And Then I Failed
Henry is seven months old and still likes to be swaddled to sleep. The only other way he sleeps soundly? If he's laying with me. Clearly this is not ideal. We'd like him to NOT be swaddled when he sleeps because that means frequently doing the pacifier shuffle in the middle of the night since he can't put it back in his mouth himself while in his little strait jacket.
Yes, my child does actually wake up smiling. He's not normal.
Over the weekend I decided it was time to be done with the swaddle. As you can see in the picture, he barely fits in the one that he loves. (He has another larger one, but it clearly isn't up to his standards since he often refuses to sleep in it.) So I told B that I'd get up all night with him whenever he whined for his pacifier as long as he got up with him when Henry was ready to be up in the morning (usually around 7 am).
So we did our nighttime ritual, he fell right to sleep on me (unswaddled) and I put him into his crib where he stayed asleep. Night number one, I had to get up 3 times to give him his pacifier back and at 3 am when he thought it was suddenly playtime, I had to rock him back to sleep for about 10 minutes. But he made it through the night without being swaddled. Success! I assumed that I was clearly an awesome parent and knew just what my son needed. My smugness was overpowering.
And then Saturday night came. He woke up once an hour from 10pm until 1am. At 2am he woke up again thinking it was time to play, except this time when I tried to rock him back to sleep, he wasn't having it. Sure, he fell back asleep immediately as soon as I picked him up and held him to me. But the minute I'd put him back down in his crib, his eyes would pop open and he'd start to whine. So I'd scoop him back up, wait for him to pass back out (usually within 5 minutes or less), and put him back in his crib, where he'd wake up again. We did this fun little dance for about an hour. And then I decided that maybe he was hungry and once he had a full belly, he'd stay asleep.
I fed him, got him back to sleep, put him in his bed and snuck out of the room. 10 minutes later, he was awake again. So we continued the same dance for another hour. Finally at 4:30am when I was so exhausted, and he had woken up yet again, I picked him up and brought him to the couch with me intending on just letting him sleep with me. And then it hit me- either he'd become dependent on sleeping with me, or I could swaddle him and put him back in his own bed.
My pride and I had quite the debate. My pride didn't want me to admit that my little experiment was failing. But my body wanted me to give up so that we could both sleep. So I swaddled him. And wouldn't you know it, that little jerk didn't make a peep until 8am when he wanted to be up for the day.
So I failed. And my pride hurts. And my smugness has vanished. And apparently I just need to realize that Henry will decide when he no longer wants to be swaddled, not us. Nothing can quite make you feel like more of a failure quicker than parenthood.