Whoever came up with the saying “sleeping like a baby” CLEARLY never ever had one. I mean for real – who wants to wake up every 20 minutes screaming unless a boob is shoved in your mouth (ok, maybe some men). But, seriously, while I do realize it would be nice for someone to swaddle me up, feed me, rock me, sing to me and gently lay me down to sleep each night as well as every 2 hours during the day…I also am positive that waking up every 2-3 hours in a hysterical fit does not fall under the definition of quality shut-eye. Anyone who has ever had a newborn and ultimately in a desperate exhausted state embarked on the torture known as “sleep training” is aware that “sleeping like a baby” is not a desirable state. Now sleeping like a teenager or a hung-over college student…that’s a sound sleep.
Avery isn’t the worst of the sleepers, but he is definitely not the best. He will on occasion randomly sleep 8-10 hour stretches. Although I firmly believe this is solely to let us know that he can, but would rather wake up every 2-3 hours just to see if we are stupid enough to keep coming in and rocking/feeding/soothing him. So far he was won that bet. However during the day since he lacks the ability to put himself to sleep or soothe himself, he will only nap if I am holding him, which is exhausting at best. The “experts” seem to agree that before a baby can learn to nap they must first learn to sleep at night – so in an attempt to get him on some semblance of a schedule, give me some sanity time during the day, and to sleep longer than 2-3 hour stretches at night, we are starting sleep training.
Here’s how it will work (sayeth the sleep books). At 6pm we will commence our nightly sleep ritual, which will alert Avery that it is time to sleep. We will bathe him, massage him, put his jammies on, feed him while singing some slightly off-tune lullabies, snuggle him up in his sleep sack, say his prayers, tell him it is time for bed and lay him down in his crib. After which we will leave the room and apparently not touch him for the rest of the night.
Since the sound of him crying makes me come undone, I will hide in the bedroom watching Netflix and drinking wine (this will serve two purposes: 1. take the edge off and 2. prevent me from breaking down and feeding him spiked milk) while Micah (who I haven’t told this part to yet) goes in at timed intervals exactly half way into the room to say something along the lines of “you’re doing great Avery, it’s time to sleep now”. He will not touch him and will not stay longer than 30 seconds.
On paper it sounds robotic and not too difficult, but when your overtired baby is purple in the face and choking on spit cause he is hysterically crying – well, it’s torture for all involved.
What should happen is eventually Avery will simply decide to stop hysterically screaming and simply fall asleep soundly. Uh huh. And, when we repeat this all tomorrow it will take less time for him to sleep and hopefully by 3-5 nights after starting he will calmly soothe himself to sleep from the moment we lay him down. HAHAHAHAHA. Now when I read this the first time I had to check and make sure I was reading a sleep-training book, because for a second I thought this must be a fiction top seller. This is clearly a joke. Let’s just say I am a wee bit skeptical. I will believe this when I see it, considering my attempts to get him to sleep in the crib and not in my arms during the day result in screams with such conviction they would make a neighbor call child services.
So wish us luck! Send us noise-cancelling headphones (in hindsight this should have been on my registry and will be my gift to all new mothers from now on) and hopefully a week from now our baby will no longer be “sleeping like a baby” but instead sleeping like a hung-over college student. Good (screaming child filled) night!
P.S. I feel Halloween is an appropriate night to start, since hopefully neighbors will think we are being uncharacteristically festive and not beating our child.