Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sleep Chronicles

It's been a busy last few weeks, both in Cupcake's life and in ours.  The main issue with Cupcake is a bizarro sleep regression that I'm having a hard time dealing with.  Please forgive the dangling preposition, my mommy brain isn't functioning very well.  Sleep deprivation is a b-ch.
Life before baby

Life after baby
 I also seem unable to organize my thoughts into a standard essay-style blog entry, so maybe I'll just try to touch the highlights of what's going on with us.

- We tried a form of modified sleep training.  Basically, my arms gave out and I just couldn't rock her anymore for as long as she needed.  The new plan was to rock her for 5 - 10 minutes (which seems reasonable, since she is, after all, a baby), then set he down on her crib.  At this point, if she cries, just sing to her and pat her and reassure her that I'm there.  She cried, and wailed, and looked very angry, but never more than 15-20 minutes.  I would stay in the room with her, not wanting the issue of sleeping of her own to get confused with separation anxiety. 

It worked, I admit.  Hearing her cry felt terrible, but she would fall asleep, and stay asleep for an hour.  Then proceeded to be in a wonderful mood the rest of the day.  I had feared that she'd hate me for doing this to her, but a baby's short term memory is bliss.  Mostly, I felt like I had no choice, since I couldn't rock her.

- I'm not sure how I feel about crying to sleep, even though we had to do it.  It seemed to me that Cupcake started waking up from naps mid cry, as opposed to the cooing she used to do.  Am I projecting?  Probably.  Reminds me of Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog, when Captain Hammer is frozen mid song, and when he unfreezes he finished the note where he left off.  Yes, I just compared my 10 month old's napping pattern to Dr. Horrible, what of it?  In any case, even though my arms were finally getting rest, I wasn't fully convinced that this was the best approach for us.  A week and half later, she was still crying 10 minutes per nap.  Is that normal?  Shouldn't she be happily self soothing by now?

- She's learned to stand on her crib.  She's known how to pull up for long time, but she finally figured out how to go from laying down to sitting, and from there the rest is easy.  So now, I can't even let her cry as an option, because as soon as I put her down on the crib, she immediately sits and stands.  It's so quick, I could blink and I'd miss it.

Which leaves me with some options, rock her to sleep until she's really good and zonked out.  Which.... no, this is what got us in this predicament.  My arms can't rock a 22 lb baby.  Not gonna happen.   Or I could take her out to nap on the stroller.  Or I could just leave her to cry and figure it out for herself.

I've tried to let her fuss it out, and it's just not working.  She cried, gets completely red and snot nosed, and just doesn't let down.  At what point do I throw in the towel?  So far I'm stopping the torture after 20 minutes, I just assume she wasn't tired and we can try for a nap again later.

- Have I mentioned that she's just kinda not sleeping during the day but stays in a great mood?  She looks exhausted, will fall asleep within 30 seconds of me rocking her, and wakes as soon as I put her on the crib.  But once I pick her up she's all smiles, plays well on her own, and largely shows no signs of being tired or overtired.  I'm trying to remind myself that at this age many babies only need one nap, so as long as she gets one nap in there, it's all good.  She'll fall asleep when she's tired enough, right?

- The sleep training has had one awesomely positive side effect.  Cupcake now sleeps on her stroller again.  After a 5 month stroller strike, she now will happily zonk out in her umbrella stroller, her neck bending to utterly uncomfortable looking positions.   Freedom.   I can now leave the house without worrying about coming back home for naps or risk total breakdown while out.  Is it related to the sleep training, or simply a developmental phase?

- Could she possibly be transitioning to one nap?  And if so, she's gone from 3 naps to 1 in a matter of weeks.  Not sure how to handle this.

- Now with the the crib standing, she's back to waking up 4+ times a night.  We'd managed to cut it to 2, by letting her fuss it out for a few nights.  We're regressing.  And the worse thing is that Cupcake seems to be sitting up in her sleep, and then her body wakes her up.  None of us, baby included, are happy with this situation, but are at a loss on what to do.  The night we let her sort it out herself, she just cried while standing for a half hour.  I was so exhausted I let her, but we share a room, so this just wont work.  Should we set up an air mattress in the living room?  Would that work better?

I'm having a some tough weeks, where I feel like I'm doing it all wrong.  She doesn't sleep well, and it feels like a direct reflection of my love and parenting abilities.  It's hard to convince me otherwise.