Oh sleep. I miss you.

Every time I think we have succeeded in the battle that is sleep with Nico, she throws me another curve ball.

Recently she had started waking up in the middle of the night. Multiple times. And with lots of nervous energy. Marta and I were wrecks. I had to give a presentation in one of my classes after about three days of this and there were several moments where I just stood in front of the class in silence. I was too tired to access speech.

But then Marta, genius that she is, figured out that it was the milk that was keeping Nico up. We had been trying to slowly introduce her to milk leading up to her first birthday, but apparently she wasn’t ready for it yet. Or her stomach wasn’t ready for it. One of the possible side effects of milk for babies is waking up in the middle of the night. Another is gas. Nico suffered from both.

So we took her off the milk and in a day or two she was back to sleeping the night through. More or less (One evening we forgot our hard earned lesson and decided to see if she liked yogurt. That was another long and sleepless night).

The nice thing about discovering that milk was the culprit was that we had an identifiable culprit. As those of experienced parents know, one of the hardest things about a baby is that you really have NO IDEA what is causing them to do whatever it is they are doing. You can guess. And this time, Marta guessed right. But so often you guess and guess and guess and never figure it out.

Which brings me to the current situation. Nico has started recently to leap from her back to a stand WHENEVER we put her in her crib. She can be sound asleep in our arms and we’ll slowly lower her into her crib and, as soon as her back touches the mattress, she will roll over, get up on all fours, and then stand up and grab the bars of her crib like an inmate and wail.

So we pry her chubby little fingers off the bars and try to calm her down and then eventually we try to put her back on her back again in the crib, but as soon as we do it’s the whole thing over again. She rolls back on to all fours again and then up to a stand. Again and again and again. Until an hour or so later when she eventually gives into exhaustion and falls asleep. Which is what she just did.

This routine is, to say the least, stressful. It’s also completely bewildering considering that just a week ago we could put her down to sleep at night without any crying. She just slept. It was heavenly. And now this. It’s like trying to put a mini sumo wrestler to bed. Or a Vaselined snake.

And the worst thing is that we have no idea what the cause is. I’ve read somewhere that babies, when they start to crawl and walk, get so excited by these skills that the desire to practice keeps them up at night or wakes them up in the middle of the night. This is possible. Another possibility is that her teeth are hurting her. She’s got like a thousand new molars coming in. Or maybe she’s just pissed at the world. Who knows.

What I really want to know is: When will she sleep like a normal person? That is, when can we sleep like normal people again? I know some lucky parents out there have darling children who have been sleeping the whole night since they were four or six months old. But for those of you with less happy tales, do you have any advice? How long did it take your kids to sleep normally? Do you think we’ll survive?

On a happier note, I dressed Nico up today in my old baby clothes. Here she is hanging out on our front porch with her favorite sippy cup and Finn. I like that she kind of looks like a mini drunk.


5 thoughts on “Oh sleep. I miss you.

  1. I think you’re probably right about the reasons: teething, growing, maybe even growing “pains”. It’s probably a nice little baby molotov cocktail of these things. And I regret to inform you I have yet to find a full proof solution.

    We went through several cycles of this during the winter months. We are actually just now getting back to the oh-my-god-he-slept-through-the-night stage. We worried a lot when ours started doing the flip to all fours and clinging for Mommy thing…because we just ended up bringing him back to our bed after awhile. But, at some point, one of the adults in the house needs to get some sleep. And that adult needs to be me.

    We basically continue to experiment. Some nights we get lucky and we are able to calm him back down in his own room. But then there are some nights where he sleeps with us. I’m ok with that. Some nights we set the Kindle up with one of the Lullaby apps or a quiet movie and it works…and some nights it doesn’t.

    Worst case scenario, if he just will not go to sleep? We draw straws and somebody sleeps on the couch. We put the kid in his pack ‘n play in the living room with a movie, a bottle, and a blanket and he will kind of zone out. For some reason, if he’s up at 2am, he will at least stay quiet in the pack ‘n play. 2am in the crib in his bedroom…not so much. I hate getting the short straw, but at least one of us will get a full night’s sleep this way.

    Hope it doesn’t last too long. I definitely feel your pain.


    • Ah! It’s so nice to know that someone else has a baby who did the flip-and-stand maneuver. In fact, I think it just helps in general to know other parents are suffering, which is kind of sick now that I think about it. I’m sure there is a German word for this somewhere. Either way, thanks for sharing and I hope your little one’s sleep-through-the-night phrase lasts a long time.


  2. Afraid I can’t be of much help. Molly pretty much sleeps all the time, which is pretty amazing when you think about–maybe you can draw some useful lessons from the animal kingdom.


  3. Well, I’ll tell you that there’s a huge change around two and a half…sleep really deepens around then, and (for us) it was also the end of mid-day napping, which means someone’s toast by 7pm. We still don’t always have solid nights, but we have way more solid nights than waking-up ones.


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