Saturday, June 07, 2008

M-E-L-T-D-O-W-N (Updated)

I’ve said this before, and I assume I’ll say in an infinitesimal number of times to come, but, just when we think we’ve gotten some things figured out, the stickies show us who’s boss.

Well, that’s not fair. Actually, just when we get all smug that we’ve gotten things figured out, we screw it up. Royally.

Today started out beautifully. Last night was the perfect night. We got both stickies in bed after a good solid feed. And, when we put them to bed, neither uttered a single peep. Neither a fuss nor a cry. For EIGHT solid hours. Not only that, but my mother was here. So, after we fed them both at 5am, we were able to put them back down and pass the monitor to my mom, who took over until their next feed. So, in all, we were able to piece together nine hours of sleep. It was magical.

Of course, then we started to screw everything up, one small decision at a time. You see, first of all, when my mom is watching the kids, there’s definitely the potential of overstimulation. She is not great about putting them down for naps when they’re starting to display signs of tiredness, both because I think she enjoys playing with them and because I think she lives in fear of the dual meltdown. So, if they start to fuss when she puts them down, she immediately gets them back. (This is of course not a great idea—sometimes they’ll fuss a little, then fall fast asleep. And picking them up stimulates them, rather than soothes them, and so they miss a nap.)

This alone wouldn’t be a big deal. We could have taken over at 9am and gotten things back on track. But, instead we got up. I fed them again. We played with them a little. Monkey Girl fell asleep—she was clearly exhausted—but Sweet Potato did not. Then, hubby decided he wanted to take a quick trip up to his parents. So, around noon, we fed them both again, jumped in the car, and headed up. (We had to wake up Monkey Girl to do this. Something my gut told me not to do. Always listen to your gut. Damnit.)

That was the catastrophic mistake. You see, hubby’s parents’ house is the single most stimulating place on earth. His mom is fairly manic and loves playing with kids. (She used to wake her own children up from naps because she was bored and wanted to play with them.) So, since the kids were already slightly overtired and plenty stimulated from the morning, this was the worst place to go.

But, we decided to add insult to injury with every decision throughout the day. You see, we have a new nighttime routine that’s been going pretty well. We give the kids a bath and a good long feed, followed by a soothing ritual, then right to bed. And, we try to do this and get them in bed somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30, unless they’ve had a late afternoon/early evening nap. But, today, we didn’t even end up leaving hubby’s parents’ until 5:30, which meant we didn’t get home until 6:30—not nearly enough time to get two overtired and wired kids to bed in an hour. And at this point, Monkey Girl basically hadn’t slept all day and was constantly on the verge of a total and complete meltdown. (I kept trying to put her down, but someone kept picking her up. It was maddening.)

Needless to say, by the time we got home, both kids were in full-on meltdown mode. And it just got worse and worse. They were hungry, but exhausted. They breastfed, but wouldn’t take their bottle supplement, which they really need at this point in the evening.

We finally put them down at 8:00ish, but I know they didn’t eat enough. They were just too tired and trying to feed them—whether on the breast or the bottle—was restarting screaming fits because all they wanted to do at this point was go to sleep. (Of course, sleep was eluding them as well, so we kept getting confused: were they crying because they were tired or hungry? It’s tough to tell when the answer is clearly, “both,” but when they keep fighting one for the other.)

We finally gave up on feeding them—it was clear they needed to sleep before they ate again. So, we were finally able to soothe them to sleep. Unfortunately, now I fear we’re headed for a night where they both wake up every hour and a half. Sweet Potato has already woken up once at 9:30 to eat. (But, again, he was too tired to take more than just enough to put him back to sleep, so I assume he’ll be up again soon.) And, I’m fully expecting Monkey Girl to follow suit, though of course on a slightly different schedule, just to ensure we don’t get any sleep. (Serves us right, huh?)


Let’s just chalk this up to a learning experience and *hope* that we don’t act so flip with the napping/feeding routine in the future!

UPDATE: Two quick things. One: I love my kids. Despite our total and complete failure to get them to nap and eat appropriately yesterday, they slept like champs. Both until 5:30am. They are superstars. Unfortunately, I was so wound up from the horrible evening (and my contribution to it) that I slept like crap. Helas...

Two: As if I needed more evidence, I clearly don't know what the hell I'm doing as a mom. Thank god these kids are apparently too little to realize my utter and complete failures. Man, am I ever in for it when they get older if we aren't careful, though! :-)


anna said...

How awesome that your babes are so resilient and figured things out for themselves. And how great that they're able to sleep so long! Are you supplementing with formula or EBM? We're trying to get our babes on a similar routine though mine seem to be much less able to figure things out enough to get some much needed sleep. So, if you thought you have failures as a mother- let me assure you that I top your failures by far!!! Or are we just completely guilt-ridden as overtired twin parents?! I guess I'll never know!

Diana said...

Sounds like you learned your lesson and no one ended up hurt! :) Ok day to me!

Sarah said...

i had this day yesterday. but with only one baby of course. it doesn't help that whatever is right one day is completely wrong the next. luckily kids are resilient :)