Oh Sleep, Wherefore Art Thou?


Oh Sleep, Wherefore Art Thou?


I wish that I could sit here right now and type, “Hey, Bloggy friends!  Remember how I wrote that post about Eric not sleeping at all, and about how it was an enormous pain in the tushie, and about how my brain was functioning just a few degrees better than a paramecium’s*?  Well, guess what?  HE’S SLEEPING FOR SIX HOUR STRETCHES AGAIN!  And he’s taking naps!  MERRY CHRISTMAS, ONE AND ALL!”

*It turns out that parameciums…paramecii?…parameciae?…do not, in fact, have brains.  They have a nucleus that directs all of their cellular activities.  Nonetheless, I think that the comparison is apt, given that I’ve felt as if I’ve had less than a whole brain at the helm of my neurological activities these past few months.

So yeah.  I cannot say any of those things.  In fact, I think we’ve gone from bad to worse to hell to just a wee bit better to a hell that looks good compared to the previous hell.

Allow me to recap the sleep situation:

From month 2 to 6, Eric slept for at least one four to ten hour stretch each night, averaging at least a six hour stretch.  He’d probably sleep for a total of ten hours at night.  During the day, he would take at least two naps, often averaging a total of three to five naptime hours.  This was a spoil of sleep riches.  I know this.  I know this because we had two other children who didn’t do anything remotely close to this sort of sleep until they were 9 or 10 months old.  Some kids, I’ve heard, don’t even sleep this well until they are well past the toddler years.  I know this.

Around 6 1/2 months, Eric started waking every three hours at night.  We all chalked it up to “the normal things that babies do”: growing, teething, mastering new skills (LIKE CRAWLING AND CRUISING EARLY), etc.  And really, waking every three hours is not an insurmountable challenge–at least for me.

Around 7 months, he would rarely go down for daytime naps.   And this pattern continued.  I think we’ve set him down for a nap somewhere other than our arms four or five times since August.  (And remember–this is the baby who was laid down for a nap every day, multiple times a day, for four entire months of his life.)  (And yes, I savor the time when he’s in my arms and/or in the carrier.  This does not make it an easy task.)

Around 7 1/2 months, he started waking every two hours at night.  No more starting the night out in a crib in our room either.  Not even lying down beside me!  He’d start out every single night in Tim’s arms.  I’d go to bed, and then after Tim ended his “shift,” he’d bring Eric to me where I would nurse him side-lying and sleep beside him until it was time to get up.

By 8 months, he never went down for naps, and he was up every. single. hour. at night.

Earlier this week, he was up every. half. hour. at. night.  There is no way to sleep through nursing, even while side-lying, when you are doing it every half hour.  I AM PARAMECIUM, HEAR ME ROAR ABOUT HOW I’M AT LEAST A STEP UP FROM AM AMOEBA!


And last night, he started the first hour of the night in his crib for the first time in weeks.

Once he was up to nurse, he only woke up every hour and fifteen minutes afterward!  (See: hell that looks good compared to the previous hell.)

I feel as if I’m at that point that, typically, only first-time parents face: the moment where you think, “Oh my god, it’s gonna be like this FOR THE NEXT EIGHTEEN YEARS!!!”

My brain should know that this too shall pass.  But remember: I’m rockin’ life paramecium-style, so there’s no telling what my brain can or should recognize.

Some day, I know I will look back on this time and say, “Aww, remember when Eric never slept?  Pass me another shot of tequila, because WOOHOO I slept for five straight hours last night!”  Some day–and I know this in that aching, nostalgic, eternal mother sort of way–I will also look back and yearn for just one more day to hold my baby while he sleeps.

But right now, I’d just like a little more rest so that my paramecium non-brain can fully savor the moments that we have together.


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  1. Rachel

    Phew. Hang in there, sister. I was wondering how things were going. It is ROUGH. I hope the tide continues to turn and he (and you) rediscovers the joy that is sleep. Also have to say, major point for working in paramecium. Brava.

  2. Molly

    We feel SO lucky that our baby who would *only* nap *on* one of us for the first full year of his life was our *first* baby–much much much more okay when you’re not parenting other people too.

    I’m sorry this is happening. Your brain and the rest of you must really hurt. And you know, it truly will get better. Really truly. In the meantime, be extra-careful driving and handling boiling things and so on.

    But does anyone really say ‘aw, wasn’t it cute when Little So-and-So woke me every 45 minutes?’ I just cannot imagine that. Such a person ought to be subjected to a few nights of the ol’ Eric treatment for a refresher course in how totally cute sleep deprivation is.

  3. Julie Conley
    Julie Conley10-19-2012

    … as I sit here rocking the totally asleep baby who will wake the second I set him in his crib…

    • BirthingBeautifulIdeas

      The sleep-to-crib transition can be so tricky. (And I know, I know, people, cribs aren’t for everyone. BUT they are for some! Including my boys, at various stages in their infancy and toddlerhood!) Both of the older boys got to the point where we could lay them down while they were drowsy and not asleep, and they would fall asleep while we patted their back or even just stayed in the room with them. I know that doesn’t work for every baby/family, though. (See: my own current baby.)

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