So let’s talk about the one thing you’re never supposed to talk about as a parent, the one thing that, if your child is actually doing, you keep your mouth shut, get on your knees and thank God for this incredible gift because the first rule about parenthood is to not talk about it – that’s right, sleep. And giving that it is currently 3:30 am as I write this, I thought it only appropriate.
Shortly after Abby went on formula … (side note: I am truly thankful for all of the kind words and comments after sharing my breastfeeding vs. formula feeding battle. In my head I have thanked you in an unforgettable poetic fashion, however, it being 3:30 am, words aren’t flowing as easily. I promise to make it up as soon as my brain functions again – so probably in 18 years). As I was saying, shortly after Abby started drinking formula regularly, her nighttime sleep patterns were incredible! She would have a few large feedings in the evening hours, go down for bed at around 8:30 pm, wake up one time in the middle of the night, and then be asleep until morning. Then, after a week or so, she eliminated that middle of the night feeding. We felt like we had won the baby lottery. We were parents with a two month old who would regularly receive between 6-8 hours of sleep a night! After weeks of waking every 2-3 hours and basically walking through life as zombies, the change was exhilarating, to say the least. I was ready to pat myself on the back and brag about my advanced daughter who had sleep down before she could crawl. We were amazing parents – superhero status would be given to us, parades would be organized in our honor, the world would bow at our greatness.
And then, of course, I was knocked off my high horse into a flaming pile of …. well, you can imagine.
As we enter into Abby’s fourth month on this planet, and let our guard down, she has decided it is time to regress because she’s just as manipulating as she is sweet. At first, it was just once in a while. She had an unusual heavy diaper, or just needed to be held for second, or just a few ounces of formula to get her back to dreamland. And it would only take a few minutes to get her back down. Before long, she was back to waking up regularly in the middle of the night with demands, so many demands. Then she started fighting her usual bedtime. Before, 8:30 pm would come and she’d be fast asleep, and we would embrace what I like to call “grown up time.” And yes, this typically involved drinking a glass of wine, watching mindless television, or playing video games (or all three), before heading to bed to enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep. As I’ve mentioned before, neither of us are very “cool” individuals. But, of course, our grown up time started diminishing as Abby had new thoughts on when bedtime would actually start. And, as this is all happening, Abby began fighting daytime naps, which means mom, who is still on leave, is never sleeping. Abby does sleep, but only if being held. If I even think about moving her to her crib, game over. How can such loud noises come out of a such a tiny person? It’s just not fair!
Welcome to month four where she devilishly smiles at you at 11 pm, refusing bedtime; wakes in the middle of the night screaming for a new diaper, bottle, to be held, and your entire savings (I swear, I’d give it to her if it would make a difference), and daytime napping is a fantasy. And yes, she will nap only while you hold her in one arm and chug as much coffee as possible with your other, while debating if you should take another sip knowing if you need to move her in order to empty your bladder she’ll make you regret it. And, of course, right now I should be sleeping since her nighttime feeding was completed at 2:30 am, but in the thirty or so minutes it took to sway her back to dreamland, my brain woke up and refuses to turn off. Imagine an energetic puppy who just realized it’s morning and is ready for breakfast and playtime. My dog is snoring as I type this by the way. I envy her. So, here I am, now 4 am, and awake. And by the time I do fall asleep again (hopefully in the next 30 minutes), it will be too late, because her normal waking hour is around 5 am and the routine continues.
No wonder babies are so adorable – to allow others something pleasant to look at as they advert their eyes from the zombie pushing the stroller.