Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Advice #1: It's Just a Phase.

I am 35, and yet, astoundingly, I have only one close friend in my age cohort with children. Carrie got married right out of college, and had kids when I was still closing bars and bouncing checks. Her children are smart and happy and pleasant to be around, and so it's not just because I love her that I seek her advice on parenting.

She gave me lots of great advice during the hellish and wonderful (but hellish) first three month's of Ben's life, most of which I immediately forgot because of the sleep deprivation. At some point I floated the bazillionth theory about why the boy was having another episode of horribly short sleep stretches, and she said, basically, "It may be that. But one of the things I've learned as a parent is that a lot of the time, it's just a phase, and it's not something you can explain or solve." She went on to encourage me to keep attempting to explain and solve, because at least it's good practice, but not to feel that every problem has a solution, nor that failure on my part to find it is, well, a failure on my part.

What a relief.

We Ferberized Ben about a month ago, and for the most part, it's been an astounding success. But last week, we hit a new snag. He would wake up sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 AM and be absolutely unable to go back to sleep for an hour and a half. One by one, we eliminated all the theories and solutions: it was not because he had a cold, because he'd had his four-month vaccinations, because I'd started doing a dream feed at 10:00, because the room was too cold or too hot, or because he was hungry. We changed the timing of naps, the timing of bedtime, the timing of the dream feed. We turned on (or did not turn on) the plinky-plink-music aquarium toy to keep him company while we attempted to steal back fifteen minutes of sleep. No matter what we did or didn't do, the kid woke up sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 and couldn't get back to sleep for an hour and a half.

Last night we ran out of stuff to try. We made up our minds: we were just going to have to power through it, however long it took, doing the best we could.

The kid woke up once at 1:00 AM to nurse and then slept through to morning (albeit a very early morning) -- our very first night of only one wake-up.

1 comment:

Kathy said...

It's wonderful when they start sleeping isn't it?

My biggest lesson learned was similar to yours. And many times, before I had a chance to figure out what the problem was, he was working on a new problem.

Current phase? Refusal of potty training. At this rate I'll be changing diapers until I'm 65.