I write about sleeping through the night. A lot. Namely the whole not sleeping through the night. I had a few good stretches to be sure, even two days of seven hour stretches which were delicious and savory like a flaky croissant with a creamy chocolate center straight from a Parisian bakery. But the thing with baked goods is, particularly of the Parisian variety, they create cravings for more. And I wanted more. I wasn’t happy with the measly five hour stretches he gave me though technically my doctor told me this was considered sleeping through the night. Well, I would give anything for those five hour stretches now that little guy wakes every two to three hours all night long like clockwork. And its not the grumpy rumbles of discontent of nights past, now its angry shrieks of OMG GET UP AND FEED ME RIGHT NOW!! GAH!
So what does Aisha do in the face of a perplexing dilemma? She looks up every book ever written on the subject of sleep and requests it for hold at the library so she can devour them all. [I do this with everything. The librarians know more about me and my challenges, hopes and dreams based simply on my book renewals than perhaps anyone else. Which makes it sometimes awkward for me when I chat with them since they know my first and last name without my even having to tell them who I am]. I had hoped the books would enlighten me but instead, they confound me. One book suggested I let him cry it out when he wails in the middle of the night, another suggested I comfort him as soon as he releases a whimper. All books hailed their views as the absolute view with dire consequences such as psychiatric issues and insecure adulthoods if I failed to adhere to their line of thought.
Reading through the books did help me reach one conclusion: I’m done reading books of the parenting variety. While they do provide useful information at the end of the day, I am his mother and I do have instincts that tell me what I should do. As a first time parent I tend to bury my instincts and try turning to ‘experts’ because everything feels bewildering and I can’t possibly know what I’m doing, except that I’m coming to realize that I am an expert when it comes to my child. Not an infallible experts since much of what I learn is by trial and error, but I’m getting a PhD in Waleed day by day, something no one else can claim to have.
So I’ve decided instead of changing him, I’m going to change myself because I cannot and will not let him cry it out. At least not yet. When he cries the cause is real and serious from his POV. I know when I cry over things real and serious, the thing I want most in this world is someone to comfort me. If he cries he needs to believe I will be there for him. I know fabulous parents who do the cry it out method and say it works, and that’s great, but its not something I can do at least right now.
So I’m changing my perspective. Nursing babies tend to sleep for shorter durations before they get hungry again. Everytime he wakes up, though it exhausts me, it also tells me that he’s alive and well, something I never take for granted. And these night wakings, as permanent as they may seem in my life right now, they will pass. I will get my sleep back one day, but he will never be this little again. Each day I hold him is the smallest most babiest I’ll ever see him ever again. So instead of focusing on my darkened eyes, I will focus on these blessings and take each day one day at a time.