Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The No-Sleep Cry Solution

Do you think that when you have a second child, the universe gives you the baby you didn't have the first time around?

The Boy was a champion sleeper. He was too good of a sleeper, actually. He had jaundice, and our feeding issues meant that he didn't get enough milk to come out of it quickly or easily. We had to wake him up to eat on a schedule for months. He would have slept through the night from day one, but that wouldn't have been a good thing. BUT, on the plus side, the moment that he had gained enough weight that we could let him sleep as long as he wanted, he pretty much slept through the night from that point on. At four months. Similarly, at about five months, I decided that I didn't really want to hold him for naps anymore because he was getting so heavy, so I put him down in his crib one day, walked away, and he slept. By himself.

The Little Guy, as I've mentioned before, will only sleep at night if tightly swaddled. He wakes up at least once to eat, and once around 5am just to be awake. At 5am, I can get him back to sleep if I bring him into our bed. (Of course, I don't sleep anymore after that. Don't squish the baby! Don't smother the baby!!)

As for naps, he used to have sleep periodically throughout the day if you were willing to hold him the entire time. Have I mentioned that he is over 18 pounds? Now he has added the necessity for absolute silence. Have you ever tried for absolute silence with a 3-year old around? No?? Try it. The Boy has only two volume options: whisper or scream. And it's a stage whisper at that. Peppered by loud guffaws and chortles of delight. It's actually lovely to behold, but not so lovely when you're trying to get a baby to sleep.

It's all very well to cowtow to the Little Guy's wishes when it's just me and him, but as of May 1st, the Boy will only be attending daycare part time. Our weekends right now consist of phrases like:

"I can't right now, the Little Guy is sleeping."
"We can play when the Little Guy wakes up."
"You need to be a little quieter, Boy, just while the Little Guy is falling asleep."
"Sorry, Boy, not right now."

I feel terrible when I see his disappointment. I was hoping the sleep thing would resolve itself, but it hasn't. So, April is sleep-training month. So far, I have been able to get the Little Guy to sleep for about a half hour on his own. But he has to be lightly swaddled (I refuse to do the full swaddle - saving that for nighttime use only), soothered, and held down until he stops jerking long enough to fall asleep. It takes about a half hour of work to get him to sleep for half an hour. Every once in a while I will get a longer sleep out of him, and I feel like the heavens have opened up and rained sunshine down on my ever-lovin' head. It's going to be a looong month.

Mac and Cheese asked me, at a certain bloggy gathering Saturday night, when I had time to shower. My glib answer was "I don't." The truth is, I do shower thankyouverymuch, but usually only with the accompaniment of much crying, or not sleeping. I try to shower every other day now, because it's a lot of stress, and I believe sanity - not cleanliness - is next to godliness.

So if you see me coming, please please please put on a pot of coffee before you even say hello. And if it's Monday, Wednesday or Friday, I probably wouldn't stand too close.


womaninawindow said...

I love love love that you can admit that about showering. I know too many moms that must be lying about their "daily" regiments. I picked up bi-daily when my kids were little and now that they are so grown up (Only 6+7) I still hold to every second because it is such a time saver. TMI? Oh, hell. And here's a suggestion that has saved our asses/sanity big time. We all sleep with a fan on. Yep. My biggest tut-tut with energy usage, but none of us can sleep without one now. It just drowns out all the extraneous noise and is so soothing! Be careful, though, it's addictive! And I'm sorry I haven't been here as often as I wanted to be...I saved your page under fav's and when it would come up it would be an old post and I kept thinking, when's she gonna write again? Stupid me! gotta figure out the blogroll thing soon.

Mimi said...

Ha! You know what? Sometimes I still skip showering for the sake of family peace, and my daugher is 22 months old. I was totally on your sched when she was 5 months old. And that's when we did the sleep training, too, btw. And it worked. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Um Samantha's 2 1/2 and finding a good time to shower sometimes is still an issue.

So if I have a second child now I'm hoping that she/he will be the opposite and be an amazing eater and sleeper.


painted maypole said...

oh. MQ was a terrible sleeper during the day (but a champ at night) so i hear your napping pain. but at least I didn't have a toddler at the same time!

daysgoby said...

Yes! A fan!

I agree that you get the mirror reverse of the baby you had first - Cass slept through the night like a champ. Tot he point where other moms would talk about their kids not sleeping and I'd (oh, the shortsightedness!) assume they were exaggerating...

Then I had Rosey. Who NEVER wanted to sleep, thanks, NOT EVER.

My paediatrician said I should always make sure I put the baby (the first one) to sleep in the room that was closest to the road, so he'd learn to sleep through the noises.
I forgot with the second.

Good luck! This part is so wonderful and SO HARD.

cinnamon gurl said...

Good luck with the sleep training! Swee'pea is still a high maintenance sleeper, so I feel your pain.

Cloud mentioned an adage the other day that I'd never heard before but which kind of rocked my world with it's truth: You can either have a good eater or a good sleeper but you can't have both. I think that's been true with just about every mother and babe I know.

Anonymous said...

Awesome post title.

I'm the baaaaad mother who decided if the baby didn't want to sleep (and he didn't, at least not during the day) then so be it. Because obviously this stubborn six-week old baby had NOT read the same books as I which all said he NEEDED a nap. WTF?

I gave up even trying to schedule a nap time and we had a very noisy schedule free house. Actually, we still have it.

motherbumper said...

Well I had a non-sleeper who is still a handful to get down 25% of the time (and omg, she is 30 mths old). She's just like her dad - I love sleep.

We did cry it out just to get to where we are and it didn't take as long, or hurt as much as I thought. But she still "regresses" once and while. Like right now. Shoot me.

Oh and bathing? So overrated. That's what I keep telling myself.

Her Bad Mother said...

I fear this. I fear this much. But as I rarely get to shower much, I shouldn't smell as bad as I already do.

Small mercies.

Beck said...

Ah, showering. I just gave UP on the idea of ever showering during daylight hours again, and started showering right before bed while my husband held whatever baby was ruining our peace at the moment.

Mac and Cheese said...

I KNEW IT!!!!!! I'll never have good hair again!

Hairline Fracture said...

I gave up on showering during the day too. Now, I can sometimes do it...but my youngest is 2.

I have always thought you get the opposite type of sleeper the 2nd time around. My oldest was the harder one to get to sleep, but sleep training did work with her in the long run. Good luck--I feel your pain!

Ali said...

so that was YOU i was smelling??!?!


just kidding. why oh why was there not enough time for me to talk to you??

crazymumma said...

sleep. don't even talk to me about it.

not a solid night for 10 years. I kid you not.

But I promise. This will not happen to you.

carrie said...

Oy, if that's true, than what I've been saying about if my 3rd was born first she would have been an only child, is true!

It DOES get easier though. And the showers DO get more frequent!

kittenpie said...

Pumpkinpie was a pretty crap sleeper for a long time. Daytime naps were 20-30 minutes, and when I went back to work, there were still 2 night wakings, around 12:30 and 2:30. by about 14 months we were down to one, and another month or two saw that one go, at last. We used to take her to bed with us after night wakings, and I'd just sleep with her tucked into my arm to keep Misterpie from rolling on her, but I think this time, I might get a cosleeper or one of these things so I can sleep a little better.

And I've always showered every other day so I don't get all dry and scaly and straw-headed, so I see nothing wrong with that!

Kyla said...

Sometimes sleep training doesn't work. KayTar is up until 10:30 at the EARLIEST every night and sometimes as late as midnight. Ugh. And she's THREE now.

Good luck!

Don Mills Diva said...

I had a great time chatting with you Saturday and I don't think you were the least bit stinky...

kgirl said...

dude, cry me a river. dove eats every two hours, three tops, round the clock. ROUND THE CLOCK.

which is exactly why i go upstairs at 6:30 every evening (7:30 if i go to the gym first) and shower while chris enjoys some bonding time with his brood.

every day. sometimes just to close my eyes and enjoy nobody touching me for a few minutes.

bren j. said...

Oi. Babies and sleep. I just finished reading this, in segments, as the LG is waking up EARLY from her nap and I haven't had a shower yet either (today's shower day for me...).

I hope things continue to improve over this month...