Saturday, January 19, 2013

Oh, You Guys

Oh, you guys.

Baby number three?  It threw me for a LOOP.

Andrew is amazing.  Simply and wonderfully amazing.  He makes my life feel complete.  He is a chunk of happiness and love and just holding him in my arms makes me feel a happiness I never knew was possible.  I can't imagine my life, our family, the world as a whole without him and his perfection in it.

Oh, BUT.

He didn't sleep.  For thirteen weeks, HE DID NOT SLEEP.  I felt like an idiot.  How could I, veteran mom of three, not know how to get my wee baby to sleep?  What kind of failure/idiot/gross negligant parent was I?

WHY do we do this to ourselves?  Why do we as parents take on so much GUILT when our children refuse to bend to our ideal?  When they are just themselves, WHY do we assume that we are the culprit or cause?

In any case, I bounced, shushed, cried, bounced some more, prayed, shushed some more, prayed some more through his first thirteen weeks.  I googled, I craigslisted (looking for miracle sleep aids), I called mom friends, I cried, I prayed, I did EVERYthing I knew to do.  And still?  He. Would. Not. Sleep.

I don't tell you this to garner sympathy.  I tell you this because if someone, anyone, somewhere at 2 AM googles "my baby will NOT sleep" and finds this blog entry, it may give them some hope.  I put this out there because I am not afraid to admit my tender underbelly, my parenting foilables, make me feel inadaquate and panicky.  Because I firmly believe that most of us are out there, stumbling blindly from parenting moment to moment, feeling alone.  We look at pinterest and think, "Well, that mom has time to bake homemade bread from scratch and decoupage pictures of her precious babies on a plank of wood, and I cannot make my baby do something as simple as SLEEP.  What on earth is wrong with me??"

We were awake until midnight most nights.  Me, bouncing, shushing, patting, hoping, and praying.  A night that I got him down before midnight was a cause for celebration.  I remember once talking to some friends and saying (like it was some sort of major accomplishment), "And he went to bed at 11:50!"  They laughed at my excitement, but I was okay with their laughter; they'd been there.

So, one day, Andrew just. . . slept.  There wasn't anything magical done on my part.  He'd been refusing to sleep before midnight and then waking every two hours and then. . . he went to bed at 9 PM, slept til 5 AM.  Nothing different.  He just. . . did it.

And since then, he has been going down between 8:30 and 9:30 PM, just depending on the night and either waking once around 1 AM - 2 AM, again, depending on the night, and then waking at around 6 - 6:30 AM, just depending.  And sometimes?  On extra-special nights?  He skips that 1- 2 AM feeding and sleeps through the night.  And I didn't do anything different, HE just figured it out.

So, for all of you out there, wondering WHAT to do. . . I firmly believe that you cannot do anything.  You can drive yourself crazy.  You can spend money on whozits and whatzits.  You can google until your fingers bleed at the keyboard.

Or?  You can learn the lesson that somehow three children hadn't taught me yet.  That each child is just so different and will learn to sleep on their own time; when they are ready.  And just because that child needs extra soothing/cuddling/nurturing does not make them a "bad" baby, just one that needs their mama (or daddy) a bit more.  And they are babies, so it is okay.

And I only write this as a mom who did NOT think it was okay, only a few short weeks ago.  I am writing this as a beacon of hope. . . it is okay, they will sleep (eventually), and YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

E-mail me if you need some support.  It's in my profile.  I am happy to help (though I can't really help much) and commiserate.  You. Can. Do. THIS.