Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Victory is...close?

Well, I’d like to say “victory is mine”, but not quite yet. So, “close” will have to do. I’m referring to the battle of the sleepless baby. My sweet little Malachi, who’s been sleeping through the night practically since he was born has suddenly (about a month ago) decided that he no longer wants to be a sweet little baby who sleeps through the night. He’s been extremely needy, like he wants to be held all the time. I’ll feed him and he’ll fall asleep in my arms, but as soon as I put him down he wakes up and starts screaming. It’s extremely frustrating. When he finally does go to sleep at night he’ll only sleep for, maybe, an hour or two at most. He wakes up all night long. I’ve been getting more and more exhausted and tired of being tired. I know there’s nothing wrong with him because as soon as he is picked up (or even if you walk toward him and he thinks he’s going to be picked up) he stops crying and is perfectly happy. Sometimes he’ll fall asleep in his swing or in his car seat (only when we’re driving), but that doesn’t always work. I have to laugh, too, about how the tables turn because all the kids seem to rotate who’s NOT sleeping. It’s probably been at least 8 years since I, myself, have had a consistent good nights sleep.
Not including Tad, in recent history it’s been mostly Ati, with a sprinkling of Eli, and now a large helping of Malachi. Starting when Ati was about 3 ½ and learned to climb out of her crib (yes, I keep them in the crib as long as physically possible, mostly for my own sanity) she started having “night terrors”, and that was a major ordeal that lasted for what seemed like FORever. Anyway, during that time, Eli started waking in the night too, and it was at an all time annoying climax, between the two of them, just about a month before Malachi was born. I was terrified about the fact that I already had 2 kids not sleeping and I knew I would be adding a 3rd for sure.
To my surprise, and amazement, Ati and Eli both started sleeping again and when Malachi was born I only had 1 baby to deal with. Fortunatley, Malachi was a really good baby, for the most part, and would sleep for long periods of time at night, like 5 or sometimes 8 hours. It was great! Everything, of course, got all screwed up again when we moved to Wisconsin, and then to Pennsylvania. Ati went in to MAJor “freakin’ out” overdrive (luckily everyone else was still sleeping ok), and by the time we finally came back to Utah she was at a point of waking up every 30min-1hour during the night. It was horrible! It was also affecting her moods during the rest of the day; we started to realize she might have OCD (but that's another story, for another time). Coming home helped a great deal though, she was immediately cured, but then had a slight relapse and after a month or so of being home (and some MAJor screaming “time-out” sessions) she’s back to a very pleasant sleeping routine. Of course, almost immediately (I’m not sure specifically how long, but it feels like it was immediately) after she started sleeping again, Malachi happily took her place on the “not sleeping train”. Yay! It’s been so fun! (that's sarcasm, if you couldn't tell)
Anyway, a few days ago, John and I decided we really need to do something about this. We want to let him just “cry it out”, but because of our minimal living arrangements we’ve had him sleeping in our room, and that makes it nearly impossible to ignore. So, after considering many different options we finally decided to move him out. We have a spare room upstairs (we’re otherwise all in the basement) that we use as an office/exercise room. We decided to squish his crib into it. So far we haven’t actually moved his crib, we just put up a portacrib that we’re using in the meantime until we decide if it’s actually going to work or not. It was a difficult decision to move him out, because I really didn’t want to put him upstairs; it’s so far from us, plus John’s parents are right there and I didn’t want to deal with them in the middle of the night or have them get him because they can’t stand to let him cry.
Well, Sunday (sept 7) we put him in the new room during the afternoon for a nap, and he actually slept really well, it was great! I thought, this is gonna be a breeze! That night things only went “ok”. He wouldn’t stop screaming and it took several times of us going in and “comforting” him, until he finally went to sleep (I think it was sometime close to 10pm); then, he actually slept until about 530am. Of course, I couldn’t sleep, hardly at all. I was so used to waking up every few hours that I still did, and I kept expecting him to wake up. But, even though I was still not sleeping I was very relieved that he was. And, he did wake up at 530a, but it was still a good start. Monday didn’t go so well. It was actually pretty rough, and it felt like he was getting worse! He didn’t take a nap at ALL during the day, even though I put him down several different times and let him cry for what seems like, and was probably pretty close to, HOURS. It's like he was "catching on" to what was happening, and he's trying to fight it. I was dreading the night. The good news is, after the initial “going to bed” conflict, he actually slept ALL night! At first he screamed and screamed, just like the first night, and I had to go in a few different times (I waited 15-20min each time) to comfort him. The last time I went in was around 930pm, and about 945pm he was suddenly quiet. It’s always a little concerning when they’ve been crying forever and then they are suddenly quiet, but I resisted the urge to go check on him (I would hate for him to wake up and go through all that again). He made a couple more noises over the next hour or so, but that was it.
I was able to have a shower this morning while ALL the kids were still sleeping, and then I had to actually wake him up because he was still sleeping at about 745am! I would’ve let him sleep, but I was super swollen (from him not eating all night) and I wanted to get him fed before having to walk Tad to the bus. So, all was well, he was happy, he got fed, and we all went to the bus. I’d like to think that it’s all going to be ok now, but I don’t want to get too excited. Right now he’s actually in there crying again, it’s supposed to be nap time. It’s probably been about 30 min that he’s been crying.
I wish I knew what was going on inside that sweet little head of his because he’s such a wonderful, sweet, happy baby (most of the time) and all this crying and not sleeping is really hard to deal with. I think maybe it’s some kind of separation anxiety or something like that; or at least I’m hoping it’s that simple, and that he’ll out grow it really quickly. But, for now, I’ll take my mini-almost-victory, and be happy.

The "Nursery/Exercise/Office" Room