Sunday, November 8, 2015

I Am Crazy Enough to Get Up With My Baby

Hello. My name is Chrissie and I foster a trained night nurser.

That's right. My youngest child is 10 months old, yet I am still getting up in the middle of the night as though she is 10 weeks. I question my sanity on a regular basis because I allow this to happen, but there is a part of me that feels I don't have a choice.

Some of my reasons may resonate with other parents and others may not, but the one thing we all have in common is that we have coffee on an IV drip and a short temper when the previous night was particularly bad.

1. My kids share a room


This isn't actually my family.
Yes, my kids ages 5, 3, and 10 months all share a room. I will admit I enjoy breaking this news to people because I am often met with an expression of utter disbelief. These days it seems every kid has his or her own room, which is crazy when I think about it. Back in the day, I daydreamed about my own room and -- when the day finally happened -- it was monumental. I also had to share a room with a piano in order for it to happen, but I made the sacrifice.

Dare I say my kids enjoy sharing a room with one another, especially since they have known no different. I am confident my 3-year-old son would be terrified in a room alone. The problem with the three of them together, though, is that the baby has a set of lungs that carry across town.

You know what I'm talking about. Those children (or people) who are loud when they are whispering? That is our baby. So even when she's whimpering in the middle of the night, her voice is ear-piercing. This isn't as big of a deal for my oldest, who sleeps like the dead (like me), but my son is a lighter sleeper. I have actually walked into the room to take care of the baby to find that my son had turned on the white noise machine to try and drown out the noise. Poor guy.

2. We tried cry it out one unfortunate weekend


When I had to sleep train my second child, he was 7 months old. My oldest was barely 2 and, with that gauntlet of toddler and infant care I had just gone through with 2 under 2, I had zero tolerance for this whole get-up-at-night thing. My solution was to wait until my husband was traveling for work and allow my daughter to sleep in bed with me. It took two nights to get him trained and the result was heavenly.

Fast forward to child No. 3 and we had a very different experience. First of all, my husband wasn't traveling for work this time, so he had to find somewhere else to sleep. Being 6-foot-3 with a large build, this wasn't easy. He tried to sleep on our air mattress downstairs, but the attempt was futile. I actually received a text message from two floors down around midnight: "The air mattress has a hole in it. This sucks." I admit I laughed in spite of his pain. He ended up sleeping on the couch and -- with the combination of our cats who enjoy batting and nuzzling those that sleep in their territory -- got about 4 hours of broken sleep.

I struggled to sleep as well. I was sharing our king sized bed with our older kids, who seem to be magnets for human beings when they sleep. I posted on Facebook the following morning that my son sleeps like the letter 'E'. I was kicked and poked all night. Hearing the baby scream down the hall was the least of my concerns.

The worst of the weekend, though, wasn't the sleep deprivation of my husband and I ... it was the older kids. Even though they destroyed my sleep with their sleep positioning and appeared to sleep soundly through the night, they were devil's spawn for the entire weekend. They clearly didn't get enough sleep and we spent the 48 hours of the weekend dealing with whining, screaming, and endless amounts of, "He touched me!" and "She's teasing me!"

As I shoved the two of them across school lines that Monday morning, I swore I didn't care if the baby woke up every night until she was 18 years old. I was never experiencing that again.

3. I changed my mind


It's been a few months since that awful weekend and -- as I struggle to focus on my work each day through sleep deprivation -- I have changed my mind about that whole getting-up-forever thing. I'm going to give it another go because, frankly, I'm losing my mind and coffee isn't making the same dent it once did. I'm also hoping to shed my parent title of, Mom Who Is Always Late at my kids' school.

The plan is to wait until my husband is in the Bahamas for work (yeah, I know, I know) and bring the older kids into bed with me. My top priority is going to be to get them good sleep. In other words, I won't have any emotion to give about the baby crying. She's just going to have to figure it out.

That, my fellow sleep-deprived parents, is what I believe to be the solution. You get to the edge of insanity and have no other choice than to break your child of his or her infant-waking habit.

If this attempt doesn't work, though, I may have to resort to bringing the baby into my room in a bassinet and really regress. Just kidding. I think. I hope.


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