I just left my daughter’s bedroom for the third time, creeping across her carpet and the four foot expanse of creaking hardwood right in front of her door. Her night time music mostly masked my exit, and besides, her tummy is full of milk and she has not one but three pacifiers orbiting her head like she’s some mad little planet. She is out.
But I feel relatively confident that I’ll be back in about four hours.
The sleep drama in this house is such that dear friends are sending me blogs to bolster my strength – because I’m certainly not getting the requisite seven hours a night that would make their efforts unnecessary. I decided months ago that I couldn’t let her cry, and I’ve stuck by that decision, even though it is really, really, really hard. I’ve read a lot about more gentle methods of helping her get through the night alone, I’ve kept logs of what she eats, how long she naps, when she wakes, why she wakes. I’ve tried taking the pacifier away. I’ve tried giving it back. I’ve tried not nursing her at night. I’ve tried nursing her as much as she wants. I’ve given her big, healthy dinners and calm, sensory baths.
And nothing works.
The more I stress about her sleep, the less I actually get when she does. And if there’s anything I’ve learned from everything I’ve read, it’s that night waking is normal. It’s just unbearably difficult, some days, for mom and dad. That’s normal, too. The fact of the matter is there are so many extenuating circumstances that affect her sleep that it’s crippling to try and keep track. And frankly, it could be much worse. Most nights, she puts herself to sleep just fine, and most nights, she’s only up twice. Most days, she takes a nap. Most days, it’s long enough.
But some days, she won’t. She doesn’t. She can’t. I cry. She cries, too.
So I tell myself this: I will continue to do the best I can in making her bed a safe, comfortable place. I will endeavor to respect her nap time, even if it conflicts with my desire to take her to the zoo or go shopping. I will remember that this is just a moment in time, and in five years, there probably won’t be anything I wouldn’t do to have just one more day with Miss E as she is now, night waking and all.