I am a Nap Nazi.
To put a finer point on it, actually I'm a Sleep Nazi. I am insane about making sure my kid gets her sleep. It is as important to me as making sure Chicky has a balanced diet to eat and lots of milk and water to drink. It is as important to me as making sure she knows how much I love her. In my house Love = Sleep. If you're tired and cranky, you're more difficult to like. Simple as that.
After four and a half long months of fighting with a colicky infant who Just. Would. Not. Sleep. Already. For the love of all that is good and holy, please sleep. Just sleep. Mommy really needs you to SLEEP. PLEASE....
...we broke down, threw out the No Cry Sleep Solution book and others of its ilk, picked up the Weissbluth Bible (as I refer to it) and sleep trained Chicky.
My lawd, I need a nap. Can someone help me out with that? Where's that boob thing that makes me sleepy?
It wasn't that easy, of course. I cried. Mr. C paced. I would call him at work in the middle of the day while I was trying to get Chicky to nap just to have him talk me off the ledge, so to speak. And in about a week, Chicky was out of our bedroom, where she had slept, when she slept, mainly on my chest for most of those 120-plus days, having decided the co-sleeper was just not good enough for her, and in her own crib. In her own room. With her own door shut.
Praise Jesus and pass the wine.
She slept there, finally, for every nap and every night. It didn't matter to me how it happened. The important thing was that she slept. And I didn't care if she woke up once or twice during the night for a quick feeding and I had to leave the comfort of my bed to go to her. She went back to sleep on her own and I got more than a fifteen minute stretch of uninterrupted sleep as well.
Now, some consider CIO cruel and I will freely admit it's not for every child. But I, looking back on it with a clearer head (from all those Zz's I've been getting), think the way she was living in those early days to be far worse. Chicky just did not know how to sleep. She stimulated easily. The stars and moon and all the planets, not to mention the wind direction, position of the sun, light blocking shades, and just the right amount of white noise, all had to be aligned perfectly for her to fall into a peaceful sleep. To this day, whenever Mr. C and I see an infant spontaneously fall asleep we still can't believe his or her parents didn't slip a mickey into the baby bottle. Babies sleep? All on their own? No freaking way! Who knew?
It only took about a week for Chicky to learn that sleep was a good thing. A very good thing. And almost immediately, her whole demeanor changed. She was happy and rested and she didn't have bags under her eyes anymore. She ate better. She was finally an all around pleasant being to be around. Which was in sharp contrast to her first few months of life when, if you looked at her cross-eyed, she'd scream like you were poking her with needles.
It's worked out really well so far.
I am well aware that this method, at that particular time in her life, worked well for Chicky. I am aware that I'm lucky that at three years of age she still naps fairly regularly. And though I am tied to my house for at least three hours every afternoon, I am not willing to postpone naps for more than a day at a time, for fear she might start thinking she doesn't need them as much as before. She does need them. She's a bear without a nap. Hell, I need them. I'm a bear without her nap.
Hence the Nap Nazi title I have no problem embracing.
With Baby #2 on the way, I'm terrified it won't work out this way again. Maybe next time I'll get a newborn that will easily nod off but will resist all sleep training entirely as an infant. Like my Sister in Law's oldest son who would scream for hours if left in his crib to try to CIO. Sleep training did not one bit of good for him. There was not much sleep to be had in that house for the first couple of years of his life.
That scares the bejeebus out of me.
Trust me when I say it wasn't the hat that made her scream like that. We threw it on her after the screaming had begun for our own sleep deprived amusement.
It makes me twitch just thinking about it. The same reoccurring twitch I had whenever Chicky screamed as an infant.
Old fears die hard. With the next one I'll know better what to expect but I don't think that will make it any easier. Just less of a shock. Hopefully, when it's all said and done I'll have an extra set of stripes to add to my Nap Nazi uniform and a second child who sleeps like the first one does. I'll probably have a few more wrinkles. And a few more gray hairs. And a few extra centimeters added to the bags under my eyes...
Ugh. I'm exhausted just thinking about it.