Saturday, July 22, 2006

Resolutions for sleep crisis

. . .or, as Mr. Trillwing puts it, "Hardass Time."

Over the past couple of days in dealing with Luke's distressing sleep habits, Mr. Trillwing and I have both come close to breaking down in our own special (but, thank goodness, rare) ways: me through depression and crying, he through displays of anger.

The crux of the problem, besides our obvious sleep deprivation, stems from our parenting philosophies on sleep:

I'm pretty much an attachment-parenting type. I believe that there are times, such as late evening, when Luke is obviously tired, when we should let him fuss and cry himself to sleep. However, during the day, I tend to rush to Lucas's side if he expresses discomfort.

Mr. Trillwing, on the other hand, has become a big fan of the ol' Ferber method of letting the little guy cry it out whenever it appears a nap is nigh.

This afternoon, after some heated "discussion"--we don't argue, and as strange and perhaps unhealthy as that seems, it's worked for us so far--we compromised. Our plan:

1. Mr. Trillwing will continue to rise with Lucas at whatever ungodly hour the boy chooses.

2. Lucas has the opportunity to take a fuss-free morning nap, meaning it's not scheduled and we don't force the issue. If he falls asleep, fine. If he skips this nap (he rarely does), that's fine, too.

3. The afternoon nap, which Luke occasionally skips, becomes mandatory. Around 2:45, Mr. Trillwing will sit down in his comfy office chair with Luke for some quiet reading and soothing music. If Luke falls asleep, Mr. Trillwing puts him in his crib. If Luke doesn't fall asleep, he still goes into his crib. We let him cry it out until he's asleep or until 45-60 minutes have passed. (This is the part of the plan with which I'm least happy, as I hate, hate, HATE hearing the little guy scream during the day, when my nurturing instincts are most powerful.)

4. Mr. Trillwing will continue to go to bed at an early hour (usually 6 p.m.). I'll be better about establishing an evening going-to-bed routine, with the hope of having Luke conk out between 8 and 8:30 p.m. I'll put him down no later than 8:30. If he cries and wakes up Mr. Trillwing, Mr. T will just have to deal with the noise (currently I rock and comfort Luke until Mr. Trillwing wakes up from his evening "nap" around 10-11 p.m.).

5. When Luke wakes up in the middle of the night, there will be no more regular bringing him into bed with us, because once he's in there, he stays for the rest of the night, refusing to go back into the crib. He also tosses and turns, which means Mr. Trillwing can't sleep and ends up on the couch. I'd really like to share a bed with my husband, and that means ending the co-sleeping on the average night.

If Lucas cries in the middle of the night, neighbors be damned. We'll comfort him, but we won't bring him into bed.

We're hoping being strict about this schedule means in we'll have a better sleeper in 2-3 weeks. I'm feeling kind of heartless at the moment (there's much screaming going on as I type), but really, we've reached the end of our rope on this issue. Luke is perfectly easy going about every issue but sleep, and it's time he establishes a human (and humane) sleep schedule.

Comments, advice, and good vibes are welcome!


Addy N. said...

Hi there: I'm sending good vibes your way! My daughter (who is now almost 7) was a born during my PhD (8 days after my proposal defense, in fact!). I spent the first 2.5 years of her life finishing my dissertation (long-distance), so I feel your pain! It was actually good to be long-distance because I could basically be a stay-at-home mom with a little diss-thingy on the side. I wanted to let you know that we used Ferber's method (from his book) for naps and at bedtime. We started doing it when our daughter was about 7 months and it really did the trick. Do you have that book? I really like the way Ferber explains the assocations with falling asleep and how removing them makes you wake later on during the night.

Good luck and hang in there! They aren't babies very long!

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I have no advice, but I send hugs, earplugs and good wishes to all of you. I hope Lucas is sleeping better soon, for all of your sakes.

Phantom Scribbler said...

Oh, god. I have so been there. We had to Ferberize LG when he was six months old, because he was The World's Worst Sleeper (TM). It was surprisingly successful -- three nights, and all of the sudden we had a baby who could sleep for 8 hours at night.

But. I could never bring myself to do it for daytime naps, for EXACTLY the reasons you mention. (#1 It totally stressed me out to hear him scream in the middle of the day, and #2 I was never absolutely positively sure that he was tired.) In fact, LG continued to nap draped across me until he was 21 months old. (That's how I got so good at the whole one-handed typing thing.)

My fingers are crossed for you that the sleep training works, and quickly. Those 15 hours of childcare you have per week will seem a lot longer if you're not dead tired by the time they arrive.

Susanne said...

Hugs. I'm not that much a Ferber fan myself, but I think you have a plan that might work. My son was a terrible sleeper, half co-sleeping until he was almost 2 years old and we finally moved him into his own bedroom. And introduced a lovey as a co-sleeper. Have you looked up sleeping help on ask moxie?

And I'm a big fan of the No-Cry Sleep Solution. But it helped only a little. IMHO every method helps. And when you get more sleep (and a better quality of sleep because nobody's kicking you), your brain will be almost back to normal.

Anonymous said...

Good luck! I have no advice, but I love me my sleep, so lots of sympathy!!