Weekend Score: Girls, 2; Sleep, 0

While we had a lovely visit with my friend J in podunk Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, I came to Monday morning utterly exhausted.

The girls decided that 5:30 in the morning was a perfectly reasonable time to start on Saturday. Having consumed three glasses of red wine in quick succession the night before, and getting to bed around midnight, my sour stomach and I felt much differently.

I managed to survive until about 9 a.m., when J graciously brought me Tylenol and ginger ale from the convenience store, and then took the children for a walk. After about 45 minutes of utter stillness with my eyes closed, the Tylenol did its work, and I managed to shower and get dressed.

Kate decided to try for consciousness Sunday morning at 5:30, too, but I brought her into bed with me, and we managed to doze off again until the more decent hour of 7 a.m. Red wine had been wisely avoided on Saturday night, although I did have a tasty Dogfish Head IPA, so I did not have to relive that pain.

The weather was less than optimal, but we managed to keep the girls entertained over two days with new-to-them toys, walks when it wasn’t raining, a playground nearby, play-doh, and an indoor play area complete with the Germ-Laden Ball Pit of Doom (pictures to come). Mealtimes and evenings were low-key, and included crockpot mac ‘n’ cheese (need recipe, J) and a chick-flick on Oxygen (The Notebook; mraw to Ryan Gosling, but pretty hokey none-the-less), a prerequisite for girl time.

Driving with the girls was stressful, as per usual, and Flora saved her very worst behavior for the final 30 minutes of the drive home. I mean, child, we are 30 minutes away from the front door. Chillax, as they say in the ‘hood.

After fighting the fruit flies with vinegar-, wine-, and apple core-loaded traps, Dan braved Wal-Mart on Sunday night to get real fly traps. They seem to be working thus far (the organic traps worked, too, but not in nearly the same numbers as the store-bought traps). I will be undertaking a serious sanitizing of the kitchen in the coming weeks. Oh joy.

So, yeah, I’m tired. Suggestions for pick-me-ups are more than welcome. I’m staring down a daunting week, and I could use some positivity. Thanks.


Conventional blogging wisdom says that when something starts to go well — potty training, behavior modification, child sleeping through night — one should not mention it on one’s blog. Doing so will result in an immediate, irrevocable regression.

So I’ve nothing to report.

But if I did, say, have an interesting way of … how to put it so as not to anger the gods of sweet dreams … helping a child fall peacefully into slumber, well, I would feel beholden to share.

So if, perchance, I have something to report in say a month or so, I will talk about this technique. All credit due to DearDR, by the way. I mean, credit would be due to DearDR. If credit were due.

Which it may be. Or not.

Of course, maybe I shouldn’t say anything at all. Until Bun’s 20 years old. And keeping me up at night rather than waking me up at night, and for entirely different reasons, no doubt.

Yawn. Zzzzz.

The weekend to this point has been difficult, challenging, and… interesting. I have a lot to ponder and write about, but I need some sleep first.

Due to my high school reunion, the debate of whether or not to join Facebook is being revisited. In my head. The last thing I need is more time in front of a computer. If it is something that can be set up and minimally tended, I’ll do it. But if it turns into a giant timesuck, I’m going to bail.

And if any of the following become too bothersome, I’m out.

All I Need is Sleep

For some time now, Bun has been giving me some difficulties at bed time. She is already, at 2, quite the little staller. Monkey tries to stall too, but her heart isn’t really in it. She takes “no” extraordinarily well at bed time. Most of the time.

Bun lists all the things she has to do at bedtime:

“Watch tee-vee?” We’ve already watched our 1/2-hour-before-bed-time show.
“Bush teef, mommy? Bush teef?” Of course.
“Tak-a-baf?” This regardless of whether or not she has already had a bath.
“Read book. Harwy, No Roses.” That’s No Roses for Harry, second only to Harry by the Sea in our household.
“I poopy, Mommy” or just “Change di-per, Mommy”. Poopy or not, I must change her. She accepts no substitutes.
“Rock-a-bye?” or “Song, mommy.”

If she’s really desperate, she tells me, “I hungy, mama. I firsty.” She does not like to hear “no, it’s time for bed.”

Then once she’s in bed, she’ll start crying about 5 minutes after I leave the room. I suspect she’s scared of the dark, and she’s scared of shadows, so I usually leave her crib-side light on. (I know, I know, it’s time for a big girl bed. We’ve just been so very busy.)

But in the past two weeks, it’s gotten worse. She’s been waking up in the middle of the night crying and crying. She won’t settle down until I go into her and rock her a little bit. Or, worse, she’ll wake up around 4 a.m., and be convinced it’s time to get up and go downstairs.

Three nights ago, she woke up screaming at 1 a.m. She screamed for an hour despite my attempts to soothe and rock her. She truly seemed terrified and kept looking around her room as if she didn’t know where she was.

Finally DearDR took her, and walked outside with her. It was like hitting the off switch. Of course, when he brought her back to bed, she wanted nothing to do with her crib, and so they slept together in the guest bed.

Two nights ago she woke up twice, once at 11:30 p.m. (I think — I was a little groggy) and the next time a 4 a.m. At 4 a.m., I took her downstairs, but I didn’t put any lights on; I showed her that everyone was still in bed and it was still dark. When I sat on the couch, she cuddled right up like she was going to doze off. So I brought her in bed with us; it worked out okay then, but I don’t want to make it a nightly thing.

I know we went through a similar phase with Monkey, but she was older, and a night light solved it. Bun can’t seem to tell me what is wrong; it shouldn’t be teething (she’s got ’em all), and she just had an ear recheck that revealed no new ear infection — hallelujah. When I ask if anything hurts, she cries out, “No!” And cries some more.

I do not know what to do for Bun. It seems she’s having nightmares, and I’m not sure it we can prevent that. Up until now, she has been such a good sleeper. It’s not horrendous, relatively, but I hit a wall around 2 or 3 p.m. at work, and being up past 10 p.m. is a real struggle. (I know I should go to bed earlier, but it just doesn’t happen if i want to keep my house in relative order, post and/or plurk, plus have a smidgen of “just-me” time with a book and a glass of wine. And watch Lost on Wednesdays. And then there are green bean nights… Oh, you know.) Suggestions are more than welcome!

This morning takes the cake. After wreaking havoc on DearDR’s sleep most of the night (he tried to settle with her in the guest bed again), she came in to our room where I was sleeping at 4:50 a.m.; after 10 minutes of kicking and stealing my blankets, I took her downstairs, gated her in the living room, and turned on the Backyardigans. Then I went back up to bed.

At 6 a.m., she came back upstairs, climbed into bed with me and fell asleep. She was still sleeping when I left at 7 a.m. She’s trying to kill us. Or, at least, drive us insane.

I’m tired, yo.

Meatless Monday: A Pause in the Action

Due to DST (Daylight Standard Time, Daylight Savings Time?) being an utter DiSasTer at Casa di RPM, I don’t have it together enough to share my dip recipes today. Please stop again next week.

To sum up: Bun turned into a monster. I was looking for horns or a tail on that girl yesterday. No sleep = bad Bun.

In the meantime, this from Monkey: “I need a night light. Or I’ll make a bad dream.”

When Your Day Starts at 2:30 a.m….

…the suck lasts alllll day looong. I assure you.

I don’t know what happened, although I have guesses. In Monkey’s case, I don’t know what it is, but she finds it much harder to settle when DearDR is home and/or when he puts her to bed. First she wouldn’t settle down — she wanted him to stay with her; then she wanted to go in our bed; then she wanted to be back in her bed. Finally she fell asleep in our bed, and I moved her to her bed at 11 p.m. when I went to bed.

She was back at 2:30 a.m. Then she wanted to go back to her bed at 3:30 a.m., then came back at 4 a.m., and then Bun woke up at 4:30 a.m., and was pretty much up for the count. At 5-ish in a desperate bid for sleep, DearDR took Monkey into her room and they both slept in her bed. Bun simply would not give up, and finally I took her downstairs sometime around 6:30. That happened after I cried for nearly 20 minutes because she would not.fall.asleep, and my crying made her cry.

It was a bad scene.

Although I ditched on my original plans (the Children’s Museum), I still had some things to try to accomplish yesterday: grocery store, bank, post office, library. We made it to the second one. Then I tried to burn them out at the kid mall.

And Monkey was wonderful, very well behaved, in the mood to shop, even. Quote: “I think we should buy me something pretty here.” This after a search turned up no toddler-sized Steelers jerseys.

Bun, as usual, was a different story. If I went right, she wanted to go left; she didn’t want the snack we were all sharing; she wanted all of the drink we were all (supposed to be) sharing; and she ran, ran, ran, sometimes literally in circles away from me. It all culminated in a major fit as we were leaving the mall and I was wrestling her into her coat and trying to keep her near me while I helped Monkey with her coat.

I was tired, frazzled, and most of all, embarrassed. Bun can be an angel in public, or at least funnily charming. But yesterday she could be nothing but contrary.

My theories about the sleep issues: I think Monkey was cold; our upstairs tends to be chilly, and it was chillier than usual. Bun is teething I think, cutting her final molar. At least I hope it’s the final one. This has been going on every couple of weeks for awhile now, so between teething and ear infections, Bun hasn’t been the best sleeper.

I’m almost positive it was not a full moon, but I’m too tired now to check.

4 a.m.

I keep waking up at 4 a.m.

It’s been awhile since I’ve awoken regularly in the middle of the night. Usually if I do, it’s because my bladder needs some relief. And I can go right back to sleep.

But lately it’s like some internal alarm is going off. And it’s set for 4 a.m. Which is not good.

Occasionally, I am waking up from a dream. Last night, it was a very strange dream about two teens (the boy, white, rich and 14 years old; the girl, poor and of a different race, and a little older, 17 maybe; also, she looked a lot like Angelina Jolie) who have this baby, and their families’ reactions, and how they grow and change and accept this child into their lives and their family histories. It was incredibly involved — most of my dreams are.

And by the time I realized that I had awoken with a racing mind — finishing this odd story my subconscious had cooked up for me, and then thinking about all the stuff I had to do — it was 30 minutes later, and I was like, “Go back to sleep already!” And it took another 15-20 minutes.

And my alarm goes off at 5:30 a.m.

This has been a pattern for about a week now. I just noticed the pattern last night.

I don’t like the pattern.

Every mother — parent — knows from interrupted sleep. But I don’t understand what is interrupting my sleep now. Wacky dreams? Red wine (I usually have a glass after my “chores”)? Bun fussing? She does fuss at night without her binky. It usually goes something like: rustle, rustle, whimper, whimper, a soft, “mama”, then another whimper or two, and she’s back to sleep. I don’t rush into get her at the first whimper — I’d just wake her up. Then neither of us would get sleep.

What does 4 a.m. mean?

Mr. Sandman, Send Me A Dream of My Own Bed

For two months, Monkey went to bed contently in her own bed. Not a peep at bedtime.

I was so proud of her, I bought her a kiddie pool. Then, last week, when she clearly and strongly expressed her desire to sleep in my bed, I told her about the pool — tactical error; we hadn’t put it up yet. The information that we owned it was sufficient enough to get her back into her own bed — for one night.

The next night, the battle was renewed. Just as I was readying the “pool” bribe, Monkey, face down on my bed, held up a hand. “Mommy,” she said solemnly, “you can take the pool back to the store.”

Heavens defend us — she’s already anticipating arguments. We’re doomed (again). I was speechless. If the pool didn’t get her in her own bed, I had no idea — short of physical force — what would.

And now, in addition to the fight to sleep in my bed, Monkey has become the queen of the bedtime stall. This has been building for awhile, but it has truly reached new heights. She throws off her covers, and insists I put them back over her. She adopts a new animal every night, and makes me search for it until it can be safely tucked in with her. She dithers over the choice of a book. She goes potty twice before going to bed.

It’s maddening. I have stomped, I have bribed, I have coerced, I have threatened. I have put her to bed with the gate up, and come upstairs to find her bedclothes and stuffed animals against that gate and her in my bed. She’s a 3-year-old escape artist! If I close the door, she yells and cries — and she can open the door anyway.

Last night, I simply gave up. I read her book and sang her lullabies in my bed. When I went to bed later, she was sleeping, so I moved her, and she slept the rest of the night in her own bed.

I guess that’s the best I can hope for right now. I cannot think of a bribe that will entice her. DearDR suggests that we keep the pool but not let her swim in it, but I don’t want to fight that battle.

She’s won. Until I think of something else.

Suggestions welcome!