The ties that bind us to others are not always easy to explain or understand. Often, they have as much to do with time and circumstance as with some deep, emotional or intellectual affinity. We may have such a connection too, but it is one that has been developed over a period of years, through the weathering of storms and the tackling of challenges. You are now questioning your close involvement with someone who seemingly fails to respect your integrity. Don't give up just yet.
You know who you are. hahahaha. Just kidding, I have no idea what this means. Or do I?
So, last night was night one of the Great Sleep Experiment of 2009. We had our sleep doctor appt. for it last Friday. His sleeping had gotten slightly better, but it was still not good and I just refused to accept that it was just going to be that way. One of the most important things I've learned as a parent is that 97.3% of things that go awry with the kid have nothing to do with the kid and everything to do with how WE are handling a situation and I decided that the sleeping part was probably the same thing. He has been relatively healthy for the last few weeks so we decided to strike now. The sleep lady was awesome and she confirmed what I just said. She explained how lack of sleep in kids is a BIG problem and that it effects all other aspects of their lives. She asked how we would put him to sleep (with a bottle after he was almost asleep) and what we would do when he would have his issues at night (pick him up, try to comfort, etc) and then proceeded to tell me how we were doing it wrong. FAIL. She also explained that kids that had a rocky start, especially kids adopted internationally, tend to have these "confusional arousals," which are basically baby night terrors and disrupt their natural sleep pattern in a bad way. He can have up to 5 PER NIGHT, people. It sucked. Most of the time he wouldn't even be awake but he would be crying and having a fit and nothing we would do would fix the situation so we would be up for hours. This sucks. It really sucks. For serious. I have a low threshold for things that suck and I try pretty quickly to rectify the situation and this lady had been recommended to me by several different people, including my pediatrician, who confessed her own sleep problems in her child and how she kicked herself for not addressing them when her kid was young because she was 5 and still sleeping with the parents. Like I said, I nip it in the BUD. I have been amazed to hear stories from almost everyone with kids about how sleeping was such a difficult thing to figure out and even more amazed to hear them scoff at my going to a sleep doctor, which is RIDICULOUS because if help is there, why not take it? Durrr.
Anyway, she sent us home with a custom plan for us that I admit, was kind of complicated and she emphasized that following the instructions as closely as possible was the only way for it to really work so we needed to be committed. Seeing as the other night we were up with him 3 times, beginning only 4 hours after he went down and ending at 5:45am, when we finally gave up, there was no doubt we were committed. The basic plan was this. We put him to bed TOTALLY AWAKE, with no bottle or anything, and then we have to monitor his crying, which she categorized into stages. Each stage of crying required interacting with him in his crib in timed intervals, which would gradually get longer until he went to sleep. Then, I sleep in the room with him until he goes down with limited fussing and crying for at least 3 nights in a row. Once we got this to happen (oh sure), then we work on naps. I was very skeptical because it just didn't seem that different from what we were already doing minus the bottle and stuff but clearly I'm no expert so I just followed the instructions. I put his pajamas on him and he thought he was ready to play but instead he was plopped into the crib, given a lovely little speech about how awesome sleeping is, a kiss goodnight and that was it. I didn't even make it the 8 steps out of the room before the screaming started and it was LOUD. It was major league screaming. She had warned us of this so we were ready and I began to time things for my interactions. This all sounds so official, no? So, I went for my first interaction, gave him my speech again, patted him on the head and left again. Once again, screaming ensued but this time it wasn't as bad or as loud and I SWEAR TO GOD that within 15-20 minutes of putting him down wide-awake, he was asleep. Totally asleep. We didn't even believe it and risked everything to go in and check and sure enough, his butt was in the air and he was out. I went back in to go to sleep about an hour later and he stayed asleep pretty much all night. He stirred a few times, cried, fussed, and went right back to sleep without me doing anything. AMAZING! He finally woke up about 5am and saw me on the bed and I heard "mama" but I didn't acknowledge him and soon he started to really cry. I got up, went to him and changed his diaper in the crib, gave him my speech and a pat and went back to bed. He cried for about 30 seconds and then was out again and slept until 7AM!!!!! I am totally amazed. FOR REAL. Now, it may be a fluke and tonight may be just dreadful, but I'm so stoked about this plan that I'm confident that he can do it since he's a freaking genius. Of course he is. Anyway, I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.