Last night we got back home from a trip to Utah. Somewhere in our travels, Cooper and I both managed to catch some sort of a head cold. Between not feeling so hot and trying to cut the remainder of his teeth simultaneously, last night was a bit rough. Funny thing is though, as I was rocking my little boy at 4am I started thinking about Cooper’s past sleep history and I couldn’t help thinking, “This isn’t that bad.”
I’ve blogged about it some before, but Cooper hasn’t been the best sleeper. Just when other kids were beginning to sleep through the night (~4 or 5 months) Cooper began waking up, almost religiously, at about 3:30am. He would then scream (not cry or whimper) for 2 hours straight. He didn’t want food, he didn’t want a drink, he didn’t even really want to be held – which he made abundantly clear by pushing away from us with all his strength. We read a million sleep books, got all sorts of advice, and tried pretty much every method besides drugging the kid (although it was deeply considered 🙂 ). Sometimes we would think a particular method was working because these nightmarish occurrences have always been somewhat sporadic and we would go a couple of days or maybe even a week without one, but every time we were about to breathe a sigh of relief and close that sleepless chapter of our lives they would always start up again with even more intense frequency. When other moms told me I just needed to sleep train him or complained about their 4 month-olds still waking up to nurse I actually had to suppress urges to tackle them to the ground or repeatedly call their house in the middle of the night. (Seriously, sleep deprivation can make you CRAZY.) I solicited advice from my pediatrician and read up on night terrors (had them myself as a child), but the answers were all the same: just give it time, all you can do is wait for him to outgrow it. In case you’re wondering, this isn’t the most helpful or reassuring advice when your personal sleep habits are being affected.
When Cooper was about 14 months old (about 2 1/2 months ago) this whole saga was still going on. Every night we’d go to bed, unsure of whether we’d sleep peacefully through the night or whether we’d spend two hours pointlessly trying to console our little one. At that point I was beginning to suspect that I was pregnant and the prospect always seemed particularly daunting in the early morning hours. I remember one particular night where Cooper lay thrashing and screaming in his crib and I sat pathetically on the floor sobbing and wondering how on earth I could handle two kids. When Noel came in to check on us, I’m pretty sure we had him flabbergasted as to who to console first.
So far this has been a long and whiny post, but are you ready for the good part? Shortly after I found out for sure that I was pregnant Cooper’s middle of the night tantrums stopped. It’s been two months now and while he still often stirs and needs a drink or help finding a binky that’s escaped him, these problems are typically remedied in a few brief minutes and seem hardly a bother in comparison. As Cooper snuggled up against me and we rocked in his chair last night I thought about how this new sleep development is nothing short of a miracle and how nice it’s been to not fret about my distressed toddler these past two months. While I’ve put in an order for this next baby to be a good sleeper and I have my fingers crossed that Cooper won’t have any more problems, I know that the God really is “faithful [and] will not suffer [us] to be [tried] above that [we] are able” (1 Corinthians 10:13).