Perhaps I've mentioned that Ethan's been a terrible sleeper since....well, since he was in utero. Most babies, as they are busy doing things like growing their brains and their lungs, get rocked to sleep by the motion of their mamas meandering around all day long. Not mine. My ass sat in a bed for four and a half months while Ethan was doing all the busy work of forming. And without the soothing back and forth motion of my body walking around all day, he spent a LOT of that time awake, floating around in that primordial goo and kicking the ever-living daylights out of my bladder, cervix, stomach, lungs and anything else he could take a kick or punch at in there.
When he came out, he was early and sleepy. So many pictures of him lounging sleepily in our arms grace his scrapbook (and a note on that: the child is three and a half years old and I've managed to complete the first six months of his life in scrapbook form, because I am wicked crafty like that). "Oh, thank goodness!!" I thought, "he was SO busy in utero that he's knocked himself right out and he's going to be the most peaceful little baby! I mean, after the pregnancy we went through, it only seems fair, right?! Karma's cutting me a break here! Yay!"
Aaaaaand perhaps within moments of me thinking that, Ethan awoke, began screaming and didn't stop until somewhere around his eighth month. We tried holding him still, bouncing him, swinging him gently, swinging him like we were in an aerobics class, turning music on softly, turning music up loudly, putting him in the bouncy seat, in the swing, in the car, on the dryer, in a sling, in the stroller. He did. not. sleep.
Ethan woke up during the night approximately every hour, sometimes exactly ON the hour, for the first two years of his life. Husband and I were essentially glorified zombies for much of that time (and sometimes not even really very glorified, actually). When I hear women ask "when will my three month old finally sleep through the night?!" it's everything in me not to laugh a crazy little cackle and regale them with my story of my sleep-allergic offspring. Likewise, when people tell me that their babies were sleeping through the night by eight weeks, you can be pretty sure I've got a voodoo doll of that woman somewhere in my house and have taken it out to stick pins in it at 2am when my kid is up for the 3rd time that night.
Over time, though, sleep has gotten better. He falls asleep more predictably, sleeps for longer stretches and when he does wake up, goes right back to sleep. So that's good. Yes, I do still end up in his room at some point pretty much nightly, and that's fine. It's what we do so that we all get the sleep we need. I'd love for him to sleep all night on his own, but I'm also not concerned that I'll have be searching for a university in fifteen years that has cosleeping dorms.
The best thing about having coslept, for us, aside from the whole bonding stuff (NOT that you can't bond with a baby without cosleeping--let's not get into that argument, mkay?) is that Ethan has been in a bed forever. Moving to his own bed was no novelty--it was just another bed. Lack of bars and railings didn't seem like some sort of freedom experiment in which Ethan bounded up and out of bed nightly to test the limits of this new liberty. Just another bed. Even when he did wake up in the middle of the night, he simply sat up, called to us and waited for us to come to him. Easy peasy.
Until last night. Last night, for some reason, Ethan decided that he wasn't ready for bed. He decided he wanted to play. And this decision made him CRAZY. I was sitting in the living room, watching re-runs (don't judge) and thought that perhaps tired Husband had fallen asleep with Ethan (it happens) because he'd been in there so long. Soon, though, I heard the wailing. The "I want mommy!!!"s of the drama unfolding in Ethan's bedroom.
When I got to the room, there were Husband and Ethan struggling in a battle of "on the bed--off the bed" in which Ethan crawled to the bottom edge of the bed, trying to get down, and Husband picked him up and put him back up by the pillows. Oh yeah, it looks like they were having a blast.
I relieved Husband of bedtime duty so he could regroup and proceeded to park myself on the floor in Ethan's room, my back against his closed door, calmly telling him over and over again to "get into bed, Ethan. It's time for bed, Ethan," until my teeth were on edge and I could vaguely hear the Psycho music playing in my head.
"I want to playyyyyyyyyy," he demanded, refusing to get back into bed, trying to get around me, his fingers reaching for the door knob. Sure, I've lost a few pounds at Weight Watchers in the past couple of week, but no way, no how was he going to be able to get the door open while I was resting my back against it. So I sat there with him while he tantrumed himself ragged, wondering what the beejeeezus had gotten into him, the kid who wasn't a great sleeper, but who was a great staying in bed-er.
Seriously, that was all we had going for us. At least he never gets out of bed, right? Ugh. It took another round of Husband coming into the room and relieving me of my bedtime duty (because of course after a certain amount of time with me, he started in with the "I want daddddddyyyyyyy" routine) before he finally crawled into bed and conked out.
It is bedtime tonight. Husband and Ethan are in E's room and right now, all is quiet. I am holding my breath that last night was not the beginning of a new era of bedtime hellaciousness in our household. Join me, won't you?