Saturday, April 13, 2013

Sun Moon Clock

Techman said, "We're one step away from putting him to bed with a laser light show...and, like, fog."

Earlier this week, my Moms Club asked me to participate in a panel discussion on kids and sleep. What a riot! When the mail came in, I was already into 90 minutes of post-bedtime-routine negotiation with Starboy. We've tried a lot of things: earlier bedtimes, the "right" bedtime, wearing him out, star light (above), Mr. Sun/Moon clock (pictured), routines, stories, songs, yelling (totally ineffective, duh), baby gates, shutting the door (trauma-inducing), homeopathics, and I don't know what else.

We don't do cry-it-out, because...we just don't. It's not in my beliefs. The teen years are hard enough without planting the seed that no one's got your back when you feel really lonely. In the end, the things that have worked the best for him are: Looking for his needs, soothing him even when it seems ridiculous, trying to hit the magic "tired window," and just waiting (ugh, brutal) until his body is simply ready to do it. We co-sleep, which is great, and occasionally not great (but surely would be great-er with a king-sized mattress and a room big enough to fit it in.).

Starboy was two before I got a proper night's sleep, and by "proper" I mean five hours of sleep in a row—he was only waking up two or three times, instead of eight or 10. He is so afraid of missing out on the action. That, for sure, didn't come from Techman's side of the family, where pretty much the whole party is sacked out about the living room by 9:30, mouths agape, snoring in symphony. (Whereas, when we woke up after Thanksgiving with my family, we discovered my dad and his friend had been up until 4:00 a.m., partying it up)

I also discovered recently that Starboy has a lip tie, that I'm fairly certain affected his ease of breastfeeding and therefore his sleep (and mine. And Techman's). It was a real heartbreaker to discover—oh, if we'd known! The sleep deprivation causes so much frustration and stress. But somehow everyone on our granola team missed it, or didn't know. Starboy gained weight so quickly, it didn't seem to be an issue (except for the frequent feedings, the pain, and the sleeplessness, but whatever. He was plump and otherwise happy). But in hindsight, I'll bet having it clipped would have been a real game-changer. 

Our bottle-fed culture is having to re-learn obvious natural signs that grandmas had known for generations—midwives used to keep a fingernail sharpened for a quick frenulum snip. There are some kinds of progress that aren't always an improvement, are there? It's a thing to think about in these fast-paced times.

The panel discussion went fine, and since all three of us had creative comprehensive handouts on our own experiences, I felt really good that, regardless of what was discussed, the other moms had a lot of ideas to take home and try, to pick and choose. That's not the research-based way to do it, exactly, but that's pretty much what most of parenting is, isn't at? Except for the times when you are so fed up you manage to pull something genius out of the clear blue, just out of desperation.

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