Every conversation I have about Baby Girl eventually ends up like this.
Random Person: So, is she a good baby?
Me: Oh yes. She is SUCH a good baby.
Random person: Oh good. So she's sleeping through the night?
Me: ... no ...
I am crazy about my daughter. She is beautiful, hilarious, and so good at so many things. Sleeping isn't one of them. At 8 months old, she still wakes up twice every night, and her naps are sporadic at best.
I blame myself.
I know that there are a lot of things I don't do right. At night, I let her fall asleep eating sometimes. If she's fighting bedtime, I bring her back downstairs to watch Glee with me. I tried to sleep train once and was so ambivalent that I ended up in the nursery rocking chair sobbing, while my wide awake baby looked at me incredulously. For her naps? I don't have much of a schedule. I usually snuggle her to sleep. And then sometimes keep holding her all through the naps - not because she needs it but because I do. Although she's a fan too.
Is this why my 8 month old isn't sleeping through yet? Or is she just not ready? Does she wake up at night because I'm spoiling her? Because she's hungry? Because she's teething? Because she's just so darn crazy about me she can't stand to be away?
These are the questions that keep me up at night. Well, that and the baby. Okay, mostly the baby.
I want to "trust my instincts." I want to "do what I know is right." But years of school and academic experience have taught me that the answer to problems is research. So I've read everything on the Internet and half of what's in my library and, instead of making me feel better or fixing the problem, it's only made it worse. And my solution to the information overload is more information.
I'm tired. 8 months of interrupted sleep is a lot. What's much worse than the exhaustion though is the shame. When I admit she isn't sleeping, other mothers look at me like I'm crazy. My doctor gently scolds me and tells me I should let her cry. My mother in law says "but why wouldn't she be? She's eating solid food," as if to say that she doesn't believe me. My own mother just tsk tsks and doesn't say anything.
And I smile and make a joke and then go home and cry. I sit thinking Am I a failure as a mother? Is she a failure as a baby? Should I let her cry it out? Will I have to breastfeed until she's 4? and on and on.
I want to be a good mother. I want to get some rest. But right now, honestly, I think I just need to love Baby Girl the best way I know how and start to learn to trust the both of us that this will all work out in the end.
I'm tempted to start lying when asked. But maybe that's what everyone else has been doing all along?