Sunday, July 4, 2010

Have you ever seen a baby this tired...?

Go to sleep already

Although my mum claims he’s never been a great sleeper, this has taken me totally by surprise. Dear, sweet Oliver has turned into a screaming, crying non-sleeping monster, practically overnight.

I will admit the bedtime ministrations over the past four months have been somewhat, let’s say, rigorous. My sister-in-law was the unfortunate witness to a particularly insane hopping jig that was just the ticket to relax dear Ollie one long and frustrating evening. But generally I have been able to get him to sleep, usually happily and occasionally even quickly. In fact, last week he was able to fall asleep with only the help of a swaddle, a pacifier and his gaze directed across the room at me. I thought this was an incredible success.

But this week! Oh, this week! The child has made a complete about-face. The bedtime routine goes as usual, bath, diaper, massage, story, nursing.. and then the madness sets in. I lie Ollie down, hopefully give him a kiss. Within seconds his lower lip trembles, his face screws up, turns beet red, and he lets out a wail that could only indicate extreme bodily harm. His whole body goes stiff, tears fill his eyes and the sobbing leads to gasping, leads to choking.

I pick him up, he’s comforted as he rests his chin on my shoulder. His body shudders a few times as he relaxes out of his hysteria. So I turn his body lengthwise to cradle in my arms.. and he loses his effing mind!! Just the sensation of being horizontal makes him apoplectic! He actually grabs my shirt and tries to pull himself back upright! Eventually I turn him back up, settle him and start the whole thing over again.

On and on this goes, until he gives in to exhaustion and I run off to get a drink. This hard-won sleep lasts about 3 hours and then the whole horror-show repeats: All. Night. Long. Unless of course, I opt not to ever put him down. Which, lets be serious here, I do, at about 3 a.m. Co-sleeping is sleeping, catch my drift?

This nightmare isn’t just for nighttime either, naps play out about the same way, but with the sleep of my victory lasting only 45 minutes. Even less satisfying.

I love Oliver very much. His screams totally break my heart: maybe he’s teething, maybe he’s gassy, maybe he loves me too much to be without me. My mother points out however that any of these problems would be present outside of bedtime. She witnessed the whole ordeal over the last three days, and hs come to the conclusion that he’s playing me like a fiddle. My father agrees.

I’m not sure what to think, but I know that something’s gotta give here. Of course I am exhausted, but even worse so is poor Oliver! And being exhausted as a baby means less time being adorable and brilliant – reading, laughing, rolling over, and more time grizzling, whining and just generally being a downer.

So for Ollie’s sake (and a little for mine), When I get a moment to think on it (I’m not even going to write “sleep on it” that is obviously well outside the realm of possibility) I am going to come up with a sleep strategy. I love ordered little self improvement plans, and it’s high time I get Oliver on one. In the meantime, I’d love any insight or suggestions as to how to get rid of this starry-eyed scream machine and get back cute little Oliver. Or share your tales of woe, and help me feel like I haven’t got it so bad…

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