Monday, March 10, 2008

Sleep Training

A slight pause from the scintillating TV reviews and time to dip my toes once again into the ever present waters of domesticity...

Karen and I are both gritty eyed this morning – so much so if there’d been a frost last night we could have cleared the roads this morning just by looking at them.

Tom woke at 3 am and then 5 am and then stayed awake, screaming for a full hour until I eventually gave in and took him downstairs. We’re desperately trying to dissuade him from waking twice in the night so, although he got fed at 3, he got nada at 5. A nappy change and words of comfort didn’t help at all. Not one iota. He’s a very determined, very focused little boy.

Training a baby to sleep through the night is surprisingly tough. We want to break one habit without kick-starting another hence although he gets a hug it’s kept to a minimum... we don’t want him screaming the place down in the middle of the night for the next 3 months just because he wants some social interaction. It’s difficult letting him cry though. It’s impossible not to feel mean – though as soon as he was picked up he was full of beaming smiles and giggles. Little tyke.

There’s something about a baby’s scream in the small hours that does something to your brain. It’s like having your frontal lobes lanced with a light sabre. A big purple one like Mace Windu’s. I have to say (almost with a sense of pride) that Tom’s lungs have an awe inspiring capacity. People in the street – were there any at that time in the morning and in the gales that were buffeting the little cul-de-sacs of Little Whinging – would have thought that foulest murder was being committed in our house. I’m sure that blue whales out in the Pacific were picking up Tom’s cries and were whistling back for him to be quiet! He even out-galed the gale.

Bless him.

Anyway, it’s ironic that sleep training at the moment seems to mean that nobody gets any sleep at all. All of us are looking sandy eyed and rather “blurgh” this morning – even Tom.

It’s nice to know he so much wants to be part of the family...!

20 comments:

Inchy said...

I dunno how you do it. I occasionally get woken up by The Demon speaking in tongues during her sleep, or my gay neighbours shagging, but I need my sleep. You have my admiration.

EmmaK said...

oh God that sounds like really hard work and a strain on the nerves. I never ever tried to get them to sleep, just kept them in bed with me (i have two) and stuck a nipple in their mouth whenever they made a peep. My husband got a bit pissed off and when the youngest was four he made her stop sleeping with us.

Steve said...

Inchy, a couple of nights of interrupted sleep we can cope with... but there comes a point when the balance is tipped too far and you go slightly insane. Thankfully Tom seems to have a limit too and once he's exhausted himself he's out like a light for a couple of nights and we can catch up.

Emma, you make that sound so easy and ideal! ;-) However, we're bottle feeding and Tom very much has his own cot which I have to say he loves. He likes to stretch out and hug his teddy before he drops off. Dead cute.

Daisy said...

perhaps a little bit of cereal before bedtime would help...did with my son...seemed that he was just waking hungry earlier than i was...just a suggestion...and yes i know every child is different...lol

Reluctant Blogger said...

Oh dear, poor you, nights with little sleep leave you zombie-like and crabby, don't they? But it is a good idea to establish a good sleep routine - it'll be worth it in the end.

I sometimes get broody when I see little babies, all smiley with bonny little fingers and toes. So it is very good of you to provide this online contraceptive device to any of us who may ever consider straying down the new parent route again.

I hope he settles down soon. They usually do just when you least expect it - after a real night from hell. Then you wake up in a panic in the morning and prod them to check they are still alive.

Take care
Gina

Inchy said...

Emma, I like your style, girl!

Steve said...

Daisy, any advice gratefully received. Mashed banana seems to be a particular favourite at the moment!

Ha ha! I know what you mean, Gina. You can frequently find both Karen and I hovering over Tom's cot, still as statues, just listening to him breath...! I've never thought of my blog as an online contraceptive device before! Not sure that's the way I really want to go! ;-)

Old Cheeser said...

I have so much admiration and respect for you both being parents. I just couldn't do it. Screaming babies/children cut right through me and I just wanna throttle them. As a matter of fact I was on the bus with Gustavo the other day and there was a young toddler boy on there who was constantly wailing - but a real, teeth-grinding, bone-rattling wailing. The Mum didn't really do much, save giving him a packet of biscuits to try and shut him up, which only did the trick for about 5 seconds. When he couldn't get the wrapper off he started yelling again. Jeeeez!!

As you can tell I have the patience of a saint. So hats off to you and Karen for your persistence.

Is where you live really called Little Whinging?!

Steve said...

Ha ha, no OC - Little Whinging is where Harry Potter lives according to J.K. Rowling! I must admit before having Tom the sounds of babies or kiddies crying had the same effect on me: sent me running for cover... but it's very different when you have kids of your own. Suddenly I can recognize different pitches with Tom and can gauge what it is he wants - whether he's hungry, in pain from his sore gums, tired, got a full nappy. Unlike toddlers and young children babies rarely cry without a good reason - it's their one method of communication so when Tom cries I feel a real compulsion to go to him. Sometimes of course you just have to let them cry for a bit - they just need to do it occasionally - but I find it very difficult to stand back and leave him to it.

-eve- said...

Ai yah! Hmm... if all he wants is to be held, I wonder if it'd work to keep him in bed with you? *But am just afraid that it might be too easy to roll over him in sleep*

Steve said...

Hi Eve, I think that's always a fear at the back of every parent's mind but thankfully it's never happened (and hopefully never will). As it is we're getting him trained to sleep in his cot so that he knows where his bed is and knows it is sleep time when he's in there. He already knows the cot is his special place and grabs his teddy as soon as he's put in there!

The Sagittarian said...

Sympathies!! When my now (growly) 13 year old was a baby, I sat up in bed to feed her...woke up to find both of us just hanging out the side of the bed. After that, I got myself outta bed, no lights on, no talking and just quick feed nappy change and back into her cot. She slept thru at 7 weeks, but the 10 year old took 3 years! As Gina says, they all different and don't come with how to manuals. Roll with the opunches is about all ya can do, and wait them out!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

Poor you & Mrs B GTi. Sounds like you are doing all you can to get Mr Bloggertropolis Junior Junior on the right track.

And as you point out the wails in the night are not always sincere, & often just attention-seeking!

RB is right - your online contraception device works for me, though I start to like them from about 2 onwards.

Rol said...

I don't know how you manage it. I'm knackered and I had almost nine hours sleep last night!

MOTHER OF MANY said...

My first daughter was a nightmare, no matter what I did she wouldn't sleep so by the time number 2 was born tactics were changed.I put her to bed at 8pm and it took about two weeks for her to get into the routine, waking once in the night when she was tiny for a feed and then going straight back to sleep.She was the happiest baby, I always said of her that she went to bed with a smile on her face and woke up with a smile on her face.
BUT if it might makes you feel better to know that whilst I had wonderful successes with the other children,when you woke at 3am I had already been awake for an hour with Beauty who didn't go back to sleep until 5am!
If we swapped children at night for a week you would be begging for Tom back, I promise having a 7 year old in bed next to you singing every Disney song she knows is worse than water torture.It wouldn't be so bad if it were anything but Disney, I some times have the desire to rip out the vocal chords of Zac Efron so he can know how much he has made parents everywhere suffer.

Steve said...

Amanda, rolling with the punches is exactly what we're having to do. The poor little mite haa a snuffly cold so woke last night at 11.30, 2.00 and 4.30...!

Laura, maybe I ought to charge for this on-line contraceptive service... or start doing school tours in deprived areas..?

Rol: 9 hours sleep? 9 hours sleep? From where I'm standing (or rather slumped over my computer screen) you are the richest man alive... enjoy it!

Ally, thanks for the timely hit of perspective: you're right - Disney songs in the small hours would be utter torture... I don't know how you do it!

TimeWarden said...

I dunno, "The Bare Necessities" might be quite appropriate!

Old Cheeser said...

I see what you mean - of course you can't ignore the needs of your own kids! The fact that you can gauge the different kinds of infant crying shows what a perfectly attuned parent you really are! Not to mention a very caring one.

Janete Cabral said...

I really need my sleep so I always admire how you do it. I would love to have a couple of my own someday, although I am married to medicine at the moment...

It is amazing how you manage to get everything done in one day, and still have time to write. Brave you!

Steve said...

Janete, I must admit, more and more frequently at the moment I'm beginning to think we've taken on far too much - both Karen and I seem to be constantly exhausted and getting through the week is a hard slog. My part-time Uni degree will finish this time next year which will be a massive burden lifted. And hopefully I'll have my novel finished by then too - although the plan is to write another one!

What really kills Karen is trying to deal with the "school run" as well as keeping Tom on track with his feeds and his naps and getting some rest herself... modern living certainly isn't set up to be relaxing. I'm beginning to think that Karen and I need to review our options!