I know this has been said but whoever came up with the phrase, ‘sleep like a baby,’ to mean long restful sleep has never truly cared for a child. I just recently read that babies have different sleep cycles than adults. Adults pass out quickly and enter in REM fairly shortly and stay in REM for most of the night. Or stay in REM for three hour cycles. Babies take 30 to forty minutes to fall asleep and their REM cycles are much shorter. So when babies are coming in and out of their REM cycles they are more susceptible to waking up.
Knowing this had made dealing with Emma’s multiple naps a day a little more stress free. I now know that when she wakes up after an hour of her nap screaming with a gas bubble that this is just part of being a baby and I don’t get as frustrated. The thirty minutes prior to the nap of rocking and consoling to get her to sleep is still a bit difficult. Especially since she screams like a banshee when I try to do it. I want some doctor or scientist to explain that to me, they seem to have answers to everything else. Why is it that she can be peacefully resting in grandma’s arms and cutely yawning occasionally with her zonked out look on her face and then the millisecond that I take her with intent to put her to bed she is wide awake and screaming? I feel like she knows. When I take her and start doing, ‘the walk,’ you know the one, slow sashaying with a bit of, ‘you will sleep’ determination, she begins to scream as if I am telling her that her crib is full of scorpions and I am going to strap her in it. If I don’t do ‘the walk’ and just start wandering around the house doing one armed tasks, dirty clothes to the laundry basket, or throwing away of random detritus, (you quickly learn what can be accomplished with one arm free and the other crooked under a baby’s butt) she passes out. Basically if I make believe that I have no intention of putting her to sleep she falls asleep. Argh.
I also want to know why often while doing ‘the walk’ and she is screaming over the scorpions if her dad walks into the room with a bewildered look on his face (like I have told her about scorpions) holds out his hands for our tired child and I hand her over she conks out instantly. Not only does this negatively effect my self-esteem it also makes me want to bang my head against the crib. Why do I even try? Why not just have my husband do it each time? But that’s not possible or really fair, and quite frankly dogged determination sets in and I become more firmly convinced that I must put her down. She will love me and sleep peacefully on my shoulder for I am her mother! But no, babies don’t respond to that well. I feel like often it takes some kind of heavy voodoo to get them to cooperate. All they have to do is eat and sleep, why is that so difficult? But it is, sleep eludes them, gas bubbles won’t let them eat, pooping wakes them up, lights and faces are so interesting that they get so tired that they can’t fall asleep. (I still don’t get the overtired thing, whaddya mean you’re so tired you can’t sleep?) Ah well, they are little googly mysteries and we love them.