December 1, 2009

four, maybe five steps back?

Holy sleeplessness! I feel like just when we're starting to adjust to a new rhythm and get a good system going we're sent right back to the starting line for no apparent reason. And I know we have it good compared to some families out there, but I think last night earned me the right to complain a little bit.

See, we've noticed that since Lincoln has gotten a little bit older and is more involved in what's going on around him, it's gotten more difficult for him to sleep just anywhere like he did before. He's more interested in people and interacting, so if we don't encourage him to nap, he'll just stay awake and get grumpy from the sleeplessness. Once we caught on and started paying attention to his tired signs, it became apparent that he does best if he naps about every two hours, for at least half an hour, usually more like an hour.

We got into a really good flow with it a couple of weeks ago, and we instituted a whole system with the darkened room, consistent lullaby music, the whole package. When I noticed him starting to show tired signs during the day, I would go into the room, turn on the music, and we would nurse until he fell asleep or was finished, whichever came first. Then into the blasted swing, which is still the only place he'll sleep alone. After a few days, he was getting so used to it that he didn't even have to be asleep, just drowsy, and he would fall asleep on his own even with me out of the room.

We've also gotten more consistent with his nighttime bedtime routine, triggered by his tired signs at around 7 pm. We start with a warm bath or a massage followed by the change to pajamas, the same lullaby music, and nursing routine like during the day. Then into the swing, where he sleeps until about ten, which is when I come upstairs and bring him to bed with me for the night. It's been going great- and Lincoln is consistently in a much better mood during the day when he gets his naps.

But- apparently someone saw me getting all confident in our parenting abilities and wanted to make sure to nip that in the bud before confidence turned to cockiness, because it all came crashing down last night!

Yesterday morning was fine, and Lincoln took a nice two-hour morning nap followed by a couple of shorter ones in the afternoon. We set about putting him to bed at about 6:45, and Daddy gave him a lovely massage to start things off. I nursed him to sleep, put him in the swing, and everything seemed normal. Forty minutes later, he was awake. Sometimes that happens, but I can usually get him to fall asleep again with a quick nursing session. That was the case last night, but it only lasted fifteen minutes that time, then he was awake again. I went back up and tried to soothe him asleep again, and he stopped crying but didn't fall asleep. I asked for some fatherly intervention, but at ten pm the kid was still up. What followed was the worst night of sleep that I think any of us have gotten since Lincoln was born.

I hoped this morning that it had just been a fluke, and he would nap well today to make up for it. I was wrong. He refused to nap this morning and instead just cried and cried. I finally gave up and put him in the Moby so I could get some things done around the house, and he was asleep within a few minutes for half an hour. The same thing happened in the afternoon, with the fuss and the struggle and refusal to sleep. Back in the Moby he went, and back asleep he fell. Once he was in a nice deep slumber I tried to move him to the swing, but he wouldn't have it. Those brown eyes popped open and welled up with tears practically instantly. I don't know what happened! It's broken. Just when I thought we had a system, it's broken.

Tonight, I'm proceeding as usual as if last night and today had never happened. They say that consistency is the key, so I'm just hoping that he goes down tonight like he had been before this little glitch. Please, baby boy, mama needs her sleep!