Monday, September 16, 2013

Parenthood: Week 16 – The Struggle To Sleep

He just ate, so I know that’s not the issue. Maybe I should check his diaper again, I mean it’s been five minutes since I last checked , well let’s try that. Well it’s dry. Pacifier? Well he’s crying so hard he won’t take it but let’s try to hold it in. That’s not working. Maybe I can walk around the room, change positions, shake him gently, sing to him, sway, maybe he’s hungry, no wait, he just ate, could it be the diaper? I just checked it, Ollie c’mon. I know you can do this. Go to sleep. . .
After a half hour of trying to get Ollie to go to sleep I realized that when I was speaking in my mind “I know you can do this,” I was speaking as much to Ollie to will him to go to sleep as much as I was speaking to myself to not give up.

It’s common for Ollie to fuss against his swaddle and cry when I rock him to sleep. Usually there’s about 5 to 10 minutes of fussing, then he’s eyes close as he gently sucks his pacifier and then he lets go off the pacifier and I put him down. Sometimes this process takes 10 minutes, other times a half and hour.  That night it almost took an hour.

 When Ollie is on the cusp of getting tired, he can go to bed with a relatively little fuss. However, when Ollie becomes over tired and really needs sleep, that's when it’s the biggest struggle and that’s what happened on that particular night.

If you only heard the sounds coming out of Ollie’s room you would of thought that I was torturing him. He was not happy. As I struggled to get him to calm down, thoughts rushed through my head trying to figure out what I could do to get him to relax.

There's a sense of urgency not because anything horrible is going to happen, but seeing your baby cry in discomfort is something that no parent wants to deal with any longer than is necessary.

The hardest thing about putting Ollie to sleep is sometimes the only thing that he needs is time. At those moments there isn’t anything else you can do but work through the tears and stay with him until they pass. So I stopped trying to change strategies and we just rocked in the nursing chair.

We rocked and we rocked.

I sat telling Ollie and myself that we could do this.  Eventually he began to relax and I calmed down as well.  Then I fell into a half sleep as he relaxed into a deep slumber.

I know that there are rougher nights ahead for us and there are a lot of parents with kids Ollie's age who have had to deal with much worse than taking an hour to put a kid to bed.  Knowing all of this doesn't make it any easier to deal with this him tears as I attempt to put him to sleep.  I'm not looking forward to more of these nights, but the fact that we got through this one night together gives me faith that there is nothing we can't handle as a family. 

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