State of the Momma: August 2013

This weekend, I ran the America’s Finest City 5k and set a personal record. On four hours of sleep. On a course with The Hill That Never Ends. By myself.

I'm kind of a big deal.

I’m kind of a big deal. (Photo credit: kind stranger)

In the wee hours of the morning of this year’s race, Suzianne simply would not sleep. Around 3:30 a.m., I was laying on the rug next to her crib plotting my Ninja escape from her nursery when my mind drifted and started processing the new and improved, Margie, The Momma, Aug. 2013 Edition.

What a difference a year makes.

In August 2012, Dave and I moved to from D.C. to San Diego to start a public relations firm. Suzianne was five months old. Krissi and Reese helped me finish packing up:

My expert logistics team.

My expert logistics team.

(Dave left on August 10 to drive West with his soulmate)

Just a man, his poodle, and the open road.

Just a man, his poodle, and the open road.

On August 11, Suzianne and I made our move across the country. On an airplane. No way I’m driving cross-country with an infant.

Ubering to the airport.

Ubering to the airport, while Suzianne makes a weird air-nursing face.

This picture sums up my life for the first few weeks of SoCal living; I could barely function:

A type-A momma's worst nightmare.

A Type-A momma’s worst nightmare.

Mom’s place flooded the night we arrived (water heater), so we were hotel-hopping for awhile. During this time, a dear friend in Nashville passed away, and one of my father figures in Knoxville was given weeks to live. But I was too fogged up by pregnancy hormones, financial strains and moving logistics to travel home to Tennessee. Writing that sentence is a nausea-inducing. WTF? Where were my priorities? Guest question. Honestly, I have no idea how to explain the way my brain processed things at that time.

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How To Create a Sleeping Sanctuary

How do you create the perfect sleeping environment for your baby? Hell if I know.

From noise machines, to night lights, to food schedules, to superstition, I’ve tried everything to get my Dawn Worshiper to sleep past 5:15 a.m. And when she wakes she’s not waking up happy; she’s all kinds of mad for no apparent reason.

For a while, I thought it was the sunlight peeking in, waking her up before she was ready. So for the past week, Suzianne slept in a blacked-out room. A room so devoid of natural light, it felt dungeon-like during the day. But whatevs. Here’s a flashlight, baby. Momma needs some sleep.

The Baby Cave was created with the aid of this magical substance. It is black-out film, like the kind teachers use on their classroom windows. Although, I’m positive their handiwork does not look like something off of Frankenstein’s Pinterest board:


Crafty I’m not.

Sure it is creepy, but it really works. And by “it really works” I mean, it clings to the windows and makes the room dark. It in no way helps my child sleep. It might actually be making her angry.

After this week’s co-sleeping fun, I decided to rip down the film. I’m over it. I have no idea what conditions would enable my child to stay asleep past sunrise. And why make her wander through a depressing Baby Cave if it doesn’t actually help.

You birthed an early-bird, Margie. Deal with it.

Ah, but wouldn’t you know…the past two days–sans darkroom–she has slept until 6:30 a.m. Once awake, she’s not freaking out. She just sort of hangs out in her crib, playing with her stuffed animals until she gets board and calls for us Daddy.

The bottom line on baby sleep seems to be the same infuriatingly true advice people give about searching for a good man: be patient, honey. As soon as you give up, it’ll happen.


It’s 5:05 A.M. and Suzianne’s screams are blaring through the monitor. We spawned an early riser. It is clearly a cruel joke the Universe is playing on two people who, pre-baby, routinely slept until Noon on Saturdays.


“No, ma’am. Not today,” I Momma Mean Whisper as I walk with a purpose down the hall. But when I barrel through the door this particular morning, she actually is reaching for me. My heart softens. Most days, I am the last thing she wants to see, as she wakes with hanger only satiated with scrambled eggs and Daddy.

I pick her up, she’s calming, then, pointing back to the crib. I lay her down and play with her hair. I forget I was on a mission to quickly put her to bed and fall back to sleep in my own. It’s times like these when she’s so content to have me there that I lose track time and agenda.

She’s nearly asleep so I tip toe out of her room with that warm fuzzy feeling of CREEEEAK!

{head slap}

The 80 year old floor gives away my exit with such volume it actually causes me to jump.

{toddler screaming}

“Let’s try this another way, together,” I say, scooping up Suzianne and her pink elephant. We are making our way to the couch and I’m thinking this will never work. By design, co-sleeping is something we never do. Dave and I love our bed, our sleep, our clean and crumb-free sheets. But this morning, it’s clear she’s still sleepy. I’m still sleepy.

We are curled up under a blanket and she smells like baby. Her little nose is just inches from mine. She has put her feet between my legs because they are cold. Her head is resting on my arm. Her eyelids are heavy. Thoughts of gratitude and love are causing my eyes to well up. Will she ever understand how much I love her?

She’s asleep, her little hand laying on my chest. I am starting to understand why co-sleepers do this and it occurs to me:

I have to pee.

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How to: Crying It Out

Crying It Out, also known as The Ferber Method, really does work. It’s a good thing, too, because you’ll be re-Crying-It-Out every month or so. Blame teething, colds, growth spurts, etc.

I know I’ve been absent lately, but when it comes to Crying It Out, just because I haven’t been blogging doesn’t mean I haven’t been sharing my experiences with the Internet. Here’s an Insta-gem from April, when Suzianne could stand up, but could not figure out how to lay back down:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 3.18.15 PM

Here’s June, when she was positive there was a party in the next room she should have been invited to:

Screen Shot 2013-07-17 at 3.16.47 PM

Most of the time, the Crying It Out training we first initiated back in November 2012 really works. We started it when Suzianne was about seven months old. Thanks to a few nights of wine and standing our ground, we now are able to lay her down in her crib and she’ll fall asleep on her own without incident within 10-15 minutes:  IMG_7510

When that happens, this happens:


Not pictured: the glasses of craft beer we were enjoying.

Many folks have asked about our Crying It Out formula. Here’s what I did for my baby, who was seven months old at the time. Continue reading