I sit here and sit here staring at a blank screen. I do not have writers block. When I decide to write something down, I get it out no matter what.
I sit here and stare at this blank screen because there are problems in my household, and I aim to write about them. However, I know what kind of comments my writing will inspire, and I’m not entirely sure I’m ready to put up with them. In my dreams, there is a place where people are supportive, and caring without judging, disapproving, or saying “I told you so.” And even if the choices I’ve made as a parent seem entirely foreign and quite frankly stupid to you, I’d love you to just be able to comfort, commiserate, and care.
For one blessed week, we had sleep in our house. A whole week went by where Ronan went to bed at night, and only woke once in the night to eat. He didn’t scream upon waking, and he didn’t wake to play. He slept, and I slept, and Daddy slept. After a whole week, I thought we’d beat the battle, the demon had been slayed, and our son had finally become a good sleeper. Better days were ahead, bad nights behind us. That’s what I thought… what I’d hoped.
Instead, we’ve had a massive regression. I’m not entirely sure what happened, and even though there are other people in this household that would like to lay the blame on me, I don’t think I’m the cause of the problem. Perhaps that’s just my way of trying not to feel like I’ve messed everything up royally. Whatever. It’s my blog.
Ronan goes to bed around 7pm. I say ‘around’ because we try to be very flexible and guided by his cues. If he’s acting very tired around 6:30, we’ll put him down early. We want to get him in bed during his sleepy time in order to get him to sleep easily. We don’t like to let him get over-tired, which causes a battle. This is a lesson learned the hard way. During the day, Ronan has at least three 50 minutes naps. Every now and then, he’ll get a 2 hours nap, which is great, but difficult to repeat. At night, Ronan has a bath, then baby lotion, then pajamas, then a book. His routine has been the same every night for nearly 5 months now, so he KNOWS when it’s bed time. Usually right around the time we get the lotion on, he starts to cry. He’s not hurting, or hungry – he’s upset. He knows that we’re about to try to put him to sleep, and he’s mad about it.
Typically, putting him to sleep for the first time at night is easy. I no longer nurse him to sleep, so he doesn’t have that sleep association. We’ve worked very hard at being able to get him drowsy but still awake, and to put him down. We can put him down in his crib, or in our bed, and he will usually fall asleep. Sometimes it takes 3 or 4 tries, sometimes it takes 15, but we persevere. I don’t want him to have to be rocked to sleep every single time he wakes up.
So. The child is asleep around 7pm. And… he wakes up around 8pm. We go up and give him his paci, pat him on the butt a few times, and he’ll go back to sleep on his own. Why does he wake up in the first place? Why can’t we make it beyond that 50 minute sleep mark? I don’t know. However, the 8pm mark is the easy one. It’s the 9pm mark that is the cause for distress in my home. At 9pm, Ronan wakes up for the night. He’s had a great 2 hour nap, THANKS MOM, and he thinks it’s time to play. It doesn’t matter WHAT I have done to try to discourage this behavior… I can spend hours in his room rocking him, bouncing him, nursing him, laying him down in his crib, walking with him, singing to him, cursing at him, crying to him, begging him and any other number of activites trying to encourage him to stay in bed – inevitably he wears me down to the point that I can’t take him any more, and quit. Because I’m about to lose it.
Have you ever lost it at your child? It’s not a proud moment. I set him down in his crib, and he starts screaming, and I walk out of the room. I close the door behind me, and I go downstairs to try to compose myself. Usually, I tag Brock in, because I can’t deal with him any more. Usually, Brock gets him up because he’s not willing to get that upset over sleeping.
It’s at this point, from 9pm on, that Ronan will not go back to sleep until after midnight. MIDNIGHT. From midnight on? He wakes every 2 hours and screams to eat.
No one in my house gets sleep. Brock has started sleeping in the guest room, which fosters feelings of unfairness – I don’t get nights in the guest room. And then I get bitter. Mad at dad, mad at baby, mad at me. And I don’t know what to do to fix this. I don’t know where we went wrong. I hate this feeling, and I just want one good night. JUST ONE. Put him to bed, and he stays there. I don’t even care about the stupid night feedings. Wake up and eat, just QUIT SCREAMING AT ME.
I take a deep breath.
I close my eyes.
I remember that a few years from now, I will miss every moment of his babyhood.
I tell myself ‘this too shall pass.’
What more can I do?