Sleep when the baby sleeps, and other stories…

My boy doesn’t sleep. I mean he does but for about 15-20 minutes at a time, and then he’s up for hours. He’s been this way for as long as he’s been alive. If he’s to sleep any longer than 15-20 minutes I have to keep him on my legs, in his baby nest, and continuously rock him. If I stop rocking him he wakes up in a rage.

He’s fallen asleep on his own once, it took 2,5 hours of screaming and playing and everything one can think of, but he fell asleep without me having to rock him. It was something I celebrated. That was a short lived victory, because he kept waking up and not going down and since that night he doesn’t sleep past 2 AM.

Yesterday he was tired after having thrown up a lot and slept for two hours straight. I was so proud and I did two loads of laundry and all the dishes, I tidied up and painted my nails. I also did something I never thought I’d get to do again: I sat down at the kitchen table and had toast and coffee without having to rush or worry about Erik losing his little mind. It was magnificent, and for the first time since before his arrival I had a hot cup of coffee.

It’s hard to grasp if you’ve never been in that situation. Most parents have to deal with certain situations at times but my boy is a high needs baby (HNB). A HNB is a baby that neither can nor will entertain itself, it needs all your attention at all times or it will throw fits of rage. Erik is a demanding, strong and angry little man. He has more personality than most grown ups I’ve met but he’s damn near impossible sometimes.

The worst part is the sleep, still. I can manage having him on me at all times, not leaving his side for more than a minute at a time. I can take the rage fits, the kicking and screaming. I can live with him refusing to go in the car and the stroller, that’s all manageable- but the sleep deprivation. It’s kicking my butt up and down the street.

Some nights I only get an hour. Some nights I get less. He wakes up at least once an hour, wanting to be rocked back to sleep. Wanting a bit of bobo (bottle). And if the rocking stops – so does the sleeping. So, in order for him to get some sleep I need give up mine. That would be fine if it wasn’t going on for so long, or if I had any help. But alas we are alone. And it’s slowly, but surely breaking me down.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? When someone says sleep when the baby sleeps I just want to strangle them slowly with the sound of Erik screaming as if he’s being tortured because that’s the soundtrack of my life currently. Whenever I try to put him down for a nap he screams bloody murder. It’s awful and I wish only to get 2 consecutive hours of sleep so I can deal with the commentary from mothers “who know how it is to have a baby”.

Oy vey!

Ms. Campbell

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