Monday, May 18, 2009

In Transition

I can’t relate. I’ve never been a napper. If I allow myself the luxury of some afternoon reverie…I pay for it later on in wide-eyed insomnia. And I could never do 20-minute power naps. If I fall asleep in the afternoon, I go deep, my brainwaves slowing to a standstill. And when I finally rise, I’m groggy, disoriented, and cranky as hell. So, no napping, unless circumstances are dire.

Kevin and Sophia, on the other hand, both relish their naps. Kevin, who is utterly incapable of nocturnal sleep, seems to have little problem dozing once the sun breaks through the horizon. And Sophia has been known to beg for a nap when we have kept her up longer than three hours at a pop, reaching out for her crib as we carried her towards it, plugging her mouth with her thumb and assuming the head down, butt up position.

But now, at 18 months, Sophia is beginning to consolidate her naps, meaning the two hour-long baby-free periods I had each day are collapsing into one fitful siesta of indeterminate length. Everyone tells me this is better—that you can get more accomplished…and enjoy more of your baby during your wakeful time. I’m sure that one day this will be true, but right now we are in that no-man’s-land where two naps are too many and one is not enough. My formerly sweet, docile child is more like…well…me after a nap. Cranky. Clumsy. And wanting to be held.

And if it isn’t enough that Sophia's mood is darker, her poverty of sleep during the day is now affecting her sleep at night. As Kevin always says (and is living proof of this axiom), bad sleep gets bad sleep. And so, we are back to crying it out. Only this time, she’s more tenacious and more aware than ever before. She cries with the confidence that we are partying downstairs…without her. We sealed the crack under her door with a stuffed snake to muffle the sounds of us having a wild time washing the dishes, living it up sorting the laundry, and rocking out while we recycle.

On the first eve of the one-nap days, she roared her terrible roars for a good 45 minutes. Kevin, sick of watching me cringe, decided he would go to her. I heard him through the monitor say, “Oh you made a poo,” and Sophie sniveling, “Poo! Poo!” We felt badly that we had let her go on for so long when clearly the poo was the issue, but we were relieved that there was something wrong—and that she wasn’t regressing to her infant ways. But later that night…around 3 am…I heard a tiny voice call out, “Poo Mama, Poo!” And, though I knew I was being had, I felt compelled to check.

Sure enough, no poo.

So now, Sophia has become the girl that cried poo. And sometimes there is a poo. And sometimes there’s not. Either way, neither one of us is getting much sleep these days. I know, like all things, this too will pass. But I feared that if I didn’t write about it, this would be the sort of memory that fades with time. The quotidian disturbances that mean so much to us in the moment, that stress us out, that we rant to our friends about, but that leave no permanent markings. We are always in transition, always moving on to the next thing. "Everything becomes something else and slips away (e.e. cummings)." But this moment, even this moment, is precious.

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