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Any Signs of Life?

We’ve experienced another first in Madeleine Land; the Extended Nap.

 Starting at three months, Madeleine began sleeping through the night with only the occasional spurt of mid-night wake ups, but ever since she sorted out her nights from her days at a very early age, she’s been a terrible napper.   
I began trying to introduce daily naps at roughly the same time when she was about four months old, and the longest I’ve ever gotten her to go is about 45 minutes; usually she’s out for 30 minutes then up and wide awake!  This leads to a need for more frequent naps, and a cranky baby more often during the day.  Everything I read tells me she should be napping about an hour in the morning and TWO TO THREE HOURS in the afternoon!  Do you know what I could get done with two free hours???  I spend her 30 minute cat-naps frantically getting everything done that I can!  I DREAM of multiple-hour naps!

And then it happened.  She went to sleep.  And slept.  And slept.  And slept.

For the first half hour, I was my normal frantic self, getting email and laundry and such done.  As it moved into a second half hour, I realized I could make a sandwich!  And maybe eat it sitting down!  I reasoned that I could always come back to it if she woke up soon, which I assumed she would.  As time rolled into the third half hour, I cast longing looks at my own bed, but held off, knowing in my bones that she’d wake up the minute I put myself down. 

But as time rolled into the fourth half hour – she had now been asleep ALMOST TWO HOURS! – I began to get worried.  What if she’s in trouble, and I’m celebrating my freedom?  How can you tell the difference between unconscious and asleep just by looking at them?  You can’t!  You have to wake her!  But why in the world would you wake a sleeping baby?  But what if she’s not sleeping?  Thus ran my thoughts.

So here’s how the next hour ran:

 Wait ten minutes.  Look in on the baby.  Watch intently for rising and falling chest.  Casually stroll away.  Wait ten minutes.  Idly walk back and look in on baby.  Make sure breathing passages have a clear radius around her.  Calmly walk away.  Casually pass by the fridge, where the infant CPR chart is posted, and re-read it.  Just in case.  Wait ten minutes.  Insouciantly wander back to baby’s room.  Make sure room’s not too hot/cold.  Peer at her lids for signs of REM sleep as opposed to unconsciousness.  Pry self away from room.  Stroll to other end of house, then sweep cat up in arms for a surprise drill, to see how fast you can locate chest compression spot with your fingers.  Apologize to cat.  Wait ten minutes. 

By the time Maddie woke up, she had slept for three hours.  And as my relief at her continued existence began to recede, I started thinking of all the things I could have done with three hours if I had known I’d have that long.  I could have taken a shower!  Worked out!


My girlfriend Abby says that the long nap thing is great, in that you get a lot done, but suddenly you have a schedule where you’re tied to the house for hours at a time every day; she’s not so portable or pliable any more.  I think I can live with that.

 Here’s hoping this becomes a habit.


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