Saturday, March 08, 2014

No Sleep Tonight

Just in case anyone ever asks you, "Would you rather have your child be out of his mind crazy during the day, but sleeps like a champ, or would you rather have your child be perfectly content all day, but his sleep schedule is completely unpredictable and nonexistent," let me tell you the correct answer.

It's the first. And after much observation and experimentation, I can say that with certainty.

Eli was a hard toddler. As all toddlers are. But he was pretty nuts. However, the one thing he would give me was my rest time. My sanity recovery period. The blessed four-hour daily nap he blessed our lives with. Not to mention the consistent 12 hours at night. He needed a lot of rest to keep that body functioning at such an accelerated pace during his wakeful periods.

And then there's Carson. Who is also a hard toddler, but in a totally opposite way. Of course. Because it would be too easy to give me another kid just like the first one who I finally mildly figured out.  Carson is pretty mellow. He's a go-with-the-flow kinda guy. Until you utter the words "bedtime." And then he shoots off like a loose cannon and takes you out with him into the utter depths of exhausted despair.
There were signs of Carson's sleepless countenance ever since his first day of life. My first night with Carson, I put him in the nursery at the hospital. Every time the nurse came into my room with Carson, she would be laughing and telling me Carson was such a funny baby because he would be totally asleep, and suddenly be wide awake in a matter of seconds. I remember her saying, "He wakes up and is wide awake, ready to go."

I didn't fully understand this until I saw it for myself. Carson was sure to show me of his ways as soon as we brought him home from the hospital. I remember watching endless episodes of "The Bachelor" at 3:00 in the morning with wide-eyed Carson. At first it was easy to brush off as him having his days and nights mixed up, so I let it slide.

But then I noticed he didn't sleep a whole lot during the day either. I remember one day after Carson had been up most of the night when he was less than a week old. I had Carson in his bouncer, and he was looking tired. I bounced him a little bit until he dozed off, but then I'd look over at him five minutes later and he'd be awake again! This is the defining moment of when I either jinxed myself, or had incredible insight into my future with Carson as I made a mental note that he really didn't sleep that much. Especially for a newborn!

You see, I have this brother. And I've heard horror stories from his younger years. He hardly ever slept as a baby. And he still doesn't need sleep. He can consistently function off as little as one hour of sleep at night with a booster night of 4-8 hours in there every once in a while. I began to fear this trait was genetic, and Carson was a carrier. I began to mentally prepare for years of wakeful nights as Carson's refusal to sleep grew more prominent with his age.

I once looked to myself as the sleep expert, the sleep nazi, the ultimate sleep trainer, but Carson was wiping me of every sleep title I held. I birthed with him a wave of humility aimed directly at me, as Carson left me repeatedly calling my sister and scouring the internet for tips and tricks on getting a baby to close those never weary eyes.

We have sleep trained the kid at least 12,000 times. It works for one day and then he's back to his hourly wakings. So we were left to try other methods like singing him to sleep, or lurking in his doorway shushing him with every whimper upon bedtime, or putting him in with Eli hoping the buddy system would calm his night time woes. We put him in a toddler bed per our doctor's suggestion, we took away his binky, we blamed molars coming in, we tried getting him attached to stuffed animals and blankets. Nothing. Works.

Except when it does. Like sometimes one thing will work. And then Jeff and I will have long detailed conversations about it like so:
Me: I think we got it figured out. So we have to read him one book with Eli. Then we have to go into his room and read him two more books. Then we have to sing him two songs. Then we put his blanket on and say goodnight. You have to let him know who's boss. Then you quietly leave the room as you sing, with your voice quieting ever so much with each note. I think this will work.
Jeff: Yeah. That worked really good tonight. I think he has finally learned to stay in his toddler bed. I bet he'll sleep through the night tonight.
Me: I was watching Super Nanny all day today, and I got a lot of good tips in case he does wake up tonight. Here's what we do...

And then BAM! One night's success is another night's failure. As soon as we utter the words, "I think we've got it figured out" in reference to Carson's sleep situation, he flips our bedtime world upside down and throws us unexpected curve balls.

Carson: Oh. You think you have me figured out? How about I puke all over my pillow tonight. The one night I went down without a fuss? Yeah. It's because I was actually sick. And now I'm barfing. So have fun with that.
Carson: Yes. I do like when you sing me to sleep. That's really nice. I will make you do it for hours. Every. Single. Night. I will make you buy a CD player because you'll get the genius idea to record yourself singing me songs to play outside my door in an effort to fool me into thinking you're still there, when really you're not. But guess what. As soon as the CD player arrives, I will refuse to respond to singing as a method to get me to sleep. Sucker.
Carson: One more song. One more book. Blanket on. Blanket off. One more song. One more book. Milk. Milk. Milk. Light on. Light off. Giggle Giggle. Welcome to your slow and painful death by exhaustion.

And then when you get him to sleep, you're never safe. No. Just as you lay your head down to finally get some shut eye, that's when you hear him chatting in his room. Because he's ready to be up for the day. At 11:00 at night. He's already had a good three hours of sleep. He's ready to go.

Or maybe he makes it past 11. Maybe he sleeps until 3. Then you get the pleasure of waking up to him breathing on your face (if you're Jeff) and saying, "Make pancakes, Daddy." Or maybe you hear him get up at 4 and play in his room for two hours. And then there's the times he wakes up at 12:00 then 1:00 then 2:00 then 3:00 then he'll be nice and let us sleep until 6:00 when he decides to be up for the day.

Bonus -- He doesn't let me go in his room anymore. If I go in to ease his midnight fusses, Carson goes ballistic. Full on rage, anger and ferociousness. If Jeff goes in, Jeff just has to say, "Go to bed, Carson." And bam. Carson's out. Provided I haven't already been in to get him in a tizzy. Then we're all up for hours.

Oh. And have I yet to mention he's refusing to nap? It's been over a month now and the kid has decided naps aren't his thing. Mostly because naps involve sleeping, and he's never been a big fan.

Sooooo. There's Carson Baby. And there's the reason Carson may always be our baby because he's making it hard to imagine being up with him plus another baby all night long. Heaven. Help. Me.

Carson. If you're reading this 20 years from now, put down your computer. Go to the store, and buy me a bouquet of roses for the bags you have permanently left under my eyes. Thanks. Now go to bed.


Glen said...

Did you post this blog on one of your sleepless nights?

Oh how I remember the days with your low need of sleeping sibling. Your mother dealt with it most of the time and it is a miracle there was more than one child in the family.

The most sage advice the doctor gave was to teach him when mommy and daddy's door is closed, he can't come in. Have activities ready for him that he can do by himself and quite worrying about it. All he needs to do, is wake up, figure out what activity he wanted to do and do it. Hint, pick activities that are quiet.

Look on the bright side. Even though you don't think it now, he will grow out of this phase, not ever needing sleep but bothering you phase, and he will become a pretty awesome adult.

Hang in there.

Oh and thanks for the chuckle this morning.

Kim said...

Laughed at the comment of you thinking Carson must be a carrier of the no-sleep gene your brother is blessed with. It is definitely hereditary because your father can survive on very little sleep as well.

Another great part was him not being a big fan of naps because it involves sleeping.

The pictures are cute. Thank goodness he is such a cute boy or you might be tempted to give him away--which is how I used to feel about my darling son who gave me such fits with his barely sleeping habits.

Good luck! Hang in there! He will accomplish a lot in life with his active brain.

LC said...

he and izzy should talk. she also hates sleeping/going to sleep/anything to do with sleep.
<3 you!!!

The Stevens Family said...

Lol! I'm sorry he is such a turkey about sleep. My advice- u might as well have another one. Then u can just sleep train the baby too :-) we put a tv in Dawson's room and taught him how to control the remote.... When he was 2. Sounds horrible but we got a lot more sleep. He still wakes up at 3 am but he just plays a movie. Good luck! Maybe get him a puppy lol

Laura said...

That is nuts. Blame it on Jeff. Some kids just don't need as much sleep. Kaelynn gave up naps at 18 months. Coleman still naps, but doesn't go to bed until 10. But they all sleep good through the night. Good luck!

Rebecca said...

Oh Carson. I love the lengths you and Jeff have gone to to try to get him to sleep. Hilarious.