Monday, October 20, 2008
With one notable exception, I have spent the last couple of weeks waking with a baby at least every two hours each night. Once particularly horrific night it was eight times between midnight and 4 am. Each time she wakes, she must be rocked back to sleep. By four am each night, I exhibit the tantrums of a petulant 5 year old and the mental capacity of my dog. Babies have much shorter and faster sleep cycles than adults. Whereas an adult takes approximately 4 hours to cycle thru light and deep sleep, an infant only takes 30 minutes. I suspect that what happens is that for some reason, she is unable to stay in that light sleep as she cycles in and out. So there's not much sleep going on around here for the adults in the family. Each morning I wake absolutely PISSED off at the world and cruise at that emotional level all day long. Oddly, I notice that it really makes me depressed. The one night she only woke twice, I woke to what seemed like an incredibly beautiful day, full of promise and hope and happiness. LOL!
Last night I put a very tired little girl to bed just after we tucked her sister in at 9pm. We put in a movie, and she slept for half an hour and woke. I picked her up and rocked her back to sleep. We repeated this process two more times about 15 minutes apart each time. The final time I realized
I CANNOT KEEP DOING THIS
I am not physically capable. My mind is hanging on by a thread.
All the books in the world today say that letting a baby Cry It Out before 6 months is cruel. They simply don't have the reasoning capacity to understand what is going on. Most agree that only very limited crying it out should be allowed once the baby reaches 6 months-such as for five minutes at a time. So we are at an impasse. Katie is 6.5 months old. Letting her cry for five minutes in hopes she'll just give up and go to sleep is ludicrous. I've seen this kid cry for 3 hours solid at a time.
I've resisted just putting her down and letting her figure things out herself this long because I've felt like I'd be a horrible mother. It seems cruel to just dump a kid in her crib and walk away when she's never had to put hserself to sleep before in her life. She's really never developed much in the way of self soothing skills.
Last night I really didn't see how I had a choice. We rocked her to sleep again around 10:45 and then settled ourselves to wait for her next crying session. She woke 15 minutes later and the screaming began. She held out for an hour of crying. It wasn't quite as awful as I'd imagined. It was more of an on and off thing, punctuated by periods of extreme frustration. We sat with her the whole time. After another 15 minutes of sobbing and sniffling as she calmed down and she was finally asleep. For another two hours. By then it was 2 am, and it was time for her usual nursing session. At four, I just didn't have another hours worth of screaming tolerance in me, so I picked her up again. But I think we're getting somewhere. It's progress.
Anyway, all of this is written as an explanation of sorts. If you find me trying to insert a carrot into the steering column to start my van, or if asking a simple question elicits a tirade in which half my face falls off and flames shoot from my eyes-I'm sure you'll understand why.