21 July 2012

The War Upon Wakefulness

Some parents are blessed with babies who sleep when they are tired. Others have babies who insist on being awake for everything, despite how tired and cranky they become. We land squarely in the second camp. Odin is a non-sleeper.

At this very moment I am listening to him fuss in his crib over the monitor. It's 7:00am. He's been awake since 5:30. This is typical, and better than a few nights ago, when he decided to start his day at 2:30am.

Daytime is the same. I hear legends of babies who, at 12 weeks, still sleep all the time. Books tell me he should be napping for at least an hour and a half three times a day. People tell me he should be sleeping through the night.

My baby is the type who fights sleep, literally. Just as he's starting to fall asleep he starts kicking and thrashing about, despite being swaddled into a compact little burrito. I take a kind of masochistic pride in the fact that he can escape any swaddle, including the expensive velcro swaddle blankets. I spend countless hours rocking and bouncing and patting his bum. I put him into his crib asleep, ever so gently so as not to wake him. He wakes up 10 minutes later. I put him into his crib awake but drowsy. He immediately starts crying. I let him cry in his crib for a while. He goes into hysterics and will not be consoled. We develop elaborate sleep rituals that work for three days in a row, giving me hope, then fail miserably on the fourth day and we have to start all over again. I have cried on the floor beside his crib. I have told him to shut up, then apologised. I have unapologetically yelled profanities at the monitor. I worry about the development of his brain.

All of this is hard to admit. There is enormous pressure to be the perfect parent with the perfect baby. Well, he is perfect, he just doesn't sleep.

1 comment:

  1. shit, you just described Ewan. I have to double swaddle him (blanket an swaddleme), swing, sush or use loud white noise and pray to get him to go down. some days its a sinch, other days its a battle. naps .. wtf are those? These kids have FOMO in a bad way ... just go the EFF to sleep!!