Sleeping on the Floor Part 1

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.

Like this.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sleeping, eating, and other motherly woes

Of one thing I’m certain:  each day that I’m given is more proof of how little I know.

We’ve all been there, a time in our life when we thought we knew it all.  When we stuck our chest out and announced, if only to ourselves, “I got this.”

For me that was 7 months and 3 weeks ago.

 

Before her.

But now those days are over.  Although I’ve always felt like I relied on God, I can tell you that this day, today, without a doubt, I desperately need His grace, His direction, His wisdom, combined with His mercy and goodness and provision, tossed in with a good handful of His forgiveness and a shake or two of second chances.

Raising a child is hard. And I have a good one.  She’s not difficult, really.  Perhaps a touch stubborn and spirited.  She doesn’t sleep like other mother’s claim their babies sleep.  And she doesn’t eat like she’s supposed to.  She’s adventurous and bold, she’s determined and serious.   Sometimes she’s playful and occasionally you could even say she’s sweet.  Each day I ask God to help me and to forgive me.

If she has trouble sleeping, it’s because of me not her.  I have 0%consistency in my day.   Schedules are for trains.

If she has trouble eating, I’ll take the blame on that too, although she’s the one with her lips clamped together.

I’ve scoured the internet for help on every parenting subject that one could encounter with an almost 8 month old. (because the internet doesn’t lie)

*Breastfeeding
*co-sleeping
*baby wearing
*sign language
*pacifiers
*teething
*crawling
*separation anxiety
*night weaning
*sleep training

Plus lots more.
Through my hours upon hours of research, I’ve discovered there’s basically two camps of parenting.

1) “the force your baby to do what you want” camp

2) the “forget about your life, it’s officially over, make concessions for your baby’s needs” camp

I’m no longer looking for advice, I’ve received enough.  So really, you don’t need to give me any, but I will allow you to commiserate with me all you want!

I’m just writing to air my frustrations, state my opinions, and talk out loud.

Case in point.  Sleep trainers suggest that I put her in her crib for naps and at bedtime when she’s drowsy but still awake.  Not to rock her or nurse her, or give her any sleep crutches what so ever.  After placing her in the crib drowsy, but awake, she is supposed to put herself to sleep.  All on her own.  This has actually happened a time or two when she was smaller.  I can actually testify that when she’s in her appropriate window of sleepiness, as long as she’s not teething or gassy, when her diaper is dry, and her room is the correct temperature, as long as her nose isn’t stuffy or her socks aren’t too tight, and as long as the moon is in the second house, she will actually go to sleep.

But most of the time, when I put her in her crib, I get this.

Now, how can I tell her no and lay her back down, when for the last two weeks, I’ve been clapping and cheering every time she pulled herself up to standing?

Then she looks at me with this face of “aren’t you proud of me for pulling myself up, that’s a new trick you know mom.  When I’ve done it before you’ve danced a jig”, and yes baby I am so proud of you, and then she gives me the “aren’t you going to pick me up and hug me.  I’m whimpering over here?”

I’m at a crossroads.  If I pick her up, then she won’t understand she’s supposed to lay down.  And if I tell her,”no, lay down”, she won’t understand how proud I am of her for working so hard to stand up.  During this sort of dilemma, my maternal instinct usually wins.  The one that says love and comfort, hush her cries, make her feel safe and loved.  I know I’m reinforcing undesirable habits, but I can only pray that I’m building trust and reassuring her that she needn’t worry about her needs being met.

After giving this parenting gig a go for the last 8 months, I’ve come to some conclusions.

Of the little I know, this is what I know:

  •  All babies are unique.
  • I must figure what works best for my family.
  • If the situation isn’t a problem to the family, then the family shouldn’t let society (or the internet) convince them it’s a problem.
  • There’s really no right way to do this.
  • Most other mothers must be liars, wanting others to believe they have dream babies, or it’s been so long ago, they’ve forgotten.
  • I don’t have the answers and can only do my best.
  • I’m going to mess up everyday and I can only hope she doesn’t turn out to be Jeffrey Dahmerish.  Or worse.

 

God bless all mothers, everywhere!