I've written about breakthroughs before--just when you think you're going to throw your child out the window from frustration, they change in some small way that gives you hope or makes life just that much easier so that you close that window and decide to keep the kid after all. This is a good thing to remember, if you can, when you're going through a rough patch with your kid(s).
In Denver, we have a saying: "If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes." Things are constantly changing. My friend Cortney (mom of two) gave me this advice when I was pregnant with Addie: Things change about every three weeks, she said. You may think you've got something good going, and in three weeks, you may have to invent a whole new way of doing that thing. Same goes for struggles, though--wait three weeks, and the problem will probably have resolved itself without your doing anything.
I wrote a few days ago about Nolie's exhausting sleep routine (exhausting for us--not for her). I've been struggling with when to let Nolie cry it out--when to give her the chance to soothe herself to sleep. It's been tough to make this choice, because several nights a week, she goes to sleep pretty well with the exhausting sleep routine, and hearing her scream in her crib has been akin to nails on the chalkboard. But the nights and naptimes that it isn't working, or only works after several hours, are increasing in number. So, I've just been sort of waiting for the tipping point.
Which was last night. Nolie went down after Eric gave her the "treatment" at 8pm; she woke at 1am, and I fed her. She feel asleep, but was up again 20 minutes later. I fed her again, but at some point I looked down at her, and her eyes were wide open. She gave me a big grin, and I knew we were in for it. Two and a half hours of her cooing and playing and whining later, I handed her over to Eric for the second "treatment." Thankfully, she slept until 8. Maybe I'm spoiled. Maybe this doesn't sound that bad. But to me, it felt like misery. I haven't been sleeping well for several nights now, and this just felt like the capper. Plus, it is about 30 degrees in our house at night, making staying up with baby that much tougher.
So, once Nolie was giving some tired signs this morning, I put her down in her crib, unswaddled and out of her bouncy chair.
Then, inspiration. Change something else. To my great surprise, Nolie downed her first two bowls of rice cereal like they were manna. This made me happy--Nolie is one step closer to people-ness: she eats food! (dreams of normal-size breasts dance in my head). Then the sleepy signs really increased, so I gave Noles the death swaddle and laid her down in the crib (no bouncy seat) and made a commitment to myself to let her cry for at least an hour.
Ah-ha! Five minutes of very loud screaming later? Quiet Nolie. Sleeping Nolie.
A few minutes ago she awoke and cried a little. I didn't go in right away, and she quieted herself. She's sleeping again now. The season of miracles, indeed.
Will we be able to replicate this tonight? I hope so. But breakthroughs have their fits and starts. The point is that there's hope, and maybe more sleep, in our future.