babies and sleep.
I have never before given sleep so much thought. It seems so basic. You get tired, you sleep. But having a baby has changed all of that. I am tired all the time but I have a limited window of hours when I am free to sleep without the baby demanding my attention. That window is also the only time when I can get work done outside of office hours, so the bottom line, which is no surprise to anyone as this is probably the most common complaint of parenthood, is that I get very little sleep.
But even apart from my own sleep issues, I’ve had to really think about sleep a lot lately because Chiara doesn’t seem to like to sleep at all. She actively rejects sleep and will choose any alternative, if available. I’ve tried to break it down and dissect the issue to see whether she just doesn’t like the dark, or doesn’t like to miss the excitement of whatever else is going on, or doesn’t like to be alone, or doesn’t like to be horizontal. It seems to be all of these things in combination.
Recently, Chiara has learned to pull herself up to standing so we dropped the floor of her co-sleeper and now when she’s standing tall, her shoulders are just below the top rail of her sleeper, which hopefully means that for a few more months at least she won’t be strong enough to lift herself up over the rail! Last night, she woke up at 3 a.m., and when I didn’t pick her up, hoping she’d go back to sleep, she lifted herself up and stood with her face just inches from mine, crying. This was the fourth or fifth night in a row that we were trying to train her to sleep without needing a nocturnal nursing, in the hopes that if she got used to getting through the night without eating, sleeping through the night would soon follow. So, I pat her on her back for a little while, kissed her on her cheek and then maneuvered her onto her back to encourage her to sleep. This only upset her more and she was soon standing up again. I repeated the process and she repeated hers. I figured that if she had enough energy to pull herself up that i should just wait until she was a little more tired, so I let her stand. Of course, this was quite boring for me so I soon began to drift off to sleep, despite Chiara’s whimpering. And then I realized that she was quiet and opened my eyes to see her standing up, her arms reaching over the sleeper rail and resting on my arm, her head resting on my arm as well, in sound sleep. Chiara was sleeping while standing up and leaning over the side of her sleeper!
I gently lifted her off her feet and lay her down, but as soon as her body sensed that it had gone horizontal, she arched her back and woke up, crying. Next thing I knew, she was standing up, head down on my arm, sleeping. Wow, this is a baby that so hates being horizontal that she falls asleep standing up! But this time when I lay her down, she made weak resistance motions with her arms and legs and then feel into a deep slumber.