Wow, where did the past 8 months go?
Days and nights have morphed into a blur the past couple of weeks where sleep is rare and night wakings have been at an all-time high. I can’t be sure if it’s because of sleep deprivation or that time has just been zooming us by too quickly – the little berry has grown so much.
She has more or less a rather predictable routine wrapped around her meal times these days, and it looks something like this
8+am: Wake up. Nurse. (Although she seems to be getting up earlier these days. Stomachache perhaps? Since she usually does a poo after she wakes up much earlier than her usual wake-up time)
9+am: Bathe 10+am: Nurse. Nap (Usually a short one, 30mins to an hour, after which she will go into the playpen or bebepod seat while I prepare her lunch. Sometimes, she’s happy just to watch me potter around the kitchen. Other times, I’ll give her a random toy – or a piece of unbleached kitchen paper – and she will keep herself entertained. She LOVES paper – crumpling it, gnawing on it, eating it. She’s eaten an entire zoo of paper bookmark animals I pasted next to her cot.)
12+pm: Lunch (Usually veg, pork bone stock, protein in the form of egg yolk or blended chicken, brown rice cereal, and sometimes a fruit. Her favourites are peaches which are easy to hold and eat. She likes self-feeding, but it’s a crazy mess to clear up afterwards. Sticky food bits ends up on her hands, face, nose, ears, head, chair, the floor, EVERYWHERE!)
1+pm: Play (Sometimes I read her a book, sometimes I let her crawl around in the play room, sometimes I tickle her and we just tumble around doing crazy play things.)
2+pm: Nurse. Nap (If this is a short one, she will need to take another nap close to 5pm. If this nap goes beyond 1-2hrs, sometimes she can last till bedtime without getting too cranky. While she naps, I tidy up around the house, mop the floor and prepare dinner, both hers and ours.)
6+pm: Dinner. (After she takes her dinner, I play with her for a bit or if I have dinner to prepare, she watches me potter around the kitchen. Sometimes if she’s tired of sitting in her seat, I let her crawl around the kitchen, keeping an eye on her so she doesn’t go near the dangerous stuff. I used to bring her out in the stroller for a walk at the nearby park connector around this time, but can no longer do this since it clashes with her dinner time, after which it’s our dinner time and her bedtime, so haven’t figured out how to expose her to more nature yet.)
7+pm: She joins us for dinner (Whenever possible, I try to nurse her 1 or 2 more times between 7-8pm so she doesn’t get hungry easily in the middle of the night. She sits in her chair while we eat).
8+pm: Bathe. (If I bathe, GY takes over while I hop into the shower before putting her to bed. If GY bathes her, I get to take a shower earlier and put her to bed earlier. Either way, I try to make sure that GY gets to spend some time with her before she sleeps, since he only sees her in the evenings).
9pm: Nurse. Bedtime (She usually does a mega feed of 30-45mins before she would sleep. And most of the time, she wakes up close to midnight for another feed. And for the past few weeks, she’s been waking up 1 or 2 more times beyond that before she finally wakes up at 8+am)
Increasingly, the little berry looks to GY for play, and me for comfort. I think the past month has also been a period of learning. For us and for her.
While she grapples with her new skills and developmental milestones, we are also learning to cope with her sleeplessness and excitement. It’s been a humbling journey, to say the least. From that 2-month-old-baby-who-sleeps-through-the-night GY often boasted about, we’d be lucky if we didn’t have to trot to her room more than twice in the middle of the night. I wonder if it’s teething or she just wants to be close to us more because we hardly carry her in the daytime (she’s usually left to crawl about, or sit in her seat, or explore the world by standing up and traversing on everything in sight).
Nowadays she rolls over easily in her sleep and ends up on her tummy, which prompts her to sit up and ultimately, pull herself to a standing position in the cot. That’s when trouble begins, because by then she would have fully awoken herself and combine that with thirst/hunger (because she nurses very little in the daytime nowadays), she would complain and cry to be attended to before she would sleep again.
Sometimes, she would suddenly cry most pitifully in her sleep, like she’s just had a nightmare. These episodes are pretty heart-wrenching because she would continue sobbing even after we carry her. Some nights, she would continue crying even when GY carries her, and would look around for me.
This past month has also seen a major transition for us. I went back to work on a part time basis, and the little berry has been placed under the care of my parents twice a week, every Monday and Tuesday. She’s been adapting like a champion, eating and napping well. It’s also brought some much-needed balance into my life. Although the pace in office is pretty intense, I get to have some me-time or meet friends who work around the area during lunch, sans baby. I get to dress up and put on makeup and not meet a hobo in the mirror. I get to feel like the old me again, although I know deep down that I can never be the same.
I learnt this past month that even the same baby goes through different sleep patterns at different stages in her life. My mood cannot depend on how many hours of sleep she gets (or I get), that would be volatile and dangerous. My strength for the day will have to depend on the grace of God, which is new every morning. GY and I had some friction as we had some communication breakdown in the midst of the madness, but it has been worked out and I am thankful.