I didn't want to post this too soon, lest I anger the Internet Gods* and jinx the whole thing, but Miriam has started taking actual naps. Like, the in-bed kind. For hours, that's hours with an s.
[*I do not actually believe in the Internet Gods.]
I wish I knew what I did. I think she was just ready. She'd been having progressively worse and less regular naps for some time -- falling asleep easily but then waking up after 15 minutes or so because I had to get up and deal with something, or because the boys made a loud noise. One day she was starting to fall asleep on my lap, so I stood up and laid her on the couch to tie my wrap on. (Unfortunately my mei tai, which is perfect in other respects, can't easily be put on without putting the baby down.) Instead of crying like I expected, she fell asleep on the couch. Sadly I couldn't leave her there (too afraid she'd roll off) and when I picked her up she instantly woke up, but it inspired me to try putting her down next time. After all, I figured, her naps could hardly get worse.
Well, her next nap I put her down and she slept fine! At first she tried to lift her head up, which is the perennial issue when I put her down, but I stroked her head and she laid it back down. So that's our new sleep trigger, head strokes. I don't have to get her soundly asleep -- luckily, since it's basically impossible while also dealing with the boys -- just mostly there, lay her down, stroke her head, walk out.
Of course that leaves me with the problem I had before -- that noisy boys during baby naps are a near occasion of screaming for me. It makes me steaming mad when they get in a stupid fight over some toy, screech, and wake her -- even more so now that she is old enough that she has pretty long awake periods before we have a hope of giving her another nap. But she sleeps through rather surprising amounts of noise, all things considered.
At the same time as this, she seems to be changing her nap schedule. Her old one was two naps of no more than two hours each (usually two hours in the morning and less in the afternoon) and awake periods of about two hours. Lately both her naps and her awake time seem to be stretching out to three hours. Which makes it impossible to fit that second nap in there without messing up bedtime!
For instance, here's what happened today. She woke up at seven-fifteen. I tried to put her to sleep at nine-fifteen but no luck. Again at ten, no luck. Finally got her to sleep at ten-thirty. She woke up at one-fifteen (oh, bliss!). But I immediately realized that if she stayed awake another three hours, that would be after four and there was no way she'd go to bed at seven with a four-to-five nap. (Since the other kids go to sleep between seven and eight, getting her in bed first is something I'm not really willing to sacrifice. It is very hard to put a toddler to bed while holding a wakeful, babbling baby.)
So at three-fifteen I figured I'd put her in the wrap and see how that worked. After half an hour of swaying she finally shut her eyes ... and Michael immediately through a massive fit and she woke right up. That was it. She went to sleep easily at seven, but surely that's not enough sleep for a baby? She was pretty crabby a lot of the afternoon.
I wonder if I should be waking her from that morning nap. What do you think? Waking a napping baby seems well-nigh sacrilegious, but I'm willing to do it if necessary.
With all that extra time freed up, I'm like a new woman. I have been Accomplishing Things. I've written more on this blog (as you may have noticed). I organized the boys' room -- they have bunk beds now, it's pretty spiffy. And I've gotten back to my novel at last, thanks to a new USB keyboard to replace the one that Michael ruined. I've finally edited those expository bits that seemed so awkward when I first wrote them a couple months ago, revealed a character's dark secret, and killed a druid. Tomorrow I have to kill a good guy, which is sad, but he saw it coming and chose to sacrifice himself, so I don't have to feel too terribly guilty. (When I wrote his death the first time, when I wrote this story's first draft a decade ago, I was tearing up the whole time I was writing it. I hope I've learned more professional detachment since then!)
Now, I've realized that I am still not back to the level of getting-stuff-done I was at before Miriam was born -- I am still not making yogurt or sourdough and I am overwhelmed when I think of my garden -- but it'll happen. Next step I think is Mt. Laundry.
If you haven't been reading the massive comment thread (around here, yeah, 30 comments is massive) on the argument for being Catholic post, I recommend it. I think it's done, because I'm letting Enbrethiliel have the last word ... I can't think of anything yet to say that I haven't said. I still think astrology is bunk, though, and I hope it's not hubris to say so.
Did you know that M*A*S*H is on Netflix now? John and I are watching it together. I have a vague memory of watching it as a kid, but I'm sure I must have missed all the jokes. Anyway it's a really good show. I've thought lately that modern TV is so good it ruins me on old shows .... but this one, it turns out, is good enough quality that it never seems dated.
The humor, of course, is most of the point, but I also like the serious bits. Hawkeye, despite his chaotic nature, is a very ethical character.
John tells me that there were more days referenced on the show than there were in the whole Korean War. Oops. Glad that war is over . . .
Though, of course, can you call a war "over" when we still have troops there? And of course North Korea is still in dreadful shape.
I hear Obama's sent an authorization for the use of military force to Congress, for a three-year campaign against ISIS. I don't know how to feel about this, besides worried. I hate ISIS as much as the next person, but I also remember how these "short" campaigns always go; it makes me leery. Not much to do but hope and pray the best thing is done.
Lent is coming up. Some people like Lent. I am not one of those people. I understand the general idea and am in favor of it, but the specifics always trip me up. One year I gave up reading novels except for school ... for which I read Ayn Rand's book The Fountainhead and got very depressed. Another year I gave up music, and that wasn't too bad, but I never listen to music anymore because it's overstimulating. In fact, I can't think of much that I enjoy and still do, except for things I've resolved to keep because they're vital for my mental health. (Facebook is one of those things. It's my main connection to the outside world, I can't cut it off!)
I had it in my head to give up Netflix, since after all there are other nice things I can do in the evening, but when I remembered that John will be out of town for a solid week to go see yet another sister take the veil, my resolve wavered. I've got to have something to do and the house will be awfully quiet after the kids are in bed.
I like the idea of adding something extra, but when I tried that the past few years, it always flops. When do I have time to add something extra? In the evening, theoretically, but I am already supposed to write in my journal during that time and I haven't done that in weeks. My brain isn't in good shape in the evening. I forget everything. But in all the rest of the day, there's no time slot I can really rely on!
So all I have left that seems remotely practical are to give up sweets, which I'm due to do anyway, being addicted to them at the moment, or to tape up a prayer on the window behind the kitchen sink and try to remember to pray it as I do the dishes. I'm thinking of the Te Deum; it's a favorite of mine. Maybe I should do both, in the hopes that on any given day I will remember at least one of them.
Also open to suggestions if you can think of any that requires no time and no willpower. (All my willpower is engaged in not being awful to my dear sweet boys when they wake up Miriam from her naps.)
I recently read some books by John C. Wright. They were pretty good. The Golden Age and its two sequels were completely utopian, but still interesting -- if you can imagine a book where basically all human problems are solved, and the conflicts that could still arise. It begins with a character who has willingly deleted large chunks of his memory, but now wants to know what he forgot.
The other two, Count to a Trillion and The Hermetic Millennia, are about a vision of humanity rolling from one dystopian future to the next, while two immortal enemies fight amongst themselves about what that future is supposed to look like. I should warn you that they are part of a series that isn't finished yet.
Both were very interesting, if maybe a bit difficult. Very sciencey. Oddly, though, they got me thinking a lot about religion, sociology, and politics. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd wager the author is a Catholic libertarian. Wikipedia tells me I'm right about the Catholic bit!