Today after lunch, I took the girls on a quick walk before naptime. I took with us the latest prize from Home Depot, a chain-and-bolt device for the back door, because I wanted to show it to my dad, who’s home today (he’s working nights this week). Our back door is set on the exterior, rather than the interior, of the wall — which means that the molding it sits in is about 8 inches deep (presumably holding paneling, studs, insulation, and brick in that 8 inches). So getting a device to securely lock the door so that a toddler can’t reach it or work it is a bit of a challenge.

Jerry thinks we just need to rekey the doors, so that the deadbolts upstairs alnd down are only workable with a key. While this is true, it also means that we’d have to have another key to carry. HAVE YOU SEEN MY KEYRING? I don’t want to carry another key.

Also, inevitably we’d get lazy and leave the key IN the deadbolt, which is stupid. She’d be able to get out anyway.

The chain-and-bolt thing I bought is kind of neat. I realized that because of the depth of the door frame, the door wouldn’t function unless the chain piece was installed almost at the inside edge. Not ideal — because it puts the chain under stress when the door is SHUT.

HOWEVER, there’s a bolt. And the bolt can be installed even without the chain. And THAT will work. But the door is metal, which requires special equipment to drill into it. And the strike would need to have the middle part chiseled out, also requiring special equipment. Grr.

Why can’t anything be simple?

Upstairs, the molding and framing of the door is perfect for the straight-off-the-menu installation. So that’s good. But downstairs? Ugh. And that’s the door we’re more concerned about.

New Woman

Jerry took apart Alice’s crib yesterday afternoon, carried it downstairs, and put it back together in my scrapbooking/sewing/filing room. I had moved out all my scrapping stuff and a table to make space for it. And the ironing board and iron, so that I could iron a shirt for Jerry to wear today. Because I’m that kind of a wife. Sewing machine and file cabinet and two more tables (and various other piles of crap) are still in there, but those will come out as the week progresses.

We put Alice to bed at 8 last night, which was much later than we intended but I had forgotten about a previous commitment I had to take food to the tech crew of Winnie the Pooh for strike. So that threw off bedtime — not that Helen minded, because she got to talk to Kanga, Rabbit, and Pooh (all out of costume and makeup, but she recognized them anyway because she talked about it all the way home)…

ANYWAY. Alice went to bed at 8. Squawked until about 8:05, and then she was OUT.

She stayed down until 7:30 this morning — not even a peep. And she woke up happy. I was awake from 5-6am paranoid that I couldn’t hear her, and because my body has been waking up then for 9.5 months to feed her. Hallelujah, she slept! And after TWO nights of relatively decent sleep, I feel like ME again, and not the zombie shell of myself that I have been for the past six weeks. It’s the first night Alice has truly slept all the way through since three blissful weeks in October, before the ear infections started.

And she has taken two naps today, as scheduled. I am LOVING having her downstairs, because that still gives me two full floors of the house on which to operate, even if I avoid the sleeping floor. And so I was able to clean the kitchen, change/wash/dry/fold/put away all of the sheets and towels, SCRUB the master bath (which I haven’t done in far too long), do several more loads of laundry, and continue moving stuff out of my craft room. Until Helen is out of her bedroom, I really have no idea where I’m going to put all this stuff… But that’s just details, really. I can only move out when Alice is awake, so I just gotta do it, and then deal with it while she’s sleeping.

Life is good.

Crying It Out

Last night, Jerry went to Barnes & Noble on a mission. He was to purchase a book or books about How To Get Your Baby To Sleep So That You Will Feel Human Again. He was gone a long time, browsing the Baby Improvement section and determining which theories are the best fit to our parenting style. We’re somewhere between Attachment Parenting (nursing on demand and allowing the baby to call the shots) and hard-line Suck It Up You Infant Parenting.

Jerry has a much better personality type than mine when it comes to finding the Best Book For Us, because he will take the time to really LOOK at a book, consider the theories therein, and compare to other books on the shelf. I will go to a bookstore, in my perpetual hurry (even when I’m not in a hurry, I’m still in a hurry — I hate this about myself… But I have two speeds: breakneck and OFF. Makes life with a toddler interesting sometimes)… ANYWAY. I will hurriedly go into a bookstore, find the shelf with the titles that interest me, and pull about 6 off the shelf. I’ll flip through them, and then, concerned that one of the rejected books might have The Pearl Of Wisdom that I’m looking for, I’ll buy all six. This is a stupid way to be when on a budget. So I send Jerry. He’s better at it, and I can recognize that.

He came home with two books. Good Night, Sleep Tight: The Sleep Lady’s Gentle Guide to Helping Your Child Go To Sleep, Stay Asleep, and Wake Up Happy and Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child. We both sat down after putting the girls to bed last night and skimmed one of the books. Because of the fact that we all got a decent nap yesterday, both books agreed that it would be a good time to start sleep training Miss Alice.

So that is what we did.

Both books said that quitting the nighttime nursings at 9 months is totally acceptable, and a healthy baby at this age does not physically NEED to nurse in the middle of the night. She is getting enough food during the day (and I know she is), so this night waking business is just a nasty habit. To break the habit, we can either quit cold turkey and let her scream her guts out for a few nights (with no reward), or we can try a softer approach that will take up to three weeks or so — basically, we’d pat her and stroke her and back slowly out of the room.

As we are both so sleep deprived that we’re having difficulty functioning, and because it’s taking a toll on our marriage, we opted for cold turkey. Harsh? Perhaps. Will Alice be in therapy at age 35 because her parents left her alone in her crib for a few nights when she was under ten months old? Unlikely.

So. Last night, because Alice’s crib is still in our bedroom (a condition we hope to remedy this evening), we went upstairs and got ready for bed (and changed her diaper and put her BACK in her crib for more screaming)…. I slept on the sofa in our den downstairs, and Jerry slept on the sofa in the New Room. In the quiet of the house, I heard Alice every time she woke up, which was only twice (after we went to bed — 5 times before that between when we put her down and when WE went to bed). This morning, she took a nap (NOT her idea) at 9:30, which lasted about 45 minutes. Jerry and I both doubted that she’d be able to go to sleep, but she did. Wow. And now she’s down for an afternoon nap — AT THE SAME TIME AS HER SISTER!!!!

Tonight will likely be rough again. I’ll keep singing and rocking with her and putting her down drowsy for every sleep time, and I’ll STOP nursing her to sleep. It’s become a habit for both of us.

But both books said that “sleep begets sleep,” and that babies who aren’t getting enough sleep during the day have trouble getting enough sleep at night, which causes them to have difficulty during the day, etc. It’s a cycle. So if we can break the bad habits by making them unavailable to Alice, we’ll be able to get back the cheerful, rested baby we had gotten to know before this last run of ear infections and teething.


Helen didn’t have sleep problems at ALL, except that she’s a VERY light sleeper during the day. I’m hoping that these books will help with that as well (though I have to say — having Alice screaming so much has made it so Helen’s sleeping sounder… So perhaps there’s a blessing in there after all)…

Wish us luck!