Leaving out four bazillion details
It's not Monday, it's Bonus Thanksgiving Day

Yes, I know, it's my own fault

The new thing now is waking up at 2 in the morning, finding oneself on all fours and loudly protesting in indignation.

I curse the developmental stages and the near onset of baby mobility in my house.

I've finally admitted to myself that Jackson is not a good sleeper. He is good at many things- eating pears, smiling at his grandparents, biting things, fake coughing, turning your cold sleep-deprived heart into a puddle of good- but not sleeping.

He takes great naps during the day (morning, lunchtime, early evening), but getting him to fall asleep takes anywhere from five minutes to the amount of time he should have been sleeping. There is a varying amount of drama in getting him to go down at night, and he almost always wakes up at 2 for a varying number of hours. I am tired of it. (Ha! Tired!)

And no, all you people who Think You Are Helping. I can't just put him down in his crib and walk away.

For nighttime sleep, Phillip always puts him down and lately has been putting him in the crib Drowsy But Still Awake. You know that term. I believe it is printed in every single infant sleep book on the market. Amazingly, this is starting to work. Sometimes it requires massive amounts of patting and shushing and ignoring your growling stomach while your dinner gets cold, but whenever it happens it is very exciting. We high five each other and for a small moment the entire sleep thing starts looking up.

Then he wakes up at 2 and won't go back to sleep till 4, thereby eliminating any sleep happiness we momentarily experienced.

We have tried all sorts of things. We pack as much food into him as possible. We swaddled, then we unswaddled. We sing. We shush. We pat. He's too heavy to rock the way I used to rock him, so now I hold him somewhat vertically in the rocking chair (which works wonders compared to rocking horizontally in the rocking chair.) We let him fuss for a while. We give him pacifiers. We kept him up. We put him to bed earlier. One night we gave in and started giving him a bottle again. Possibly that is when he started to reject any and all forms of milk during the day. Last night Phillip broke my one rule- Do Not Wake A Sleeping Baby- and woke him up to feed him. We started spending all of our Quality Television Time discussing what in the world we are going to do about the atrocious lack of sleep in this house.

For a long time I have felt that things will eventually work out. One day Jack will sleep through the night. It doesn't really stop me from obsessing over what to do, or obsessing over how what I do is always wrong, but I haven't gone completely crazy with the sleep neuroses. But we are now getting to the point where we have tried everything. To no avail.

Enter crying it out.

I have no issue with crying it out. I do not think it is the Epitome of Evil. Or that it makes you the World's Worst Mother. And I dare say it seems to be effective, since everyone and their drunk uncle has marched up to us and said, "Oh, well, you've GOT to let him cry!"

Tangent: Do people think we have not heard this before? It is like people are offering their one single pearl of wisdom on a shiny silver platter just for you. Here, let me tell YOU this SECRET TRICK.

I'll say we've done a lot of Fussing It Out. He FIO for his nap yesterday and fell asleep on his own as Phillip and I were watching him. It was like witnessing a miracle, people. And at 2 in the morning when he was fussing with his eyes closed and getting up on all fours, I jammed the pacifier in and shushed and patted and again, FIO before our very eyes. So we went back to bed very pleased with ourselves. Maybe we wouldn't have to try CIO after all.

Until 3 in the morning, when howling began.

It doesn't start as howling. It starts as fussing, which is why we resolved to stay in bed. Nothing we'd done to help him get back to sleep had helped before, so why not just let him work it out? He has to learn how to put himself back to sleep, right?

But then it turned into full on crying, the kind I cannot bear. No, I told myself. HE MUST LEARN!

Ten minutes later I was out of bed and rocking that boy to sleep.

This is where the CIO enthusiasts will tell me I just screwed myself over, because I have to be strong! Consistent! Tough! Possibly away from home with a pair of earmuffs for insurance! And you know, I kind of think they are right.

I just can't do it. Not at 3 in the morning when I have nothing else to distract me from the sobbing. Not when I know he's learning how to move his body and can't figure out the next step and really wants to go to sleep and (maybe I am making this part up) really needs his mommy.

And CIO just seems sort of logistically difficult, seeing as how it could well be an hour into the going to sleep process before Jack really starts to cry. I mean, with this kid, you could be doing half an hour of Playing In The Crib and then an hour of FIO and then have it turn into CIO. The tiny bits of CIO we've done make me think all the crying just wigs him out more instead of helping him get to the Happy Sleep Place. And quite honestly, WE WANT TO SLEEP TOO. Sometimes it's a matter of: CIO and sleep tomorrow, or rock for 10 minutes and sleep tonight. We tend to pick sleep that happens sooner.

I KNOW I KNOW. CONSISTENCY! GAH!

Anyway. I feel like I have a ways to go before I reach Complete And Utter Desperation, which is what I think I'll have to reach before I allow more than 15 minutes of CIO in my house. At Thanksgiving a very nice woman was telling me that her pediatrician told her that in the middle of the night she needed to feed and change and pat the baby, but then put her in her crib. And walk away. "And she cried for three hours that first night!" the woman said excitedly. "But the next night she only cried for one hour! And then next night? SHE SLEPT THROUGH!"

I don't doubt it. At all. But I seriously doubt my ability to get through one hour of howling let alone three.

So off I go, forwards and onwards to Complete And Utter Desperation!

Comments

Jen

Just think of how much revenge you can get when he is a teenager and wants to sleep late on the weekends.

Elaine

I sometimes just wanted to punch the cryi it out people square in the nose, you know? My girls would scream, SCREAM! for hours. It never got better, just worse. I couldn't do it. Have you tried the Benadryl approach? I am usually not one for administering unneccesary meds, but everyone needs sleep, right? I actually told our pedicatrician that she just better give me the correct dosage or I'd go ahead and guess, because we needed sleep. She said, "Oh, we tell parents to do this all the time. Just promise me you won't do it more than three days in a row." I would have promised her my left arm. It wound up not working for the daughter in question, but it has helped Tank Boy a few times in the past.

Lindsay

Thank you for the birthday wishes and the words of support.

And I think that you're doing a fantastic job as a mother.

Tara

I could have written most of that post! I, too, have been thinking the same thing. While my kid is very cute and all that, she is NOT a good sleeper. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I need to own up to that fact.

I am not dead set against CIO, though I think it does work better for some kids than others. Shea is the type that would be hysterical all night, and I don't think that would be good for any of us. Plus, it always seems like there's some "reason" for it- teeth, developmental spurts, blah blah.

I hate the "let me tell you the secret trick" comments,too. AAHHH! Sounds like you guys are doing the right thing for your kiddo, though. I keep telling myself, "someday she'll sleep through the night," though I'm not sure if I really believe it.

You are not alone!

Wow, this is a long comment.

annie

I don't think you're making it up. He DOES "just need his mommy." Even if it's just to help him get back down to a prone position. You're doing great - keep loving Jackson the best way you know how, and all will be well. :-)

Sara

Oh, I HATE those people. I read one once who said that if your baby cried so much that they throw up, you just go in, clean 'em up, and put 'em down to scream some more. No freaking way. I love sleep, crave sleep, and had various sleep issues with both my girls. Still, that kind of crying it out would've been impossible for me to do-I figure anything that feels that wrong to me down to the bone just wasn't the way for me to go.

On the bright side, this to shall pass. I sometimes think this is the only solution-stuff I did might have worked because I picked the right thing for my baby, but really, I think it was more likely that we just had naturally passed through the stage and on to the next one.

It's kind of like labor. I remember it really hurting, but I don't really remember how hard it was in any visceral way.

lauren

I'm kinda of the opinion that kids are just different, and while cio may work for some babies, it just doesn't work for others. Our first son - cio worked great - the kid never cried more than 20 minutes before passing out (20 minutes is my limit for cio with babies...with toddlers, the time limit is much much higher). For my second son, whenever he gets upset, he poops. So cio only ends with a kid who didn't fall asleep, terrible diaper rashes, and guilty parents. The kid still pulls the pooping thing now at 18 months. But he has consistently slept through the night since he was 7 months old, and has been falling asleep by himself since about 13 months old, without us really doing anything hard core. I think Jack will figure it out - its just a matter of you surviving until then. And some above poster was right - I vaguely remember my husband and I going crazy when younger son was 6 months old and waking every night, but the pain of being sleep deprived fades with time, like the pain of childbirth.

Tessie

I was totally willing to try CIO too, but it just DID.NOT.WORK. She would just escalate and escalate until she either puked or passed out. Um, no.

It's not your fault. Your kid is how he is. I know I got tired of fighting The Man (or Woman in my case). I just met her where she was at, and it resolved itself.

Also, I feel your pain and this sucks wildly.

Lisa

So sorry about the sleep thing. Just catching up on my blogs and reading backwards through the entries. Although this doesn't help you at all, it is so helpful for me to read your entries because it makes me realize that babies are just like this and it's not me. Thought it's hard to convince yourself of this at 3 a.m.

Casey

Just because CIO is effective doesn't necessarily mean it's a good choice for you or your family. Trust yourself, and don't do something just because LOTS of people tell you to do it.

The comments to this entry are closed.