Saturday, January 13, 2007

Teaching My Baby to Dream

As you might be able to tell from my last post, we have been in the midst of a sleep extravaganza since about the first of the year. We had been giving Charlie until he was about 3 months old to really start to try to make a schedule (this may have been a mistake). He had been showing glimmers of sleeping if not well, then at least for several hours in a row at night and there had been a growing predictability to his days. Then there came teething and grandparent visits and unknown happenings in his little brain and the sleep became awful. I actually sobbed...twice...in one night. I had been quite pleased with the fact that I had escaped PPD until that night. Apparently my mood can withstand any amount of hormonal onslaught but visions of hourly wakings (followed by 45 minute stints in the rocker) for the foreseeable future is enough to totally send me 'round the bend.

We purchased both the No Cry Sleep Solution and The Baby Whisperer. Using a hybrid of the two we formulated a plan and began Operation Sandman. We realized that a large part of Charlie's problem was that he was completely sleep deprived. So, my mission during the day was to manage to get the child who generally took 3ish 35 minute naps a day to take 3 1.5-2 hour naps a day. This meant that I spent a lot of the first week staring at the walls in the nursery rocking and rocking. Eventually we moved to the futon mattress (my husband has been sleeping in the nursery). I could actually feel my brain atrophying. Charlie has now, finally, moved back into the crib although I spend about 30 minutes of every nap standing watch, patting and picking up as needed. The rest of the time I stay in the nursery, watching for unexpected events as I flip through the internet or read. It beats staring at the walls but the intensity is draining. It seems that Charlie needs to be taught how to progress through REM sleep and light sleep so that he can make it back into the deep sleep.

In short, my baby doesn't know how to dream.

Since my husband is taking the night shift, starting around 7:45, when Charlie is done nursing and keeps him until about 6am, I have him until then. It leaves me yearning to be not the mommy. By the third nap, which is often the most challenging, (mostly because he should probably really be having 2 2-3 hour naps and 1 quick one but 2-3 hours is a little beyond us at the moment) I am sometimes ready to weep. I spend a lot of time reminding myself that this too will pass. I try to remember when it felt like he would never stop eating. I know that if I can just stick this out that I will have so much time of my own- probably 4 hours a day and then 2-3 after he goes to bed but right now I am in the midst of it. 2 weeks ago he would not have stayed asleep for 2 hours no matter what you did. Now, it takes a lot of work but it happens. 2 weeks ago he was up at least once an hour at night and now he can go at least 2 and often more. 2 weeks ago Charlie would only fall asleep in the car after crying and crying- tonight he did it with no fuss and in less than 5 minutes. So, there is progress but we are growing impatient.

It is becoming increasingly vital to my sanity that I do things to preserve me. My shower is a shining star in my day. I always put on something that smells nice. I have a growing fascination with nail polish and am wearing lipstick every day. Today I got in the car without my baby or my husband to go shopping for face cleanser and I cried from the sheer wonder of doing something for myself, by myself. This child has to learn to dream and soon because his mother already knows how. I need those 4 hours a day.

1 comment:

Maggie (mrswilson from APA) said...

I love, love, love the No Cry Sleep Solution. That book helped us with our DD so early on (when we had no clue what we were doing). Good luck with the sleep "training." It will all be worth it when he takes those long naps!