Over-Achiever, Under-Sleeper

I haven’t written in awhile.  It’s not because I haven’t wanted to or haven’t had anything to say (ha, could you imagine??).  I actually have a few posts that I’m itching to get out, so I will attempt to not blog bomb you with one on top of the other.  Though, I do have a good reason for the lack of my poetic prose.

Wah, wah…my baby doesn’t sleep at appropriate times.  He seems to have confused himself with a noctural mammal, not the human sort who sleeps when it’s dark dammit.  And it’s not for lack of trying, I swear.  We have a bedtime routine.  We bring him into his nursery, turn on the low light, put him in pajamas, read books and then Husband either sings and rocks him or I nurse him.  The white noise machine shhhses away and the humidifier  keeps the room from crackling in this dry weather.  A soft, blue glow from the nightlight blankets the whole room in warmth.  I know that I want to curl up in that crib and fall into a deep sleep.  So, why doesn’t The Boy??

He falls asleep around 7:30-8 o’clock and we breathe a sigh of relief and slump into a false sense of relaxation.  Maybe 45 minutes later he sends up his cry.  I go up to nurse him and I fall for his I’m-asleep-again trick every time.  I cradle him and lean over the crib rail to deposit his snoring butt onto the mattress.  As soon as that body touches mattress he springs up onto all fours in a sort of baby-ninja pose and looks at me wimpering, all, why would you put me down when I was so cozy in your arms?  And there seems to be no rewinding from there.  I can bounce, cradle, sing, rock to no avail.

In fact, last night was craaazzzy.  That maniac monkey went possessed whacko.  He is 6 months old now and not only does he have his two bottom teeth that he is very proud of showing off, but he sits, crawls (in a half dragging, half crawling sort of way), and is extremely vocal without actually speaking words.  He has two new sounds that he makes. An “eeeeeeee” sound where he scrunches up his face and shows off his teeth (he’s usually smiling while “eeee”ing.) and then the classic raspberry.  With which he slobbers and sprays spit in about a 3 foot radius.

I’ve heard, and am now convinced, that when babies learn a new skill they have a hard time sleeping because they want to be showing off these new milestones they’ve hit.  Liam is what teachers refer to as “active” (that’s code for out of control).  He is wiggly and slightly spastic at times.  In an attempt to calm him down last night I brought him into our bed and laid down with him.  He flipped from his back to crawling position faster than a spider monkey and practically leapt onto my body, scrambling over me like he was scaling a rock climbing wall.  All the while he is “eeeee”ing and blowing raspberries like he was possessed.  When I picked him up to try to contain his energy he flew at my face and grabbed my cheeks with both hands, blowing spit into my eyes and then laughing maniacally.  “Eeeeee!!” He threw his body sideways onto the bed.

At Liam’s 6 month doctor’s visit today I described this late night fiasco and our family doctor explained that my extremely advanced 6 month old is a big show-off and this was exactly why he wasn’t sleeping.  The kid’s an over-achiever and an under-sleeper.  Greeeaaatt. 

And as our doctor also discussed, the “cry it out method” only works if the parents want it to.  She said some parents have to let their baby cry to TWO HOURS to “break them” of the habit.  Whhhaaatttt!!!  We tried to let Liam cry 10 minutes one night and Husband and I both lasted about 6 before we rescued him.  I just don’t get that whole method.  Of course the baby gets “broken” and falls asleep after two hours of crying hysterically.  The baby has learned that he is alone and that no one cares about him or loves him enough to pick him up and comfort him.  So he sleeps.  Why would I ever want my child to feel sad and lonely?  Isn’t that what we want to protect our children from?  Listen, I am not talking about the 10 minute cry.  I think that sometimes the baby is tired but fighting it and may take 5-10 minutes to give in to the exhaustion.  If it takes longer than that they probably weren’t ready to sleep.  (Says the tired mama who won’t let the baby “cry it out.”)

You know the worst part of the Sucky Sleeper Syndrome?  We tasted the good life.  Liam had started sleeping through the night when he was 3 months old.  We felt a bit more refreshed in the morning.  Then he sprouted those damn teeth at 4 months old and from there it’s gone to Sleeping Hell.

Maybe he’ll just hit all of those baby milestones quickly and we can all move on with our sleepy lives.

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5 thoughts on “Over-Achiever, Under-Sleeper

  1. Ah that first year of sleep……or lack of.

    I gotta say……..I think the best approach is no approach. Go with the flow. Do what works. Do what keeps you sane. And know it will all change in a few months anyways. Nothing in a baby’s world stays constant until they get to be 2 or 3 anyways.

    I don’t envy your sleeplessness at ALL. I’m sooooo glad to be out of those woods. Not fun at all. I hope you get a full nights soon!

    • Thank you for wishing me sleep, I hope it happens soon too. I know parents tend to forget exactly how sucky it is to be sleep-deprived until someone reminds them and then it comes flooding back. I know my sister and her husband have been debating having a third baby (as in she begs and he says heck no) but then she sees that I’m zombie-like and that the baby is fussy and she remembers that she’s in such an easier time with a 4 and 7 year old. Why bring back that first year suffering?? 🙂 Yet for some reason people always go back for more.

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