Saturday, February 07, 2009

self-soothing strategies

This morning about 2:30am I finished a book that I'd been reading.  It's the only "parenting" book that we've bought, and its focus is on establishing healthy sleep habits for kids.  I'd been reading it in the mornings when I walk, but this pregnancy has progressed enough to where I'm not sleeping well at night again.  Partly because it's hard to get comfortable, partly because the kitty knows I'm in a state where I'm easily arousable. 

She has been all over me for about four nights.  Even now as I type this she's in a ball sitting next to my hip, curled into a ball on a soft UT throw, one front paw reaching out just enough to touch me.  And if it wasn't such a sweet sight coupled with a content purr, I might just pick her up and throw her across the room.*

Yesterday I came home from work, greeted at the door by Zoloft, which is her usual routine.  I ate super and watched some TV while stretching, then spent about 3 quality hours petting and loving on the kitty before I went to bed.  Once in bed I was forced to pull the covers over my head and immediately feign unconsciousness to thwart the persistence of the cat.  

I don't remember much else until The Hater came to bed, which was about 1:30am.  He said Zoloft was asleep on the bench at the end of our bed when he came home.  She immediately roused to his side once he was in bed, and he says that he tried to pet her to get her to lay back down, but after a few minutes she immediately b-lined for me.  She went across the top of our bed, between the headboard and the pillows.  He caught her before she got to me and pulled her back to his side.  At this point I woke up and knew exactly what was going on...  Then they played that same game 2 or 3 more times before she jumped down into the floor and waked around to my side of the bed to get my attention.  She's such a smart girl.

The Hater had told me a trick to try, so I laid in bed at the ready.  Sure enough, she jumped up to my head and started her super purr and demanding chirpy marow combo.  I reached up to pet her, then pulled her under the covers with me.  She hates being under the covers.  I held her there for a couple of minutes before she squirmed free and jumped off the bed.

I thought I had won.  I cuddled next to The Hater and tried to go back to sleep.  Except I couldn't get comfortable.  I got out of bed to see if I needed to pee.  All bets were off when I came back to bed because Zoloft was at this point ready to keep me awake.  I tried ignoring her for about 10 minutes before I figured that I was already too awake to go back to sleep.  

So I zombie-walked to get the sleep book to read.  The irony of this didn't dawn on me until now.  I finished the book and turned off the light, settling back into bed.  I laid there for 20-30 more minutes (dictated by my new blue alarm clock, see post below) before I realized that I wasn't going back to sleep.  At 3:15am I decided to get up and go watch tv in the living room.

Zoloft was at my heel.  Once I settled on the couch she was immediately by my side.  She fell right to sleep just to rub it in.  

There's really not good tv programming at 3am.

I waited to get tired until about 4:20, at which point I decided to go ahead and take my early morning medicine an hour earlier than usual.  I watched the end of a Roseanne rerun and went back to bed, turning off the alarm since there was no longer any reason to get up at 5:30 to take my medicine.  

I don't know what time it happened, but I do know it was still dark out.  Zoloft brought one of her favorite toys, a puppy toy we named Buddy, up to the foot of the bed to play and attack.  Over our feet.  Which woke me up.  I waited until I was sure she was on my side of the bed and straightened my legs.  She fell to the floor and waited a minute or so before jumping back to the bed, dragging Buddy back down to the floor to play.  I grumbled but was able to go back to sleep without much difficulty.

She's been especially sweet this morning, which is par for the course.  And like I said, as soon as I sat down on the couch she was by my side wanting attention.  I thought about the book I'd finished last night and told her it was time for her to learn some self-soothing strategies, and after about a minute of protest she's still asleep by my side, still purring, still with one paw reached out touching my leg, still absolutely precious.

I'm so excited that she put herself to sleep, that I didn't have to pet and cuddle her to zonk.  But I know good and well that we'll be playing the same game tonight when it's time for me to sleep.  It's our new tango.

I don't know if she's sensed that she's in for some big changes or if she's just figured out that Mommy is way easy to wake up right now.  Maybe it's a combo of both.  Whatever the reason for this sudden need to be around me, she's going to be in for a rude awakening soon enough.

Poor kitty.

*No, I would not throw the cat across the room.  That would just be mean.  

I'm not an idiot.  Please don't tell me this is just practice for when this kid gets here.  That unsolicited advice is not needed.  Thanks.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

When our youngest cat decides its time for us to get up, he literally YELLS at our door (we don't leave the door open at night bc our older cat likes to spite pee on our bed). We've learned to get up and put him in the bathroom for an hour to two. It may not help you get a full nights sleep, but it may help get a nap in.