Another F**king sleep post

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Here I am, another blogger in a sea of them writing about sleep.

Because, y’all, we are suffering here at Chez Gayby. Everything is a little bit harder because 3 out of 4 of us aren’t getting enough sleep regularly, and the fourth occasionally joins us when he’s feeling rowdy.

Last night, for example, I headed to bed around 10pm but got waylaid by laundry, and so ended up finally in bed a little after 11. Gus woke up at 12:45, which is when L had just finished pumping, so I took the bottle of milk into him. He’d gone to bed around 7pm but had to be rocked or nursed back to sleep 2-3 times (I can’t recall because, no sleep) before the 12:45 wake up. At 2am, Ansel came into our room and I had to redirect him back to his own bed, which involved digging the ball he’d brought with him out from under the covers, adjusting the turtle nightlight, and then singing to him. Gus woke up at 3am and L brought him to our room, where he fussed for a while before she took him back to his room and rocked with him (while he dozed in and out of sleep) until a little after 5am, at which point Ansel was up and playing on his own, and she tagged out and I got up with them both.

Y’all, I saw almost every hour on the clock last night, L did too. Last night was unusual because Ansel got up so early and had a middle of the night wake up, which only happens 1-2 times every couple of weeks. But Angus is up every 45 minutes-2 hours every.single.night.

I used to think Ansel was a ‘bad sleeper’ as a baby. He woke every 2-3 hours until I night weaned him at 14 months, after my surgery made it necessary. But when Ansel woke up, I’d go to his room or bring him to ours, nurse him, and he’d immediately settle and go back to sleep.

Angus is not so easily subdued. Sometimes a bottle or a boob will soothe him and he’ll drift back off. But just as often, it will take 15, 20, 30 minutes of rocking and shushing and patting to get him back to sleep. Even when L brings him to bed and co-sleeps with him, side lying nursing, he’ll often keep fussing and crying, unable to settle himself. It’s been like this for a while – months for sure – so it’s not some ‘sleep regression’ (isn’t there one at all the months anyway, supposedly?) He just doesn’t sleep well.

With Ansel, we used the Happy Sleeper method at 14 months, and it was incredibly effective. One night of a little crying, another of a little less, and then he would go down easily and sleep very well. Sure, he still has nights when he wakes up, but they aren’t frequent and he settles easily.

But L and I both agree that any sort of crying (controlled or extinction) won’t work for Gus. Even awake, if his needs aren’t met somewhat immediately, he loses his mind and cries and screams and gets himself so worked up he can hardly breathe and seems near vomiting. I don’t have a moral or ethical issue with crying sleep training, but I also have a gut instinct that it isn’t an effective strategy for this baby.

So . . .what do we do? I am reading the No Cry Sleep Solution and while I’m only halfway through the suggestions, there isn’t a lot so far that we aren’t already doing. Maybe I’ll stumble on a gem, still. And of course I’ll finish reading it because I appreciate that there is rarely a single silver bullet when it comes to baby sleep, and the long game is what we are after.

But the lack of sleep is making everything else in life really fucking hard. For L, there’s no break from kids, for both of us, exhaustion is making us feel crappy, anxious, depressed, and snippy. All of the other stuff that is hard but manageable become just unbearable when you are so so tired.

If he would settle when co-sleeping, I don’t think either of us would hesitate to make that the way of things. But even that isn’t effective. He just doesn’t seem to be able to settle. So, today L bought a Magic Merlin Sleep Suit. Angus still sleeps on his back, though he can roll over onto his belly easily while awake, he doesn’t seem interested in it while sleeping (I have tried it, though it is against safe sleep practice recommendations because I figured if he just experienced it, he might settle and then be able to do it himself. No dice.) And while I don’t know that it will be some magic cure-all, I think we are prepared to try just about anything within reason.

Of course I’ll take suggestions. We are going to talk to the pediatrician too, as it kind of seems outside the realm of typical baby sleep. We aren’t asking for 8, 10 or 12 hour stretched. Like, 3 would be great, 4 sounds divine, 5 would be enthralling. We just each need some semblance of a chunk of sleep. What I cannot handle hearing is that this is ‘just the way it is.’ I know babies don’t sleep like adults. But I also know I’m concerned for my health and sanity, and the health and sanity of my partner as well. I’m also concerned about our baby not getting the sleep he should, since he often takes next to no naps, or very very short ones if that. This isn’t sustainable and I am not willing to entertain the idea that this is going to be our life for the foreseeable future. Maybe it is, but I can’t handle that idea. People say baby sleep is only a problem if it isn’t working for you, and this is not working for us.

 

On the brighter side of things, Ansel is sort of potty trained. By which I mean, he’s peeing in a potty about 90% of the time, though he still is having accidents, especially if we don’t prompt. The sticker chart bribery plan seems to have worked and he earned his Minnie car, even though he’s still not 100% in the clear. The big hurdle is the pooping, which I think is going to take some different strategizing. He’s not an every day pooper, so it’s harder to gauge things. But, he does like to hide when he poos, and we recently put the little potty in his tent win hopes that it will encourage him. He also still occasionally pees on the potty while still wearing his underpants, which is mostly because he kind of can’t be troubled to pull his own pants down. So that’s also a task. But, we are calling this a partial win. And we need a win right now.

And there’s still a lot that’s just kind of hard . . .L’s job search isn’t going as well as we’d like, despite having some really promising leads; my job reclassification continues to be frustrating and resentment evoking; my foot is still numb and the doctor is still an asshole; things financially are ok but not great. All of those things are much harder because of the exhaustion. I’ve had some moments where I’ve wanted to go out for milk and not come back, where I longed again for a life that was more sleeping in and less hourly wake ups, more drinking and dancing and less scraping poop out of Minnie Mouse underpants. I know this isn’t uncommon, but I haven’t experienced it too much in my life as a parent and so it makes me feel uneasy. Of course I adore my children and there are still so many moments of beauty and joy that outshine the shit, usually. But the pace is relentless and sometimes it feels like the time I do get with them I’m so anxious about the state of the house or the general stresses of the day that I don’t always get to enjoy them. I’m trying to let go of stuff like laundry being folded or stuff being put away AND my anxiety goes way up when the house is visually so chaotic and so dealing with it is a way to cope.

Of course, it is also still fucking raining all the damned time and between that and kids and schedules, the lawn is like a jungle. Also, rain isn’t always the best for the mood, y’know.

 

But the sun will be here, definitely by July but maybe sooner. And Angus will eventually sleep (right? RIGHT!?!) and the waning moon will wax again. I know. I know. But things are pretty dark right now, and I could use a sliver of light.

 

OMG OMG I forgot, also, Angus is 8 months old and I really need to talk about him beyond just his sleep so I will. Just not today.

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17 thoughts on “Another F**king sleep post

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  1. Oh yeah, this part of two kids is HARD. The relentlessness! I was where you are at a couple of months ago. And now, I can’t even say what made the difference wth my baby’s sleep and my ability to keep the house in relative lack of chaos. We just made it through to a better patch. BUT one thing that did help was having our toddler go for a few extra play dates away from our house. Our god(less) parents each took her for a few hours one week and we had coffee with just our bubba and did the washing up while listening to a podcast together. We also got a friend to have her for dinner a couple of nights and only got her back at bedtime, which meant we had a chance to eat dinner together without it being all about picking the food up off the floor.

    At the time it felt like it was all about needing more sleep, but we figure we can’t do much about the mysteries of sleep (or lack of sleep) so we just worked on making other things slightly nicer, like a bit of time together and a chance to eat and clean without multitasking.

    Best of luck to you. You are still writing in coherent, thoughtful, loving and generous ways about all members of your family… you’re doing ok!!!

    Xox

  2. Oh, friend. Angus sounds like Hattie. It’s awful and maddening. I don’t have any advice except “hang in there” because she’ll be 15 months tomorrow and I only kind of feel like it’s getting better. She’s still up 3-4 times a night. We’re night wearing her starting in May and it’s going to be terrible but it’s so necessary at this point and we have everything crossed that it’ll make her sleep longer than a few hours at a time. It’s only been in the last couple months that we’ve gotten 3+ hour stretches. So much solidarity. Please feel free to message me on FB if you ever want/need to vent!

    1. Oh and yeah – she’s the worst cosleeper ever, which is beyond frustrating. Like, you have both mamas and a boob, why won’t you just go to sleep and, more importantly, stay asleep?!

  3. Just here with some empathy and solidarity. Unfortunately, the way you describe Gus’s sleep sounds identical to my almost 3 year old when she was that age. And while there have been some good patches, she continues to be a terrible sleeper. So much so that we just had our first visit at the sleep disorder clinic last week, which felt like a warm hug because our doctor gets it, believes us, validated us. Give specifics to your ped and if they seem dismissive, ask for a sleep doc referral! I wish I would have earlier. Hang in there. 🙂

  4. I’m sorry that is so hard. I did the sleep dep with ev. I toughed it out and refused to sleep train. I started the same way with Abe but for him he needed a soother popped back in literally every time he dropped it so no joke every half hour all night. Until 7 months with him when I snapped and cade took over until we took his soother away around a year. Night weaning him around 8 months helped with longer stretches but not by much. Then I had indie and I pretty much lost all my parenting footholds and did whatever the fuck worked. I was determined to have a good sleeper and our tricks (sleep from day one in her crib awake but sleepy) worked well until the four month regression. Then I did what I said I never would and sleep trained. The first night was bad. She did throw up once. But the thing is two days later it clicked and I’m not saying this to be an ass, she’s slept through the night since that third night. She did have one night feed until 5.5 months but she actually night weaned herself then. All that to say I know the thought of them being that upset is awful but my thinking was ev literally still screams bloody murder every night going to sleep with us right beside her and comes to our bed 90% of nights where everyone sleeps worse. I thought if she’s still crying three years later is a week tops of sleep training extinction crying really that different or will it save a ton of crying in the long run? And honestly sleeping so well has been a night and day experience for me and indie. I’ve never had a baby be so content. I think the other two were just fucking tired all the time. Anyway just my thoughts

  5. I wish I had some advice on getting Gus to sleep better, but I don’t really. When ours were not sleeping well we would try to take shifts so that at least we could get a 4-5 hour block of sleep. Usually my wife would take the first shift and keep the baby in the den with her until around 11 or 12, and I would have to make sure I went to bed early, like 8 or 9 o’clock. Then she would put the baby in her crib and I would be the one to get up with her from midnight until morning, which was usually when she needed to be fed again. It is tough to sleep separately, but even if you just do that a few nights a week so the two of you can get some sleep, then you’ll feel better, and you might even be able to figure out other things to try with Gus since you can think better with some sleep.
    Other ideas about having Ansel have some playdates without you so you can just have a little breathing room. The dinner with someone else idea is brilliant. I too feel like the hardest thing about parenting babies and small kids is that it is so relentless. A break from even just one kid for an hour or two makes a surprisingly big difference for me. Now that my kids are 10 and 3 we are so happy to be able to let them play in the yard so we can do yard work together and actually get a solid chunk of work done.
    I’m sorry and I really hope it gets better soon.

  6. As for baby sleep, that sounds all too familiar. There were even a few months in Avery’s sleep history where she’d wake every 15 – 45 minutes every night. Can’t even imagine it with two kids. While I always got through it by telling myself that this is just how it is for some babies and that eventually it would get better, I think it’s a great idea to talk to your pediatrician. Avery had a dairy, soy and egg allergy as a baby (and now it’s just a mild sensitivity) but it took her AND ME cutting out any and all traces of dairy, egg and soy protein for her to stop freaking out so much at night and sleep for a few hours at a time. If it’s something like that – something physical that could be addressed, it could be a huge game changer for you. I hope that’s the case! I know the feeling of running on so little sleep and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Sending you thoughts of strength and rest to get you through to the other side of this shit show.

    1. we are definitely going to talk to the ped. It would be great if it was something easy to fix, though I don’t know if L would agree not eating dairy soy and egg qualifies as “easy!” 😉 Thanks, too, for the well wishes.

  7. Just sending support. I don’t really have any advice. Our former nanny used a method called “Sleep Lady Shuffle” that worked for our daughter for naps, so it’s one more idea you could try? I googled it and it seems to come up in search results,s o you don’t need to buy another book or anything. Hang in there. Everything will get better on 4th of July when summer arrives!!

  8. That sleep shit is real. I feel like I haven’t slept in the better part of 4 years. On a good night, average is about 5 hours. That isn’t sustainable. It’s so dumb! Sending some sleepy vibes to your whole tribe. Hopefully you’ll find that little gem your looking for in that book to help smooth things over! It seems so far away, but this doesn’t last forever. My newest mantra….

  9. Oh, Andie. I’m so sorry. I feel your post in my bones. This was my life with Charlotte for way, way too long. It was a miracle if she slept for 2 hours at a time. That was honestly one of the hardest times in my life. Sleep deprivation on that level is serious business. It nearly destroyed everything from my career to my marriage. Charlotte was also incapable of co-sleeping. It just didn’t help anything. All she wanted was to be held in the rocking chair allllll night long, which just wasn’t possible. Sending all the love and light you way. And coffee. ❤️

    1. I hate that the two camps in baby sleep are basically let ’em cry or just co-sleep, as though those are both viable, just opposite, options. I don’t understand why he doesn’t want to lay next to us with a boob in his mouth but . . .he doesn’t. In the groups I’m in they either say “extinction” (for the regular ST groups) or “just co-sleep!” (in the woo ones) ACK!

  10. Hello! We too have sleep difficulty with 2. We divide and conquer but it s not sustainable. I have a couple suggestions….
    1. Consider putting angus on probiotics. If his tummy is upset he is more likely to wake up.
    2. More naps. It is my understanding and experience that the better v naps, the better she sleeps at night.

    Good luck. It’s brutal. It’s been 3.5 years since I got to sleep through the night. I feel ya..

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single ma in siberia

a single Australian queer's TTC quest/ parenthood journey

Our Egg, Her Nest?

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Raising Race Conscious Children

a resource for talking about race with young children

She is Going to Run

A mom's journey of running for School Board - from start to finish.

The Not So Southern Southerner

The Musings of a Lesbian Pagan Mom in the South

AbstractIrony

My life turned out the opposite of what I expected, and that's okay.

Bringing Up Gaybies

A Gay Dad's Approach to Parenting

Captain Awkward

Advice. Staircase Wit. Faux Pas. Movies.

Adventures in Lesbian Parenting

Two moms just trying to raise TWO teenagers

the snearses

some vegetables, some cats

The MD & Me

~ my not so glamorous but oh so blessed life ~

Star In Her Eye

raising a rare girl

Mama et Maman

A blog about two moms trying to conceive

Becoming Mommy and Mama

Two ladies on a baby adventure

YoungIVFerChantelle

My journey to get my Miracle.

single ma in siberia

a single Australian queer's TTC quest/ parenthood journey

Our Egg, Her Nest?

My journey to Motherhood through gestational surrogacy

Raising Race Conscious Children

a resource for talking about race with young children

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