Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Growing Pains

Up until I became a mother, I thought I grasped all forms of that term. "Growing pains," pains in the legs and knees before your teen years, the emotional pains that come with adolescence, and a cheesy 80s sitcom that I watched and adored. Last night I came to the realization that parents experience their own growing pains, with the growth and development of their children. I know, you're thinking, "Hello?! You just figured this out?" Well, no. I've known from the first hint of a developmental milestone that some parents ache at the thought of their baby getting bigger, me included, but it's not something I had given a name to, until the phrase entered my mind around 4 this morning.

We decided to try to move Jamie to his toddler bed. We bought a video monitor, because Jamie sleeps with his door closed, and I knew that I would be desperate to see whether he'd fallen out or climbed out or gotten into trouble even though his room is completely baby proof. (He's very ingenuitive, as toddlers often are) I didn't want to keep opening the door and waking him if, in fact, he was sleeping in his bed, which is exactly what he did for the first four hours.

Tyler put him down, as usual, walked out, and closed the door. Jamie sat up and cried for a few minutes but was asleep within ten. He does this most nights, but by cry, I mean whine. He didn't even attempt to get out of the bed. I thought, "Hey, this is gonna work!" and started my own nightly struggle against insomnia. Each time I got up to use the restroom, I checked the monitor and there he was sound asleep in his bed. Around midnight however, it started to go downhill. He woke up crying, which he generally does in his crib at some point during the night, but only once and not for more than ten minutes before he's back to sleep for the remainder of the evening. I told myself that this was more of the same, and it was...sort of. He would cry and then "sleep" for about ten minutes and then cry again. This happened over and over again for about 2 hours. I wanted to go in sooner, but I kept hearing Tyler's voice in my head, "Let him do it. If you go in there, he won't go back to sleep." Never once did Jamie try to climb out of the bed. He just stared at the edge like he was confused, and I think that's precisely what the problem was. He didn't know what was going on. Eventually, though, I looked at my crying baby on the monitor and then looked at my soundly asleep husband, and the baby won.

I went in there and sat beside him. I patted his back. I covered him snuggly. I tried everything and when it was apparent that he was not going to let me put him back to sleep in his bed, I carried him to my bed. He was excited to be there. He saw his daddy, but quickly noticed that his dear ole dad was dead to the world at the moment. (Tyler's the kind of person who can sleep through two hours of toddler cries and wake up in the morning with, "Jamie did great, didn't he? Told you there was nothing to worry about." At which point, I'd be considering the best way to strangle him.) Jamie relaxed but continued to stare at Tyler. As soon as Tyler moved in his sleep, Jamie took that as an invitation. He shouted, "Daddyyyy!" and poked him in the face.
"Ow!" shouted Tyler.
"No!" shouted I.
"Wah!" shouted Jamie and that was the end of Jamie's stay in our bed. And the end of Jamie sleeping in a toddler bed, for now.

Tyler carried him back to bed, changed his diaper, fixed him a cup of milk, and while he was laying there drinking it, Tyler put the front of the crib back on the bed. Jamie went back to sleep and is still asleep now at 8 o'clock. That's about 5 hours, at this point. At least, Jamie had pretty good timing. It was about 3:10 when he woke Tyler, who would've had to have gotten up at 3:30 today anyhow.

As I finally tried going back to sleep myself around 4 am, after Tyler had left for work, I thought about growing pains and about how different ones affect each parent with such different magnitudes. I felt slight pangs every time he outgrew clothes or diapers as well as when I looked at "old" pictures and realized he would never look like that baby ever again. I had no trouble switching him to solid foods or a sippy cup. In fact, those things made me glad. I felt sad the first time Tyler pointed out that we had a toddler, but it was quickly replaced by the joys of having such an adorable being. I have a close-knit family including in-laws and several competent friends, so letting Jamie have his first night away was not that major. Sure, I stayed awake and wondered what he was doing all night, but it didn't cause me the same anxiety I felt leading up to this. Why, I wonder, did I feel so much angst at taking away my baby's crib? Why is this particular thing such a sore spot for me, personally? Now that I'm pondering it, I think I'll wait til Jamie's about thirteen to move him out of his crib.

Not exactly the "Growing Pains" I was referring to, but ya gotta love those early 90s hairstyles!


Jessi Wallace said...

LOL I think it's a fine idea to keep Jamie in his crib until he's 13. Charlie until he's 15 so you can enjoy the crib benefits even longer.

Your Favorite Redhead said...

I'm glad you approve, Jessi! I was beginning to think that might've seemed like a ridiculous suggestion! ;) haha.

Jessica said...

I have a feeling I'll be in the same boat. I still have trouble with Isaac in the co-sleeper instead of my bed. I also have a husband who has to ask how our baby did at night. I also want to strangle him at times!

Erika said...

You and I have already discussed this at lunch today so you know how I feel about it :)

Matt and Shelby said...

Growing pains theme song... sing it,
"as long as we have each other..."
Well... that's all I really remember:)

MP said...

I would suggest keeping him in the crib until his first sleep over...other kids might get a little frightened...then again if he chooses the right friends they may think it's pretty cool. :-)

Emily Jean said...

"No" shouted I! Thats my favorite part. ;) And why can't Jamie stay in crib til 13. That will definitely ensure that he won't be doing anything naughty with girlfriends, as he would be too embarassed to tell anyone about his bed situation. :) Actually, I'm thinking I'll adopt this idea for Mia as well.