Monday, December 15, 2008

Who needs sleep?

My child is sleeping through the night – technically. The person who deemed “sleeping through the night” was midnight to 5 a.m. should be forced to endure that while working full time for months on end.
Peanut has become what Hillary calls a professional sleep fighter. I thought we would eventually get used to it, but somehow 5 hours of sleep never seem enough.
Some nights, she goes to bed at 8 p.m. no problem after bath and snuggle time. I’m then up until 10 or 11, getting ready for the next day or having some me time or spending time with the husband. And then I’m up three and four times to give her the paci and swaddle her before my alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m.
Yes, she still needs to be swaddled at five months. Her arms and legs move about as if independent of her body (thank you, Chandler Bing). I zombie-stumble to her room, sshhh her while I wrap her back up, stick the paci back in and zombie-stumble back to bed.
Most of the time, her eyes close and her head lulls to the side as she snuggles back down into the straight-jacket I create from the only blanket that can contain her.
She then wakes up promptly at 5 a.m., just as I’m getting out of the shower, ready for me to nurse her. These are what I call the good nights – sleeping in one hour to two hour clips.
The bad nights happen in one of two forms. The first is when she refuses to go to sleep until 11 p.m. or midnight. This usually happens when we have been traveling or if we let her nap past 6 p.m. We still start the process around 8 p.m., struggling with a child who looks at us with wide eyes, innocently saying “You’ve got to be kidding me. Does it really look like I’m going to sleep?” and then progressing to the arching back, mouth open wide in screams like we are torturing her because we are trying to get her to sleep.
The other form is what happened to me last night. She woke up at 2 a.m. and started babbling. I love to hear her babbles even in the middle of the night. But the babbles still kept me up and quickly turned into grunts that meant my little Houdini was about to escape from her straight jacket (blanket) and I would need to wrap her back up. After a few minutes, the grunts turned into whimpering. When I went in, she gasped and gave me her biggest wide-open mouth, gummy grin. My heart melted but I wanted to cry knowing that she was not going back to sleep anytime soon. I tried to wrap her up a few times to no avail. She entered the arching-back, screaming phase of the night so I took her downstairs to avoid waking my husband. (I should insert here that it is my own fault my husband doesn’t get up with Peanut. He could sleep through a tornado but if I wake him, he would take care of her without complaint. The problem is I’m already awake so I might as well do it myself.)
I kept the lights off and turned the television on low volume and decided to try to nurse her. This process took twice as long as it should while she played with my hand, pinched me, pulled away to look around and to smile at me. So about 40 minutes later, she was done, we snuggled down again and she was safely back asleep.
This whole process took a little less than 2 hours and I headed back to bed for another hour.
Five (broken) hours of sleep later, I was up, nursing Peanut again and getting ready to be at work at 6:30 a.m. I drank my coffee on the way to work hoping it would take the edge off. It didn't.
So that’s how my nights go. Anyone else experience this? Any tips besides picking up a drug habit?


Hillary said...

Whatever works. That's what we all do.
But here are some of the things that worked for us: belly-sleeping (I know, I know, SIDS, but seriously, The Boy did not do well on his back), moving bedtime earlier (counter-intuitive, but successful), and the dreaded, debated crying it out. The Boy just needed a night or two to figure out we weren't going to soothe him the second he fussed. But, I know not everyone agrees with this method, maybe I'm scarring him for life, and, truthfully, I'm not sure everyone could do it. It was HARD to listen to him cry.

Michelle said...

Peanut isn't a fan of sleeping on her belly unless she is sleeping on one of us - that's a whole other issue I will get to. As for crying it out, I'm waiting until she is six months old. I say that now because I am a sucker and can't stand to listen to her cry so I am putting it off.