Friday, December 16, 2005

Who's Crying Now: The No-Cry Sleep Solution

Shakespeare called sleep the "Chief nourisher in life's feast." If that's true, and I believe it is, then this is no feast of which I partake. Indeed, I'm about as malnourished as one woman can be.

From around the age of seven months, Brendan has battled sleeping. Initially, he would fall asleep just fine, but would wake up around 1:00 a.m. and want to play. Inexperienced and with no clue what to do, I indulged his whim and would sit on the floor of his room while he played. When he started to get sleepy again, I'd put him back to bed and try to get back to sleep myself. Some nights, he'd be back in his crib in 15 minutes; other nights, he'd play and laugh and have a grand old time until 4:00 in the morning. My mother-in-law assured me that this would pass, pointing out that Brendan's dad was the same way.

By the time he was a year old he was still doing it, though, there would be weeks at a time where he slept like an angel. And of course, he napped like a champ. Twice a day until he was around 18-months old. But, the nighttime was when he came alive.

Now, nearly three, he's still battling sleep. Only it has become far more extreme, especially in the last few days. He doesn't want to go to bed and if he does, he pleads for me to stay with him. His cries of "Mommy, Mommy, Mommy," tear at my heartstrings and infuriate me! Doesn't he understand that I need some "Me Time?" That I have a sinkful of dirty dishes that aren't going to wash themselves? That I'd like to have a meaningful conversation with his dad that doesn't involve the phrase, "What do you think we should do?"

Of course, he doesn't. But that doesn't make it any easier for me. I feel like everything in my life is out of control when my son isn't sleeping. I'm exhausted and that shades everything. I can't believe he's going to be three in a month-and-a-half and we're still dealing with this nonsense.

We've tried it all. Crying it out or "Ferberizing;" coddling him with attachment parenting style techniques like inviting him to sleep with us. The only thing he wants is for me to sleep in his bed and I just don't think that's healthy. Not for him. Not for me. And certainly not for my marriage.

I'm at my wit's end after five nights in a row averaging three or four hours of sleep. On Wednesday, I was telling my friend Susan about the situation and she recommended a book called "The No-Cry Sleep Solution." Sadly, I briefly thought the title was alleging to keep tired mommies from bursting into tears. If the book really could do that and help me find a way to get my little one to sleep without compromising my own needs, it might prove to be just what my hungering soul ordered.

No comments: