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Friday, August 17, 2012

Dad says, "JUST GO TO BED."

For at least the first five weeks of Aspen's life, she slept swaddled in a battery-operated vibrating chair that was nestled into a bassinet at the foot my my and Kev's bed. Occasionally , she would sleep swaddled on our bed between us when neither Kev nor myself had the courage to lift her up and move her. I WANTED TO SLEEP, DANGIT!

When my parents came to meet Aspen about six weeks after she was born, Kev asked that I try transitioning Aspen's to her crib in her room so we wouldn't both be awoken by her constant meowing baby noises. From that point, we took turns sleeping in her room (on the floor, or in the nursing chair) periodically to help soothe her back to sleep or just put the stupid binky back in her face.

At no point did she ever truly co-sleep with us. There would be a few naps here and there when she'd sleep in my arms. But for the most part, I needed to be away from Aspen while she slept so I could feel a little less insane.

Eventually, independent sleeping really worked for us. Yes, Kev and I would sometimes spend 30 minutes swaddling, shushing and swaying Aspen to sleep, but it was worth it when we could put her down nearly-asleep in her crib and have her sleep very, very, very long stretches at a time. I remember rejoicing when she started sleeping from about 9/10p until 6/7a. IT WAS WONDERFUL.

When I utilized my own version of "crying it out," it was pretty horrible. Kev was away most weekends working in Idaho, so I just went for it and hoped for the best. But when I say "horrible" I'm referencing how sad it was to hear Aspen cry for 1.5 hours straight while I laid in bed, biting my lip and hiding under my pillow. What wasn't horrible was that it WORKED.

After a couple of weeks of adjusting, Aspen started sleeping from 7:30p until 8:30a. She's since shifted to a later bedtime (nearly 9p) but still gets up about 8-8:30a. Nap times are AMAZING though; I'll take the later bedtime if it means she naps from 2-5 every afternoon.

My point is that Aspen gets a lot of good sleep. She has her lovies in her crib with her, she has a night light, and she is allowed to take every book she owns to bed with her. Lately though, that doesn't seem to be enough.

Since moving to WJ, Kev has been away almost every weekend, and he is rarely home in time to see Aspen every night before she goes to bed. To give you an idea of how serious I am about this (I don't exaggerate everything) let me tell you that he recently worked 42 hours of overtime. That's 42 hours on top of a regular 80-hour pay period, plus about 2 hours of commuting every day. Do some more math: it means that just in that particular two-week period (336 hours), Kev was gone about 238 hours. It. Is. Insane.

Aspen is now regularly asking to sleep with me in my bed at night. I compromise by getting her all ready and then cuddling up with her in my bed to read stories and sing songs. When she starts crying because it's time to move to her room, I turn the lights off and tell her we can lay down together for a little while in my room. It usually ends up being at least half an hour, and there is nothing resembling sleep happening. She will kick her feet against the pillows, she will wiggle around under the covers, she will poke me in the eyes and tell me to go night-night. But she will not even pretend to sleep. So eventually I tell her we've had enough time cuddling and that she simply must take her blanket, her puppy and her books to her crib so she can rest. I explain that tomorrow will be a fun day and we will do XYZ but she needs rest beforehand.

Sometimes she cries, sometimes she gives in easily. But whatever the case, it is exhausting. On these nights, her bedtime is unexpectedly pushed back and the next day is miserable because she wakes up earlier than usual.

I want to convert her crib into a daybed and see if we can do the stories and songs and bedtime prep in her "new" bed together, but I'm terrified of doing that alone. I don't think I have the energy right now to teach Aspen about sleeping in a non-cage-like bed that she can get out of. Especially if it doesn't do anything to help her get over the desire to sleep in my bed with me.

And what about nap time? She has no problem taking a nap in her crib during the day... so why mess with those three glorious hours that I have to myself in the afternoons? It's when I'm able to prep dinner, clean the bathroom, write and schedule posts for the blog, do yoga or just sit around and watch TV for a little while. If Aspen isn't confined to her crib, I worry she won't actually get those three hours of sleep that help her wake up refreshed and happy for the rest of the day.

I know, I know. I should just try something and see what happens. There's no use agonizing about a change that hasn't yet taken place. It's just hard to do it by myself.


  1. Parenting is HARD. It just is. Aspen is healthy and happy and thriving and you are doing great!

    It sounds like your bedtime routine is pretty solid, even if it is challenging. I like the way you prep her well for your expectations; I need to be better at that with Addy. We call it "Last Things" and it does seem to help. One other thing that has helped us (when we remember to do it) is to offer choices. Choices, choices, choices, and the freak-outs lessen. Do you want a piggy back ride to bed, or do you want to walk on your own? Do you want the purple blankie or the pink one? Do you want prayers in mommy's room or prayers in Aspen's room? Jumping in with options right when she winds up for a good holler seems to deflect the screaming. Mostly.

  2. I shouldn't have read this today. I am dying from the shift to the big boy bed. I have been in tears all day since 6:30am. My advice DON'T do it yet, especially not alone.

  3. I can completely relate to all of the above. We recently switched Jesse to a big boy bed (this is a later post I have yet to get to) however, it was a nightmare for me. Remember, my boys share a room. Jesse would just get out and open the door and say, Mom I am awake. He stopped napping for nearly a week and he must fall asleep in bed snuggled with Andrew and I and transitioned to his bed for the night. I am unsure what to do and his bed time went from 9pm to who knows when. Andrew riles him up because he has not seen him all day and I can't just let him scream it out in the room because he bangs on the door and wakes up Bodee. SO for another week I had to set up the pack and play in my room for Bodee's naps and put Jesse in Bodee's cribs. That worked really well until a few days ago Jesse asked to nap in his bed twice and he did not move an inch and slept for two long hours both days. However, night time is still an issue and I am unsure what to do?


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