Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Here we go again

Owen's sleep personality is emerging. He woke up from his newborn haze and decided that sleeping anywhere but pressed against human flesh is completely unacceptable. Obviously, he prefers my flesh and specifically my chest where he nuzzles in at night whether he's going to eat or not. In fact, if he's not close enough, he'll inch and grunt his way over. He does seem to like the crook of Jim's elbow, too.

Over the years, much has been written about each of my children's unique sleep personalities. The older two each had specific ways in which they would fall asleep and specific places where they'd stay asleep. We have several photos of each them in their preferred sleeping arrangement.

For the first six months of Danny's life, the only way he would fall asleep was nestled next to Jim in the recliner, rocking back and forth, until he was unconscious enough to transfer to his bed. They'd usually rock away in front of the television to the din of home improvement shows.

Fiona would fall asleep in her car seat and did not take kindly to be transferred from that throne. And there she stayed, throne placed in crib, asleep for the six to eight hours. That all stopped when one morning she somehow hurled herself from the car seat and into her crib.

Owen likes to fall asleep with his head in the crook of Jim's or my elbow, head hanging backwards. And you have to stay that way for a super long time before transferring him to a bed or bouncy seat. He'll wake up immediately if you transfer him too soon. Hence, he is often carried around the house looking like a rag doll in our arms.

These days, Danny and Fiona both sleep like champs in their own beds without any of the sleep crutches their desperately exhausted parents used in their babyhood. Danny no longer falls asleep in a recliner nor does Fiona need her throne, I mean, car seat. They have evolved into children who simply sleep when they're tired. One day, Owen the rag doll will no longer need the crook of our elbows or my chest as a his pillow. One day, Owen will sleep on the bottom bunk while Danny sleeps on the top -- Danny's grand plan that he shares often with a wide-eyed Owen.

That's why I believe that the sleep books are useful only as a guide, a source of ideas when my exhausted mommy brain can't come up with anything else. No one book holds the secret to getting my babies to sleep. Babies need comfort, not strict routines and rules written by people who don't know them. Of course, knowing this won't prevent me in the next few months from frantically scouring the few books I've kept. I'll be looking for that one sleep clue that I must have missed. Ultimately, I will learn anew that each kid writes his own book.

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