Dear Tiny Person,
You have recently decided that sleeping at night is not necessary. You’re tired – oh so tired – and you rub at your red rimmed and bleary little eyes but you refuse to sleep. We’ve been struggling with sleep for awhile now. We have a routine – bath, nurse, sleep – and you know it. You know when it’s bathtime and you know that milkies come after bath. You have forgotten that bedtime comes after milkies.
Even before you moved up to your crib you had the habit of going to sleep easily but waking up within an hour almost every night. Most nights you were easy to get back down and stayed asleep for 6-7 hours. Then you’d nurse and go back to sleep with me for another hour or two. Once we moved you up to your crib and unswaddled you (as you would wiggle out of the swaddle and then roll over) we’ve had trouble with bedtime. You used to fall asleep nursing, I’d put you in bed, you’d wake up about a hour later and need to be patted or sometimes bounced but the you’d go back to bed for the night. For a few days I could put you down in your crib, pat you a little, and walk away. Several nights you slept through the night without ever requiring us to come comfort you.
Now being put in your crib is akin to torture. You scream and cry and arch your back. You won’t settle and you won’t sleep. I can’t just let you cry. I’ve tried. It hurts my heart and tears at me. It makes me sad and it doesn’t help you. So we pat and sing and bounce and rock and nurse. Sometimes all at once. You need comfort. You need us to be close to you. And I’m ok with that. Yes, it’s frustrating when you won’t sleep. It’s exhausting having to get up multiple times in the middle of the night to comfort you. We’re so lucky to have your Auntie living with us to take some of the nights. You’re a good baby but a bad sleeper. You take short inconsistent naps. You much prefer to do your sleeping on us. I’m sure some people will say that is our fault. That we made that happen. And maybe that’s true. But when you are bereft of your child’s presence for the first 6 weeks of their life you hold on a little tighter. You cuddle a little longer. You indulge your tiny baby who you didn’t get to hold enough at the beginning. You soothe and comfort whenever you can because you weren’t always there to do that. And if your sweet baby wants to sleep on your chest you let them. Because your sweet one went to bed every night without you there to cling to when sleep wouldn’t come.
So we’ll keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll keep to our routine. Instead of getting frustrated we’ll sing and pat and soothe. And when your little head pops up just when we think you are asleep and your face breaks into a big smile when you turn to look at us, well, we’ll cherish every second. Because one day you won’t need us at night. One day you won’t want us to cuddle and kiss you and sing to you. But right now you do. So forgive us if sometimes we sound frustrated. It’s hard not knowing what you want or need. Sometimes we just have to keep guessing, patting, and singing.