Saturday, July 16, 2011

sleep baby, sleep

My husband's not a jerk or an old-fashioned dude. When his response to my announcement that I am ready--and think Lilly is ready-- to sleep in her own bed at night is "so does this mean I will be tired too now?" it does not mean that he is not a devoted co-parent. Far from it. If you know Leighton, you know this is just his bemused way of thinking each step through. If you step back a little, you might even find it amusing (unless you're the spouse; in particular one who's been on edge).

In fact, it was I who asked Leighton to leave the family bed when I was about to nighttime wean Lilly. Sure, the bed had felt way too hot and crowded for quite a while up until then. But I was so wanting her to self-wean. She was nineteen months, and I figured her constant requests for the boob would soon dwindle. Except it didn't. And then when I started driving through red stop signs, I knew it was time.

But Leighton has a kind, sensitive heart, and I knew I couldn't worry about him lying there aching for Lilly while I was having my own hard time with the weaning issue; so I asked him to sleep in her bed.

The nighttime weaning did involve some whining, but as I've said, it was not in a despondent, despairing way, but in an pissed off, angry manner. It didn't take long for her to settle. Finding comfort in my body, if not in my boob, the transition went well.

This most recent transition of Lilly sleeping in her own bed at night, started out as a smooth move too. But then at the end of the week of gloriously restful night, we're back to having a squirmy child (at its best) next to us or (more often) on top us. Not having those powerful boobs around Thursday night while I was out with a friend, was the trigger. She's not used to me being out; last time was in March when I got a ladies' night out with my friends for my birthday. On Thursday, I got in bed around midnight and she joined us shortly after.

The following day she was extremely lovey for mama, expressing her love for me in sweet, tender ways throughout the day, as if to ensure my enamored affection for her and that I would never leave her at night again.

Even during nap yesterday, she would not let me leave her. Clinging to my body, I figured her needs for me might have something to do with the thunderous weather we'd been having that day too, but all was quiet during her nap time. Still, nap aborted, despite her exhaustion.

Her going to bed last night according to our new routines went fine, but then at 11:30 P.M. she came in to our room, crying. Leighton got up and went back to her room to lie down with her there, and there he stayed. The entire night she whimpered.

So yes, now Leighton is tired too. And whereas yesterday, Lilly was all cute and lovey, today she's just a whining brat. I know this doesn't sound very attachment parenting oriented, but plainly; it sucks.

It was easy to dote on her yesterday when every other second she'd tell me how much she loves me and in general was just so nice and "good" (I hate that term, but use it now for lack of better).

Not so today.

When out on errands this morning, I finally stopped the car and, exasperated, I turned around and asked her "what?" Why so whiny? And she answered it's because she can't sleep because she's sad she can't sleep with mama. Of course that comment melted my heart -- for a moment. It has not sustained the day.

I feel like our one step ahead, has led us two steps back. Or maybe it's more like one gigantic leap resulting in a proportionally huge lapse.

Some words of hope and encouragement to help me endure this rite of passage?


  1. Amazing update: Before nap today, I told her I would get up after nursing her and go work in the living room on my laptop, and that she'd need to close her eyes and sleep. And that if she'd sleep, she'd get to watch Elmo afterwards.

    And it worked! I'm not sure how I feel about the film allurement--not too bad, I guess. In the winter, I'd usually let her watch a DVD a day, and it'd be after she'd wake up from nap to stretch my writing time. She was particularly intrigued by today's news that she could watch this specific Elmo DVD, because she hasn't watch a DVD in a long time until we picked this one up at the library yesterday when nap was aborted and I needed just some time to write (and get a break from her).

    But most importantly, I think this was a right move because lying there with her till she's asleep at nap but not at night might be sending her the message that I will nap with her--which I won't. And she knows that, but her body might be on the alert for my leaving her. Like she knows I'll leave when she's asleep, so she won't go to sleep. I got to thinking of this when, before nap today, she said to me when I told her it was time for nap that, "and mama will nap with me." Even if she knows I end up working on the couch, being there with her till she is asleep might be giving her conflicting messages. Usually, I will have to try at least one or two times to get up before I actually can without her whining for me though she's asleep but not in deep enough sleep not to sense my body leaving.

    Before our trip to Norway, she would let me leave her awake for quiet time if she wouldn't fall asleep, so I would suggest that if I had gotten exasperated from lying there waiting for her to fall asleep. But after our trip, she's been more mama needy at nap and has cried if I suggest quiet time when she won't nap. Today when I got up to leave after telling her to close her eyes, she said "no," but she was fine with me leaving. I figured if no nap, at least she'd get quiet time and that'd be fine too.

    But she fell asleep! It got quiet right away, and two hours after she comes out of her room and joins me in the living room where she, in a good mood, finds me writing on my laptop.

    "I have slept for many days," she tells me (in Norwegian). I smiled; "not really, just two hours." -- "And now I can watch my DVD," she continued. "Which one?" -- "Elmo, I told you that."

    Okidoki. So hear we are on the sofa together. Me on my laptop, she with her DVD. Good for me, good for her. Perhaps there's hope after all.

  2. Hi Anne,
    I know we're on different ends of the spectrum here but all I can say is that it sounds like there is a distinct possibility you will *all* be well-rested soon and that will be a good, good thing. Good luck! 

  3. Sounds like progress! Falling asleep alone is definitely a valuable skill every human should have the opportunity to learn. Have you ever watched an episode of the Super Nanny where she teaches sleep separation? Highly recommended: rocket science. Just follow the method consistently and in a couple of nights you'll all be well rested. Here's to the soon-to-be well-rested family!

  4. Thanks, Emily! I'm back to lying with her till she's asleep for nap, but it's not been exasperating, and most nights she's fine going asleep by herself in her own room and usually doesn't join us till around 4 or 5 in the morning. So I feel pretty good about her sleep. Now I just need to get better about not staying up late at night to work! ;)

  5. Thanks for your input! The Super Nanny's sleep training methods aren't quite my cup of tea. However, I'm grateful for your taking the time to read and comment! And for your well wishes!

  6. Glad you've at least watched the sleep separation segment to see. Sure seems a LOT more humane than keeping a three year old up all night whimpering. Hope you're all well rested and happy with your sleeping quarters now!

  7. Thank you! And that would indeed be terrible; a child whimpering all through the night. I can't even begin to imagine that.


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