Raise your hand if you have ever been personally victimized by Nathan D.
Last night, Nathan purchased himself a one-way, first class ticket on the Cry It Out Express. Next stop, Go The F*ck to Sleep Town.
He has been a good sleeper since day one. He did a 7-hour stretch with my Mom at about 5 days old. He slept through the night so early on, I can’t actually remember how old he was. We had the occasional growth spurts and cluster feeds that messed things up, but he was a good sleeper.
At one point, we went through sleep training, Cry It Out style. We had a champ sleeper. Then came teething. Then came what I guess what a regression. And before I knew it, I had a baby who would wake most nights at 10 pm, and 99% of nights somewhere between 2:30 and 4:30 am. And, oh yeah, he insisted on nursing back to sleep. I’d rationalize it… “Well, 10 means it’s been 3 hours, he just thinks he’s hungry again. Well… at 3, he MUST be actually hungry.” I knew there was a problem. He went from being HUNGRY when he got up at 6 or 6:30, to basically snacking. And he wasn’t getting better at sleeping, he was getting worse.
And then? Last night. He was up at 9:00 – 10:00, 1:00 – 2:00, 4:30 – 6:00. Each time, he’d nurse, fall asleep, and after a few moments in his crib, he’d be screaming. He was doing barrel rolls in my arms despite a clearly full tummy. He had a dry diaper. And it hit me.
My child is a tiny dictator. And I am his bitch.
I described him to my friend as Kim Jung No-Nap, evil dictator of North Nathanrea, forcing Momma to put in hard labor in the gulag.
Harsh? No. True.
He has slept 11-hour stretches. He sprinkles just enough in that I think, “Well, this night nursing isn’t a habit. He must be genuinely hungry. Because he CAN sleep, so if he isn’t, he’s hungry.”
No, Momma. This is an all-powerful baby, exerting his absolute control over you. And you have Stockholm Syndrome. You’re rationalizing this jerk’s behavior instead of realizing it’s unacceptable.
I’ve been picking my battles, hurrying in to quiet him quickly, full of guilt because my husband works. He needs his sleep. And the last time I attempted a cry it out night, my husband insisted that Nathan must be hungry. He’s so angry. Making him cry it out can’t possibly be helping anything. So of course I nursed him. Except it didn’t work. He stopped going back to sleep. In no uncertain baby terms, via screaming and waking and babbling, he stated, quite simply, “I own you.”
And I don’t remember the last time I slept through the night. I don’t. I am missing workouts because I haven’t slept and my body simply won’t do it. Won’t take extra punishment in its already defeated state.
Well, Kim Jung No-Nap, it’s over. You’ve fired a few too many test missiles, shrieking through the night. You sentenced me to one day too long of hard labor. It’s over. I’m launching my offensive. The United States of Momma isn’t taking it any more. We’re imposing sanctions. I’m cutting off your milk supply routes. They are effective from 7:30 pm – 6:00 am each night. Now cows will be allowed through until you free your hostage. It won’t be pretty. But it will hurt me more than it hurts you, I promise.
You will re-learn how to self-soothe. You do it throughout the day. You’re going to do it at night. You see, sleep is a good thing. It’s important. That crawling you’re working on? Sleep. Sleep is this magical thing that brings brain growth, physical growth, and happiness! I know you’re going to feel picked on. Poor little North Nathanrea is going to be bullied by the big, bad United State of Momma. But it’s for the best, kiddo, I promise.
And Daddy? Well, Daddy can be my Canada, or Great Britain or something. He may not really want to get involved in this little battle, but he’s going to support me. Because, alliances, and the greater good of the world, or something like that.