Friday, April 27, 2012

sleep like a baby

In the case of my baby, that means "never sleep at all. ever."

I have been, um, blessed with a baby who doesn't sleep.

I don't mean only takes two one-hour naps. I don't mean wakes up two or three times a night still.

I mean, his naps are about twenty minutes. I mean, a good night is him waking up every three hours. A bad night? Every 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Those are lovely nights.

He's 10 months old.

There is a reason there are very few pictures of this boy sleeping and even fewer pictures of him sleeping blissfully on his own. And that's because it hasn't ever happened.

This boy of mine came into the world ready to go. He always preferred to stretch his legs and body. He was very vocal and very particular about how he was held. He preferred motion, though hated the car. He's my little monkey and it's going to be very interesting to see what sort of little boy he'll be.

I almost didn't post this. I annoy myself with all the whining about this baby not sleeping. If I wasn't living it, I'd think I was full of it, exaggerating and clearly doing something wrong.

If you run in any of the same online social forums I do, you might be rolling your eyes right now. You've seen me joke about it and try and take it in stride and you've seen me (mostly) cry and whine and moan about it. You're probably more than a little sick of it. But I'm putting it out here anyway.

Here's why: to have a baby who doesn't sleep. And I don't mean in the "exhausting 'cause you aren't sleeping either" sort of way, though that is certainly true. I mean exhausting in the "ON" all day and night sort of way. I mean exhausting in the way that the thought of nap time makes you want to sit down and cry because nap time has become such a battle.

And you know, you have the well meaning friends and family and support. Especially when you perhaps talk about it OVER AND OVER AND OVER (not that I do that or anything, ahem) and people are really, sincerely trying to help you. It's appreciated - the feedback. It really, truly is. But sometimes it can get frustrating too. you just want someone who understands. Who knows what you are going through. Who realizes you really have tried all the tricks.

Yes, I have tried wearing him. I wore him and wore him and wore him when he was an infant. Now that he is just about 30 lbs, wearing him for several hours a day while he naps can be painful., though I do often still put him in the carrier when I'm desperate for him to sleep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. Also, sometimes I just don't WANT to wear him (gasp!) I just don't. Sometimes I just want him to sleep, soundly, by himself. This does not make me a terrible person.

No, I have not tried Crying-it-Out. Though we did set up a crib finally, and just last week I had to put him down for about 5 minutes and just walk away. He cried. I took some deep breaths, came back in and he nursed right to sleep and admittedly did sleep for probably his longest nap ever, waking twice to nurse, but sleeping for nearly 3 hours. Sometimes he nurses right down, without a fight (for his 20 minute power nap!) and there is no need or reason for him to be left alone to cry like that though. If I need to do that I will, but I'm not going to create a situation to do it in. The truth is I'm just not okay with it. Perhaps in a couple of months, but right now he's just a baby still. He is not doing this to manipulate me or to drive me crazy.

I've read No Cry Sleep Solution. I understand that clearly he is not cycling though sleep. The suggestion there is to catch him at the transition and settle him back down before he fully wakes up, thus allowing him to enter deep sleep and nap like a normal baby. I've done that too. It usually gets me another 5-20 minutes of nap time.

Yes, he actually does need to nap. No, he is not one of those babies that just don't need naps. Just trust me on this one. I mean, really, I'm looking forward to the day that he doesn't need naps anymore. Spending literally hours a day to get him to sleep, only to be rewarded with a 20-30 minute nap is certainly not my idea of a good time. I'm not doing this for fun. In fact, it's the least fun thing I can think of right now. Yes, he actually does need longer naps. There are times he'll take them. Sometimes in the car (though driving around is no guarantee he'll fall asleep, even when he's tired). Sometimes if he's being worn and most often if he is being held.

No, I did not spoil him. No, I do not believe that this is my fault. Yes, I wore him often, held him for naps and rushed to him when he cried. That is because that's what babies need. Babies need to be held, they need to feel secure. He has never liked to sleep on his own. Not even the day he was born. He protested, very loudly, from the start. He has never liked the swing. He has always preferred the warmth of someones arms. Wouldn't you?

Honestly, the night times would be bearable, if only there was nap time. Or perhaps the nap battle would be less exhausting if there was night time sleeping happening.

My next step is a pediatrician and chiropractic appointment.

I don't know what the answer is.

I am not putting this out there to give answers or advice.

I am not putting this out there to get answers or advice.

I just know that I've spent more time than I'd care to admit, scouring the internet for ideas, tips, tricks, solutions. I rarely find it. Not that I'm unsympathetic, because I realize all pain is relative, but coming across  information on how to get your 4 month old to sleep through the night, or posts about your baby only taking two one-hour naps a day - well, those things just are not the same. I'm sympathetic, really, but if this boy was taking two one-hour naps a day, I would be an elated mama.

I am putting this out there, for those other exhausted mamas, who might be googling furiously each day - looking for something, anything, to help them out.

I'm putting this out there to say that while I don't have the answers, I understand. There is a girl  I know, who understands me, and while it doesn't solve the issue, man oh man does it help. Just to know there is someone else out there who gets it. (thank you so much for listening to my constant whining!)

So I'm just here saying that I understand - I get it. And I do really, honestly believe that it will get better. It really will.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

see how we've grown

Before we moved to this house, the family before us had marked their history on their wall. 

They didn't just pencil it in. Oh no, they carved their lives right into the wood. I found this fascinating. This was not to be painted over. This was the story of their lives, permanently etched into their walls of their home. 

They were all height marks, as you see in many homes, but these were like none I had ever seen. There was the year their sons voice changed. Significant accomplishments, girlfriends, life stories. It was more than how they were growing upwards, it was how they were growing UP. 

When they moved out and we moved in he cut that section of the wall right out. Brought it with him and placed it in his families mountain cabin. We go stay in that cabin one beautiful weekend out of every summer and watch as new memories are added to it every year. 

I think it's the most wonderful thing I've ever seen. 

When we moved in, we started doing the same, in the very same spot that their history was once etched. 

It delights me to think of the stories our wall will someday hold. 

The most noticeable so far, is how Evan has grown from a boy to a teen. The year he surpasses his mama in height, and how even at 13, he's still several inches shorter than a dear family friend was at 11.

As i sit here I think of the stories we've already missed or didn't think to record. Colin losing his first tooth. Kevin turning 30.

The most wonderful thing about this wall, to me, is the sense of permanence. After moving from apartment to apartment to townhome to townhome - here we are, finally. In the home where our children will grow to adults, where they will remember as home when they are on their own. Where we can tell the story of our lives on the walls.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

::right now::

I am . . .

~ wondering what has kept me from this space for so long (I have a dozen or so posts in queue, but none that I've felt motivated to hit publish on)

~ trying
to just go with the flow of this crazy Spring we're having. 91 degrees a week ago, yesterday 12 hours of no power and a snow day (!) for the kids!

~ watching and paying extra close attention to these fast growing boys of mine. A teenager headed into high school next year (and taking college credits in engineering classes already!), an eight year old who by the day seems to be shedding his little kid looks and showing us more and more glimpses of older boy he's becoming. Oh, and this baby of mine. A full 10 months already. Six whole teeth. And getting braver and braver with letting go and moving on his own. Oh, my.

~ smelling the full, rich scents of stocks simmering on the stove, doing some last winter time canning in anticipation for the busy summer ahead.

~ thankful for the slow ease back into sports season. Just baseball practice for one boy twice a week for now. The quiet before the summer storm.

~ learning to let go. There will be many days when not everything gets done. There will be more days when almost nothing gets done. Trying very hard to learn the balance of what is important now and what can wait. And wait.

~ realizing this post will be mostly picture-less since mama's camera seems to have crawled away to who knows where.

~ reminding myself that things that are done are better than things that never get done in attempts at perfection.

~ listening to a baby who is quite done with his mama typing away and is very ready to an early morning snuggling.