Friday, February 5, 2010

Ambient Temperature

Not fevers or anything like that. Just the ambient temperature in any given room in your house. Do you know what it is? Sure, you set the thermostat, and you can see what the temperature is right where the thermostat is... but do YOU know what the temperature is in all the various rooms of your home?

Now, I know what you're asking, this is a baby blog, what on earth does ambient temperature have to do with anything. Well. EVERYTHING. We've been struggling. If I've heard it before, I've heard it again, and I'll repeat it so that everyone is on the same page "Babies don't come with an owners manual." And, well, we've been trying desperately to figure out what E's been trying to tell us for what seems like months now. And I think I have FINALLY broken the code. And it can now only get better.

I've been puzzling over why it seems that around 2 - 3 E has a horrible meltdown. Big tears rolling down her little face. Crying till she's beet red. Always seemed to happen at nap time. We've blamed everything from the food I'm eating, the formula she's taking, the clothes she's wearing, being tired or even perhaps not being tired. And then suddenly like a bolt of lightening, it happened. The moment of clarity.

Monday E was having a meltdown. It started at about 2 and at 2:30 I was headed for the only thing that I'd found that works. Skin to skin. And step 1 is remove all of babies clothes. So I stripped E down to her diaper. And when all she had left on was her diaper, she stopped crying. Grandma was visiting, we both looked at each other and I said "She's HOT!" She was never sweaty so I never would have guessed it. So I started to change the way I dressed her for nap time, presuming this would resolve my issues. But on Tuesday, I had the same problem. Melting down at about the same time. So finally, out of pure curiosity (and after Grandma's repeated suggestion) I put a thermometer in the Nursery. I was ALARMED. It was a cool day, and the sun wasn't out, and I'd had the Nursery door open. And the room was registering 71 degrees. I suddenly became sure that on a sunny day, that around nap time I wouldn't be surprised to find the temperature at 75. WAY too hot for a baby! Especially a baby dressed for winter!

So I started on my mission. Cooling the room down. I started with opening the window, seemed absurd. It was 20 degrees outside, and yet, when I left a window open in the Nursery it only cooled it a couple of degrees. And then I kept doing the same thing at night, trying to cool it off. Only to realize that at night it was getting into the low 60s. So the room was fluctuating between too cool, and too warm. Now low 60s apparently isn't officially too cool, but I think it's too cool, and it's definitely too cool if you are consequently trying to put E in the Nursery in fewer clothes so she doesn't get hot.

The entire thing came to a peak last night when I got up at about 12:30 and read the thermometer was 63 degrees. WOW, that was cold, so I put another layer on E so she could sleep comfortably. And she nursed and went back to sleep. And I didn't hear from her again till a little bit after 4. And then when I got upstairs, as soon as I walked into the Nursery I was struck by how hot it was. Checking the thermometer it was now 70 degrees. So of course, NOW, she was TOO hot. I took her out of the nursery while we nursed and let her cool down and then opened the window, and left the door open so that it would cool down. All the while, feeling enormously guilty because what if leaving the window open made her too cold? So as soon as the alarm went off at 6, I sent Daddy to go get E. With very specific instructions to close the window, check the thermometer and return to the master bedroom with her. When he got there I asked for the temperature report... (PLEASE don't let it have been too cold, it was only an hour she was in there with the window open). Imagine my shock and alarm when Daddy announced that it was 71 degrees. GREAT! I had a window open, the door open, and it went UP a degree. So clearly THIS wasn't working.

Our final solution has been to shut off the radiator in her room. Which won't be the ideal solution either because then it might get too cold at night. We might try to leave it open just a little bit. We'll see. I also changed all the settings in the house. Reducing the thermostat on the whole house, and letting the temperatures drop for the night at her bedtime instead of our bedtime. Leaving her door open works a little, but isn't practical because then we can't sit in our living room after we've put her to bed. So hopefully we can get this issue under control.

I never saw this one coming! So it goes back to the beginning, babies don't come with manuals. And the reason one is crying does not explain why the other is crying. It's all about deciphering your own babies codes to you.

To Mommies and Daddies everywhere, if your baby won't sleep... check the temperature! And as usual did anyone see who dropped the pacifier?

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