Friday, September 10, 2010

Go to Sleepy, Little Baby

For the most part, Ryan has always been a good sleeper. He slept through the night at 10 weeks and never looked back. He goes to bed at 8 or 8:30pm and doesn’t yell for us to come get him until 8:30 or 9am. (He does wake up considerably earlier, but he’s usually happy to play in his crib and sometimes even goes back to sleep for a while.) But every now and then he has a restless night, and last night was one of those nights.

He went to bed at his usual time, playing in the tub then falling asleep as soon as he finished his bottle. I was watching his crib on the monitor and he was completely out cold when Herb tucked him in. So I was very surprised a few hours later when I checked on him as I was getting ready for bed, and I found him restlessly rolling around the crib (although apparently still asleep). I tucked the blanket around him again and rubbed his back for a bit until he relaxed, but after I’d been in bed for a little while I heard him talking to himself, and then he started crying. I let him be for a while, since he’s usually good about calming himself down and going back to sleep on his own, but when he seemed to be getting more worked up instead of quieter, I went to check on him.

As soon as I came in the room, he stood up and reached out for me. I saw that he’d kicked off his blankets again and his legs felt a little cool, so I settled him in my lap and wrapped the warm blanket around him. I offered him the bottle I’d brought, but he wasn’t particularly interested. He was very content to just snuggle in my lap and rock. That’s kind of unusual, because most of the time when he has trouble sleeping and I go in, he just wants to get up and play! I thought that maybe he’d had a bad dream and would fall right back asleep. So I snuggled him close, sang him a few lullabies, and laid my cheek against his soft head. He got very quiet and relaxed, and I thought he might have fallen back to sleep so I peeked at his face and was surprised to see a pair of very wide-awake eyes gazing back at me! So I kept on rocking and singing, and soon a warm little hand was patting mine and another warm little hand was reaching up to pat my hair. He began humming quietly to himself, which is usually a sign that he’s drifting off, and I figured that in a few more minutes he’d be out cold again.

No such luck. Instead of slowly drifting to sleep, he seemed to be slowly coming back to life. The soft patting on my hand became a playful smacking, the patting of my hair became a teasing tug, and the humming became a mischievous chortle. Before I knew it, the calm bundle in my lap was squirming around, trying to climb over the back of the chair, reach over to the closet doors, and clamber down to the floor. I frustrated all those intentions by standing up and swaying, and I turned on the lullaby CD. I started to lay him in the crib, even though he was still awake, and not surprisingly I got an immediate bawl of protest. But I tucked in his fleecy blankets, gave him a few of his rags to cuddle, and rubbed his back while I sang along with the CD.

And then I used those sneaky moves that have been used by mothers immemorial. I kept singing and stayed next to the crib, but I stopped rubbing his back. Then I stopped singing, but I stayed next to the crib. And finally, I slipped silently out the door. He was still awake, but drowsy enough that he didn’t notice when I left. I slid back under the covers of my own bed without even taking off my bathrobe, figuring I’d probably be up again shortly. But no more wails were forthcoming, and eventually I relaxed and drifted back to sleep myself.

I figured that with that big “sleep gap”, he might sleep a little later this morning. Ha! Not a chance. He was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed bright and early, and didn’t even go down for a nap as early as he sometimes does. So I guess his insomnia was a lot tougher on Mom than it was on him. But I’m not complaining. Any time I get to sit and snuggle with my little boy is time well spent.

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