Friday, July 16, 2004

My little girl

My little girl and I, along with my friend Rebecca, are flying to Louisville today to visit our dear friends Laurie and her son Jack. It will be Katie's first plane trip, obviously. As if she knew that today might be a hectic one, she slept over 9 hours in a row last night. Wish us luck! (If you read this before 1:00 p.m. central time, feel free to leave comments with any flying- with- babies tips you might have.)

Geoff took this picture of Katie the other day. Her happiness is so apparent that looking at this picture makes me teary.

My little girl is the happiest girl and the happiest girl is she
Originally uploaded by jessamyn8470.
She slept horribly last week. She kept waking up and crying, over and over, until later and later times. 11:00. 12:00. 1:00. 1:30. And then she'd wake up every couple of hours after that, too, crying each time. By the fifth night of this, she hadn't stayed asleep until 1:30 in the morning, and she'd woken up at 3:30 and refused to go back to sleep after I'd nursed her, because she wanted to play with us. All three of us were exhausted.

It was probably a combination of a lot of things. She is teething. She outgrew the car seat where she'd slept every night since she was born, and she now had to sleep on the vast and unsnuggly crib matteress. She had her four month check up and got another four shots. We had recently returned from a road trip - she slept so much in the car that she couldn't get to sleep at night.

She was so grumpy and so touchy, it was a delicate and difficult job to keep her from crying. At bedtime she would cry and cry no matter what we did - no matter how often we fed and rocked and held her. And so finally, after that fifth night, we decided that we would put her in the crib for the night, and we would let her cry for awhile.

All three of us cried that night. (I felt like I should cry the whole time she was crying, in sympathy and as a result of my own very real pain to know that she was so tired and unhappy.) But after awhile, she went to sleep, and she slept the longest she had slept in awhile. After she woke up to eat, she then went right back to sleep.

It was the best night's sleep she'd had in awhile, and when I looked in on her at 6:30 in the morning, she was lying on her back, kicking her legs in the air, cooing softly to herself. When she saw me she went wild with the "hey!" sounds she makes, and with arm and leg waving. She gave me a huge smile.

That was Monday night. The next night she didn't cry at all, and we didn't know what to think. Wednesday night she was back to crying for awhile. The crying was mostly fussing this time - she didn't sound like she was hurting, she just sounded like she was angry. It was easier to deal with, but I was still crying for her by the time she went to sleep.

And then last night? I put her in her crib, she said some irritable "hey! hey!"'s at us and she muttered to herself a little bit. She didn't cry. After about 15 minutes, we didn't hear anything else. Asleep at 8:45.

She didn't make another peep until 5:50 this morning.

I know there are a million opinions on whether you should ever let your baby cry if you can help it, and if you do, when?  For how long?  I don't know what's right.  But in the end, we decided that one long stretch of crying that results in a good night's sleep is less of an evil than eight or nine shorter stretches of crying that are interspersed with chunks of sleep no longer than two hours (and sometimes as short as 10 minutes).  I wouldn't presume to tell you what would work for your child. I don't know. I'm not even sure yet what works for mine. (But don't write me and tell me that you know better than I do, ok?)

When I went into her room this morning at 5:50, her little body practically writhed with glee. She was so content, so happy, so excited to meet the day.
It is overwhelming, how much I love her - how happy it makes me to see her so happy.

Parenting (already, even when your child is barely four months old) can be so hard. Of course, it's also (already, even when your child is barely four months old) amazingly wonderful.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jessamyn, your baby is so cute it makes ME teary! And makes me miss Clara at that age, even though she's only 5 months older. In a flash she went from that little bundle of wiggly happiness like your Katie is right now, to a very fast-moving and determined little crawler/climber. She's too busy exploring the world to cuddle with me anymore. *sigh!* :)
-Kat (lucidjelly)

July 19, 2004 at 2:26 AM  

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