Lesson Learned

Ever since Kennedy was born, during our nightly prayers as a couple we have prayed and begged and pleaded asked the Lord to help Kennedy sleep well and sleep through the night. I can still feel the anxiety and the desperate plea behind those words as we gave them when she was a newborn. "Please, for the love of all that is holy, let her sleep!! I'll dedicate my entire life to missionary work if you can just let us get some rest!"

We're realists. We get that babies have problems and a little prayer isn't going to stop life from unfolding. But we figured it never hurt to put in a little request to the CEO. It was our insurance plan.  Whether it worked or not, we still felt covered somehow.

I realized last night while praying that we still do it. Every single night, we still ask for Kennedy to sleep well. I kind of chuckled last night and thought, "Why do we still do this? She's almost 16 months old and sleeps like a champion and has for a very long time. She doesn't wake up in the night anymore."

It was at this point that I wish my head would have sounded the alarm. WARNING! WARNING! YOU'VE JUST INVOKED MURPHY'S LAW!
I wish I could have felt that little voice smack me upside the head and say "Noooooooooo Megan! Nooooooooo! You don't ever say things like that!" Ever heard of jinx? Because life is a BIG fan of it....

11:22 p.m. I heard Kennedy crying. She wakes up sometimes and cries for a minute and falls back asleep. No big deal.

This was not that cry. This was the sad, painful, scared, something is wrong cry. I let her go for a couple minutes to see if she could work it out on her own but it became clear as it escalated to a howl that she wasn't going to stop. My mind played over what could be wrong:
She's teething, maybe she needs Advil.
Nightmare? Possibly.
Just wants mommy? More than likely.

I got out of my warm, amazingly comfortable bed and went into her room and picked her up. We cuddled for about 5 minutes on the rocking chair and then I tried to put her back in her crib. It was like trying to shove a cat into a tub of water. She was NOT having it! I held her for a couple more minutes and tried again. She went in the crib quietly, grabbed Elmo, and rolled over. Did I really do it? Is she going back to sleep? I crawled back into my warm bed and started to drift off....

12:06 a.m. The screaming began. I mean the loud, screeching, going all out, scream. I tried to let her cry it out for a good 20 minutes. I was tired, she was tired, and if she could just stop and go back to sleep we would both be much happier.

At this point Cory got up and put ear plugs in. Isn't being a husband awesome? It's loud in here? I'll just stick ear plugs in! Ok, Ok. This would never have flown with me if he didn't have to get up for work in 4 hours. But he did, so I allowed him to get some rest while I dealt with the problem. 

After 20 minutes of listening to your child scream and cry while your heart aches, something snaps inside you. Maybe it's just me, but I'd had enough. I got up and dramatically threw my pillows over to the door so I could take them into her room. I flung the covers back in a passive-aggressive way to let Cory know I was pissed and going through hell here while he slept, and went into the kitchen. I grabbed the Advil, then went into the basement to find the air mattress and pump. The pump took some searching. Especially in the dark with a flashlight.

I entered Kennedy's room carrying two large pillows, a blanket, a rolled up air mattress, Advil, and a big flashlight. She must not have been expecting that because she jumped and started screaming even more. How could she not know a person twice the normal size of her mommy would be entering her room in a fit of rage, shining a bright light in her face? Doesn't she know who her Grandpa is?* Come on, Kennedy, get real!

I pumped up the mattress and got my bed ready. This was going to be an all-nighter. Something was wrong with her, hopefully sleeping with her would fix it. I gave her some Advil and we laid on the air mattress and she cuddled right up to me and did the gut-wrenching *sniffle and shake* thing kids do after they've been crying a long time that makes you feel like the worst mother ever.

Just when I thought she was falling asleep, she started giggling. Seriously? Do you not realize what time it is little girl?? Fun stops at 8:00! There is nothing fun about this situation. I rolled over so my back was towards her hoping she would get the message that we weren't playing. We were sleeping. We were going to sleep or else everyone in the house would die from my wrath. After a couple minutes of giving her the cold shoulder, I heard more giggling mixed with whimpers. I turned over to see what the problem was and in that short period of time she had already rolled off the air mattress. And apparently it was funny. Perfect.

I got up and turned the air mattress so that her side was flush with her crib. She wasn't rolling anywhere!! Muahahaha! We laid down again and I closed my eyes. She kept rolling around and squealing. I kept getting feet and elbows in my face. I finally grabbed her by the shoulders, looked at her and said, "No! We're going to bed! You can either sleep with me or sleep alone. Now lay down and stop moving around!" Yep, that's how a good parent does it. I sure showed her! I totally had the upper hand now!

After laying down and closing my eyes to demonstrate what I meant (like she had any idea what I was saying) I got a very swift smack on the face by a tiny little hand followed by a robust laugh.

For those of you who think I don't have any patience, you're right. That was the straw that broke the camels back. I picked her up and put her in her crib and laid back down on the mattress. Maybe she would sleep with me just in the room?

NOPE! She started crying again, but it wasn't a serious cry so I was determined to lay there and wait it out. I closed my eyes AGAIN, cuddled up in the blanket I brought, and tried to sleep. A few minutes later, the crying stopped, and I felt the first binki drop and land directly on my face. Yes, there was giggling. Another 30 seconds passed and *plop* another binki to the face. How is it possible she has impeccable aim?? Before we should could pelt me again, I got up, threw my pillows out the door, hugged her and laid her down, reluctantly gave her both binkis back, and left the room. It was 1:45 a.m. at this point. I had tried to get her to sleep with me for over an hour. Obviously it wasn't working. She had Advil, she had her chance at mommy time, and now it was time to just let her cry it out.

I went back to my own bed angry and defeated. Within 15 minutes she was done crying and both mommy and baby were sleeping again. Actually, I can't say how well she slept after that because I had shut her door, but I image she got more sleep. I know she stopped crying. And I slept, which is really the key factor in us all surviving today.

So what is the moral of this story? Well, after an almost 3 hour ordeal with a child who "doesn't wake up in the middle of the night anymore," you can be sure I'll be earnestly praying for sleep again tonight. No laughing. No jinxing. All seriousness up in here. Lesson learned. Well played, Murphy, well played.    

*Family joke. My Dad is infamous for shining his flashlight in peoples faces in the dark. Happens all the time!


Wendy said...

People came to my office to see if I was OK - I was laughing so hard! You are hilarious!

Mike and Lisa said...

Oh Megan, I can totally relate to this post. It's nice to know we aren't the only ones with occasional sleep issues at our house!