12 January 2009

In Which I Chill Out About Naps

Sleep has been my "thing" with the Pea.  Growing up, waking a sleeping baby was a the cardinal sin in our household.  My little sister is 7 years younger than me, so I have no idea how Mom managed to pull that one off, but she did.  And I have my own sleep issues (I'm too lazy to look up all my past posts on my weird, hypnagogic hallucination sleeping issues, so just trust me on this one.  On top of the hallucinations, I've always leaned towards insomnia as well, even as a child).  All this adds up to me being more than just a little obsessive about all things sleep-related.

So I was sooooo proud and smug when my son started sleeping through the night around 9 weeks old.  Ha!  HA!!!  I've decided that if you ever need a dose of humility, just announce that your infant is sleeping through the night.  Because if there's anything I've learned, it's this:  It's not YOU!  It's him (or her).  I had to accept that if his sleeping through the night was somehow a testament to my fabulous parenting skills, then his new waking is a testament to my lack thereof, and I haven't changed.  He's still a decent sleeper...this is not a complaint post.  He goes to bed early without too much fussing.  I just realized that I can't say he's sleeping through the night anymore.  His wake up has slowly drifted a half hour earlier and earlier from 6:00 a.m. until last night, he hit 12:30.  It was so subtle and slow that I didn't even realize it at the time.  Up until a week or so ago, I was still answering "yes" to the often-asked "through the night" question.  Then I realized, "No.  No, he isn't."  When did that start happening?  And I can trace it to the epic hotel stay of 2008.  If I was crammed into an uncomfortable mini pack & play for a week straight, I'd want to wake up at 3:00 a.m. and yell at someone about it, too.

But I realized that I'd gotten a little too obsessive about the naps, specifically about getting him onto a napping schedule.  I kept trying to push back his first nap closer and closer to 9 a.m.  And I was trying to stretch out his awake time to get closer and closer to 1 p.m. for his 2nd nap, per Weissbluth's ideal nap schedule.  The result?  The Pea getting overtired and turning into Mr. Cranky Pants, making it harder and harder for him to fall asleep for those naps and making those naps shorter and shorter.  So yesterday, I decided, "Ehh...maybe some babies can handle staying up that long at 4 1/2 months.  Mine can't."  And there were no nap-time battles.  His first yawn, I whisked him to his room, read a book, sang "You Are My Sunshine" and announced, "It is time for you to take a nap."

No fussing.  He just...went to sleep.

Let the Pea take note:  I am not bragging about this as a parenting skill!  There is no need to prove me wrong.


Megan said...

I've always leaned toward the anti-schedule myself, especially in the earlier months. But really, it's more of a whatever-works-for-us plan. If we had a baby that needed a schedule, I would do that without hesitation.

And by the end of the first year, I do get more strict about a specific bedtime, but even that is a window of time rather than a to-the-minute thing.

Oh, and we sing Sunshine in our house too. Jackson asks for it specifically at his bedtime (with his "payers"--prayers) and helps me "sing" it to Cooper too.

Karen said...

Yeah, bedtime is a window of time, but I learned the hard way that that window can't be too late lest I have a hysterical baby on my hands. It's just SO true that sleep begets sleep.

We'll be praying for you tomorrow!