We've been pretty lucky with WonderBaby - in addition to being the very embodiment of love, she is a sweet-tempered, easy-going baby. Sure, she has an indomitable will, and the strength of a dozen toddlers, and refuses to nap during the day, but any challenges that we have faced with her in her waking hours have been more than offset by the fact that she has always been a good night-time sleeper. She's been sleeping through the night every night, with a very few exceptions, for as long as I can remember.
Until last night.
Last night, she woke around midnight and began whimpering. Within minutes, it was full-throated crying and threatening to escalate to screaming. She wasn't in pain, she wasn't hungry, and she wasn't wet - these were cries of anger and frustration, and with every effort that we made to calm her (bottle! diaper change! soother! lovey!) she just got more upset. It was heart-wrenching, and exhausting. So we brought her into bed with us, whereupon she set about rolling around and chortling happily before finally - after nearly two hours - getting dozey and settling down to slumber.
The issue, it seemed, was that she simply - suddenly - did not want to be in her crib. She clung to my neck as she settled herself to sleep in our bed, and when her grip finally loosened, it did so only so that she could clutch my hand. And so we slept - rather, she slept, while I hunched my body awkwardly around hers and fretted about her rolling off of the bed, and while Husband retreated downstairs to the sofa - tangled together in the family bed, something we have not done since she was 'round about five weeks old. And although parts of it were lovely - she so rarely curls up quietly with me these days - it was exhausting. Exhausting to the point of delerium.
I know that babies will have their sleep disrupted by growth spurts and developmental spurts and teething and the like. I knew that our blissfully peaceful nights would be disrupted, at some point, by something. It seems that for WonderBaby, the sudden onset of separation anxiety is that thing. But knowing that the rough patches are inevitable doesn't necessarily make them easier.
I anticipate some more difficult nights as we work our way through this rough patch, and I suspect that all that I can do to make this easier is to tell myself that this, too, shall pass.
But I gotta ask - anybody got any tips? How to calm the frantic baby in the middle of the night when the old stand-bys won't do the trick? How to make baby love her crib again? Anyone?
And if you know of anyone out there in the blogosphere who has been struggling with sleep disruptions recently, send me their link and I'll do a sleep-hell round-up at the end of the week with the links and with any sleep advice that you might (please?) leave in the comments. Misery loves company, but I'm just too exhausted right now to seek it out myself. So, help a girl out?
I tried strapping her down but she figured out how to undo the buckles...