The Bebefiles: A change of tactics
So we managed to stick to sleep training for ten nights- ten nights of screaming and then collapsing out of exhaustion, and as Khalid screamed and bounced for 2 1/2 hours last night, I had to admit that his sleep time wasn't improving. Supposedly, letting the kid cry it out is the fastest method- and results take 3-5 days, tops. Ten days in, and Khalid miserable and cranky all day, and HF and I both rapidly losing hope, we have changed our approach.
I'm not sure what we've changed it to
though. All I know is that this morning at 6 am, as I was quietly eating cereal in the kitchen to make up for no dinner last night, Waleed brought me Khalid. I was confused. I did a double-take. Then I scooped my poor, miserable, puffy-eyed, pink faced bebe up and put him, not in his crib, but to sleep. And he went to sleep and woke up happy at ten am. Today, Khalid is himself for the first time in such a long time. He's exploring, he's giggling, he's chasing and being chased around the house- compare this to how he'd been lately- stressed out, tired, and miserable unless actively distracted. Today is a vast improvement.
Have we thrown in the towel? I don't think so. But I know I cried all over it last night (as well as HF) and used it to wipe my nose a few times. This morning, I took down the curtain I'd put up around Khalid's crib so he could learn to sleep 'on his own.' Tonight, well, I'm not sure what I'm going to do tonight. We have options.
What I would like to do is remove the absolute terror that Khalid now perceives his crib with before I try to teach him to sleep in it again. I know from experience that this involves taking one of the sides off and pushing it against our bed so that even though he's sleeping in his crib, he's got me next to him. Then, after a week or so, I can start putting him in the crib after he's already fallen asleep. Right now, even taking him in the vicinity of his crib sends him in to a panic, and I've tried before to put him in it (asleep) before
getting him used to it, and the result is not unlike an instantly awake, very afraid, and desperately clingy 35-pound barnacle.
That's what I would like to do, and I think I will. A different option is to put Khalid in his crib at bedtime, and then sit beside it (without making eye-contact, without speaking to him or soothing him in any way) while he fusses it out, still unhappy, but at least slightly reassured because he hasn't been left alone. I'm sure that may be effective on its own, but following the ten nights of terror, I think simply me being there won't be enough to help him calm down and sleep. His crib is a source of serious stress for him, and on top of that, he's developed separation anxiety to the point where he panics if I leave his sight. He thinks he's going to be left alone again.
Yes, I feel guilty enough to keel over and die. Yes, someone shoot me now.
I know he needs to be sleep-trained, and I know that it'll be hard work no matter what we try. I just pray we're doing it the right way and we're not traumatizing the poor barnacle.
Please remember us in your duas. Tonight is yet another night, let's see what comes, InshaAllah.
The Bebefiles: Stubborness, Thy Name is Khalid
So it seems like a quarterly tradition- ever so often we try to sleep-train Khalid again. My Bebeface, who is now 21 months old, will still insist on being rocked to sleep and then wake every two hours in the night, which is a behavior more appropriate for a newborn than a toddler. Previous attempts at sleep training (from the Ferber method to the Sleepeasy Solution) have all gone bust- instead of Khalid learning to soothe himself to sleep, he cries longer, harder, and sometimes to the point where he throws up.
The difference between the Ferber method (throw kid in crib, walk away, don't look back, go eat a carton of icecream) and the Sleepeasy Solution is that w/Ferber, the kid's on his own. With Sleepeasy, you go back in and check on the kid at regular and increasing intervals. Unless, that is, showing your face to the kid doesn't calm him so much as it gives him a reason to go up three decibels for another twenty minutes. We've tried the Sleepeasy solution twice, and two days before Eid, we went back to Ferber.
Lo and Behold, Khalid is putting himself to sleep, but not in the way he's supposed to. Case in point:
Day One: Khalid cries for two hours and 45 minutes. Both he and his Momma wake up the next morning looking traumatized and ready to call it quits, except his Momma is hackingly sick, six months pregnant and woefully incapable of waking up and rocking him every two hours. So we decide we're going to stick with it and go for...
Day Two: Khalid cries for one hour and then passes out. There is much rejoicing. He wakes up at 8:30 in the morning, still looking traumatized and cranky, but there is progress, so we carry forward.
Day Three: Khalid cries for one minute, but here's the catch- he stands, bouncing silently in his crib, for two hours
before falling asleep standing up and eventually collapsing out of exhaustion. To which his stressed-out, guilt-ridden, and still pretty darn sick Momma goes What the ?!
They do not say ANYTHING about your kid bouncing for two hours continuously, or finally falling asleep with his head hanging over the edge of the crib, and then slumping down and waking up eight hours later looking miserable. Last night was night six, and he's done the bounce & collapse two hours later routine every night, except last night, he regressed a bit and cried for an hour and a half first. Where my rule is that I will NOT pick him back up once I've put him in his crib for the night, his is that he will NOT voluntarily lay down, no matter what. I have laid in bed watching him sleep standing up, he periodically wakes as he begins to slip, whines a bit, readjusts his standing position and then goes back to sleep.
HF, who watched him yesterday night as well, crawled into bed after Khalid had collapsed to sleep and whispered to me, "I feel so sad..." I nearly broke out in tears, because up until that point, I had been relying on HF to be my extra source of courage and determination. To know that he felt as miserable about Khalid's stress as I did was hard to hear, because I was hoping that I felt horrible because I was Khalid's Momma and a big fat softie and that I was biologically programed to feel like crying myself whenever he went off. To hear that HF, who has no such biological programming, felt badly too meant that Khalid was genuinely pathetic and darn-near tragic, and it wasn't just me. If Khalid hadn't already been asleep by that point, I would have thrown in the towel and called it quits for sleep training until he was in his teens.
Last night, as I said before, Khalid cried for an hour and a half, and I stayed in the room with him until he finally quited down and eventually passed out. It was an incredibly stressful night, we put him in his crib at 8:40 and he finally slept at 11. This morning he woke up at 8:30 as usual. Where is he now? Sitting in my lap and periodically swiping at the keyboard. A few minutes ago, he was making faces at himself in the bedroom mirror. Before that, he was vacuuming the floor for me (as well as the bed and the top of the dresser, good help is so hard to find!). He's fine. He gets stressed out when he knows that bedtime is coming, but that's to be expected I guess. Until he realizes that all he has to do is lay the heck down, bedtime is pretty stressful for him too.
We're going to keep with it though, because leaving Khalid to figure it out on his own seems to be easier on him than checking up on him. When I checked up on him, he screamed continuously until he passed out. When we let him think he's by himself (I put a curtain up around his crib and I sit wringing my hands behind it) he quiets down and then just bounces. I don't know whether he's bouncing because he's bored or whether that's how he's putting himself to sleep. He'll learn though InshaAllah. He has to learn. As stubborn as he is, he can't keep this up forever, and as much as I love my Bebeface, we have another one coming very soon, and I am only one Momma, with one lap and only one rechargeable battery.
Please make dua, that God, in His Infinite Mercy and Kindness, teach my crazy son how to lay down and go to sleep, and that he give us both health and patience and strength, Insha'Allah.
AssalamuAlaikum and Eid Mubarak everypeoples. Whateverypeoples still read my blog anyway -koff-. I have laryngitis. And an upper respiratory infection. Interested parties may email for a free sample, and I will attach a sample of my germs. Cuz that's all I got. And don't say I never gave ye nuttin..
Please remember us in your duas. Still craptastically sick.
Turns out my flu is a respiratory infection, and I'm still hacking and coughing and shuffling through the day, but now with antibiotics. Khalid has picked up a snotty nose and fever and fantastic levels of crankiness to go along with his not feeling well. Please make dua, we need it!
A long overdue blog: Intoducing the Mystery Bean!
Come this March InshaAllah, Khalid will be turning two years old. Scheduled to arrive on the exact date of his birth is what will either be:
The best birthday present ever
birthday present ever
Khalid doesn't know it yet, but he's expecting a baby brother or sister. Alhamdulillah. :) We don't know what it is yet, apart from shy. I'm 25 weeks along (that's out of 40 max, and 37 is considered full term, just in case you were wondering)
and growing increasingly frustrated by this kid's refusal to give up the secret of his/her gender. Khalid was a boy-flavored jellybean. This one's a Mystery Bean.
People keep insisting that we actually know but are refusing to tell anyone, which is a bizarre accusation considering that when we found out with Khalid, we told the entire world what we were expecting and what his name was, months before he was born. Also, Baby Shop and Mothercare just had National Day sales, and I couldn't buy anything gender specific because I don't know any specific gender! We've gone twice to find out the baby's gender, and the first time he/she wouldn't stop kicking, and the second time he/she was facing the wrong way with legs crossed. If this goes on much longer I'm going to rush out and buy tons of frilly pink things and if Mystery Bean turns out to be a boy, he'll have to wear them anyway because it's his fault for being so difficult.
One woman I know, who says she correctly guessed the genders of all three of her children based on what type of clothes she felt like buying, insisted that if I thought about it hard enough I would know. "All you have to do is feel
it," she said, "What does this baby feel
I shifted around a bit and told her it felt like a backache, which is the truest thing I can say. With Khalid, being pregnant was a time of anticipation and excitement. With Mystery Bean, pregnancy is a time of chasing Khalid, taking the inedible/dangerous object out of his mouth and then trying to get back to work before he finds something else to taste/gnaw/take apart and eat.
Also, because I don't know the baby's gender and therefore don't have a name for it, I find myself referring to him/her as... It. Which is weird. I don't feel connected to this child the way I did to Khalid, and I'm really hoping we're able to find the gender out at the next visit so I can pick the backache out a name, an imaginary face, and some frilly pink rompers the next time I go shopping. :p
For variety's sake, we're hoping it's a girl. HF is preemptively referring to this baby as a she, and I keep cautioning him that if he gets his heart set on a girl-bean when we're actually having another little boy, he's going to give Son Number 2 an identity crisis. I mean, it'll be bad enough that he's wearing pink dresses, the least his father can do is refer to him by the right gender, sheesh! :p
Please remember us in your duas, I'm still struggling through the flu and need all the help I can get.
Peace & Chikken Grease!
-Abez & Co.
Labels: Mystery Bean Chronicles
Down but not out
Ok, maybe a little out. Have the flu. A mighty flu. A mighty snotty flu.
Will update when can, InshaAllah.
-falls out of blogger-