We’ve started putting Dylan in his crib instead of the beshitted, addictive swing at night, and things initially start out fine — he squawks more than usual when he first goes down, but eventually conks out and looks like an adorable little cocktail shrimp when viewed on the monitor — but then around midnight or so, just about the time when I put my book down, heave an exhausted jaw-breaking yawn, and reach over to turn out the bedside light, he wakes up and makes that ear-grinding noise most parents of young babies recognize: “EH-HEH. EH-HEH. EH-HEH. EHHHHHHHHHH.”

One of us goes in and gives him a bottle and gets him re-settled, but then he wakes up again at 1:30. And again at 3. And so on. He wakes up because he’s turned himself sideways and his head is mashed against the crib bars, or because he’s flopped onto his belly and has forgotten how to roll back over, or maybe because his feetie pajamas are filled with tiny invisible stinging jellyfish — I have no idea what all is going on but it’s like we’ve rewound time to the early weeks of parenthood, except now he’s much louder and capable of pooping entire cow-pats at a time.

When he was waking up from the swing, I could feed him once and put him right back down and he’d fall asleep almost instantly, but now when I put him in the crib during his wee-hour wakenings the first thing he does is lift both feet up in the air and crash them into the mattress: BAM! BAM! BAM! He arches his back and does that thrashing-salmon business while making a cat-trapped-in-a-vacuum-cleaner noise, all of which is meant to communicate the message that the crib? SUCKS A THOUSAND DICKS.

I bought a sleep positioner (a product which my friend Scott hilariously and accurately referred to as a “baby half pipe”) but he just rolls sideways on it and wetly gnaws one of the foam triangles, so that’s no good. I’ve considered swaddling him but I think it would just piss him off more, plus he’s kind of BIG now, I’d need like a sari wrap or an auxiliary roll of duct tape or something.

So I guess the lesson here is never let your baby get used to a temporary sleep situation, unless you don’t mind dealing with the colossal ass-pain of transitioning him away from it. At this point, I probably need to just dismantle the swing entirely so I’m not tempted to stuff him in it at 4 AM, which is, er, what I’ve done the last two nights in a row (JB admonishes me to let him cry, which I am 100% not opposed to doing in theory — for one thing, I know the different between a frantic cry and a pissed-off one — but it’s just so stressful to lie there in the dark listening to the noise and feeling that biochemical reaction of MUST RESPOND, and may I just point out that only ONE of us has to endure it, the other manages to snore openmouthed during even the loudest wails).

Well, this too shall pass, and in the meantime thank gods for Red Bull, SO SAY WE ALL.


Good thing he’s such a ridiculously cute chunk of pressed ham, or he’d be on the “baby+kids” section of Craigslist RIGHT NOW.


69 Responses to “Sleep, interrupted”

  1. bessie.viola on October 8th, 2008 7:44 am

    OMG – you described this SO perfectly! Madeline does the SAME foot-slamming exercise every.single.time we lay her down in the crib. She also does the salmon-thrashing.

    Good luck – hope you all get some sleep soon.

  2. Hue on October 8th, 2008 8:54 am

    Yep, our baby did the foot slamming thing too when we first moved her into the crib. Who knows what that is all about.

    We finally let her cry it out and what helped was to wear earplugs. My husband slept without them and funny how when he knew that I now couldn’t hear her, he was much more attuned to her. So he woke up a few times but was able to restrain himself from going in there and I was able to actually get some sleep.

    It only took one night. Now she sleeps like a champion.

  3. nonsoccermom on October 8th, 2008 9:08 am

    Well, we finally had to resort to crying it out. Nothing else seemed to work. And at 9 months old, my daughter STILL doesn’t consistently sleep through the night, but now she knows that I’m not going to sit in her room at 3 a.m. and rock her continuously. So either she gets a few swigs of water or the occasional bottle of formula depending on what the problem seems to be, then I lay her right back down. And I have found that now she usually just eh-hehs herself right back to sleep.

    Hang in there!

  4. leah on October 8th, 2008 9:29 am

    lol I know exactly what ur saying! I have a 3 yr old, and a 15month old… and no sleep..
    My baby slept with us scince she was born, and I did half ass try to get her into her own bed- but in the middle of the night with her screaming her head off- i’d give in and bring her back to bed with me.. and still do..
    I have no idea how to get her out.. I just can’t convince myself at 2, 3, and 4 am that I am DEDICATED to keep her in own bed… grr.

  5. leah on October 8th, 2008 9:29 am

    lol I know exactly what ur saying! I have a 3 yr old, and a 15month old… and no sleep..
    My baby slept with us scince she was born, and I did half ass try to get her into her own bed- but in the middle of the night with her screaming her head off- i’d give in and bring her back to bed with me.. and still do..
    I have no idea how to get her out.. I just can’t convince myself at 2, 3, and 4 am that I am DEDICATED to keep her in own bed… grr.

  6. Jen on October 8th, 2008 9:42 am

    We have been going through the EXACT. SAME. THING. at my house.

    Funny that only one of us wears ear plugs- while the OTHER PARENT (ahem) has to get up 40 gagillion times with the screaming todfant.

  7. SART on October 8th, 2008 9:50 am

    When Nugget was that age, he was sleeping in his crib, on his stomach and with a blanket. He also had a stuffed monkey he mostly used as a pillow. We were big users of the crib mobile at that age. My parents bought this awesome one that had a remote control that we could use to turn it on from outside the room. It played a soothing lullaby and would knock him right out.

    Oh yeah – Nice BSG reference. Is it January yet?

  8. Brooke on October 8th, 2008 9:52 am

    When my daughter was 6 mos, she would wake up at night, but when I tried to feed her, it was fuss, fuss. So we decided to try the tough love approach since she obv. wasn’t hungry, and in a couple nights of CIO she was sleeping 10-6.

    Good luck!!

  9. Anonymous on October 8th, 2008 10:03 am

    Criminy. I was totally anti-CIO until I found myself swearing repeatedly during the night-time wake-ups and literally punching the wall. That does not a good mommy make.

    (the “eh-heh, eh-heh, ehhhhhhh” description? teeth-gratingly perfect!)

    Our guy is six months, and had slept in our bed until about two weeks ago. Then I read a book about the bad habits I’d instilled in my wee charge, namely rocking to sleep, nursing to sleep, and co-sleeping. The transition to the crib at night has been rough, but steadily getting better. He really can go six hours without eating! My mom reminded me to be consistent above all things, and baby will figure it out.

    And why can’t we “sleep train” the menfolk to wake up a little more often? There’s a dearth of literature on that.

    Hang in there!

  10. Robin on October 8th, 2008 10:06 am

    [err, I didn’t mean to go anonymous, there… I really am getting more sleep these days, swear to god!]

  11. Katie on October 8th, 2008 10:28 am

    (I did not read the 60 comments before mine, so sorry if I am the 10th person to say this)

    As far as the cry it out method, for me if I give it a time. Like 10 minutes. Then it feels better, like we are working toward something. Then maybe the next night we do 11 minutes.

    We just went through the crib to big bed trasition and after endless nights of coddling it was the let him cry method that worked.

    Good luck!!!

  12. Heather on October 8th, 2008 11:00 am

    You look awesome in that picture! I am impressed. You don’t look like you have been up a gazillion times at all.

    You did however bring back memories from all three of my children. I could perfectly hear the beginning cries that you described. This is good birth control for me ;) Also the pp has me scared about the big bed transition. We haven’t made that leap yet with number three. I am NOT looking forward to it.

  13. Gillian on October 8th, 2008 6:51 pm

    I’d try the Amby Baby and a white noise maker before resorting to CIO. CIO shouldn’t ever be used, IMO (as we know), but good things have been said about the Amby. Well worth the money, and you can always try to find it used.

  14. wn on October 9th, 2008 5:01 am

    I have no goddamn idea what makes our munchkin sleep through some nights…and wake once an hour…for others…wtf? I have noticed though, that one of the things that wakes him (our kid) is that he craps himself EVERY night…and that looser pyjamas seem to keep him more comfortable…but that’s just a loose theory at this point.

    So far this week…we’ve had a night with about 2 wake-up, two nights of waking every hour from 3am on…and then last night…12 hours..uninterrupted….

    I keep trying to figure out what I did right/wrong…but other than loose pyjamas…I can’t come up with anything!

    good luck!

  15. Kristi on October 9th, 2008 8:35 am

    Before becoming a parent, I thought my only goal would be to get my baby to sleep through the night and then *poof*! Sleeping problems solved. Ha.

    Who knew that you also had to get them to sleep for naps and that sometimes they wake up too early from a nap, or even when they do sleep through the night, you pray that it keeps happening each night because sometimes they wake up at 4am for no reason and talk to themselves for an hour.

    My baby is 6 mo old – perhaps it gets easier when they can talk and tell you what they want??

  16. Vida on October 9th, 2008 3:09 pm

    But since when children started the developing process of their habilities earlier (about thirty years ago), the perents are becoming no longer the superheroes in kid´s world. I´m against these new ways that books are trying to make us follow. Perhaps, in a few years we´ll be able to deal with them in many different (and accepted) ways. However, i see your point.

    Have a pleasant week!

  17. Melissa on October 9th, 2008 6:30 pm

    Put him back in the swing. Our daughter slept in hers til she was at least a year old, and then we transitioned her to the crib (with the help of Ferber) pretty easily.

  18. Adrienne on October 9th, 2008 9:19 pm

    I love the description of Dylan as a chunk of pressed ham! I can never come up with the right words to describe my 9 month old daughter, but you’ve got it exactly.

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