Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning

I think Little Bit knows that something is up. He knows that mommy's big belly is good for resting his head upon and that if someone says "baby" that's a cue to lift mommy's shirt and either slobber kiss or pound upon her belly. I'm trying to figure out what he knows versus what he understands.

And no, I don't think he understands just how life around here is going to change so dramatically, but I swear it's like he senses--like the smart little booger he is, NTB--that his days as the baby of the clan are numbered and is thus hellbent on getting as much attention and affection as possible . . . at least that's my explanation for his new tendency to cling, whine, beg to be picked up, and drive us mad at night.

I feel for him, I really do. It must be scary to see your mom's belly swell, odd to notice her grunt and sigh each time she has to bend over or stand up, annoying to have to wiggle around a big blob to get comfortable while she rocks you to sleep, and frustrating that she is too tired to play as much as you would like.

I'm doing the best I can, trying to give Little Bit as much love and attention and assurance as I can, especially in the hours we spend together while Bub is at school.

But it is dang hard when I am tired, not just from being pregnant but from having Little Bit spend hours every night standing in his crib and whining, "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama . . . " over and over and over again.

"Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama . . ." Hours and hours.

Hubby and I are at a loss. We take turns rocking him, and he soothes pretty easily and falls right asleep. The moment we put him back down in his bed though it's back to "Mama, Mama, Mama . . ." So then we'll bring him into bed with us. It doesn't take him long to locate a position that is comfortable for him but oppressive for one of us and he's snoring. If we try to move him back to his crib (once he starts kicking or one of us is about to fall out of bed), it's back to "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama . . ."

If we're fairly confident our kids are not wet, dirty, hungry, or in pain, hubby and I don't have a problem with letting them figure it out. If we've done all we can and know one of our kids is truly tired, we'll let them work it out, cry it out even. And the crying never lasts all that long.

But "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama . . ." can seemingly last all night.

And there is something about pleas of "Mama, Mama, Mama, Mama . . ." that is difficult to ignore. And so, we've just been alternating with the rocking and the co-sleeping and the sitting downstairs on the couch with Little Bit asleep on dad's shoulder.

And we're tired and our backs are sore. And we're trying not to think about what we'll do if this kind of behavior continues a month from now when there's also a baby waking every couple of hours.

Does anyone have some wisdom to offer here? Advice? Miracle cures? Words of comfort? Any similar stories of toddlers acting oddly in conjunction with the imminent arrival of a new baby?

Please share if you do. I'd love a good night's sleep so I can be fresh for Little Bit, in so many ways still my baby, in the morning.


Stacia said...

Slip him some Baby Tylenol? (No, just kidding.) Is he starting to be afraid of he dark? Could he be teething? Is he too cold? It's so hard when they can't quite articulate what's wrong, when they're very much "still your baby."

LAP said...

My perfectly healthy children (5, 3, and 14 mo)were all up at various points last night so I don't feel qualified to give you any advice whatsoever.

I am a big believer that kids can sense change even when they don't quite understand it, so perhaps that is the case with Little Bit. I also cling very closely to the motto that no stage lasts forever, good or bad, so I wouldn't spend time worrying that he will still be night waking when Sweet P arrives.

Anonymous said...

LAP is correct, good or bad, nothing lasts forever. It just seems like it when you are sleep deprived. Of course babies are intuitive. He surely senses change and like all of us the uncertainty of change makes us uncomfortable. He will understand when Sweet P arrives that he is, in fact, still loved beyond measure and things will settle again. In the meantime, treat yourself and sleep any chance you get. m

Heather said...

Isabel was my worst sleeper ever. Until the age of four, when she started preschool, and loved it. I could use that as a bribe, as in, "If you can't sleep in your own bed all night like a big girl, then you can't go to school like a big girl", and it worked.

When she was little, though, I almost lost all of hair from pulling it out every stinking night. She would whine, "But I just wanna BEEEEE with you" do you say no to that?

Now that she's ten, and I have since gotten many full nights' sleep, I can see that awful stage didn't last forever. But when you're in the midst of it, it seems endless.

Praying for you that when the baby comes and life settles down, the little guy will, too. Life eventually WILL settle down...

CaraBee said...

I wish I had advice for you. Sophie was the WORST sleeper. And while she's sleeping through the night these days, she's up at 5am, which is still nighttime in my opinion. I don't know what to do about it.

Here's hoping that when the new bundle of joy arrives that things will get better.

dusty earth mother said...

Oh, you poor thing! I have no words of wisdom, just a heartfelt "Oh, you poor thing!"

Sharon Byrne said...

None of mine slept completely through the night until they were 4,2 and 1 reapectively. The little ones are only 11 months apart so they were constantly waking each other (and everyone else) up. I slept ANYWHERE they wanted to. The best thing I did for a while was a twin mattress on the floor so one could climb in with me if they wanted to- and switching the middle Monkey from a crib to a toddler bed (at 18 months). She was just ready for it and hated her crib and was ready not to be a "baby" in some ways with the "real baby" there.

E... said...

DId you steal this post out of my brain? Thanks for saving me the trouble of actually composing thoughts about how ridiculous it is to try to figure out sleep disturbances, at ALL the ages. N. has been boycotting her own bed a lot, and I have no answers except to tell you that we cave and let her in our bed almost everytime, even though we do not think it's a good idea. O. doesn't do it nearly as much anymore, so I'm hoping we can just wait it out. But man, it is exhausting.

cake said...

what a drag for you and hubby, but nice that he takes his turn dealing with little bit.

we have always had a full-sized bed for cosmo (a futon on the floor), so that if bringing him into our bed becomes uncomfortable, one of us can just go into his bed. if it is me, cosmo usually follows, but two in a bed is usually more comfortable than three. also, we have never had cosmo in a crib, so, it is easy for him to come and go.

i agree with others that this is a phase, however unpleasant, and that it will pass...soon?

Anonymous said...

All I can say is that I feel your pain! And, having been there, I really do feel sorry for you. I feel tired just thinking about the days when my 20 month old child was still not sleeping through the night and I had an infant that wasn't either. I just kept going from room to room. We eventually resorted to putting a baby gate up so that the toddler could not get out of his room, but the screaming was persistent and torturous. Of course it's temporary, but that makes it no less difficult when trying to be "the perfect mom" (or even close) during the day. Hang in there and know that you're not alone, whatever solace that may bring you. Rita

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