This sleep thing is killing me.
I know I know. This is possibly the most boring topic on earth. I KNOW. I have had to listen to myself for a whole MONTH now going on and on about sleep and how to make it happen in my house. I've resolved numerous times to just "go with the flow" and "see what happens" and "stop obsessing", but really people. When have I EVER gone with the flow?
The thing is, Jack is not a horrible sleeper. He has never been awake all day. He has never been awake all night. Right now, in fact, he is sleeping like an angel, and at the appropriate nap time as well. We had to WAKE HIM UP to get to church on time (and let me tell you, there was quite the conversation about whether we should endure eternal hellfire for ditching church and letting the baby sleep, or enduring the more present hell, which is a cranky overtired baby. In the end God won, but if it hadn't been for feeling obligated to the old lady we drive to church on Sundays, I might still be in my pajamas.)
But! Even though I feel we are doing relatively well in the getting-enough-sleep department, I am constantly tormenting myself about what we should be doing. Today's self-berating is sponsored by Putting Your Baby Down Awake. I have never done this. Well, that's not exactly true. I have never done this and had it work. When it's nap time, Jackson and I go upstairs, read a book, pop the pacifier in and rock and rock and rock (it's more like dancing, actually, since I'm standing up and bouncing around) until he's pretty much out. On a good day I put him down and he sleeps for at least an hour. On a bad day I put him down and his eyes flash open and the process starts over. I blame myself, of course, for not putting him down awake when he was a teeny baby. I should have started that early on, but to be honest? I was too busy congratulating myself for figuring out when he needed to take a nap in the first place. There I was telling everyone what a great napper he is, when NO, I should have been bashing my head against a wall for ensuring month four to five would go kablooey.
Seriously. I am trying to be funny about this, but my laptop is going to crash from the, uh, dripping into the keyboard.
It's not like I think I will be rocking him to sleep when he's thirteen. Or that I've somehow damaged his psyche or something. It's more like I know I've done something wrong. WRONG. I swing between Excuse Me, How Is It Wrong To Rock Your Sweet Baby To Sleep and Holy Bad Habit, Batman, You Have Been Kicked Out Of The Smart Mom Club. One moment I am all, "He's still little, it's probably a phase, maybe 5 months will be better, we'll just do what works for now" and the other moment I am hunting for the corkscrew and sobbing into my big glass of Failure.
What have I been doing about it? You mean, how have I been attempting to be a Good Mom? I've read the books. I've asked my friends. I've scoured the internet. I make sure I am not the only one who puts him to sleep. (Phillip puts him to bed, grandmothers often put him down for naps, Phillip will do the first night waking so he doesn't get the idea it's time to eat.) We swaddled. We unswaddled (We went back to swaddling for nighttime sleep, and the last two nights have been a lot better.) We've done our best to keep to a nighttime routine. We've tried early bedtimes. We've tried waiting until he's visibly tired before starting the nighttime routine. We have, oh yes, let him cry. But except for one evening when he fell asleep on his own after ten to fifteen minutes of fussing, one of us always ends up rocking him to or back to sleep.
My mentally balanced and laid back husband has simply decided that he is too young for full blown CIO (our version was more fuss-it-out than cry-it-out) and we'll wait until the five month mark at least to try something new. The last two nights we've been able to get him down fairly easily, so it's easier to think like this. But I can sit here and read myself the riot act for not being consistent on our fussing-it-out experiement, for not canceling every single evening obligation in order to make sure he has the perfect sleep environment. I wonder how my friends got their babies to sleep on their own at Jack's age or before, and wonder what I'm doing wrong. Only today it occurred to me that if I was letting him fuss at night I should probably let him fuss for naps too. I have no idea how that's going to work, since every day is different. The sleep thing is killing me.
But the boy? He's fine.