The Ferbane of my existence
Sleep-training is going horribly. We aren’t sure if we’re going to try it past the first night. I guess if we wanted confirmation that Baby E. is not and will never be a normal, healthy little dude, this was a good exercise.
Some highlights, or lowlights
- Our clock started at 8:45 p.m., which is about 15-30 minutes past his usual bedtime. We got up for the day at 5:30 a.m., which gives us a window of just under 9 hours. According to my vast book and internet readings, babies are supposed to get 11-12 hours of sleep.
- When we first soothed him into drowsiness, kissed him goodnight, and put him into the crib, Baby E. cried for 2.5 hours. We did the check-in thing every ten minutes. He still cried for 2.5 hours. Then he fell asleep for about ten minutes, startled awake, and the whole thing started over again. While I’m not sure without hiring a sleep consultant (with all our floods of cash, you know), I suspect that the Ferber method is partly based on the idea that your baby will sleep at least as long an interval as they cry. This did not happen.
- He had about three intervals of sleep, if such short spans of light unconsciousness can truly be called sleep, for a total of about 1.5-2 hours of non-crying quiet time.
- We picked him up twice to change him. His first diaper was poopy, the second only soaked.
- We picked him up once to feed him. He took an ounce and began to snooze in my arms. The instant his body touched the crib mattress, he woke up and began to cry.
- He scratched the hell out of his belly through his pajamas.
- I think our check-ins riled him up at first. Then he started calming when he would feel our pats or hear our shushings, and thus freak out harder when we would leave. Overall check-ins do not seem to work for him. I don’t know if this means that true extinction (where we say goodnight, shut the door and, pending monitor horrors, don’t come back until morning) would work. Some people with neurotypical, healthy-brained kids try this approach.
- He doesn’t seem like he’s seizing — he seems super upset and unable to calm down.
- The startle-awake thing seems to be the biggest problem for him in the crib. The rock ‘n play is shaped to kind of cuddle him, and if he startles in it, he hits the soft boundaries of it which seem to calm him. Sleeping on his side or his belly would also stop these startles, I think. However, when I tried to put him down on his belly he flipped out and rolled himself onto his back. Hmmph.
- The Ferber method says that you should keep your babe’s normal wakeup time and nap schedule in the days following the sleep-training. However, as I mentioned earlier, I think that this is dependent upon the babe getting at least as many hours of sleep as he spends crying.
Baby E. is currently asleep, on his belly, on the living room floor. He keeps flexing his legs, like he’s trying to crawl somewhere. Cutie. If this continues it’ll be his longest nap in a few weeks. Naturally I’m spending the free time crying and looking up shit on the Internet.
Will we do another night of sleep-training? I don’t know. I’m so exhausted and feeling more bitter every day. Despite the silly subtitle, I don’t seriously mean to dump all this on the Ferber/sleep-training doorstep, either. In my virtual knapsack I have multitudes: lack of sleep, lack of answers, fear of the future, and a constant well-meaning onrush of kind but useless info and advice from friends, family, and Baby E.’s doctors:
- Sorry, but I’m only in the office two days a week, since I’ll be retiring in 6 months. What? Why would you want to change to another doctor?
- Wait and see
- he won’t walk until he’s two (unsaid: if at all)
- Some kids are just bad sleepers.
- Absolutely you can try sleep-training.
- But we should probably start him on a muscle relaxant.
- Keep feeding him at night, what’s wrong with that?
- You guys are smart, I know you’re looking stuff up on the Internet. If you find something on the Internet and you have questions about it, let me know
- I am your supportive family/friend/acquaintance, and I have to say, he’s doing so much better!
- I am praying for you all.
- God didn’t give you anything you couldn’t handle.
- He doesn’t look [developmentally delayed] in those pictures.
- I just met him two days ago and already I can see improvement, so hang in there.
- Yeah, I know, my kid cried for twenty minutes last night, it was so hard to listen to. You just have to be tough!
I swear these are real! I take them out from time to time to gloat over them, like stolen jewels. (Gee, why am I bitter? Mystery of the universe.) And if you read this blog? I’m not talking about you — that’s why I’m writing it here, because I am a coward who wants to vent but not confront. Confrontation would not result in better local medical care — I think that only relocation would do that. Confrontation would also not change family advice — that would still come, but it would be tinged with hurt and/or admonishment.
So in lieu of a miracle cure for Baby E., of relocation, of sudden bravery on my part, of open and understanding ego-less communication, I will continue to bitch-blog. Sorry. Feel free to skip this one. Oops, I should put that up top, shouldn’t I? Too late now. Another mystery of the universe: technology.