Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Adventures in night weaning and belly dancing by moonlight

So, I made the decision over the weekend to night wean Anne. I knew the following:

(a) She is ready; she has slept (a few times) 8-9 hours without nursing.

(b) She barely nurses in the night without being distracted and/or falling back to sleep.

(c) She is miserably cranky in the evenings even when she takes good naps, and she needs more sleep at night.

(d) She is transitioning to more solids during the day and is showing less and less interest in her bottles when I'm at work; my milk supply has changed accordingly.


(e) If I do not nurse her in the night, she will MAKE.US.PAY.

Hence, the reason I've been putting it off. However, we had yet another atrocious night on Friday, and I knew it had to be done. She's nearly a year old, she has 6 teeth, and it's not good for her to be drinking milk in the middle of the night when clearly I'm not going to brush her teeth afterward. She's old enough to go through the entire night without nursing. So in we plunged.

It goes without saying that the first night was ugly.

She has a lovie in her crib, and I went in to soothe her many times without nursing her. Each time I went in and left without nursing her, she got MADDER. She threw her lovie on the floor. She STOOD UP and voiced her displeasure for an absolute eternity.

But finally, she went to sleep. And after that, she slept until the morning. That next day, I was utterly exhausted for being up for so long, but I knew it was worth it.

Night 2 was less bad. She was exhausted too, and slept until 4 am. She stayed awake for an hour, with a soothe session in the middle. She didn't cry the whole time, she talked a lot, and generally made a little noise. She went back to sleep on her own.

Last night was night 3. She got up around 1 am, and stayed awake for about an hour and 15 minutes. We had a nice cuddle session in there. Her mood when she discovered that I was only going to rock and cuddle her and not nurse her = PISSED, but she got over it. Shortly after I put her back in her crib, she went to sleep.

Each morning, she has woken up happy and nursed heartily without distraction or hurting me because she's not really that into it. So, we'll see how tonight goes. Night 4 of Anne Sleep Battle...

But it's time. I don't push eliminating night wakings for a really long time. But her birthday is in less than a month. That time is now. I'll continue to nurse her during the day whenever she wants.

So, after Anne (and Henry) go to sleep, I've been dancing. We have a hafla coming up, as well as some other potential performances, and my motivation level is high to improve my dancing and my confidence level. Therefore, my hafla solo is going to explore previously uncharted territory: improvisation.

I may have mentioned in the past that I'm terrified of improvisation. This means that one does not have a structured and completely planned choreography. You select music, perhaps choreograph an entrance and exit and some musical highlight points, but otherwise, you just dance whatever you feel fits the music right in the moment. My stomach feels funny just thinking about it.

But improvisation is key to professional belly dancing. You can't plan and remember multiple choreographies, and it will make your dancing stale after a bit. I've been forcing myself to practice improv a bit by putting on random music and just dancing around the kitchen in the evenings (lucky Mike) and I have to admit, there's something very relaxing about it. You don't have to worry about forgetting your meticulously choreographed routine (my preciousssss....). When you're doing a solo, no one will know if you "mess up" and go off your choreography, but somehow, your face will show it. At least mine will. But with improvisation, that worry goes away. If you're good at staying on the music, you can just do whatever you want and it will *look* like a planned choreography, all without the pressure. Win-win.

But it's still scary. In the moment, all I can seem to remember are about 4 movements, and then I start worrying that I'm repeating myself and the audience is bored. I have a real fear of boredom. I *have* gotten a bit better, and have been working on some combinations that I can stick in, and I've actually been remembering more than just 4 movements, but still. I'll feel all successful and sassy and turn to face my audience (the microwave)!:

"Oh no. They're bored, aren't they?"

I can't help it, this is a huge fear of mine. But I'm working on it. We'll get there. And with more sleep, my brain power can only improve...

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