Tag Archives: Baby sleep schedules

Stress Dreams

18 Mar



My body has been telling me that I am stressed out. I didn’t think I was, but I went to the dentist recently, thinking I had my first cavity in about a decade, or possibly more, as several of my teeth were hurting. My dear dentist tried very hard to find a cavity but concluded that my teeth couldn’t look better (thank goodness). He then used a device to make them very cold (which was a super fun sensation), and determined that my nerves were upset, probably from stress, extra grinding, and lack of sleep due to the new baby. My bite has always been an issue because of my TMJ problems, so he adjusted one tooth and sent me on my way. I had to agree with him, thinking about how my jaw has been hurting more than normal, causing me to wear my nightly retainer occasionally during the day.

I was under the impression that I was getting great sleep. After the first couple mind-numbing weeks of trying to sleep while holding a baby (because sweet Rex wouldn’t sleep if he was put down), we have been slowly figuring out a system. This system evolved to what we do today, which is swaddle him tight and put him down around 11pm. He sleeps about 5-6 hours, I feed him once, put him back down, and he sleeps for another 4-5 hours. This is what I would call “winning”. But as both he and my husband can be somewhat noisy sleepers, and I am a light sleeper, and the baby is still in our room, I have taken to finishing out the night on our deliciously soft guest bed in the purple room, guaranteeing me a couple more hours in the wonderful land of nod.

However, and I’m not sure exactly why, but every night (well, really morning) for the last week, I have had intensely vivid stress dreams. Maybe because of the shortness and intensity of the sleep?

  1. I was trying to call 911 because a girl was choking. A firefighter was helping her, but 911 thought I was making a prank call, so they hung up on me. The girl died and the firefighter threw her roughly onto the floor. After a moment she got up again (but was still dead) and chased me around the room.
  2. I was at my childhood home hosting book club. I was trying to cook something and I couldn’t control the flames on the gas stove, so they rose too high and burned the cabinets. A small panda was apparently on top of the cabinets, getting burned as well. I handed him to a friend and his singed hair came off in clumps as I tried to clean him up.
  3. I was hosting my birthday party at a new house I purchased with an awesome basement. My realtor was there and he built a human sized sling shot which he wanted to use to catapult the baby across the room. Everyone was drunk and I was mostly sober, and when I went to the fridge to grab a beer, mine were gone, having been drunk by other people.
  4. I was at a hotel, smoked some wacky tobacky in the gardens, and then attempting to get back inside I realized I was in charge of the baby, had to pass by my in-laws to get to the baby, and some lady stopped me to tell me how strongly I smelled of the illegal substance.
  5. Walter had his first soccer match. Instead of attending, Dave and I dropped him off and went out to dinner (maybe book club) with our friends. We got the timing wrong, and I realized not only had we missed his entire match, but we were ten minutes late to go pick him up. Dave argued with me, saying we had more time to go get him, but I left anyway and tried running there, which I was having a hard time doing and at one point my wedding ring caught on something in my hurry and part of it ripped off. When I realized it was too far away to get there by foot, I tried calling an Uber, but I couldn’t use my phone correctly or get my credit card number entered or sign up again or all the things I needed to do to get to my son.
  6. I was trying to find my new coat to leave a very large school (everyone else had their coats but someone told me mine had been destroyed), and I realized I was dreaming. Once I realized I was dreaming, people started looking very crazy and I wanted to wake up, but I couldn’t figure out how to wake up. I realized if I could find my way out of the school into the parking lot, I might wake up in real life too — and that’s exactly what happened!
  7. I was in class and knew I had to take three different tests. Afterwards I was supposed to go directly to the symphony, but I realized I had worn my pajamas to class and milk was leaking all over my shirt. I didn’t have my car with me, so I figured I could Uber back home and make it back in town just in time to make it to the symphony. I tried to get the baby in the car seat, but the car seat was flopping around and I couldn’t figure it out. So I found another car seat that worked, but this time when I looked down the baby didn’t have any arms. Bypassing that issue, I wondered whether I should grab Walter from his class to take him home with me, but I couldn’t find the Kindergarten classroom, and none of the teachers I asked in the hallway could tell me where it was either.

I think maybe I need to take a Xanax before going back to bed.


Things I swore I’d do before I became a parent

4 Sep

It’s fun to look back and see if I actually accomplished my goals.

1. Never use a pacifier

— Kinda! We never relied on pacifiers. But we started using them in the car when Walt was an infant because he screamed bloody murder every second I was driving. Nothing helped… except a pacifier. We didn’t need it after he moved out of his infant car seat at six months.

2. Breastfeed exclusively

— Yes! This one was very difficult. There were times I hated breastfeeding, especially at the beginning and intermittently til Walt was 10 months old. Then it clicked. Maybe because I stopped pumping (a great device if you are out of the house but it stressed me out so much) or because at 10 months they’re starting to eat, so you don’t have to rely 100% on boob. Either way, we’re still nursing now at 2 years+

3. Not have the whole house be one giant playroom

— Nope! There is at least one toy (more like mountains of toys) in every room of the house. Except maybe the bathrooms. Oh, sweet sanctuaries.

4. Immediately put the baby on a sleep/feed schedule so he’ll sleep through the night

–Nope! Ha, ha, am I right?

5. Use cloth diapers

— Kinda! Oh boy did I try. Try and try and try. About six months ago we gave up cause Walt always seemed to have a diaper rash (and I mean always). Now we don’t get frequent rashes, and when he randomly gets them we can use the type of cream that gets rid of them (we had all sorts of natural, cloth friendly creams that did nothing). Oh well. Maybe it’ll work on future babies. I still believe in cloth diapering, and we still use cloth wipes.

6. Natural childbirth

— Yes! 100% drug free, quick birth. I was lucky.

7. Homeschool

— Don’t know yet! I’ve always said I’d put Walt in preschool for early socialization, which we started this month going two days a week and he loves it. I plan on starting around 4 or 5. A lot of people I know homeschool their children, so it doesn’t seem quite as contrary as it once did.

Our California Trip part II, or How we tortured the baby with lack of sleep

4 Jun

Being sick, traveling all day, then dinner with red wine made going to bed “early” on Thursday night easy. Which then made waking up at 4am with the baby less painful. When he’s only a few feet from the end of your bed, there’s not much choice in the matter. Unless you’re David and you can sleep through baby wailing. He’s been able to do that since the baby was born. I am still incredibly jealous.

That morning was hazy. We nursed, fed the baby, played on the king size bed (Walt had a lot of fun crawling around and face planting into the sheets), and went out to breakfast. Half the family went to an invite-only doctor luncheon, father-in-law wanted McDonald’s, and I wanted to walk around to a local coffee shop. Besides, I needed tea for my sore throat. And we had to hit up the grocery store for more baby food.

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Walt got a good nap in after breakfast, and I would have too except David woke me up to tell me he was going to walk around with his dad and brother-in-law. I’m not sure willing myself to go back to sleep for an hour gave me any more rest, but when you’re sick, it’s always nice to be still.

We met up with everyone for lunch at a Thai restaurant nearby, before trying to get Walt another nap before the graduation festivities at 5pm. He briefly slept and we headed off. California weather is beautiful this time of year, and graduation was outside. We were all worried about getting too hot but it turned out to be a little chilly. Walt lasted through two student speeches filled with inside jokes, a commencement speaker who’s sending private citizens into space and revolutionizing medical technology (I want to read his book), and his uncle being hooded before he lost it. We took him to a vacant building nearby, found a bit of the last sunshine of the afternoon, and I nursed him. We were lucky that he fell asleep on us many times this trip. He used to only want to sleep on us when he was a newborn, but the older he grows the harder it is for him to stay asleep on us. It was a treat to be so cuddly with our baby this weekend.

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Walt’s first big vacation was with his whole Johnston family! Great-Granny, all his uncles and aunts (including his gestating cousin!), his grandparents, and his parents!

A lovely Johnston family photo!

Lookin’ good in Cali


Getting lost on the way to a celebratory dinner at Killer Shrimp did not help the baby sleep issue. It was almost 9pm by the time we got there, parked, and ordered our food. Walt hardly ate anything all evening and was clearly at the end of his patience, although he still was delightful in spite of everything. Dave and I ended up getting our food to-go so we could put the baby to bed. I couldn’t imagine trying to keep him up a couple more hours. It would have been cruel. We were disappointed to leave, but it turned out that a little hotel picnic, whispering so we wouldn’t wake the baby, was really fun and definitely a unique experience for us. That shrimp was good!


The six month mark

19 Feb

My dream last night:

I was riding on a train in Paris to get to the airport to come home. It was crowded and somehow David wasn’t on the train with me and Walt, but he did get on partway there. I started playing bridge with an older lesbian couple and their son, who was trying to teach me the rules. I was paying so much attention than when I looked up, the train was empty including David, who had gotten off at the correct stop for our particular flight home. I asked the attendants if I could hop on another train to get back to my stop, and they told me there was only one train going one way, so I’d have to go the entire route again if I wanted to get to my stop. I started freaking out and telling them that I needed to catch the noon flight home; I already had my ticket! My husband was boarding that plane! They said, how are you still on this train, it’s already 2pm in the afternoon!

I searched through my bags to find my cell phone to send a text to David to wait for me. I began pulling out phone after phone, none of which was mine. I would grab a phone that looked like mine but then was another brand. When I finally got to my phone I kept messing up typing in the words. Before I could get a text message written (I frequently have trouble texting and taking pictures in dreams), Dave got back on the train. I flew over to him and hugged him and said, how did you know? And he told me he wouldn’t have gotten on the plane without me.

I woke up, not really in a panic because that wasn’t a nightmare, but I turned over and hugged the real David before falling back asleep.

Baby has let us get some normal sleep again. Oh, the joys of regular sleep! I am consistently getting 6-8 hours in a row of delicious, amazing shut eye. It started when we decided to put him down to sleep later in the evening. I’m not really sure what prompted the change, but somehow it has really worked out to put him to bed between 7 and 9pm, rather than 5:30-6:30. We sometimes take a late afternoon nap in order to make this possible. But this makes things really flexible around here.

For instance, we are able to go out to eat again. That is nice because we have both sets of grandparents in town and now they don’t always have to come over to eat dinner at our house. So far we’ve gone to Jalisco’s, Johnny’s Pizza, and Holy Taco. Walt isn’t ready for Bones yet, but since we love going to family places anyway, it works for us. I feel like this is prep for all the vacations we’re taking this year. It’s good to know that Walt can manage something besides a rigid routine.

I feel like I’m finally getting in the parenting groove here. Sleep, venturing out of the house… what more can you want out of life?

Also, we are using cloth diapers! The very wonderful owner of Green Mountain Diapers sent me a lengthy response to my cloth diaper query, and I believe from her suggestions that Walt was having sensitivities to the high pH levels of Charlie’s Soap. A little bit of vinegar in the washing machine and problem solved! He can’t be in them all day every day, but I’m just so happy about using cloth it doesn’t matter.

I’d say everything is working out perfectly around here, but on the way home from dinner last night three black cats ran in front of our car within a mile of each other. We were wary of crossing intersections by the time we saw the third one. Was the world sending us an ominous message? I’ll be watching out, world.

Johnny's Pizza
Taking over the world one pizza joint at a time.

A mother’s dilemma

3 Jan

Tonight I am wearing the Anne of Green Gables nightgown my mother-in-law got me for Christmas. She and my father-in-law went on a cruise through Prince Edward Island this fall and of course they stopped at the Green Gables. Who wouldn’t? That’s one of my favorite books of all time. However, I’m pretty sure no one up there would actually wear this since they’d freeze to death at night, even in those cold Canadian summers. It’s a thin shift with no bra support for a nursing mother. That’s OK though, I’ll wear it once I’m done providing food for baby.

I am now constantly thinking about how long I will breastfeed. During the day we have developed a routine, and I like it. I feed him when he wakes up, then again at 9, 12 & 3 (give or take depending on the day). That is the easy part. The hard part of our day comes at night. We give him two 6 oz. bottles of breast milk at 6pm and 10pm. This has allowed him to sleep fully through the night. Miracle of all miracles!!!

I, however, must not understand the process of making breast milk, because some nights I can pump 6 oz no problem during one session, then other nights I can’t squeeze a drop past 3 1/2 oz and I have to pump every two hours from 6 to midnight to get enough for the next night. It is very stressful. I tried recently to change our routine to alleviate this problem, by nursing him to sleep at 6 and then giving him his regular bottle at 10, but this  somehow has ruined our wonderful routine of him sleeping from 6pm to 7am that we had going on for almost two weeks. For whatever reason (not enough milk?) the two nights I did that he woke up several times throughout the night. I just keep thinking that one bottle of formula at the end of the day would make my life SO much easier.

But why do I feel like giving him formula would be giving up? This reminds me of when I gave up chocolate for Lent in high school and when Lent was over I couldn’t bear giving up all my hard work and I didn’t eat chocolate for two years. My best friend at the time never believed me that I was allergic (the only excuse I could think of for not eating that yummy sugar and cocoa treat). When I did finally eat chocolate again it was on vacation at this dude ranch my mother and I would go to every spring and they had the best white chocolate chip cookies ever. Giving in again was so good after that long wait.

There are so many reasons to continue BF. 1: I get to eat an extra 500 calories a day (not only do I get to but I’m supposed to!) 2: formula is expensive 3: nothing beats mother’s milk 4: diapers are more manageable 5: once I pop, I might not stop the formula train.

Time to go pump again! I wish it was time for bed.