Chugga-Chugga-Chugga-Chugga Zzz ZZZZ...

9:32 PM

Aaaaand we're back!  The last two weeks have been extremely trying.  Jane and Emma had begun sleeping through the night at about 6 months old.  We have since gone backwards.  

Here's Emma, wide awake while Janey is napping, enjoying a teether while Daddy eats his lunch.
Sherpa blanket found here.
First, Jane started saying "F YOU NAPS!"  I would put her down for her morning nap, she would sleep for 20 minutes, and then be wide awake.  I would do that with her about 6-7 times a day.  Then, Emma picked up that same habit -- but on the off times.  So I would put Jane down, and Emma would wake up.  As soon as I put Emma down, Jane would wake up.  My entire weekends consisted of picking up and putting down babies (and making baby food and doing laundry, of course).  

Then, to add insult to injury, Emma decided it was time to sleep on her stomach, despite the fact that she hadn't quite mastered rolling back onto her back.  And when I say ...hadn't quite mastered... I mean she would wake up and lay on her stomach, or on her arm, on her face, and whine for as long as it took until either Hershey or I would hustle in there to flip her over like a pancake.  And then Jane started doing that, too.  Again, on the off times.  And that would start at about 11:45 every.single.night.

Since then, they have reduced their naps to 4-5 naps per day.  But the nighttime shenanigans continue.  

I remember when we first brought the ladies home from the NICU, they were on a STRICT schedule.  Change diapers, give bottles, stare at toy for 15 minutes, sleep.  Repeat every 3 hours.  It was exhausting for me, but it worked for them.  And that's what's most important!

Once I went back to work, other people took over the daily care of Jane and Emma.  And although they love them to pieces and are so very good to them, the simple fact remains - they are not Mama.  The girls started getting excited, staying awake, and their schedules were totally thrown off.  Then I started them on solid foods, and forget it.  What schedule?  I tried to let Jane and Emma tell us when they were hungry and when they were tired, and tried to make sure that we were all doing the same thing, but, again, no one else is Mama, and, not for nothing, but Jane and Emma don't know what they want 98% of the time!

Although the girls are still waking several times during the night (and usually for good at 5:57 a.m., when our alarm clocks go off at 6:05 a.m. -- and you KNOW that the difference between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. is no joke), we have begun to try to get them back into a strict routine.  Here is the daily routine we are trying to implement (based loosely around their natural rhythms):

6:30 Breakfast (fruit+oatmeal)
7:30 Bottle (5.5 oz)
9:00-10:00 Nap
10:30 Bottle (6 oz)
11:00-11:30ish Play time
11:30-12:00 Cat Nap
12:00 Lunch + Fruit (in fresh food feeder)
1:00 Play time
2:00 Bottle (6.5 oz)
2:30-3:30/4:00 Nap 
5:15 Bottle (5 oz)
6:00 Frozen Mini Bagel *aka dinner roll* while Mama cooks dinner
6:30 Family dinner 
6:45 Dessert (fruit in fresh food feeder)
7:00 Bath (if it's bath night, they bathe every other night in the winter months)
7:30 Bottle (7 oz)
8:00 Crib

So far, this is working OK.  Yesterday, the girls did GREAT with their naps.  They also woke up during the night less, woke up later this morning, and were not as cranky right before bed last night.  Today, they were back to 4 naps (5, if you count the 25 minute nap they took at 4:00), and I'm afraid that they will be up at 4:30 a.m. like they were yesterday morning.

A friend of mine at work who has two daughters of her own once told me, "They have to sleep good, to sleep good."  I am CRAZY about them getting their naps in because I have always found that the better they sleep during the day, the better they sleep at night, and the less unhappy they are during their awake times.  I'm also convinced that they are going through a growth spurt right now, and that their bottom toofers are going to pop out at any moment now, and so they REALLY need their sleep. And so do we.

The hardest part is that Hershey and I are working full time during all of this.  And not at desk jobs where we can zone out for a few minutes.  We have to be thinking, on our feet, observing and questioning and engaging and entertaining TEENAGERS for 9 straight hours AFTER not sleeping half the night.  We are literally dying.  Literally.  And I get that it's difficult to make babies do things like take naps, but THERE HAS TO BE A WAY!  I need a minute to sit down, to veg out, to PEE for crying out loud!  

HOW DO YOU DO IT?  Please, share with me your knowledge, oh wise blog readers!  If you can't get in to comment on the blog, please head over to my fan page and comment on the conversation we have started there.  I would greatly appreciate any advice that you have to offer, and so would my sanity.

I wish that you all have a wonderful, relaxing, restful weekend.  And please don't forget to vote!

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