Thursday, March 15, 2012

Here We Go Again

If you were keeping score of things mentioned in this blog, "baby sleep woes" would probably show up streets ahead in terms of subject matter, followed at a distance by awesome things about babies, food and/or booze, tv shows I watch, things about my marriage and family, musical theater and some miscellaneous evidence attesting to my personal brand of lameness. I'm about to add another point in the sleep category, so kindly jog on if you can't bear to read about it yet another time. I don't blame you. I don't want to be writing about it, but it's affecting my life so intensely that it would be a lie not to address it.

Things have gotten bad. HR hasn't woken this much during the night since he was an infant, and his initial stretch in the crib as of this week has averaged under two hours. We do our routine, I put him down without much fuss, he goes right to sleep and without fail he's standing in his crib, wailing, before I can digest my dinner. I know I'm at fault for this - following a hard fight to get him back to putting himself down after the hubbub of the winter holidays, once he remastered that skill I was content to take him into bed with me when he had his first waking because he'd usually go right back to sleep and sleep until what passes as morning. I just let it slide because it was easier and we all slept. But now it's not working so keen. For starters, there's that ever-shrinking window of reliable baby's-down-for-the-night time. And he's gone one better and started to be a pill about going back to sleep even after pulling him into the formerly foolproof family bed. (For the record I never wanted a family bed - it was borne of necessity. I'm all for other people co-sleeping if that's what they choose, and I do love cuddling my boy--I'll never tire of that--but the crimp it puts into the quantity and quality of our overall rest is not quite worth it).

We've tried keeping him up later, we've tried moving the nap around, making it earlier, waking him from it earlier, running around in the evening to tire him out, everything intuitive and counter-intuitive. I'm not opposed to putting him to bed earlier which is supposed to work somehow, but I don't even get home until 6:30 so I really don't care to give up the scant half hour I have with him at the end of the day. What I really want is for the magical sleep fairy to come and tell me what to do. If I know it's the right thing, I would stick with any plan, within reason. But I know these things are so varied, kid by kid. At this point it's merely a matter of picking a method that I know works and sticking it out. Which means not taking him out of the crib when he wakes up. I can be in the room, but he can't be in mine. And it'll suck, but it needs to be done. It's time to get real, now. It's our job to teach him how to sleep better. We owe it to him, and to ourselves. And when I say "we," I mean "I" because I'm a little tougher when it comes to the crying. Mike can't handle not going in, he's a fixer.

OK enough of that mess. This is the part where I resort to my annoying tendency to hammer out a bottom line: in his waking hours, HR is growing and healthy, an all-around energetic and preposterously happy kid. If he's like that in the most messed up of sleeping environments, I count us extremely lucky. But the lack of sleep (and of all-important grown-up time, including setting our bedtimes at will) is beginning to wear on me. And HR needs the best Mama and Daddy we can be, meaning, rested. So again I'll say: I'll do my best to get him back on track sleeping because it's the best thing for all of us. But if I fail, it can't really be considered a failure. I mean, how can the word "fail" ever be associated with this guy (unless you count matching fail, which I don't, since that's not his fault)?

It could be that I just don't have a good sleeper. But I know, based on past evidence, that he is capable of being a better sleeper. He's going to turn two, I thought we'd finally turned the corner on this on his last birthday for crying out loud. So once again I'll give it my best shot. It ain't gonna be pretty, but whatever. Neither am I with these bags under my eyes. I'll report back obviously, win or lose.

Thanks for getting through this, if you did. And if you didn't, too bad you missed out on this song, which I only thought of after I titled this post, and only two people will appreciate it anyway. You know who you are.


  1. Try going in and telling him it is time to sleep, night time is for sleeping, dark outside means sleep. Although he is little he understands what is going on and also is old enough to know how to get his way. It will be harder now that he is older to train him due to stubbornness and habit but it can be done. I don't know what you are against (or not) but if it was me I would let him cry. Like you said he is healthy so as long as you know he is not sick leave him to learn to soothe. I know some people say oh they need you they cry for a reason and I do believe that to an extent. If you know he is doing this out of habit and knowing that you will "rescue" him from the crib then its time for some tough love! Tell the hubs to man up and turn the monitor down, no rest will be had for a week or so but tell him if he wants his eyeballs to remain intact and to ever get laid again then YOU NEED YOUR SLEEP! Sorry to go on a rant here, I know it sucks. Best of luck and keep us posted. We wouldn't all be reading if we didn't care :)

  2. Hey, thanks so much for the support! It really does help to have someone holding me accountable. We did the modified cry-it-out when he was a year old and it worked, so I'm pretty sure that's back on as of tonight. The difference is he's louder and more stubborn, but I know it'll be worth the week of hell. I will certainly report back. -DE