Emmalee and I have had our share of nighttime battles. Apparently I find sleep to be a more essential part of life than she does. For the past couple of months though it has seemed as though Emmalee has come around to my way of thinking. She has been sleeping through the night and neither of us has ever been happier. Last night that was not the case.
Since our mostly unsuccessful cry it out attempt back in December, I have become increasingly terrified of going into Emma’s room at night. When I hear her make a sound, I immediately begin to silently pray “Please go back to sleep. Please, please, please, for the love of whatever the hell is out there go back to sleep.” Most of the time, especially lately, this praying seems to work because within a minute or two blessed silence returns and sleeping commences. On the occasions when her noises and crying continue, however, I then face a choice: to go to her or to not go to her. Usually it takes at least 30 minutes (as long as the crying isn’t too intense) before I even consider breaking down and entering her room because I know that once I go in it will most likely be awhile before I get to come back out.
Yesterday I had a very pleasant evening. I blogged, checked Facebook, and then watched Tuesday’s episode of Teen Mom 2. I don’t really see how I could have enjoyed myself more (which yes, I do realize, is kind of sad). I finally crawled into bed a little after ten. About twenty minutes later, just as I was starting to doze, Emmalee began to cry. I prayed, begged, pleaded, but nothing seemed to help. Her crying was intermittent, with breaks long enough to give me hope that maybe she’d decided to go back to sleep after all, but then she’d crush me by crying again. After about fifteen or twenty minutes of this I began my internal debate about what I should do. To go to her or to continue to hope and pray that she will miraculously find her way back to dream land on her own? Her crying was sporadic enough that waiting it out might have won, except that I got the idea in my head that she might be hungry. Lately Emma hasn’t been eating dinner very well. She has lost interest in the stage 3 baby foods she once loved and we’ve been struggling. Anyway, once this thought popped into my head there wasn’t anything else I could do but get up and make her a bottle. I simply could not lie there listening to my poor, starving child whimper with the agony of hunger pains. And since she has been sleeping so soundly lately, clearly something must have been bothering her to cause this episode in the first place.
So I made her a 4 oz bottle and went into her room. The relief in her eyes when she saw me was enough to let me know that I might as well get comfortable because I’d be there for a bit. She sucked down every drop of the bottle while I rocked her, all the while staring up at me with nothing short of reverence. When she was done she surprised me by snuggling against me and closing her eyes. Maybe I’d made the right choice after all. Maybe she was just in need of a midnight snack and would now go right back to sleep. Forty five minutes later it was clear that this was not the case. Emmalee would doze but as soon as I tried to stand up from the rocker her eyes would pop open incredulously, her look clearly asking “And just where do you think you’re going?” As the minutes ticked by and my window of opportunity to sleep got smaller and smaller, I began to get frustrated. I finally decided that enough was enough. I couldn’t see that there was anything wrong with her. We both needed to sleep. So I put her in her crib, ignored her very angry protest cries, and left the room.
Twenty minutes of loud, angry wailing later, I relented and went back to her. She was standing in her crib, screaming bloody murder in the general direction of the door. That’s when I discovered that she’d cried so hard that she threw up and was then left standing on wet sheets, in wet pajamas, crying and angry and upset and sleepy and lonely and ignored while covered in throw up. It was all I could do not to start crying myself. I don’t think I’ve ever felt like a worse mother, even when I discovered my car seat fail. My “Most Crappiest Mom” tiara was firmly in place. I cleaned her up, changed her sheets, and hugged and kissed and cuddled her and told her over and over how sorry I was. This time I was determined to rock her the rest of the night if necessary, but luckily it only took about twenty more minutes. At 1:30 in the morning I finally crawled back into bed, with a whole 4 ½ hours left until my alarm would sound.
So it was a rough night. But that’s fine. I can handle one rough night and one day clouded by a sleep-deprived haze. I’ve been through worse. I just hope that this isn’t the start of a new normal for us. I’ve been enjoying the normal of sleeping at night for long enough that I just don’t think I can go back to repeats of last night over and over again. If only I knew what it was that caused the problem in the first place, but I think Emmalee will be keeping that one to herself for now. Babies, and toddlers apparently, can be so enigmatic.