Nothing is more frustrating than when your child won’t sleep. This is something we have struggled with from the beginning. Sure, we’ve had our good nights, we’ve even had one night in the past few weeks when Boogie slept 8 hours straight (that was a WONDERFUL night)! I debated on whether I should even post this because it seems like anytime I mention sleep issues with someone (even our pediatrician) their immediate response is “Oh, just let her CIO, she’ll be fine!” or “you’re spoiling her by going to her when she cries” or even “stop nursing her so much and maybe she’ll sleep!”. No offense to anyone, but that’s NOT helpful.
Last night was my confirmation that CIO doesn’t work for my daughter. After sleeping for 3 hours, at 10pm Boogie woke up and I could not get her back to sleep. She pitched a full out temper tantrum. I couldn’t hold her, I couldn’t comfort her, so I set her in the floor and let her pitch her fit until she was done. After about 20 minutes she finally finished, laid back against me and fell asleep. Only problem was that in order to get her up I had to move her and then stand up… which of course woke her up. Since she was at least still calm, I rocked her and nursed her and praised the Lord that she fell back asleep so easily. At least I thought it was easily. The moment I laid her down her eyes popped open and she went into another screaming fit. So I went through the same cycle again. And what happened? Her eyes popped open AGAIN. I hate asking J to get up on nights when he has to work early the next morning, but after an hour of this I didn’t know what else to do. So he went in and held her, she would quiet down for a few minutes and then all of a sudden she’d start screaming again! We THINK her gums were hurting her, she kept grabbing her mouth and point in it, so although I am not a fan of Tylenol we gave her some in the hopes that maybe it would help her with the pain, relax her and help her sleep. Nights like this I could care less whether I sleep, I care more that my daughter is in pain and isn’t resting well! She calmed down again for about 15 minutes but then J couldn’t get her to sleep… so at this point I’m getting pretty frustrated.
As a side note, my spring semester of classes started up last week and the only time I have to get my homework done (I take online classes) is in the evenings. We’re talking 4-8 hours of work here EVERY night. I hadn’t finished everything I needed to do, so I decided to just let Boogie run around the living room, get any energy out that she had so I could finish my homework. In the back of my mind I hoped that she would wear herself out and just lay down and go to sleep. Ha! Yea, right. At 11:00, after realizing that while playing she had basically squished every bit of urine out of her night time diaper, I changed her jammies and diaper, read her a book, prayed with her, and sang to her while rocking her. She fell asleep. But as soon as I went to move her so I could lay her down her eyes popped open! BOOGIE! So I held her and rocked her and sang “You Are My Sunshine” over and over and over. Nothing seemed to work. I tried sitting in the floor again. I tried holding her, but she just pushed me away. You could tell she was exhausted, she was constantly rubbing her eyes, pulling on her ears (Boogie has always done this when she’s tired, the indicator of an ear infection for her was digging in her ears, not pulling), but she continued to pitch tantrum after tantrum. At this point, I didn’t know what to do. So I put her in her crib.
When I put her in the crib she cried. Then she fussed. Then she screamed. But her crying and fussing was entirely a tantrum, so I didn’t feel bad about letting her “CIO” at this point. I sat in the rocking chair and sang. The only song that has ever helped me get her to sleep is the same song that my own mom sang to me. I really should learn the rest of the lyrics though, because I only two… and they get really old after 2 hours of singing it. Boogie did everything to keep herself awake. Head-butting her bed, walking around her crib holding onto the side. Throwing herself back onto the bed (this part was a little frightening, I was afraid she was going to whack her head on the crib). At 12:15am, after an hour of letting her get her anger and frustrations out, she really started to cry. Typically a mother can distinguish her child’s cries… Boogie has a “mommy milk” cry, a “I’m in pain” cry, a “I’m not getting my way” cry, and her hilarious fake cry (which I really need to video tape…). The cry she had at this point was the “I just need you mommy” cry. Huge tears pouring down her face, plopped in the middle crib looking defeated… she was finally ready for my cuddles. I was so relieved. I hate when she gets to the point where my cuddling doesn’t help her. So, I grabbed my girl out of her crib, held her close, nursed her to her heart’s content… and she was asleep. Dreamy, lips still puckered as if still nursing, hands above her head, sprawled out and completely asleep. Thank you GOD.
I truly believe that if I had continued to let Boogie cry she would have continued to keep herself awake. I don’t know why Boogie acted the way she did last night, normally I can calm her down a lot faster than I was able too… but for whatever reason last night was a rough night. I was hoping that after all that she would sleep for several hours, but after about 2 hours she was up again. Then another 2 hours… and then another 2 hours. So at 6am I gathered her in my arms, sleepily trudged into the living room, fell back into the recliner and the two of us slept til 8am this morning.
You can think what you want… I can’t make you think otherwise, but I have high hopes that at some point this whole sleep thing will just click for my baby girl. It’s obvious that she CAN and is able to sleep for long stretches, but at this point if she wants/needs mommy’s comfort, if she wants/needs mommy’s milk… then I will offer it to her. My mother says I was as rotten about sleep as Boogie is, and I love sleep now. So… even if it’s not til my child is in her 20’s… someday she WILL sleep!