I have a great mattress. It’s one of those Sleep Numbers, where you can adjust the firmness. A few years ago, J-Dub and I pranced into the mall with a credit card and succumbed to a sales pitch.
Impulse Buying + Credit Cards = The American Way, right?
I can’t remember my sleep number; I can barely remember my birthday, much less the 42 different passwords stored in my brain for various accounts etc. I usually have to ask J-Dub what my sleep number is. For some reason he always knows, or makes one up just to fake me out. Heck, I wouldn’t know the difference. I did consider having it tattooed on my butt, but then I’d have to get a mirror to look, and to be frank, my butt isn’t much to gaze upon, even for myself. I thought maybe I should tattoo it on my wrist, but then people might think I’m a concentration camp survivor or at the very least, a state penitentiary parolee in which case if I were a male state penitentiary parolee, my butt might have gotten noticed.
I guess it doesn’t really matter what my sleep number is since the last 3 nights I’ve slept on the floor.
In the baby’s nursery.
On a makeshift bed of couch cushions, my pillow, and a blanket.
You see, my little babe, she is utterly adorable. She is. She is also utterly awake most nights. It’s not that she doesn’t go to sleep. She does. It’s just that she doesn’t STAY asleep.
So like a good mother, I’ve read. I’ve researched. I’ve investigated. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s All.My. Fault. It is.
Now I won’t take responsibility for her behavior if she robs a bank, but for this, I am the culprit.
She used to be a good sleeper. When she was a wee one, she slept very well. She would sleep in her crib. She would go to sleep without being nursed or rocked. She awoke and laid in her crib peacefully at times.
And then, then I screwed her up.
I took all the things I knew I was supposed to do, and didn’t do them.
“Swaddle her?” I scoffed. “She gets too hot, she’s too confined, she doesn’t like it.”
“Let her sleep in her own bed?” I laughed. “But she’s so little, I need her, she needs me, she grows so fast, I’ll miss this.”
“Let her cry?” I exclaimed. “She feel afraid, abandoned, and become untrusting.”
“Be consistent?” I remarked. “What about our free spirits? Schedules, shmedules. Routines, shmoutines.”
And so, the saga began. She slept in our bed, at whatever times we traipsed to bed, and when she made the tiniest whimper, I comforted; two, three, sometimes four times each night.
Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and before I knew it, I had an 8 month old in the bed standing at the headboard, or crawling on top of us while we tried to sleep, or kneading us in the back with her pointy little feet as she laid crosswise in the bed. And as I lay there one night with her trying to suck my nose, I imagined our lives a year, two years down the road. I saw a little toddler, upside down, feet in our face, whining ‘tickle my back, can I lay on your arm, I need a drink of water’, all the while wiggling, squiggling, and causing a ruckus.
You see, I like to sleep. I enjoy it. It’s practically the only fun I have in my life. Take that from me, and I have nothing. I am nothing. So I stood on my exhausted two feet and made my valiant cry of, “ENOUGH! THIS MUST STOP!”
And it hasn’t been easy. Nay, nay. We are currently on day 6 of a real effort to get her to sleep in her crib. (with 3 days of inconsistency when we were out of town). That’s the first step. Then comes sleeping with no feedings, next will be sleeping without me in the room. I have my work cut out for me, but am beginning the process of undoing my doings. The first night, I took expert advice to lay her down every time she stood in her crib, and then I counted the attempts.
No, not twenty times.
No, not thirty-three times.
No, not even one hundred twenty times.
But 133 times. One hundred thirty-three times I laid her down. And one hundred thirty-three times she pulled her weary self back up again. Can you say torture? For her. For me.
Were there tears? Oh my, yes. Many tears. Hers and mine.
She finally fell asleep crying and exhausted.
She stayed asleep about 30 minutes, but who can blame her? Could you sleep like that? Can you even sit like that?
And now, since this post is becoming a novella and is only partially complete, I will end here and continue with our experimental research sleep training documentation tomorrow. Hopefully. If my bleary eyes can see the keyboard.