Friday, 27 March 2009

When Losing an Hour Actually Means Gaining an Hour (or Sleep Deprivation Brings Out the Existentialist in Me)

I am a fan of routines. Anyone who knows me well will attribute this to my Type-A personality, my need for things to be "just so." So it's probably no surprise that I have tried to adhere to Gina Ford's sleeping and feeding methods when it comes to establishing Crumpet's schedule. We've been successful at times (some days might even qualify as "textbook"), but more often than not Crumpet has her own ideas.

Take yesterday, for example. She was up at around 5:30 in the morning, happy and excited to start the day. I tried to leave her in her cot at least until the roosters stopped crowing, but she was having none of it. So I brought her into bed with me and attempted to give her a feed, which she was less than enthusiastic about. So I put her back in bed, where she continued to scream (in a delightful, "I'm-up-and-so-should-you-be" sort of way). At around 6:45, when I had had enough, I brought her back into bed with me. She happily fed this time... and quickly fell asleep. So rather than get back up and put her back in her bed, where she might only sleep for 10 minutes (can you tell this isn't the first time we've experienced this sort of morning?), I let her sleep on me for about 30 minutes, which I haven't done in ages. Of course, I don't get much sleep this way, but it is such a special time; I just love watching her sleep, and I might as well take advantage of all of the cuddles I can now so that I can savor the memories when she's a teenager and doesn't want to be around me. But I digress...

For the rest of the day, the "schedule" was thrown out the window. Crumpet refused to go down for her morning nap even though she was tired, was hungry for her mid-morning meal far earlier than normal, and only got a half-hour sleep at lunchtime. Then she wouldn't take her 2:00 feed until just after 3:00, at which time she fell asleep (but at least she got a good, dreamy feed while doing so). But as soon as I got up to put her down, she woke up and was ready to play. By 5:00, she was exhausted, but I refused to put her to bed because I knew that if I did she would be out for the night. Keeping her up until 5:30, when I fed her her baby rice, was a real struggle, and she fussed throughout her meal. When I took her upstairs at 6:00, she was so tired she wouldn't even feed, which almost never happens. She usually at least latches on, even if she just uses me to fall asleep. But not this time. So I relented and put her to bed at just past 6:00. I barely got downstairs before the baby monitor went silent; when I checked on her a half hour later, she was out for the count. And this morning, she was awake again with the roosters.

This weekend we move the clocks forward an hour. There was a time in the not-so-distant past when I dreaded losing that hour of sleep, but now I am cautiously optimistic that losing an hour is exactly what I need in order to gain an hour in Crumpet's schedule. After all, what is now 5:30 a.m. will be 6:30, and I can handle waking at 6:30. Anything earlier than 6:00 a.m., however, does something to me psychologically. And it is much easier to keep her up until her 9:00 nap if she doesn't wake until 6:30 or 7:00. But I don't want to get my hopes up.

I could get all philosophical and talk about how time is really a man-made concept and that I should adapt to Crumpet's more natural, circadian rhythm, etc., etc., but I don't have the energy... or the time.