Tuesday, September 21, 2010

sleep training, one month later

so proud that he can pet turtle without mauling her.
19 months

just born
1 day old
1 week

1 month
2 months (at his plumpest. look at those thighs!)
6 months

10 months
1 year

1.5 years

at what point does the baby-ness go away entirely? leon has always been on the skinny side, which i think has made him look less babyish than most. his bright expressive face and constant activity also make him seem older than he is. he's still my dumpling, my first born and much adored baby, but i can't deny that he's been looking quite grown-up for a long while now.

sleep training and the natural weaning process that comes with my work schedule and longer stretches of sleep only reinforce this sense of time passing. plus he now says so many words including bye, mine, no, bird, straw, ball, balloon, truck, dig, draw, and more. i won't deny that i would like another soon, even as i worry that he or she might be as difficult in the sleep/feeding/activity department(s).

the sleep has been so hard. it has made me feel like a bad person. the overtiredness that becomes my new normal, that causes me to snap or have a meltdown seemingly out of the blue. the inability to focus on work. i've learned the importance of time-outs for myself. i still have to count to ten at least once a day in order to refocus. with these baby steps of sleep-training, i thought i would become more relaxed about minor set-backs. instead i've found them to be more daunting than when i was in the trenches. just catching a glimpse of a more normal sleep situation has made the set-backs hard to handle.

after nearly two weeks of leon falling asleep somewhat easily during both nap and bedtime, he finally figured out the new regime. suddenly 'book' and 'draw' were uttered in plaintive tones (which nearly melt my heart). 'night, night?' was now answered by a swift 'no, no!' and vigorous head shaking. my 1.5 year old was figuring out how to stall. bedtime has been taken over by matthew, who reads leon a few books and pats him to sleep. naps, however, have become semi-hellish for us both. 40-50 minutes of screaming, writhing, kicking and hitting. the rage that i used to feel whenever i attempted to sleep-train him has come flooding back. counting to 10, deep breaths....of course he goes down fairly quickly for naps when his two babysitters are with him (2 days a week). they rock him and sing songs until he falls asleep. when i try this, he glares stonily back at me. just like the old days, but with a bit more maturity on both our parts. he understands the routine but doesn't want to comply. i now know there's a light at the end of the tunnel, so i persevere.


Amanda said...

Oh my goodness. As soon as my boy started going down easy in the evening he started resisting naps, to the point where we are both sometimes in tears after an hour or more of me reading, singing, nursing, coaxing. His eyes will droop and yet he somehow keeps them open. But of course he goes to sleep like a lamb for his father or grandmother. These mother-baby relationships are interesting, aren't they?

Catherine said...

I was the same with Audrey – after she started sleeping through the night I felt absolutely wretched if she woke me up on the odd occasion. Before then, sleep-deprived, I believed I actually felt better. I guess I didn't know the state I was actually in. I now limit Audrey's sole day nap to a maximum of 2 hrs. She could possibly sleep for three, but when she does I am now realising this is when she wakes at night.

And the few times Brendan has gone to put Audrey to bed, she breaks down and cries for me. What a sook.

You've come so far, you should feel justifiably proud of yourself. And look at that handsome little boy of yours - the proof is in the pudding!

Christine said...

I love the photos of your baby over time. He really does wear a precociously mature expression, especially with the more recent photos. And most importantly, he looks happy and healthy.

My son (who just turned 18 months old), has been rather clingy of late. This has affected his previously good sleep habits. Not ten days ago, he was sleeping well. Then the clinginess started, and with it, the seemingly sudden need for me to be with him, holding him, 24 hours a day. I'd read that this sudden change is common, and can signal a new bout of separation anxiety, or even an impending milestone. My husband and I braced ourselves to re-train him (as seemed to be the recommendation), and luckily it worked fairly quickly. As I've fallen more in love with my son as he's grown older, it actually pained me more to re-train him this time, than when I first did it 6 months ago. It turned out that he was ready to reach another milestone - he took his first unassisted steps yesterday! Quite late for most babies, but every baby really is different.

I think unpredictable sleep is really par for the course with little ones. Like other babies and toddlers, it sounds like Leon is really most comfortable showing you all his sides (good and bad), while reserving his best behavior for part-time caretakers!

Hang in there, Erica! Even with the difficulties that remain, you still sound like you are moving in the direction of having balance in your life.

P.S. I hear you on the point of wanting another little one! Motherhood is strangely bewitching...

redfox said...

So hard. You have my sympathies. I hope it has been getting a little easier again since you posted this.

The whole ecosystem of sleep can be really mysterious -- Jane and I were getting into some bad cycles where she seemed to need to nurse down more and more; then we shook up her routine with a trip and for no apparent reason that seemed to fix it, and she's back to sleeping pretty well with just pats and kisses at bedtime. Once I was able to track some inconsolable nighttime wakings to having put her to bed in short-sleeved PJs, but most of the time, the mystery remains, often even after it's "solved".

The retrospective photos are great. He has really looked JUST like himself since day one.

melissa said...

It's pretty evil to have to retrain them again. But I hope it makes you feel better to know that everyone goes through it! Hugh is 16 months old now and we just started our fourth round of sleep training. It's been more difficult this time than any other, which may be a separation anxiety or milestone-related thing, as Christine said. After giving up and bringing him into bed with us the first three nights, he finally got himself back down last night after half an hour of sobbing and wailing. It's torturous, but we like to believe it will be better for all of us in the long run. We did find that he would get more upset when we'd go in and check on him, so we spaced out our visits more than we have in the past -- although interestingly, last night my husband checked on him the first two times, and then I went in the last time. He was very upset when I left, but within 2 minutes there was silence. It makes me wonder if he wanted to see me, too, and not just his dad? And then it was okay for him to nod off?

Well I empathize 100%. And I hope you've had some success since this post!