Around eight months old, Jeremiah started to become markedly more independent. He started crawling and could better entertain himself. He was eating finger foods with ease and drinking from a sippy cup. His likes and dislikes became increasingly clearer as he was better able to communicate his preferences. My baby became a toddler! As the month waned on, I felt more like myself pre-baby. I was finally able to cook a meal and not just throw something together. Getting household tasks done didn’t seem so daunting. For the first time, I felt in control of my time and not subject to the whimsy of an infant. Just as Jeremiah became independent, I finally felt like I was my own person again. While this may happen at various times for other moms, I’m sure you know that feeling I’m talking about.
I was on a euphoric high – cooking dinner, baking dessert, keeping my house clean, entertaining Jeremiah, basically living the life of a Stepford wife. Then it hit me, a tiny little voice in the back of my mind saying “maybe I could handle another baby right now.” Don’t get too excited. This is not an announcement that we’re trying to get pregnant. It was just a fleeting thought, a momentary lapse of reason. In our culture, having a baby is glamorized and romanticized so much that it’s even engrained in me when I just had a baby and know how hard it really is. There is no way I’m ready to start back over with a newborn. While I might have had hallucinations that I was ready, I know that I’m not. They say that people forget what it’s like to have a baby or they wouldn’t have more than one. Now I can honestly say that I know what that means.
In my last entry I wrote about Jeremy being out of town. During that time, Jeremiah had been sleeping in a cradle in our bedroom. With Jeremy back home it was time for Jeremiah to move to his crib to sleep. I was so nervous. Jeremiah had refused to sleep in his crib for naps. I just knew we were going to be up all night until he adjusted, however long that would take.
Then it happened. Jeremiah slept straight through the night for the first time at four months old! Of course Jeremiah showed me how little I know. Everything about that “transition” gloriously exceeded my expectations. After a few nights of getting uninterrupted, blissful sleep, I felt like a new woman. I was recharged and had a renewed since of confidence in my ability to tackle motherhood. After a couple of weeks, I felt spoiled as I remembered for the first time since having Jeremiah what it felt like to truly feel rested.
Then it happened. Jeremiah stopped sleeping through the night and was getting up every three hours. At first I thought it was just the side effects of a growth spurt he was going through. A week went by and his eating decreased in frequency during the day, but he was still getting up to eat at night. Then he cut his first two teeth. Surely things would turn around after that. Nope. He just kept on waking up like a little trooper, sometimes even more frequent than every three hours. It was beyond explanation as to why he had returned to his newborn nighttime sleep schedule. I thought we had moved past all of that. I thought we had established some semblance of a routine.
After three and a half weeks of being cranky and not knowing what else to do, I requested books on sleep training from my local library this past Saturday night. I have to be honest in saying that I didn’t really believe in the concept of “sleep training” for Jeremiah, so this was truly an act of desperation. Jeremiah is extremely determined and the idea that I can get him to sleep when he doesn’t want to boggles my mind. Maybe I was wrong about sleep training? I threw in my towel and decided to give it a whirl. While I waited for my books to become available, I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to endure just a few more sleepless nights.
Then it happened. Last night Jeremiah slept through the night. I thought my eyes were deceiving me when the alarm clock read 5:30am. I don’t know how it happened and I don’t dare to make something up. I will not question it, but accept it as the beginning of a new routine…for now. I’ll probably still read the sleep training books. I might find some practical tidbits of wisdom in them even if I don’t agree with the whole premise of sleep training. For now I’m going to cherish every night that Jeremiah sleeps straight through. This past month I’ve learned that just like rules, routines are meant to be broken.