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Please, Mr. Sandman

After burning this morning's bacon and throwing a plate and fork into the trash instead of the sink, I realized that I'm a little tired. Okay, maybe a lot tired and it's all my fault.

Since the beginning of my motherhood journey, I've been a rigid nap and nighttime Nazi with the kids. I do baths, Good Night Moon, tooth-brushing clincs, and group prayer. My naptime and bedtime routines have worked with all of my kids...well, until I got to number five.

I've known many youngest children and I've seen how they operate. I am from a family of three, and as the oldest, I watched in horror as my youngest sister got away with talking to my parents in a way that would have gotten me hospitalized. I swore that I wouldn't relinquish my reign to any of my children — oldest, youngest, there'd be no difference. I'm glad I only made that declaration to myself because the verdict is out: I'm officially a wuss. I've surrendered my reign, and it's all because of that little BBB (bighead, big-cheeked baby).

bbb

I'm not sure when my resolution started to crack. Maybe it started early, like before we even brought him home from the hospital. He had jaundice and had to stay in the hospital for a week after delivery. I would watch him under those lights, strapped into that jacket and just want to hold him so bad. I nursed him and almost immediately had to put him back under the bilirubin lights.

Once we got home, the big kids (we call anyone who's not a baby a big kid) just loved him and did everything for him. Now that he's 2, the admiration has not faded. He's taken favorite toys and tried to stuff them down the toilet — poor battery-operated Care Bear will never fully recover, but my 4-year-old simply said, "Mommy, it's okay. I didn't like it anyway." He's thrown blocks at his 6-year-old brother, and after my 6-year-old finished crying, he said, "Mommy, he was just playing. Don't punish the baby."

But worst of all, my sweet, little, cute baby has the worst sleeping habits of any child I've known.

Given the fact that we homeschool, our schedule is pretty rigid and consistent. We wake up, eat breakfast, get dressed, do a few chores and head off to school. This schedule worked for our family for years — until the little baby came along. He didn't like to sleep in the basinet, so we moved him to the crib. We tried bathing, singing, dancing, reading, music, sounds of waves — but if he didn't want to go to sleep, he wouldn't. He would cry so much that he would have a bowel movement, which forced me to change him, and then he would cling to me until he fell asleep in my arms. I loved looking at his big-cheeked face and feeling his warm baby breath on my neck. I tried to lay him down, but then the sheets aren't the same as my arms and...you guessed it, I laid him down in the bed with me.

cowboy

These days, I try to lay him down for nap at the same time as my 4-year-old, but since his nighttime sleeping is erratic, his daytime sleeping is equally unpredictable. He gets sleepy at the oddest times. Yesterday, he woke up at 5: 30 a.m. and wouldn't go back to sleep (all the others fell asleep after a couple of rounds of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star"). After breakfast, he fell asleep in the high chair and didn't wake up again until 12 noon. Now, when I should be working more intensely with the other children as the little people sleep, I'm making sure he's not throwing the laundry hamper down the stairs again.

The challenges that I'm having with the little baby are affecting more than just homeschooling. My energy level is zapped due to fatigue, so housekeeping has gone to pot, and can I talk about my romantic life? Oh, this is a family blog, but let me just say, it's rated lower than G.... It's a D for Dismal, Disappointing, Downright Despicable.

I wish I could take total blame, but everyone has played a part, including my husband. When I was trying the cry-it-out method, my husband would rock the baby to sleep, fall asleep before him and lay him down right in our bed. We thought this would change as he's gotten older, but it hasn't. I'm back to reading the articles, talking to the pediatrician and praying not just to God, but to another familiar soul:

Mr. Sandman, could you please let the baby sleep, like normal, like according to our schedule, so that I can function in my responsibilities, and can you can get rid of the bags under my eyes, too? Thanks. Good Night.

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