As I write this, my eyes are all watery from all the yawning I’ve been doing throughout the morning. However, I did promise that I’ll write a post about just how terrible a sleeper baby V is.. so here it is!
The last day I actually got a full night’s sleep was
July 15 (no wait, that night my labour started), was actually July 14, 2016. I haven’t slept more than a couple of hours at a stretch since (neither has the husband, Yay to him for believing that parenting is a joint effort, and living it every moment; no gender discrimination in our house). We are striving to set an example to baby V like that!
Baby V is an abysmal sleeper. The term “sleep like a baby” is now a running joke in our house! He takes ages to go to sleep, even though he gets tired at appropriate times like all normal kids. You have to keep him vertically upright (no thooli business here), with his head resting on your shoulder at a certain angle, and his tiny body being exactly so many inches from your face.. and you need to sing only a certain type of song (his all time favourite being Aayar padi maaligayil), and there should be absolutely NOTHING that might possibly distract him.. like say, a sliver of sunlight that escapes the carefully drawn curtain or any noise at all, like a pin softly plopping on the floor. If even one of these conditions are not carefully met, all hell breaks loose, and baby V will raise his head like a cobra and lose all interest in sleeping (but note that he is still tired, so very cranky!).
When all this effort became too much, I finally decided that our thooli is a mother’s best friend, and trained him to sleep in it. But then a fresh wave of pain started – he needs to be lying in the thooli at a certain angle, with his hand holding the thooli at a certain position, and we need to rock it in a certain way only. Otherwise he will keep tossing and turning and whining until we get it right. Tough taskmaster, this boy!
You think this is a long post? We’re not even halfway there yet! If you think putting him to sleep is the hard part, that is nothing compared to what he does once he falls asleep and we put him down.
Every time we somehow put him to sleep and then put him down on the bed, he wakes up screaming immediately, without fail! And then the process starts all over again.. put him to sleep, carry him in our arms for a while so that he gets at least some shut-eye, and then put him down on the bed. By the time we do this for the third time, his meagre nap is over and he is up and about, smiling at me, with his eyes twinkling 🙂
Just imagine our vacations and outings, where we don’t have all his infinite requirements for sleep in place – like “no light, no sound” for example. We used to take turns in holding him throughout his nap and struggle. Nights are worse! He wakes up every 40 minutes sharp (I have no idea how a baby who doesn’t actually know how to fall asleep on his own, knows how to follow a clock). What a disciplined fellow, I say!
This went on for ages until I finally discovered the beauty of babywearing. This is not an advertorial for babywearing or anything, but it has been a lifesaver countless times by lulling the “awful sleeper” baby V to peaceful sleep. Afterall, all my little one needed was the closeness with me, snuggling against my chest, a peck on his forehead and a comfortable position.
Some lessons that I have learned in the journey of “helping the little one sleep” are:
- Don’t plan to get other work done when the baby is sleeping – it is just not going to happen, not with baby V at any rate!
- Multi-task! The Kolkol (the baby carrier brand that I use) carries the baby, so I carry my Kindle.
Nowadays, warm sleepy afternoons on weekends find me with the bub snuggled up and peacefully sleeping in the kolkol, and me with a Kindle in my hand catching up on my books.
Well-meaning people have been telling me that babies generally sleep well after their first year. I sincerely hope so.. but somewhere in the corner of my heart, I know I will miss these days because cuddling baby V, snuggling him against my chest and watching him fall asleep peacefully are some of the most joyous moments in my life (even though if I say I was exhausted by then, I would be underrating myself).
I cannot even begin to explain the feeling I get when baby V feels extremely tired and sleepy and immediately reaches his hands out to me, because he trusts that I am the one who can put him sleep most quickly and easily. Love might be an understatement here.