I blogged quite faithfully before I got pregnant with Camilla, and then once I was pregnant, I became very sporadic about posting. Lots of reasons for that, but one of them is that for me, it's easier to blog struggle than victory.
There's so much to say about struggles, so much to dissect and analyze and share. Victory, on the other hand: you can say "yay!" and be happy, but there's not much to do after that.
Nevertheless, it doesn't seem fair to share struggles here, and not share victories.
So. I've written a little about our ongoing battle to get Blaise to sleep better. I wrote about it this past Tuesday, and Tuesday night we hit rock-bottom: the baby and I were awake together from 12:30 to 3:30 (at which point Bryan took him from me and managed to get him to sleep in ten minutes). Despite the fact that he's been mostly night-weaned for months, Blaise was furious with me for not letting him nurse. A couple times he almost dozed off, only to wake again and ramp right back up. He fussed. He wailed. He pinched. He tried to bite. We were both absolutely miserable.
I tried everything I know how to do, but he would not take comfort from me. It was awful.
And understand, we started night-weaning him on his first birthday. He'll be eighteen months old next week. This is not new, and it's just been getting worse.
In my mid-night desperation I could think of two possible solutions: a) wean him completely, so that he could no longer get upset about not being allowed to nurse, or b) put him in a crib in a room by himself and let him work it out on his own.
Just the thought of either option made my stomach churn.
But I've read Moxie on baby sleep (and agree with her) and it occurred to me that maybe Blaise didn't want me to comfort him. Maybe he releases tension by crying; maybe - given the chance - he'd fuss himself to sleep no problem.
(Weaning wasn't a serious option. Neither of us is anywhere near ready for that.)
So we bought some curtains for the playroom, and we set up the crib in there, and Wednesday night, we tried it. But it wasn't such a success.
Then my dear husband looked up Moxie's article on his own, and he pointed out to me that Blaise does not at all fit the profile of a tension-releaser. He's always nursed or rocked to sleep, and he loves having us nearby for comfort. And I said, yes, that's true, but he doesn't like having me for comfort right now. He gets furious with me!
So Bryan, angel husband that he is, offered to be the one who goes in to put Blaise back to sleep, every single time.
If you follow me on Twitter, you already know, but this is how fast it worked: Thursday night he was down by 9pm, up very briefly at 11:30, up at 5am, then went back to sleep (I was shocked) and was up for the day at 6:45. (Our rule is that he is allowed to nurse any time after 6am.)
Last night, Friday: Asleep by 10pm (we were babysitting our nephews for the evening, so it was a late night). Up at 5am, briefly. Up for the day at 6:45.
I know! I know!!!!! WHAT?
We are shocked. And also, I feel pretty silly.
Even my beloved Elizabeth Pantley, defender of co-sleeping that she is, admits that some babies will not learn to sleep through the night while still in bed with their parents. Our pediatrician, when Camilla was little, told us that no baby ever would. But we disproved him with her, who night-weaned and started sleeping through the night over the course of one week, right there in bed with us.
So we assumed that since Camilla could do it, Blaise could do it too. Which was apparently an error of EPIC proportions.
(Also, I am so embarrassed that I did that! I'm always going on about how every baby is an individual and you can't make assumptions about how they will behave - remember "Babies are Not Robots"? - and yet here I go, doing the exact thing I consider so egregious.)
I'm not sorry we didn't do the crib thing earlier, because we do love co-sleeping and I would have been sad to end it prematurely, before we were absolutely sure it was necessary.
(Someday I will write an ode to co-sleeping about how I love it so. Seriously. I just sleep so much better with my babies near me. Now that Blaise is in the other room, I am actually having a hard time sleeping soundly because he's so far away. How's that for irony?)
(But on the other hand, we have our bedroom back! For the first time in three-and-a-half years! I did mention that Camilla's been sleeping in her own room for several months now, right? It is kind of awesome to be able to read in bed before going to sleep and all that kind of stuff.)
Where was I? Oh yes, I'm not sorry we waited to try the crib, because, my maudlin blog posts to the contrary notwithstanding, we've gotten a decent amount of sleep over the past six months. But just recently it had started getting worse, beyond what you'd expect from an 18-month sleep regression, and it pushed us to the edge and we did the crib thing and it worked and hooray hooray hooray!
Honestly, I think this might be one of the weirdest things that's happened to us with our children. Tuesday night was one of the hardest, most demoralizing experiences I've had as a parent. Friday night, just 72 hours later, our 18-month-old slept through the night for the first time ever.
We're always looking for a silver-bullet solution to each parenting challenge and there never is one. But this time, wonder of wonders, there was!
And it's a brand-new parenting lesson for me. I believe very strongly in trusting my instincts and having confidence in my parenting abilities, but in this particular case I was letting my own preferences cloud my judgment. Having my baby sleep in a crib is not my first choice - if I could, I'd have him sleeping through the night in the twin bed right next to our bed, waking in the morning and crawling over to me to nurse - and I let my desire to achieve my preferred sleeping situation make me unwilling to try all the options, even the one that ended up actually working for my kid.
I needed to make it more about him, less about me. Hey, I guess that's not just a parenting lesson, huh? Good LIFE lesson, really.
So, to summarize: hit rock-bottom with baby sleep. Found solution, yay! Getting good ZZZs now. Also: selfishness bad.
I hope you and all of yours are sleeping well tonight! But if not, feel free to tell me about it. I have all kinds of sympathy.