Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Change

Okay, so I have seen all of your Facebook updates and your tweets....you are in the same boat as I am and it makes me really wonder.  Why are so many people are having issues right now with their little one sleeping, teething, developing separation anxiety, a combination of these things, or all of them at once?  What is it about the seasons changing that does this?   Is it because the sun is rising later and setting sooner or that it is cooler outside?  Or could it be that it has nothing to do with the seasons and we are all just magically dealing with these things at once.   I know it can't be because all the babies are the same age because they range from 8 months to over a year. 

Whatever the reason, it sucks.  It means that we have to pull out our bag of tricks to keep our little ones happy and (in the case of the sleeping) revisit the strategies we have chosen and come up with a plan to correct this problem.

In our house we have been dealing with all of it...at once...and I may lose my mind before it is all over.  It began several weeks ago when he got his first cold and then my in-laws were here and then we had to go to NY for 3 days and then he got a rash on his face that made me think he might have Fifths Disease and then he started teething molars like a banshee.  Somewhere in there he developed separation anxiety...but not the "stranger danger" kind of anxiety.  It was the "don't leave the room or go where I can't see you, oh and pick me up now or I will scream my head off and don't even think about putting me down for a nap" anxiety.  Fun times. 

So as soon as we returned from NY I knew we needed to get back into our usual routine in order to fix some of the issues we were seeing regarding sleep.  After a few days of that not working, I brought him to the doctor only to be told that he is probably teething, he might have Fifth Disease but it doesn't matter because he isn't contagious and there is nothing we can do for it even though he might be cranky, but more likely than not most of his "issues" have to deal with the fact that this is around the age that babies learn that if they cry, they get attention. 

So what does one do about all this?  How do you let your little one know that you love them, do anything for them, and want to comfort them whenever they need it, at the same time teach them that they can in fact be on their own once and a while and be okay?   I think the answer is different for everyone.  You have to do what you feel most comfortable with, but whatever you decide, you have to be consistent. 

My husband and I talked and if we knew that he was fed, had a clean diaper and wasn't in any pain or discomfort, we were okay with letting him cry it out a little bit.   It has taken a little bit of time and tears (both Superman's and mine) but I think we might have our night time sleep back on track.  The nap stuff is hit or miss each day.  On Saturday he napped like a champ.  On Sunday he didn't nap at all (cried in crib for 1 hour each time).  On Monday he napped in the morning fantastically, but when it came time for his afternoon nap he was so wide awake I never put him down for it.  Today he didn't sleep (read: cried for 1 hour) and fell asleep on the way home from Gymboree (despite me trying every trick in the book to keep him awake) and so he was wide awake when I tried to get him ready for the afternoon nap.  Right now?  He is quietly playing on his own as I finish this post.  Thank goodness he is great at entertaining himself for 20 minutes or so 2-3 times a day.  It is the only thing keeping me sane on the days he won't nap.  (And now that 20 minutes is up and he wants me so this post will be finished later..)

I am back and have great news on today's nap front.  He needed a new diaper and I was changing him, he rubbed his eyes.  Ever an opportunist, I threw a sleep sack on him, nursed him and put him into his crib.  He was awake when I did that so he began to cry, but 4 minutes later? He was asleep!! 

I think that being a parent has taught me so many things, but my most recent lesson is that nothing stays the same for long.  Things might be bad at the moment, but they will improve and more likely than not, they will improve sooner than you think they will.  Last week I was asking myself if Superman would ever nap again...seriously.  I honestly was worried that he might just learn to soothe himself during naptime.  But here we are a week later and although things are perfect yet, they are looking up.  

I hope that all of you that are fighting with sleep, teething, separation anxiety, or anything else are hanging in there.  Remember, things will change eventually...their teeth will come in, they will learn that you are there for them when they need you and begin to be okay on their own, and with all of that- sleep will come.  (I say this for me as much as I say it for you.) 

Hugs to all of you!

TTFN,

Mommy C

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