Friday, February 09, 2007

Sleeping Beauty she ain't

Don’t be fooled by her rosebud lips, her dimples, or her penchant for pink frilly clothes: The Peanut is a frat boy in training. How else can one explain her room-shaking belches, fart jokes, and all-night partying? It’s the last trait that’s killing us here at the House of Crazy. I’d be weeping constantly if only I had the strength.

When your first child sleeps through the night at two and a half months, you’re sure you’ve got it all figured out. Oh sure, you tell everyone that it’s just luck, that you hit the jackpot. But secretly you’re sure that it’s your strict 7 pm bedtime, your nightly Goodnight Moon reading, and your magical boobs that deserve the credit.

Then you get the karmic ass-biting you so richly deserve: a child who simply won’t sleep. Suddenly, you’re apologizing to all your friends for your unbearable smugness. And begging them for advice. Because seriously, if you don’t get two consecutive hours of sleep you will lose your goddamn mind.

For the first three and a half months of her life, The Peanut would only sleep tucked into the crook of my arm. At the time, it was somewhat nightmarish if only because she insisted on a strict 7 pm bedtime, and I wasn't particularly thrilled about retiring so early. But it was also sweet to cuddle with my wee girlie.

At three and a half months, she blossomed into the party animal she is today. Bedtime was play time, and no one got a wink of sleep until we booted her into her crib. The crib was a bit better, but there was still a lot of night waking. And by "a lot," I mean every two or three hours. For pretty much the first year. Jack and I were walking zombies. Depressed zombies. Who never had sex any more.

The situation improved when she turned one. I don't mean she started sleeping through the night, mind you—I just mean two or three wakings. So that's how things stand now, and it's almost bearable. Except for the fact that every couple of months, she regresses to waking up every hour. Crying and begging to come sleep with us...and then when we bring her in the bed, it's party time.

I love The Peanut with all my heart, but I am about two sleepless nights away from renting her an apartment of her own.


Poppy said...

Ah yes, that second child always puts the parent we are with the first into perspective.

I thought I had some magic w/ X because he was a non-violent toddler. If there was any slap down going on at playgroup, he was never on the giving end, only the receiving. Then Miss Z came along--and X has the bite marks to prove it.

As they say--we're always perfect parents before having children.

Alisyn said...

My family is the opposite - girl #1 was the high-maintenance, no-sleep, needed-to-be-held-all-the-time one. Girl #2 was much, much easier, in pretty much every way. But I still know what you're going through.

As for the sleep... there just came a point for us (with #1), where we had to explain to her that mama and dada could not visit her in her room at night time anymore. We put some books in her crib, a sippy cup of water, and her favorite stuffed animals (which she threw out, of course), and told her we'd come back when the sun was in the sky. It worked, after a few rough nights. We never thought we'd do the "cry it out" thing - but, like you, we were fucking desperate. And miserable. And she was approaching 2, so we had been sleep deprived for almost 2 years! Getting her on a more regular sleep schedule helped all of us.

Footnote: To this day, Hazel has a hard time sleeping, and is up at least once during the night. It goes in waves, though - some months are good, others not so much. Having a set of "middle of the night rules" to stick to really help us, though. Part of me wonders, if we'd established a more regular routine earlier, would she have this trouble? And part of me thinks it's just in her nature...?

Bedtime wars. They're torture. I feel for you.

Stephanie said...

This is my life. To a T. Or T-e-s-s-a, I should say. Except that she throws a few nights of sleep into the mix every few months, just to fuck with us. Like she's saying: Oh, I *can* sleep through the night. I just choose not to.

Karen said...

fuckin' A. here i was, hoping to escape reality for a minute or 2 by reading blogs. *sigh* DD started life off sleeping through the night, and we still managed to break her somehow. now i'm lucky if i get 3 straight hours. DS didn't sleep through the night til he was 1, and i will go crazy if *that* happens again. yesterday i bought "healthy sleep habits, happy baby", and i am following it like a lawyer follows an ambulance. today DD slept for 1 nap, and cried 25 minutes before her 2nd nap. it was not as bad as i feared. time to get tough. good luck, ms. crazy... to both of us, it seems.

happypix said...

Maybe The Peanut and Baby C can get a place together. This is the third night in a row there's been 3am partying.