My baby, he don’t sleep at night

February 29, 2008

redlineMy son is a crappy sleeper.  He’s always been a crappy sleeper.  He’s up several times a night, and only puts himself back to sleep about half the time.  Don’t even start with that “cry it out” business, because that doesn’t work with him–he cries until he pukes and then I have to clean that up as well as settle him back down.

He goes to bed beautifully, but after 8:30 it’s like there’s a time bomb in the house.  Not that we have to tiptoe around or anything.  Noise doesn’t seem to wake him up at all.  But some internal thing will rouse him, and then *blam*, the bomb goes off and the dance begins.  First, we wait to see if he’ll go back to sleep.  The whole time we are listening to him cry, my husband and I are negotiating.  “Let’s wait 10 minutes.”  “No he’s really screaming, if we wait he won’t go back to sleep.”  “Well, if you go this time, I’ll go the next time.”  “Why don’t I take all tonight, and you take tomorrow?”  It’s become a huge part of our marraige, this nighttime negotiation.  We talk about it more than any other topic in our lives.  All the while we are staring at the baby monitor, willing him to fall asleep with the power of our minds.

Then, if he doesn’t magically go back to sleep (sometimes he falls asleep in mid-scream!), one of us goes up to his room and holds him until he falls back to sleep.  We’ve tried everything from not picking him up, to the cry it out/puke incident, to letting him sleep in our bed–you name it.  The pick up, hold, and put him back down “method” is the most efficient. 

This lack of sleep is starting to fray me at my edges.  When my son was a newborn, everyone thought I was depressed.  I said over and over that I was just tired.  I was only sleeping a few hours a day, and sometimes those weren’t in a row.  Now, I still look like a depressed person.  I don’t “dress” for work anymore.  I never “do” my hair.  I sort of look like an Olsen twin.  I forget things.  I’m not as sharp or witty.  All my edges are blunted because I’m so damn tired.

I put the baby to bed at 8:30, then work out for 15 minutes and take a shower and go to bed.  I don’t watch TV anymore.  Or movies.  Or read.  I have no conversation.  I’m like someone from a foreign country.

And, my husband and I, to cope, have started sleeping in different places.  Taking turns on the couch, so that one of us can get some sleep. 

But, there are some rewards in all this.  When it is my turn to diffuse the bomb, I do get delicious minutes alone in the dark with my son, his one little hand down the neck of my top because he needs to feel skin, my nose pressed to the top of his baby-scented head.

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8 Responses to “My baby, he don’t sleep at night”

  1. sillyspring Says:

    Hi there! I just stumbled on your blog & had to drop a note saying I’ve been through the same thing with one of my kiddos…..it really sucks. I have some teensy tiny suggestions that we tried, if you’re interested. Not sure it will work, but it may be worth the try…. Let me know if you want to. Take care! God bless, spring

  2. acdalton Says:

    Suggest away! Seriously, we try everything other parents recommend–that’s how you learn, right?

  3. sillyspring Says:

    cool! ok, first off, he’s adorable! 🙂 just thought I’d say the obvious! Um, 1st Q: is he on any meds?? even the “simplest” meds have side effects! our guy had horrible nightmares until we realized, by accident (or God’s grace), that he was experiencing side effects from a stomach med called reglan! Never saw that coming! Ok, 2nd Q: since he wakes at the slightest sound, have you tried introducing some white noise to his room? our guys go to bed to a calm, relaxing music cd and if they wake later we put it back on- they ask us to. if you think that’s too much for him, there are white-noise alarm clocks & radios that just put a quiet, uninteresting constant noise out there so he won’t hear every creak. And last Q: could you set up a makeshift bed in your room that you move him to? out of desperation we did that & it eventually allowed us to- gasp- sleep better. heck- even if he’s IN your bed….even then, at least, hopefully, you are getting to sleep. who knows if any of these things will work for you. i hope, i hope, i hope! but, if nothing else, remember this fact: IT WILL NOT LAST FOREVER. I PROMISE!!! i remember when my hubby & i had reached our last straw. we, out of desperation, had just decided- against everyone’s opinion (but what do they know, they don’t have a babe screaming hours in their house 😉 )- that we’d let him sleep with us. we looked in eachother’s eyes & said………… we know this will NOT happen when he’s 17! and we never looked back!
    Take care of yourself & let me know if anything works- I’ll be praying! God bless, Spring

  4. acdalton Says:

    It’s crazy, he wakes up crying even when he sleeps with us! It does save us the steps of going into his room, but he’s still up.
    AND, over the last few nights, he hasn’t been falling right back to sleep. Usually, we can get him back to sleep in a few minutes, now he’s up for a half hour or more.
    I am thinking it is a combination of habitual waking, because it’s at about the same times each night (10:30, 1:30, 5:30 and sometimes at 2:30!) and maybe getting some teeth or a growth spurt, or getting ready to walk. He’s just one, so there are lots of changes going on!

  5. sillyspring Says:

    wow. i am in awe. usually the desperate ‘ok, sleep in my bed because otherwise i’m gonna blow’ works!!!!! you’re right- 1 is a big time for big changes. it still stinks, though……
    sorry i wasn’t much help! one last teensy q: how long has it been going on? i promise after that answer, i shall leave you alone! 🙂 have a good day! spring

  6. acdalton Says:

    Ask away! This is my most favorite topic. Honestly. I am obssessed with my son’s sleeping habits. I keep a log so that someday I can show him exactly why his mama has white hair.
    Anyway, he has had brief periods of sleeping through the night. Usually we get one good week a month–or at least a few days in a row each month. This started at 12 weeks. I remember exactly, because he slept through the night the Sunday before my first day back to work.
    Last night he was up every hour until 11:30, then up at 4:30 and then 6:30. We are going to try cutting down on his milk right before bed. He doesn’t seem to have any sort of dairy allergy or sensitivity, but I just read something that mentioned that the milk could keep him up.

  7. sillyspring Says:

    omigoodness, omigoodness!!!!!
    you poor, poor baby!
    i LOVE that you’re keeping a log- he should know! lol!
    i am like you.
    this would drive me BATTY. there’s got to be SOMETHING, right?????
    does he always wake crying? does your instinct say it’s pain? is he unconsollable?
    oooooooooooooh! so many questions!!!! 🙂 spring

  8. acdalton Says:

    My instinct is it’s habitual. He does scream, but nothing seems to be wrong. Sometimes, he wants water, but sometimes he just wants to be held.
    Other times, I think we are doing more harm than good going in. I think that if we could just wait longer than 10 minutes, he would go back to sleep–even after screaming. My husband doesn’t agree. He thinks the longer we wait, the harder it is to get him settled again. It used to take just a few minutes to get him back to sleep, but it’s taking longer and longer. Again, I think it’s because we are holding him too much.
    The night before last he was up every hour until 4 a.m., then he slept until 8.
    Last night, he was only up twice! Heaven.


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