Saturday, March 17, 2012

I'm a believer!

So the sleep saga continues.  At our last episode, the Nielsen family had all sat down together and had a civil discussion about sleep strategies.  It went something like this:

Mr. Incredible:  "We're not getting enough sleep.  Something has to change."
Me: "Corbin, you refuse to sleep in your own bed- even after we cried it out- your superior will power beat us down and after an ungodly amount of time screaming, you got your way."
Corbin: "I'm so sorry to have upset you parents.  I just love you so much and cannot sleep in that crib."
Mr. Incredible: "Son you can sleep with us as long as you SLEEP- not scream, flail-"
Me: "Or EAT!"
Mr. Incredible: "...Or eat all night long."
Me: "You know that will make us dirty hippies for co-sleeping and we might as well stop making Corbin wear clothes and start raising chickens and all that- right?"
Mr. Incredible: "I don't care."
Corbin: "Sounds great. Now feed me more."
Me: [Sigh as I go unplug the washing machine and hang a clothes line outside]

So that was all fine and dandy for awhile.  Corbin would go to sleep in his crib and then when he woke up in the middle of the night, we let him sleep the rest of the night with us.  And we were all happy.

Then something on a cosmic level must have happened that messed with our wonderful little plan... or, oh yeah, he's a baby and just likes to change things to mess with us every few weeks.

Instead of going to bed at around seven each night, Corbin exerted that super will power and would fight us until midnight.  Then I would give up and let him sleep in our bed... where he would wake up with a scream and demand food every few hours... or keep screaming and kicking and making Mr. Incredible grunt unintelligibly and Nora nervous.  And when Nora gets nervous in the middle of the night she tries to wriggle all 60 lbs of her plump doggy body under our bed...which only results in her head and nose making it under the bed where she inhales dust bunnies and sneezes and claws at the wood floors.  Fun.

So after several weeks of this we decided Corbin needed to learn how to fall asleep on his own.  Not sleep through the night- we're ok with him waking up once to eat- but falling asleep was the big issue.

I should step back a bit and explain Corbin's falling asleep method.  Its not pretty.  First he required a swaddle.  You know- one of those contraptions that turn him into a baby burrito while pinning his arms down at his sides and contains his little legs.  Yes, I know those are geared for little tiny babies... and Corbin loved his swaddle when he was a little tiny baby and somehow he just never gave it up.  If we tried to put him down without it, his arms would flail and he'd arch his back and let us know, 'No. This ain't happening.' Argh.  So he was swaddled.

Then he required a ride in his swing- on full power, with white noise (the swing we have has four white noises; heat beat- creepy!, trickling water- I can't even listen to it for a minute before I'm heading to the bathroom, static white noise- Corbin's favorite I suppose, and static white noise with random jungle animals thrown in for fun.  I don't know why this is even an option- 'WHHHOOOOSHHHH WHOOOOSHHHH CaCAW! CaCAW! WHHHHOOOSHH!' Is that suppose to be restful???!)

Once he's been lulled to sleep by static noise and the inability to move his limbs, we might be able to transfer him to bed... but if he woke up during this process, he'd arch his back, flop on to his tummy (still swaddled) and bleat like a pitiful baby lamb until we'd return him to the swing.  And even then, one of us would sit by the swing (usually playing Angry Birds on my iPad) until he fell asleep because guess what developmental milestone Mr. Corbin has reached?  The ability to understand object permanence- so he now knows that things come and go, namely his mom and dad, and THEY MIGHT NEVER RETURN-WAWWWWWW!

Repeat the above steps over and over again until I give up and bring him to bed for a night of thrashing, random screaming, and nonstop nursing.

So that is why we decided Corbin needed to learn to fall asleep on him own without all these crutches.  (Oh so many crutches....)

So I bought the Ferber book.  Go ahead, judgers gonna judge and haters gonna hate and all that other gangster talk that I really don't do.  As you faithful readers know, we tried this a few months ago with another popular sleep book.  And no success.  But I felt we had a more realistic goal this time so we went with it.

Ferber's method in a nutshell is another take on cry it out (actually I guess its the original cry it out) where you put the baby down to sleep and leave- even if he's crying.  Then after a short time (like 3 minutes the first night) you return to the room and tell your baby everything is ok, we haven't abandoned you forever, and leave again.  And come back 5 minutes later, do the same thing, then 10 minutes... and then every 10 minutes until the baby falls asleep.

So Mr. Incredible was out for a late night softball game and I decided to Ferber! (Sounds fun or gross... not really sure.)

I tracked time on my iPad and followed the method to a T.  And it was long and brutal.  Corbin was fed and pajamaed - not swaddled- and put in his crib.  And oh did he cry.  But I came in at the allotted times and reassured him everything was ok.  And left.  And he screamed again.  And after 1 hour and 20 minutes, he was asleep.  And it wasn't that bad because I checked on him when I was suppose to and he would quiet down and be ok.  And did I mention he was ASLEEP?  In his crib?  Unswaddled?  Sans Swing?  And then Mr. Incredible came home.  And checked on the monitor.  And almost sprinted to the room to wake the baby.


Ok.  Another bit of background info.  Mr. Incredible is a 'Rules Follower.'  Like big time.  Its taken me years to get him to stop the car at a red curb so I can jump out and grab a few groceries while he drives around the parking lot.  Because he doesn't want to illegally park at the red curb... even though he isn't.  (And you can forget about him coming back to the red curb to pick me up- no I have to trudge through the parking lot with all of our groceries looking for him because he is such a rules follower)

So if you've had a baby in the last 20 year, the HUGE campaign is 'BACK TO SLEEP.' As in, babies need to sleep on their backs for the first year of their life.  (and then in really really small print, buried on an obscure website somewhere, "Back to Sleep- until the baby rolls over and refuses to sleep on their back, usually around 6 months").  We OF COURSE followed this rule- there were scare tactics involved- SIDS! SUFFOCATION! CRIB ENTRAPMENT! And they have evidence of all this and the Back to Sleep campaign seems to have prevented a lot of cases of SIDS.  So its good to follow rules.

Corbin on the monitor- imminent danger!!
However- Corbin HATES to sleep on his back... ever since he was teeny tiny.  But we made him when he was teeny tiny.  But now- he had the ability to act on his own desires by not being swaddled- and he chose to sleep on his tummy.  He also chose to sleep squished into the corner of his crib with his face smashed into the bars, on his tummy, with arms and legs hanging out.  I know, I might as well hang knives over the crib.

And that is why Mr. Incredible attempted to wake the baby after I suffered through nearly an hour and a half of Ferber!  And that is also why we got into a very heated- albeit whispered so as not to wake the baby- argument about following rules and letting sleeping dogs, erm, babies, lie, etc, etc, etc.  And I won said argument and Corbin slept until 2 AM!!!!! (on his tummy, in the face of certain death, yadda yadda yadda).

Next night, after 40 minutes of Ferber, Corbin shimmied into his spot in the corner and conked out until 2 AM again.

And the next night it was about 15 minutes of whimpering before we had radio silence.  And last night, even after staying out late for Mr. Incredible's softball game, Corbin smashed his head into the corner and hit the hay after 12 minutes of protest.  HUZZAH!  We are on our way!

Now if only there was a Ferber method for getting your husband to relax and break a few rules every once in awhile...

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