I believe I mentioned that Baby Ike is six months old already, but I do not believe that I emphasized that fact enough already.
SIX MONTHS OLD WHAT THE HOW IN THE HOLY SHIT I CAN'T EVEN
To be fair, before I launch into the whine-fest that you know is coming, this has been the easiest first six months I've had with a baby. (Turbohork aside, but we no longer speak of such things.) His birth was criminally easy, my recovery time even more so. Breastfeeding, great. Weight gain, perfect. Developmentally, he continues to chug along like clockwork, doing everything he's supposed to be doing right in the sweet spot of "don't rush me, woman" and "surprise! look what I can do, all of a sudden." Personality-wise, he is incredibly happy, curious, cuddly and smiles with his entire head.
I truly, genuinely enjoy the stuffing out of this wonderful little baby, and am stuck between wanting to hit the pause button on his adorable self right now just like this forever, and being incredibly excited about seeing what he'll do next, because I just know it's going to be awesome.
So of course, he's a crap sleeper.
He didn't used to be -- he was fantastic up until four months old or so, when the sleep regression hit, followed by those first two teeth. Everything got kind of messy and blurry at that point, where Everything That Worked Before Stopped Working. But sometimes it still worked! But then it wouldn't again! Bedtime became a total crapshoot, and I go to bed myself never knowing if he'll manage to sleep for an hour or two...or seven, during which I will of COURSE be cruelly awoken by one of the other boys, or by my own stupid boobs. And the slow, horrible advancement of his two top teeth have made a bad situation even worse, if possible.
(And as for naps? Oh, fuck you. And your naps.)
I mentioned the Sleep Thing to our pediatrician on Monday, at Ike's well-baby visit (somewhere in the 10-25th percentiles for weight at 15lbs, 4oz, but in the freaking 90th for height), even though I know we don't exactly see eye-to-eye on sleep methods. (She's hardcore CIO, I'm a softcore pussy.) (Wait. What? That came out way pornier than I intended.)
The conversation went something like this:
ME: He still sleeps best with his arms swaddled, but will kick himself over onto his belly so I don't feel comfortable wrapping him anymore...
HER: Absolutely, he should not be swaddled at this age. He must learn to self-soothe! Have you tried letting him cry...
ME: Yes. (OMG DON'T TELL THE INTERNET.) It didn't work.
HER: Well you probably didn't let him cry long enough. Did you...
ME: Oh, he'll fuss and cry himself to sleep all right. But then he'll wake up an hour later righteously pissed-off as all ever-loving hell and refuse to go back to sleep again because we are terrible people who must be punished.
HER: Hmm. Does he wake up from...noise? Have you tried...
ME: We have a white noise machine, yes. I'm starting to suspect it's not much more than an electronic placebo, honestly.
HER: Does he like...music?
ME: We have a musical lullaby toy he likes. Except for the nights that he doesn't.
HER: Well, if he's waking up to suck, maybe...
ME: He doesn't suck his thumb. He won't take a pacifier. Please DEAR GOD tell me you weren't just about to suggest I try a pacifier, like that's something that would never occur to me.
HER: Some babies really need a specific, set routine at night so...
ME: Do you know how many advice columns I've written about sleep on the Internet? Four thousand three hundred and two. Ish. At least.
HER: Sometimes they get overtired at bedtime so you can try...
ME: Earlier bedtime. Check. Tried it.
HER: (lowered voice) Will he sleep un-swaddled but on his belly?
ME: Tried it. He startles himself at some point and wakes up.
HER: And how can you get him back to sleep?
ME: By bringing him back to bed with me and letting him stay attached to the boob all night. Or by swaddling his arms and trusting the fool child to not flip his fool self over.
HER: *BZZZTTTT BRAIN OVERLOAD AT FULL CAPACITY OUT OF IDEAS*
ME: Did you hear that Ike? We've completely stumped the doctor! I wonder what we win.
HER: You know, sometimes you just have to do whatever you have to do to get some damn sleep. So I think you should...just...do that.
So. That was helpful.
Jason is in Chicago this week, so bedtime last night was a crazy, solo affair -- I got Ike mostly ready for bed and then plopped him in the crib while I turned my attention to the older boys. I gave his crib mobile a push and a spin, then braced myself for the sounds of WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, WOMAN? a few seconds later...but they never came. I peeked back in, and lo and fucking behold, the kid had put himself to sleep like a reasonable human being.
I was amazed. I was thrilled. I was ready to send up congratulatory fireworks because YOU KNOW I'M TAKING CREDIT FOR THAT SHIT, AM OBVIOUSLY GENIUS. Clearly, our problem was that we were simply trying too many things and over-complicating the bedtime process. I went downstairs, poured myself a glass of wine and sent Jason a couple braggy texts about how I had SOLVED ALL THE THINGS.
Uh-huh. I know. I'm such an idiot, sometimes.