Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Noah's Sleeping Adventures

Sometimes I feel as though I'm on a bad reality television show.  Perhaps it is "Sleep Deprivation Island" or "When Children Won't Sleep!"  Whatever the name, I'm ready to get voted off the island.

Back when Sam had trouble sleeping and going to sleep and staying to sleep, Joy and I had several excuses - Sam had been in the NICU, Sam had reflux, Sam hit his head on a giant falling mirror.  Whatever the reason, it was not us.  Now that Noah has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, we must confront the idea that we create children who won't sleep.

I should qualify that statement - we create children who won't sleep for their mother.  For the longest time, Noah, our mellow child, easily fell asleep.  Joy would nurse him, they'd smile at each other, and Joy would read while Noah drifted to sleep.  Over the past year, that idyllic picture of maternity has steadily tarnished until Noah refuses to go to sleep for Joy.  On the weekends, I put Noah down for his nap, and he is asleep in ten minutes.   In the evening, I snuggle with him for ten to fifteen minutes, put him in his crib, rub his back, and he drops on off to sleep.  When we have babysitters, he lays down in his crib, snuggles down under his blankets, and goes to sleep.  When Joy tries to put him down for nap, he flounces, struggles, makes requests, and fights sleep for two hours.  In frustration, Joy spent the last month driving Noah around at nap time for thirty minutes to an hour just to get him to sleep.  Yes, our child is a major source of global warming.

At night, Noah has developed a pattern where he will call for the parent who will help him do what he wants.  For instance, when Noah wakes up at 3:00 in the morning, he's still tired and wants to go back to sleep.  So I hear his little voice intruding in my dreams calling "Dada.  Dada!  DADA!"  I go in to him, pick him up for comfort, he falls back asleep, and I return to bed.  When Noah wakes up at 6:00 or 6:30, he calls out "Mama!"  The difference in who he calls out for is clear in what he always says when Joy arrives in his bedroom: "Want to watch someting on T.E!"  When he's ready to get up and play, he wants Mom.  When he just wants to sleep, he wants Dad.

We have hope in Sam.  He now goes to his room and reads after his bath and comes down a little while later asking for a story and a snuggle.  One of us obliges, and Sam goes on to sleep.  Here's hoping that day comes soon for Noah.

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