to focus on. With number two, it's different. My attention is split, my motives are different. I could once tolerate a few rough nights and keep the long-range goal in sight. Now my goal is to get her back to sleep as quickly and quietly as possible - future implications be damned - so I can get some rest and so she doesn't wake the rest of the household (though that's really not likely - the rest of the household is comprised of two men who "suffer" from nocturnal deafness). As a result, I break several so-called rules - I nurse her to sleep, I put her down KO'd instead of drowsy, I don't let her cry for very long, I feed her each time she wakes. I feel like I am delaying her grasp of a vital skill - how to self-soothe. She doesn't suck her fingers, she doesn't like pacifiers. She likes human contact which is why co-sleeping with her is a disaster. Fiona literally sits straight up in the bed upon waking and claps her hands and shouts at me at 4 in the morning. Not cool, baby, not cool.

Sir Topham Hat may appear at any moment to sternly scold me about causing confusion and delay (at which point I will hurl that fat, little *@$&*@#&$ into the nearest wood chipper). Confusion and delay -- just some of the many parental services I provide.

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