When Night Falls

So the aftermath of BlogHer is this: we have lost all progress we had made on having Boy Detective sleep more than 2 hours at a time at night.

Whenever I watch a vampire movie, I sit in my chair watching the sun’s rays move and thinking “Get inside get inside get inside GET INSIDE GET INSIDE.” I’m totally freaked out by the approach of non-safety, the transition from “it’s ok” to “it’s really, really not ok.”

Nighttime here is now really, really not ok, and there’s no inside. I stay up late because I’m afraid to go to bed and start the process of being repeatedly jolted out of REM sleep again. Last night he went to sleep at 8:30, and woke up at 10:15, midnight, 1:50, 2:30, and then twice more between 3:00 and 7:00 but honestly my mental record-keeping got a little hazy.

I thought he was cold, so I started putting pants on him. I know he’s cutting his fourth tooth, so I’m giving him Tylenol before bed. And four hours later. And four hours later.

While we were in San Francisco, it was so bad that I ended up with him sleeping next to me in bed, between my body and a huge pile of pillows, and I just hoped that he wouldn’t suddenly develop the ability to wake up quietly and move around stealthily. I was just too tired to get up out of the bed anymore and retrieve him from the crib, rock him, put him back down, go back to bed, only to have him start crying again five minutes later.

I also spent a lot of time walking around with him in the lobby of the swanky hotel in my ladybug pajamas. The night staff at the Westin St. Francis are really nice, by the way.

Sleeping next to me didn’t help Boy Detective sleep any better, and sometimes he wouldn’t even want to nurse when he woke up. I actually had to sit up and rock him and then lie back down with him wrapped in my arms, which meant I couldn’t sleep. So I think we’ve established that it’s not lack of company and it’s not hunger waking him up and keeping him awake.

I told myself a while ago that I was going to stop mindfucking this, because I can come up with 5.2 million equally plausible explanations for why it’s happening and none of them seem to do me any good in ameliorating the situation.

But it’s gotten fucking scary. Tuesday C-Man had to go into work late because I couldn’t get up. Thursday I started having dizziness attacks whenever I would sit up or stand up, and by 6:00 when Boy Detective woke up for the day I fed him and then called C-Man to come get him because I couldn’t safely carry him to the changing table. I have no idea why I’m functional today.

So WTF Boy Detective? What’s your drama? Is there a master plan here? A list of demands? I don’t think you’re old enough to be manipulating me, especially because when you wake up you sound really upset – not just mad, not just “hey, are you forgetting me?” So what’s going on?

Clue Mama in before she drops dead, please. Even Dad pinch-hitting will not be sufficient to keep the wheels on our bus if you keep this up.

6 thoughts on “When Night Falls

  1. Lisa

    There can be SO many different reasons for babies to wake frequently, as you know. Have you thought of having your pediatrician check him out?

    The only other thing I can offer is that Ibuprofren works longer than Tylenol. Good luck.

  2. Rete

    I’d suggest either a babysitter or benadryl. or if he sounds fussy like he’s angry or hurt, it could be gas, in which case mylicon (sp?) is worth it’s weight in gold. if you need a nap some random weekend afternoon, i can watch him.

  3. Ashley

    OMIGOD. This is exactly what we went through. I developed a phobia of nighttime. Have I told you that? I made MANY trips to my mental health practitioner. Basically, sleep deprivation made me very angry and very anxious and it had nothing to do with my love for TM. Sure, I wanted her to sleep more, but I still thought she was super cute and cuddly. It was everything and everyone else I loathed. Here’s the thing: Right now Boy Detective knows you’re there for him. He LOVES you a whole bunch. He’s still nursing, and he wants mama all the time. This is TM’s story, too. At 13 months, we decided B was going to take over nighttime duties. I was confident enough to say, “She is not hungry—she can make it until morning.” That was hard to do. TM? The first night he went in there, that was it. She has been sleeping through the night ever since.

    Hang in there, girl. You’ll make it. I did, and I thought for a while my foundation was crumbling.

  4. Beth

    My son was EXACTLY like this for his entire first year of life. (I bet you are wishing I hadn’t said that). When I took him in for his 12 month check-up the doctor said “there is nothing wrong with him, he isn’t hungry, he can sleep through the night, just toughen up”. UGH!! I hate those words.

    I will concede that unlike my daughter I do think he was still getting hungry in the middle of the night up until around 6-8 months. After that it was habit.

    So at 12 months I told my husband it was do or die time and we let him cry and cry and cry and cry until he made himself throw up and I was an emotional wreck. Then I rescued him. The next night was better and within 2 weeks he was sleeping through the night — more or less. Meaning that he only woke up once and I could easily get him to calm down and go back to sleep.

    He is now 2 and now he just doesn’t want to sleep by himself – he’d rather sleep with his sister. The moral to the story? Getting your children to sleep is an on-going adventure until they are about 10 years old.

    Be tough though – neither one of you is sleeping well and if you can’t do it for yourself – do it for him. Routine, routine, routine and letting him cry is fine. (The longest we let my son cry was 45 minutes — that might seem long to some but he was very stubborn).

    Good luck!!

  5. badgermama

    I had the same thing happen – it was total hell!! I couldn’t take it. My partner and I slept in shifts so that he went to bed at 9pm with earplugs and white noise while I stayed semi-awake til 1am. From 1am to 7am my partner took the shift to be “on call”. It was brutal.

    It helped a little to let M. cry for 5 minute, then 10 minutes, and he’d learn to go back to sleep by himself, but every time we’d travel or he’d get sick, the whole “learn to put yourself back to sleep” process would start over again

    good luck, hang in there, you’re not alone…

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