Monday, April 14, 2008

Sleep. It's a lovely thing.

When Savannah was 9 months old, we moved her from the bassinet in our room into the crib in her room, just two steps down the hall. I had planned on waiting until she was a year, but she was doing great at night, and didn't really "need" me anymore. So, the move was made. Honestly, I think it was way harder on me than it was on her. Being a first-time mom, I was used to checking her during the night, putting my finger just below her nose to feel the little rush of warm air that let me know she was still breathing. But everything was fine, she adjusted right away, and we had no issues. The only time that she would really wake up in the middle of the night and cry for us would be when she was sick or teething.

When Ricardo's dad was here in town in March recovering from his stroke, his mom stayed with us for the better part of three weeks. She was understandably exhausted from the whole ordeal, and so we wanted her to be able to get as much rest as possible at night. So, it was extremely unfortunate timing that Savannah happened to be getting a new tooth right around then. She started waking up in the middle of the night and crying inconsolably, at first from pain, I assume, but later I think it was just a new habit that she was forming. And since we didn't want her to wake up Ricardo's mom, we would take turns going in to get her. We would bring her back to bed with us, or sometimes, we would lay down with her on the double bed that is in her room. In theory, I like the idea of having her in bed with us....it is so precious to hear her breathing in the night, and to wake up in the morning to see her smiling face. In reality, though I end up on the very edge of the bed, with my arm in a weird position, and wake up in the morning with my whole body out of whack from sleeping so uncomfortably. Not to mention that she usually wakes up before me, and then proceeds to poke at my eyelids until I arise from a most peaceful slumber.

But anyway...

Ricardo's folks left, and we were trying to get back to normal. Savannah kept waking up, and it was really getting to me. I felt like I had a newborn again, and that sleep-deprived feeling was no fun. I talked to Ricardo about it, and his solution was to discipline her. I really, really hated to do that, because I knew she would be half-asleep, and when we discipline, we like to talk to her, explain why we're doing it, then love on her, and so on. But I knew he was right, and it was the only option left. Of course, it fell upon me the next night to implement this.

She woke up, sobbing. I went in, held her, hugged her, told her she had to lay down in her crib and go to sleep. That went over well. She became hysterical, clinging to my neck, pointing to the bed, and telling me to lay down with her. Totally heartbreaking, but I knew that since I had already said it, I had to stick to my guns. I laid her down, and she screamed. For 10 minutes. I went back in, and repeated the whole thing again. More hysterics.

I finally broke down and administered some very loving discipline. Laid her down again, and no more crying, I said. Then I ran out of the room before I could change my mind and relent.

From the other side of the door, I stood there listening to her. She was crying, but trying not to, with those little pitiful shaky sobs they get when they have cried so hard. I heard her try to shut it off, and then she burst out in a fresh bout of tears. Then I heard her say out loud to herself, "No cry. No more cry," in a wobbly little voice as she forced herself to calm down.

Well, I lost it then. I stood outside her door with tears rolling down my face. I felt so horrible, I wanted with all my heart to run in there and hold her, but of course that would undo all that had just happened. She was in there trying to comfort herself, saying, No more cry, and it was all just too heartbreaking.

But you know what? It totally did the trick. That was at least 3 or 4 weeks ago, and I haven't had to go in there in the middle of the night since. So in the long run I know it was the right thing, and we are once again a peaceful, sleep-loving family. Hallelujah.

2 comments:

Jenny said...

Oh my goodness, brought tears to my eyes. "No more cry." SO sweet. Hallelujah is right. What a sweet girl you have.

Jodie said...

Oh the "no more cry" was too much!! It's so heart-wrenching! It is the hardest thing (but in the long run the best thing) to have them "cry it out". Ugh! I'm like you... I get all the way to the edge, on the verge of relenting - I'm so glad she soothed herself first b/c it would've been so upsetting to have to live through that again! :)

I am currently sleep-deprived from a 9mo old that wakes up every night - sometimes more than once. We make progress, get him sleeping again on his own, and then we have a setback - growth spurt, teething, sick, itchy eczema -- name it! Grrrr! I'm ready for this baby to sleep all night for good!

Send the sleep fairy my way! ;)