Greta is an easy baby. (Knock, knock, knock wood.) She is easygoing and calm, and if she prefers being held to being put on a playmat or in a bouncy chair, so be it; she’s a baby, and our apartment is quite cold, and if I were her I’d want to be on a warm person too. But Greta is also demanding, a true child of a mama who likes routine and regularity. If it’s time for her to eat, she begins screaming bloody murder with no warning whatsoever. FEED ME. NOW. The worst is when Greta gets sleepy. She becomes an insane screaming infant, face red, lips quivering with rage, crying so hysterically she ceases to let out any sound at all. She is then nearly impossible to calm, and even when she does fall asleep, she wakes up a couple of times and needs to be soothed once again.
Greta’s witching hour begins promptly at 5:00pm, just when I need to start getting Lucia’s dinner ready and a good bit of time before I can count on Andrew walking through the door. It is the toughest part of my day. There’s nothing I can do but rock her and try to get her to sleep, which is all but impossible with Lucia tagging along. I’ll go into our darkened bedroom to rock Greta, suggesting that Lucia stay in the living room; of course she says “I come too” and follows me in, jumping and chattering despite my admonitions that she be quiet. I feel for her at these times, I really do, the screaming interloper monopolizing my time and delaying her dinner.
The problem is that Greta for some reason cannot settle down for a late-afternoon nap. She naps in the morning, and then again around noon or one while Lucia naps, but then can’t let go for a nap at four or four-thirty—when she really needs it. If I could focus on Greta 100%, I know I could get her down. But I don’t have half an hour to rock her in a dark, quiet room. And so a nap doesn’t happen. And then the insane witching hour begins. Bedtime for Greta has become six or six-thirty just because she simply cannot stand being awake a minute longer, and it is both cruel to her and excruciating to us to try to get her to stay up till our preferred bedtime of seven.
Ah, Grets. I’m planning to rework her sleeping situation in our bedroom to improve things. Right now our room is very very bright, and she sleeps in a bassinet. But she is so tall that she’s outgrowing the bassinet already. So room-darkening curtains and a real crib are on the horizon. I also need to try wearing Greta for that four-thirty nap. If she’s too upset she can’t settle herself; but if I catch her before she gets worked up she might just sleep for me in the Bjorn. Here we are once again in the land of infant strategizing...