Thursday, June 14, 2012

He doesn't sleep

There will be no pictures tonight, I think.  Of course, necessarily, some posts will have to go without if I really meet my goal of one post per day.  But even though I have a plethora to choose from at this point (having just gotten started), I haven't the energy.

Last night wasn't too much worse than most others, I suppose.  But, I've found that when you're "functioning" on as little sleep as I have been lately, you're going to run into some days that are harder than others.  Today has been tough, and tonight I am dragging.

Also, it's 10:00 pm, and he's awake for the fourth time since I first put him down at 7:00 pm.  To say I'm feeling some intense sleep anxiety would be an understatement.  It's hard to fall asleep when it's certain you'll be interrupted within a very short frame of time.

I truly did believe people when they insisted that Abby was an easy baby.  I recognized it at the time.  Though, I did often get frustrated at the commentary, since even an "easy" baby is a challenging proposition, especially for first-time parents.

Michael is her polar opposite, and has been from moment one.  The pregnancy was tougher, in many ways.  The labor was far, far longer (think weeks).  And, though his birth was probably as close to "a breeze" as I'm ever going to get, and the recovery was stellar, little Michael himself is quite a handful.

He'll be five months just days from now.  At this point in her development, Abby was waking only once per night, and was only weeks from sleeping through for eight-plus hours.  Michael, on a good night, is waking every two.  This is actually an improvement from the 60-90 minute thing he had going for the first three months, and the 60-120 minute pattern I've endured for the last few weeks.  He's pretty solidly every two hours now.  Only, now, he doesn't go down without a fight.

So I don't know which is worse.  Having to get up and nurse him every hour, but being able to stay in a state of half-wakefulness as all that's required of me is to grab him, feed him, and place him back down. Or, getting two hours in, but spending twenty-plus minutes putting him back to sleep, even after he's fed.  I'm really starting to think it's the latter.  I've felt more physically drained and short-of-temper in the last few days than ever (though maybe it's just the compounded lack of sleep really hitting hard now).  Beyond that, it's just so incredibly exhausting to get up in the first place, let alone remain standing and rocking while holding an approximately 17 pound baby, and trying not to let my frustration completely crowd out what little sanity I have left.

Maybe it's because I'm giving in during the day lately.  He's a terrible napper, too, in case you were wondering.  I have gotten the odd two-hour stretch out of him, but his usual m.o. is 30-60 minutes, about three-four times a day.  Now, this is definitely an improvement over before I purchased and read Elizabeth Pantley's "The No-Cry Sleep Solution."  She actually had some really good ideas, and I was pretty hopeful as I put them to use.  But while my hard work got me hour-long naps from Michael instead of 20-minute ones, the nighttime situation has sadly not changed a great deal.

One thing I learned from the aforementioned book is that babies his age should be getting 5-6 hours of nap time sleep per day, and if they don't get enough, may be overtired and not sleep well at night.  I've definitely seen the theory of not enough nap=poor nighttime sleep proven with my daughter, but I just can't seem to get Michael to sleep nearly that many hours.  That is, unless I hold him on my person.

When Tom and I first started the sleep training, we would wear him in the K'Tan (a wrap) for naps, to ensure that he got a good solid two hours each time.  It worked great, except that he became less and less tolerant of sleeping in any other environment, so nighttime sleep was practically nonexistent.  When I really started to see results was when I got serious about making Michael sleep in his bassinet, even if it meant I had to keep putting him back down every 20-30 minutes until he approximated about two hours.  (This was entirely too exhausting to really do even from the beginning, so often after the first two attempts, we let him finish out the nap in the K'tan.)  I did get a couple of nights of three and four hour stretches, preceded  and followed by hour-long ones, and allowed myself to hope.  But then, Michael developed an ear infection, and we were back to square one, where we have pretty much remained to this day.

But, back to giving in.  While some days I have more energy than others, I think I've literally hit the very bottom of the barrel when it comes to stores of patience.  So, when faced with the choice of struggling to get Michael down for a nap, and potentially getting only an hour for my troubles, I often take the easy way and let him get nice and tired, then fall asleep nursing in my lap.  And then, if I'm really lucky and it happens after Abby has gone down, I get a bit of a snooze, too.  I can get over two hours this way.

But then, in the middle of the night, when I'm putting him down just barely awake, I think he's hoping for the same.  And I'd love to give it, but that's not so easy in the middle of the night.

My little Mama's Boy.  I love how much he needs me, but I need him to spread his wings a little.  And he doesn't even need to fly.  Just a little hop for Mommy.  Please?