My kids are champion sleepers. They need no rocking, patting, or seeing Mommy jumping through flaming hula hoops before they close their eyes and journey to slumber land....at least that's how it was until MONDAY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Gibson is now 18 months and mastering the art of communication with words, high pitched squeals, and some sign language. He typically takes two naps during the day, each at about a two hour clip. He's usually ready for bed around 8. When I ask if he's ready for nite nite, he walks to the stairs and points up, then waves at the dog. He has to have his Pup Pup and fleece blue blankie (a gift from his birth mom) and his paci....the Holy Trinity of baby sleep. He sleeps soundly through the night until Sean is showering the next morning. At around 7 or 7:30 Gibby wakes happy and jibber jabbering in his crib.
Then Monday dawned............................
He was overly clingy that day, wanting to be picked up and climbing into my lap at every chance. He would try and push the dog away from me and pull on my legs for attention. It was nice, having him in my lap and content with stories and picture books. His usual bedtime rolled around and he gathered Pup Pup, Blankie, and Paci and waved nite nite to all. I changed his diaper, dressed him in his jammies and gave him a kiss.
Lola was wrapping up her cartoons and coloring in the computer room and Sean and I were rewinding the day with a glass of wine. Not much later Lola was in bed after brushing her teeth and a story. I followed soon after with a book in hand and crawled under my comforters. Sean finished a movie and eventually the house was sharing a unanimous snore.
"AAAAAAHHHHHHH WAAAAHHHHHHHH AAAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!" I sat bolt upright in bed then pole vaulted across the hall into Gibby's room. He was screaming wildly and his nose was running. He was having such a fit that he moved his crib several inches down the wall. He had thrown all his stuffed animals onto the floor and lost his paci under his crib. I gave him back his beloved three, rubbed his back and closed the door behind me. He would have no such abandonment tonight! So, from 10 PM to 3 AM I rocked, patted, sat downstairs with him. I changed him again, gave him a sippy cup, again rocked, rolled, rubbed, soothed....Every time he returned to his crib he screamed bloody murder! I then did the unthinkable...I brought him into our bed so I could maybe sleep even for a few minutes.
We hold the belief that the kids should sleep in their own beds. At 2 AM nothing makes sense, so Gibby spent the greater last hours before dawn alternating between sleeping on top of me to scooting down to the end of the bed to squeezing between Sean and I and burrowing under the covers. No one really slept. Tuesday dawned and my parents would be visiting from Pennsylvania in about 8 hours. Somehow Lola slept through the entire night, thank God!
Tuesday was cleaning and pre Thanksgiving groceries. Not much was accomplished with a cranky 18 month old clinging to me. I felt like a mommy Orangutan! Around 4:30 my parents arrived from Pa. By Thursday night we were all fried by lack of sleep. Sometime around 2 AM my mother rocked Gibby to sleep after a two hour marathon. By Friday I knew I had to get serious or at least have all of us get some sleep.
I googled sleep patterns and babies and separation anxiety. My God, what scary information can be found with a few taps on the keyboard! So, I deduced he may be suffering from seperation anxiety. We tried a method recommended for babies who won't sleep on their own. I placed him in his crib in the routine he's accustomed to and shut the door. Of course he screamed! I was waiting for one of my neighbors to call the cops. We let him argue for about five minutes then I entered his room and patted him on the back. He was sooooo happy to see me! He grabbed Pup Pup and Blankie and thrust them at me, expecting to settle into his rocking chair again for the night. I said good night and closed the door. Screams lumbered down the stairs, angry loud why are you abandoning me screams...10 minutes went by and Sean went upstairs to soothe him. Again the door was closed, again those guilt inducing cries. 15 minutes, batter up, my turn. His cries were less demanding but still as heartbreaking. After about an hour, quiet, all was quiet......
It's amazing how smart babies and toddlers are. He may have realized his screams would bring us, but could not keep us in his room all night. I hope he knows we are there for him even at the slightest whimper. I hope he knows we love him and want only slumber wumber sleepy time for him. A well rested Gibson is a happy Gibson. A happy Gibson makes for happy well rested parents!!!!!!