I think we’re just going to have to start this morning over. The explanation is, I think, best told through the email transcript between Justin and I this morning.
Justin and I email throughout the day. Today, we were having a normal conversation about our plans today/this week while I supervised Mitchell in the tub. Then this happened.
M: Omg. Your son just discovered the joy of farting in the tub. He’s having a great time.
J: Uh oh. I hope he doesn’t push too hard!
I didn’t see that last message, though, because I was busy taking a video of (I thought) Mitchell farting and then giggling at the sound. It was super cute. And then:
M: OMG HE POOPED IN THE TUB. [I included a picture in the email, but I won’t burden you with that image. I did, however, feel the need to burden Justin with that image.]
M: I just figured out what I want for Christmas. You to clean the tub.
J: That’s why I was hoping he didn’t push too hard!
M: OMG WHILE I WAS CLEANING THE TUB HE POOPED ON HIS BEDROOM FLOOR AND STEPPED IN IT.
M: OMG WHILE I WAS CLEANING THE POOP IN HIS BEDROOM HE PEED ON THE KITCHEN FLOOR. [I discovered later that he also peed in the used cookie tin he’d been playing with. He’d been using it to store his goldfish crackers. Turns out they can’t swim.]
J: Wow. I am really happy I’m here at work!
Justin will pay for missing all that. I plopped Mitchell into his second bath and by the time he was done, I had a giggly baby again. (We end all bath times with him looking at himself in the mirror. It’s one of the highlights of his day.)
Of course, later, while I was running to shut the door after Kingsley let himself (and a bunch of freezing cold air) in, Laika did her trademark I’m-going-to-stop-right-in-your-path thing and I totally jammed my toe on her and my neighbor probably heard me cuss her out through the open door. So that’s awesome. Right after he may or may not have seen my bare ass through the bedroom window (thank you, Mitchell, for discovering how window coverings work). Basically, the story of this week is: if it can go wrong, it will go wrong.
Let me start this post by saying that Laika is an extremely spoiled dog. When we first got her, I read something that said her breed (Neapolitan mastiff) could literally die from being lonely. They’re very bad at being rehomed because they miss their original family. Laika exemplifies this breed quality. She’s very attached to Justin and I. Just being in a separate room causes her extreme anxiety.
Which brings me to the point of this post: nap time.
Laika likes to pace. The older she gets, the mire she drags her feet and the mire distracting it is to Mitchell when he’s going down for a nap. So I tried shutting the door to the bedroom. With the door shut, I just saw two giant paws teaching under the door and heard her whining the whole time. The. Whole. Time. I tried waiting her out. She won. She has a wookie whine, so the worst part was I was half annoyed, half amused.
So I amended my strategy. I left the door closed, but not latched, so she could still see inside the room. Except she’s one of those “give an inch, take a mile” dogs. So it would start with an inch of crack in the door, and then “oh, did I do that?” The door would magically be open a few inches, then a few inches more, and she would sit there looking abused before finally coming all the way in. And yes, she rocks the abused dog look.
“But why? Why do you make me sit out here?” Seriously, this poor dog is the most neurotic dog I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. At least she isn’t destructive with her separation anxiety, although I wouldn’t put it past her if pushed.
So new tactic: I let her in the bedroom, but make her lie right beside the door. We’ll see how this works.
Love #1: Danger.
So I was standing on a chair putting up Christmas decorations (but not the tree…still obeying Justin’s rule!), and Mitchell thought that looked like a lot of fun. So he did it. HE CLIMBED A CHAIR. I’m screwed.
Love #2: Puppies.
He’s getting close to saying “puppy”. He gets the “p” sound out so he follows them saying “puh puh puh puh” or something like that. And the cuddles! They both tolerate the cuddles so well. He loves to bury his head in their fur/skin (Kingsley=fur, Laika=skin).
Love #3: Phones.
Grandpa made the mistake of giving Mitchell his phone over the weekend and having me call his phone. Mitchell LOVED it and paced the floor with the phone like this “talking” to me. (I may pace while talking on the phone. It’s something that’s been called to my attention before.) He’s also OBSESSED with my phone right now because I downloaded a Fisher Price Story Time app. It was a huge mistake because I’ve started having to hide my phone from him. My message notification is also fascinating to him right now because it’s the first seven notes of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. So as soon as it goes off, he starts searching for my phone. And since he can climb, it’s getting harder to hide it from him.
So far this week, we’ve had to start over on the nap routine. Well, not completely over, because it hasn’t taken him more than 20 minutes to fall asleep yet (except for last night when I put the blanket on him and he woke up, shoved it off, decided that wasn’t good enough and stood up and threw it out of the crib). But it’s definitely taking a bit longer and I’ve had to sit on the floor halfway between the crib and the chair. It’s my fault, though. This weekend we were out and about over nap time a lot and his nap was really scattered. And last week I tried to push his naps back so he’d eat lunch first, and this week I’m trying to get it way earlier so we can hopefully get to Thanksgiving dinner at noon with a fully-napped baby. But toddlers aren’t so open to change. While he’s never been a scheduled baby, he still has preferences, and early naps aren’t a preference for him. But it’s just for one week. He’ll live.
Last night I didn’t spend any time at all next to the crib. I sat on the chair for exactly 17 minutes. And today it took Mitchell only 21 minutes! It probably would have been sooner, but he was so close to sleep after only a couple minutes that I got up and moved to the chair. Big mistake. He was inconsolable for about five minutes. But then he settled down and went to sleep. Hooray for progress!
We’re getting some definite improvement here. Mitchell only took 25 minutes to go to sleep last night, and that was with me sitting across the room, not next to the crib. Today for nap he took quite a bit longer and I had to sit next to the crib humming, but still, he went to sleep after only 45 minutes (most of that was spent rearranging the pillows).
At this rate, I’ll be done with Flowers for Algernon by tomorrow! At least I’m accomplishing something…
So I decided to read the Cliff’s notes of the sleep training book that hasn’t arrived yet. Basically, the method is to sit next to the crib, then gradually get further from the crib every day until finally you’re outside the room. For a myriad of reasons, this is the method Justin and I decided to go with.
Since the biggest original problem was that Mitchell was terrified of his crib, I put his old crib toy back in it. It worked like a charm. I hate this crib toy, because it randomly goes off at all hours of the day (and night). But Mitchell was ecstatic when it came back. For 2 hours on Saturday, he played in his crib with it. I finally cracked and rocked him to sleep.
But today I promised myself I wouldn’t crack. I stuck with it. 2 hours and 45 minutes later, he finally fell asleep. I did more pointless internet surfing than I have in several years. I probably accounted for half of all Buzzfeed traffic today. But this is how he finally feel asleep.
I’m not sure this is what the book had in mind, but whatever. He’s asleep. And he’s even put himself back to sleep after waking up a few times. That has to be a good sign.