December, Sleep

My best friend from high school had a Calvin and Hobbes comic up on his bedroom door.  I don’t remember exactly what it said, but basically Calvin was totally stressing out because it was the last day of the summer and there was no way he could possibly have enough fun in one day.

Suddenly it is December.

I keep telling people I’m going back to work in January.

Truth is, I am going back for two days in December, right before the vacation, so I can get paid for the vacation.  Right after those two days, I’m going to my mother-out-law’s house for Christmas.  So really, my time as a stay at home mom to a little baby ends in December.  And here it is.  I can no longer say, “I go back next month.”  I know that I’ve been home a lot longer than many people get to stay.  I don’t, however, feel like I’ve had ample time to enjoy it.  Ample time would be a whole year.

My friend SN asked me to post about sleep.  People with babies my age start to worry about it now.  Usually when it is time to go back to work.  When Cake was a babe, I took my February vaction and dedicated it to sleep training the boy.  He was waking up three times a night and taking over 45 minutes to get back to sleep each time.  I did “The Baby Whisperer” technique (it is a book;  a rather condescending one, at that.)  It took two nights.  The technique, called “pick up, put down” was a sort of modified cry it out.  But instead of leaving the baby alone in the room to cry, you stand there by the crib and pick the baby up and tell him you love him and to go to sleep, then you put him right down.  Repeat.  Repeat until the kid gets the picture that you will not be rocking him for 45 minutes more.*  The first night was the hardest.  Just awful.  The second night was the same as nights had been before the first night.  Every night after that for the next year and a half, he slept through from 7 to 6ish.

Back then, I swore that when I had our second child, I’d keep him on a schedule and teach him to fall asleep on his own, yadda yadda.  Of course that didn’t happen.  Now we’re doing something that makes very little sense.  I call it the hope-the-baby-will-sleep-through-the-night-of-his-own-accord technique. Uuuh.  It isn’t as hard with this guy.  Trucker only really gets up once on a normal night, if you don’t count the 5 am wake up.  But he goes right back to sleep both times.  So I am actually getting a fair amount of sleep.

One of th promises I made to myself was to avoid nursing the baby to sleep.  Yes, it is sweet.  Yes, it is easy.  But it makes the baby need you to put him down.  I don’t want to be the only person who can put him down.  I just don’t.  It should be able to be anyone who [ok, right in the middle of typing this sentence, the baby woke up and i nursed him back to sleep.  This is going so well!] can rock or pat or calm him, not just the one with the lactating parts.  I was doing a good job.  But as you can see, something went awry this week and now he’s wanting to be nursed to sleep.  And I’m doing it.  And it is making me even more upset about going to work.

I know that he will be ok.  I know that he will adapt to daycare.  I will adapt to work.  We will all manage to get out the door and to our respective places on time.  That’s all intellectual.  Emotionally?  Just take a guess.

*I know you are not so foolish, but just in case… please don’t try “pick up / put down” based on my blog post.  Go get the book from the library, if you want to try it. There’s other scheduling stuff involved in the technique. I think the author’s name is Tracy Hogg.

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5 Comments

Filed under b00b food, my second son, Trucker, working motherhood, ZzzzzzzzzzzzZZZzzZz

5 responses to “December, Sleep

  1. Nethermeade

    Oh dear. Time has really flown. This means that Trucker will be 6 mos in a flash. That’s wild, even though (thanks to your boobs) he’s been that size like for evah!

    Though I’m merely a conflicted workaholic & not a mom, I’ll offer this reflection from my experience: the anticipation of work is usually worse than the work itself. You’re a seasoned teacher by now with great perspective and even more reasons to balance work and home in the way that makes you happiest. It will be challenging and you will be wiped, but I’ll bet you’re gonna leave work on time and skip home most days.

    And going back briefly before vacation is a genius move. In addition to getting you the vacation pay, it transforms the break from the-Sunday-night-to-end-all-Sunday-nights to a real lark. So smart you are!

  2. Enjoy these precious weeks! I can’t believe how time has flown by.

    I also used the Baby Whisperer technique with great success. So i guess this is a ‘I second it.’

  3. sn

    thanks, m’dear, for the sleep post. i could think, talk, read about sleep every waking minute these days. and i’ve gotta say, your strategy is a helluva lot better than ours: nurse-to-sleep-while-hoping-the-baby-will-learn-to-sleep-from-her-buddy-Trucker technique, or the stick-in-baby-carrier-and-walk-the-streets-at-all-times-of-night technique.

    we’ve read and contemplated the good dr. ferber. you inspire to reread the baby whisperer.

  4. bri

    Beck’s sleep fell apart when I went back to work, so you never know. Even if it was all working perfectly, it might change when you return anyway. I am still nursing once a night and some days he is up at 4am and that’s that. Somehow I still drag my ass to work. And I am firmly in that trap of being the only one to put him to bed each night. So firm is my trap that I now relish it and greedily keep this role to myself. Tomorrow night I am planning to go drink at the work party and we are going to see if he will go to sleep for Wes. I am highly highly doubtful. And somehow that secretly pleases me. Awful. But true.

  5. sn

    okay. i knew you were fierce, but i’m realizing that you are extra fierce. we are in the middle of ferberizing, and are feeling traumatized and ambivalent. so we braved the condescension of the baby whisperer and reread. and spent five minutes doing pick up put down. and both our backs hurt and we got tired. (but you never tire. you are fierce!)

    our daughter freaked out with every put down. we kissed her, left the room, and are back to ferber. until we call ACS on ourselves or something. ugh.

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