Well, he slept through the night last night. We may as well have had a damn party today. He got to snuggle with us in our bed after he woke up at a reasonable hour (six-ish, which may seem ridiculous to some, but it’s a great time to wake up when you’ve been starting your days at 5:00). Then later in the morning, we did some baking for J’s secretaries at work, so we baked with lots of real sugar, and not only did he get to lick the mixer paddle, but he also got to eat a whole piece of the super-sweet gingerbread we made with his dinner (and we were reminded once again why his sugar intake is so limited. Wowza!). He got a toy prize and even some money (well, we always give him our change, and today happened to be an empty the coin purse day). We praised him like mad, and we talked all day about what a great job he did sleeping all night. Whether this will ever happen again, I do not know, but I think the different nighttime routine last night, the fact that he had gotten some sleep yesterday, and perhaps a shift in his thinking all worked together to result in better rest.
My son attributes his good night’s sleep to his little buddy Stretch, a sweet, abstract blue giraffe lovey that plays music when you pull its neck. He liked this toy as a baby, but for some reason, he loves it even more now. Yesterday, we took Stretch shopping at Costco and lost him. It was far more devastating than I ever imagined I could be over a stuffed animal. I frantically retraced our steps but to no avail. BG kept looking at me concerned, telling me he wanted to see Stretch. To my utter relief, someone had turned him in to their lost and found, and he and BG were joyfully reunited (seriously cute). Honestly, Stretch had taken a backseat for some time, but now that he has been lost and found, now that he has gone on his very own adventure and returned, BG finds him extraordinarily special and has reattached to him in a whole new way. Therefore, Stretch was very important to his sleep last night, as I’m sure he will be again tonight.
I’m not going to let myself get too comfortable with the idea of him truly sleeping just yet though. (Edited to add that he actually woke up once as I was writing this post. Damn.)
There are other changes in the works too. I think BG might be weaning himself.
We have been down to nursing once before bed (and to sleep) for the past month, and most nights he has nursed for as long as he could, not willing to unlatch even when he’s quite asleep. Last night certainly surprised me when he was ready to stop nursing so quickly and was ready to go to his room. It worked out well, but I didn’t expect the same tonight. It actually wasn’t the same. Tonight, he started nursing, and did so for about thirty seconds. Then he said, “Mommy, close that” (referring to my shirt) and then “Other side.” On the other side, he nursed for less than ten seconds and then told me, “Don’t want to nurse.” I told him that was okay, and I said it was okay if he didn’t want to nurse anymore. He said, “Okay. Sing teapot song, Mommy.” So I sang “I’m a Little Teapot” five thousand times as my son tried to find a new way to fall asleep. I was a little stunned, yet it’s also working out as I had hoped, that we would gradually decrease and eventually easily wean altogether. I had a feeling BG would be far too traumatized by any other method, so if this is the way he wants to go about it, I’m there. More on how this feels when the time comes, but for now, it’s interesting, very interesting indeed.
As insanely hard this past month has been (and were it not for the record of it here, I would swear it’s been more like five months), I am fascinated by what is going on with my son. He’s clearly trying to figure some things out for himself. He’s deciding when and how he wants to detach and how he wants to stay close. I’m so proud of him as I see this, yet I can only wonder what life looks like on the other side of this. For all I know, he could be nursing for an hour tomorrow night before bed or he could be putting on his own pajamas, reading himself a story, and tucking himself in. I think I’ll just hope for the best and continue to be awestruck–because so far, that’s kind of where each stage of his life has left me. It’s not a bad place to be.
Bonus photos, because it’s been a long time: