Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sleep (in stages)

My camera is broken, so I thought I'd share an old favorite family photo

As you may have gathered from recent posts, sleep is still not something we have mastered at our happy household. We are still dealing with two major issues - the falling asleep AND the staying asleep. There are two camps of thought on how to get babies to sleep through the night - the cry it out (let them wail until they sleep for consecutive nights, and it takes less and less time each night) or the co-sleep (don't worry, they grow up quickly, co-sleepings helps to form a really strong bond with your child and this doesn't last forever, ie. they won't want to cuddle you when they are teenagers). I am still struggling to find a middle ground. Night times tend to be a long drawn out battle, and as I've spent several hours laying on Caleb's floor waiting for him to fall asleep over the past few months, I've realized there are various stages that we go through each night - Disbelief, Resist, Delay, Final Opposition, Stealthy Esacpe.

First stage - Disbelief.
When I announce it is bedtime he acts completely shocked, despite the fact that he has already had his bath, bedtime snack and is wearing his pyjamas. He gives me a 'What??! How did this happen? We were having so much fun!' look, and pleas 'Let's play, mom, please! Not bedtime yet!'. I am able to eventually convince him to come to his room by promising that HE can choose some books to read. He does love the reading/cuddling part of the routine, so he usually gives in pretty quickly.

Second Stage - Resist.
After reading a few books, including one or two 'last' books, I say it is time to lay in bed. He really does not want to allow this to happen, UNLESS, I agree to lay beside him (on the floor). I feel a bit embarrassed writing that, and this is the first major change we are trying to make. In order to encourage him to fall asleep on his own without me right beside him, I've been trying to sit on the chair in his room instead of laying right beside him. Some nights it works, some nights after a particularly long battle, I become desperate and end up back on the floor.

Third Stage - Delay.
This is when the stall tactics come out. He's already laying down in his bed, lights are off, and the 'I need a drink!', 'I don't like this blanket', 'I need my monkey' lines start. He usually gets one drink, which I keep right beside me.

Fourth Stage - Final Opposition.
One last effort on his part to fight the sleep, which he now realizes is inevitable. Rolling, talking, singing, kicking his legs in the air, basically as much movement as possible to keep himself awake. I lay silently beside him on the floor, pretending to be asleep. This stage can last between 5-30 minutes and tends my least favorite part of my day. I'd much, much rather be spending a bit of time with Alan, or on my own during the precious few evening hours I have. But if I leave, he starts bawling, and I become conscious of the noise (neighbours upstairs with kids) and figure it is easier to just stay with him until he is asleep. I know I need to stand my ground and be more consistent, and that this will likely take some tears at some point, but I'm still holding on to some little shred of hope that this will all start getting better soon.

Final Stage - The Stealthy Escape.
He suddenly stops moving and his breathing becomes steady. He's asleep. I now use my ninja-like moves to silently exit the room. If a floorboard squeaks, I could be done for, so I ever-so-slowly get up and re-enter the real world.

I guess there is another stage. The Wake Up, which does still happen, but we are working to make that better, too. Basically he would much, much rather sleep with us. I know I am not helping the situation because I often cave and let him into our bed in the middle of the night. I just find it so tiring to get up and wait until he falls back asleep in the middle of the night. Especially if I need to work the next day. I'm insanely busy next week with work which includes a few nights away, but the following week - we are dealing with this once and for all. More updates to come.

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