A couple months ago, I thought that perhaps I should give the parenting books a rest. Too many voices of too many experts all rattling around my head (along with the many voices already housed there) just became too much. I’ve made good on that decision, although I did not seem to find time to read some awesomely trashy novels instead as I had hoped. No, between teaching for six weeks this summer and the complete and utter lack of sleep still going on in our house, there has been no time for leisure reading. *Sigh*
That’s right. Here’s my sleep update and sadly, it’s not a great one. It’s not an awful one either, though, because we have made some real strides. Thanks to the brilliance of my parents (who hatched the plan), we moved Raegan out of our room and all of our bedrooms upstairs in May (where our window nook that I wanted to turn into a book nook – again, no time for books anyway! – has become our nursery).
Although there have been a few bumps in the night, this arrangement has worked particularly well for Harrison. He still comes in our room every so often but the bizarre 4-5 trips each night that he was making to visit us across the hall when we were all downstairs have all but disappeared. I say all but because this whole venture into Potty Training Land has given him a new reason to be up roaming at night, but that’s another post for another time. I think he likes that his new room upstairs is smaller and cozier. Plus, maybe he likes the fact that RL is no longer in our room, so he doesn’t feel the need to be there either. Who knows! Altogether he is getting pretty decent sleep most nights and naps most days, so if you can overlook the fact that he arises at the horrific time of 5:50 every morning, things are good.
Raegan, on the other hand, has decided to continue giving us a complete run for our money. At night. Every night. Actually, I take that back. Not every night, and therein lies the real confusion, frustration, problem, etc. Some nights, she has slept and slept fine. For three nights -THREE NIGHTS IN A ROW, mind you – at the end of June, she slept from 11-6ish. Considering that she was just about to turn eight months old at that time, that may or may not strike you as great. I took it as FANflippingtastic because I hadn’t seen that much sleep in solid chunks in months. Honestly, I may not have seen sleep like that since before I had her.
But then, it went away. She started waking up every 2.5-3 hours again, and since we hadn’t found any better solutions, I continued to go in and nurse her back to sleep. Every 2.5-3 hours. It’s no wonder why the bags under my eyes are so dark and I have so many bruises on my shins – I’m a sleep deprived clumsy zombie most days! But seriously – that is no way to exist in this world. Never getting solid sleep makes me short tempered, cranky, and downright negative. It’s a battle some days just to remind myself that this won’t last forever and that someday, God willing, my children will be teenagers who I can’t drag from their beds. Somehow, though, that all still seems too distant to be of any comfort. In the present, my neck is a wreck from sitting/sleeping in the rocking chair too often as I nurse her, again, back to sleep, and my moods swing as often as my eyelids droop during the day.
A week ago, Thursday, we had our worst night to date where Raegan didn’t sleep for more than an hour and a half until after 3 a.m. Then, the next night, for some reason unbeknownst to any mortal being, she slept from 10:30p.m.-7a.m.. Her best night ever. WTH?! Actually, I wouldn’t be cursing it, but as you can imagine, it has not happened again since and last night almost rivaled last Thursday because she was up and pretty well pissed from 10:40p.m.-2:40a.m. and then up for good at 6:40. Brutal, I tell you. Just brutal.
Clearly, we need a change. So, begrudgingly, I went back to my stack of parenting books today and pulled out one that I bought when Harrison was about six months old and not sleeping so well himself. It is called Good Night, Sleep Tight and is written by Kim West, the so-called Sleep Lady. Although I read this two-and-a-half years ago, we never went through with it because I couldn’t really commit to her Sleep Shuffle of sitting next to the crying baby and gradually removing yourself from the area every few days. Instead, we opted for full on cry it out, which worked, but clearly did nothing to actually teach Harrison about sleeping, as evidenced by the full on chaos we had when he was no longer contained by his crib.
This time we wanted to avoid CIO, but instead we have been using all kinds of sleep crutches (West’s term) such as nursing and rocking and singing and shushing and so on. It has been a full time job getting this little girl to sleep and what really sucks is that you just never know for how long it might last. As it is, all of our crutches have done nothing to teach her how to go back to sleep on her own, so now, at just shy of 9 months, we are still having to do it for her. Plus, a lot of the time, if she’s not nursing to sleep, she’s crying or screaming in our arms anyway, so we might as well have her do that in her crib next to us where hopefully she can learn to put herself to sleep without us in a few weeks time.
I don’t think this will be for the faint of heart, and as tired as we are, it may be a challenge as great as enduring CIO, but my ultimate hope is that in the long run, we can all get better, more sustained sleep. So, please, say your prayers or cross your fingers or light your candles or do whatever you do in hopes that my next sleep update is bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!