Q&A: The one where I feel like a shitty parent

Alisha (who clearly needs her own podcast, just for her email subject alone) writes:

Is there some fussy-farting-limits-testing-booshity thing that happensaround the 7 month mark? Because the boy and I have been going ten
rounds lately and he’s kicking my parental ass.
I don’t know if it’s the teething (it looks like his bottom eye teeth
are coming in. I thought the top ones came before the sides?) or some
sort of developmental thing (he’s 32 weeks but he was 2 weeks late so
developmentally that’s 34 weeks? He’s starting to sit unassisted for a
few
seconds and crawling is imminent, although I’ve been saying that for
weeks) or if I’m just being punished for being smug, but my son is back
to non-sleeping. It started a few days ago – a little extra rocking
here, another round of Lullabye there. Small stuff that was easy to
dismiss. Clearly a month of cushy snoozing (five minutes of rocking and
he was out until 5 am; easy breezy naps) made us soft. Now he’s taking
forever to settle and once he is asleep it doesn’t last. The minute his
head hits the mattress he flips onto his back, grabs his blankie, and
shoots us a self-satisfied grin.

FOOLS!!!

That’s
what the grin says, I swear it. You can practically count the
exclamation points in his eyes. Lather, rinse, repeat (two to four more
times) and you’ve got yourself one pissed off mama.

It’s
the joy – the exalation! – that makes me so crazy. It feels like a
giant F- you to my parenting skills. We did CIO at 4.5 months and after
16 miserable, worthless days ended up with a baby who was terrified to
go to sleep. Then we instigated a rock/jiggle/hum routine that worked
wonders – until now. I’ve tried leaving
him to cry again which sends him to Shitsville in a large, wailing
basket.
I’ve said fuck it and gotten him up which leads to a grouchy, bleary
eyed babe and a difficult day. According to the books (here
we go…) he’ll nap better if he sleeps longer at night so I should
ignore him until 6 am. (Actually they say he should be sleeping until 6 am which makes me want to punch them in the nose.) There’s no way: his diaper is practically deteriorating by 4:30 (the outside actually squishes, it’s so full) and I defy anyone to get a baby back to sleep after an early morning wipe down.

I’m
trying to convince myself that this is just a phase (maybe he’s transitioning from 3 naps to 2?) but there’s an
awful lot of You’re Not The Boss Of Me happening lately, which is great
developmentally but panty-twisting, mommy-wise. (We’ve introduced solids and he’s starting to
refuse the bottle. Sure, the nipple is good for chewin’ and have you
ever just opened your mouth and let the liquid spill out all over
yourself?
Apparently it’s awesome. Awesome enough to do over and over and over and over.)

Excuse me while I take a moment.

Is this crap normal?

Oh, this sucks. I’m so sorry, although your email was super-funny and I thank you for that.

It sounds like a whole bunch of developmental, movement, and teething stuff all combined into a big ball of suck, plus the 37-week wonder week. Also, it sounds like your son may be really smart, and that’s leading him to testing his independence a little bit earlier than usual. (Just like in that movie with L.L. Cool J in which they’re training the sharks and then the sharks get smarter than the human are and attack.) It’s tough with the smart kids, because lots of times they don’t sleep as much or as well as the norm, and they get frustrated when they’re aware of things but can’t make their needs or will known.

At this age, he’s probably too young even for sign language (you could start with the signs and he might understand at this point but probably doesn’t have the physical skills to make them himself yet). And sign language likely won’t help with the sleep. But talking him through every single thing that’s going on all day might. Verbalizing feelings for him, like saying “You’re angry!” when he’s clearly mad, and stuff like that. I know people think a 7-month-old is too young to communicate, but their receptive language kids in so early, and you might as well err on the side of attributing more maturity to your kid than less.

But back to the main point, which is that the books are full of crap. OK, not necessarily pure crap, but the stuff in those books works for a certain subset of kids. And it’s not working for your son, so for your purposes, the books are crap.

If it makes you feel any better, I got 6 emails since Wednesday about naps, so there’s something going around. And there isn’t anything in your email that’s jumping out at me as obvious that you could fix. If you’ve checked the usual things (propping the head of the crib, cutting out solid for a few hours before bed in case it’s indigestion, temperature check noises check, etc.), then it’s just time to open it up to sympathy. You’re doing a great job.

Readers, it’s Friday. And yet none of us will have a weekend because our kids will be up at the same freaking time as usual on Saturday morning. Sympathy for Alisha, primal scream for yourself, or pie recipes all appreciated in the comments.

0 thoughts on “Q&A: The one where I feel like a shitty parent”

  1. Man, that was a funny email. Especially funny because I’ve been there with the too-smart baby and the extremely frustrating sleep times. CIO never worked for us. The only way I got some sort of sleep was to bring her into bed with us. She hated cribs and pack-n-plays. Maybe it was the walls? She knew it was like baby jail? I have no advice except know that it gets better. You have a smart child who will be a lot of fun as soon as he’s able to communicate with you. My daughter responded to signing pretty early – about 8 months or so, if I remember correctly. It definitely helped and it’s worth trying. The Signing Times series is great for learning. Good luck! You’re doing a great job!

  2. i hope this helps:you will look back on this email/post in about a month (or less?!) and barely remember these times/these emotions.
    the book Wonder Weeks was true balm for me.
    he *is* in a developmental spurt; and as i remember myself- it was our hardest spurt thus far.

  3. Oh, sympathy! Both of my kids have been terrible sleepers. My younger, who is 16 months, is transitioning from 2 naps to 1. It goes something like this – baby wakes up a 7 am. Baby resists nap until 11 Am. Baby naps for 1 hour 20 minutes. Mommy sighs. Baby accidentally falls asleep in car on the way home from big sister’s ballet at 4:30 pm, sleeps until 5:30 (why is it that they won’t sleep when I want them to, but when I want them awake, they sleep like the dead?). Baby stays up until 11 pm. Repeat, with increasingly cranky baby, until weekend boot camp temporarily gets us back on track.My only advice is to buy some Huggies Overnites and diaper doublers.My daughter was a heavy wetter, and that combination helped her get through the night.
    Though now she’s almost night trained (5 nights of 6), at almost 4 – I didn’t think this would happen for another year. Hooray!

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I’m about to attempt an inter-continental flight of over 24 hours with an 18 month old(!!! ) who is going thru yet another sleep regression and a 3.5 year old. Agh!! Can’t wait.

  5. I loved your email, not just because it was funny, but because it filled me with nostalgia. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to go back to that time, but I can’t help but feel proud that I survived it. And you’ll survive, too.I found Elizabeth Pantley’s No Cry Sleep Solution marginally helpful. Of course you’ll have to skip some of the first part b/c if you’ve even considered CIO it will make you want to jump off a bridge. But far more helpful is the No Cry Yahoo group, filled with empathetic and supportive sleep-deprived parents.
    I think it’s a baby’s job to kick your butt all over the place and make you feel like a crappy parent. The trouble is, you can do everything right and they still get to decide everything–when they’ll sleep and eat and potty train and try to learn to ride a bike or swim or read. . . and that’s as far as I’ve gotten.
    I’ve also got to recommend Ellyn Satter’s Child of Mine for the eating. I’ve read/skimmed a ridiculous number of parenting books, and this is the only one where I think that following its advice was actually the reason behind my kids’ successful eating. It’s a lot about the control issue.
    I’d also say, don’t be afraid to just sleep with him if you want to. A lot of times you get more rest. And if you decide you’re going to do something, like not get him if he cries or put him in the crib until it’s light out, explain it to him. It’s shocking how much they understand. I once practically had a conversation with my 9 mo about nursing.
    You sound like a mom who’s doing a terrific job, and with your sense of humor intact. Good luck!

  6. Oh wow, I just chuckled and squirted coffee out of my nose. What the poster is experiencing is not funny, but I had to giggle because I just went through it not too long ago. And I have to agree with everyone who said to throw the sleep books out the window, for me they were insightful but fairly useless.My 13 month old still does not sleep through the night, he was always nursed to sleep and now still requires a small amount of milk in the bottle to doze off. No amount of shushing or lullabies will work is he is not sucking on something and a binky will not do. I can expect him to wake up at 11pm, 2am, and then again at 6am, sometimes he does not wake, but when he does strangely enough it is at those times. He never sleeps all the way through the night. He went through exactly what your little one is going through. Looking back I know it was developmental as he would sit up in his sleep, try sleep crawling. I also know teething was always involved as well as the little one has 16 teeth at this point so there is no doubt something was always cutting his gums. He also went from two naps to one nap at around 10 months and that through everything off (again). Just when things seem right you can expect a change to occur. Oh, and I forgot about how my guy hit that 9 month separation anxiety early. So around 8 months he WOULD NOT LEAVE MY SIDE.
    Other than commiserating with the poster I am not sure this information will help her, but I want her to know it will pass. If it does not completely pass it will become remarkably better. Some children just are not good sleepers. I think the standard we hold infants and toddlers to in regards to sleep is extremely high and a poor sleeper is NOT a reflection of poor parenting. The fact you are concerned shows what a great parent you must be. I wish I could make this better for all parents but no one solution fits all babies.
    And it sucks to be tired. I cannot tell you how bad I fee that you are not getting sleep. Anyway, take it one day at a time, take a deep breath and know it will get better. Try to relax at bedtime too as I am certain the baby can sense your stress and anxiety. My guy feeds off of it. It’s when I most need space he wants to cling to me. If I take a deep breath and relax, he seems to do the same.
    *Big Hugs* and good luck!

  7. My 7-month-old is staring at me right now. For evidence they are so much smarter than you think, the only toys he wants are his older brother’s Matchbox cars. He is so offended and extremely pissed off when I try to give him a baby toy, it’s actually funny.My only tip is to go for the overnight diapers, too. My second child was a super heavy wetter, and he was soaking himself and his bed every night until we started using those.

  8. Alisha, I’m so sor–AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!Wow, that felt good. Pie?

  9. That email was awesome (thank you and I’m so sorry!)! It sounds just like both my boys at different times/stages of suck. I see the independence/pushing limits thing (the feeding issues – especially the mouth open/drink dribbling thing – #1 did that and I screeched at him quick/often enough that he stopped real quick). It sounds like maybe a nap-transition (give the 2 naps a try and see how he responds), too. My #1 started needing a white-noise machine to sleep around this point, so that might help. Teething is a right-bastard and turns even the most pleasant baby (#2) into a whineycrybabygrumpyhead (I could just wring his adorable little neck sometimes). Oh, and #2 also did the “refuse the bottle once I’ve got the real food action” – that passed eventually.I found with both of mine that receptive communication was really there much earlier than you’d expect, and they totally understand what you’re saying/doing, even if just on a basic level. Treat him like you expect more, explain things to him and give him cause/effect “rules” and see what he does in response. Also, I found that even as young as your son is, the best sign I taught my kids was the “more” (http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/aslweb/M/W2392.htm). More food, more toys, more more more is a big demand and fairly easy to teach and for kids to do (mine never did it perfectly, but I got it so they were greatly appeased and life got much better).
    I wish you luck. Boys are so hard but, I’m told, easier as adolescents. This all will pass, truly.

  10. Pure sympathy from me, Alisha. You do sound like a wonderfully attentive and aware parent. I agree wholeheartedly with Moxie about the books – nothing in them for you (or me) and I always tried to tell myself after reading them and them getting into my head ‘if you aren’t here with me at 3am you don’t get a say’. Hope you find some clear head space.

  11. Just remember–this too shall pass. My own kiddo (8.5 months) is now waking up half an hour earlier every day this week–I’m hoping it’s the antibiotics screwing with his sleep. My only suggestions are for coping–trade off with your husband on the weekends–one of you takes the baby while the other one sleeps in, then trade and the well-rested (ha!) parent gets a nap. Also, just keep fantasizing about calling him up at 5 am while he’s in college and whining “I”m thirsty! I’m lonely! Why don’t you come home and we can hang out?”No pie recipes, but is anyone else out there addicted to Hagen Daaz Fleur de Sel caramel ice cream? I kind of wish I’d never even seen it, because now it is al I think about. V. good for emotionally coping with frustrating parent moments.

  12. I remember those days. Nothing worked. We just put the boy in our bed with us and let him hang out there while we dozed a little. Time and maturity worked it all out. Except 2 years later, he still sleeps with us. Heh.But here’s what I really want to know: Does Alisha have a blog? If so, I want to subscribe.

  13. Don’t even get me started on the sleep books. I could go on for hours about what idiots the sleep book authors are. We had a complete nightmare of similar sleep problems around the 8 – 9 month period that was pure hell. I don’t know how I survived, but it’s been more than a year, and I still think about it sometimes and want to cry. It was that bad.The only advice I can give is for you to do what you need to do to get through this. It will end, I promise. Trust me, they have too many other tricks to pull to keep this one up forever.

  14. With this sleep deficit, there is no way you should be punching people in the nose. The commute! Think of the commute. We’ll punch ’em for you.Advice: Potato starch works best in pies, unless you’re cooking the juice with sugar and cornstarch. Do not believe Cook’s Illustrated about tapioca. It’s slimy.
    I could punch Christopher Kimball too, if you’d like. I mean, just so you’d have the satisfaction of knowing annoying people are being punched.
    I have no advice about sleeping, but I’m sorry. Although Alisha is hilarious, even if it’s just the delirium talking.

  15. “Readers, it’s Friday. And yet none of us will have a weekend because our kids will be up at the same freaking time as usual on Saturday morning.”Thank you, Moxie! Hilarious and only too, too true.
    Alisha I am so sorry. It is sooooo disappointing when you really think it is really going to happen and then you will be able to have some mommyfreetime and then – they wake up. Or when I think he is really going to eat/drink that and he swipes it off the tray (or lets it run down his chin). Those are low, low, low moments.
    All I can say is that it always helps me to try to have no expectations or hopes at all. lol!
    But I will always be trying to outthink him. It’s our job. Mwah hah!
    And I don’t have a pie recipe but we really like this blueberry muffin recipe, to which I add ground almonds for a bit of crunch:
    http://www.elise.com/recipes/archives/001412blueberry_muffins.php

  16. You gave me flashbacks to my 5 year old’s infancy. It was always so hard to get her to unwind and go to sleep, especially when she was going through a developmental spurt or working on a project.Every time you find something that works, something changes and then it doesn’t work and then the not working moves into something that sort of works and then it either improves or falls apart and then you have to find something new because it stopped working again. Those little babies go through phases so quickly and have so much going on at once. Ugh.
    The baby I have now was 7 months old on July 13. She is, like, the “easiest” baby I have ever known (and this is a little scary to me because I’m afraid I will miss her cues – for subtlety is frequently lost on me, so don’t think this is a tremendous blessing.) And she is still going through something more finicky than her usual self right now – having trouble settling at night, waking more. I think she’s working on growing teeth (bottom fronts usually come in first), is going through some big developmental phase, and is transitioning to more people food and less bottles. She’s crawling around pretty well (she seems to be an early mover, the strong silent type.) Sits up for a while by herself, if someone puts her there. But she really wants to be standing and is starting to consider pulling herself up.
    It’s really challenging when the baby is a spitfire. It’ll get easier soon.

  17. Lots of sympathy here! I swear, there are days where it seems like the kids deserve a good, swift kick in the nuts. Thankfully they make up for it in other ways. You’ve got to find what works for you and what works for your baby (screw what the books say – as Moxie says, it only works if your baby is the same kind of baby the author has)And I think you need to realize that it’s OK to be frustrated with your own kid. It doesn’t make you a bad parent, it makes you human! Imagine if an adult behaved the way our kids do?! No one would tolerate that kind of behaviour, and yet we must somehow deal with it gracefully when it is embodied in these teeny, chunky little bodies.
    At least you have not lost your sense of humour! I too laughed when I read your letter! Hang in there!

  18. I love this blog. Simply love it! I am now a mom of three boys (5 years, 2 1/2 years and 23 days old) and I have realized something. Though for some reason, with my newest, I now FEEL like a ‘true mom’ … I am no expert. NO ONE is an expert. We can try to theorize, investigate, poke and prod the whys of a child and their personality. But we will get no where. Each one is different.I read all the questions people have and KNOW I should have an ‘answer’. But I don’t. You try something until something works. Keep doing it, until it doesn’t work anymore. Real helpful, aren’t I? LOL!
    But keep your humor. That will be the only thing left of you once it is all over. mwaahhh…. hee hee.

  19. My favorite pie is caramel apple, but I don’t have the recipe with me at work. Oh, and I like to make peaches & cream pie with white peaches which are just about to come in season here.Other than that, I got nothin’. Lots of sympathy.

  20. Seriously, Alisha is speaking for me. (Much more eloquently, but still…) My 7 month old was such a great sleeper when he was 2 mos that other parents were jealous (and I tried not to be too smug, but at times couldn’t help myself, and now karma is getting be back in a big bitchy way.) He sometimes wakes up several times a night. Goes on a nap strike at about 11am and then gets grumpier and grumpier as the day goes on. We tried modified CIO and failed failed failed. I just can’t listen to him crying “Mama”. Yup, he says Ma Ma and Ba Ba. Often times in the middle of the night when he’s hungry and wants a bottle and a cuddle. I’m like, is it possible he knows what he’s saying?! It’s too weird.But I love Moxie’s suggestion of verbalizing his feelings for him. And that the books are full of crap. The only thing they’ve ever done for me is send me into hysterics at 3am that I’m failing so miserably as a mom. My husband has taken some of them away from me. Thank GOD he’s willing to save me from myself.
    @paola, I feel you! I’m taking my guy on a 9-hour flight to the UK in August. I will think of you and try to put it into perspective.
    @Katie, you mean I may actually look back on all this one day with nostalgia? I live for that day. Seriously.

  21. I wish I wrote like that. Sigh. Wonderful suckage description.So, yes, Wonder weeks issue, plus teething, plus developmental surges, all at once.
    Instead of giving a sample of my own kids at this time (similar hell, though different glee on their part – it wasn’t at bedtime, but at other times), I’ll just tell you a story of what happened when I started assuming my child was smart enough to understand everything I said.
    G was a hat boy – loved wearing them, never a worry of sunburn or rain or snow on his (bald forever) head.
    B, not so. HATED hats. But still bald. By 4 months of age, he could get a hat off his head in about 2 seconds flat. He became quite adept at flinging them, and oh, the satisfaction at having removed the horrible awful THING on his head!!! (yeah, on the exclamation points in his eyes!)
    Mostly, I stopped trying. But one day, it was POURING rain, and I’d left the umbrella in the car. (we now have about a dozen umbrellas stashed everywhere, but then, we didn’t.) Anyway, the option was ‘hat’ or soaking wet unhappy (he didn’t like being damp) child by the time we got to the car. He was seven months old, by the way.
    I put the hat on his head. He flung it before my hand was two inches from his head. I tried again. He flung it again. ARGH! He was completely satisfied and gleeful with this action. And I was losing it (I can’t remember where we were going, I suspect a doctor’s appointment, otherwise I’d have not been so grumpy about it).
    I stopped and looked at him. He was all round and baby fat and squishy and still rolling to get places, but… well, I’d just read one of the ‘Indigo Child’ books (which I’m really not into as a theory, but which had some valid points IMHO about how to treat a child respectfully regarding ALL their gifts, including the ability to comprehend complex spiritual subjects earlier than we expect them to – and likewise, other subjects might also be understood… so…).
    So.
    I carried him to the door. I pointed outside. See? It is raining out. You don’t like your head to get wet. We are going to get in the car. If you wear your hat while we go, between the door and the car, it will keep your head dry. No wet. Once we’re in the car, you can take it off.
    He just gazed at me. Like he always did when I talked. I could be reciting chinese poetry, it would be the same.
    I picked up the hat. Put it on his head.
    He looked at the door. Hat was still on his head. His arms didn’t even move.
    I ran for it. Opened the car door, put him inside, and the SECOND his body was inside the car, he flung that hat as far as he could – it ended up under the steering wheel. Huge satisfied (near-smug, gleeful) expression. Need to get rid of nasty hat, MET. Need to be able to choose what I wear, MET. And at the same time, no complaint about wearing it for the absolute minimum time required.
    After that, I talked to him about ‘why’ all the time. He seemed much happier about that, too. Much more willing to go along with our plan if it was clear it was for his benefit, too. But we had to explain, or he didn’t know – no good at guessing, at that age. But explain? he understood.
    Okay, second story, which may help also for the ‘signs’ thing.
    Consider getting one of those baby books like ‘Baby Faces’, that shows expressions of emotion. Angry, Happy, Sad, etc. B was very into the expressions book. He also discovered that he could communicate his feelings more dexterously with his face than his hands (we used some signs, but this was before he was coordinated with that). In this case, one day, he was trying to stand up by pulling himself up IN a chair. We told him to stop, it wasn’t safe, sit down.
    He turned, looked at me calmly, and then made the ANGRY face. Then his face relaxed, and he watched me to see if I’d understood. He then crunched his face up again. ANGRY. Oh, I said, You’re ANGRY that I told you to stop! He grinned at me.
    From then on, he’d produce the appropriate face for the emotion, but just put it on like a sign, then turn it off again to see if I grasped the concept. It was like facial sign language.
    Once he became more vocal (he had an articulation delay) he dropped the face-sign-language in favor of vocalizing his feelings (and MAN, that kid can scream, shriek, wail, and squeal!). But for a long time, the face-signs were what he needed.
    Anyway, that’s all to say that Moxie’s spot on, as usual – talk to him. He understands. He just doesn’t understand what YOU need.
    I’ll also try to search out my description of what it felt like to be IN a fussy stage (‘wonder week’), so you can understand it from the other side, too. Granted, one data point, but since not many people remember back that far, it’s hard to find resources that explain the range of how it feels…

  22. Early mornings, blargh. Here’s a recipe for something close to a pie, but it’s really easy and you eat it for breakfast. Also it’s called a “Dutch baby” so if you really feel like eating your own offspring, as I do some mornings, maybe you can settle for this. “Guess what? Mommy’s eating a BABY for breakfast. That’s right, you better cut this crap OUT or you’re next.”http://orangette.blogspot.com/2005/02/9-am-sunday-butter-and-babies.html

  23. Alisha, endless amounts of sympathy for you, because that was my son at 7 months. Spirited, smart, intense, and a rough teether to boot – there were nights when I actually cried because he was kicking my ass so hard. Ditch the parenting books, ’cause no mom needs all that guilt heaped on her (with the exception of the Wonder Weeks, of course, which I loved – and if you don’t have a copy, I’ve got an extra one I can mail you, just email me at ranger20194 at yahoo dot com).Definitely get some Huggiess Overnights and/or diaper doublers if you haven’t yet – for us the Huggies helped my son get through to around 5:30 or 6 am without a diaper change. And on those nights when I had no choice but to change him because he was going through a growth spurt and had guzzled 14 oz of milk at bedtime, to be honest, I didn’t bother wiping him down, because sayonara to any sleep for another hour or two.
    But don’t worry, it WILL get better (little man is now 24 months and mostly sleeping through the night). Just do what you can to maintain your sanity till it does.

  24. Oh, yes, next size up diapers. Or Huggies Overnights. With a diaper doubler. Won’t solve teh problem, but might mitigate it somewhat.Pie recipe: Get in car or put on shoes. Go to nearest Pies-R-Us (Bakers Square, Poppin’ Fresh, or grocery store) buy French Silk Pie or Turtle Pie or TUrtle Cheesecake Pie with Graham Cracker Crust or if you’re feeling the need for fruit: Key Lime Pie. Buy the pie. Eat the pie in the parking lot. Tell no one. Return home happy.

  25. Good lord, IT’S LIKE YOU READ MY MIND. Literally, in the shower this morning, I was thinking, cripes, I should write Moxie because this CRAPPITY CRAP is getting unbearable. My 6.5 month old is also in a sleep regression – waking up to complain 4-5 times a night (after happily sleeping 12 hours straight through for many months, thank you, parenting karma) and is just at a constant low-level WHINE all day.I also went through all the options: teething? eh, maybe – although I can’t see any teeth yet, and he’s been drooling like a maniac and eating my fingers/all else for a month now; growth spurt? but he’s not any hungrier during the day; developmental spurt? probably, i guess – he is desperate to crawl and now won’t even roll over even though he CAN – I guess it is beneath him?? and is starting, like yours, to be able to sit by himself a few moments at a time. I often tell him that it is hard to be 6 months old but really really want to be 10 months old, and that’s pretty much the one thing I can’t help him with. Sigh. Hope it gets better soon, for both of us!

  26. Huge doses of sympathy to all, especially the questioner.I’m about to take my 3-yr-old who is in the “how far can I run before you call me back” phase combined with a 5am, “mommy can you rub my back and sit with me” on a six hour train ride to a new vacation home with steep steps and no way for a gate to block them, (I’m hoping to be able to move the couch or something.)
    Here is the pie recipe I used on Tuesday:
    1. buy all ingredients to make wonderful fresh crust from scratch, organic apples, non-hydrogenated shortening and butter, and organic ingredients down to organic cinnamon
    2. fret over how will I find the time to make this and worry about extra $ spent.
    3. Think about how wonderful it will be to bring to a party on Friday and how everyone will love it.
    4. Realize that if I bring a pie to the party (informal bbq) I should be a good guest and bring utensils and plates. Think about how to budget for that and fret some more.
    4. Watch the week go by. Keep the vision of making pie from scratch.
    5. Wake up to reality Thursday night. Go to store and buy two boxes of inexpensive but delicious looking oatmeal raisin and sugar cookies.
    6. Work way through the guilt.
    7. Probable step – Enjoy the party. Then, half-heartedly attempt to exercise to ward off extra lbs from said cookies (that were delicious)

  27. If you can still laugh (or at least make us laugh) all is not lost. :)It is a really frustrating time to be sure. The Tot went through a super clingy/please don’t put me down/why can’t you stand right here next to my crib and hold me while I sleep phase around 8 months and he ended up cutting all four top teeth at once. So many nights I’d wish he wanted to be a co-sleeping baby but he doesn’t. When he’s in a fussy state no lying down/reclining anywhere by either of us is allowed. Sleep deprivation is the absolute craps. 🙁

  28. @ kates, I cracked up here at work reading your comment. Orangette’s blog is wonderful, as are her recipes. I’ve tried lots of them, but never the dutch baby…maybe this weekend, if my 6 am coffee infusion wakes me up enough to tackle cooking while 24 month-old DS is climbing the walls…

  29. Hi Alisha. This is Alisha. It’s my first post here because not only is my 10 month old at this very moment screaming her little head off in the crib because that’s what she does for EVERY nap and bedtime (absolutely no other way to get her to sleep, and we’ve tried everything), but she’s never slept through the night either. And I’ve actually put those sleep books on the ground and stomped on them because they are so depressing. First things first: forget what everyone else says is “right” and just get through each day.Second, 7-9 months kicked my ass. The little bean was fussy, clingy, demanding, couldn’t get the hang of crawling, teething, all that stuff. Oh, and refused to be fed–everything was a fight, must do it herself, etc. It’s all a bit better now, even the wake-ups at night.
    Finally, I’ve become a big fan of the hand-off. When husband gets home, I have to restrain myself from passing her through the window of his car. Here you go, I’m done, 12 hour shift over. We’ve got no family here, but thank god for the spouse. An hour later I can at least face the baby again.
    You’re doing great, it’s ALL normal.
    For those of you traveling with babies, good luck and you’ll make it through. It took us 16 hours to get from Maine to Colorado last month. And then back again. Two long car rides, two flights, lay-overs, delays, etc. And this baby doesn’t sleep, remember. We got through it by living in 10 minute increments and eating a ton: look out window; talk to stewardess; rip up in-flight magazine; eat snacks; stand on tray-table; pull off parents’ glasses; eat snacks . . .

  30. OMG, I could have written Alisha’s post when my girl was 7 months, except it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as funny. We did CIO at 7-ish months, when our girl’s bedtime “routine” crept up to 90 (or more) freaking minutes. It took forEVER. And I’m not sure it was the right thing to do. (It definitely wasn’t right to do it for the first time on the night I was hosting a surprise birthday party for the husband AT OUR HOUSE. At least there was lots of alcohol on hand to numb the guilt….)Anyway, it got better and worse and better and worse and now the sleeping is ok. Not great, but ok. And my daughter at a little over 2 is brilliant (of course!) and hilarious. So I suspect your son is, too.
    Pie: No need for it. I have an entire tray of coffeecake leftover from a playgroup yesterday. And there’s nobody home but me. Uh oh.

  31. Sleep, feh. Naps, feh. Been there, done that. My advice? Listen to Moxie!Now, pie…that makes me feel less helpless.
    Blackberry and Apple Pie a la Jamie Oliver
    A two-crust set of crusts (raw, I mean)
    4 T butter
    1/2 c sugar (or less if your apples are sweet and juicy)
    2 green apples, cored, peeled, and cut in 8
    4 pie apples (McIntosh or the like), cored, peeled, and cut in 8
    1-2 T preserved ginger (this is to taste, and any form preservation is fine from jarred to candied)
    1/4 c blackberries
    Egg wash
    Cinnamon sugar
    Oven to 350F. Put the butter and sugar in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add apples and ginger cook until beginning to soften (5-10 mins), then add blackberries for just a minute or two.
    Drain the fruit mixture, reserving the delicious juice.
    Pie assembly!
    Put the bottom crust in and pile in the fruit, drizzling over maybe half the reserved juice (too goopy otherwise). Do something fancy with the top crust (mine never _looks_ good, only tastes good). Brush with egg wash, sprinkle with cinammon sugar.
    55-60 mins and presto!
    PS: I find that the extra juice makes a superb vanilla bean ice cream topping.

  32. Oh I wish I were going to work today……We cut eye teeth before upper or lower middles. They were rough. He looked like Dracula.
    I don’t think it’s too early to introduce Baby Signing Time videos….at the very least you can pop them into your dvd player in your bedroom, bring him into bed with you and sleep in 20 minute chunks. Remember, the phrase you want to say is, “Do you want to watch it again?” Practice this. And if you wake up in the middle of the night singing songs about eating and animals…..do not be afraid.

  33. Pie and sympathy:RED CHERRY PIE
    2 Tbs. quick cooking tapioca
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1/8 tsp. salt
    3 1/2 cups drained canned pitted SOUR cherries packed in WATER (2 no. 2 cans)
    1/4 tsp. almond extract
    1 Tbs. butter in tiny bits
    Red food coloring
    Combine all ingredients; let stand about 15 minutes. Pour into pie crust (I use a standard crisco crust). Bake at 425 for 40-50 minutes.
    Here’s a link to a slideshow of me making the pie for my friend Cupcake, who had a pie contest on her blog: http://s114.photobucket.com/albums/n243/KLynnBlog/CherryPie/?albumview=slideshow

  34. Oh yes, 7 months. My kid was sleeping through the night at 6 months and we were patting ourselves on the back with what great parents we were. Then at almost exactly 7 months it all exploded. I’m certain it was the 8-9 month sleep regression kicking in early. I won’t terrify you with the details of how horrible and long-lasting it was, but the good news is she’s 18 months old now and sleeping through again (knock wood).And YES YES YES to Huggies Overnites. In a size bigger than you think–I pull the front up so it’s practically to her armpits (she’s a tummy sleeper so all the pee goes to the front). We use them on plane trips and long car rides too.

  35. very very very funny letter Alisha!My daughter didn’t sleep thru the night or go to sleep at a reasonable hour she was 3 years old. Heaven only knows what brought it on but we are thankful. And dreading the future as baby boy is due in August.
    It gets better. just hold onto that and burn those sleep books during your next summer bonfire.
    Why go through the hassle of pie when you could have a homemade fruit crisp with a quarter of the effort?
    5 cups of fruit (sliced apples/peaches/fresh blueberries, whatever you have) with a little bit of sugar. Put in a baking dish.
    Cover with a mixture of 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2c brown sugar, a 1/4 tsp salt, spices (we like cinnamon and nutmeg and use a heavy hand with them) and 1/4c flour.
    Cover that with 1/4 c thinly sliced super cold butter/margarine (or cut into the oatmeal mixture until pea sized but I think its crispier with the butter sliced on top). Bake 30-40 minutes (until brown and crispy) @ 350deg.

  36. @meghan, I’ve been wondering how you were doing… ouchies! Triplets are just such an order of magnitude more than twins (per everyone I know, including one mom who had twins, then triplets)… so I know I can’t really grasp how hard it is, but I’m still sending sympathy.

  37. Huggies Overnites, as others have said, have now saved us twice. They helped our son sleep through the night starting probably a year ago (he’s now 18 months), and just recently a lightbulb went off that maybe the reason he was waking up so early the last month or so was that he needed a bigger size. So far so good. Incidentally, he’s in size 5, which is supposed to be for babies 27 pounds and over, and he only weighs about 25 pounds. So definitely go big on the diapers.Good luck. Your baby might also be working on something major, which will only be revealed later, such as crawling.

  38. OMG, I totally feel your pain!!!! Isn’t it the worse when they’ve been sleeping straight through the night and then stop are are up all the time? Exactly like you said, it feels like we’ve gone soft and then get our butts kicked. (The we is because hubby takes equal turns with baby, which is the main way we make it through sleep regressions–by sharing the nighttime parenting.)Overnight diapers are a MUST! Get thee to a store ASAP! We started with the size 3, so they do make them in that size.
    The other thing that got us through this regression (and others) was co-sleeping. We’d start her in her crib every night, and when it took longer than 1 to 1.5 hours to get her down (I hate that put-her-down-and-her-head-pops-up thing!), we switched and hubby took over trying. Eventually, she’d go down in her crib even if only for a half hour. When she’d wake up, we’d either try to rock her back to sleep and put her back down, or just cosleep with her.
    And I remember how particularly bad the 7-month time period was, and I remember that I often just slept (and I use that term loosely) in the glider/recliner with her. Many times just letting her nurse for hours. Man, my nipples hurt! But at least I could dose off and she could dose off.
    Oh, and go to bed early!!! As soon as that baby goes down or you hand the baby off to partner, go to bed so that you can at least get some sleep.
    To reiterate what we all say here:
    -Throw the books out.
    -It’s just a phase, and you will get through it. Then you will go through it again (so don’t let yourself get soft–trust me).
    -By any means necessary!!!
    Finally, I wanted to say that you are NOT a shitty parent. And it really helped me to feel better in these stages by not viewing these fussy periods as reflections of my parent (thank you, Wonder Weeks!) nor as a conflict between us parents and child. I try instead to think of it as us with the child against the true enemy: insomnia. This was something that Moxie said once and it stuck with me. So we didn’t try to force the child to sleep and tried not to get mad at her. We tried to feel the empathy for her and work with her for something that we could all live with.
    It’s easier to say that in the light of day! haha. And with an older baby, even if we are going through another sleep regression.
    Mmmmmmm… Pies… I’ve found McIntosh, Gala and Fuji apples to be the best in apple pies. So there’s my tip.
    And another plug for the DC Area get together. Come by my blog and vote for the day in August which would be best for you! Upper left side of the blog.

  39. I hear ya sister, I really reall do.I also have one of those “spirited” children as well, and he got really cranky right when he wanted to do something but couldn’t yet. Crawling, walking, right now it’s talking. Combined with teething, it was a nightmare, but once his body caught up, things would get A LOT better. You just have take a lot deep breaths, and remember “this is not how my child will always be.” I repeat that like a mantra on the days I really really really want to trade mine in.
    BUt then again we still haven;t really figured out sleep, so yeah, I’m struggling too.

  40. I have a great deal of sympathy for you. 7-9 months was the WORST sleeping period for us….Until now.Now, we have a 9 week old baby (extraordinarily fussy) and a 23 month old toddler who used to sleep and now cries and yells 5x a night. We basically jog back and forth between crib and crib. all.night.long.

  41. Second, third, fourth the recommendation for the Huggies Overnights – it is absolutely amazing how much those things can hold. You will see a huge difference at least in terms of your son being able to sleep a little later in the morning (I’m guessing).The one thing in your post that resonated with me was the whole child looking at you and flashing that satisfied grin knowing that he “has” you. I find that the most frustrating thing and my boys are 3. The laughing as you are telling them no, the laughing as you are yelling (yes, I read yesterday’s great post and KNOW I am not supposed to yell but find myself there quite frequently), laughing at you as they are running away from you. Sometimes that is harder to stomach/take than the actual “offense”.
    Hang in there…

  42. Forgot to comment on the pies – just made my first blueberry pie for my husband’s birthday (at his request) a couple weekends back. Wow, very tasty. Main blueberry part I took from Simply Recipes and then I found a whole wheat crust recipe somewhere else on-line. Nice change from the traditional apple.

  43. @Alisha (the first), wanted to add: one thing I noted with my kids was that if they were ALREADY sleeping well before a fussy stage/wonder week hit, they generally tended to return to sleeping (at least trend that way) between stages. It varied somewhat, but it was the trend. So there’s maybe hope that the sleeping will return (I know someone here said that it was lost at one stage and didn’t come back until many stages later, too – but it WILL come back, eventually.)Oh, and ditto on the cosleeping with these kids… do whatever gets you through, and that fits with your overall goals/philosophy (there are many options). We sidecar’d a crib so there would be ‘your space/my space’ division, plus safety rails, but still had the ‘I want you to be here when I open my eyes’ issue handled.
    I’d also recommend you (and probably a slew of others here) look into information for the gifted and highly gifted child. Parenting them is just a little … different, some days. There’s not as much range that you can kind of get away with, since they learn everything SO fast (including the incorrect assumptions). (two of my sisters are highly gifted, and … well, expect them to care about their dignity, about being respected and honored, about things kids don’t usually care about that much. One sister was labeled ‘possibly retarded’ by her summer preschool teacher because she refused to participate in activities that were beneath her dignity. The teacher didn’t believe that my sister was already tested and enrolled in a school for the gifted, because she was ‘unable’ to sing the ABC song. That is, she adamantly declined to participate, since she could already write the ABCs, thank-you-very-much.)
    @Jessica Star, I’m betting on the knowing what the words mean, but not being entirely sure how widely they apply. From what little I remember about that part of language development, they may mean ‘person who makes me happy’ and ‘thing that makes me happy’ and be relatively indescriminate about that. Still pretty impressive at that age, but that’s usually the pattern of development even if it accelerated. Establish category, then refine category with new terms.

  44. Just wanted to quickly chime in about using sign language. We adopted our monkey when he was four months old and started signing with him right away. We just chose three basics…milk, water and sleep. We also chose to sign dog just for fun. He started signing to us when he was six months old. The signs weren’t perfect and you had to keep a sharp eye out for them, but boy were he and I relieved to finally be on the same page about something! It was amazing. So, I think it is worth using even when kids are so young. Those understanding moments are priceless. Hang in there! Looking back, it will seem like an adventure and you will laugh about it. My best friend always says “a good story is hard to live through”. I say that to myself almost every day!

  45. “We got through it by living in 10 minute increments”:) I lived in 15 minute increments for the first six weeks of the Tot’s life. Literally from midnight until six am – 15 minute increments were all I had between me and certain insanity.

  46. PS with a pie tip: Add a handful of dried fruit to the fresh fruit. Adds some nice texture and a slightly different taste to the pie. Sometimes I use the same fruit and sometimes I add something different.

  47. This is so my kids! I’m feeling your pain all over again. My guess is that it’s realted to the crawling. My 2 kids crawled at different times, but they were both miserable, non-sleeping, whiny, non-bottle-taking, balls of crankiness for a few weeks before they started to crawl. With the first one we tried to figure it out and tried all different solutions and I swear everything was a million times better once he started crawling and could go where he wanted within reason.With our second kid I didn’t worry about it as much- just kind of tolerated the whole thing until he broke through and started crawling and it was much less stressful for me even though I swear he was crankier and awful-er than the first one.
    Hang on– it will be over soon!

  48. Summer pie, in the ‘I don’t know how much, just kind of eyeball it’ recipe mode, from watching my MIL make it (super yummy):Cooked crust (crumb, cookie, graham, regular baked crust, etc.)
    Couple pints of blueberries or strawberries.
    sugar
    corn starch
    water
    estimate how many berries would make a pretty high mound of fruit in the crust. Wash that many plus a bit. Take about 1/4 of those (plus maybe a few extra), and cook with some water, sugar (amount depends on how sweet the berries are to start with, could be a 1/4 cup to a cup or so) and a good heap of corn starch to a thick ‘if this were gravy, it wouldn’t pour all that well’ stage – thicker than a glaze, you want it to be the level that if it were gravy and you took it out of the fridge for leftovers, you could turn it sideways and it would just jiggle and not sag or pour.
    Allow to cool somewhat, so that it won’t cook the raw berries, but is not ‘solid’ yet.
    Mix in the raw berries. They should be coated with a little extra goop around them, so they don’t look like just berries, but kind of like berry stew, if that makes sense.
    Pour into pie shell. If you want, you can arrange the strawberries pretty side up on the top. Smooth with a wet spatula if needed.
    Cool completely in fridge.
    Totally yummy. Fresh berry plus baked berry pie taste, combined. Wonderful with whipped cream, ice cream, etc. Great for hot days.

  49. Just wanted to share something that helped me – my beaner started sleeping through the night at 7.5 months (bliss bliss bliss!) and then close to nine months stopped. I was soooo frustrated but it was clearly seperation anxiety at play. One night, after 2.5 hours of trying to get him settled into bed I pulled my t-shirt off, handed it to him, and walked out of his room in sheer frustration (I was planning to re-group and hoping he wouldn’t scream bloody murder while I was away). I really don’t know what possessed me but it worked. He curled up with the t-shirt and went to sleep. Some kids attach to stuffies, or blankets. Ever since that night my son has slept with one of my dirty t-shirts. He’ll sleep with the same one night after night but if he’s particularly fussy or clingy I just give him a “fresh” one (ie. freshly smelling like mommy). I don’t know the how or why, but it works. And he’s been sleeping through again ever since that epiphany.

  50. Hang in there. I have to at that stage I could have counted the number of enjoyable days with my little dude on one hand. I was pretty frustrated all of the time. But he turned an amazing corner around 8.5 months and things improved so much. He still has his developmental spurts that kick my butt, but we are in a much better place.We had the soaking diaper problem and used maxi pads as doublers. Once he got back to sleeping through the night, the soaking went away.

  51. Oh man, I LOVE this blog and everyone who comments. I just keep thinking “I am not alone!!” I have cursed my stack of sleep books many times and agree with everyone who says there’s nothing that makes you feel like a crappier parent at 3am than a bunch of books telling you how things should be. Sleep dep SUCKS. And inexplicable new baby hijinks suck too. And apparently both things just keep sucking off and on for years (my son is only 5 mos old now, so I’ve only gotten a teeny taste of what crazy-making joys await). So we do the best we can. A friend of mine this morning said something I want to tattoo on my forearm: “People plan. God laughs”.

  52. Alisa- i feel your pain. My daughter is now 10 months old but did the same thing around 7 months. And I am sorry to say – it has started all over again!! Just this past 2 weeks or so…bed times, nap times, holy crap she is so stubborn? Not the right word. She is so …ugh…frustrating! I totally feel like she has kicked my parental ass. AGAIN. I am just telling myself that she is super duper smart and that it is a phase but it feels like I am a total amateur and big fat loser. AGAIN. We had a brutal 4-5 month sleep regression (that is when i discovered this site thank the powers of google) Then around 6.5 months she was waking up again like every 45 minuts and we started co-sleeping and got some rest. Then BOOM my kid started taking her first steps around 7.5 months so i figured it was in part due to that. And then around 9.5 months she was fully mobile (although no crawling thank you) and walking on her own and then got 2 teeth in a row so then i blamed that. But christ almighty it feels like it is always something. Now she is sleeping marginally better during the night but getting there is the frickin’ journey. Bedtime has gotten later and later and morning time has gotten earlier and earlier. And like Alisha i have found no diaper to last through the night and the 4:30am diaper change pretty much ends all hopes of more sleep. And naptime is the same struggle. I am lucky if i am getting an hour here or there. And being up with your kid from 4:30 to 10:30 with 1 hour break is wearing me down. So sorry i am rambling and have nothing helpful to add but you are not alone if that makes you feel better. Stay strong!! Abd thanks for the super awesome post today. Made my morning.

  53. Wow – I don’t miss those days at all. I can totally sympathize and agree with Moxie that it sounds like you, too, have a smart baby…not to mention that a tooth is about to burst through and that crawlign is right around the corner and he’ll probably start paying your bills soon, too. What makes me laugh most (beause it all made me laugh) about your post is the shit-eating grin part. My son did the same, and it cut me to the quick…it was like he knew, he KNEW, he was smarter than me and in my opinion there’s no need to be so shitty about it. There are many good suggestions posted so far, so I’ll just tell you this…if you visit this website (http://www.network54.com/Realm/Spirited_Kids/Budd.htm) and feel like I did – the heavens opened up and shined a light down on you and the angels sang and you felt all warm and understood – then buy the book and make notes in the margins. I feel like a best-friend/mentor has put her arm around me and told me it’s all going to be ok.

  54. I almost feel sick thinking about those dark days. 7-9 months was really rough in our house. I also read all the sleep books I could get my hands on and had more than one tearful meltdown about my inadequacies as a parent. Try to cio or pick-up/put-down with twins in the same room. It is THE most exasperating (and futile) experience. My son sounds very similar to yours (DD is a much better sleeper) and the only thing that ever worked for us was Kim West’s book “Good Night, Sleep Tight”. I hate to send you on another wild goose chase but her method just “stuck” for the little guy and we are finally sttn.My husband used to get me through the really bad times by reminding me that the only constant in parenting is that nothing lasts forever. I can’t give you an end date to your current misery but I promise that there is one. Until then, take shifts with DH and buy earplugs. It doesn’t take two adults to rock one baby.

  55. My son always had a full diaper in the morning, so I started getting up once or twice in the middle of the night and changing him. I had to find the “perfect” moment, though, when he was just drowsy enough to want to go back to sleep, or so sleepy that I could change him and get him back in bed before he woke up. It took a day or two to find that perfect time, but because he was getting changed in the middle of the night, by the time 4:30 rolled around, it wasn’t that bad – so he would sleep another hour or so. Maybe that would help?

  56. @Alisha, total sympathy–I have one of those sweet-but-intense, I’m happy as long as I am being completely entertained (now that she’s 4, this is “as long as all my questions can be answered, because otherwise they BURN my brain”)…and yes on what folks said about the kid who doesn’t sleep a lot and sees the skills waaaaay in advance and gets pissed. I still don’t have the answer on that one–every big skill kicks our family ass, right now I’m scared that we will be in grumpitude until she is 10 or something, because she wants not just learn to read (fine, reasonable goal, she’s got plenty of options at montessori and is making progress)… but to read *like mommy RIGHT NOW* meaning smooth, fast, and any book she pulls of the shelf. I remember being like this too, although I think my temperament is a little less fierce (is “spirited” the PC term?) but I just don’t know how to help her beyond getting her to the age of 30. So I don’t have a ton of advice on that except to believe in your core that he’s fine, and follow what he needs and what makes sense to you. It does help, IMO to have some outside care for this particular style of baby (I was back at work by this age and it was nice to be able to come home, pick her up after being refreshed by less demanding companionship–I would be exhausted–though delighted–on weekends). I definitely 3rd (4th, 5th?) talking to him–he will understand a surprising amount, and you’ll get over the feeling like an idiot fairly quickly. 🙂 You’d probably talk along to any other person you’d be hanging out with, so just consider him a valid person to do that with. Read books and point things out in the pictures if you run out of self-generated things to say.I guess that’s kind of a scream wrapped in a hug. Now, on pie–Christopher Kimball may be wrong about the tapioca, but the vodka crust is genius. 🙂

  57. Yeah, the worst is when they sucker you in and you think, “hey, it’s getting better. I actually feel like a human being again.”And then they decide to regress. Whee.
    As someone whose son didn’t sleep through the night til 16 frickin months old, all I can say is, yup, it sucks. It’ll pass. In the meantime, find your happy thought – that’s about the only pro-active thing you can do right now.

  58. This sounds eerily like what we went through at about 7 months (he’s now 9 months). Sleep issues, crying at night, crankiness during the day, nipple biting (except it was mine, and I was practically in tears everytime my husband walked into the room, afraid my nipples might get touched). For us, it lasted 3-4 weeks, and we just had to ride it out.The only concrete suggestion I can give is Bum Genius One Size pocket diapers. Use 2-3 inserts depending on your needs. These stopped us from having to do early-morning changes, which were killing me and meant we were all up for the day by 5 am.
    Oh, and I bought a 2 lb. box of See’s candy the other day. It helped. You’ll get through it!

  59. OK, way easier than pie-Sliced apples, or peaches, or berries, whatever, with a little brown sugar and cinnamon mixed in
    Place in a baking dish
    Combine and crumble on top:
    1/2 c. brown sugar
    1/2 c. flour
    1/4 c. butter
    Don’t measure, approximate. Bake at 350 (medium oven) about 30 min, or until golden on top. Simple, but yummy. Happy Friday everyone!

  60. Alisha – as others have said, hang in there, it passes. My almost-two-year-old twins are just now starting to sleep through the night. We’ve been there, you can do it, and ditto to what everyone else said on the books. big hugs.@Kelly – My son’s first word was “more”. Often at times when we weren’t doing anything like eating, drinking, etc. “More? more what???”
    My current favorite pie recipe:
    get two raw pie crusts in those disposable, aluminum pie plates (they are often sold in pairs) from the freezer case.
    get a bag of frozen, organic, peeled, sliced peaches.
    At home separate the crusts. Combine the frozen peaches (as many as you think will fit in one crust) with as much sugar as you think you want. Pour into one crust. Invert the other crust over the top, and remove the extra aluminum pie pan thingy. It looks funny, but who cares?
    Put in a 400 degree oven, bake for 1.5+ hours, or until done. The top crust deflates and looks “normal”.
    Yum.

  61. Alisha, let me speak to the baby’s glee upon waking. I have a picture of my older son (turned 4 yesterday) at 9 months of age, the first time he pulled up to standing position, grinning from ear to ear. Lovely. Except that it was 2:35 am and we were having our nightly party. Starting at 5 months and lasting until 14 months of age, my son would wake between 2 and 2:30 am, cheerful as a clam, and want to PARty. For the next 1.5-2 hours. I tried everything you can imagine, including a very traumatic CIO (it worked, but he cried for 2.5 hours first and wouldn’t go into his bedroom for days or his crib for weeks thereafter).What changed at 14 months? I had the idea to take dairy out of both of our diets (he was waking up gassy but cheerful; nursing in the middle of the night was hyping him up more–acting like caffeine on his system). After taking us both off dairy, his sleep gradually improved (we had bad habits to deal with by that point).
    So the take-home message:
    1. Either this will just pass, or it won’t pass for a long time.
    2. If it takes a long time, you’ll have opportunities to experiment with all kinds of changes–to schedule, sleep associations/routine, diet, you name it. Try to think beyond the obvious. The hoofbeats might be horses, but sometimes zebras come to town.
    3. Even if you never “figure it out,” he will sleep through the night. Eventually.

  62. Delurking to commiserate… My now 11-month old just came out of a phase from 8 to 10 months where he went from sleeping through the night to waking multiple times, from eating solids like a champ to refusing to take more than a few bites, and flat-out started refusing the bottle (he’s exclusively breastfed but every once in awhile it’s nice to be able to leave him with grandma for more than a 3-hour stretch). I just couldn’t figure out where this oppositional-defiant will of steel suddenly came from? Just when I thought things were never going to get better again, they did, so now I’m enjoying the lull until the next fussy phase. So like everyone has said already, hang in there, because this too shall pass.But until then, a little tequila might help take away some of the sting… 🙂
    FROZEN MARGARITA PIE
    10 T. melted butter
    1 1/4 c. thin salted pretzels, finely crushed
    1/2 c. sugar
    1 can sweetened condensed milk
    3 T. lime juice (rec: freshly squeezed)
    1 T. tequila
    1 t. orange liqueur (such as Triple Sec)
    1 drop green food coloring
    2 1/2 c. heavy cream
    Combine melted butter, crushed pretzels, and sugar. Press into a greased 9″ pie plate.
    In a large bowl, beat together condensed milk, lime juice, tequila, Triple Sec, and food coloring. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to beat whipping cream until soft peaks form. Fold into milk mixture until blended. Pour into crust and sprinkle additional pretzel crumbs/pieces on top. Freeze for 6 hours, then wrap entire pie in plastic wrap, airtight, and freeze for 2 more hours. Serve frozen.
    ***To omit liquor, increase lime juice to 2/3 cup.

  63. I’m feeling my stomach knot up with dread as I try to remember that time in my DD’s life. We’re still alive.I second the Huggies overnights. Our girl is big enough now that we have her in Huggies GoodNights– they have an awesome capacity. The increase in my sleep is worth the price for me.

  64. @Charisse, I laughed out loud on this: “now that she’s 4, this is “as long as all my questions can be answered, because otherwise they BURN my brain” – this was me. And burn was about right. My mom’s only defense was a full set of encyclopedias, and sitting down with me endlessly over and over to look up why the sky was blue and why zebras have stripes but giraffes don’t and why clouds look puffy and whether water could flow up hill and why the water makes a spiral going down the drain and why … Yeah. Them. I was one of them kids.Interestingly, I found out recently (a few months back, maybe?) that this is a form of sensory integration dysfunction – just like some kids just CANNOT stop talking and talking and talking and… (um, G, yep, that’s him). Only, I’m stuck in too many other things to be able to track down what the ‘de-escalating’ activity is for it. ARGH. I think it was in Sensational Kids, though, if you want to look. I figure I’ll have to look soon enough, as my girls are heading straight into the 4’s… aaaahhhhhh!
    Sigh. (and yeah, I have sensory issues, too, so my kids come by it honestly)

  65. Alisha,Can you write more? 🙂 I was consumed with laughter and extreme empathy all at the same time. You have a knack with truly capturing the emotion in your description…I can SEE his expressions in my mind!!
    It sounds to me like there are a lot of things going on. Certainly developmental/wonder weekish, teething, and awareness of your emotions/reactions all seem to be coming into play. I TOTALLY remember feeling the same thing. Ironically, it wasn’t with the first child (imaging how smug I felt THEN), but when I had my second, where I thought for sure I had it down. I truly believe though that if your child has been consistently easygoing in the past, it’s very likely that that is his “normal” temperament and that he will return to some semblance of it after this little storm passes. As far as advice, maybe not engage with him so much when he tugs at you like that? I think he can sense your reaction (and loves that power), so even if you have to put blinders on and ignore him until you can leave the room before you go postal on your nice comfy microsuede body pillow (I’m sorry…own experience creeping in…), that might help. Hang in there!!! A smart kid does NOT a shitty parent make.
    PS–I can relate to the almost crawling thing…before mine walked, and SWORE he was “just about to get it” for FOUR months before he actually did. Any little hiccup I blamed on that. And teething. And Growing. And ear infections. And…

  66. Don’t have time to read the comments, but here’s my favorite thing: When you are struggling through something with sleep or food or whatever, and people start offering helpful tips, “You know, you can’t let her tell you when she’s going to sleep (or what she’s going to eat. You’re in charge of doing what’s right for her.” WTF?

  67. quick comments- yes, yes, that was us too, in fact i distinctly remembering crying to my husband about who had taken my baby and replaced her with this miserable monster and did he think it was her personality and we were doomed to have a child, that was, a gigantic *sshole? nice. i blame the teething (now) and wished i had figured that out sooner- once her ped said give her tylenol for the pain (cause who enjoys oral pain? anyone? besides folks who have websites that are NSFW? right.) we got back on track.will get back to you with a delicious pie recipe later and read all comments from yesterday and today. it’s been one of those weeks!!

  68. Oh, the flashbacks.Yep, that was our kid at 7 months. And, of course, everything Moxie said – developmental spurts both mental and physical, teething (try Tylenol and Motrin – often one works much better than the other for a given kid), ability to understand but not yet to respond – OHMYGOD THEY ARE *COMMUNICATING!!!* WITH ME AND I WANT TO COMMUNICATE BACK. BUT HOW? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY – I NEED TO SPEEEEAK!!! …
    I have suggestions only for the last issue: Signing helped a lot – even with an early talker, the hands are more advanced than the tongue. We started using the signs for “nurse,” “all done,” “pain,” and “more” at 6 months (figured why not); he started using them several months later, one at a time. What surprised me was how, yes, it was great for him to be able to make his wishes known – wow did that “nurse” sign get used vigorously and often – but (even before he started signing back) it was just as important that he knew that *we* knew what he needed, that we got it and his needs could be met. Made the next 8 months or so far more pleasant for all involved.

  69. by the way, shred the sleep books. Seriously. Screw them – you are not going to break your kid by doing whatever helps him and you get some sleep.

  70. and finally… what Charisse said. Talk to your kid, narrate what you see on walks, in books, etc. That and a fleece baby sling and a big bottle of infant Motrin are the only things that got me through the first year.Of course, he will pay you back by chatting nonstop for several years thereafter, with lots of telling you what to say thrown in for variety. I am currently trying to remember that this is a good thing.

  71. Like many others have said here (Man, I love this site!), this was a rough time for my little guy too. He wanted to crawl SOOO badly. He would push up on his hands and knees and rock and scream. And nothing would make him feel better. This was right about the time, too, that he was realizing he could DO things, and kept wanting to try them out. Part of this was physical (crawling, pulling up, etc) and part was manipulating his environment, me, etc, just to get a reaction. It was almost like he realized, “hey! When I do something, other things happen!” and wanted to do everything NOW! It helped me to remember it was a developmental stage, not so much a rejection of my parenting skills (or utter lack thereof). Chocolate helped too, and the occasional beer or glass of wine after he was finally asleep.And SarcastiCarrie, I love your pie recipe!

  72. I lived in 20 minute increments for the first 10 months of tall’s life, my second. I agree, believe it or not, throw the sleeping books out, notice I said nothing about websites!I rarely tackle the sleep thing. I only share advice on sleep issues if a parent just wants sleep no matter what and is wiling to let them CIO. Then I share a non-abandonment CIO technique.
    But I couldn’t do it myself as a young mother, until I was forced. This comment isn’t going where you think it is-I’m not advocating CIO.
    I *had* to do that with #2 or the Dr said he would admit to the hospital for 3 days because my body was on strike from lack of sleep. My beautiful Dr. gave me 1 week to do whatever I could to get this child to sleep more than 20 minutes at a stretch.
    So DH and I decided that we would do CIO for 1 night only. We did and he cried, and we cried, and taller cried…then it was quiet. The little bug found his own way to self-soothe and he slept through the night from then on. The four letter words that came out of my mouth when I peaked in and saw he was asleep! No this isn’t a comment to suggest you do that—his response wasn’t normal-there were health issues and patterning issues and so much more. I know his response wasn’t normal because the other one didn’t sleep either and that took the route all of you are describing.
    As I was writing this I had an Ah, Ha Moment. I realized that the way Tall handled his learning to fall asleep turned out to be the way he handled a lot of issues in his life. Tall would cling, and cling until I said “love, this is all I can do for you, you need to manage this on your own, and he did”. When he was older I asked him about it, and he said, “why should I face something all by myself immediately if I can have you by my side for a while longer.” @*&#$%! That’s my son, and you may have guessed it- he’s been tested and he is gifted. That meant he was smarted than I was so I had to be very honest, truthful, and clear or he would see right through me, where do you think I learned all of this!
    I did want to comment on one other thing. Alisha you’re a good parent, you feel like crap, but you’re a good parent, and my husband threw the books out too!
    Having lived through this nightmare I can only comment on what it taught me.
    Yes, at 7 months it’s a growing, teething, big developmental leap type of thing that makes this stage so awful. But it taught me patience. I can hear some of you, now who gives a sh*t about patience—I want sleep. I did too, but since I didn’t want them to have to CIO, I had lots of time to think about patience.
    I began to see that the patience I was being taught from having two children who had sleep issues came in very handy as they grew.
    I began begging for patience to take the place of the rage building inside of me as I was rocking my non-sleeping-breast-snacking-I’ll-scream-if-you-put-me-down-child. Out of that nightmare I found a deep reservoir of patience that I had never accessed before, I never needed to, I never went so long without a full nights sleep!
    I called on that reservoir of patience many times as they grew.
    I dug deep for that place inside me where the reservoir of patience lived when they pushed me past my limits instead of releasing the beast in me who can go from 0-rage in 1.2 seconds.
    I began to breathe to release some of the reservoir of patience when they were learning about being kind to each other, instead of calling them selfish, ungrateful brats.
    AND I begged for the entire reservoir of patience to be emptied as I waited for my teens to return home when they were past curfew.
    For me, lack of sleep taught me something I would need later in my parenting life—let’s be real, I would have traded all that learning for a good night sleep!
    Good Luck.

  73. Something to consider … temperature and humidity, esp. during naptime in the room your child sleeps in. I have been known to be oblivious to this little variation …

  74. Oh, this question is so ON for me. I’m also in the approaching-8-month, working-on-so-much-development wretchedness Alisha describes. Close to crawling? Check. Teething? Check–but no teeth at all, yet. Trying to talk? Check. Feeling inadequate? Check, check, CHECK. And for some reason, I always blame my milk supply, which started out huge but now is not working the magic it once did.Alisha, I’m just scouring for help here, too, because except for the funny, I could have written that letter. Thanks for asking this question!
    The pie I’m bringing to today’s bbq: store-bought whole wheat crust with 6 sliced peaches, about 3/4 cup black raspberries, sugar, flour, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom, topped with an oat-sugar-butter streusel crumble. I am SO taking the first slice. And the assembly took less than half an hour, so I got it done during the time I send DH out with DD to my parents’ to help assemble the yard sale crib they just bought. Wild!

  75. Thanks Moxie! Thanks everybody! Although it hasn’t made the kid sleep longer (it so hasn’t made the kid sleep longer…) I feel less like a giant exploding head. I don’t want to take up any more time here but the saga continues on my blog: http://www.flabbypants.blogspot.com (the one that’s not nearly as good as Moxie’s but hey, a girl can dream).Viva la Moxie!

  76. No time to read all the comments, but something triggered my memory in one. My N is now 13 months, but I remember the sleep regressions clearly – starting at the 4 month regression when I thankfully found Ask Moxie. Anywho, I can remember standing over her crib ready to yell at her. A 4 month old. Luckily I had my wits about me and clenched my jaw, grinded my teeth, left her crying and told my husband to get his sorry butt out of bed and try to deal with her b/c I was done. I remember feeling like I wanted to hurt her and understanding how someone can shake a baby. Very scary.I’m happy to report that other than the fact that she wakes between 5:30 and 6:30 every morning she is a good sleeper now. She goes down between 7 and 8 pm and naps twice a day. I did CIO with her, but not until 7 1/2 or 8 months. I had to repeat after every regression or teething. She’s a late teether so I expect to be doing it again and again. It works for her, but I totally agree that it doesn’t work for everyone.
    My only thought for you is that if he wakes predictably than maybe you can put him off for 10 minutes and then keep increasing the time you put off going in to get him. But if he only gets more riled up, don’t bother – it won’t work. Lots of love and hugs and good thoughts your way. You are doing a great job.

  77. I’ve been there, am there and it is so nice to hear that it stops. No one told me about teething, damn it. It has helped that my husband and I tag team sleep sometimes. My LO likes the dog’s toys much better than his own, etc. He seemed to do a little better after the first 2 teeth were in, and we started CIO a little bit. It just kinda seemed to happen all at once with him…the crawling, the sitting, the pulling up, the eating solids, the teeth, so much so that I think he was literally going through a lot.

  78. Thanks carsmama!Pregnancy was until Friday entirely uneventful. Off to the midwife now to get a fetal fibronectin test because I am suddenly have lots of uncomfortable contractions. I’ve got my fingers crossed it’s just a yeast infection causing irritation combined with stress.

  79. I’m sure others mentioned it, and I know for certain it’s been suggested in other threads here, but try black out curtains (or just hang heavy flannel sheets or towels over the windows). Try keeping a cd going all night. Or a white noise machine.Get one of those night lights that have a spinning thing in them that makes a changing picture on the lamp shade. It may keep him interested and (most importantly) quiet.
    If the diaper you’ve got him in is squishy at 0430, try a doubler. If you MUST change him then, keep the lights down low and only talk quietly to him. See if you can keep a cloth diaper over him so he doesn’t feel a wakeful breeze on his bottom. Warm up the wipe in your hands before you use it, or use a warm wet washcloth.

  80. Everyone else gives great advice so I’ll focus on one thing.You sound really pissed off at your kid, like in a personal angry way. You use a lot of humor to pad it but I still hear it.
    I get this way sometimes in the middle of the night. Why can the little shit just sleep? See, that’s the not so funny spin on things. When I feel myself getting that angry I have to stop and remind myself she is a baby and her goal is to master this world.
    It’s not about me. It’s not personal. She doesn’t have it in for me (though I would certainly be *happier* if I could sleep more.
    Maybe you aren’t angry under your humor, but as someone with, yes, anger issues, your tone rang a bell.
    I hope you can take this as positive advice, because that’s the spirit I’m giving it in!

  81. Hi Alisha,Thanks for so clearly verbalizing what so many of us have experienced. When my baby hit 7 months old, I said that she hit baby adolescence. She was no longer the mellow little baby I thought I had. Never did I think that becoming a mother might mean that my self esteem would be tied to how well my baby ate and slept. But, in the long run, she has turned out to be a lot of fun and I am enjoying her spunk. I agree that books are pretty much worthless – there would not be so many out there if it was that simple.

  82. I could have written this post…or well, without the humor and wit! Kiddo is doing the *same* thing. He will be 7 months on Thursday. In the past month he has: learned to crawl, learned to sit, learned to pull up in his crib, and cut 4 teeth (actually, he cut 4 teeth in 3 weeks). Bye bye sleep fairies, hello demon child. I do think separation anxiety is kicking in early. No matter how tired he is, as soon as he hits his crib he gets that grin you so eloquently described, and then it is over to bars, pull up, and talk/yell/scream/cry/demand attention. Of course, as soon as he sees US he calms down immediately. And now he wakes up 3X/night, again…Thanks for the post. And to all who suggested getting books on parenting the gifted child…never really thought of Kiddo like that, but seems like he might fall into that category.
    In the meantime, there is lots of icecream in my future

  83. @KB+J, a lot of books do not mention this, but there’s a good strong whiff of ‘separation anxiety’ in EVERY fussy stage. Clingy, want mommy, do not want to be apart from mommy, all that – normal for EACH of the fussy periods. It’s cognitively involved in a different way at 9 months, but the behaviors that we think of as ‘does not wish to be apart’ show up at the 5/6 week one, and every blessed one after that.My dad says that he still has ‘fussy stages’ and he’s in his 70’s, and he knows because (after we talked about the concept), there are spans in his life that for no apparent reason he just wants to climb into his mom’s lap and not let go. (Which is a funny image as she was 4’10” and he’s 6’2″…). It’s strangely reassuring, though, to know that the need to be ‘with’ and ‘together’ and ‘comforted’ and to feel less able and not at all ‘grown up’ is a cyclic pattern forever (I know I saw it with my little brother as a teen).

  84. Sorry to be late commenting, I go out of town for three days….I seriously had to double check to see if I wrote this email. This is EXACTLY what is going on with my 7-month old (who was also two weeks late, coincidentally). Sympathy. My kid slept like a prince from 7 weeks on, and now it’s CageMatch every night. And just when you think he’s dropped off, the sobbing begins. I miss sleep.

  85. Ohhhhhhh. I will try the t-shirt thing, but I have little faith. That’s what a sidecar/co-sleeping just-turned-seven-month-old that wakes NINE times a night will do. Am trying to hold on to humour, but often have to poke it to see if it’s still there. OK, so she only wakes for ten minutes, but HAS to be boobed back to sleep…or ELSE! The Pantley pull out – am not sure if it’s working or, due to me having lots of milk, whether she’s just satisfied and thinks “Oh – you’ve pulled the nipple out of my mouth. Thank you for saving me some time. Now let me sleep…for another hour and a half – if you’re LUCKY.” Sigh.My partner and I have always addressed each other as ‘Pie’, but at the moment we’re barely addressing each other at all, and are instead doing long gazes out the window as we both individually plot the other’s demise. This is hard. I know it will pass, but I wish it would hurry.

  86. I know I’m about 3 years late commenting on this, but I recently discovered this site and it has really helped me feel less guilty about having a 7 month old who doesn’t sleep well. We had about a week of 8-hour stretches shortly before he was 4 months old….and now I consider a 5-6 hour stretch a good night. On the days I’m home, I can usually get him to eat enough to only wake up once to eat, but on the 4 days a week I work, he hardly touches his bottles at the babysitter’s and he is up all night eating. However, he naps really well for her – 1-1.5 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon – in a pack n play, yet he acts like we’re torturing him if he has to spend more than an hour at a time in his crib or pack n play at home sleeping. The only way we have gotten any sleep the past few weeks is co-sleeping, but he sleeps a lot better than we do that way so I want to transition away from that as soon as possible. But when I have to get up at 6 the next morning, putting him in our bed is the easier option most nights….sigh. My husband doesn’t seem to mind the co-sleeping (he actually initiated it when our son was congested a few weeks ago), but he also works from home and can sneak in a nap during the day if he feels like it.Looking forward to catching up on more of these posts from the past. They really do make me feel better even if I’m still not getting much sleep 🙂

  87. i stay up a bit late and always change my girls before bed. if its maybe 3 hours after they’ve gone to bed then they have full diapers. try “pampers overnights”. go up one size. also i noticed when i switch milk thats when they wake. if you can stay with whole milk then it keeps my kids satisfied. and sleeping in.

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