Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Motherhood FAIL of the Week: Cry Me A Nap

Don't even think about making me nap.
After all the months of sleepless nights and non-existent naps, the Muffin Man has turned into an excellent sleeper.  He consistently sleeps through the night even while teething or when he has a cold,  he has a pretty regular nap schedule that includes a two hour morning nap and an hour long afternoon nap, and he rarely cries when we put him down to go to sleep.  I suppose that I should take credit for his wonderful sleep habits, but I honestly don't remember sleep training him.  I guess it's possible that all the months of sleep deprivation have caused some memory loss, but I don't have any recollection of letting him "Cry it Out"more than once or twice.  Maybe Noah is just a really fast learner, and that's all it took for him to figure out how to put himself to sleep, but I think that the sleep training "method" I used consisted mainly of me being so exhausted and desperate for a full night of sleep that I simply turned off the baby monitor and hoped for the best.  Yes, I realize that this makes me sound like a terrible Mother who is more concerned with her own rest than her infant son's health, but the kid sleeps ten feet down the hall from us. I can guarantee you that the few times he's woken in the middle of the night I have heard him loud and clear.

Noah's nighttime sleeping may be stellar, but we do struggle at times with his afternoon nap.  My kid, not unlike his parents, likes to par-tay.  If he suspects that by going down for a nap he may possibly miss some exciting event, he will refuse to sleep.  He can be so exhausted that he is nodding off in his high chair, but put him in his crib for a nap and he will do everything he can to keep himself awake.  He throws his stuffed animals out of the crib, he kicks against the rails of his crib (which sounds like he's having band practice in the nursery) and he screams at the top of his lungs to let me know he is not at all happy to be missing out.  When it's just the two of us at home alone, this afternoon nap usually occurs without incidence.  He knows that only boring old Mommy is around and he will not miss a thing if he sleeps.  However, on the rare occasion when Daddy is home in the afternoon, or any of the Grandparents/Aunts/Uncles/Cousins/Housekeeper, Noah will not sleep.

Yesterday, the Hubby had the afternoon off from work.  After my boys had a nice chunk of time together, I whisked Noah away for his afternoon nap.  The kid was exhausted - rubbing his eyes, yawning, chewing on his blankie - and he'd been awake at that point for five hours, so I knew it was time for a nap.  Well, Noah had other plans. He was not going to allow me to keep him from spending time with his Daddy, no way no how.  He screamed, he kicked, he threw poor Paddington Bear halfway across the room, and he would not sleep.  Usually if left unchecked, the Muffin Man will cry it out for about three minutes before finally conking out.  Except, of course, when there are other people around.  Yesterday, he screamed without stopping for one hour.  That's right, my friends, an hour of high-pitched wailing and tears and no end in sight.  I have no problem with the Cry it Out method - I don't think it damages the child and sets him up for more therapy than he'll already need just by virtue of being my kid - but I can't handle it for more than an hour, so I went in and rescued him and let him play some more with his Father.

I am a stubborn individual, and I refuse to give up easily even when I know all signs point to no (see: my acting career) so I decided to try putting Noah down again when Chris left for a meeting.  My son had other plans.  Once again, I experienced an hour of screaming, crying, and stuffed animal abuse before I finally gave in and resigned myself to just letting the kiddo stay up.  Yes, I knew that he would be overtired and fussy and not his usual pleasant self, but my nerves can only take so much wailing before I'm tempted to overdose on Xanax.  Epic. Nap. Fail.

Am I still a proponent of Cry it Out?  Absolutely.  But after knowing my son for almost ten months, I know that he is willful and he likes to socialize, so he will not, under any circumstances, let what's good for him win out over what he wants to do.  I also know this means that he's very much like his Mother, and that I'm going to definitely need to up my Xanax dosage before he becomes a teenager.  God help us.

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