Thursday, June 25, 2009

Bedtime Stories

Blake has been sleeping through the night from two months and ten days. Even though he was our first child we knew how lucky we were. He was still occasionally a handful during the day, but at least I could once more sleep through the night.

The fragmented sleep was certainly the worst thing in the those first two months. Inconsolable crying came a close second. Of course often you would have your sleep disturbed because of inconsolable crying and get a fantastic combo.

Getting up in the middle of the night from Blake's hungry screams, I had to scrape myself out of bed, change him and warm up the bottle on auto-pilot with my eyes half shut. When I was finally done feeding him I would be completely and utterly awake. Not enough energy to do anything worthwhile, but too awake to fall back asleep. That was when I fell back into playing World of Warcraft (a bad habit I kicked since, hopefully for good) and watch various movies and TV shows.

So it was a delight when Blake started sleeping through the night. But somewhere along the way, I'm not even sure at exactly what point (Eight months? Nine?), Blake would scream his head off every time I would try to put him to bed. The look of terror and betrayal in his eyes would tarnish what could have been a wonderful day spent together. He would make me feel like a real bastard for sticking him in bed and walking away. It didn't matter if I tried singing to him or put the lullaby music on. I was Darth Vader. Often he'd fall asleep within a minute or two, but sometimes he would cry for up to fifteen minutes, getting into a frenzy and I would have to take him out and give him another thirty minutes or so to roam free and really get tired.

And now, about a week ago, just before Blake turned thirteen months, the most amazing thing happened. He stopped crying. He would just turn to his side and be ready to zonk out. Absolutely amazing. Putting him to bed and walking away without being accompanied and haunted by his screams... Heaven. Not sure why it happened, though.

The fact that he can now walk, practically run, probably has a lot to do with it. He tires himself much more. But at the same time I also decided to give him a little nighttime routine. Up until recently we would just let him roam free and do whatever he wanted and come ten o'clock (forget putting him to bed any earlier) we would just lift him, disturbing whatever activity he was doing, and stick him in bed. I can see how that can be a bit jarring. If someone did that to me I don't think I would be that happy about it either. I did try reading him stories, but he is too young to show interest. He would usually listen for a few seconds and then smack the book out of my hands or try to eat it. He is also getting into turning pages in books nowadays. It doesn't matter what else, it's all about the page turning action.

A few days ago I edited all the video tapes I had of Blake so far. I wanted to fit the first year into seven minutes with the Jeff Buckley version of Hallelujah playing in the background. It turned out quite well if I do say so myself. So that what Blake watches every night now just before going to bed. It works wonderfully. He sits on my lap and we watch it on my computer. As soon as it starts he immediately goes limp and relaxed. He sees himself, the people his love, his home, his dogs, his toys. The music is very soothing. As soon as it's over I just take him to bed. So far, almost a week and he hasn't protested once.

It works for now and that's all I care about. What will happen next we'll see. I suppose eventually this will transform into bedtime story time when he is ready.

Now the only problem is little Dexter. Our excitable little pup needs to be taught NOT to bark late at night outside of Blake's room and wake him up screaming...


1 comment:

Jeve (aka John and Steve) said...

Very sweet! Good luck with your little one!