Cry it out? No thanks, we're too busy not sleeping...
I spoke too soon in my last post, as I often do. Topher wasn't on some new path of sleeping better, he just stumbled into better sleeping for a few nights. I knew it was too good to be true. The very night I posted that he was doing better, he was WIDE awake from 2:30am to 5:30am. He was asking to go out, asking to read books, asking me to blow him bubbles, I mean wide awake. The next night he did better, waking only from 2:00am to 4:30am. But I think we can all agree the situation is nowhere close to ideal. The most frustrating nights might be the ones when we are ready to crash at 9pm, and Topher is still going strong for several hours after that.
Nah, I don't think I wanna sleep tonight.Why not just lay him down and let him cry for a few minutes until he falls asleep? the naysayers may ask. To them I say it's really not an option. Not only do I fundamentally disagree with the cry-it-out method, but the one time we tried it out of pure frustration and exhaustion, Topher started vomiting within a few MINUTES because he was crying so hard (not hours, hear me, but literally in under 5 minutes). Once his bedding and clothes were changed, he was still so upset that he vomited some more. That's when we ran out of bedding for him and had to lay a towel in his crib that night. Call me crazy, but as a mother, I cannot and will not put him through that again. This is not an isolated event. He will do the same thing in the car when he's having a bad day and no longer wants to be strapped into his seat and yet we legally cannot let him out. He'll cry himself into a vomiting fit, and it's terrible.
I guess I knew that having a baby meant we would "never get to sleep normally again." But yet I thought that was just what people said, and that it would pass. Eighteen months after the baby bomb hit our home, we still never go an entire night without a waking. In fact, one waking is a great night. He always needs a new diaper and a bottle before he can fall back asleep. Isn't he getting too old for a bottle? you might wonder. I don't know and frankly, I don't care. I'm too busy wondering at what age a boy will sleep through his alarm and through the whole weekend if you let him. It's somewhere in the teens, right?
I am quite proud that we have kept our one sleeping resolution which is to never share our bed with the baby. It works great for some people, but I say our bed is for adults only (and one pesky cat, who refuses to sleep anywhere but right in my face.) This is not an easy rule to upkeep. His bedroom being next to ours, it might be a lot easier to just plop him in between us and fall back asleep. Instead, it's a trip downstairs to the couch where one of us (we take turns) waits it out until he's full and snoring again. Since he's been born, I feel like we've racked up more hours on the couch than we have in our own baby-less bed.
I don't blame anyone but ourselves for the sleep pit we've sunken into. I'm sure we've done things wrong from his first night home, but we've done it the only way we've known how. And I'm holding on to the hope that eventually every kid learns how to sleep. The trick is just surviving that long. We think we might make it.
Maybe I'm approaching this from the wrong angle entirely. Maybe I'm lucky that I have a baby that still loves (i.e. needs) to cuddle a lot. And although this prolonged sleep deprivation is a very effective form of birth control (do this again? are you totally insane???) I can't help but feel my heart swell whenever he nuzzles into my neck and starts snoring against my chin.
It might be a heart that's swollen in a body numb and dragging and half-dead from lack of sleep, but it's swollen nonetheless.