When my son was just a few months old, our pediatrician promised he’d be sleeping through the night by the time he was 6-months old.
Okay maybe she didn’t promise. But we should have had her define ‘through the night’. His version is nothing like what we were led to believe.
Now 13 months, he goes to bed between 6 and 7 pm, depending on how many times he interrupts his bottle or book reading to march back and forth across his room waving a piece of paper, or a block, or his teddy bear or whatever else is at hand.
When he finally has enough milk, one of four things happens: the bottle is finished and he has fallen asleep and we put him in the crib; the bottle is finished, he pushes it away and goes off on another marchfest; the bottle isn’t finished but he’s asleep and we put him in the crib; the bottle isn’t finished, he pushes it away and goes off on another marchfest.
Options 1 and 3, we love. Options 2 and 4 usually extend bedtime by 30 to 45 minutes. But its OK. He’s adorable and usually in good spirits at this point.
He routinely wakes up after that sometime between 10 and midnight.
There is nothing cuter than the half-asleep pose he assumes sitting there in a corner of his crib. There is nothing more frustrating than not knowing what it is he wants since he’s not talking to us yet (I mean, he’s talking but we have no idea what he’s saying). Sometimes, it takes another bottle, sometimes a diaper change, sometimes a walk around the apartment in the stroller.
I’ve heard people put their young kids into the car and drive around the block a few times. I live in Manhattan. I’ll do anything for my son short of give up a parking spot.
Getting back to ‘through the night’, the hardest part is when he wakes up for good, usually between 4 and 5 in the morning. Through the night should mean ‘until it’s light out’ or at least when I can raise the blinds and show him something other than the bread and newspaper trucks.
When I’m really, really, really tired I put on a DVD of one of the original Sesame Street episodes, stick him in the Pack n’ Play and slink off back to bed. He usually cries for a few minutes but then gets that deer in headlights look when he’s mesmerized by a television show.
One morning the reprieve lasted just 24 minutes. When I went to the living room to see what had happened, I realized I had put on Jack’s Big Music Show instead of Sesame Street. Lesson of that day was to always make sure to set him up with an hour-long show.