Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I guess that a lot of kids have some sort of cherished toy or blankie, commonly referred to as a "lovie," that they need to clutch in order to fall asleep. Will has got a lot of toys and animals, many of which he finds very interesting, but none of which he needs to have for sleeping. The closest thing he's got is Blue Seahorse, a kind of funny looking stuffed animal that plays lullabies if you press its tummy. The first time he saw Blue Seahorse (when Gramma Nan and Grampa Rick gave it to him for Christmas), he opened his mouth as wide as he could and clamped down on Seahorse's nose. Seahorse is still very fascinating to him. Sometimes when he wakes up very early in the morning, I will put Seahorse in bed with him and he will fall back asleep while listening to the lullabies.

I have mixed feelings about lovies. I fear that if Will had a lovie, and that if it someday got misplaced or dirty when he was supposed to go to bed, that there would then be no sleeping. Most of the time I maintain that it is not too hard for me to get Will to sleep (getting him to stay asleep is another matter entirely), but I realized that it actually is kind of an ordeal. When I started taking him to daycare, they asked if there was anything special they should know, I realized that if I wrote down instructions for what I have to do to get him to take a nap, it would require pages and pages.

In a nutshell, here is "the routine": First, I feed him. He almost always falls asleep while he is eating. And as soon as I take him off, he almost always wakes up and cries. Very quickly, I swaddle him as tight as I can in two blankets (it has to be two blankets only because he is too big to be properly swaddled with just one). Then I hold him on his side--with his tummy next to my tummy, and his head in the crook of my left elbow. Then I sway back and forth, and-- here is the most important thing--I pat his back with each sway. The patting of the back is key. I don't know why. The swaddling is also key because it keeps his arms from flailing around. He does thrash around a lot and he still wakes up the instant his arms become unswaddled. I do have fears that I will still have to swaddle him by the time he is in kindergarden (and that I will still be nursing him at that point too), but I am trying to just take it one day at a time here. The swaddling blankets are therefore very important to this process, and unfortunately, although we have an entire closet stacked full of receiving blankets, they are too small to swaddle him in anymore and we are down to just 2 blankets that I can actually manage to swaddle him in. So if these 2 blankets get soiled, drooled upon, or otherwise dirty, the sleeping process becomes more difficult. I don't think these really qualify as "lovies" though, because he could care less about what blankets he's swaddled in. I just don't want to go out and buy any more blankets because it seems very wasteful considering that we already have at least 500 baby blankets in the house.

When I finally started to get serious about mandating daytime naps, I began to do this sleep routine procedure for a morning nap, for an afternoon nap, and again at night. Even if he is screaming at the top of his lungs when we begin, I can generally have him to sleep in about 2-5 minutes. There have been some exceptional circumstances when it took upwards of 15 minutes, or other times when I was just too freaking exhausted to do all this and it does not end well. But for the most part it works. Sometimes, I have even been able to lay him down while he is still awake and he falls asleep on his own (so long as his dang arms don't get out and rile him up). But other times (like today!), I can easily get him to sleep doing "the routine," but as soon as I lay him down he wakes up cries!

At any rate, I realized something. I am his lovie!

I think that's okay though. I don't mind!

I know I am probably jinxing myself by posting this here, but last night Will slept for 11.5 hours straight. For the first time ever. He typically goes to bed between 7 and 8, and lately he's been waking up 2-3 times in the night. Then last night, the 11.5 hour sleep came completely out of the blue. And I actually got 9 hours of sleep myself! It was AMAZING. I felt like a new woman. I haven't slept that long since before I got pregnant (what with my frequent waking up to puke or pee). I know this 11.5 hour sleep was probably a fluke, but I can't help but hope.


Anonymous said...

I LOVE that YOU are Will's LOVIE!!!!!!!!! Now , how special is that???? and FOR the TIME BEING, ENJOY!!!!! you won't BE his LOVIE forever, :(>--- Somehow, babies grow, mature, and BLOSSOM in spite of WHAT we do as PARENTS--- So always, ALWAYS go with YOUR GUT, and "Do THE BEST YOU CAN"!!!!!!!!! Hope this is another 11 HOUR sleep nite!!!!! Luv to all, foxymama

Unknown said...

I highly recommend the cloth diaper "lovie." Only Ethan ever really had a "lovie," and the cloth diaper was perfect. It was easy to wash and easy to replicate in case it was lost.

amypfan said...

I think I am STILL Bryn's lovie. Shay tends to carry toys (or socks.... or unused diapers....) around, but she chooses a new one every day, so I don't think any of them qualify as actual "lovies."

Depressing as it is for me to remember with this one about to arrive, but sometimes kids will only go to sleep for their mamas. Or at least that was the case with Bryn. Of course, it probably helped that I smelled like an all-you-can-eat buffet to her.

HOORAY for the 11.5 hours! I would kill for that kind of sleep right now, but alas, I am in that stage of pregnancy that you mentioned.

Last thing--on the swaddling--they really do make those blankets way too small. My solution was to sew together two (or four, depending on how big you need it) of those blankets, thus making a super-swaddler. Was a pain to do, but was still far better than washing the one big one every time it got a drop of spit-up on it. Otherwise, towels work in a pinch if you're really desperate. :)

gutzville said...

We got a couple of these that are quite nice. Difficult to get out of, and the large is... well large. Also if you get the yellow she looks like some guy who, you know, grabs bananas and runs. Or a banana that grabs things... Animation Rights!

Unknown said...

The Miracle Blanket was the swaddle blanket I used the most. I got mine on Ebay. Michael has the same blue seahorse. He got it for Christmas 2008 and has slept with it for naps and at night ever since. During the day he runs around with his blue stuffed tiger.