a night in the life...

Warning: This is a full-on parenting rant about (not) sleeping. I understand that this is as mommy blogger as it gets, and that you might want to skip this one.

Nighttime parenting is hard. Our baby doesn't sleep well. Obviously almost nobody's does; that's why there are so many books written about the issue. Maybe it's not really an issue at all, and we are forcing too much on little bodies. But I'm so sleep deprived at this point, it's hard to even take that into consideration. My daytime and nighttime skin is as thin as any parent's, right before they try to drastically change what's going on.

{sleep baby sleep :: diddle fiddle cow moon :: by artandphilanthropy}
I am writing this while I listen to our baby screaming in the bedroom. So my temples feel like they are going to explode and my blood is pricking the inside of my skin. Rowan really never cries; we don't let it escalate to that. But right now his dad is with him. The dinner I made is cold, and all that's keeping me sane is trying to write this down.

Some background: I've spent the past few days giving Rowan what I call a sleep cleanse. Basically I try to put him down for frequent naps (a la 90-minute sleep solution) and make sure he is getting enough rest and isn't sleep deprived himself. All this in an effort to take that foray into sleep training. I'm on the fence with the whole sleep training thing. I have a low threshold for hearing my baby cry (who doesn't?). But I also know something has to change. But does it? I simultaneously believe a.) we need to wait it out and that he will outgrow his finicky sleep and b.) that we need to help him develop good sleep habits, because he won't be able to do so on his own. Can you guess which thought is a daytime thought and which one is a nighttime thought?

{sleep baby sleep :: by artandphilanthropy}
At-home moms need a break from their kids for reasonable amounts of time during the day and night: aka nap and sleep times. Let's just say several days in a row of parenting solo with only 20-minute breaks makes for an unhappy mommy. When Rowan sleeps for more than an hour during the day, I am happy to get him when he stirs. I need that time to be able to miss him.

Back to tonight's scene: Serkan arrives home kinda late from his trip. I am rocking Rowan in the living room, because I'm too frustrated to try putting him down again. Basically I know his daddy's going to be there soon, so he can do it. (Hey, not the nicest welcome home, I know, but I need a break!!! And I did have the table set with candles and a salad and dinner "cooking"--um yeah, a frozen pizza and a frozen burrito. Ugh.)

{sleep baby sleep :: little star :: by artandphilanthropy}
We weren't planning to do any sleep training or anything like that tonight. I tried a gentle approach where you don't pick up the baby and just soothe him by patting and singing or shooshing a few nights ago, when S wasn't here. I ended up feeling like the vilest person on the planet--because he screamed through my humming and tummy rubbing. When I picked Rowan up less than five minutes later, he was still so strung out and crying. I felt awful, like honest to goodness nauseous awful. Rowan is screaming like that again. I've never heard him like this. I don't know what Serkan is doing, only that I'm not supposed to go in there, and that baby is with his daddy. Like I said, there was no talk or plan of putting baby down in the crib (which is also in our room; one bedroom apartment) tonight. But we were both willing and ready to try something--in theory.

I found out later that S was laying down next to R and shooshing him. That night--a couple of nights ago now--I slept with my feet hanging off the short couch in the living room. We aren't trying to put Rowan in the crib, but we are trying to get him to nurse less at night. The first time Rowan wakes up at night (the time after we head to bed), S tries to get him to calm down without picking him up, just by cuddling. Rowan screams for about an hour, and falls asleep when S decides it's time to rock him. And I remain awake hours after this. My attempt to get more sleep, pretty much foiled.

{album by ben lee
Here's a typical "schedule" of what 3-5 nights/week look like (when S is not here)...
  • 7:00-7:30: start getting ready for bed, a bath, massage, book if he's into it, breastfeed.
  • 8:00ish: rock to sleep (up until a few days ago, I just nursed him to sleep in the bed because it was easiest)
  • 8:30: yay! dinner and some me time. 
  • 8:45-9:00: or not, back into the room. 
  • 9:30: OK, let's try this again. 
  • 9:45: are you kidding me? stuffing my face with whatever I've been trying to cook. head back into the room.
  • 10:20: finish eating. open the computer. read one blog or respond to one email (the list is long). the music is low and my nerves are awake. 
  • 10:38: is it separation anxiety? screw this. I close my laptop, turn off the music and the light, hurry to brush my teeth--which I'm sure are deteriorating--while I fill my glass of water and start taking off the extra clothes that I won't wear to bed. spit. rinse. spit. look sternly into my bloodshot eyes in the mirror. take a deep breath. scoot into the covers for the all night nurse-a-thon. 
  • 10:42: it usually occurs to me that I also need to pee, after Rowan is already attached to my boob or nestled snugly in my lap for bouncing on the big exercise ball. 
Hygiene, food, and my rubber-bouncy-ball sanity fly out the window and visit sweet fairies. And that, my friends, is why I'm totally obsessed with sleep. How to give it to my baby and reap the benefits for myself.

Sweet dreams, whenever you hit the hay.


Di said...

Oh gosh - babies really are hard work. I have a friend who is also struggling with her 10 month old not sleeping - she did for a while but in the last month or 2 she's taken to waking 4 to 6 times a night - and as a friend it's really hard to see your friend struggling like that and being unable to offer much help.

Robin (noteverstill) said...

Oh, honey, I know how hard this is. Just do what you have to do to get through, and don't let guilt get the best of you. Rowan knows that he is loved. It *will* get easier, but every kid has his own timeline.
And- if you want to talk details, email me. I've been there, promise.

Hollie said...

aww, I'm sorry to hear you guys arent sleeping well. :[ We went thru this for a little while with E and ended up finding out that she had acid reflux, so after eating, then laying down her tummy was getting upset.

I hope things get easier for you. Sleep training is tough, but if you can make it thru the first few days, it will make life easier. I completely understand how you feel though. E was easy to train when she was a baby, and now I haven't even tried it again b/c I feel like a jerk for ignoring the incessant calls for "Mooommmmy" coming from her bedroom. It's no fun either way.

This might sound kind of cooky, but have you tried meditating on the thought of a sleeping Rowan?

Claire Kiefer said...

Sounds awful not being able to sleep. :( I'm so sorry that you're struggling with this. I hope that Rowan gets his days and nights straight soon so that you all get a reprieve. I can't imagine not getting a break . . . let me know if I can help. Love you!

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I wish I knew how to help or the secret that could get babies to sleep. I can only imagine how hard it must be. I hope it improves soon and you and Rowan get some blessed sleep!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Chic 'n Cheap Living said...

I wish I knew how to help or the secret that could get babies to sleep. I can only imagine how hard it must be. I hope it improves soon and you and Rowan get some blessed sleep!

Chic 'n Cheap Living

Zabrinah said...

I don't mind that this was very mommy-bloggerish! It's good that you got a chance to write this--even as your baby was screaming as you wrote this. Great post. It's impressive for any blogger to have written, especially one that's sleep-deprived.

Keep on keeping on!


Best wishes,



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