Tag Archives: sleep

February Sleep Regression, we meet again.

I don’t know if this is some kind of annual conference that I’m just not aware of or maybe the winter gets to be too much to bear and bad sleep ensues, but this is the 3rd time around with us, February sleep hijinks.

February 2011 kicked off the 6-7 month spree of my darling baby waking up and needing to nurse, be held, etc. by me and only me, for hours, several times a night.

February 2012 featured the “How many times is it possible to wake up in a single night and yet still fall back asleep between each time” game with the expansion “If you make a sound while leaving the room, go back to start” set.

And here you are, February 2013, with the Endless Bedtime Reel, sometimes with a Night of Nostalgic Wake-ups thrown in for fun.

It doesn’t have to be this way, we could just enjoy each other, even if it is well below freezing out and winter will drag on for many weeks. Have a chocolate heart, February, or a glass of wine and stop being so impossible. I think we could be really good friends if you cut the crap. I am a big fan of Valentine’s Day, honestly. It’s like my favorite.

So let’s clear this up before March shows up. I never liked that bitch.

Breaking Sleep Update: June 2012 Edition

Record the time and date, people, because my daughter did the most amazing thing two nights ago at 9:42 pm.

I had nursed her to sleep as usual, slipped oh-so-carefully away from her in the bed we’re sharing, crept to the door, exited the room, and just before I had closed the door most of the way, she woke, sat up, and just sat there for about 30 seconds. Then, she flopped back down and went to sleep.

Just like that.

I was so excited. I don’t know if she knew I was just outside the door, but she could not see me. I have watched her fall asleep while I patted her back in her crib, but never seen her fall asleep on her own without me being there. It was like magic. I could get used to this. Is this how children who go to bed normally are? Am I so far out in the sleep battleground that I can’t even see what the surroundings looks like?

She did not repeat the feat tonight, so I’m free to write about it here. I have this odd superstition about exclaiming her sleeping accomplishments too much for fear that they will never be repeated. When she slept through the night for the first time since that fluke at 5 months sometime back in March, I don’t think my husband and I even said the words out loud. The conversation went something like this:
“When did she wake up last night?”
“I didn’t get her at any point before I went to bed.”
“Oh. So she…”
“Omg I think so..”
“We should probably not even talk about it.”

And I didn’t even tell my friends for a couple months that it had even been happening once in awhile. Now, it’s not something I can count on at all, but I’m getting familiar with the concept. I’m getting used to the predictability of putting her to bed and GASP! not having to go do it a second time 40 minutes later.

We’ve come a long way since February when I was sure that all was lost and she was waking up 24 times a night. She’s still got a lot of sleep milestones ahead that most kids her age have passed long ago. She’s very much marching to the beat of her own durge-playing drummer on the sleeping (and talking) front.

But at least she’s marching in the right direction.

The New Nightly Normal

My toddler has been sleeping a bit better at night than she was a few weeks ago. But that comparison is a bit useless since a few weeks ago what she was doing at night cannot be accurately described as “sleeping.” It pretty much couldn’t get worse, so improvement was just about the only way to go.

There were a few nights of substantial improvement, about which I tried not to get carried away with visions of such unattainable feats like “sleeping through the night” and “puts herself to bed.” There were a few nights of backsliding into some of the familiar misery.

After a few weeks of horrible night after horrible night, I finally sent my husband in to do the middle-of-the-night routine, figuring it couldn’t get any worse. My daughter normally flips out if her dad goes in to get her at night instead of me. The first time I sent him in, she didn’t cry as much as I expected, partly, because I think she was just so exhausted. Then she slept for a couple hours. I was shocked. A couple hours at that point was like a miracle. So, I let him take over the middle-of-the-night wakeups. And she started sleeping longer. I still don’t quite understand it.

His theory is that she just wants me in there so much that given the choice of being in bed or being held/patted by me, she will demand the latter. However, when he’s in there, she is more content just to go back to bed. There have been a few nights where she’s obviously in some discomfort and having a hard to getting back to sleep or in a good position that she makes him stay in there quite a bit longer, but otherwise, none of this approaches what was going on a few weeks ago.

There are two small drawbacks to this that my daughter likes to call:
1. Bedtime: “Since this is the last time I’ll see you tonight, mom, I’m going to make it count by trying to consolidate all the infuriating writhing and scratching and pushing into this time that I can. Oh, also I’m gonna take my time.”
2. Morning: “Since I slept a whole REM cycle, I’m going to wake up at 6am because surely you all miss me. Where’s the cat?”

As all you parents surely know, when the morning wake-up time gets shoved back, the nap times get shoved back and then you have a kid who’s hitting dinner time like a brick through a window and is overtired for bed making it harder for them to get a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes it feels like progress is riding in a really loud horse. A horse that leave messes and eats the furniture and kicks holes in the walls. You can barely greet your long-awaited guest because you are too busy trying to contain the damage.

Silent Night, whatever…

Last year, it occurred to me that anyone with a newborn knows that you’re not going to have a “silent night” for quite some time. I wish someone had maybe told me that the middle of the night freak-outs would extend this long. I may have considered outsourcing my kid to someone else until she could put herself to bed and stay there.

I think there was something like an hour or crying around 2am. Ridiculous.

She was so tired that I if I even just laid her down and put my hand on her back, she’d fall back asleep. But the moment I moved my hand away, she’d pop back up and scream. I even tried fooling her by placing a book of some heft (in the dark, I grabbed what turned out to be “Harry Potter: Goblet of Fire”) on her back. This pretty much only worked just long enough for me to lay down and close my eyes.

All of this is extra disappointing because USUALLY my daughter sleeps so much better at her Grandma’s house. I was even using this as an incentive, for myself, to get through her past week of bad sleeping at home. I guess it was not to be.

The cookies have been going well. I guess that’s something. My sister and I have really dominated the cookie production. We have gingerbread men (women and babies too), Rosenmunnar (Swedish jelly cookies), sugar cookies, and peanut butter-hershey kiss cookies. We have to make more chocolate chip because we ate them already. My sister wants to point out that “I like to make messes and she has to go around cleaning them up. End of Blog.”

Ode to Sleep

you read my mind, pillows...

So my sister is using this post to help drag herself out of bed tomorrow, so it has to be worthy of that, she says.

I’m not sure I could write anything that is worth getting out of bed for, since sleeping in is just about the best thing ever. I know she and I both choose sleeping in over most foods, most kinds of entertainment, and even each other standing over us going “will you please for the love-of-fruitcake get up now so we can go?!!!”

These days, I get up because I have an awake baby peering over me or my husband tells me he absolutely has to go. Only the former might actually throw something at my head but the latter holds longer resentments. But I really loathe having to get up. I stay up really late because I’m a compulsive online-all-nighter who gets all her news-reading, fashion-browsing, facebook-chatting, list-making, and erm blog-writing done in the wee hours while the little child who thinks laptops are for slamming shut and waving “bye bye” is sleeping. I also have a hard time falling asleep because I have a brain that likes to conjure up the absolute worst things in life as a mental slide-show the moment I lay down. If it’s not the worst things, it’s all the things I have left undone, like the night before you leave on a big trip but with more trivial details.

When morning rolls around a mere few hours later, I have absolutely no desire to get up. I am usually having a really nice or at least very interesting dream. Sometimes I even dream about sleeping! Usually in very nice hotels or very fantastical beds, but still, how meta is that? Even my bad dreams, I like to resolve before I wake up or else there’s this nagging feeling in my mind all day. If I’m not dreaming, it’s because I am in such a deep sleep that sperm whales could not survive the pressure to get down to my level of consciousness.

After a few attempts to get through to the real me, not the bear-in-hibernation-non-verbal me, either my husband, toddler, or the clock win and I drag myself out of bed. Occasionally, there is food/beverage to make the dragging slightly less agonizing. Usually, there is not. Hmph.

I used to be such a devotee of sleep, and I still am, but like so many things our relationship has become complicated. I have very little time all to myself, so I sacrifice sleep to be able to do things of my own. I have a toddler that likes to wake up at all hours of the night and who ultimately ends up next to me in bed. While asleep, that toddler likes to push me to the edge of the bed, sleep on top of the covers, and nurse constantly. This has the effect of making sleep very unsatisfying. I get down into a nice wave-less, dark depth of sleep and then ripped back to the surface over and over. So I basically have the sleep-bends. And lastly, even if I do get to sleep in and my obliging husband has managed to contain the fury of my mommy-deprived child, I kind of feel guilty and have not experienced this sleep-guilt before in this way. Sure, I have felt a little bad about sleeping in when I had stuff to do, but this is worse. I feel like I’m missing out on her childhood or something. I hear her whine in the other room and try to convince my body to get moving.

Someday this will get better, I hope. I will be able to do more of my own stuff during the day, sleep longer and with less interruptions at night, and have more of my bed to myself. And then, my sister and I can compete over who can sleep in better. Like a sleep duel. Pillows at afternoon, girl, pillows at afternoon…

The epic sleep post

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.