For the most part, the snickerdoodle has been my easiest baby. Whether that is by nature or necessity I don’t know, but I suspect it is a blend of both. The challenge of her pavlik harness has been more inconvenience than anything else, and has been more than compensated for by the other areas of her life in which she has been very convenient indeed,
For instance, she’s the only one of babies who doesn’t comfort nurse. If she’s not hungry, she doesn’t nurse; if she is hungry she eats efficiently and quickly and then stops. From very early she has put herself on a schedule, and apart from her brief nursing strike (still have NO IDEA what caused that, but suspect it was an attempt to over feed on my part) has been eating every three hours for weeks with a six hour stretch at night.
My other two were BIG spitters. I have clear memories of the mackerdoodle burping up after eating, and having to change every item of my clothing. In fact, for months with both bigger doodles I carried an extra shirt in the diaper bag because of spit ups. The snickerdoodle has spit up twice in her life, and the volume of all spit ups combined probably wouldn’t make up one of the mackerdoodle’s average projectile burps. In fact, I have this basket of burp cloths sitting on the round table in our living room and in six weeks I haven’t made it to the bottom of the basket yet. I keep washing the same 2 or 3 cloths each week and putting them back on top.
But every child has their challenges, and for my poor snickerdoodle weaning from the harness has been hers. She loves being free of the constraints on her legs, and will make big leg kicks and arm stretches for 20 minutes or so as soon as we remove it; but she doesn’t want to sleep without it.
At first I didn’t really notice it, because she was out for a few hours and then back in, but as we got more and more hours of harness free time, I began to realize that she was sleeping less during the day, and later into the morning, until I was having to wake her to remove the harness. Once we got to the nine hour mark on Friday I was seeing the pattern: awake and happy for several hours, awake and cranky for a few hours, finally settle down and sleep more than quick cat naps. By that time it was time to put the harness back on which just made her mad for an hour or more before she would fall into an exhausted sleep just to repeat the next day, only an hour earlier.
Now we’re at the 12 hours in /12 hours out stage for two weeks, I’ll be able to work on a new routine, but in two weeks I’ll have to teach her to sleep harness free at night. Today I just held her a lot, and tried various techniques to help her sleep independently (something she’s been doing since birth). I spent the morning trying varying swaddling techniques that failed because I didn’t realize until around 4:30 that it isn’t her arms that she’s used to having immobilized, it’s her legs! I strapped her into my wrap and she slept for two hours until she woke up to eat. Unfortunately, 15 minutes after she finished eating, I had to put her back in the harness. She screamed through the older doodles’ bath time, wimpered through bedtime story and was restless and uncomfortable, dozing off for a few minutes, then waking again. Finally, at 9:30 she ate again, and has only just settled down to a good sleep.
This is just a short season and I suspect that in two weeks, once we’re not going back and forth between harness and not, I’ll figure out how she likes to sleep, and she’ll get used to sleeping unrestrained, and things will settle back down again. In all other ways she remains an easy baby, and I am so blessed to be able to stay at home with her and her doodle siblings. In so many ways, it’s the fact that she *is* such an easy baby that makes this harder. I hate seeing my normally happy, peaceful little girl in discomfort and frustration.
Right now she’s asleep, so I’m going to try to get done the chores that didn’t happen earlier, and get some sleep myself. Tomorrow will be another day, another parenting challenge, another chance to learn with the snickerdoodle what harness free naps should look like.