May 2007

Emma’s Aunt Emily is a super cool landscape architect who just made the local paper in Ithaca, NY, for the work she has done there on the restoration of the natural habitat in an area called Salt Point. Her picture is even in the paper and everything.

We are pretty proud of her around our house for making the paper, but also for the work she is doing in environmental restoration. She’s moving to NYC soon, so the next time she makes the local paper it will be the New York Times — and I bet that won’t take long at all.

Weird things have been happening in our house for the last few weeks. We moved to our new house, we all got sick and Emma’s sleep patterns went haywire. Last Monday she slept for 12 hours straight – Hooray!!! On Tuesday she slept for 11 hours straight – Huzzah!!! On Wednesday she she started having trouble going to sleep and woke up at 3:00 am – hmm. By Sunday night it was taking us two hours to get her to sleep and she was waking up every two hours.

Emma and her sleep became my obsession. I talked to everyone who would (pretend to) listen, at first about her great sleep marathons but then about our struggles trying to get her to sleep. I decided that she was crying when we put her to sleep because we had failed completely as parents. After reading every book I could find on the subject I decided we had a burgeoning sleep disorder on our hands and our daughter’s future ability to function in the world depended on our approach to her current sleep problems.

Most people I talked to stressed how important it was to let her cry it out. They told me she wasn’t going to ever learn to “self soothe” if we didn’t let her just cry. We tried. We really did. We were little puddles on the floor outside her room, but we gave it a good solid try. In the end though it was too much for us to listen to and we went back in to try and comfort her.

Finally we asked our mothers. Both of them, independent of each other, said something no one else did – make sure she gets plenty to eat and goes to bed on a full stomach. I was slightly skeptical, but then I got a phone call today from my mom who was watching Emma. She told me that she had been feeding Emma at every opportunity and at nap time Emma went to sleep without a peep. We tried it tonight – giving her a bottle to make sure she got plenty to eat – and she went into the crib awake and fell asleep without even a whimper.

Now our challenge is to make sure she gets enough to eat. We may still have to face letting her “cry it out” at some point, but for now it seems like she is perfectly able and willing to fall asleep on her own. I am horrified that she was crying because she was hungry but so glad that we didn’t give up trying to figure out what was wrong. And my mother and Mike’s mother will always be my first stops from now on with any questions or concerns I might have. Maybe they should write a book or something.

Hangin’ around from barkingmoose

Emma turned five months old yesterday. She loves to be upright in her jumpy thing or activity center, and recently discovered the dogs who fascinate her.

We moved a couple of weeks ago. Our new house is very close to our old house, but has a lot more space for the whole family. We have a sunroom and a finished basement now, which I think might officially qualify us as grownups. Yikes.