Yesterday I did nap manipulation again, and voila; sleeping baby from 8:30 pm to 8:00 am (with feeds). No more nighttime playing. Hurrah! Nap manipulation consists of adding up the total hours Riley sleeps in 24 hours, subtracting the amount of time I would like him to sleep at night (10 to 11 hours...of course 12 would be better and more normal, but both Ayden and Riley sleep less than your average baby) and allowing him the difference for his naps.
Translation: because I want him to sleep 11 hours at night, and he usually sleeps a total of 13 hours in 24, I only let him sleep for 2 hours during the day. I still put him to sleep when he is tired in the day, but I wake him up after one hour. His second naptime he gets sleepy again, and again I wake him up after one hour.
I'm also thinking about setting up the crib we own (but haven't used yet) in Ayden and Matthew's bedroom and putting Riley to sleep in there for the first portion of the night. Our current system often results in us waking Riley up when we get ready for bed because we're moving around and whispering and turning the bathroom light on and off. I would leave the playpen in our room for naps, and Riley sleeps with us for a good portion of the night, which wouldn't change. The problem is that we have an extra toddler bed with nowhere to put it (actually we have 2 toddler beds, but one can be taken apart and stored in a closet and the other cannot, and is now in Ayden and Matthew's room as an 'extra' for sleepovers and as a general junk pile collector since they don't have many sleepovers!).
I realized yesterday that now that Riley is 9 months old, he has been a part of my body and a part of my life for a year and a half now. It is difficult for me to imagine what life was life before we had him, and hard for me to imagine how I filled my days?!!?! Which makes me laugh, because of course my days were full and busy with 2 rambunctious boys, plus a job and a garden and friends and extended family and reading and running...
But it really is so hard to imagine life without Riley in it, and I think rather than remembering a dearth of activity in my life before him, I am actually feeling the absence of his sparkle and personality, and the joy and frustration and energy he makes me feel. What a blessing. All my boys are. I am very, very fortunate. Thank you, Universe. Thank you, post partum anxiety and depression group. Thank you, sunshine. Thank you, thank you, thank you.