It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Where’s my pattern? My predictability?

I’m integrating another baby, as you know. Daniel has been a delightfully easy baby to integrate. He’s a tad anxious at drop-off, but easily distracted. He prefers to toss his food over eating it, but judging from his not exactly willowy girth, intake is simply not something I need to worry about overmuch. He routinely gives spontaneous hugs and kisses. Given the girth and the enthusiasm, he’s another commando hugger, but who can argue with affection, no matter how exuberant?

So he’s got the right attitude, he’s good enough with the food, he’s cheerful and friendly. What he hasn’t got yet is anything like a consistent sleep pattern.

So far we’ve had early morning naps, we’ve had mid-morning naps, we’ve had no morning nap. We’ve had afternoon naps and no afternoon naps. I understand from his parents that this is not normal for him. His normal patterns are much the same as I maintain for the other kids, so I’m assuming this is a reaction to the both Big Change of starting daycare, and the changes to his normal morning routine that getting to daycare on time involve. Now, he’s weathering this all with his apparently standard response of gleeful good humour.

The adults? Not so much. His daytime variation is throwing his nights into a bit of disarray, I understand, one evening falling asleep in his dinner plate, the next swinging from the chandelier at 8:30, one morning up at his usual 5:45, the next at 4:30. His parents are tired. And me? I need my afternoon quiet time. With a three-and-a-half and a five-and-a-half on the roll, I’m used to having kids awake in the afternoon, but they’re old enough to be quiet. They’re old enough to be independent. They do not require constant surveillance.

Daniel? He’s a happy boy, he’s a cheerful boy, and he’s a busy, busy boy. Totally normal, of course, but not what I want for my afternoons. Even as I type, Emily and Tyler are two metres to my right in the kitchen, playing an involved game with the dollhouse and a firetruck. I think rescues are involved, but it’s all being done very quietly, and they haven’t needed anything from me in 40 minutes.

And Daniel? In that 40 minutes he has thrown three toys through the front door window onto the porch. He has eaten a crayon (purple). He has filled and emptied a box several times. (That game bought me at least three minutes of tea-drinking time.) He has tried to climb the stairs to the bedrooms. (Damn that baby gate!!!) He has tried to fall down the basement stairs. (Damn that other baby gate!!!) He has attempted to feed the puppy something inorganic, throw some wooden blocks, gnaw on a library book (which activity cost me $28 last time), poke a rhythm stick through the front door screen, pull the music off the piano, empty one of the diaper bins, and shut a cupboard door on his fingers.

Attempted each and every one of those things. Been thwarted in his efforts by yours truly.

In the same time frame, I have attempted to interest him in:

– the fill and dump game. (Got me three minutes.)
– a high chair tray full of cheerios (Two minutes. The dogs really enjoyed that one. I expected the tossing, I just hoped it would last longer…)
– a shape-sorter, some stuffed toys, blocks (cf, throwing, above), rhythm instruments (cf, through the screen), books (gnawing), play piano (music books to floor)…

He’s not extreme, he’s not even particularly high-energy. He’s just 13 months old.

Thirteen months old. And awake.


I will deal with this, just not yet. I have a couple of weeks off at the end of the month, you see, and there is no point whatsoever in starting a re-jigging of sleep campaign when, in another two weeks, everything’s going to be different yet again!

But in September? When we’re all back, when my enrollment is stable (summer is always a time of attendance flux), when Emily and Tyler will no longer be coming (sob), and everything is back to normal?

I am getting my afternoons back.


August 4, 2011 - Posted by | Daniel, sleep |


  1. 😦 No more Emily and Tyler. I know how much love them both, particularly Emily…from your stories she sounds like such a pip. Still, I totally agree that there’s little point in trying to create order amidst the chaos that is summer time schedules…especially with toddlers. Yay for soon to be getting back your afternoons. 😀

    Comment by Sheri | August 4, 2011 | Reply

  2. I feel you….today was my first day all summer without school aged kids and I was looking forward to an hour of tv. Instead one baby screamed for the first half and another for the second. Not a big deal except I was looking forward to it all day!

    I hear you. You promise yourself one little treat, just one, and… boooo… It can be hard not to feel just a little put-upon! Will there by another day without the older kids soon??

    Comment by k | August 4, 2011 | Reply

  3. Yup, I have one 14 month old who takes crazy-short naps (45 min in the morning, maybe 40 min in the afternoon, if I’m lucky) – and while he’s getting better every day in terms of not needing my constant laser-beam attention, by the time he leaves I am zonked. I have never yet managed to get all of my nappers asleep at the exact same time… I do manage to get in a cup of tea when they are all happily eating (or throwing) lunch, but by about 3pm I am extremely resentful of people (like my husband) who get a solid hour for lunch, plus breaks.

    That plus the adult conversation are the two things I miss the most about being in an office environment.

    Adult conversation! One of the biggest voids in this job, for sure. I think the other thing I miss most is the lack of autonomy. My husband can generally arrange to zip out of his office and go get himself a coffee, or even go for a walk in the middle of the day. Oh, how I envy him that! Me, I can’t even guarantee that I’ll be able to pee in private.

    About the 14-mo: have you tried bundling him?

    Comment by hodgepodge | August 5, 2011 | Reply

    • Ah, the solitary pee. I remember it – kind of – but don’t often get to indulge in it. The same 14 month old screams blue murder and hammers on the door if I have the nerve to go pee ever.

      Bundling – is that similar to swaddling? Please do explain. Because he certainly *needs* more sleep, but as soon as he rolls over for the first time he wakes up and screams like his crib is full of cobras, or something. I’d so much prefer it if he had one solid nap after lunch (and I know he would, too).

      Comment by hodgepodge | August 7, 2011 | Reply

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