I miss sleep so much.
Yeah, yeah, I know: cry me a river. Every parent who has a blog has written this post and ranted this rant. But it's my turn now and let me be. I've hinted around in my past posts that Bumper is not the greatest sleeper but I've never dedicated many words to describe her actual lack of sleeping skills. Since I've actually decided to do something more then whine and bitch about it and I'm actually going to tackle it head on with actual... ummmm what's the word I'm looking for... tactics, I thought a sleep related post was in order. So on with the post.
As I had originally expected before I left on my recent trip North, I was going to have a lot of time to contemplate the mysteries of life at my in-laws. When we stay at their place, I spend my nursing time up in the guest room (formerly known as the room my husband grew up in but now has been all dolled up as a guest room complete with queen size bed... yummy says the girl who sleeps in a double). A lot of chickens died in that room but I'm not sure if that story fits in this post or not. We'll see. But I must get back on track, back on track.
Okay, so I nursed in the guest room, as not to make my FIL blush like a schoolgirl and stammer like a thing that stammers (too
Here I was, staring out the window, over the 95 acres of farmland my husband called home. No internet. No telly. No company. Yup. A lot of time to think. And read (time permitting and only when Bumper would drift off). So I delved into a book I read about over at Mom-101 praying that maybe, just maybe it would work for me or maybe help me solve my ongoing sleep issue. I've read the first three chapters and I'm thinking we can apply some of the solutions with some hard work on both our parts (hello... yes husband, that's a direct message to you) but something that has me fascinated is that the things I thought I had done "wrong"*** in the past regarding her sleeping, seemed to be confirmed by this book.
I'm not sure if that's good or bad.
Calling these things I've done "wrong" sounds too harsh but the word lazy sounds... well it sounds... bad and it's not like we didn't want to do all the best for her but I think after reading some of this stuff, I can confirm key things that I did "wrong" and that these habits are going to be hard to correct.
Sheeshhh... wrong sounds so negative but bear with me.
The first bad habit developed because we never put her down. I mean NEVER. Because every time we tried, she would cry. And we were both wimps and hated to hear her cry and we would immediately pick her up.
Now, that's all fine and dandy in the first weeks (I mean look at her! She is four days old in this picture and who could put that cuteness down? I mean look at her! Ackkk.....splooch... oh sorry, that was my heart exploding AGAIN), but we never stopped. And then one day I couldn't get to her while she was crying and she actually stopped on her own. Only then did I began to trust my instincts when deciphering her cries. But that only kicked in recently and now she is very resistent to being put down in her crib (translate: it never happens). She wants to be picked up and she will not fall to sleep in her crib. She MUST fall asleep in (usually) my arms and then gingerly be placed in the crib to slumber for a few hours. And this is where the second bad habit has formed: the mid-sleep wake up that has morphed into co-sleeping (ouch says double-bed girl). Okay.... it's not the worst thing. It's safe but I've got to say, for a wee lass, she sure does take up a lot of room.
I'm a firm believer that she is capable of making it through the night without waking for at least 8 or more hours. This is because she actually did do it for a period of time. From 11 weeks until 16 weeks she mostly slept 6 to 7 hours straight each night. Then it started to slip. It started to fall away in half-hour chunks of sleep - disappearing each night for no apparent reason. At first we blamed teething and growth spurts but it's now been reduced to three, maybe four hours max, before it turns into a co-sleep or an all night struggle.
Gah.... I'm blathering.
Long of the short: I have started to employ some tactics that I hope will aid in helping Bumper develop some good sleep habits.
First goal: Foster good napping habits. For a while I could set a clock to her naps: 9am and 1pm, usually 1.5 - 2 hours each. They became so routine that for a while, I took them for granted. But I'll admit, after a while, I wasn't always doing my best to help her go to sleep and sometimes I planned outings that interferred with naps too many days in a row. I know I can't stop being part of society because of naps but I have to respect her need for consistent, peaceful sleep. So I've made a little pledge and I'm quickly getting her back on track. I'm already seeing improvements in this arena.
Second goal: Not napping on my lap. I've been a total enabler in this department because the few times I dare to move her proved unsuccessful and nap time was completely ruined. But I have to admit she is getting too big, even with her nursing pillow and she needs more comfortable sleep. I have no idea how I'm going to do this. Extinction method? Ouch. But I'm at the end of my rope people. She dangles off the pillow in both directions and she doesn't look comfortable, not one bit.
So bottom line, Bumper has horrific sleep habits because I didn't establish good habits for her. It's all my fault. Ack! Did I just type that? OMG! It's already started! The blaming mom has STARTED! I thought I had a few years to go before this began. I used to have a therapist that blamed everything, I MEAN EVERYTHING, on my Mom. It got so much, that I actually told her to chill. I had to take responsibility for some of the fuck-ups and poor decisions. Yeah, I found a new therapist after a while.
Regarding co-sleeping, I don't totally mind it but I'm not getting great sleep. She takes up a lot of room and when she's teething (most days) she snores like a fat man with a drinking problem.
So I hope by (somehow) achieving these two goals, I might see positive results with her sleep longevity (please, pah-leeeese, let there be results).
I don't want to be opening up any debates of Weissbluth vs Sears vs Ferber stuff. I'm going to try anything. Hell, if someone comments and tells me that a non-stop loop of a certain verse from a Bjork song lulls their child to sleep, I'm gonna try it folks. I'm desperate. It might drive the cats insane, but I'll try it folks.
In researching a link for the extinction method, I came across an older Sweet Juniper post (before my blogging days) and it made me feel better after reading. I think I might put together a guide to my fav sleeping (or lack there of) posts and publish it as a "don't give up just yet" guide for other parents. Look for it in coming weeks.
Or maybe I should just give up on trying with the sleep thing. She will sleep by the time she's a teenager and that is only a dozen years away. Hell, I can sleep when I'm dead (An interesting movie by the way. I sat behind Malcolm McDowell when I saw it and he's so evil in this flick I wanted to swat him on the back of the head. But I didn't. I sniffed it instead. He smells good.).
Peace out folks. Wish me luck.
*** you can totally refer to those as my Britney air-quotes because y'all, I don't know the right time to use that kinda punct'uation.