Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cold Turkey!

Let me open this up by saying King Edith has been a sleeping champ for most of her life.  Months 0-4 have been a breeze.  She would go to sleep no problem, and sleep for large chunks.  Until 6 months hit...

She has grown progressively less and willing to sleep through the night in her crib.  This is our fault.  We know it.  I think this is what happended. 

Around the 6-month mark, she had a few spells where she wasn't feeling well.  On those nights, she would wake up extremely frequently throughout the night.  In the early mornings - when she would wake up at like 5am - we would bring her into bed with us.  Just for the last two hours of sleep mind you, but we did it.  Kent and Leslie - do not do this at this age.  Because those two hours become three hours, because she's up at 4am, and we need some fucking sleep.

As time went on, we found that the only way to get her to sleep past the 2am or 3am hours was to bring her to bed, and make sure not to roll over on her as we all slept.  Usually this entailed me going downstairs to make room, but it worked.  She would sleep.  We would sleep.  A small amount of sanity would return to the househould.

See, the 6 month mark is notable for many reasons.  For one, she's much more tuned in to what is going on around her.  She actually knows who is around and where she is.  So she definitely notices when she's all along in a crib.  For two she's picking up all these new skills.  She's crawling.  She's pulling herself up.  She's sitting up.  All this crap that she never did before, that she really likes to do at night.  Three, she hates to be on her back - which is how babies are laid down to sleep generally.  So she wakes up in her least favorite position, notices that she's alone, and starts crawling around. And screaming. 

Such has been our last three weeks.  She's sleeping or screaming in her crib until we can't take it anymore and bring her to bed.  It's also brought about a lot of weird conversations between Chelsey and I in the middle of the night.  We were not meant to interact at that hour.

So this past weekend we went to Kearney, and pretty much had no choice but to let her sleep with us all night for two straight nights.  There was no other way to do it.  I could do into detail about this, but suffice it to say a screaming baby in a house full of people is a lot worse than a screaming baby in a house with just6 sleep-deprived parents.

We got back from Kearney yesterday and she went to bed at 8:30.  She woke up thirty minutes later.  Screaming.  I took her, and tried to settle her down.  She was totally awake.  So I took her downstairs and watched Green Lantern with her on my lap.  She fell asleep instantly, and then woke up 30 minutes later screaming, because she couldn't get comfortable on my lap. 

This was the final straw. 

I took Edith upstairs.  Woke up Chelsey and told her to go to the downstairs bedroom, shut the door, and turn on some music.  We were going Cold Turkey.

Cold Turkey is something we'd been discussing for a while.  It's the method where you let your kid cry it out until they fall asleep.  We figured we'd employ this method eventually, but had designs on carefully planning it out somehow.  I don't know what we were going to do, but at 9:30 last night, I was like "Fuck it.  I can't take this anymore."

And we began.  My friend John Fallon gave me a very practical baby guide that I have since forwarded it Kent.  It contains a very brief guide for this method.  You basically put her down, shut the door, and kiss your sanity goodbye until she falls asleep.  And let me just say, it is as advertised. 

I would let her cry for ten minute increments, and then come in for about 30 seconds. I wouldn't pick her up.  Just stroke her back, give her back her Devery Henderson (yes, we still call them that) and tell her it was going to be okay.  She returned this coaxing with an array of screams.  Then I left and shut the door. 

I did this three of four times.  I think it took about 40 minutes for her to fall asleep.  It took another two hours for me to settle down.  Hearing your baby cry for 40 minutes is not for the faint of heart.  Even if you have a good attitude about it, which I did.  It's just hard.  I watched two netflix movies (finished one, started and ended another) in the process.  I don't know if I was more rattled, or scared she was going to wake up.  But she didn't make a peep until 4:45am.  Which was amazing.

Then - to my great surprise - she actually calmed herself back down in the morning.  I had to replace her Devery Henderson once and she pretty much just went back to sleep.  She stayed asleep until I left for work at 7:00am. 

So that's how that went.  I'm sure there are darker days ahead, but last night was the first one in a long time that I actually felt like I had control of my baby's sleep pattern again.  I could feel the sanity slipping back in over my shredded nerves this morning.  It felt better.

  

6 comments:

  1. I'm a bit terrified after reading this. I'm glad you're getting some sleep now.

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    1. Don't be afraid, Leslie. By the time this stuff happens, you won't know which way is up. Completely dilerious.

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    2. I'm very impressed you did Cold Turkey. That took a lot of guts. And it worked!

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  2. Jesus, hope it continues to work. If not, bourbon in the milk. That's what I did with all my kids.

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  3. The result has been a very tired grumpy baby today.

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