Friday, March 08, 2013

Is there no sleep solution

Welcome to the Taboo Carnival. Our topic this Spring is RESPONDING TO THE NATURAL PARENTING COMMUNITY! This post was written for inclusion in the quarterly Taboo Carnival hosted by Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama. This month our participants reflect on criticism of the natural parenting community both from those parents outside of it’s perceived borders as well as those inside the community itself. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Hannabert turned 2 years old in February. I somehow had the impression that it would mean he would suddenly sleep at night. I was wrong. I blame myself. When I read blogs by attached or natural parents, it always seems as if one of the parents (typically mom) doesn't work out side the home. Our situation doesn't allow us that (damn law school loans) so I know that my need to sleep because I am working two jobs is the cause of Hannabert's sleep issues.

Oh, he looks like he is tired. Even has the jammies on...
Hannabert's sleep schedule from birth was a bit..odd to say the least. Horn and I worked full-time from 2:30 pm to 11 pm. In the mornings, we taught alternating days at a local college. The one not teaching had baby duty. When Hannabert was wakeful after daycare, it wasn't too big of a deal because the non-teaching parent would take care of him. I had a tad bit more time with him as he breastfed regularly.  This schedule worked really well for the most part. Yes, there were some frustrations and some longing for Horn and I to get more alone time. Yes, Hannabert didn't like being put in his crib but more often than not we could wait him out.

I blamed Hannabert's wakefulness on the fact that I swear his room is haunted. Look for the orb at about 50 sec into this cllip
This all changed this past November when Horn received a fabulous job opportunity...that required him to work court hours. Suddenly, from both of us working night hours, we had to switch in a week to him working 8am to 4pm. With a drive that takes 1.5hrs. Each way. 

For us, it meant me taking over Horn's morning class. It also meant that Hannabert now got dropped off at daycare at 7 am rather than 2 pm. I started teaching 3 mornings a week while working until 11pm 5 days a week. I no longer saw Hannabert or Horn on most nights (especially IF Horn was successful in getting Hannabert to sleep).  When Hannabert would wake-up when I got home, I secretly relished the snuggle moments with him.

But that snuggly feeling stopped when we both developed mono. Apparently while adults are exhausted toddlers do not get so exhausted. Hannabert still wakes up when I come home but he doesn't want snuggles, he wants to play. I am exhausted from work from 8 am until 11 pm. Horn is exhausted because he woke-up at 5:30 am to get ready for work, dropped Hannabert off at daycare, and then did solo parenting with him all evening, often times not getting to bed until I get home around 11:30 pm.

But I know the problem is me. He sleeps at daycare (on the couch or chair while parents come and go and other children play around him!). He sleeps when being watching by others (most notably at Horn's best friend's house when they asked him to lay down, he asked for a blanket, and he was alseep in seconds). 
Perhaps it is my fault that I nursed/rocked him to sleep. Perhaps it is Horn's fault for playing video games while Hannabert snuggled into him. Maybe it is our strange love/hate relationship with Bedtime Stories (we both have loves/hates in this series.  Horn HATES Millions of Cats and I don't like Elbert's Bad Word because the story really doesn't flow).  Maybe we should have done sleep training.  I was the one against it! I even got involved in a few social media spats (that resulted in me defriending earlier noted best friend and his wife because they kept getting offended). Maybe it was co-sleeping that did us in! 

While I know it is NORMAL for kids to NOT sleep alone or sleep through the night until 3 or 4, but I feel like we are so alone. Everyone else is either lying about their kids sleeping or we truly are the only people in the world with a toddler who is as wide awake. I asked a co-worker, who is doing their FOURTH round of Feber with their 8 month old (per dr. directions), and she clearly indicated that we were the only parents in this situation.

I know we aren't and I know that our situation has been very different than most of our friends who either work a traditional schedule or have one of the parents stay at home with the children during the day so the waking/sleep times aren't being shuffled around by daycare drop off/pick ups. 
In the meantime, we do have a bedtime routine. We do the calming bubble bath, duckie towel, baby in the mirror (Horn holds up Hannabert, wrapped in his towel, to the bathroom mirror), Peace  Calming Young Living Essential Oil application, calming lotion, books, stories, and snuggles. We don't get the drift off to sleep. Nope. A five minute sleep/nap/eyes shut/rests results in HOURS of wakefulness.

Horn and I agree that it is important to be responsive to Hannabert at night just as much as we are during the day hours but we are quickly losing patience and we are both exhausted. We are frustrated with him and each other. We all just want sleep. Hopefully this stage will end soon. We are trying hard to to stick the the same AM wake-up time and that really seems to be working. Things have gotten better and I hope they continue to improve.

As a side note to that, we cannot express how grateful we are to Hannabert's daycare provider who was willing to watch Hannabert so late each night for almost 2 years. They were always supportive of me providing breastmilk and provided us reassurances that Hannabert was eating MORE than enough when his ped. was concerned about his lack of weight gain. It is so important to have supporters who believe in you as a parent and whose philosophies match yours when it comes to parenting styles. 

Visit Momma Jorje and Hybrid Rasta Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Taboo Carnival! Enjoy the posts from this month’s Carnival participants!
  • Stop Bashing Each Other Already! — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama muses on why for her, “natural parenting” involves more work and why it would be more supportive to all parents if there wasn’t such a great divide based on parenting styles.

  • Politically Correct Natural Parenting — Jorje of Momma Jorje doesn't want parents practicing Natural Parenting to walk on eggshells with other parents.

  • Just bought some! — Lindsay at The Life of Lulu Belle just bought some of Kelapo's coconut oil but hasn't had a chance to try it yet.

  • Keep Your Labels — ANonyMous @Radical Ramblings discusses why she isn't comfortable with the label “natural parent” and urges us all to be a little more respectful and accepting.

  • Finding a Happy Parent Place — A “circumstantial loner,” Mercedes at Project Procrastinot enjoys her forays in to the Natural Parenting community while learning the ropes of mothering twins.

  • On reason, research, and natural parenting — Lauren at Hobo Mama wishes reason and logic were valued more than gut feelings and instinct.

  • Is there a No Sleep Solution? — Hannah at Hannahandhorn wonders when she will sleep again.


  1. Oh wow! My daughter (almost 4) has struggled with sleep since birth. She still wakes 4-6 times per night. I am exhausted all the time but don't have to juggle motherhood with working outside the home...and odd hours at that! Huge hugs to you for doing what you do. And yay for the support system you have at the daycare!

    1. Durn! I was hopeful we were almost "done." Is it better at 4 than it was at 2?

  2. I totally hear you! Even though my twins are still so young, I am amazed when people tell me their babies are already sleeping through the night. It comforts me to think of them as liars. Ok well maybe they're not but I need commiseration, not bragging! So I'm here with you! I hope it gets better (for all of us!) soon. I didn't know about the mirror as part of the bedtime routine. Is that a thing?

    1. The mirror is a "thing" for our guy - I think it reassures him that he exists. I like to think that those that say their kids are sleeping 6+ hrs a night are liars liars pants on fire. At least, in my sleep addle mind, I am that petty.

  3. I am always skeptical when people say their babes slept through from an early age too because I can't help but think...really? All night every night, even through teething, and growth spurts, and developmental changes, and just deciding they are lonely and want to snuggle at 4 am?? You are not alone!!!

    1. Thanks! I need to hear that although Horn and I really feel we are along most of the time when it comes to lack of sleep.

  4. On sleepless night, I plot revenge when they are teenagers. No sleeping until noon in my house, kids! PAY BACK!


    1. My husband swears he is calculating the hours of our lost sleep and will extract revenge.

  5. My son turns three in April. Last night he was up twice. Does that make you feel better?

    He sleeps through, maybe half the time? The other half, he's up once or maybe twice. Most wakeups aren't long. Occasionally they are.

    Things do get better. It takes time -- and work. Kids are programmed to learn to go to sleep -- but they are also programmed to live without artificial lighting and to a sunrise-to-sunset rhythm of every day. To incorporate kids into the modern world, you do have to work on it a bit and find out what works for you. One thing that does NOT work for our family is crying it out. But trying different bedtime routines helps, trying to keep the sleep schedule constant helps, and definitely avoiding those five-minute catnaps! They are the WORST!

    1. 5 minute power naps drive me crazy! I think that we would be ok with the middle of the night waking is is the "I am not going to lay down in bed by myself no matter what you do" that is causing the strain.