Sleep, Glorious Sleep!

Alex slept through the night! Not once, but twice! And in a row! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is a trend. Even if he continues to wake up at 6:30 in the morning every day, I’ll just adjust my bed time and make it work. Sure, 6:30 in the morning is terribly early. In my opinion, waking up that early should never happen. Ever. It’s ungodly. Or something like that. But, if he continues to sleep through the night and insists on waking up at that hour I’ll just go to bed earlier.

I am kind of in shock. To think that I could start sleeping like a normal person! That is, going to bed and being able to stay in bed, preferably asleep, until the morning. Uninterrupted sleep. Glorious sleep!

Who would have thought that interrupted sleep could be so crazy-making? It truly is worse than no sleep. There is nothing quite so awful as being utterly exhausted, overtired, getting into bed and finally falling asleep only to have your infant wake you up crying or moaning or groaning or screaming. At which point you have not only been startled awake for the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth time that time, but you have to get out of bed.

For the first 6 weeks after Alex was born, he wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in someone’s arms for more than 10 minutes. If you put him down, he would wake up less than 10 minutes later. He cried in the car, just sobbed, because he didn’t want to be alone. It scared him. Fortunately, by 2 months of age he was slightly better and would sleep by himself for short periods of time. From about 2 to 4 months of age, I would have to rock Alex to sleep, place him ever so gently down and hope that he stayed asleep. If he did, he would sleep for an hour, maybe two or three, before waking up and needing to be nursed and rocked back to sleep.

After 6 months of age, he started getting better. Instead of the 4-5 hour chunk of sleep followed by waking every 2 hours like during his 4-6 month age, he would only get up 2-3 times a night. And yes, that is only. When he started waking up twice a night I was thrilled. Then, that subsided, and I wished for once a night.

Once a night came, and now it seems to have left! The past two nights I haven’t actually slept through the night because I woke up scared. Scared that something had happened to Alex, scared that I just couldn’t hear him crying for some reason, scared that he would be screaming, or would have jumped out of his crib, or something just awful. So, for the past two nights I have crept into his room and peaked at his little body breathing heavily. And for the past two nights he has slept through the night.

A Little Down Time

My first final exam was yesterday. As usual, I went in hopped up on caffeine (grande, non-fat, no water chai with a shot, please) and feeling hopelessly unprepared. And, as usual, it wasn’t as bad as I had expected.

Now I have a week until my next final, and my third (and last) final is a week from Thursday. Instead of taking this time to prepare for the exams, I’ll take it to relax and maybe do a few other things I have been meaning to do:

1. Make some more bread (it’s been two weeks!)
a. Learn how to make some pizza dough from scratch
b. Learn how to make nan to go with curry dinner
2. Go to Whole Foods and Trader Joes
3. Make some appointments (hair, eyebrows, pediatrician, doctor)
4. Figure out some new easy meals to make
5. Compile all of my chicken-scratch recipes into a nice, neat, organized binder
6. Call people I’ve been meaning to call (namely Autumn!)

The list could go on (it always could) but I wont bore you with it.

Instead, here are some pictures for you to peruse:

Poppin' his collar

Alex wearing his cute little rugby collared shirt and jeans. Seriously, he’s way more stylish than I will ever be.

Mr. Grumpy

Gotta love Target shirts on clearance! This one says “Mr Grumpy.” That is only true when it’s nap time or bed time. Otherwise, he’s a perfectly, actually kind of oddly, happy child:

Such a happy kid

Seriously, he’s like a crazy-content baby. If he never had to sleep, he would always be thrilled to be alive.

And because after his baths he always looks so silly, I’d like to share with you Alex, the little aryan baby:

My little aryan baby

I can’t help but look at him with his combed-down hair and bright blue eyes and think of how much he would have been loved during Hitler’s Germany. I know, I know, inappropriate. Too soon, maybe. Plus, in Hitler’s Germany Alex would have been considered Jewish because he is more than 1/16 “Jewish blood.”

The Cuteness that is Alexander

I’m busy doing a little procrastination right now, and decided it would be a good time to share one of my favorite recent pictures of Alex:

Caged In Baby

I just adore this photo, and I’m not entirely sure why. He no longer particularly enjoys his “cage”–a bummer considering we just got it and it wasn’t very cheap–but he has gotten extremely good at pulling himself to standing and even moving a bit side to side while in there.

Mother’s Day

5 Minutes For Mom is hosting a Mother’s Day Contest! The best part about this contest (besides the 1000 dollar prize!) is that it is a photo contest, where you share a picture that “tell[s] some sort of story of what motherhood means to you.” I have been absolutely thrilled to look through all of the fantastic entries.

Jaundiced Alex, two days old, with mom

This is Alexander, two days after he was born via cesarean section after three hours of unsuccessful pushing following 14 hours of labor. To me, motherhood is about love, giving and a bit of fear. Love for your children, giving them everything you are able, and fear for their well being. Alex ended up highly jaundiced, and only a few hours after this picture he was taken from me and sent to the NICU. He was by far the largest baby in the NICU (at 9 pounds 12 ounces!) but I was scared nonetheless. In the picture you can see how yellow he is, and also my IV, which I was given after getting a high fever during labor. This picture reminds me of all of the emotions I felt, and exactly what motherhood is: love, giving and a bit of fear.

Barenaked Ladies “Snacktime”

One of my favorite bands of all time made a kids CD! Just like Baby Einstein has been linked to children learning fewer words (which doesn’t surprise me at all) it would make sense that typical music for children would limit language development.

Check out a video of one of the songs:

Barenaked Ladies “Snacktime” will be released on May 6th. I just pre-ordered a copy from Amazon because, well, how could I not? I have a strong aversion to most kids music, and really believe that allowing children to listen to real music will be better for their intellectual growth.

I can’t wait to get my copy!

Babies and their sleep

I don’t know who first said the following, but I do know that it is unbelievably true:

“People who say they sleep like a baby usually don’t have one.”

It’s probable that Alex is a particularly “bad” sleeper, but I do know that it is completely normal for a baby not to “sleep like a baby.”

“Sleep like a baby” means to have a deep, uninterrupted, sleep. I have never taken care of a baby who has completely uninterrupted sleep, and it seems to me that the deep part would not be the best idea for the baby, evolutionarily speaking.

Deep sleeping implies hard to wake. Hard to wake means that if something happens, sleep will continue. Now, we all know those people (Zach is one of them!) who are hard to wake up. You poke, talk, push, and often they’ll still be sleeping. Personally, I’m not one of them. I wake up when someone walks into the room. I wake up at the first sign of Alex making a sound. The latter meant that by 4 months of age Alex had to leave our room (we were co-sleeping) because even though he was sleeping slightly better I was still waking up because, let’s face it, babies are loud sleepers! They moan, groan, gurgle, even cry in their sleep.

Lately, we’ve been struggling with how to make Alex sleep better. One of the main issues is that he hates to sleep. He will fight it with everything he can. He wont lay down, wont put his head down on your chest while you attempt to rock him to sleep, will cry, moan, groan, very loudly, all in order to keep himself from falling asleep. Of course, this leads to long battles every single nap time and bed time.

Beyond that, he wakes up a lot. A lot. On the best nights, he will wake up about three times, putting himself back to sleep twice and needing to eat and be comforted the other. On the worst nights, he’ll wake up every 2-3 hours needing a lot of comfort, so much comfort that you just have to rock him completely back to sleep.

We’re working on him putting himself to sleep more, by doing the least we can to get him to fall asleep. When he’s tired, we put him in his crib. This has yet to work, though, because he will start playing with the crib rails, sitting up, standing up, and talking if not crying. Next, we rock him until he is calm. If he doesn’t fall asleep on his own, we rock him until he puts his head down. Failure on that front means we have to rock him until his eyes are closed (and typically he is moaning at this point, his last attempt at staying awake). That seems to work pretty well, but when that fails, and we’ll try a few times, we end up putting him to sleep.

Then, that whole process gets repeated every time he needs to nap or go back to sleep at night.

Needless to say, it’s exhausting.

Alex is lucky he is so extremely cute. When he’s awake, he’s so much fun and such a happy baby: always smiling, giggling, interacting with the people around him. Sometimes, he just babbles back and forth with you:


And when he sleeps (after a guaranteed long battle), he’s precious:


It’s just too bad that sleep doesn’t come naturally. It’s too bad Alex doesn’t “sleep like a baby.”