Sleepless in this metropolis

You know you are in trouble when WordPress has software upgrades more frequently than you have published posts.  In fact, every time  have opened my blog this year, there has been a new upgrade, which is not a reassuring thought at all.

I may be an extreme case, but apparently, I am not alone.  It is easy to see where all the bloggers are these days.  Not on their blogs, surely, for on the rare occasion that I open up my feed reader (do people even still use them?) I see hardly any new posts.  Perhaps they are on Facebook and Twitter, but they are definitely visible on Flipkart.  Every Indian blogger seems to have a book or three out.

Frankly, I am envious of them.  Leave alone writing books, I’d love to be able to get a chance to write a mere blog post.  Gone are the days when my only excuse for not blogging was laziness. These days I compose multiple blog posts in my head, where they are doomed to remain, for I am destined to not touch a laptop while S is around. The little despot has long decreed that all laptops/ tablet PCs/ phones, cameras and other electronic devices are hers alone. Even when she was barely crawling, she would rush across and close any laptop that anyone dared use around her.

Then there is the question of sleep.  It has been a while since I have had more than 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, and more than 6 hours of a night’s sleep.  It has, in fact, been more than a year.  There are bad days that I muddle through, zombie-like, and good days when I am merely tired. Multiple night wakings have always been the norm with S, on bad days it could be as frequent as every hour.

S (at 6 months) “reading” an ebook

Almost every pediatrician I have talked to during the last year has had the same solution – let her cry it out. The Ferber method is the standard mantra for sleep training in the West. “Cry It Out” (CIO) and its variations like Attended CIO are used to teach babies to soothe themselves.

CIO works for many babies. I have heard many parents tell me how their child started sleeping through the night after a few days of CIO. What is less clear is why it works. Does the baby really learn to soothe himself/ herself, or does he/ she decide that crying is a waste because no one is going to listen to them? Then there are studies that show that CIO can cause really high levels of the stress hormone cortisol and kill neurons.

Having decided that I am not going to attempt CIO or any kind of sleep training, I have no choice but to muddle my way through. But I was tired of the constant admonitions to CIO, so I changed pediatricians till I found one who said that sleep training was unnecessary, that she would eventually outgrow the nightwakings. Unfortunately, he followed this very reassuring statement with “She is not going to do this till she goes to college, right?” which was a little less reassuring.

The good thing, though is that S has started taking longer afternoon naps, so maybe, just maybe, I might be able to blog more frequently.

That, at any rate, is my hope. Some day (maybe by the time S goes to college) I shall have enough time to write a book. But for now, baby steps.

 

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7 Comments

  1. hello, hello! my feed reader still works (and my book is still unwritten).

    sorry to hear about your night time travails. how old is your kid now? after a point (it was 2+ years for us), it might help to cut *down* the length of the afternoon nap. this makes the kid really need to sleep at night. we found it also helped to ensure a full belly a bedtime.

    • Your feed reader clearly works at lightning speed :) And I suppose you limit yourself to publishing research papers?

      My daughter is 13 months old now, so I suppose I have another year to go before I try your method :( So far, though, her afternoon naps have been really short – 2 naps of 45 minutes each. It’s only now, as she transitions to a single nap, that she sleeps, on average, 2 hours. It’s amazing how much more I get done now during her nap :D The full belly doesn’t seem to make any difference. My own theory is that she wakes up after every sleep cycle and doesn’t know how to soothe herself back to sleep.

      • you’re so right about the heaven on earth that comes when the baby sleeps. we’ve been lucky in that both our kids seem to love their left thumbs — a continuing love story for the older one. amazing how much soothing they derive from these.

        ya, publishing papers now and again. these days mostly male menopausing.

  2. I’m here too and no book in sight :)

    BTW the CIO worked for R too. He started sleeping through the night a week before his first birthday. Sometimes he does wake up and cry but we let him for about 15-20 minutes which is the most he has before falling back to sleep.

    • Yes, I’ve heard quite a few friends say it worked for them. Of course, even if I could handle CIO, I’m not sure it would help in our case because S’s problem is not going to sleep (she just takes a couple of minutes on most days), it is staying asleep :(

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