Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Baby Sleep (or: How my son likes to tease me)

Why is talking about how your baby sleeps like talking about a no hitter in baseball? I texted my mom the other night, commenting that I hoped the baby would sleep well (but as Pat has pointed out numerous times, when would I NOT hope he slept well???) and right away I just knew that I had jinxed it.

Without sounding too much like a proud, bragging mama, Tom really IS a very good baby. Happy the majority of the time, always laughing and smiling, rarely fussy. But, unfortunately, he only sleeps through the night about once every three months. He chose Monday night to finally sleep all night, after a weeks-long battle with the top teeth. And I'm talking all.night. Eleven hours without waking up. Unfortunately, that very same night, I was stricken with what I can only assume was some kind of evil, sudden-onset insomnia. Meaning, that of the eleven hours that my son slept, I slept five. For no reason. And of course, the next night, after texting my mom...we were back to the not sleeping.

And then today, he flat out refused to take his afternoon nap. And this is a baby that needs his naps. He stayed up for seven straight hours, which is probably the longest stretch of time that he's been awake his whole life. And all I could think of during the 2 hours that I spent pretending that he was actually going to cave, and go down for his nap, were all kinds of maddening phrases that I either picked up from the random 1 or 2 chapters of parenting books I read when he was a newborn (before I swore off all parenting books all together), or advice that someone gave me at some point-

"Sleep begets sleep!"
"Don't let your baby get overtired- this will only inhibit his ability to sleep well."
"When you notice that your baby is showing signs of being tired, put your baby down for a nap right away!"

Don't get me wrong, some of those words, are words that I live by when it comes to getting Tom to sleep, and I've taken most of the good advice I've received to heart, and really appreciate true wisdom on such matters. But then...sometimes it doesn't work, and while my brain plays those axioms on repeat, I just want to slap myself.

There's something about baby sleep that is highly personal to parents, and a source of real curiosity, and strong opinion for a lot of people. I remember once in the grocery store another mom stopping me to ask me if my baby slept all night. There she was with her two little kids, and there I was with Tom. Maybe she was just looking for a little solidarity, but since we were strangers, I was hoping maybe she would go with something more obvious, and ask me his age or name?

I'm sure I said something along the lines of "mumble mumble....teething....mumble mumble....growth spurt...mumble he's not sleeping."

I know this is a phase, as most things are with babies, and I know it wont last forever. But sometimes, especially these past few days when I've been more sleep deprived than I've been in a while, I wonder how I'll do it again and again. Despite feeling like a truck ran over me, I have had a serious case of baby fever lately, and have been wondering if/when God will bless us with another little one to love. In fact, I'm praying, as I always have been, that he would see fit to bless us with a large family. But that little niggling voice inside of me makes me wonder whether or not I can be this tired for the next 20 years. Or this anxious...or this clueless? I'm sure with more children, comes more wisdom. At least I hope. And I feel more than a little silly for being so complain-y when I know that there are moms out there whose babies probably sleep even less than mine, and who have other kids to take care of to boot. If you are reading this, please know that I admire you deeply. I guess my sleep deprived brain just needed a good vent...maybe now I'll be able to sleep a little better.

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