Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Whew! You forget.

I have spent the last two days taking care of my little grandson. He is one year old and very active! In addition, he does not sleep through the night, just like his mother before him. Which brings me to the topic of children sleeping. Both of my girls did not sleep through the night. My oldest would go to bed at her bedtime and sometime during the night mysteriously appear at the side of my bed and scare the bejesus out of me, or cry from her room to be saved from whatever scares us in the middle of the night. Four years later my younger daughter was born, and since it had already been four years without sleeping through the night, you would have thought I would have been used to it. This daughter had asthma. But we didn't know that until years after we should have actually been doing something about it. Thank you, Dr. Dumbass. She would wake in the night and we would either bring her to bed with us, or try multiple themes of trying to get her to self-comfort and go back to sleep. We tried many means. We had her sleep in her sister's room, which only woke her older sister up, so I had two to deal with in the middle of the night. We bribed with different beds. There was a pretty day bed, bunk beds (she begged for), twin beds with her sister, you name it. Word to the wise ... it's not the bed!

I don't think the professionals really know what makes some babies sleep through the night and other babies turn their parents, and household's, into walking zombies. But that doesn't stop everyone, and their grandmother, giving advice on just how to accomplish a restful night sleep for all. Some well-intentioned friends said to just make them stay in their bed until they eventually go back to sleep. Just be firm. That may have worked for their children, but mine were either way more determined, or they worked themselves into a full-blown coughing, gagging, and eventually throwing-up, fit. Do I let them die of an asthma attack? Would that have given us a better night's sleep?

The point I am trying to make, is that all children are unique. What may work for one, probably will not work for all. So I try not to pass judgement on my poor, sleep-deprived, daughter and son-in-law. I try to resist the urge to tell them to try again the "Ferber Method", which is actually based on sound principles. Instead, this week with my daughter and grandson, I keep the monitor in my room and stumble up the stairs to try to get him to fall back asleep with a pat on the back, or walk him so his mother can sleep a bit longer. But, of course, it is not me that he wants, and she ends up getting up to calm her screaming son. It all brings back memories - not to mention burning eyes. All of which is forgotten in the morning when his sweet face gives me a smile. Just like his mother before him.


Jo-Mama said...

Oh My! I remember this and feel for all of you. I too had a "night stalker" who woke through the night every two to three hours until she was almost a year old. Poor little thing didn't want to feel miserable any more than we wanted to be "zombies". It ends! I do remember that during those most difficult of restless nights, I would in my stupor begin to take comfort in the warm little body finally relaxing in my arms, the sweet smell of her resting cheek on mine. There are gifts that come with the worst of circumstances. Do you remember that special comfort?

Faithful said...

I commend J. for her resilience, I gave up and let my kids sleep in my bed till they were older. I hope J. has a speedy recovery, then he will be better, and tired Grandma can go back to being fun Grandma.

Jen said...

He IS very stubborn! Thanks for all your help this week- I may not have survived it without you!

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