Friday, February 29, 2008

seriously. did you think it was over?

Let me preface this by stating there is no greater love than the love I have for my baby, Henry.

The sun and moon of my life rise and set with that child.

At the moment, my little love bug is SCREAMING from his crib after an abbreviated 40-minute nap this morning and an abbreviated 40-minute nap this afternoon.

I'm writing this, not just because the act of pecking on keys takes my mind off the SCREAMING, but also, because for anyone that was following our sleep school last week and graduation earlier this week, I don't want for them to think shazam! my infant is now sleeping all night and taking solid naps during the day.

Truly, the last thing I'd ever want to do is mislead some poor sleep deprived parent who is trying to get their baby on a schedule and have them think "What am I doing wrong?!"

What I think happened - is that even though this goes against everything I believe - I thought Henry would sleep longer with his pacifier. Plus, I really hate to hear him cry. So, I started giving it to him - more and more. I would put him in to his crib almost completely asleep and plug his little pacifier in his little mouth instead of putting him in to his crib awake, without a pacifier, and letting him fall to sleep on his own.

On Tuesday morning, Henry was awake at 5:00 AM. This was early, but I figured, "Oh, what the heck. I'll just nurse him and it will be fine. What's an hour?"

On Wednesday morning, Henry was awake at 4:00 AM. This was a little too early, but once again I figured, "Oh, what the heck. I'll just nurse him and it will be fine. What's two hours?"

On Thursday morning, Henry was awake at 3:00 AM. This was way the hell too early and there was no frigging way I was getting my exhausted self out of bed to fetch my howling infant. Instead, I sent Charlie to close the door to the boy's room - and our door - and I put a pillow over my head and tried to fall back to sleep.

Henry cried on and off for the next THREE and a half hours. When I finally got him, he nursed for less than two minutes and fell fast asleep until almost 9:30.

This morning, he slept until 6:30. His first nap was at 8:45. He was awake and screaming by 9:20. I got him up and noticed that his eyes were STILL closed, as he was crying. If that's not an indication of still being tired, I'm not sure what is. But by the time I assessed the situation, he was awake and I had missed my window of opportunity.

I put him down for his second nap at around 12:30 after he fell asleep nursing in the Bjorn while I was reading the kids stories at lunch. He was awake and screaming by 1:05, literally seconds after I had put the triplets down for their nap and pulled out a load of laundry to fold.

Because I didn't think that he had napped long enough this morning - and certainly not this afternoon - and because I need (FOR MY SANITY) more than a few seconds to myself, I let him cry.

That takes me to now and some new thoughts I have on sleep training.

1) It's very difficult. Don't give up. You might have a day or two where things go well and then, it seems that all hell breaks loose in your schedule and your baby won't sleep.

2) Pacifiers suck. (I know. I crack myself up). They are fine for certain times, but I do not like to put a baby down to sleep with them. I remember going through this same drill with our triplets - but they were several months younger than Henry is now and when I finally figured out what was going on, I rounded them up and threw them all away. Up until a few weeks ago, I very rarely gave Henry a pacifier, certainly never for bed. But I've noticed in the past week he is sucking on it all the time. If he's without a pacifier - he's fussy and crying and the reason he is fussy and crying is because he is tired. It's a vicious cycle.

3) Once your child is truly sleep trained, they will sleep through the night. It was only when our children had Rotovirus and were vomiting every five-minutes, that they ever woke up during the night. And even then, they were (almost) sleeping through their vomiting episodes. That's not to say that children won't wake up at night if they are sick, but - their entire sleeping schedule isn't derailed. It's hard not to go to a baby when they are crying and sick, but - you know your child. If you know that they aren't in pain - then let them be. Sleep is a great healer.

4) My going in to the nursery and rubbing Henry's back only riles him up that much more. If I know that he is still tired - and he isn't precariously stuck in crib rails - I truly believe that it's best to let him cry himself to sleep.

5) I'm amazed that William is sleeping through Henry's ruckus. There has been a time or two when he has come out and asked to sleep on the couch, but by and large, he sticks it out and sleeps in his own bed - five feet from his SCREAMING brother. When the triplets were infants - they all slept in the same room - and those kids could sleep through anything. I can't help but wonder if the ability to block out ear piercing disturbances that he received at a very young age is continuing to serve him well, now.

Henry is asleep again. That only took an hour and a half.

Oh, and look at this ... here comes Carolyn with an empty tube of toothpaste.

The contents are in her hair.

I am in need of vodka. STAT.


  1. Well, the kids surely has a mind of his own, doesn't he? Stick to your guns, Jen. You'll win.

  2. Toothpaste + Hair = HORRIBLE MESS/TEQUILA
    whereas you can multiply TEQUILA on both sides of the equation to make it work!
    ** See, I was paying attention in Calculus II (before you got us kicked out of class!) LOL

  3. My Erin (6 1/2 months) had one of those days today too. Do you you think Leap Day is like a full moon? :)

    You are so right that sleep training is HARD. You have to truly believe that what you are doing is right and just keep doing it. Eventually it WILL work.

    Sleep begets sleep!

  4. Right there in the trenches with you sister... hey, maybe a little spiked breast milk would actually help!
    Thank you for telling it like it is. I, for one, really appreciate it as I struggle along in your wake.

  5. When's that trip to Florida again? Ha!

  6. Oh yuck! I know how hard it was to train three with one toddler on hand, I can only imagine how hard it is in reverse. The good news, and you already know it for sure, is that one day all the little bodies in your house will sleep through the night. Blessings to you for sanity until then!!

  7. Thank you for this! I'm sleep training my twins born two days before Henry (but six weeks early) and started to wonder why, even though we are doing the same method, it went so easy for you and it is still a bit of a nightmare for me. My daughter has slept through the night for months now but usually will only do half hour to one hour naps. My son is now FINALLY sleeping through the night after a week of crying, but still wakes ready to start the day too early (around 5:30) and that throws off the naps that are also usually too short. This leaves everyone totally fried by 5 p.m. and they take turns screaming through dinner between bites. Oh well - we'll keep trying untill we hit true success - waking up at 6 or later, napping at least a total of three hours per day, and making it to bedtime (6:30/7) in a decent mood. Is that too much to ask? Pass the vodka, sister...

  8. So sorry Jen. That bites! I hate that...for you, for anyone who is trying to sleep train...hang in there is so vital for their health to get them to sleep! :) I know you know that...sorry about the toothpaste...

  9. No pictures of the toothpaste?!! Jipped!

    Kidding. Totally kidding.

  10. Lemon Vodka Cocktail

    12 mint leaves
    160g caster sugar
    100 ml lemon juice
    250 ml vodka
    Lemon wedges, to serve

    Tie mint leaves together with a small piece of string. Combine caster sugar and 300 ml of water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Remove from heat, add mint leaves and cool to room temperature. Remove mint leaves and refrigerate syrup until cold, then combine with lemon juice and vodka and mix well. Poor lemon vodka cocktails into glasses with plenty of ice and serve with lemon wedges.

    Hope this helps!


  11. I completely agree with you. I went through the same thing teaching my youngest to put herself back to sleep. It works, it just takes time. Hang in there.

  12. Oh no! I don't know what's worse - the sleeping setback or the toothpaste in the hair! I think that Vodka STAT is very much in order!

  13. Came by to visit and see how you are doing. I'm sorry to hear about the sleeping troubles. We are in the midst of sleep training, too. DS turns a year in 2 weeks, so I am slow getting to it. You'd think by my 5th child, I'd know better, huh? But, I'm a lazy wuss. Or too tired. Something like that.