Night-Night

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that sleep has always been an issue for Baguette–and, by extension, for Mr. Sandwich and me.

Baguette naps at day care, but not at home, and nighttime sleep is very hard to come by. Although we never planned to bed-share, it turned out that doing so got all of us more sleep than any other approach we tried.

But she kept growing, and the bed didn’t. Eventually, none of us was getting enough sleep. And then, on a trip to visit family, she suddenly decided that she would rather sleep on the hotel room’s couch.

We capitalized on this by moving her to the couch when we got home. One of us has to lie with her until she goes to sleep, and that can still take a while. Our girl does not slip off into dreamland, not even when she’s clearly exhausted.

And, frankly, the couch is not really big enough for two to sleep, even if one of us is still pretty small.

Mr. Sandwich therefore took his experience in building a toddler bed and put it to use in building a twin frame. One of my cousins made a beautiful elephant quilt, because elephants are Baguette’s favorite animals. We bought a mattress and some sheets.

And then this happened.

twin bed

Now, if we can just get her to stay there. Wish us luck.

Naptime Is Over

baby in hat asleep in stroller

Naptime has always been a struggle. She naps well at daycare, but at home, it’s never been easy. We’ve tried to keep to the daycare schedule. We’ve taken her for drives. We’ve tried lying down with her. We’ve put her down and told her that she has to stay.

It turns out that may have been the worst choice. While that method did work for a short time–she would put up a fuss, but eventually go to sleep–it didn’t last. On the best days, she’d go to sleep, sometimes for the full two hours. On the good days, she’d talk to herself. On the bad days, she’d scream until we determined that she wasn’t going to nap that day, and wasn’t going to calm down.

Today, we made it 30 minutes. She was screaming, and then she started to gasp, and then she started to say something. We couldn’t make it out, but we went over to comfort her, and found her leaning up against the side of the bed saying, “I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry.”

Our little girl thought we were punishing her. All this time, she’s been thinking that we were angry with her, and she didn’t know what she’d done. She didn’t see it as naptime. She saw it as exile.

So that’s it. I talked to her about “quiet time,” but honestly, I think that’ll be easier after she learns to read. In the meantime, if she falls asleep, then she naps. And if she doesn’t, she stays up.

We’ll figure it out.

Our New Normal (For Now)

“Normal” is open to interpretation. That’s true for every family, but I’ve really come to understand the concept better since Baguette’s autism diagnosis. Actually, I knew it before her diagnosis–but that’s what made it okay for me to say openly that my normal is different from the normal you experience. Or you. Or that person over there.

I came across a post about what “normal” means for one family dealing with ADHD, and it got me to thinking about what is normal for us.

1) The house is always messy. Between work, commute, and ABA, we do not have time to clean. Mr. Sandwich does the laundry and I do the dishes, but the rest of the place is profoundly cluttered.

2) No “me” time. This isn’t exactly true. I get my hair colored and cut every six weeks, and about as often I get a massage. Mr. Sandwich has a (sometimes) regular Sunday morning bike ride. But with Baguette’s long-standing distaste for sleep, I can’t even read a magazine in one sitting. Recently, it took me three weeks to finish streaming a movie. We have literally years of “Castle” in our DVR–or at least we did until we gave up and deleted them, with plans to buy the DVDs at some point in the future.

3) There’s an awful lot of screaming. Baguette is frustrated by her inability to communicate. She’s also frustrated by the incessant demands of her ABA schedule. And sometimes the only way she can express that is to rage and rage and rage. As far as I’ve been able to figure it out, the only thing I can do is be there with her, as calmly as possible, and let the rage burn itself out. Friday was one of those days. After at least an hour of crying and screaming, she wore herself out until she was able to say, “I want carry me,” and I stood there with my arms around her, rocking her back and forth for at least 15 minutes. Then we sat down on the couch, and I held her on my lap until she slid down on the floor, still with her shoulder against my leg. I didn’t move until she did, because when she moved away, that meant she was feeling better. (Sorry, neighbors. This is just how it is.)

4) There’s probably a #4, but I’m too tired to come up with it.

5) The surprises never end. Baguette loves the water. She’s been teaching herself ASL–and now she’s teaching me, too. Lately she tells me she wants to play with her by saying, “Come along, Mommy,” and I have no idea where that phrase came from.

All of this will change with time. And that’s normal, too.

How Was Your Weekend?

Ours started a day early, kind of. On Friday, Baguette’s cast came off (huzzah!). What was her response to this development?

Sock all gone. I got a foot!

At the moment she walks with that foot turned out, and she still has a bit of a peg-leg pirate walk, but she’s rapidly getting back to her normal gait–and activity.

Since she’s Baguette, that activity includes not sleeping. We were up at midnight, driving around Los Angeles and environs at midnight. (You think I’m kidding? I’m not. We’re talking at least 20 miles of driving, and not all of it in town.)

Since we’re the Sandwiches, Saturday did not mean sleeping in early. Quite the opposite: we got up at 3:30, because Mr. Sandwich was entered in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon. He did quite well, finishing in the top 1/3 of his age division, and Baguette got to spend the morning on the beach. Let me tell you, this is one fearless toddler. And that means that when you’re her parent, and she won’t stop rushing toward the waves, you are definitely not fearless.

An early morning and extensive beach time did not mean that she had a good nap. No, she slept for about 30 minutes and then was awake for the entire afternoon.

Awake and tantrum-y.

But eventually even her strength of will could not overcome her exhaustion, and at 6:30 p.m. (6:30!)she passed out on my lap. We carefully moved her into the bed and settled in for a night of streaming video. That’s right, it was Date Night, Sandwich Edition. What did we watch? Captain America, of course (Avengers not being available yet, and both of us feeling that Thor would be ruined–ruined, I tell you!–by the presence of Natalie Portman). Now, Cap has never been my favorite superhero, and I had some issues with the movie–but it was fun, and we really enjoyed the chance to curl up on the couch and watch something of our own choosing while endlessly petting the dog’s stomach (Wicket is indifferent to TV as long as she is getting petted).

We made it to bed at about 11, which meant that when Baguette woke up at 3:30, I really, really hoped we’d be able to get her back to sleep. We couldn’t. But that’s okay, because we would have been getting up too soon anyhow: shortly after 5, I left for the ER, where it was determined that yes, I had another kidney stone.

Some Dilaudid and several hours of fitful sleep later, Mr. Sandwich and Baguette arrived to pick me up. We went out for breakfast and picked up some groceries, and then went home so that Baguette and I could nap. Which we both did, successfully. Our evening was low-key, and we made it to bed at about 9. Everyone slept through the night, and Baguette woke up on her own at 6, which (combined with the night before) tells me that, barring teething or broken legs, her tendency is to sleep for 9 hours at night.

Meanwhile, I’m still tired. You?

Captain America Shield

Photo by abuckingham, via Flickr.

Talking About Sleep (But Not Doing Much Actual Sleeping)

Saturday was weird. Baguette woke up and then decided to nap at 9:45 a.m. for abut 45 minutes–just long enough to get a second wind. She finally fell asleep again at 3:30, which is about three and a half hours later than I want her to nap so that she stays on schedule for day care.

Even when she was awake, though, she was only interested in me. We went to the park, because she loves to run free. Except that this time, she sat down on my lap and leaned back against me. Very sweet, and I savored it–but hardly the outdoor exercise I wanted her to get.

After her belated nap, we went out for frisbee. This does not involve playing Frisbee, although I can understand why you would think that. No, that’s what we call “going for a walk around the block” at our house. Why? Not for Baguette, although I can understand why you would think that, too. It’s actually for Wicket. This dog loves to walk, and when we say “walk,” her ears perk up and her eyes shine. She’s ready. So if you don’t put her in the harness and leave right away, she concludes that she has done something so horrible that no walk is forthcoming, and she starts to cower sadly. The guilt was too much for us. We started spelling it out, saying, “Should we go for a W-A-L-K?”

That worked really well, except that after about a month, the dog learned to spell. So we came up for a code word, and that’s been working for about two years (This is what inspired us to refer to Baguette’s baths as SCUBA. Seriously, it works. Although I’m still surprised that the Dog Who Can Spell hasn’t picked up code-breaking.)

After frisbee, Baguette was bouncy with energy–again, all over me. She wasn’t particularly interested in food, but she did enjoy SCUBA. Apparently that washed any residual tired right off of her, because she clambered all over me for over an hour. There was no distracting her, not even with Red Puppet (again with the code words).

This inspired the following conversation:

Me: Do you think maybe it’s the pajamas?
Mr. Sandwich: You mean, they’re inspiring her?
Me: Maybe. It might be the red stripes giving her energy.
Mr. Sandwich: Or the shark.
Me: Like a shark, she can’t stop moving.
Mr. Sandwich: Ever.
Me: Maybe.
Mr. Sandwich: I’m pretty sure that’s it.

Meanwhile, Wicket will sleep at the drop of a hat.

Sofa Bed Calamity

Monday morning I folded the sofa bed back up and discovered that one of the legs has broken.

Sadness.

We’ll have to buy a replacement; in the meantime, we’ll be jury-rigging the broken leg. If we don’t, how will we get Baguette to nap on the weekend? But I’m a bit sad, because I do love this couch, and it’s only about 13 years old. That doesn’t seem that old for a couch.

But nostalgia won’t weld metal, and last night Mr. Sandwich and I agreed that it was time for a “sofa fund.”

Come on, tax refund!

Sleepy, Very Sleepy

Manolo sleeping.

Apparently I’m too sleepy to come up with anything exciting/funny/incisive to post. Here’s a recap of our week so far.

Sunday
Baguette had a playdate with the daughter of one of my friends. Things went pretty well, except that Baguette fell asleep while I was holding her. In the middle of a playground. So we all adjourned to the picnic blanket so that she could lie down. After a while (and some errands), we returned home. She took another nap–very unusual–at around 4 p.m. When she woke up, she had some milk and promptly made the waterfall sound that indicates that the milk? Is coming back up. Yep–she had a fever. Fortunately it never got that high (101.5 at the most), but that meant she had to stay home from daycare.

Monday
Baguette stayed home from daycare and I stayed home from work. This was a good decision–she slept until 11 a.m., which told me that she needed to be at home. Of course, there was no napping after that, but at least she wasn’t sick any more.

Tuesday
Baguette went back to daycare and I went back to work. When we all got home, we took pictures of her for her “month-day”–each month, we put her in the same chair with the same stuffed animal (for proportion, you see) and take a ridiculous number of photos of her. As she has gotten more mobile, keeping her in the chair gets trickier and trickier. Food is now involved.

Wednesday
Baguette and I stood at the back bumper of my car, where she had me identify letters. I think she’s going to wind up spelling “Subaru” backward.

Thursday
I woke up early. At about 1:15. For no reason. And didn’t get back to sleep until after 4. Then, I had a dream in which I called in sick for work and had a glass break while I was drinking from it. I do not know why I was dreaming about fishing large quantities of broken glass out of my mouth. At least I didn’t dream about getting cut–but it still wasn’t what I’d consider a good dream.

So I’m tired.

Photo by Luisus Rasilvi, via Flickr.

Saturday Night Sofa Bed

We don’t have a TV in our bedroom. Sometimes, though, we want to watch TV in bed. This is most likely to come up when one of us is sick, but there are occasions when we just like to lounge.

So we developed a new tradition: Saturday Night Sofa Bed. We pull out the sofa bed, layer it with blankets, and spend the evening reading, watching TV, and sometimes even eating. All four of us (me, Mr. Sandwich, Baguette, and Wicket) fit with plenty of room to spare, and we have a great family evening.

Then, through trial and a lot of error, we realized something else: the sofa bed is pretty much the only place we can get Baguette to nap. Apparently at day care she’s amazing at naps. But what we realized is that there, she doesn’t nap alone. There’s a whole room full of napping toddlers.

Which is why the sofa bed is now out for the entire weekend. One of us (usually me, but not always) sits next to her and reads or works on the computer, while Wicket perches on a nearby cushion.

It’s actually kind of awesome.