It’s a little more complicated than that… but it’s close! All I really wanted for Christmas was to know that he is going to be ok. For months his sleep has gotten worse and worse. People keep telling me that they never slept when they were babies and they’re fine, or about some book or other that I should read, or that I’m worrying too much. I saw my happy baby getting more and more exhausted and frustrated and his happy stretches getting shorter and shorter. Still – it was hard to get anyone other than Dork Dad to take me seriously when I KNEW that something was wrong. Most people meant well, but what they were saying was basically that nothing was wrong even as I was shouting at the top of my lungs that something was wrong.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – THANK GOD FOR DORK DAD. That man may not be perfect (he’s totally not) but he is perfect for us! We contacted The Baby Sleep Site when we were basically at the end of our rope. My first email to them was written through tears. Even as I held them out as my last hope I was terrified that they wouldn’t be able to do anything and I would fail my son yet again.
We filled out a 15 page form about pretty much everything about our son. There weren’t any details we left out. We got back a 30 page plan that was filled with kindness, understanding and practical advice. We got a schedule and the thinking behind it. We got step by step and day by day plans with contingencies and all of it was customized to our parenting style and our son. Our questions were answered quickly and with the same level of care and understanding. It was amazing to me to have someone accept that there was a major problem and give me tools on how to solve it. They also understood that we were completely sleep deprived and so they broke it down into small, doable chunks.
The first day was horrible. His nap amounts plummeted, his fussiness was through the roof and his overnight sleep sucked. The second day the naps were no better, but I was feeling like I was getting the hang of the recommendations – we just needed to turn the corner. Night two – I did the bedtime routine alone since DD had to work late and he just wasn’t having it. After a day of having my nerves scraped raw I was at the end of my rope. I put him down in his crib, kissed his forehead and walked out.
He was ‘playing’ in his crib, yelling at his toes (I have no idea what they keep doing to piss him off, but they never seem to learn!) and rolling around for about 30 minutes. I washed dishes and repeated the plan over and over in my head. Playing is good, playing means he’s comfortable in his sleeping space, everything will be ok, DD will be home soon, etc.
DD walked in to find a girlfriend on the edge, a baby on the edge, no dinner anywhere in sight, laundry strewn all over the living room, a jump ahead of a day in the sleep plan (we weren’t supposed to be putting him down until night 3) and he didn’t flinch – even after an extra long day at work and going to two stores for Christmas tree supplies. That man.
By the time the crying started I was a little more calm. Still, my nerves couldn’t handle folding clothes while DD did the soothing so I pretty much kicked him out of the nursery and took over. I left the baby in the crib and just patted his back or his belly or let him hold my hand all the while doing the super loud SSSSSHHHHH sound that I think is a nationally recognized part of the language of parenting. It took about 45 minutes. He settled down on his tummy with his fingers in his mouth and I stopped shhhhhing and patting and he squirmed a little and sighed and slept.
HE SLEPT. They had said it could take a couple hours the first night and I was prepared for the long haul so when I walked out of the nursery I had to get DD to confirm for me that he was asleep. We sat there, staring at the monitor and I broke down. All of the fear and worry came rushing out in hot, painful tears. DD just held me.
You see, even though we had paid about $150 to these people, and even though I was following the plan as closely as I could, and even though I had memorized the dang thing – I still didn’t really believe. Now there was proof. If this could happen, then maybe everything else they said they could do would happen too. The goals I gave them were to have three night wakings and to shorten the length of the night wakings and to have his daytime naps last at least a 1/2 hour. The goals they gave back to me were to have two night wakings and eventually wean to one or none and to have daytime naps last an hour (for the first two) and 30-45 minutes for the last one.
I thought that was a pipe dream. It just may be. But I finally have what I always wanted for Christmas – faith that I can do this.
We aren’t finished. We aren’t even close. There are major nap issues and gas issues and he only slept about 45 minutes that first time he settled down on his own. We have more work to do. But we have a plan. And more than that, I have faith again.
Today is day three. He napped for about 20 minutes but I didn’t give up. I went in and rocked him back down and then he SLEPT FOR 70 MINUTES!!! But you know what’s better than that?
My baby has his smile back. MERRY CHRISTMAS!
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