Monday, 29 November 2010

Sleep Training: Fancy Style

We’re weaning off the Night Nanny. It’s been over a year that I’ve had someone here with the girls almost every night. Initially the plan was just until we could get some kind of schedule. But The Princess needed feeding every 2 hours due to low birth weight and took over an hour to drink an ounce.  H was back to work and my family was gone after the first two weeks. I was alone, except for the baby nurse, and without her I wouldn’t have survived. I like my bed. Love my daughters. But need my bed. Like an idiot, I thought we would only need the baby nurse weekdays, since H would be with us weekends and we’re both competent adults. Oh how stupid was I? H loves his wife and his daughters but really, really loves his bed. The first weekend I let the nanny off, H insisted that we go out to dinner, infant in tow. (I’ve got pictures of a 6-pound infant sitting at a sushi bar. Very cute.) And when we got home, he said, “Good Night,” and trotted off to our (his) room. When he arose the next morning at 5 am for a conference call, he walked into the living room and said, “What are you doing?” I looked up with a tear-stained face and wrapped the decorative throw tightly around my quivering shoulders. “She fell asleep at 3.” “That sucks,” H chuckled and walked back to his office. Needless to say, the new rule was: Grandma or a Night Nanny.
Then came Tough Cookie. She arrived just as Princess was settling into a decent sleep pattern. And she destroyed us. Screamed every evening for 5 hours. I persisted in my idiotic attempt to “be the Mom,” and tried dealing with them myself for the two evening hours between nannies. H came home one night early and watched me run between rooms, turning on a swing or adjusting a swaddle and then using those brief seconds between screams to tend to a 4-month old who was trying to learn to self-soothe. 45 minutes that man sat on the sofa and watched me, until the night shift arrived. He grabbed the wine bottle and our dinner (yes I had managed to cook during all of this) and ran to our bedroom, threw himself on the floor in hysterics and said, “What the hell was that?” Needless to say, the new rule was: no break between nannies until TC gets over her colic. We ate out every night that month but three.
Then came our summer holiday. Yes, we had grandparents during the day and evening, but nighttime was a proper family affair. With two cots in our hotel room, the plan was to assign each of us to one child. That plan quickly ended when H loudly whispered, “Help me! I can’t find her face!” while trying to put her dummy back in the dark. When the sun finally rose, H looked at me and said, “Don’t get rid of the Night Nanny. Just don’t.” Occasionally he looked at the bank statements and sighed but that weekend left a serious impression.
And that is how I found myself this weekend with my first Saturday night without a sitter since The Princess was born. Seriously. She walks and talks. And sleeps all night. As does Tough Cookie. But we love Nanny #2 and she wanted the money and I loved the convenience so we’ve just kept it going on the weekends. (I took over weeknights about 2 months ago.) But this Saturday she had plans. So I decided to not call the backup sitters and invite the neighbours over for dinner Chez Fancy. It all went fine right until they left around midnight. The closing of the front door woke one of the girls. There was no consoling her. I didn’t want her waking her sister and I’d had just enough wine to make me feel all lovey and kind. So upstairs she came, violating every single rule about sleep training, to watch telly with her Mum. Of course I didn’t stop there, in my reckless road toward undoing a years’ worth of Night Nannying. Oh no! I took her to bed with me! She had no interest in going back to her cot. So we lay down on the guest bed together. Around 2 am I put her back in her own space. Two hours later her sister awoke and she came to bed with me. The night went on like this until morning, when Nanny #3 arrived and I handed both children off and stumbled upstairs to my own room.
They say it takes about three days to make or break a habit when it comes to babies. Saturday night was the first. Last night Princess fell asleep on the couch and about 3 in the morning both girls were awake and crying, out of their cots and in my arms. So if I continue in this self-destructive manner, after tonight I will have successfully destroyed their sleep habits and we’ll be hiring Sleep Trainers to come in and fix it all again. H has been really happy with the slowing of the Night Nanny cash haemmorhage. But I’m sure he’ll be okay with hiring someone to repair the damage. See I bought a baby monitor and put the receiver in our room even though I’m downstairs with the girls. So that he can hear every single snort and cry and sob. From all three of us. I’m not dumb.

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