It’s been a rough week…

I’m just really sleep-deprived.  That is all.  Everything is good.  I am blessed.  I have heat, gas and electricity (unlike some people I know), but Theo’s sleeping was at it’s all-time worst this past week.  He has a runny nose – so that might be it.  Or it may be he’s teething.  Or it may be separation anxiety.  Or maybe it’s that he’s about to crawl? Or daylight savings? I don’t know what it is, but this week he reverted back to waking up four and five times a night again.  The other morning he woke up at four a.m. and never went back to sleep.  Then add to that his little twenty-five and thirty-minute naps and you get one mama on the edge.

The other night he woke up at ten-thirty (right as we were going to bed).  So I got up and nursed him.  Fine.  When he was good and boob-drunk, I went to put him back down to sleep and he started crying the second he hit the crib.  So I picked him back up and nursed him a bit more.  He was practically asleep.  Then I put him back down and crept away and when I was just getting under the covers, he started crying again.  This is when the resentment creeps in.  He was fed, dry, tired and it was late.  He needed to sleep.  We needed to sleep. So we decided to let him cry.  And he cried.  And he cried.  And not just a whimpery wussy cry… we’re talking full-scale power cry.  That is how he rolls.  I made Adam go to him twice and try to calm him down.  It did not work.  It just exacerbated things.  All he wanted was me… or really – my boob.  It felt unfair.  I already nursed him twice in a row.  I hit the point people have been telling me about, where you just feel ready to say no.  So I did not go to him.  I said no.  After about thirty-five minutes, he just stopped crying and went to sleep.  I was worried.  I wanted to go check on him.  I felt uneasy, guilty, sad.  But I went to sleep, hoping maybe he’d sleep better for the rest of the night.  He woke up three hours later and I nursed him.  Then he woke up at five am.  But since that night, things have improved.  His naps have gotten longer, he has woken up with less frequency (two times last night, which I hear is somewhat common for a breast-feeding baby his age).

This is the really hard part.  I have read so many sleep and baby books.  Everything is jumbled in my head.  I have read the books that tell you to let them cry.  I have read the books that tell you that letting them cry breaks the bond of trust.  I have gotten loads of conflicting advice.  I am under slept, and totally in love with and protective of this little creature.  Being practical and disciplined is difficult.  Therefore, when I am faced with the decision of how to handle the situation, it feels all blurry and confusing and I am filled with doubt.  Everyone says trust your mother-instincts.  My mother instincts told me I didn’t want to sleep train.  So I didn’t sleep train.  And we are all suffering for it.  I guess my mother instincts are starting to question that decision.

I think this is going to the be one of the most challenging parts of parenthood.  There are going to be so many questions about how to handle things.  How to discipline, how to vaccinate, how to start solids, when to let him watch TV, how much to expose him to other babies and their germs, when to stop breast-feeding, etc.  There are no “right” answers.  There are very strong and differing opinions on everything.  And you just have to take it all in and do the best you can do.  And the stakes are high!  You are creating a person.  It’s a little daunting.

Meanwhile, I can be having the crappiest week ever and then a moment like this rolls around.  I have a crystal hanging in our window and the other morning the sun was coming through and it made little rainbows all over the apartment.  I started spinning it around and the rainbows were whirling around like we had a disco ball.  Theo was in awe.  He just smiled and stared and looked around and around in complete wonder.  And all the exhaustion and confusion melted away and all I felt was joy and love and excitement for all the wonderful things I’ll be able to expose him to in his lifetime.




14 thoughts on “It’s been a rough week…

  1. It gets better, i promise. We have some nights where (still at 20 months) Selena will wake up once or twice throughout the night, and then for a full week she will sleep through the night. I stopped reading the books because they just confused me. My thought process is…she has no broken bones, is still alive and loves life, so I am doing a good job! And I say the same to you!

    • Thanks Olga! Yes – too many books = jumbled brain. And yes, when I drive myself crazy, I often give myself a break and think along those lines… Theo is a happy boy with 2 parents who love the ever-living CRAP out of him. That’s gotta make him better off than many. I’m sure we’re doing just fine, but it gets hairy when you’re right in the thick of it! 🙂

  2. It doesn’t help the baby if you are suffering so much. Babies need their Mommies for so many things beyond a sleep hypnotist. I relate, I have 2 and there is one book that helped me. And trust me I read them all…. or 7-8 books. (Didn’t sleep train the first until she could talk and second… you bet I did before then! 🙂 With my first I didn’t sleep train and she became so demanding of me that at one point she actually smeared her poop all over the crib so that I knew how mad she was that I wasn’t doing things her way. I mean come on! That was where it got ugly! Hilarious now, but then awful. But seriously it is easier to sleep train when a: they are in a crib, and b: they can’t talk and scream “Mommy!!!! help me!” Believe me, that’s when it really sucks. And I think all parents who understand the dire importance of sleep, sleep train whether they know it or not. Because being a parent is being a teacher, and one of the best gifts I think you can give a child is the gift of knowing how to fall asleep on their own. Because IT’S A LEARNED SKILL. Some kids just do it, others need teaching. Okay so the book that saved me… and countless other friends whom I’ve said, “okay, it’s time…” is… drum roll please….. FERBER. Contrary to popular belief Ferber is the most gentle simple method and in fact he DOES NOT recommend crying it out. That is a myth. So read some Ferber, get the new revised version on, you can just look in the index for sleep cycles and just read that section. And in a day or two if you follow it, you’ll be done. Full night sleep all good. Betcha a dollar. I grabbed a friend from my neighborhood as she strolled by me in the LES looking like a Zombie, first time Mom, and she basically described the exact story you did to me. I dragged her to my apt…. she said “I am too tired to even read another book, or come to your apartment I’ve given up.” I put that chapter in her hand and told her to just read those 5 pages and try it that weekend. She is working full time AND not sleeping Ugh!!!! By Monday, her baby boy was on track. And so was she. Yay!!! Seriously, give it a try….then you can move on to the next challenge in parenting, cause it does go on and on… Good luck!

    • Thanks for sharing! Yes – a friend of mine did Ferber and she swears by it. I hesitate because going in to check on him and soothe him at all always seems to make him more of a lunatic… but it feels better to me if he knows we are there. Meanwhile, smeared poop huh? That’s pretty intense. Is she a strong-willed little girl now? That’s kind of hilarious.

  3. Ahhhh!!! You’ve discovered the “Nap time fairies”!! Emily had a crystal in her nursery and when I’d give it a spin to let the nap time fairies free to play, it eased the way to sleep. Enjoy the little scutters, they can be a big help ❤

  4. I think you summed it up– with kids there will always be something that seems like such a big thing at the time and confusing as to how to handle it. But then you will move past that and that issue will seem like nothing anymore and something else will take up your energy and thoughts. I promise there will be a time in your future when Theo is a great sleeper and you will be worried about something else. OR, you will be like us– still sleep deprived 6 years later!

  5. I’m not so sure if it keeps the trust. It was like “Ah, there you are. Finally! Wait….come back here! Where are you going?!”. My son always got really pissed and riled up again. Nell, that was such a beautiful post. As usual. I love your term “boob-drunk”! I’m sorry I don’t have a secret answer, but I do agree that this will ebb and flow, and there will always be something. Eight years later and I’m still overwhelmed and then amazed, frustrated beyond words, and completely in love. Certainly the greatest teachers ever! Hang in there!

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