My child does not sleep.
I should have known that I would be in for a long, epic battle with sleep since I am a terrible sleeper myself. My husband was also a bad sleeper as an infant. However, I had hoped to coax my baby into a love of sleeping, deeply, and in age-appropriate amounts (every few hours as a newborn, and 15 hours a night when she’s a teenager).
Alas, it was not to be. From birth, she preferred to be held as she slept. Putting her down both shortened her naps and made her upset when she woke, provided you could even successfully set her down without waking her. Over the months, I developed the “amazing cakes” maneuver of setting her in her bed. Moving her from my lap or shoulder to her bed was filled with the same dread, tension, and controlled movements that the creates of ridiculously elaborate wedding cake creations use to move their competition cakes from their work stations to the presentation table. Except with my little babycake, there was no repair fondant laying around.
Great progress has been made, however. She no longer is as difficult to set down, no longer requires an hour or more of attention at 4am, and no longer demands 100% co-sleeping, among other improvements. I have patiently waited for her developmental milestone of sleeping through the night, a feat that has only happened once when she was around 5 months old and I woke up in the morning and thought she was probably dead and had a small heart attack.
Her 7 month sleep regression featured such glorious characteristics as waking up 18-24 times a night and waking up at totally inconsistent times in the morning. That period, which stretched from her 6th month well into her 8th, was just unfair to me, to the cat, and to Sleep as a Platonic ideal.
Now that she is 1 year old, she wakes up somewhere between 4-7 times a night. I consider a 4-wakings night a really good showing. When other moms tell me that their kids are driving them crazy because they wake up every night and I realize they mean that they wake up ONCE a night, I pretty much want to fill their house with bees.
She is really sensitive to sounds and light when she sleeps. I have to leave the room like a ninja. I have learned where exactly to step so that the floor doesn’t make a sound, how to prevent my shadow from crossing her face, where and when to drape her blanket. It’s a delicate task, easily disrupted by the cat skittering down the hall, my husband sneezing in the other room, or a car screeching outside. I go to great lengths to protect her sleep because I am want her to be healthy and the quality of her sleep directly effects my own.
Naps are also frustrating because each one can vary so much in quality, duration, how many times I need to put her back to sleep, and location. Sometimes she needs to have me by her side in my bed, sometimes she’s fine with being in her crib. Sometimes she needs me to walk in circles with her strapped to me in her carrier in 30ºC weather for an hour.
Anyway, last night did not go well, with her first five wakings all taking place BEFORE 1am. Hopefully tonight will be better. Hopefully, someday she will sleep through the night. Hopefully I won’t be dead from exhaustion by then or in prison because I filled someone’s house with bees.