I don’t come from a family of yellers. Loud talkers? Most definately. But not yellers. Actually I’d say we’re more inclined to get real quiet and see if you notice that we’re mad. But over the past several days, I’m starting to get the sense of what it’s like to come from a volatile household where everyone walks on eggshells but yet there are still random bombs that go off.
Over the past week, Miss M has progressively given up more and more sleep. We went from a 1am waking that took some effort to nightly pre-bedtime screams with a few middle-of-the-night episodes as well. Yesterday she napped less than one hour in total. And it’s not just a refusal to sleep, but a vocal refusal. You’d think someone just killed her cat (or was in the process of it) by the sounds of the immediate screams when you leave her cribside.
Now, before you go leaving the useful “have you tried…” comments, let me just make a quick list of our efforts: rocking, swaddle, sway, shoosh, hum, song, bounce, jiggle, jiggle while laying in the crib, tush-pat, “let her cry”, sleep with us, sleep on us (neither of which involved sleeping), cry-wait 5 minutes-comfort-cry, humidifier, Tylenol, teething tablets, warm bottle, ginger root (husband found that one online), warm bath, lavender-scented oil in the bath & humidifier, get her up and try again later, blankets, binkie, no binkie. Every once in a while we had an anomaly and the girl would fall asleep, but we haven’t found that “key” to success.
This has resulted in 2 very tired, anxious and frustrated parents. We’re mad at each other because it’s our turn again. We’re upset with her because she we fine a week ago, sleeping 7-7 like a dream; we’d just put her in her crib and she’d saunter off to lala land. But apparently that visa has expired.
The frustration and anxiety evident in the house – and, who are we kidding? It followed me to work yesterday – no doubt compromises any successes we might see. I’m not sure if I’m laughing or crying. Probably both. And this, my friends, because “my baby won’t sleep”. When said aloud, it seems too trivial. I know a woman taking her little girl for clinical trials in an attempt to stop a devastating condition that has prevented the little girl from developing like a “normal” 4-year-old in terms of even walking and talking. I think she’d trade a week of sleep for her situation any day.
But then again, playing the “it could be worse” game only belittles our feelings and experiences. My reality is that when my kid doesn’t sleep – and screams instead – I’m rattled. I get upset and scared and I cry to the point where my face is sore the next day. (Seriously. Did you know you can pull muscles crying?!).
I’m not sure if it’s a parent’s natural desire to want the best for their kid, or my own natural desire to want to resume normal, the patterns of life that I know and understand. But the cause, and the resulting effect, is not a household environment that I would promote to my friends.
So today, after a chiropractor appointment (the last thing I can think of to try to initiate change in this pattern), I’ll be cleaning up my house, looking for a “grip” that I know I just need to get. And hopefully creating a loving, peaceful ambiance so that a certain 10-month-old decides to have a slumber party.