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Maybe, Baby, It’s Me


My son, Alex turns 10 months next week. In these past 10 months, despite my praying, hoping, magical thinking, and even bribery (c’mon baby, don’t you want a Mercedes?), we have made almost zero progress in the whole sleeping realm.

I’ve bought any number of sleep books (but have drawn the line at actually finding anything remotely useful in them, although they do make nice coasters), cried, thrown myself around hysterically in an effort to “get attention,” punched several holes in various walls (frustration, not crappy botched remodeling job), and traded nights with The Daver.

I’ve rocked until my feet felt like lead, I’ve nursed until my nipples blanched, I’ve driven around aimlessly with baby in tow until the road looks blurry, I’ve bounced him in his bouncy seat until my hands cramped. I’ve bought such crib gadgets such as a rain forest soother, a fancy mobile, we tried this vibrating thingy that you put under the mattress, all to no avail.

I’ve googled “sleep regression” and “sleep problems” until my fingers turned blue, and have learned that in order to have a “sleep regression” one has to have been sleeping well to begin with.


I caught myself recently actually thinking about buying this, at $250 it seemed like a bargain, and it was a combination of this ridiculous potential purchase and the fact that Alex decided that 1:30 A.M. last night was a jolly good time to GET UP FOR THE FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT MOTHER HUMPING DAY.

I spent over an hour trying to get him back to sleep (it didn’t work), and when I realized that I was physically seething with anger at my teeny (but fat) dictator, I marched downstairs and informed The Daver that I was so incredibly angry that I didn’t want to SEE the baby again, no matter what, for a long time. That I wanted to FORGET that I had a second son for a night, and should he try to rouse me to help him with the baby, that he would be very, very sorry. To the tune of a set of lost testicles (but whose would go? THAT WAS THE QUESTION!).

When Alex was younger, I tried to let him Cry It Out, as I had with poor Ben, who was born not knowing that his days were not, in fact, nights. That one got old fast enough, and Ben caught on fast enough that he became a great sleeper rather quickly.

Alex was not so impressed. He seemed to get more and more upset by being left alone, and eventually we stopped doing this. I’d like to tell you that things have at least gotten marginally better over time, but that would be a complete lie (but it would sound better than having me tell you that things have gotten worse).

But now it’s time. After almost 10 months of completely disjointed sleep, resulting in anxiety, depression, threatening my spouse with bodily harm AND divorce, fantasizing about suicide, and considering running away, I am hereby (and henceforth) done.

The problem used to lie squarely within Alex (I completely assure you that although this is angling to be my last baby, I promise on all that is holy I am not trying to keep him a baby who needs his momma at all. I LIKE older children better than this whole “needy” crap that babies do.), and I fear the problem has turned out to be within us.

We naively hoped for a change in this sleep shit, and when it didn’t come, we logicated that any sleep was better than no sleep, and that it really wasn’t so bad, this whole getting up every 1-3 hours! It was fun!

(by we, I mostly mean “me.” Dave has a job that requires an attention span greater than a gnat.)

Fuck this noise, I am so completely over getting up all night long.

I’m not pretending that this is going to be easy by any stretch of the imagination, but it sounds a fuck of a lot better than contemplating the least messy (but most effective) way to commit suicide.

Any suggestions? Or well wishes? Aunt Becky is not very happy today.

21 Comments to

“Maybe, Baby, It’s Me”

  1. On January 26th, 2008 at 12:24 pm Ashley Says:

    Sorry to hear Alex is trying to kill you. As a non-parent I have no real advice…but maybe you could try letting him cry it out again??? Or not, I don’t know. Give him to your mom for a night so he is out of the house and you can get a WHOLE night of sleep and maybe some perspective?

  2. On January 26th, 2008 at 12:49 pm Leslee Says:

    Oh dude. I feel your pain. My Alex is 7 and STILL does not sleep through the night. He never has. Granted, he’s not getting up every hour on the hour now, but he’s still up at least twice a night. Therefore, I obviously have no advice to offer. But, you have my condolences. If I knew where you lived, I’d personally deliver you a case of Diet Coke while falling off your porch for entertainment. It would make you giggle! Fo realz, yo.

  3. On January 26th, 2008 at 12:46 pm Angela Says:

    I second the older child motion: I remember writing a letter to myself the day before Nina’s birth, reminding myself that life gets so much easier after three. Oh, I don’t have any good advice, considering the fact that Nina slept on her father’s chest for her first six months of life. I was lucky, other than that. They slept okay, for the most part. Still do. I think Emily R. might have better advice..she’s written about this sort of thing before, I think?

  4. On January 26th, 2008 at 12:48 pm KT Says:

    When my oldest was 8 months old I decided to let her cry it out. She was not difficult or anything. I’d just been content to rock her to sleep all that time. Finally I needed to get a full nigth’s sleep. I used a book called Healthy Sleep Habits Happy Child. I love it. It helped me to understand the nap needs and sleep patterns as well. My youngest was a harder nut to crack. Letting her cry it out was more painful and took longer Eventually, she learned. Bedtime routine is essential, to let them know it’s time to calm down and they will have to put themselves to sleep. Hang in there. It’s hard, but worth it in the end when you have a child who can comfort themselves (I know you will still comfort the baby as well) and they will not hate you. The baby will be more rested and love you just as much! And you won’t contemplate suicide. Hang in there.

  5. On January 26th, 2008 at 1:48 pm Karen Says:

    You have my sympathy. That is all I can give you. The only baby I have had that intimate knowledge about is my nephew – and he was sleeping throught the night in his first month. My brother and sis in law are still having him tested for all sorts of things because he never woke himself up to eat as a normal child should.

    Whatever solution you choose, I will support you through super comments and loving prayers.

  6. On January 26th, 2008 at 2:37 pm Big Says:

    You have my sympathies. We went through a rough patch with Kate and we’re possibly going through it now with Meg, but generally we’ve been lucky (and that is the right word) that our kids sleep pretty well.

    A couple of things that have worked for us. 1) A bedtime routine. I know that can be hard, but for Kate, it’s diaper, jammies, brush teeth, read story, blankie, nuka, out like a light. It helps settle Kate and each step makes her think more and more, “this is bedtime.” 2) With Meg, after figuring out how to sleep through the night, she got sick and forgot. She has been in a pattern of getting up every 1-3 hours demanding D. So, the last couple nights, I go in, much to Meg’s disappointment, rock her for a few minutes, and put her back down, still wailing. Then, 10 minutes later, she’s cried herself out. We’re guessing that seeing SOMEONE, even No-Milk Daddy, reminds her that she’s not alone, and that she realizes that no matter what she does, she’s not getting a Boobie Snack. It seems like it’s working.

    I know how hard you’re trying, and I can only imagine how you feel. If our tips help, great. If not, we’ll at least try to send good vibes.

  7. On January 26th, 2008 at 1:47 pm Heather Says:

    Three days. That is the amount of time to ‘form new habits’ and for the most part has proven true for me. I would revisit the crying out bit. I mean, hell, he’s crying anyway, right? Do a routine for bed, put him to bed, pop in some earplugs for everyone, and let him have at it. Make sure he’s okay, and let him cry (if that’s what he chooses to do). He’s physically capable at this age of sleeping a long stretch of time, so you’re not asking too much (don’t ask him, though!).

    We did scheduling with the first (and when it was time to sleep through, he either cried or slept – it was way more crying at first, then finally no crying and all sleeping). We did with the second one, too, but she took a little longer – a bit of stubborness on her part, but she’s more of a self-soother now than he was.

    I’ve had a bit of the baby anger before and it’s not fun. You can do this.

  8. On January 26th, 2008 at 3:04 pm Emily Says:

    Ferber does work (as you know), but man is it hard. Only advice I can give is perhaps a mirror in the crib; Ben is such an extrovert that he hated being along in the crib and for awhile we gave him a mirror so he wouldn’t be!

  9. On January 26th, 2008 at 3:44 pm gold star Says:

    oh, honey. I wish I had anything to offer that was worth a turd. I do want to tell you that you’re hilarious. mother humping. where do you get this shit?

  10. On January 26th, 2008 at 5:04 pm ewe_are_here Says:

    I’m so sorry.

    While my ten month old has been a good sleeper, like his brother, he has started balking at actually going to bed at bedtime. And he can be rather vocal and dramatic about it… if he carries on, I found giving him a small bottle of warm boiled water in his crib and leaving him with it will soothe him and knock him out (water, so as not to jeopardize the just-brushed teeth) …. just a thought.

    Good luck!

  11. On January 26th, 2008 at 6:07 pm Chris Says:

    Whiskey in the bottle.

  12. On January 26th, 2008 at 8:18 pm TheRamblingHousewife Says:

    Emily is right! Ferber does work!!! Keegan was “Ferberized” about two weeks ago—before that . . .he was horrible too! (Maybe not quite as bad as Alex . .. but certainly a lot worse than his older brother ever was. . . and if all else fails . . ..”Baby Wants Vodka!!!”

    (Only kidding, if there are any CPS people reading . ..please do not take my kids from me . . .at least not for this comment . . .as I have done far worse . . .:)

    Hope it gets better soon!!!

  13. On January 26th, 2008 at 11:29 pm Jenn Says:

    Oh my shit, I meant to email you!!! We ended up getting Boo to sleep through the night! It took three nights of letting her scream. The first two nights it was, quite literally, ALL. NIGHT. LONG. The sun was up and shining before she finally passed out. After the second night I declared that it was not working and told my husband we would NOT be doing that again. He said, “One more night, just one more.” That third night she only cried for about an hour. And the fourth night? She cried for about two minutes. And thereafter? She’s been sleeping. Straight through from 7 (seven!) at night until 6 or 7 in the morning. It’s a freaking miracle.

    One paragraph (the one that starts and ends with: “I’ve bought any number of sleep books … and traded nights with The Daver.”) sounds exactly like all the things that I’ve done. I’m so glad to know that I’m not the only one who has thrown tantrums to get my husband to come help. Of course, whenever he would finally come in I would be super bitchy and ask what he was doing in there. Then he’d leave and I’d get twice as upset.

    We had the same problem – we were blaming it all on the kid. When I sat down and thought about it, I thought maybe it was that I hadn’t stuck to one thing long enough for her to get it. So, I don’t know. I feel your pain, I really do! Hopefully Alex sleeps through the night before he is 15 months old (which is how long it took my daughter!).

    I’m sorry if this comment is super babbly. I really have no idea what I’ve written here. It probably doesn’t make any sense!

  14. On January 27th, 2008 at 1:45 am Lindz Says:

    maybe alex needs to be a co-sleeper. do you take naps with alex? if so, does he sleep longer when your sleeping/laying next to him, or if you haven’t maybe you should try that.Maybe alex just needs to know that there is someone there with him, and that he is not alone.

    I know some people are against co sleeping, but hey, you and him would both be getting the sleep you need, with no testies being lost.

    ALEX, let mommy get some sleep, and be a good boy.

  15. On January 27th, 2008 at 1:51 am Lindz Says:

  16. On January 27th, 2008 at 4:51 am Meg Says:

    Oh Becky. i feel your pain. What does Alex’s sleep look like? What time does he go down? How long does it take to settle him? How is his napping? and more importantly, do you have Phenergan where you are? I had to give Jasper some for infected insect bites recently and you know what…. the mild sedatve worked a treat for getting an early bedtime back (instead of 10:30pm like it was when my step-kids were here.)

    Routine is working (slowly) here. Still waking up maybe five times a night, but fuck, that’s better than every 30 mins. Does Alex still refuse to take a bottle? Giving a bottle in the cot has also helped.

    Would you lke me to send you my “hippy music loop” baby sleeping CD, btw? Not sure if it’s made a difference, but it helps keep me calm while I spend two hours trying to settle him…

  17. On January 27th, 2008 at 9:41 am kim Says:


  18. On January 27th, 2008 at 10:26 am honeywine Says:

    I’ve been really lucky over the years with all of the babies I’ve taken care of (some I practically raised) and they didn’t need much. Will was more trouble when he got older. When he was 3, I told him he could stay up all he wanted but he had to stay in the bed and be quiet; he was out in minutes. heehee Silly rabbit! (I also warped him by telling him that damp jeans would rot his legs off…he’s 24 and still won’t wear damp pants)

    But since you asked… I once accidentally taught myself to go to sleep using a music CD. I went to bed every night to a CD of instrumental Scottish music. Then one day I turned it on it the car. BIG MISTAKE! After I woke up and pulled the car over to the side of the road, I decided to use the same trick on children and puppies. It seems to work given time, and it might drown out the screaming!

    I like Kim’s idea too! I’ve used it on M. many times! Sure it’s not nice, but screw it! Hey maybe you could combo the benadryl, music, & screaming for a few nights?

  19. On January 27th, 2008 at 3:45 pm baseballmom Says:

    Oh damn, girl…I feel your pain! When our oldest came home from the hospital (with a cold) I was convinced he was going to either die or kill me with his non-sleeping. He was stuffed up, and we found out a few days later that he had his first ear infection AT 4 DAYS OLD. After that it was all downhill. The boy would not sleep, and we tried it all. We’d take turns sitting up with him, rocking in the recliner because that’s the ONLY way that he’d sleep. I remember falling asleep watching MTV, just dying to sleep for a few minutes. We even put the carseat in the bassinet, thinking that he’d feel more secure sleeping in it, but no. Finally, at about 3 months, we had him sleep in the bassinet at the foot of our bed, then gradually moved him into his own room down the hall, a few feet at a time. When he’d wake up, I would just go in, pat his butt until he went back to sleep, then sneak out. It was the kind of sneaking where you fucking hold your breath and pray not to make ANY kind of noise, and hope to God that the floor wouldn’t creak. Finally, we moved him into his crib, and he had to have like 5 pacifiers in his crib in case he woke up and couldn’t find it, and we continued the patting butt thing. That’s even how I’d put him to sleep, in his crib and patting away. After we moved him to a big bed, he’d just get up in the night and sneak into our bed, and sleep with us…he just wanted to be with people, I think. He was not a good sleeper until he was in school. I fucking HATED people who had kids that would sleep through the night right away…assholes. Luckily the second kid is a better sleeper, when he finally passes out after all of his manic energy burns off. As far as advice goes, on desperate nights, we did the benadryl thing, yes, we drugged our kid so we wouldn’t die or kill someone. Otherwise, I don’t know…I was never a good sleep-teaching parent, because when we tried the cry it out thing, he did cry ALL NIGHT and I couldn’t stand it. I’m wimpy, and it killed me. Just know that I’ll be thinking about ya when I’m up 3 times during the night to go to the bathroom…

  20. On January 27th, 2008 at 8:53 pm Kristen Says:

    Gosh! I am so sorry that you are going through this, I can not imagine. I have no advice, mine all slept well. Well except for the 4 year old who comes to bed with me at 2 am. and kicks me for 5 hours. But he mostly sleeps.
    The things I always did were a bedtime routine including a story and lullaby every night. And a comfort item (bear, blanket, soother…)When they would awaken, I would go in, give a cuddle and leave. Sometimes I had to do it a few times, but mostly they slept.
    The 2nd and 4th slept with me for a couple months while they were of the age to nurse in the night, but they easily made the transition to their own beds when they were ready. ( I knew they were ready when they had been sleeping through mostly and then started waking at night again)
    Alex doesn’t have reflux or anything, does he? Or food sensitivities?
    Man, I wish I had something useful to tell you, it sounds like you are going through hell.

  21. On January 28th, 2008 at 10:41 am Victoria Says:

    Um, your baby sucks. I have one of those too – so I can say that with all kindness – some babies are just sucky sleepers. My Girl (now 4) only slept if attached to me – either on me or on the boob or tucked next to me. (We’re co-sleepers. Or co-dependent. I can’t remember which.)

    But at least she slept. So I could sleep. So I didn’t dislike her quite so much.

    At four, she’s still a sucky sleeper (she requires only 5-6 hours of sleep a day/night. No naps. Ack.) But we’ve transitioned her to her own bed and I can ignore her sucky sleep now that she’s upstairs.

    Best of luck. I know how bad it is. Sigh.

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