Teething Nightmares, at least they would be nightmares if I slept

My little one has never really consistently slept through the night. As a very small guy he would get up every few hours to eat but then went right back to sleep. After hearing some horror stories from other moms I took this and was grateful. But then I’d hear stories of babies who slept 6-8 hours chunks and I was envious, deeply envious. One friend posted about a book that they read and after following this guide, their child was sleeping 12 hours a night. 12 hours straight! With no waking! I had to have this book, so I took a few days to read it and upon finishing cried and cried and cried all while snuggled by new baby which this book pretty much said I was messing up because I was holding too much and that’s why he wasn’t sleeping well. I’ll note this was only a few weeks after O was born, hormones were not stable, at all, I was sleep deprived and still healing from an intense labor. In hindsight, I’m well aware I was not in any sort of appropriate mindset to handle something like this, but the damage was done and even now I’m still pretty sensitive about sleep.

About a year later, we are still struggling with sleep, but only staying asleep. He is fantastic at falling asleep on his own. For naps, I can put him in his room when he shows some tired signs, close the door and he’s out within 20 minutes or less most days. At night, we have a bed time routine we follow, and he falls asleep quickly at nearly the same time every night. But without fail, he wakes at least once if not few time each night and I can count on one hand the amount of times he has slept through the night. There is always something. When he was tiny, it was a growth spurt. As he got bigger, it was gas or some other tummy troubles associated with being on a more solid diet. Right now I’m blaming it on teething. He just cut one of the eye teeth, which I’ve been told are particularly awful. I can see the telltale white gums on two other canines in addition to 2 other molars that haven’t fully broke through. So I get it, he’s really uncomfortable and in pain.

What I don’t understand is how my small boy who is charming, curious, and active during the day, turns into a raging ball of terrible horribleness at night who will seemingly do everything in his power not to fall asleep. Do his teeth only grow at night? Rationally, I know he’s uncomfortable, which wakes him up and keeps him awake, which makes him overtired, which makes it even harder for him to fall back asleep. However, in the middle of the night when I’m counting down the hours until I have to get up the next day, dreading having to function on next to no sleep, all I can do is hunker down and get through it. It becomes a desperate battle of wills to see who will break first and I’ll be honest, it isn’t always the kid.

In the waking hours of the next day, when my happy boy is back, I know that this too will pass. The teeth will come in. He will sleep soundly at some point. As he raises his arms up to me and babbles about his plans for the day, I am reminded of the wee hours of the morning, when he finally succumbed to sleep. It was the best thing to have him snuggle on my lap, limp bodied, chubby little hand resting against my cheek, and the darling little smile that came across his finally peaceful face was the perfect ending to a challenging night. Oh yeah, that’s why I am happy to do this. That’s why I’ll go on with my day only a little worse for the wear. I’d do most anything for that dimpled smile, that stolen moment that I never would have gotten or even noticed had I not been put through the wringer to get there. Yes, I can do this.

What motivates you to get out of bed and tackle another day?

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