Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Closing the Books and Closing the Computer

As parents, we have access to an abundance of resources.  The internet alone can let you explore answers to questions for hours.  Don't forget the vast amount of books available on a particular parenting topic.  Then there are always family and friends who step in as a resource as well.

All of these are great!  And yet, sometimes, it's just too much.  We can get overloaded on information very quickly.  Which then causes us to feel discouraged, guilty, fearful, full of worry, stressed and the list goes on and on.

I have recently hit this point.  My youngest has not been a great overnight sleeper.  I have been trying to figure out why and how to make it better.  I needed the sleep just as much as he did.  I haven't slept well in nearly a year (yes, I know A is only 8 months old, but I haven't slept well once I hit the second trimester and going forward).  I was done being beyond exhausted.

I scoured the internet, I read books, I asked friends, I knew what our pediatrician thought.  I filled my head so much I couldn't let my mom instinct function any more.  And everything I did filled me with much angst and guilt.

I decided I needed to close the books and put them aside. I needed to close the internet and put it aside.  I needed to stop listening to everyone else and just focus on my son.  I cleared out all that I could of what I read and heard.  I took a few key things to remember, like how many hours of sleep in a day a kid needs, how long can they realistically stay awake between naps, and a slight insight of kids basic personality category. Then I observed my son. And I let go.

I stopped focusing on the exhaustion the best I could. I stopped focusing on the shoulds. And just let it be.  My youngest is a cross between a cautious kid and a spirited kid (Found the descriptions in the Happiest Baby Guide to Sleep Book).  The key thing I took away from it was that kids that are more spirited like to be around where the action is.  They are the ones who keep going until they just pass out.  They will be mid sentence, mid giggle and fall asleep.  The key is to catch them before they get to that point and get them down to sleep.

I say that my son is a mix between the two because he is very alert and always wants to be where the action is.  If there is too much going on he will not fall asleep easily.  He will go from happy and content, seeming like he will be awake for awhile yet to the other extreme of fussing and just being done with everything around him.  Sometimes we get the cues of yawning and eye rubbing, other times he just makes the switch.  He isn't one where you can look at the clock and say he will sleep at this specific time.  Its usually a range.  Sometimes he can go almost three hours between sleep and other times we might get an hour and a half.

By taking the few nuggets of information and pushing the other stuff to the side, I was better able to figure him out.  I will admit though, I am still learning and still trying to figure him out.  We need to get him to sleep longer stretches at night more regularly.  And of course, once I figure it out, it will change again (as it always seems to do).  But for now, I will take this small success and run with it.  And maybe soon, we will fall into a rhythm and both get the much needed sleep we need.

I encourage you to close the books, close the computer, and tell others you need a break from their advice and just be present.  You can learn a lot from observing.

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