I think I’ve come to the point where I have to admit we have a problem. As awesome as Stella has been and as lucky as we’ve been with her (no major illness, only one ear infection, no serious “bonk-related” injuries) I have to concede that we did not win the sleep lottery with her. For over a year, I’ve been talking to other parents whose kids “sleep all night.” Even tiny ones. They were our friends but I would want to slug them when they said that. I still do.
At first it was easy to chalk it up to nursing. Most of the literature and message boards readily acknowledged that nursing babies woke up more frequently than bottle-fed babies. Ok. I was more than willing to suck that one up. But then we crossed that threshold where nutritionally she was able to go all night without. She just never did.
Don’t get me wrong. We had nights that went well. They were just usually the exception rather than the rule. Was it teething? The temperature of her room being exacerbated by whatever PJs she had on? Was it a growth spurt? Who the hell knows. Maybe it is our/my fault, as I have usually been quick to go to her in the night when I hear her. In my defense, it just seems/seemed easier to do that. If I catch her quick enough, she goes almost immediately back to sleep and Will isn’t disturbed. I’m also not up for an hour trying to soothe the savage Cack. For ages now, she and I just finish the night on the couch together. It’s kind of cute but not.
We tried “crying it out” a few times, but honestly neither of us can stand it. Plus it just doesn’t seem to work. Granted, we cut it out after about 10 minutes. That’s been the max, I think.
What’s bothering me now is that the one thing I had going for me/us – the bedtime routine – seems to be rapidly flying out the window. For about a year, we’ve been very lucky when it comes to that, largely, I think, because I’ve managed it with an iron fist. Dinner at 6:30 (bath before when necessary). Diaper and clothing change. Story time starting around 7:00’ish, then maybe minimal rocking (and nursing when we were doing that) before lights out. She rarely fought it. On the contrary, there were nights when it was hard to make her stay awake that late. On some nights, I could even put her in her crib awake, start her musical seahorse, then leave. Piece of cake.
Now, we’re all over the place. While visibly exhausted, she will not settle. She’ll come to be rocked and then immediately flail to get down. She runs laps around the coffee table while rubbing her eyes. Bedtime now can be between 8:30 and 9:00.
That may not sound bad but she’s still getting up in the middle of the night and often waking up at the ass-crack of dawn (although that does seem to gradually be easing up a bit). Selfishly, I want/need that early bedtime, as it’s the only time I get to chill and unwind.
So what to do? Maybe we/I have mismanaged this thing badly. Maybe she’s just not a good sleeper. I don’t know. I’m just tired.