First of all I need to preface this post with the fact that I am coming from a very dark place. A place not a lot of mothers feel comfortable or sane - the no-sleep-battlefield. It is a war zone in my house and I feel like I'm always losing. OK OK, enough of the drama! Here is how it goes down (and how it has been going down for the last 13 months, 3 weeks and 2 days) - Henry is not a sleeper. Never has been. Poeple tell me he will be someday, but I don't beleive them. I am writing this post for all of those other moms out there, and I know you exist, that have sweet angel babies who hate sleeping. For those moms who feel like the walls are caving in because they can't function on this little of sleep let alone calmly and peacefully train their baby to sleep.
Up until recently I was under the false pretense that I could get most of my work done during naps and after bedtime. It has been stressful to say the least. I have since hired a baby sitter to come 1 to 2 afternoons a week and worked out a schedule with Conor to take him Wednesday afternoons. Hiring a babysitter is another Freelance Mama post in and of itself which I can't wait to talk about later. But back to the subject at hand: my anti-sleep baby. I have been so jealous of other mothers who tell me that their babies take 2 and 3 hours naps since Henry was born. It would sure make my life so much easier! For the first few months of his life I just kept waiting for him to turn in to that kind of baby. He never did. So, I got creative and read a lot of books. On a good day I could get Henry to take two thirty minute naps. And then his nights were wonky- waking up 2 to 3 times. My whole life has been consumed with his sleep habits for over a year now.
It is common knowledge that sleep deprivation makes a person crazy. Grumpy. Not themselves. Well what you may not know is that when a mother hears her baby crying it makes her even crazier. At least it did me. I physically can not stand to hear Henry cry. I would do anything to make it stop, comfort him, make his life happy again. My blood starts to boil when he cries in the car. Not becuase I am mad at him, No! I am mad at the car, the traffic, the traffic lights, the clock. Anything that exists in that moment is against me and my son and I want to destroy it all in the name of making my son happy again. Is this normal? Probably.
Cry it out? Now there's another sore subject. I vowed to never let my baby cry it out before Henry was born. I used Babywise as a door stop and threw it out the second I didn't need a door stop anymore. But after months of waiting for Henry to turn in to the kind of baby that slept in my arms, or even fell asleep nursing, or would be rocked for an hour and then fall asleep I finally tried just letting him sleep on his own. He went to sleep just fine at night. If he could talk I think he would have said, "Oh bless you mother for placing me in this sweet little crib filled with fluffy friends and this beautiful quilt you made for me! I love you so much! I am going to roll over and go to sleep now! Thanks for everything!" But for naps I think he would have said something a little more like, "$#%$ $#%*!! You little $%%*!! I never $@$%*# want to see your *%#@% face again!" It hurt. Imagine a grown women literally tearing at her hair and crying her eyes out at the foot of her baby's door. That was me.
Some weeks have been better than others. Sometimes Henry goes to sleep after nursing or being rocked for an hour or being walked in his stroller for an hour... and sometimes I am just more patient and can deal with the tantrums. Other weeks (like this one in particular) are so much harder. I feel like cursing the heavens! and I am convinced I am the worst mother in the world. We haven't really found a great method.
You are probably wondering what the whole point of this post is. Yeah me too! I just know that when I find other moms who have similar experiences and can relate I feel so much better about myself and Henry. I love when other moms tell me about their similar experiences and then tell me how smart and brilliant and entertaining their now 2 year old is. I want to say YES!!! I know he is so smart! I know he is just going to be the funniest, most determined little guy ever! But it really is nice to hear that I am not alone and I'm not crazy and I'm not failing! So if you are fighting this no-sleep battle too just know you're not alone! Your little one is still just as awesome as those little ones that do sleep. This wont last forever. And when you think of how fast it really flies by you kinda start to think you can handle it.
PS I feel really Benjamin Button about that photo up there. Wheeling Henry around in his "wheel chair" is a favorite past time on those sleepless days.