S turns two this weekend, which is nearly impossible for me to fathom. His babyhood has completely flown by. Probably everybody says that about their second child. We documented every breath of B’s life….but with S it seems like there was so little time. Or maybe you spend more time living it and less time recording it!I remember a period of time when B was a toddler when he literally barely slept. Ask anybody who knows us how traumatic this was. It took hours to get him to sleep, we tried every strategy there is and NOTHING worked. NOTHING. I received soooo many suggestions from well-meaning family and friends regarding this dilemma. They ranged from “super-intense sleep training” to “love that little guy right to sleep in your own bed”…but regardless of what we tried, he was super-challenging to get to sleep, and worse yet, he only slept in 1-2 hour stretches and spent the rest of time in distress. I thought I was losing my mind. People kept asking me if I was going to have another baby. My response was, “Perhaps I could start getting my mind around that, if this kid ever starts SLEEPING….you a**hole.” Most of B’s troubles occurred during the time when he was 10 months to 14 months, so I begged my PCP for a referral to a sleep clinic. Chris and I headed for the sleep clinic around the time B was 13 months old. The conversation with the doctor (if my memory serves me) went something like this:
Dr. (something that rhymes with “Witchface”): After hearing the problems, I am convinced that this is a behaaavioral problem and that B is clearly manipulating you into spending time with him in the hours during which you should all be sleeping.
Me: Uhhhh, I can’t really see how a 1 y.o. could consciously manipulate me. Plus he is not up trying to hang out with me and play, he is writhing and screaming like he is possessed at 11pm, 1am, 3:30am, 4am and 5:15am then he tries to sleep soundly from 5:30 to 7:30 am…then naps horribly too.
Dr: Right, well you’d be surprised how babies minds work. So my suggestion is to place him in his crib at 8pm after a quick bedtime routine and then turn off the monitor and buy some earplugs.
Me: So, we’ve actually tried to let him “cry it out” a few times and it was awful. He screamed for hours until he puked.
Dr. Well, he might do that this time, but just go into the room quietly, do not make eye contact, turn him away from you and change his jammies and bedsheets. Then leave again.
On the way home Chris asked me when we were going to try our new strategy. In tears, I practically yelled, “How ‘bout NEVER.” I explained to him that I tended to B’s needs all day long and I wasn’t just going to blow him off at night. After that I tried to gradually encourage B’s sleep by using super-consistent routines, bedtimes, aromatherapies, soothing foods etc. Somewhere around 14 months, he started sleeping better. Maybe it was what I did, and maybe he just grew out of some night-terrors, growing pains or some other problem that he was having.
And that all being said, B’s sleep gradually improved throughout his one-year-old year and by the time he was two he was doing fairly well, sleeping better and much happier. And, wouldn’t you know, a few months after he turned two I could FINALLY think about him having a sibling. About, 4 months after his 2nd birthday we got pregnant with S!
Here’s what I do remember and know about amazing S:
-He definitely has more laid-back personality, even though he is high-energy physically.
-He learns in his own way: by doing, experiencing, tasting and feeling life!
-He’s gorgeous, a real lady killer with golden curls and large dark-grey eyes.
-You can’t stay mad at him because he is so hilarious.
-He’s super-affectionate, it’s never hard to get a kiss, hug or cuddle out of him.
-He is a much much better sleeper than his brother.