I’m really starting to think that we’ll never sleep well again.Â From the beginning Adam and I agreed that we didn’t believe in letting Aaron “cry it out” at night – we didn’t want him to think we were abandoning him or that we didn’t care. And so for the first ten months, nearly nine of which I was breastfeeding a few times at night, Aaron slept in our bed (or in the co-sleeper bassinet attached to the bed) and we were all just fine with the night wakings (it was just part of the deal). Then at ten months we transitioned him to the crib in his room and one of us got up in the middle of the night for a nighttime bottle, after which Aaron usually went back to sleep.
At around 13-14 mos we had a couple of rough months where Adam (nearly always) had to take Aaron downstairs to rock in the stroller to get back to sleep in the middle of the night. We chalked it up to teething and growth spurts and, finally, at around 16-17 months he started sleeping through the night most nights.
Aaron has never been a fantastic sleeper – his natural wake-up time is 5:00 am (5:30 if we’re lucky), no matter which time zone we’re in. He often resists naps; we’re now down to one 90 min-2 hr nap a day.Â But some nights are worse than others.Â Here’s what last night looked like:
2:15 am: I wake up to faint cries of “mommy, mommy,” which I ignore for about 15 min, hoping he’ll go back to sleep. He doesn’t.
2:30 am: I go get Aaron out of his crib, retrieve the binkys he’s thrown on the floor (he has to sleep with two – one to suck and one to hold), and sit down with him in the glider chair in his room. He’s screaming at this point: milk, mommy, no. Milk, milk. Down, down. Stairs. Daddy. Mommmmmmmy. As if I wasn’t holding the squirming blubbery ball right on my lap. And oh yeah – he must’ve had a slight nosebleed while sleeping (his first). I yell to wake Adam up and he comes in to give me a hand with some saline nose drops and wrestling a noseblow out of the very unhappy kid.
2:30 am – 3:20 am: Adam goes back to bed – he can sleep through anything. Aaron and I wrestle in the chair, him squirming and trying to get down off the chair while screaming and me struggling to keep him on my lap. Every so often he throws the binkys on the floor in protest, and after about 5-10 minutes of leaving them there I pick them up, since I know full well he’ll never get to sleep without them. He sucks one and holds the other for a while, then starts to protest again, and in a blink they’re back on the floor. I manage to head that off at the pass a few times but he gets the throw in a bunch of times.
3:30 am: I’m desperate to pee. So I put a screaming Aaron down in his crib, with the binkys, and walk away, promising him that I’m coming back.Â When I get back I realize that taking him back into the chair would be too much of a reward (and no guarantee that he’ll calm down and not squirm for another hour), so I decide to lie down on the floor next to the crib.
3:30 am – 4:10 am: The floor is hard. I’m miserable. Aaron is still screaming, occasionally jumping up and down to emphasize his point. The binkys are mainly in my hand because his mouth is wide open screaming anyway.
4:10 am: Beyond exhausted myself, I ask Aaron if he’s ready to sleep with mommy in the chair. He says yes, so I pick him up, give him the binkys and rock him. It doesn’t take much and he seems to be out.
4:25 am: I gently get up and put Aaron in the crib. He awakens the minute his head hits the mattress. Screaming ensues.
4:30 am: I give up and take Aaron into our bed.Â He conks out.Â Adam is snoring.Â I am now wedged between the kid and the cat and wide awake.Â Seems like a good time to write a blog post.
So now I’m really not sure what to do. Clearly it would be better for everyone if we all got more, and more consistent, sleep. But he’s a smart kid and I worry even more now that if we just let him cry that he’ll think we just don’t care.
I’m off to the Evo Conference this week for three nights so maybe Adam can stomach a few nights of crying which could right this ship. I certainly can’t handle it, so I think if we’re going to try it it will have to be when I’m out of the house.
Anyone have any advice for getting better sleep out of a nearly 22 month old? We’re all ears.