We both chuckled and I snapped a photo. Baby Bird was snugly strapped into the Baby Bjorn carrier on Big Papa’s chest, sound asleep.
During our first weeks of new parenthood, while we waited for Baby Bird’s passport and visa to be processed, we’d leave the apartment where we were staying and walk the streets of Yerevan. Baby Bird loved riding in the carrier, and she loved being outside. She’d smile and coo and, after an hour or two, she’d fall asleep.
I remember smugly thinking that she was a darn good sleeper. Every night she settled down for twelve hours without a peep. Lucky us—we weren’t going to be one of those bleary-eyed families pacing the floor several times a night bouncing and rocking our baby, praying for sleep. Granted, she fussed and struggled with her afternoon nap, but if we packed her in the carrier and went for a walk, we were practically guaranteed she’d conk out.
Flash forward. Baby Bird still sleeps a good 12 to 13 hours each night. We give her a bath, feed her dinner, put her in her pj’s, read a couple bedtime stories and boom; she’s out cold in a matter of minutes. And do you want to know why? It’s because she is flat-out exhausted.
As it turns out, Baby Bird isn’t a very good sleeper after all, at least where deep sleep is concerned. A few months ago, we found out she has sleep apnea. To make matters worse, Baby Bird is also a very poor napper. It is not uncommon for her to nap less than 30 minutes the entire day.
So even though Big Papa and I get a good night’s sleep (for which we are both extremely grateful), we spend the better part of our days with a very tired toddler. Baby Bird gets so tired that on some days, by early afternoon, she is literally falling over. She might lie on the floor and say “sleepy” over and over. But she won’t nap.
We have black-out curtains in her bedroom, a white noise machine, a sleep sack and a “sleep sheep.” Except for giving her a bath, we follow the exact same routine for her nap as we do in the evening before we put her to bed. We’ve tried playing gentle music; rocking her, swaddling her, sitting with her, and lying down with her. We make sure she’s had fresh air in the morning and plenty of opportunity to run around and get her ya-ya’s out. But she just won’t nap.
I’ve tried taking her for a walk in the stroller, hoping to replicate the sleep-inducing walks from our three weeks in Yerevan. Nope: not napping.
There was a period of time, some months ago, when she might fall asleep in the car. I spent a lot of time in the car, driving. On more than one occasion, I confess that I drove from our home in Seattle, 40 minutes north to Woodinville, known in our greater metropolitan area as “wine country.” I would drive; she would sleep a little; I would buy a few bottles of wine and we’d go home. Win-win. Sadly, those days are over. For the most part, even the car won’t lull her to sleep.
A few weeks from now, we are taking Baby Bird to have her tonsils and adenoids reduced (a procedure that whittles them down, but doesn’t remove them entirely) in the hopes that our little bird will be able to get more sound shut-eye. But until then, Baby Bird is decidedly anti-sleepy. Oh the irony.