When Duncan was a newborn baby, it seemed he was impossible to get to sleep. I heard about friends just laying their babies in the crib and them sweetly falling asleep, no assistance required. Not Duncan. At least not for me. He would fuss and wriggle and fuss and fuss and fuss. Eventually he’d start crying, not sleeping.
|From Baby Duncan|
Duncan liked movement to go to sleep. For a while he went through a phase where he’d wake up at 3 a.m. and not fall back asleep until 4:30 a.m. I took the advice on sleeping when the baby slept so I could deal with it. Kevin worked nights so it was just me and Duncan during those times and somehow we had to figure it out together.
My solution–pop him in a pouch sling and go and do chores. Sure, it was harder to empty the dishwasher and do laundry with a baby strapped to me. But the movement and closeness to my body would lull him to sleep and soon enough I was able to ease him back into his crib and get back to sleep myself. Plus, I got chores done. I did a lot of laundry in the middle of the night for a while.
He also liked to bounce. So I did a lot of bouncing on the exercise ball. Anything to achieve that sweet state of sleep–for him and then for me. Perhaps that’s why I still like to sit in my office and bounce at times.
As he got a little older and settled more into his baby body, naps got a bit easier. But there were so many hours spent rocking and nursing, rocking and nursing, until he relaxed into sleep. When we began potty training and read books that talked about getting bigger and being able to do things by himself–dressing himself, feeding himself and even getting into bed and going to sleep by himself when he was tired–well, I skipped that last part. There was none of that happening in our house.
|From Baby Duncan|
And now, as a little kid, he still needs those nighttime cuddles. It’s part of how he relaxes into sleep and lets go of the troubles of the day. Duncan has always slept in his own bed (except for a couple of vacations where his cold feet always found their way onto my belly during the night), so once he’s asleep, he’s good for the night (unless he pees in bed). But at times getting him there is a little frustrating.
|From Starred Photos|
These days, I lay down with him and cuddle him until he tells me he’s “full of cuddles” and that it’s OK if I go. Tonight he told me to bring my computer in his room so I could stay with him and do homework. He also declared that he’ll only be full of cuddles when the sun comes up in the morning. Fortunately, during the writing of this post, I think he’s fallen asleep. Let’s hope there are no 3 a.m. wake-up calls from a wet bed.
|From Picnics and canoes in Genesee Valley Park|