Saturday, January 29, 2005

Sleep, sleepy, sleepier

When my son was an infant, he was an angelic baby. And I don't mean in the cute sense, but rather in the easy baby sense. He slept ALL THE TIME. When he was awake, he was either smiling or eating. An incredibly efficient nurser from day one, he only needed to eat every 4 hours from about 2 weeks on. He was sleeping 9 hour stretches at 4 weeks and by 10 weeks was sleeping 12 hours straight at night. Which is why, when he was 5 months old or so, I thought--"Hey! Let's have another!"

So. Fast forward 1-1/2 years. Now I have two babies. My daughter (7 months) has not been a difficult baby, but she doesn't sleep. Especially during the day. And the thing with my son--although he was an easy baby, he is absolutely NOT an easy toddler. The concept of playing quietly by himself is completely foreign to him, even at 23 months old. He requires constant entertainment and vigilance which is difficult in and of itself, but especially when one is also trying to take care of a charming 7 month old who DOESN'T SLEEP.

But now, I have a new problem. My toddler, although he requires inordinate amounts of attention during wake times, has still been a champion sleeper (11 hours at night, 1 3 to 4 hour nap during the day). Only he has suddenly decided that he doesn't need all that sleep after all. For the past few weeks, he has been fighting bedtime like the best of them. Screaming in his crib for 1/2 hour at a time, then just when you think he's asleep, starting up again. So that often it is 2 hours after I put him to bed before he finally really falls asleep.

One might think, "Oh well, he'll sleep late in the morning." Um, no. Or "He'll make it up with an extra long nap". Quite the opposite really. Instead of waking around 6:30 smiling and happily talking to himself for 10 or 15 minutes before calling out to me, he now wakes up screaming every morning around 4:30 am. I can usually get him to calm down fairly quickly; however, he is up screaming again 20-30 minutes later. I repeat the drill, calm him down, get back in my bed, and 30 minutes later he's up again. This goes on until 5:45 or 6 when I can't calm him down any longer and I either get him up, or listen to him scream bloody murder in his crib for the next hour.

THEN, at naptime, my usual guaranteed window of 2.5 hours minimum to myself has been decreased by 1 hour. So this kid--who used to get 15 hours sleep on a daily basis, now gets less than 10. And I get to wake up at 4:30 every morning, which makes me even more cheery and optimistic than usual.

But that's just the one kid. I have another, you know.

Vivian. Vivian is 7 months old. She has never enjoyed sleeping much, especially for naps. Naps are a true waste of her time. So for her morning nap, she sleeps around 45 minutes. Occasionally she will stay in her crib for longer, but whenever I go in there to be sure she is still alive, she's always wide awake, having rolled over onto her back, staring around the room happily. I doubt she ever sleeps longer than 45 minutes, it's just some days she doesn't need to see me once she wakes up. That's the morning "nap". Her afternoon nap, I try really hard to coordinate with her brother's. This, so I can keep my sanity and have a few hours all to myself. But these days she doesn't want to take an afternoon nap. No, she'd rather be up with mom during that time, watching CSI and Without a Trace on TiVo. So by the time I get her to nap it is usually 4pm or later, and Isaac has been up bothering us both for hours.

She generally goes to sleep for the night pretty easily. Oh, but wait, I forgot to mention--I still have to get up and feed her at least once. Usually around 3 or 4. Yes, she is 7 months old. Yes, she still wants to nurse in the night. Please don't anyone else mention how strange that is, why I've never heard of that, all my children slept thru the night by the time they were 10 weeks old. (This is what I used to say to people before I had Vivian, when my only experience was Isaac the wonderful. And yes, I realize, payback's a bitch.)

All this to say: I am tired. And you know what? Isaac is tired too, dammit. And so is Vivian. So just LISTEN TO MOMMY AND GO TO BED.


Anonymouse said...

My son is 21 months. I know exactly how you feel. Good luck getting them both to bed!

Anonymous said...

Hate to be the bearer of bad news but...all toddlers need constant interaction/attention when they play. You have about 1 more year before your son will play happily on his own for a period of time...not endlessly.

Oh, sleep habits change. Seven-month-old babies usually wake in the night. Sadly, resistance is futile. It just makes you cranky.

And, I wouldn't worry about re-directing discussions about penis/vagina. It's interesting to children. My children--3.5 year old boy-girl twins--started talking about their genitals even earlier.

Hate to sound like a grouch but your children are completely and utterly normal.

Anonymous said...

My son is 4 and a half. After two, he quit napping. Before that he nursed about THREE times a night. All the way to 18 months old. At least now he sleeps late in the morning. My daughter (2) is a early bird. Up with the sun or shortly thereafter every morning. She still likes to nurse at least once in the night if I let her. She still takes a two hour nap every day. So they have all the bases covered. One is up early, one is up late. That's motherhood....I love them dearly, but being a huge fan of sleep my life changed drastically five years ago...

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