Tag Archives: sleep habits

The Evolution of Sleep Pt 2

I wanted to wait a while before I put this out there.  I’m not typically a superstitious person, but when it comes to my sleep – I’m not taking any chances.

Several months ago I wrote about the history of Sadie’s sleep.  Since moving her into her crib in her own room life changed dramatically for me.  It was a huge tremendous monumental step in recovering my sanity and some personal space.  Things went relatively smoothly with the transition but it still took quite some time to graduate into fully developed sleep patterns for her.

Sadie had this fun little quirky thing she loved doing.  After putting her in her crib at night and lying on the floor like a ninja not making even a single breath until she falls asleep—because god help you if you actually walk out of the room while she’s awake.  It’s as if you had lit all the binkies in the world on fire in one huge campfire and made her sit and watch.  Pure devastation.  So once she would fall asleep (a good 45 minutes of lying on floor not breathing) she would sleep soundly and peacefully.  Until about 1am.  Oh lordy, that 1am wakeup call every….single….night.

It’s not as if it were just a quick cry and a warmed bottle that would put that cute little stinker back down.  Nope, crib time was over for Miss Sadie.  1am was her internal timer for PICK ME UP AND PUT ME IN THE BIG BED NOW!!!

So into our bed she goes and where she stays for the next 2 hours wide awake.  She jumps, talks, pinches me, tickles me, climbs on my back and says, “ride mommy!”  For two hours every night.  I attempt to sleep through it and just wait for her to exhaust herself.  Devin actually does sleep through it.  How he does it?? I have no clue.

Eventually around 3am she’ll fall asleep with her head on my neck (totally comfortable and super easy to breathe that way, btw) and her feet digging into Devin’s ribcage.  And there she will sleep until the sun comes up at around 5:45am.  And then like it or not we’re up watching Sesame Street.

However, there has been a shift to the paradigm.  Is it my patience of a saint that finally paid off?  Or is it simply just that my girl is rounding two years old?  I’d like to think it’s me, but most likely it’s just her.  The thing is though that for 3 weeks now—every night consistently, she goes to bed on her own and sleeps the entire night through.

IT FEELS CRAZY SAYING THAT OUT LOUD!!! Omg.  It’s true! It’s so unreal!  But yes, around 9pm after dinner, bath, pj’s and story time – she asks to lie down.  It goes something like this, “Mommy I tiwwwud, I seep now.”  So I put her in her crib and Devin gets her a bottle.  We both lean over her crib and say good night…we love you and she says back “Bye mama, bye Dada.”  And we close the door to her room and within 20 mins she’s asleep.  And I don’t see that little toot machine until around 7am.  And you know what, I kind of miss her during the night :( but not enough to go back to the old days, that’s for sure!

I really just have to say that it feels so good getting here.  It was so much hard work.  But I am seeing the light.  And I am rested; I actually have enough energy that I’ve started wearing lipstick again!  Imagine that!

I almost feel inclined to start a movement.  You know like the “It Gets Better” campaign for gay youth.  I feel like doing one called “You Will Sleep Again” for new mothers.  Not sleeping for 2 years is a desperate feeling people!  It’s all fun and games until someone has a baby.  Then wait two years, and it’s fun again.  There it is, that’s my motto for my new campaign.  What do you think, wanna join the movement?  What’s your story of survival?

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The evolution of sleep

One of the biggest things I’ve learned since becoming a parent is that you should never judge a parent before you yourself has children and have gone through the same issue.  I think back about how silly I was, so innocently naive it was for me as a woman in my early twenties never having had a child of my own, barely ever really having held a baby before – silently judging parents around me.  I’d see a mom walking her toddler on one of those backpack-harnesses and shudder and think how terrible she was.  I mean, I wouldn’t personally use one, but I definitely see the practicality in one now!

I had friends who co-slept with their babies and young children, and I would think – how horrific, don’t they know how dangerous that is!?

Then one day, on October 19th, 2010 to be exact… I became a mom.  And all of those preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong and the ideal of these rigid rules about how it should be done just flew out the window.  And I became a co-sleeper.  From day one.

I brought this tiny little 5lb baby home with me and couldn’t for the life of me separate her from my arms.  I needed to feel her breathe and hear her movements.  I was sucked in by that child and it has been a long road of some crazy sleep habits since then.

I’ll spare you the agonizing details but for the first 10 months of life, Sadie had never once slept alone.  Not for naps and not at night.  I spent many hours lying staring at the ceiling – and we’ll just leave it at that.  By 1 year, Sadie had never slept in a crib.  But something just naturally changed at a year.  One day out of the blue, she fell asleep in her playpen.  This never happened.  It was our very own personal miracle that had taken place.  We took her cues, and went with it.  We started attempting to put her down for naps and bedtime in her playpen.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.  We decided maybe it would work best if we moved her real big unused crib into the bedroom and tried that instead.  The crib is more comfy and not as squeeky and creaky as the playpen gets with the slightest of movement.

The crib was working almost always!  She’s still wake up a time or two in the night, and eventually around 3am would want into bed with us.  And I would oblige, because it was a quarter past I’m too tired to care 0’clock.  But the point is that we had some of our own space finally.  Granted, there was about 10 inches between my side of the bed and where Sadie was sleeping in her crib – so not that much of our own space.  But even this was a huge improvement.

And with a baby, it’s never exact science.  Some nights are real bad, some nights are better.  Some couples have wonder babies that sleep through the night in there cribs in their own rooms starting at 4 months old.  That’s awesome for them, and I hope they know how lucky they are.  Maybe we could have been closer to that kind of a life, but I have decided to refuse the “cry it out” method.  So many people do it, and it seems to work well for all of them.  But, for me personally, I can’t take it.  I’m not strong enough to hear her cries and not comfort her.  On our worst nights (usually when teething is involved) Sadie will scream and cry and punch and kick and nothing helps – for hours on end.  There are even some of those sporadic nights when all she wants to do is party.  She’s up at 2am jumping on the bed and having a full on conversation with us while we sleep.  This happened a few days ago.  Devin woke up in the morning to find me like this… I was willing to try anything to get her back to sleep.

We are now a year and half into sleeping with a baby in our room.  It took me a long time to get here, and I know Devin has been here for a long time now (thanks for being so patient with me Devin).  But I am so ready to have our room back.  I want privacy.  I want to be able to walk into my bedroom at night without tip toeing like a mouse trying to navigate myself into bed without disturbing a sleeping baby.  I want to fall asleep with the light on while reading a book, I want to take a shower in our bedroom bathroom, I wanna have a little bow chikka bow wow with my man in our bedroom anytime I feel like it!!!  Dammit I’m ready!!

So, yesterday, we did it.  We disassembled her crib and reassembled it in the nursery.  I thought it would be really hard for her to deal with this big change.  I reserved the night for being a terrible night of sleep, but to our surprise.  She took her nap in there right after we finished putting the bedding back in.  And she slept in there like a pro at night too.  Until 4:45am when she wanted into our bed with us – and you know, that’s cool.  Baby steps.

And now, right at this moment, she is asleep in her crib, in her room and I am awake lying in my bed in my room alone – blogging.  Oooh, and it feels so good.

I guess the moral of the story is A) everybody has the reasons for doing what they do.  Don’t knock it til you’ve been there yourself.  And B) next time around I think we’ll try to not co-sleep.  I loved it, but it’s a lot of work breaking it.  We’ll see if I can actually go through with it next time.

 

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