Tuesday, April 21, 2009

If Baby Ain't Happy...

So I know the original saying goes, "If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy," but most of us mothers would agree that when the kids are happy, especially the babies, life is much easier. Unfortunately, my 15 month old has a problem sleeping through the night that keeps both my husband and I tired and grumpy. The other night, around 3:30 am, our little cherub woke up and started calling for dad. Yes, he calls for dad which puts a little smile on my face as I nudge my husband and say, "honey, the baby wants you." Like a trooper, my honey gets up to change and feed the baby (yes, I know that he is 15 months old and definitely doesn't need a bottle in the middle of the night, but it gets him back to sleep and really at 3 am that is all that matters). Much to my dismay however, I heard my husband fumbling around in the dresser which meant that the baby had wet through his jammies. I nicely got up and offered an assist by changing the crib sheets and finding clean pjs (which were not actually in the dresser, but downstairs and in one of about 5 laundry baskets that I had to fumble through in the dark because I never ever get to actually putting away the laundry). After both collapsing in bed 30 minutes later, baby sleeping soundly, now 4 am, neither of us could fall asleep. While I lay there, tossing and turning, thinking about all the things I had to do tomorrow (uh, um - today), my husband went downstairs to watch a little TV. I must have eventually fallen asleep because I was actually startled when my alarm went off at that the insane hour of 5 am. And so my day began and I actually made it through.

Knowing what to do with your baby as he turns into a toddler is a daunting task. This is my second so it should in theory be easy. However, my first is now almost 9 years old and I am starting to realize that as terrible as it sounds, I don't really remember the milestones a good mother is suppose to memorize. I know about when he gave up breastfeeding, the age he was potty trained and when he started to walk. But I don't know the actual dates and honestly have no idea what his first word was (unless you count Hoot Hoot). So as we move into this new phase of my youngest's life, I have been consulting websites, books, and of course, other moms.

The sleeping through the night one is hard. I know why he wakes up, because his diaper is so wet it soaks through his clothes and makes him cold and wet. And I know why he is so soaked, because he downs 8 ounces from his bottle right before he goes to sleep. The hard part is getting rid of the bottle. So I have done all my research to see how to "ca bosh" the bottle habit. Most things I have read talk about introducing the sippy cup - yeah done that. All day long he drinks juice (yes I know, any good mother knows that juice is the devil - but again it keeps him happy so I am all for it) out of his cup and even through a straw, which I have been told is very advanced. Its not that he has to have a bottle all the time, just at bedtime. We have even tried giving him half a bottle, but the battle that ensues almost always gets me to bust out the other half. So what is a girl to do?

I have read to replace it with water and that since what is in the bottle is undesirable, he will eventually stop asking for it. Yeah right! Two sips of that bad boy and the protest again starts that could rival the best temper tantrums out there. I guess it goes back to the age old question of just letting him cry it out or not. Unfortunately, my kid is the one who will bang on the wall until you come back, turn the lights on and off so that someone outside might think we are trying to send an SOS, and cry so hard he throws up. He will not lay down or even sit down, he will stay standing in his crib for hours if we let him and the last time I checked its pretty tricky to fall asleep standing up.

My new theory was that if I started giving him just one ounce less a night for a couple weeks we would have him down to a manageable amount that wouldn't induce "peeing like a racehorse" every night. So I started off 3 nights ago with 7 ounces and miracle of miracle, he did in fact sleep through the night. He was still wet when he woke up, but somehow that wasn't until 6 am. And as luck would have it, he has followed suit for the last two nights as well. Now do I think one ounce was the magic number - hell no! I am not that good. But whatever has happened, happened just in time to save our sanity and give us a little rest so that when the old patterns revert, as they always do, we can handle it just a little bit better. Sometimes the mysteries of parenthood work in our favor and when they do - do not ask why or how, just enjoy it!

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