Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Don’t tell the gods, but I’m talking about sleep

I am a scientist. As such, I hold no truck with astrology (I only just learned that Nora’s sign is … wait, I already forgot), the effect a full moon has on behavior (show me the DATA that your students are crazier during the full moon, please), anyone who claims they can predict the gender of a baby using a folksy method (your odds are 50% for every baby you guess at, so telling me that you got the last four out of six babies right is not particularly impressive), or superstitions (it’s dangerous to walk under a ladder because SOMEONE MIGHT DROP SOMETHIING ON YOU).

Except. I totally believe in jinxes. I can’t help it! I know that simply talking about the good weather can’t possibly make it rain, but knocking on wood can’t hurt, right?

So I’ve been reluctant to discuss the latest drama at my house with you. The drama involving sleep and how we’re all getting it. Lots of it. KNOCK WOOD KNOCK WOOD KNOCK WOOD!

You see, back a hundred years ago in December, we had settled into a very workable routine. I nursed Nora to sleep around 6:30 or 7:00 pm and transferred her easily into her crib. Meanwhile, Andrew got Jack ready for bed and read him stories in the living room. By the time they had said prayers, Nora was safely in her bed and slept right through Jack’s songs. They were usually both asleep in their room by 7:30 every night, and Andrew and I could do whatever chores needing doing and then enjoy the rest of the evening. We could even stay up super late - 10:00 some nights! We felt safe because Nora was usually waking up once, maybe twice a night at this point, and for each wake-up, I could nurse her quickly back to sleep and be back in my own bed, sans baby, within twenty minutes or so. Of course, sometimes I’d fall asleep in the chair and stay there the rest of the night; sometimes I’d just bring Nora back to bed with me so I could sleep while she nursed, but the chair is more comfortable than you might guess and I’m good at sleeping while she nurses, so it was not so bad.

Now, a childless person might think that having to get up once or twice a night like that might be awful, but anyone with babies knows that we could have lived like that for YEARS. I got hours in a row in my bed with no people attached to me in any way! And, most importantly, there were three reliable hours a night where Andrew and I were awake while the children were sleeping. Hours in which we could do whatever we wanted. These hours are key to my sanity, even if “doing whatever I want” translates to “doing the budget.”

But after Christmas, things started degrading. Nora stopped letting me put her back down after her second wake up, and then she refused to go back down after her first wake up. And then her first wake up starting inching ever closer to her original bedtime, cutting into our three precious child-free hours. Where she used to wake up at 11:30 or midnight, she started to wake up at 10:30 or 11:00. And then 10:00. And then 9:45. By mid January, I was rushing around like a mad woman to change into my pajamas at 8:00 – because it was ALSO taking way longer to put her down in the first place – so that I would be ready for bed when she woke up in ninety minutes and demanded to nurse ALL NIGHT LONG. And naps had gone completely out the window; if she wasn’t in the car or in my arms, she didn’t sleep.

Things weren’t working, is what I’m saying.

As I have now been writing this post for three days now, I have decided to post what I have, leaving you with this cliffhanger of an ending. Consider it my tribute to the season premiere of Lost. “But HOW have they solved their sleep problems? And have they actually solved them or have things started to degrade again after she started writing this post? DID SHE JINX IT?” You’ll have to tune in to find out!


Becca said...

Wes's sleep pattern did the SAME thing. I begged my pediatrician for the answer and he said it was time to sleep train (i.e. cry it out). Wes was four months, which I thought was a little young, and it was an awful week, make no mistake, but it WORKED. Not saying that that will work for you, or even trying to give you advice. Just wanted to say, BEEN THERE AND IT SUCKS. So sorry. I hope it is fixed soon.

Arwen said...

Ooooh, I am on the edge of my seat here. Can't wait for the next installment!

Swistle said...

Ha! This IS a parenting cliffhanger!

Student craziness is so subjective it would be hard to collect data. But two maternity ward nurses told me that the ward is much fuller when there's a full moon, and that would be easier to track.

Dr. Maureen said...

Yes, I have heard that too, Swistle. But SHOW ME THE DATA. Thank you.

AJU5's Mom said...

Before I was pregnant with my first, having to get up once or twice a night was something that sounded terrible. But, like you said, after doing it for over 2 years now I am so used to it. As long as I can get 4 hours in a row, I am great. And I will even take 3 hours in a row multiple times. I hope you didn't jinx yourself!

Dr. Maureen said...

Oh, and the whole "bad things happen in threes" thing? People just wait for three bad things to happen, and then start over with the counting.

Shannon said...

Please tell us soon...please! I'm in the same boat. 8 month old was doing so well and then BLAMMO - up 4 times a night and will only nap if I'm holding him. SERENITY NOW.

Jen said...

I am just sitting here HANGING, waiting for the conclusion. PLEASE SHARE. Naps have gone to the crapper here lately, and I can use any advice you have!