Thursday, November 20, 2014

Sleeping Babies

Fall weather was back today!

Guess our Fall theme tub worked! ;)
I needed to make a Good Will run...

I'm in a MAJOR purging mood these days...
Simplify, simplify, simplify!!
Basket ball goal, 2 bags of clothes and 1 bag of toys.

But this boy was sleeping the morning away again!

I've started having to wake him up on the couple of mornings a week when we have to be somewhere. Luckily when I wake him, he greets me with a smile and usually goes back to sleep in the car or in the Moby once we get where we are going.

This whole "baby who actually sleeps" thing has been a COMPLETELY different experience this time around. I never fully realized just how drastically this facet of parenting alters your life. With Ayden I was constantly on edge. I could get him to sleep but he would not stay asleep. There was no predictability. If I got a project started with hopes of him givig me a solid hour, he'd wake up after 15 minutes. If I sat around waiting for him to wake at any moment, he'd sleep for an hour and a half. It is difficult to put into words what this did to my psyche. An introvert with no predictable or guaranteed amount of alone time.  Yikes. At some point along the way I enevetibly accepted this as my reality, which help a LOT, but it was still tough and absolutely exhausting. We finally did some sleep training about a month before Ayden turned two (right after we found out we were expecting Logan) and after that he became a great sleeper and still is to this day. 

Fast forward to the last trimester of Logan's pregnancy. Reality was sinking in and all I could do was picture me alone all day everyday with toddler Ayden and newborn Ayden at the same time. Goodness gracious, how on Earth would I manage?!?  I was so excited to meet Logan but to be honest, my experience with Ayden as a newborn left me with baggage and I worried that I would not be able to handle this mom of two thing... I'm pretty sure that anxiety (along with a few other factors) quite possibly contributed to Logan's late arrival. That's how bad it was.

Then he came. From the moment he was born he had an inner peace about him that reassured me. 

This is my favorite photo of him.  About 45 minutes after he was born.
 Our midwife was doing his newborn exam.  
I could see it in his eyes and in the calmness of his body. He was, and still is, content and comfortable in his own skin. Happy to just... be. This child is the perfect yin to his brother's yang. I knew with certainty that our life had balance again. 

At first we always prefaced comments about how gloriously mellow Logan is with "for now" or "so far" because we knew there was a chance that he could get tummy troubles or that he could just change as he grew. I think now, a little over 10 weeks in, it is safe to say that Logan is just overall a mellow dude. And to take it a couple of steps further, we can add predictable and a good sleeper to his repertoire. I'm talking so good that it is effortless. 

I am not trying to brag here. I know that if I were reading this when Ayden was a baby I would be thinking, "rub it in why don't ya??" The thing is, I want to savor and appreciate this amazing gift we have been given.  To enjoy a baby without having to be stressed at the same time.  To just love him without having mixed emotions.  I am shouting from the rooftops and  CELEBRATING. We paid our dues and I know first hand what it is like to be on the flipside of this equation. 

Logan being a good sleeper has not made me feel any better or worse about my experience with Ayden himself. I would not trade any of that for the world. Ayden being awake a lot meant I got to be with him a lot. We have an amazing bond and I truly believe that him practically forcing us into full on attachment parenting played a huge roll in the bond that developed as a result. What my experience with Logan has done while looking back at those really tough times, is allowed me to forgive myself. It wasn't anything I was or wasn't doing that was creating his sleep struggles. This has been huge. I'm sure that once we got deeply into it my stress didn't help but at least I know for certain that I in no way was the cause. I knew on the surface that some babies are just born good sleepers and some aren't. It really can be as simple as that, barring there are no other external factors at play. Deep down, though, the insecure new mother in me felt like it was my fault or that I was failing Ayden because I could not teach him such a basic and important skill. All I could do was make myself as available as humanly possible for him since I seemed to be the only one he wanted when he couldn't sleep. I did the best I could and I know now that for him, it was enough. 

Now, I celebrate the predictability and ease of Logan in a way that I never would have if I had not first cared for Ayden. If our first child had the temperament of Logan there is no doubt that we would have taken a lot of this joy that we feel for granted or not felt it at all.  I thank our little Logan everyday for taking it easy on me. He really has been the perfect fit. Ayden is just as happy to have him as we are and their bond already runs deep. If I could turn back time I wouldn't have worried as much about having another challenging newborn during my pregnancy but man, what a pleasant surprise it has been!!

I guess the point of this post was to offer some sympathy and encouragement to all of the tired mamas out there. Just know that you are not alone, you are doing your best and that is enough. Chances are you have nothing to do with how well (or not well) your baby is sleeping. Also know that chances are your challenging non-sleeper will become a great sleeper in his/her own time (even if it is with a little help). 

Thank you for sleeping so sweetly, our little Logan.


Flashback!  Here's what we were up to one year ago today: "Dear Me, On The iPhone"
And two years ago today: "Aloha!"

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  1. Ah, Ayden's sleep habits sound exactly like my son's! At 10 months old, he still sleeps less than even a newborn. Being up all night long is absolutely exhausting, and sadly interferes with the kind of mama I'd like to be. I'm expecting our second child, and worry about having a second sleepless child and trying to manage with them both carrying on in such a manner.

    You commented how you "finally did some sleep training." And then later in your closing encouragement said, " sleeper in his/her own time (even if it is with a little help)." PLEASE share what that "sleep training" or "help" refers to!!! As a sleepless Mama to a sleepless boy, I'm always very interested in ideas for improving our situation (except for the "cry it out method." I firmly disagree with that one).

    Thanks for discussing this matter! I know you like to only discuss the positive, but things like this really help others in a similar situation know that the challenge can and will be overcome. :)

    1. Oh Whitney, I feel ya mama! Ayden also woke more often than a newborn and it was EXHAUSTING. Just like you I felt like it kept me from being the mother I wanted to be. Almost like I was being robbed. It isn't fair to expect ourselves to even function at all let alone be an enthusiastic caregiver when we are just SO tired. We are also not fans of CIO methods but something had to give. My dear friend shared an E-book she had recently purchased on the "Sleep Sense" program. It had detailed instructions for getting a child to sleep and (our favorite part) had a "parent stays in the room" option. Ayden did cry (and we even cried with him a little) but we never left him to do it by himself. It was mainly because we were rocking his world a little... Doing something new that he wasn't used to. We felt like he must have been ready, though, because the longest he cried the first night was 15 minutes and by the THIRD night he willingly went into his crib, fell right to sleep and SLEPT ALL NIGHT. Even though he was crying, we felt like he was old enough to understand why we were doing it when we explained it to him. Now we just say goodnight and walk out, leaving him awake, and usually don't hear another peep. It was LIFE CHANGING and I highly recommend it!! The thought of being up with TWO all night was plenty of motivation to make a change for us and it sounds like you may be in that same boat. Good luck, I truly hope you can feel more rested soon.

  2. My son is three and he still gets up at least once a night. I'm expecting number two in May and I'm feeling the same trepidation you were before Logan came. Fingers crossed I get a Logan this time around too!

    1. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you too!! And if you don't, at least you will be a seasoned veteran this time around. You are going to do great no matter what. <3

  3. I can completely relate! My son (who's 6 now) was a terrible sleeper. He was up every 2-3 hours for months. I almost feel like I'm bragging when I say that my little girl naps all the time and sleeps 4-5 hour stretches at night! It's nowhere near as hard as it was with my boy as a baby. I am so grateful!

  4. I've mentioned before that my son was not a great sleeper and at about 16 weeks pregnant, nursing through the night was exhausting. About a month ago, I just told my 2.5 year old that there was no more milkie for now, and it's night-night. And holy moly, he slept through the night for the second time in his life! And for a month straight, he's slept through the night! (Except one night when he was sick.) I cannot believe it. I hope our next baby (another boy like your two) will be a good sleeper like Logan but at least I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel and know that eventually, he will sleep through the night. I feel SO well-rested compared to a month ago, even while pregnant!