Monday, May 5, 2008

Fighting sleep

Last week, Thea went to the doc for her four-month check-up. She weighed in at 16.something pounds, 27 inches - 99th and 95th percentile respectively, which is to say she's a big baby. But what struck me most during the visit was the realization that I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in more than 4 months. That's a third of a year. That, I opined, was not OK. There's a lot I can handle. Fire season is starting, and Matt hasn't been off on the weekend for about a month. Liam is busy and always positioning himself for more attention. Work is challenging, and my WordWorks business seems to be getting some attention. Pretty soon, fire season will be in full swing and preschool will be over for the summer, and if I'm going to manage all that (and a broken dishwasher), I need more than 3.5 hours at a time.

So, I launched a teach-Thea-to-sleep campaign. The first couple nights were aided by the four-month immunization shots, which make her sleepy anyway. Then the real fun started. Thea had been waking up consistently at what I realized were specific times - 11 p.m., 2:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. were all pretty much set in stone. She might add more to that, but not less. So I knew those would be the tough ones. I opted to feed her at the 11 wake-up, then battle over the 2:30 and try to push the 5 to 6.

On Friday night, she howled for a good 45 minutes at 2:30 in the morning before passing out again until 6. On Saturday night, it seemed worse, her howling was more intense, and finally, Matt broke down and went in to check on her. As it turned out, she had blown out her diaper and was soaked through. guilt, guilt, guilt. So I fed her at 3 and went back to sleep. Those two days were a haze of the worst sleep-deprivation I've felt in a long time. When you wake and feed, you don't really wake up all the way. But when you are essentially torturing your kid, you sure do.

But, last night, she woke up at 2:30 again, and this time, I don't even know how long she cried, so it couldn't have been very long. And then she went back to sleep and slept until 6 a.m., when I fed her, and put her back to bed. And there she stays now, sleeping.

I'm not silly enough to think that is it and I will soon be sleeping every night uninterrupted from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., but I think she will get this figured out in time. And that's all I can ask for.

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