2 May 2012

When Mama Knows Best and That Mama's Not Me.

I know, I know. It's that same tired story (pun intended) of children and their sleep deprived parents. Read on if you relate...

Sleep Deprived Parent.
Charlotte's always been our champion sleeper. After she was a couple weeks old, she slept through the night. (This is something I kept under wraps because it's the last thing other moms want to hear.) Often she'll go to bed at 8pm and wake up at 10am. And she'll take a good 2-hour nap during the day. I give partial credit to the Amby Hammock, which I still think is God's gift to sleeping newborns...and sleepy new mothers.

Then came dear Annaïs. We knew there was no way the universe would give us another champion sleeper. And were we right. I think Ani has slept a grand total of 2 hours of her life not in my arm pit. The Amby Hammock, swaddle blanket, 5 S's, you name it, flew out the window with this one--but that's another post entirely.

The Armpit Sleep Position.
Sometime about a week ago Charlotte decided she wanted to join Ani in the ranks of making sure we're extra sleep deprived. We think we can trace it back to one of those famous Congo thunderstorms that send adults cowering under their beds.--Check out this map of the epicenter of the world's lightning strikes!-- Charlotte was probably the only one in the city who could sleep through these storms. But there must have been something about the way the wind blew her curtains, or the lightning that struck outside her window. Who knows. She's scarred and scared. So for the past week, after we put her to bed she cries, gets up, bangs on the door. We fell for this at first because it was so uncharacteristic.

A few nights in, and afraid we're slipping down that never-ending slope of bad going-to-bed-habits, I convinced Adam Social Services would be okay with us letting her cry for a bit. Well, this turned into her completely trashing her room in a rage. She knocked over her entire kitchen set sending fake food flying. Cleared off everything from the top of her dresser, in what I imagine was one angry swoop of her tiny arm. After there was nothing else to destruct, she banged on the door for about 10 minutes. Then crawled in her bed and went peacefully to sleep. She did this for several nights.



Adam's birthday was in the midst of this so Mama Youyou stayed for the night while we went out. I had to confess to her what had been happening at night and warn her it might happen again. She was confident it wouldn't. I was confident she was wrong.

Mama YouYou Knows Best.

So while Mama Youyou is battling the nighttime routine for us, here's our birthday dinner conversation:

Me: Can you believe there are people who get into bed and know they're not waking up until the morning?
Adam: No, those people don't exist. If you get into bed and you're not waking up until the morning, you have no idea you need to appreciate that fact. Appreciating this luxury is lost on people who have no idea how nice that is.
Me: Can you believe how many people get into bed at night and don't realize how lucky they are to sleep until the morning?

And this conversation continued to pick apart the ungrateful jerks who sleep all night.

When we got home I apologetically asked Mama Youyou how it went. She said it was totally fine and Charlotte didn't cry once. After she convinced me she wasn't making this up, I asked her to explain in extreme detail how she did it. I wanted the exact words she used.

She said, "I told Charlotte I was going to close my eyes and she needed to close her eyes too and then I would read her a book." "Wait. Mama Youyou, how do you read a book with your eyes closed?" She looked at me like the least of my problems was getting my kid to sleep. I blamed that question on her misunderstanding my French. (Did I mention I'm sleep deprived?) And then she said Charlotte just went to sleep. And how about Ani? "Oh, I just put her in her bed and she fell asleep." That feat is even less possible than getting Charlotte to sleep.

I might not believe this, but I've actually seen Mamicho put Charlotte to bed by saying, "Tu vas dormir sans problème. Ça va?" And Charlotte happily says back, "Ça va. Sans problème." No books, no fuss, no rage of destruction. She just goes to sleep.

I'm currently trying these Mama tactics. I use my best French Mama voice (those Mamas' voices, not mine). I'm happy to report there's only about 5 minutes of fake food throwing these days, so I guess that's progress.

3 comments:

  1. You must know that we are going through the same thing.

    http://justinneitzey.blogspot.com/2012/05/baseball-metaphor.html

    Apparently, now, he only sleeps with me on a futon in another room, otherwise he accidentally pokes his own eye out, hits his head on his water cup or hears dinosaurs outside. He hasn't even seen Jurassic Park yet.

    Sometimes, I think kids are just anti-parent for awhile.

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  2. Love it. Can't wait to see you guys!

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  3. hahaha! I love this blog and I LOVED this post. I have been so trained by my children that I do not even sleep through the night on business trips anymore.

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