am i doing something wrong?

Today should be the day I post Kellan’s five month letter because he is officially five months old today. Wow.

Except, remember how I said the other day how the letter was a bunch of intimidating, incomplete sentence notes?

Still is.

That and I’ve been feeling…I don’t know. Defeated, maybe? That’s not the word I’m looking for but it’s the best I’ve got at the moment.

I feel like, in the beginning, when Kellan was only a few weeks old, I thought that things would be easier by now. Not easy as in less work (because it’s more work as the days and months tick by. Fun work, but more, not less) but easier as in I’d get some time to myself during the day while Kellan naps. And he’d sleep longer stretches at night.

Fast forward to now and that “time for myself” is a genuine gift because some days I *might* get 15 to 30 minutes to [gasp!] an hour where I can get up and do stuff and he will stay asleep.

These little breaks do not happen often…though when I stop to think about it, they happen more often than they used to (which was never), so I guess that’s something.

I assumed that at this point, we would be in a more predictable routine. The only thing I know for certain at this moment in time is that he needs a nap after about 90 minutes of awake time. The length of the nap always varies…though he’s been taking a 2+ hour nap around 9 and then a 1-2 hour nap again around 12:30-1:30, depending on what time he wakes up from the first nap. Then we’ve got two 30-45 minute naps – one in the early morning and one in the late afternoon…usually…

I guess that’s kind of a schedule, isn’t it?

The part that is missing is the part where my entire body is not required for each of these naps.

And all night.

I should mention that we did have a break through the other night.

After about 30 minutes of Kellan kicking and swinging his arms and talking and generally doing anything except sleep…at 3AM…while I remained in a half awake state to make sure he was ok…he eventually settled down and fell asleep WITHOUT MY BOOB IN HIS MOUTH.

This is huge because that’s how he usually always soothes himself back to sleep.

I was happy, proud that he figured it out on his own, for the most part. It made me think that he will eventually figure out how to self soothe…I’ve even been doing an experiment with him during most naps and nighttime. It’s all being documented…we’ll see if it does anything other than make me crazy…errr…crazier than I already am.

Since the word go, I’ve been of the mind that he will figure it out on his own, in time. I have no idea how much time it will require, but at some point, before he’s graduated high school, he’ll figure it out.

For the last few weeks, during the middle of the night, I’ve started just leaving my boob “out there” and if he can find it, then it’s his for the taking.

If not, he’s on his own.

I stay mostly asleep, regardless of the outcome.

(we co-sleep, in case you’re late to the party)

I guess the point (that I’m not really making very well) is…patience is not my strong suit. I don’t even have a patience suit or pants or shirt or anything.

I have a DO IT NOW kind of personality.

Babies do not have this.

They have a I NEED IT – from you, all the time – NOW mentality.

And instead of me trying to force my own agenda on him, a la cry it out so he has no choice but to figure it out alone (and no judgement if that’s what you did), I’ve been trying to be patient. To give him time. To allow him to develop his own way of self soothing at his pace, not mine.

Some say that’s crazy talk and I’m fostering habits that will result in a child who will never learn to soothe himself and never sleep through the night.

Others say complete opposite.

I’m going by my (very tired) gut, which says that crying it out just isn’t the right thing for him…not now, anyway.

It is really hard to live every single day on someone else’s agenda. Personal Assistants to overly demanding famous people, I bow to you, because if anything can dampen your spirit and try to break your will, it’s a complete loss of personal freedom to someone else.

Kellan determines my days…and my nights. And I’m ok with that, as hard as that reality is sometimes. Other than being forced to remain (happily) patient, the hardest part is not comparing him and his sleep and independence – or lack thereof – to other babies.

He isn’t other babies.

He is him and that’s all he’ll ever be

(grammar be damned).


10 Responses to “am i doing something wrong?”

  1. 1 Kathleen Reifsnyder July 19, 2012 at 7:21 am

    The only thing I will say is that babies DO need to learn to comfort themselves and to fall asleep on their own, by themselves… it’s an integral part of growing and learning to be independent. Talk to your pediatrician about ways to go about this without too much stress on you.

  2. 2 Brandy July 19, 2012 at 7:48 am

    Nothing wrong with doing it your way. He’ll be fine and dandy. Happy 5 months Kellan. You have an awesome Mommy who loves you dearly!

  3. 3 Debbie Q July 19, 2012 at 8:02 am

    Happy 5 Month birthday Kellen! And this is why babies do not come with an owners manual. Each one is different and you just have to find your way. We handled each of the progeny differently when they were babies. You are doing an AWESOME job. Kellen will eventually learn to self soothe.

  4. 4 Lindsay Byers July 19, 2012 at 8:04 am

    It sounds like you talked yourself into your own answer there… that you ARE doing what’s right for you guys. And seriously, I would have said the same thing. I think your expectations were just … wrong. ๐Ÿ˜‰ With both of mine, the first six months were sleepless and tiring. No time for mama, and naps were too short to be productive or restful for the parent.

    I don’t want to discourage you, but being able to mama-rest during naps didn’t happen til Ethan was down to one nap a day (around 15 months) because the nap would be long enough to get something done AND do a wee bit of loafing. In the meantime, hang in there.

    I’ve found with both kids that life in general gets a little easier around 8 or 9 months. Less feeds, more play. ๐Ÿ™‚ (That’s when I noticed, “HEY! I don’t feel like a walking zombie boob anymore!) When he’s ready to cry it out (we didn’t do that til 6.5 months, when he was well established on solids), if you want tips, Dr. Googled up some a couple years ago that worked flawlessly! Just ask. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. 5 Shannonon July 19, 2012 at 8:09 am

    Happy 5 months Kellan! Such a handsome little guy! You are right, everyone does it differently. You have to do what works for you and what you feel is best for Kellan. But everyone has a breaking point and if you are wearing down then it is okay to try a new method. You are a fabulous Mom and you have done a great job!

  6. 6 Emma July 20, 2012 at 2:01 am

    I don’t know you – I just happened to come across your blog randomly some time ago and kept coming back because you were entertaining, our babies are only a couple of weeks apart (yours is older, and mine is also my second), and I was finding that much of how you feel, I had felt the same way with my first. And this post by you made me want to reach out in some small way, because I really do know how you feel, as my first (who is now 2.5 years old) was very similar to how you describe Kellan. And I just wanted to say that I also followed my natural instincts, which was that CIO or any form of it, was just not something that was going to work with my kid, and I didn’t want to do something that felt so wrong in my gut, even tho I was beyond EXHAUSTED (I also do not have any family or close friends nearby and my husband travels a fair amount, so it’s really on my shoulders). And I want to say, it does get better. It might take longer than other “methods”….mine did not start sleeping through the night until 20 months, but he got there on his own, and he has always gone to bed happy. And now, at 29 months, he still goes to bed happily, in his own bed in his own room, and konks out for an average of 9-10 hours a night (he has never been a 12-hours a night kind of kid, just doesn’t require as much sleep!). I just wanted to offer a little bit of support, please feel free to email me if you ever want to chat more. Sometimes I feel like I got through those tough times only because I had a close friend who ironically was going through it with me, and so we could share stories and support each other. Hang in there. And do know that if you ever reach a point where you feel you need to try another approach for your sake, do so! Mama needs to take care of herself too, and Kellan will be okay. Big hugs to you.

    • 7 Jessica July 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Emma, thank you. Stranger or not, cyberspace seems to bring us all closer due to our similar experiences, sometimes. ๐Ÿ™‚ Since I started to understand and realize what kind of baby Kellan is, I told myself I had to shift my expectations….he would never be the “easy” baby. It’s not that he’s overly difficult…just more…needy. You know what I mean. It’s helpful to know that, at least on the sleep front, it gets better.

      I’m glad you found me…because I just might need that extra bit of support from someone who knows. And now here you are…such a blessing.

  7. 9 EAC July 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Like Emma I also came across your blog from a google search involving 12 week growth spurt and fussiness or something like that. My daughter is about a month younger than Kellan and I feel like reading your blog gives me a sneak peek as to what’s ahead. She is also “high-needs”–dislikes sleep, eats all the time, and is super curious about the world but needs me to help her navigate it. She’s also really really fussy. This post spoke to me as I frequently have felt as if I’m at the end of my rope. My husband has asked me if we’re doing something wrong. I don’t know what “right” is but I just take this adventure day by day and love my little girl with all my heart. Anyway, I just wanted you to know that your blog helped me get through the day yesterday and that I think Kellan is lucky to have you as his mother.

    • 10 Jessica July 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

      Thank you do much, EAC! It’s nice to know I’m not alone with a high needs baby. They are SUCH a challenge, yet such a delight, since their love of being involved in EVERYTHING gives you a whole new perspective on the world (written as I type this one handed on my phone while Kellan is half-sleeping, half nursing. Oy). The last month has really seemed to have exploded with Kellan wanting to do/see/be involved in/etc. It’s exhausting – as you know. A virtual hug to you, because I feel your frustration – and if you didn’t see the link I posted on my blog today, you need to go read it. It really helped me find solid ground again.

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