I'm feeling so overwhelmed. Here is my day today, a very typical day:
6am-7am: son (7 mos) wakes up, nurses, some quiet time with him.
7am: daughter (almost 4) wakes up, very active right from the get-go, and wants to play-play-play! DD typically has lots of energy and prefers to play games that are very active, loud, and boisterous. Every single day since before her brother was born we have tried to encourage quiet play, praise quiet play, discuss the benefits of quiet play ("when you're quiet and brother sleeps, we get to play just the two of us!") Still, she is INCREDIBLY loud.
7-8:30am: make, eat and clean up breakfast (doing baby-led weaning with my DS, which explains the long clean up time!)
8:30-9am: DS very tired, nurse him and put him in co-sleeper. Park DD in front of TV since that's the only thing that keeps her quiet. Takes 25 min to finally get DS to sleep.
9:20am: DS wakes up after 20 min. nap. Park DD in front of TV to try to get him to sleep.
9:45am: DD walks into the room as DS is almost asleep, starts talking very loudly, wakes DS up. He is now awake for a while.
9:45-10:45am: After giving up on the sleep thing, I decide to put him in the Pikkolo carrier so he can sleep. Try to encourage DD to paint so I can maybe get DS to sleep. She does paint, but as she does it she's yelling intermittently, dropping paint on the floor, banging the brushes on the wall. DS sleep while being worn? HA!!!! Don't think so with all this racket!
11am-11:30am: DS has red circles under his eyes from being so tired. Park DD in front of TV AGAIN to try and nurse/put him in co-sleeper.
11:30-11:50am: DS sleeps. Then wakes up after 20 min.
This cycle repeats, repeats, repeats. Then at 3pm I go upstairs where I work a very stressful job until 10pm, all the while I have not hardly been able to clean up any messes, eat lunch, etc. My son is so tired from lack of sleep. My daughter is so sad b/c all I do is try to get her either be quiet so he can sleep, or she's parked in front of the TV so I can try to get him to sleep. I can't figure out how to A) help my son sleep. and B) let my daughter play quietly so I can either wear him to sleep or else actually sleep.
I feel like a complete and total failure as a mom. I have no other friends who are AP, so of course what I hear is these problems are happening b/c A) I haven't let my son cry it out and figure out how to sleep on his own; and B) I've done my DD the disservice of not having her in daycare where she can learn to play on her own. And you know what? Those friends who encourage this, their kids DO play on their own and their kids DO sleep well without hardly any help.
Is this just what it's like? I love my kids so so so very much and I feel like I am causing so much harm to them right now. Some days I wish I had never picked up that Dr. Sears book and learned about AP. :-(
(OK I don't REALLY feel that way, but I wonder how much this "no-cry-it-out" and "no daycare" thing is really benefitting them vs. harming them.)
Sorry for the rant. I just want to do right by my kids, and right now all I want is to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep.
Just a quick suggestion...will your son sleep in a carrier so you can take your daughter to the park or somewhere where loud is fine?
mother of 2, wife, daughter, lawyer, toddler wearing, extended breastfeeding, ec-ing, water birthing....
He fusses quite a bit in the carrier, but after a while he often will fall asleep. We live in Minnesota, so starting about now it becomes quite challenging to get outside and play. I try to get to some of the indoor play areas around here, but I can't always get there daily. My question about the sleeping in the carrier is: does that just perpetuate the problem? Does it just set him up to still not be used to sleeping in his carrier so that now when we're at home (where we are most of the time) he still can't sleep? I know some sleep is better than none, but I have a hard time figuring out at what point do I "give up" on trying to be consistent w/ the day/time/place and just letting him sleep wherever. Know what I mean? I DO feel that a predictable routine is important to kids, and due to my need to work our schedule is kind of unpredictable, so I try to create routine however I can. But maybe I need to give up on this and just try to get OUT with them more (easier said than done with a 3-yr-old who has trouble transitioning, but at this point it's worth the effort!)
Have you ever tried a noise machine? I have the Marpac sound machine and it is amazing! I put it on for naps and bedtime and my daughter (6 mo) can sleep through a lot of outside noise with it. Granted, there's downfalls. She has a hard time sleeping at other people's houses, without a noise machine but we are home most of the time, so it's not a big deal. I like it because it dulls the outside noise, not elimnates it, so it makes it so that she can sleep through a lot. It would be worth a shot! Does he only sleep 20 minutes becuase he's awakened by your daughter or does he just wake up after 20 minutes? I do not advocate CIO, but if he's used to waking up after 20 minutes, he will probably continue to do so, you could let him fuss for a few minutes before running in there. I do this with my DD and 9 times out of 10 she'll go back to sleep. She never cries, just fusses and makes it known that she doesn't really want to take a nap :)
DH(9/04) DS(12/08) and DD(5/11)
As a first time mom, I don't have many suggestions that you probably haven't heard already. I put on music when my LO naps during the day, so he always has some background noise. He also sleeps in the carrier once a day, when we go for a walk or when I'm inside doing work.
What I really wanted to say was that whatever you are doing, try not to compare yourself to others or get down on yourself based on what others are saying. You obviously are very caring and loving, and are doing a great job. One thing I've seen very quickly is that different things work for different babies and different families, and it's all about finding the best solution for your particular situation.
I wish I had more practicable advice, but I at least wanted to give a hug!
We have a white noise machine as well--and it helps immensely! It dulls the "sudden" noises that would otherwise wake up DS. That said, DS would nap in the carrier frequently when he was your son's age--I would put him in the carrier and go for a good long walk in the morning to give him an hour or so nap. Afternoon naps I would try to make sure he had in his crib...but that was touch and go and sometimes I would have to do carrier OR lie down with him. Now DS takes one long nap, he's 19 months, in the afternoon in the crib--no fuss, no muss. Occasionally, if we go hiking or something, he'll nap in the carrier for a couple of hours if we keep walking.
Also, if your daughter would enjoy it and it worked for your family, a little preschool would allow her to get some energy out and be LOUD with other children. This would allow you to focus on your son for a couple of hours a couple of times a week. Remember, one of the principles of AP is balance--and that can change over time!
Good luck and HUGS--I hope you all get some rest and play in good measure today.
Two moms and two boys enjoying the truth that love always wins!!!