The Night Stalker. That’s what my parents have named Elisabeth. That, and Demon Baby. You can probably guess how our nights have been going lately.
My brain is too muddled from lack of sleep to remember if I ever shared with you how I sleep trained Elisabeth. In case not, here’s a recap: The child resisted sleep with all her power. After months of Elisabeth SCREAMING before every nap time (no matter how much rocking, cuddling, singing, etc.) for sometimes upward of an hour, falling asleep in my arms and then waking the moment I placed in her her crib (over and over and over again), taking naps that averaged 20-25 minutes, and waking up several times throughout the night, I had reached the end of my rope. I decided the best option for all parties involved would be to sleep train the kid, and the method I chose was Ferber’s. Otherwise known as (mistakenly, in my opinion) the “Cry It Out” method.
I can hear the gasps now! How could she! That cruel, cruel mother! That poor child is ruined!
Here’s how I see it. Elisabeth was crying before every nap and every bedtime anyway. So instead of letting her cry in my arms for an hour I let her cry in her crib for 20-30 minutes while I periodically checked on her, until she fell asleep on her own. And after a couple of days, the crying stopped. And she slept. And stayed asleep. And I slept. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.
-Sigh- It was a nice month while it lasted.
Since traveling to the states, Elisabeth’s sleep has been all sorts of messed up. I had hoped that once the initial jet lag had worn off and we had settled down from our travels around the country, she would simply slip back into her sleep trained ways. I should know better than to ever assume such silly things…
No, no. Instead we have the Night Stalker/Demon Baby. The non-sleeping baby has returned with a vengeance. The baby who thinks 30 minutes constitutes a nap. Unless of course she is sleeping on my chest, in which case she’ll sleep all day as I precariously wriggle to get comfortable under her weight, hardly daring to breathe lest I disturb her precious slumber, her warm drool pooling on my shoulder. The baby who wakes 2-3 times a night, but who hardly cries anymore because she knows she has broken me and I’ll be in her room the moment she stirs. The baby who has convinced me… to co-sleep!
When Elisabeth was born, I was adamantly against co-sleeping. I was convinced that Damon or I (let’s be honest, more likely Damon) would roll over and crush the little thing in her sleep. But as she got older… and sturdier… and louder… my fears dissipated, and when the occasion called for it (like when we were traveling and hotels provided us with death traps as cribs), I would bring Elisabeth into my bed. But this was not a habit I wanted to encourage.
Sure, the first few moments when she cuddles up to me, nestles her head in my chest or swings her arm over my neck make my heart absolutely melt. But then her fingers are up my nose and in my mouth (lovely). She’s clawing at my eyes and pinching my neck (ouch). She’s pulling my hair. Hard. I know plenty of people who co-sleep and love it. Their children must not assault them the way mine does.
And yet now – every night – she ends up in my bed. I’m just too tired to fight it. I don’t have an ounce of energy left to try to cajole her back to sleep at 1AM. She’s won. So now it’s time for me to shut down my computer. I’ll go brush my teeth, climb into bed, and pray that tonight is the night Elisabeth will sleep through in her crib. But deep down in my heart I know it’s in vain. I’m just biding my time – until the Night Stalker strikes again.