We have a nightly routine. After dinner, I go run a bath for Swee'pea, and Sugar D sings a silly song about "Run dee tub, run dee tub, Mama, run dee tub." We both give Swee'pea his bath and wrastle him into pyjamas, then we bring him downstairs, turn on Swee'pea's sleep playlist and Sugar D walks him back and forth to sleep while I go upstairs and read. For a long time this was great. Swee'pea would fall asleep in five to 20 minutes, go down in his crib no problem and sleep at least until we went to bed but usually later. This was also often the only time I would read a book instead of blogs. Maybe one or two days a week it wouldn't work and we'd let Swee'pea stay up later (often once he took a poo he'd relax for sleep), and it was ok. I stayed calm and philosophical knowing that the next evening he'd go down fine.
Now, however, it's not working so well. Now, him falling asleep with a few minutes of walking is the exception rather than the rule, and if he does, most nights he wakes up and demands to come out of the crib before falling back to sleep eventually at least once . I am neither calm nor philosophical about it. Now, when I go upstairs to read, I find myself tensely listening to what's going on downstairs, shoulders up around my ears. If I hear Swee'pea chatting, I know it's not going to end well and I start to have terrible, black thoughts. The worst if it's all quiet and I can only hear a faint whishing of Sugar D's feet on the laminate floor and I start to think that it will be ok, that Swee'pea's going down. Then suddenly Swee'pea will burst forth with some monosyllabic pronouncement, and all will be lost.
I'm kind of surprised with just how black my thoughts can get on these evenings, because in the day I'm mostly pretty happy and enjoying Swee'pea's company. When Swee'pea won't sleep, my thoughts veer towards the near-suicidal, seeking escape from my whole life and finding no way but one. I also get angry, wondering why I got saddled with this non-slash-high-maintenance sleeper. Often, when Sugar D admits defeat, I take it out on him, expecting some magical baby whispering power of him and wishing he were more like Beck's husband who just puts the kids to bed. I don't feel good about myself in these moments and my self-criticism cuts three ways: 1) that I can't get my kid to bed and 2) that I can't handle an extra couple of hours with my son, that I'm so needy and demanding to require two hours without him every day and 3) that I yell at my husband in front of my toddler son. This was not the kind of mother I wanted to be.
My new nephew is three months old and everything he should be at that age: rolly poly goodness and smiles. He also sleeps through the night already and that news, I'm ashamed to admit, pierced me with jealousy. When he was a newborn, I had lots of memories of Swee'pea's newborn days. But the last time I saw him, I couldn't really remember Swee'pea as a three to six-month-old. Those months were the months when I was obsessed with trying to get him to sleep in his basket and later his crib. I was relentless and was sure that if I just did the right thing, he would sleep in a bed without me. I thought it must be my fault, and as a result I ended up missing those gorgeous rolly poly days. He was seven months old before I finally just accepted his sleep habits and put him in the sling so I could at least blog during his naps.
It's been a couple months of regression, I think, not counting that very anomolous and lovely one night. Lately, we've taken to lying down in our bed with Swee'pea to get him to sleep, and that works, mostly. But sometimes it takes hours and our evening is gone anyways by the time he falls asleep. I'm back to thinking that while it may not be my fault, it's my responsibility to find solutions. The only thing I can think of is to get him a big boy bed and baby proof the upstairs so we can lay down with him and the leave him in his bed. But he seems a bit young to me... so I turn to you, dear readers, for ideas. How do you get your high-maintenance sleepers to bed? How old were your kids when you put them in big beds and were there any surpises? I've also wondered about finding or making story books about kids staying in their own bed or learning to fall asleep on their own. Any tips?
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Sorry for my recent blogligence -- blame Harry Potter. I'm still keeping up with most of your blogs, I'm just not commenting. But I'm well into the seventh book so I should be back to good blogizenship soon.