I told my husband I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown this morning. I feel like I’m standing in the ocean and have been hit by a huge wave… and before I can catch my breath, the next wave crashes over me. I’m being pounded into the sand and slowly drowning. Exhaustion will make you feel that way. I need some sleep. I am tired. So fucking tired, and I know he is too.
Jack is nine months old… he should be sleeping through the night by now. Ben started sleeping through the night at eight weeks. This one? Up every 2-3 hours still. It’s ridiculous. I had a hard core sleep training technique with Ben. I don’t know why I thought I was so “busy” with only one kid, because looking back on it, I actually had the time to research these sort of things. After pouring through article upon article about the best way to get your kid to sleep, we choose to let him cry it out. Not everyone is a fan of this technique, but for us, it worked.
It was hard, and most nights I would stand outside his room and cry with him, but we stuck to it. My husband probably thought (actually he still thinks for various reasons) that I’m crazy, but I would keep my eye on the little green clock on our stove and we would listen to him scream. I’d whisper “Four more minutes, and we can go in… we are training him… we just have to make it four more minutes.” Do you know HOW LONG four minutes feels like when your baby is screaming bloody murder?
“OMG, he’s choking. Is he choking? I can’t tell. Wait, he stopped crying. Is he breathing? I can’t hear him. OK, he’s crying again, phew, he’s alive. Crap, he’s crying so hard, he is choking. I cannot.listen.to.anymore.crying. Please God, someone stop the crying. He’s choking again. Little man, please stop choking. Shit, my baby is going to die and I’m going to be responsible because I was selfish enough to want to get some sleep.”
It felt like a freaking eternity and I would stand there and let the guilt wash over me… were we doing the right thing? It was torture. I’d stand there, unable to move, watching the clock and thinking about how awful of a mother I was. Of course, since we were first time parents, I also figured there was a high possibility that letting him cry would somehow cause him to go into shock or something, resulting in death. I swear, everything we did in those first few months I assumed would lead to death. I worried the bath water was too hot, that the car seat straps were too tight… or maybe they weren’t tight enough… to say we were a little high strung is an understatement.
The thing is, all of the nighttime crying paid off. Within the week, my baby was sleeping 12 hours straight. He had a strict routine and was in bed by 6pm and we wouldn’t hear a peep until 6am the next day… sometimes even 6:30am if we were lucky.
I don’t have the luxury of letting Jack cry it out. Every time we’ve tried it, Ben wakes up, and then I’d be stuck with two babies awake. I decided to give it some time and hope that he would just start sleeping better on his own… nine months later, not much has improved. Which leads me to this morning, as I hopelessly looked at my husband with tired eyes. I can only hope that tonight will be better…. please child, stay asleep.