My newborn has been replaced with a stubborn baby who fights sleep at all costs. It seems as if she’s determined to remain awake for fear she’ll miss something groundbreaking. She used to be quite content sleeping in our dining room in her baby swing. Now, she’s practically scaling the swing structure to reach her beloved purple rhinoceros dangling from the mobile. My daughter was a great sleeper and would rarely wake-up in the middle of the night. Throughout her first weeks home from the hospital she’d only get up to feed once or twice during the night. Unfortunately, it seems those days are over. She is no longer the sweet newborn who could sleep anywhere, on anyone, and through any and all conditions. Her aversion to sleep results in a day filled with grumpiness (yes, she can get a bit cranky too).
When sleepiness does miraculously set in, my daughter starts to protest with some grumbling (mostly at her toys). But those frustrations that began as an endearing growl have now evolved into an all-out throaty yelling. I like to believe she is saying something like, I’m so tired and this toy owl will not do my will and fit inside my mouth! And by the way, I really don’t want to take a nap! My husband was the first to discover this behavior while working from home on a conference call. Her expressive yelling made quite the impression on his coworker. Being the new and inexperienced parent that I am, I needed to find out if this behavior was “normal.” Anecdotally, it is. Plus, she’s already growing up.
As I continue to read all the baby-raising books, practice all the advice I’ve been given, and try all of the most highly recommended strategies to help my little one, I realize that I will need to adapt these methods to suit my family. Even the best practices may need to be amended because of that other shared experience among new parents: my kid is going to be exception, not the rule.
Thankfully, I’ve found that my daughter can be lulled to sleep using motion. If I take her for a long walk in her stroller or to take her on a car ride, she’ll doze off. However, it seems like the minute we stop moving her eyes open up, one after the other, and lock in on me conveying her distaste, I know what you are trying to do. You were trying to put me to sleep. I know what you are up to and I’m not falling for it.