Or, Maybe One Day I’ll Get Some Sleep
Or, My Baby Likes to Party All the Time
Maybe you don’t recognize me… I’m that girl who, a few months ago, was able to make a light hearted joke, play and have fun with her kids, cook a meal and maybe tidy up a room. I used to be that girl. Now I’m the girl who snarls at everyone I see, yells at my kids too often for being kids, feels guilty all the time about my apparent personality transplant, and only thinks that dark humor is funny. In other words, I’m not myself.
Hank is nine months old. He is generally delightful—he likes to scoot around looking for sticks to chew on outside, he eats like a superstar, preferring savory flavors to sweet ones. He claps, he thinks his big sister is pretty much the funniest thing in the world (and she is), he chews up Uno cards (so we always know who has the yellow skip card), he loves taking a bath and wrestling with the kitten. He’s pretty much awesome in all ways but one. The child never sleeps.
For a long time, he slept in our room in the bassinet. Then I looked at it, and saw that the weight limit was 15 pounds and he was 21 pounds… so we assembled his crib in Hazel’s room, and he started going to bed in there. When he woke up at night to nurse, I would bring him into our bed and we would cosleep for the rest of the night. It worked alright. He would also nap in our bed, but only if I laid down with him until he fell asleep.
Then he started fighting going to bed. Putting him down at night would take two hours. In the meantime, I would not have tucked in Oliver or Hazel, or I would have while he screamed and I would rush through it. It wasn’t working. It also meant that we were eating out a lot because I was exhausted, or we would eat dinner super late at night because I couldn’t start cooking until 9:30 or later.
I wanted to go the no-crying-to-sleep route. I haven’t found the magical solution that works though. A few weeks ago, I decided that there were three problems: 1. He didn’t nap. 2. He fought going to bed at night. 3. He didn’t sleep through the night, waking up 2-6 times a night.
I figured that the easiest thing would be to tackle the issues one at a time. The thing that has been the most difficult on me has been the falling asleep at night. Kullervo and I worked out what we decided would be a good bedtime routine for Hank, and started implementing it. The first night, putting him to bed took two hours (and thankfully a dear friend had taken Oliver and Hazel to see a show at a nearby park, so they weren’t sitting at home being bored). The next night, an hour and twenty minutes. The third night, forty minutes. The fourth night he went straight to sleep. These were all done without him needing to cry. I would do the routine, put him to bed, and then rub his back until he fell asleep. Now I am able to do the routine, put him in his crib, and even though he often sits himself up right away, he winds up going to sleep without crying. Success! We even have been able to eat dinner before ten at night!
Next up: naps. Sleep begets sleep, so, I decided to tackle naps as the next step in my plan. More on that soon!