From March 2015
As I mentioned in my last post, we have a new baby around here! New babies are sweet, snuggly, and MASSIVELY TIME CONSUMING.
The factory settings for a standard-issue baby take up quite a lot of time, and then when you throw in add-ons like personality, medical issues, sleep regressions, growth spurts, etc, it can really drive up the total pretty fast. We were given the Super Deluxe Primo Edition baby when it comes to how much time her care requires.
When she was about eight weeks old, Dimples started doing this thing of 30 minute naps. She will only sleep for 30 minutes. When it's time to transition from one sleep phase to the next, she wakes up and can't put herself back to sleep. Therefore she calls for Mama to come do it for her. The phase of sleep that she is transitioning into is an active, twitchy phase. Once she gets back to sleep, she can't stay that way for more than a few minutes before she jerks herself awake again.
As it turns out, problem-solving baby sleep troubles is somewhat of a hobby of mine. It's fairly pathetic that I actually enjoy the diagnosis and treatment of sleep issues. When this 30 minute business first popped up, I rolled up my sleeves and got ready for action. I tried this. I tried that. I tried the other thing.
All of those solutions failed.
I pulled out my collection of baby sleep books. I googled. I googled some more.
We went back for round two of problem-solving with a whole new list of hypotheses.
Round two failed.
So here we are, TWO MONTHS LATER, with a baby who will only nap for 30 minutes. Because none of my solutions have worked and because she absolutely has to get more sleep to avoid being an overtired mess, I now go into her room at the 30 minute mark. I jostle and jiggle her back to sleep and then hold her in the darkness for the remaining hour of her nap so that she will sleep.
This eats up an exorbitant amount of time.
To give you an idea of what my life is like, let me describe my schedule:
7:00am - 7:30am Feed Dimples
7:30am - 8:00am Shove breakfast into Sunny and Bright Eyes as fast as possible
8:00am - 8:30am Put Dimples to sleep
8:30am - 9:00am Dimples sleeps, aka my only free time
9:00am- 10:00am Hold Dimples in her room in the dark
10:00am Start the whole cycle over again
I spend two out of every three hours tied up in Dimples' room. This would be one thing if Dimples were a first-born or an only child, but alas, she is a third child. What do Sunny and Bright Eyes do while unsupervised for two out of every three hours, you ask?
The answer is: WHATEVER THE HECK THEY WANT.
It is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of young children that Sunny and Bright Eyes are able to invent new mischief day after day after day. As this 30 Minute Nap issue has perpetuated, all their Christmas toys have become old news. Even watching a movie, previously a rare treat, has lost its appeal. They went down the list of all the areas of the house they aren't allowed to play in and STILL had time left to spare.
One particular day, Dimples was having an ugly reflux flair-up. She was miserable and cried a lot. It was very difficult to get her down for a nap and took a lot longer than usual. I came out of her room after an athletic event of bouncing, jostling, rocking, and jiggling. I was supposed to go check on Sunny and Bright Eyes since i'd been gone for longer than I had promised, but I JUST WANTED TO BRUSH MY TEETH. There were several things that needed my attention immediately before I became sequestered in Dimples' room for an hour, but I was desperate for two minutes to brush my teeth.
I decided to go for it, and knew that I was taking a huge risk, but little did I know how huge of a risk it would be.
Right after I got started, I heard Bright Eyes come bumbling upstairs. She stomped towards the bathroom and I felt her presence in the doorway. As I was leaning over the bathroom sink brushing my teeth, I heard her softly call my name.
I turned my head slightly to the side and was about to do my best to communicate, with a mouthful of foamy toothpaste, that she needed to keep quiet and not disturb Dimples. But as my peripheral vision landed on her I could instantly sense that something was amiss. Everything went into slow motion as my hand holding the toothbrush dropped down from my mouth. I turned to look her head-on and felt my stomach drop.
This is the Bright Eyes that I was expecting to see:
But this was the Bright Eyes standing before me:
I hoped against hope that it wasn't true, and refused to believe it until I got a closer look. With toothpaste dribbling out of my mouth, I knelt down in front of her to assess the damage. The examination confirmed my worst fears. All of Bright Eyes' luxurious soft curls were gone. Her hair was as short as a boy's.
In that moment it was too much for me to take in, and I burst into tears. I cannot describe to you how much I LOVED that hair. Just a few weeks before, we were at church when Bright Eyes was having a particularly fabulous hair day. A couple of church ladies came over to me and asked, "Do you curl her hair? It's so gorgeous!" I answered, "Are you kidding me??? I barely have time to brush my teeth in a given day. Anything her hair does, it does all by itself." Now one of the precious few things of beauty in my life of toil was abruptly and haphazardly taken from me, and I sobbed bitterly.
Bright Eyes was completely taken aback by my reaction. She had a guilty conscience and she was expecting to get in majorly big trouble. She had counted on yelling, fuming, and probably a spanking. She did not plan on a crying Mama, and was weirded out by it.
Throughout all of this, I noticed that she kept both of her hands firmly behind her back. It was a minor detail that my brain picked up on but didn't have time to process right then, given my extreme state of shock.
After I released some emotion, I needed answers. I pleaded with her, "Bright Eyes, what happened?!?" She was still uncomfortable with the situation and wasn't going to talk. I tried to hug her but it was awkward with her hands behind her back. Since I was getting nowhere with her, I raced downstairs to interrogate Sunny.
Sunny was around the corner in the back section of the basement, sitting in the middle of what looked like an Edward Scissorhands crime scene. There were beautiful light brown curls strewn all over the place. A small purple wastebasket was half-filled with hair. The sight of it all renewed my state of shock. I was still crying when I demanded that Sunny give me an account.
She stammered and sputtered and failed to form complete sentences. She knew she was guilty and that anything she said would be held against her. She was determined to give me as little information as possible.
As I continued trying to extract the details from the two of them, it struck me that something was a bit off with Sunny. She was positioned with her right side pointing away from me, so I didn't have a head-on view but there was something suspicious about it.
I happened to have plopped down on the floor right in front of the murder weapon. A pair of cheap dollar store scissors were laying in front of me, and I fiddled with them while we talked. It occurred to me that they were sticky, with a layer of hair clinging to them. Then I noticed that the table was also sticky. Then I noticed the half-empty bottle of wood glue sitting on the floor.
With this new information, the plot thickened. Scissors and wood glue are the kinds of things that you don't want your resourceful and unsupervised young children to have access to, so we kept them on the high shelf. These items that they misused so abominably were stored six feet off the ground. In order to obtain them, Sunny climbed onto The Professor's desk and stood on top of the printer.
As their list of wrongdoings was growing by the minute, I finally erupted into the angry outburst that they were waiting for. I pulled Bright Eyes towards me to sit her in my lap in order to outline her offenses and issue her punishment. It's hard to make someone sit in your lap with their hands behind their back. As I reached for her hands to move them out of the way, I discovered the hidden secret. Her hands were COVERED in glue. And then the glue was covered in hair. Instead of being tarred and feathered, she was glued and haired.
She had used the wood glue like hand lotion. Then she also rubbed it through her hair like hair gel. Things didn't go according to plan, however, when it didn't rub off of her hands like lotion would. The glue stayed there plain as day, a testament to her guilt.
If only it had been your basic Elmer's school glue. School glue is washable. Wood glue is most definitely not.
I paraded them upstairs to start the process of de-gluing them. We had made it as far as the kitchen when I got my first good glimpse of Sunny.
For the purpose of comparison, here is what she looked like before:
It was now time for Dimples' 30 minute wakeup, and I still hadn't managed to brush my teeth.
Their hair needed some serious fixing due to the uneven and choppy nature of their new styles. My haircutting skills are seriously lacking. What little skill I do have is with long hair. Therefore when The Professor got home from work, we packed everyone up and hauled them in for their first professional haircuts. The haircut ladies did a great job of taking a big fat mess and turning into something halfway cute!
They got oodles and oodles of compliments everywhere we went that week. So now here we are, a short-hair family. It took a long time for me to adjust to their new looks, and I relived some of the sorrow all over again when they woke up the next morning after I had forgotten about their short hair.
For old time's sake, let's look back at a few pictures of their former glory: