Monday, December 15, 2008

Super Snuggles

I'm starting this post at 4:30 a.m.  I guess it's fair to say that "sleep training" isn't going 100% smoothly.  Mostly that's because since Zack appeared in the world, he's been a little snuggle bunny, and he prefers to sleep next to Mommy.

And really, that's what Mommy prefers, too.  I finally gave in after a couple of months of constant transferring to the bassinet.

When he sleeps in the crib, he always props up one or two legs on the side like this.  I think it's because, as you can see in the first picture, that's where his legs naturally fall when he sleeps with me.  He's trying to recreate that feeling of comfort for himself on the rail of the crib.  It's just a little heartbreaking.

I lived in Japan for a year when I was a youngster, and I taught kindergarten to Japanese kids at this English immersion school.  I got close to a lot of the parents of my kids and spent time in their homes.  I also went on overnight trips with them.  (Parents in Japan are wildly generous to teachers.)

In Japan, moms usually sleep with their kids, and I got used to the idea and thought it was a good one.  Now it seems to have caught on in the US, but we were afraid of safety issues.  So here in our place, we put the futon in Zack's room on the floor to avoid the hazards of Western beds.  Now he can't roll too far.  (And actually, he really doesn't roll--it's a developmental milestone he seems to have skipped.  He can sit up without support, he "talks" a lot, he's doing everything he should with his hands...he even has a favorite book, which is a constant source of joy and amusement for Jeff and me.  But he does not roll, at least not that we have witnessed.  I wonder if he will get into college without ever learning to roll.  I think he believes rolling is for kids who don't understand books or the simple pleasure that comes from sitting up and looking at everything.  He's definitely the child of two parents who used to hide during P.E.)

The evening ritual of putting Zack to sleep, only to have him wake up repeatedly until I join him in bed, is wearing me out.

So we tried some sleep training. We're still trying it.  Jeff and I are very torn about it.  When Zack was sick (which has been more or less for the last month), we got into this routine:  I would wake Jeff in the morning so he could come in and lie down with Zack on the futon.  Then I would get ready for work.  Zack just wants a warm body next to him, so he can sleep.  Jeff fell in love with this routine and with snuggle bunny Zack sleeping next to him.

But we think Zack should be able to settle himself.  I am reading books on this and trying to figure out what to do.

And yeah...we're getting off easy.  I don't have to bounce Zack on a yoga ball or rock him for an hour.  He just needs a little nursing and a warm mommy beside him.  It's not too demanding.  But I would like a little freedom.  Come on.  A little.  I'm also slightly worried that nursing at night will wreck his new teeth, and I can't seem to find a consistent opinion about this.  Bottles are bad, but nursing...not so much.  Maybe.  Anyway, we're trying to break him of the habit of nursing to sleep, so I can watch some TV with Jeff at night.

By the way, Zack can play by himself for almost an hour.  He's wonderfully independent during the day.  He just doesn't really like sleeping alone.


Anonymous said...

Oh, heartbreaking indeed...I love your stories about Zack and they will be cherished keepsakes when he is older...He'll get the hang of sleeping alone soon and by the way, Cross/Jones grandchildren, for the most part, do not roll over early! Defintiely into more cerebral things! :-)
Love, Nana

Mamma Marion said...

One day we will all miss these simple days when getting our kids to sleep was our hardest task as a parent.