Thursday, January 1, 2009
The Seventh Circle of Hell
The moment I clicked "publish post" on the rosy missive about our successful sleep training experience, the sleep train careened off the track and left us all suffering in its wake. THAT will teach me, eh?
Mostly I blame the tiny tooth that has poked through Penny's bottom gum. Also, I blame the chaotic revelry that was Xmas, which occurred over several days. We DID sort of give the "schedule" the boot in the name of glad tidings and good cheer.
What happened? Month 6 was so fun, with the all of the sleeping, and the new foods, and the jovial demeanor. Month 7, which is rapidly coming to a end, has had teething, separation anxiety, and sleep deprivation. On one hand, Penny's personality is really starting to show. She laughs heartily at dogs and other amusing creatures, refuses her binky on many occasions (which truthfully, I'm glad of), and gets downright mad if I take objects away from her (sharp, pointy objects, like forks). She also thinks I'm hysterical and the obviously the best person to be around. This I find flattering, to an extent. And I'm sure I will miss the cuddles, the nuzzles, the attachment. Soon she will be climbing on me, or struggling to be put down, and I'll be chasing her around. But the screaming I can do without. I can't leave the room. I can't hand her to Britt after she's thrown up on me (from crying so hard FOR me) and I need to change shirts. She only has eyes for me.
Meanwhile, the sleep BOOK says not to sleep train while babies are teething. So the other night, instead of doing the intervals, I picked Penny up every time she started crying and rocked her back to sleep. She woke up EVERY HOUR until I gave up and let her sleep with us. Hmm. How long does it take for a baby to get all of her teeth? We only need one more tooth to have actual GNASHING of TEETH. You know, to go with the wailing. So I have been trying to make sure any pain Penny might be in is addressed and continuing with business as usual. Because we all need to sleep. I feel like we're starting over, and I'm trying not to get frustrated. I still have moments where I worry I will scar her for life. Why do I sense this is a feeling that will never go away?
I know of other children who have figured out this sleep thing, so I am optimistic. I'm sure this is one of many phases. But I am conflicted. If I lived in a different culture, or a different time, my baby would be with me ALL the time. In my bed, on my back, at my breast. But I live here, in this time. I am an independent woman who is balancing motherhood with a career, and I do want to maintain some semblance of our old life. Is this selfish?
Sometimes I am tempted to scrap the sleep training altogether and just let her sleep in our bed for a while. It is really tempting. But ultimately, it's not what I want, or what Britt wants. Maybe someday soon she will look around and say, "Hey! This is a pretty cool room, and I have a sweet bed. I know I'll see mom and dad in the morning, so I'm just gonna get some shut-eye." Sigh. Hang in there, baby. We're all in this together.