September 27, 2011

Sleep Like a Baby

Sleep like a baby. It is quite possibly one of the most inaccurate similes to grace the English language. It should be 'Sleep like a baby my a$$.' I am convinced, beyond any doubt, that the generation of the idiom came from a sleep-deprived parent uttering the words with excess sarcasm. Unfortunately, the person on the receiving end missed the facetiousness and spread the word to the rest of the world under the guise that it was indeed fact. I am also convinced, beyond any doubt, that person listening was childless.

don't let this sweet face deceive you ...
Now, if you're a parent who has an infant that miraculously slept through the night since like day zero or something crazy like that, you can stop reading here. This is not for you. I'm sure your sweet angel of a child is dozing peacefully in the bassinet nearby and you quite likely have something better to do than read my tale of torture, like knit or tat or whatever. Go enjoy your rested self. Please, don't let me interrupt you.

For the rest of you parents, who's baby doesn't (or didn't) exactly sleep like a baby, you feel my pain. My child seems to think he's going to miss something by going to sleep. It's like he thinks I'm going to break out the disco ball and have this kick-ass party when he's not looking. But I swear, changing out of my PJs into some sweats - or if there's a public outing on the agenda, some jeans - is as exciting as it gets around here. Sure, I'm ready to go back to work just so I can dressed up again. But I digress. Little dude just fights the sleep. Nap time, night time, every time.

I'm sure there will come a day when I'm trying to haul his pimply teenage butt out of bed at one in the afternoon and I'll look back on this thinking my gosh how he's changed. Right now though I just can't see it ever happening. Right now, this child of mine has to be convinced to sleep. I know right, who has to be convinced that sleep is a wonderful, wonderful thing? My child, that's who. I swear it's some sort of punishment for something I put my mother through, though I'm not sure what as I was a good little sleeper.

My child, not so much. Whether through rocking, walking or driving, the child needs some sort of motion to drift off. And even then, there are no guarantees it'll last. More often than not, once the car stops moving, the eyes open. Once the side of the crib has been breached, the eyes open. And lay him down in the crib to let him fall asleep on his own, bah-ha-ha-ha-has-hah. Now that's joke if I ever heard one. In fact, any attempt to lay him quietly, the eyes open. And we do the rocking, walking or driving all over again.  I think he thinks it's a game. Well, bud, let me tell you, mama's not a gamer.

asleep ... finally... in the car
But I am about to initiate a game of 'let's see who's the sleep boss around here mister'. You see, I recognize that some of his sleeping issues are a result of the habits we've created as parents. He was so fussy with his tummy troubles as an infant that often the only way to settle him was though a gentle rocking or swinging. So he spent a lot of time being held and rocked or in his (glorious) swing. Any naps he did get, came about that way and still do. I also realize we can't really expect him to expect much different now that we started that routine. Unless of course we teach him different.

Well, teacher mom is about to break out her stern look in the nursery. While I really don't mind rocking him to sleep, it's just that he fights sleep so much that the process can be a long one a lot of the time. Like from 2am-4am the other night. Seriously. And then back up at 5am and again at 6:40am. No joke. Again, I digress. As much as I try to enjoy the midnight snuggles knowing they are indeed fleeting moments, I know in my mommy heart of hearts that the excessive rocking and coercing to sleep is not necessary. I know he can learn to fall asleep on his own.

So soon, very soon, we will begin to change the routine. It won't be easy, but it will be worth it. Once he learns to go to sleep on his own, we'll rest a little better around here. Perhaps then we'll all sleep like a baby.


Sara said...

Oh my. I laughed so hard at this post, but not at you since I most definitely know how you feel. Both of mine were 10 months old before they slept through the night. Good luck with changing the habit - it's going to be harder for you than him, I'm afraid! And Colleen, I'll bring you a Pumpkin Spice Latte to keep you awake at the next class, just in case! :)

SPARK Marketing said...

It took two nights at about the same age to get Kelsey to learn to sleep on her own. And it took Darin literally sitting on me so I would not go into her room and pick her up as she cried for hours. Night two, cried for an hour. Night three, a sleeper! Hard, but worth it. And hey, it did not kill her (nearly killed me, but that's all part of it). She is happy, healthy and off at university with no residual effects that I am aware of! Hang in there, it does get better.

Lesley Ann Staples said...

i laughed at this. I remember my mother saying "God is just" when Adam would not sleep. Not great comfort but Spark Marketing is right it'll hurt you more than them...let him cry.

thesheds said...

Colleen, IT WILL ALL BE WORTH IT IN THE END! My daughter slept wonderfully until she was 5 months old. Then she just... quit. For another six and a half months. Two weeks before I went back to work I had had enough and suffered through 4 nights of "sleep training" (which in our house meant steadfastly refusing to nurse her every 45 minutes through the night). Four nights was all it took. There have been setbacks, of course. Teething, lousy naps, stuffy nose... but they never last more than a few days.

Lately, she's been really fighting her naps. I'm afraid she's going to be one of those toddlers that gives up the daytime nap before age 2. So help me...