Caution: this is a long winded, likely boring posting for anybody not super interested in the sleep patterns of my child. Sooo...I guess that leaves me. And J. Hey Sparky!
Hear that? No? Me either! All I hear is QUIET! The quiet of a baby whose afternoon nap, for the first time in a bajillion years (bajillion years = a few months) is lasting longer than 45 minutes. Who do we have to thank for this, you ask? Dr. Weissbluth, author of 'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child'. I also thank Dr. Ferber ('Solve Your Child's Sleep Problems') for his role in this accomplishment in progress, but truly, it's Dr. Weissbluth who finally got through this thick skull of mine and convinced me that little A really, truly does want to sleep. I'm not a better mommy for responding to every wimper, I'm a sleep-deprivation-enabler (my words, not Dr. W's). My knee-jerk reaction to scoop him out of his crib when the crying got to be too much (for me) to handle was doing him no good, said Dr. W. Our "check ins" needed reevaluation- they were intended to reassure A that we haven't skipped town but were usually only successful in making him EVEN MORE ANGRY that he's in his crib and not hanging out with us. Sleep is a learned skill. It's our job to help him learn. And I dare say, we're on the right path to learning. While friends (that's you, Anne) and acquaintances (that's you, nice mom with from Gymboree class) had hinted to me that I may be missing A's sleep signs and allowing him to overtire by trying for a later bedtime, I didn't get it until I spent last night voraciously reading the pages of HSHHC. Seriously- I attacked that thing. J had to pry it from my little hands when bedtime rolled around.
Now I get it. Little man needs a nap by 9-10am. He needs another nap by 12-2pm. These naps need to last an hour. Waking before that hour is up doesn't bring something fun (like mommy rushing in to play), so he may as well just settle in for a few more z's. He's got a natural sleep pattern thanks to biology, but he just needs some help learning to adhere to that pattern. Even if that means crying for a bit.
It sounds cruel, I know. But anyone who has read even one entry on this blog couldn't possibly doubt the (big, huge) amount of love for our little guy. Part of that love, part of parenting, is saying "no". "No" to sleep refusal, "no" to playing in the street, "no" to biting your friends. (Well, okay, go ahead and bite your friends if they say something mean about your mommy. That's okay.)
Anywho, Anderson slept last night from 5:45pm-6:30am, with just one quick waking in there for a bottle, then right back to sleep. No screaming, no clawing, no marital spats. No need for a 3am backyard margarita party with my cool neighbor Sara, even if that would actually be kind of fun.
I watched like a hawk for sleepy signs this morning, started naptime when I saw that first yawn, and we endured a mere 15 minutes of fussing before he napped a blissful 90 minutes. I again watched for those signs this afternoon, started the naptime- ZERO minutes of fussing. 45 minutes of sleep followed. As per usual. But today when he awoke after those 45 short minutes, I shut off the monitor, went down to the kitchen, turned on the exhaust fan, and let him be. It sucked, not going to lie. But 7 minutes in, I tip-toed up the stairs....silence. He put himself back to sleep at naptime! He'd accomplished this skill at night after the Ferberizing, but NEVER after waking too early at naptime. And he's still napping! In fact, I'm going to have to wake the little bugaboo up in about 15 minutes to "protect a reasonably early bedtime".
Ahhh, progress. I feel so encouraged. And A? He's one HAPPY kid when he's well rested. He's been smiley and giggly and sweetly curious. Okay, he also took out a rack of apple juice (in glass bottles, of course) while hanging out in his Bjorn at Central Market, but he sure had fun doing it!
Okay, I lied. One picture. A enjoying his very first rice biscuit.