With my kids, the first few months went relatively smoothly. They slept little, as most newborns are wont to do, but by six weeks settled into 5-8 hours of peaceful slumber. Then, the four-month sleep regression hit and both kids went haywire. They started waking up unpredictably and more often. When this happened with Munchkin, my regular routines went out the window as I tried to catch up on sleep while juggling both kids. Shortly thereafter, Monkey decided that since the rest of his family was sleeping in the same room (Munchkin was in the bassinet next to me), he would come to our room in the middle of the night and do his best to shove both his father and me off of the bed. Between Munchkin's wakefulness and Monkey's midnight slaps, we were not getting much sleep.
Here we are almost six months later and while both kids now sleep in their shared room, Munchkin still wakes up 1-2 times a night. We've had a few nights where she has slept the entire night, we've had many nights where she's only woken up after 4:00 or 5:00 and I've nursed her back to sleep. However, the power of nursing and early-morning co-sleeping are quickly being zapped by Munchkin's own super-power of willing herself awake.
The worst nights are the ones like last night, where she wakes up and I.Just.Can't.Get.Her.To.Sleep.Again. I'll pick her up and bounce her so she doesn't wake up her brother. I'll put her down and pat her back while singing a quiet song. She'll lie down contentedly and coo herself to sleep until I dare take a step towards the door. Then, "Waaaaaaaaa!' she starts all over again. When Monkey did this, we did a mild version of sleep training. Let him cry a bit, come back in and pat him, leave, let him cry a bit, and repeat until he fell asleep. However, Munchkin's cries are louder, more insistent and prone to wake up her brother and I don't know what to do. Twice in the last two weeks, I've spent two hours getting her back to sleep. My husband has even stepped in to pat her to sleep, only to hear her wake up the minute his head hits the pillow. Of course, Munchkin wakes up the next morning (i.e. 2 hours later) smilling, laughing and making cute, "ba bab ba" sounds as if she just crawled out of a Gerber commercial and I wake up looking like the "before" shot in a make-over show.
I know the sleep experts would say I'm doing many things wrong if I want Munchkin to settle herself to sleep**. I pat and sing her to sleep; when she cries in the middle of the night, I pick her up, I bounce her in my arms; and if it's after 4am, I nurse her to sleep. This week may entail some sleep training in the pack'n'play in the living room so she doesn't wake anyone besides me. With a little love and discipline, I truly hope my Princess of Darkness really learns to enjoy the light.
*When is the last time you saw the word "ergo" in a sentence that wasn't referring to the baby carrier? Do I get a sticker for my vocabulary skills? I mean, I also used the word "wont" in a sentence!
**I have no problem snuggling, bouncing and soothing Munchkin if she's teething, in pain, or very upset. It's the regular variety wakefulness that drives me bananas.