Monday, August 30, 2010

Operation Night Owl: the first battle

You guys are awesome. Truly. I soooo appreciate the sympathy and tips. I've been here before with Bean, and I have no problem dishing out my own "assvice" on the subject, but for some reason I feel completely clueless right now.

So I decided to be a bit more active in sleep training (instead of just crossing my fingers and complaining about it), and take the advice of myself, you, and the wise Dr. Weissbluth. I came up with a loose plan. Oh, and just for reference -- Gax sleeps in a crib in our bedroom, and Nix sleeps in a crib in the nursery.

*Down to bed between 7-7:30 pm.
*Dreamfeed at 10 pm. (ie. Nurse them without really waking them.)
*At 12 am awakening, DH comforts Gax and my Dad comforts Nix so there is no temptation to nurse. Cry-it-out (CIO) for whichever baby(ies) won't settle for the men.
*At 2 am awakening, feed them.
*After that, see what happens...

The first two steps went off without a hitch. Then Gax woke at midnight, just as we anticipated. DH bounced him on the exercise ball for 5 minutes, and he (Gax, not DH) fussed the entire time. DH put Gax down in his crib... and much to my COMPLETE shock, he (Gax, not DH) fell asleep after just a few minutes of fussing.


Then Gax slept until 3 am, at which time he was hungry and I was happy to nurse him. He then returned to sleep until 7 am.

DOUBLE MIRACLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know tonight may be more difficult because sleep training is never linear, but that made me one happy mama. I will take that schedule any time!

Unfortunately, things were not so easy with Nix. Now let me say first that letting Nix CIO is pretty much the hardest thing ever. (I know it's incredibly painful for any parent to let their kid CIO, but I mean even relative to that.) I love my dear Gax, but that kid is a Fussy McFusserpants all the time anyway, so we are used to hearing him cry/fuss when whenever we dare put him down to use the bathroom or eat lunch. Nix, on the other hand, rarely gets upset unless he is hungry or tired. And he lets out this sweet, mournful cry that makes the depths of your soul weep in sympathy.

So anyway, before we went to bed, I instructed DH and my Dad that a midnight wake-up would be NO NURSING, and a 2 am wake-up would be YES NURSING. Of course Nix decides to sleep just over 3 hours and wake us at 1:15 am. Which category did that fall in? I couldn't let the poor kiddo CIO at that point, so I fed him. He then continued the every-three-hours schedule, and I fed him each time. Hey, it was an improvement over the every-two-hours schedule, right??


Not sure what will happen tonight, please wish us luck.

Operation Day Dreamin' is hitting a few bumps. Overall, the twins are not bad nappers. Individually they have lots of good days and some not-so-good days, complicated by the fact that our lives are busier now than when Bean was 4-5 months old and I could easily stay home every time he needed to sleep. My problem is trying to gently push their naps together so we don't end up with at least one infant up at all times. There are rare occasions where it's uncanny, they will separately wake up from their naps within a minute of each other, and then they are ready for the next naps around the same time. But sometimes one (Gax) will sleep for 60 minutes and the other (Nix, natch) for 120 minutes, then they are completely off for the rest of the day. I don't want to wake up Nix after only 60 minutes, but keeping Gax up until Nix is ready for his next nap is a complete nightmare (and pretty cruel). We deal the best we can, but I'd be curious to hear if anyone has a suggestion for this. Will it just come with time?

Now a few random tidbits.

Nix got his first tooth last week! It's sooo cute, peeking through his tiny gums. Unlike my other two kiddos, Nix is a quiet teether. Our main indication was the constant drool seeping across our shoulders when we held him. Congrats to my sweet little man!

Lisa so kindly asked for an update on my parents' house hunt. They found a second place they liked, a well-priced home on a beautiful golf course. There were two other offers, and my parents lost to a full-price cash offer. DANG! So the search continues, and DH and I are in no hurry to have them leave us. (Meanwhile, on the first house they bid on that they lost when the seller got a bit greedy and went with a higher bidder with less secure financing, that deal fell through and it's now marked down almost $20K. Who's sorry now, lady!)

I am woefully behind on blog reading and commenting, I am so sorry. I've gotten in a vicious cycle of not reading because I want to wait until I have two hands free to comment... but that *rarely* happens anyway, so I don't even read... and now I have 440+ unread posts in Google Reader. I apologize for being MIA on your blog, but I have now decided to just read anyway instead of spending all my time online stalking new wraps that I don't need (but would totally use and love, DH!), and I'll just have to suffer when you say something brilliant and I want to say YES! or I'M WITH YA, SISTA! (because I always say that) but I can't because I'm nursing and that still takes at least one hand because I'm not that coordinated.

Speaking of blogs, my 3rd blogoversary is coming up in about two weeks. I know, I know... you are wondering what to get me! See that little counter on the top left side that says I have 81 followers? If you read my blog but haven't signed up there yet, I would love to hit 100. It's kind of OCD thing, I guess. I want to say it would help me sleep better, but yeah, probably not at this point. And also to celebrate, I'm going to try to put together a collection of fun Seattle things and then have a giveaway. (I make no promises, however... things are a leeeeetle crazy around here right now.) You spend time reading what I write and leaving me insightful and supportive comments, and I appreciate it!

And finally, because you've all been so much help with sleep advice, I need your help deciding what stroller to get. WAIT! Don't tell me yet, let me outline what I'm looking for. But stop by in a couple of days and I'll post about it. It'll be fun, like House Hunters on wheels -- and without the Asian lady's voiceover.



Anonymous said...

I can't even imagine how hard it must be to try to get two babies working on the same schedule and get some sleep. I'm glad you have a support system. I think your plan sounds smart. I know with Kendall we just basically tried everything to keep her happy without nursing until we got from snacking to three hour intervals during the day and the same thing at night with longer intervals. It worked great once we were on a schedule. Tatum, we never really got on a schedule and it was much harder. I can't fathom doing it with two. I think your plan sounds like it will work over time. You have two patient men to volunteer for middle of night duty. My hubby could never deal with lack of sleep or crying without melting down in panic and waking me up. Good luck!

Leah Rubin said...

Oh, wow-- you deserve a medal for just surviving! The good news is that one day you will look back on this and laugh, but the bad news is, you have to get there first... Awwww... But they're so doggone cute!

Good luck with it all!

Anonymous said...

omg. :) that's an improvement. i keep telling myself that it's not linear. :(

Anonymous said...

omg. :) that's an improvement. i keep telling myself that it's not linear. :(

Denise said...

Sounds like good progress already and it must feel great to at least have a plan!

We tried to keep our twins on the same schedule, so they were in their cribs in the same room very early on. If one woke up and it was time to eat, we would wake the other one up. We did this for nap times too. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't!

We started with a bedtime around 10pm and then took the leap to move it up to 7pm. For awhile, we would wake them up and feed them before our bedtime, but once we stopped doing this, things actually got better. Eventually (around 6 months?) they would only get up once between 7pm and 6am. At 10 months they finally both gave up that overnight wake up and slept through consistently. But I actually think one would have done this sooner if they were in separate rooms.

Okay, I'll stop with our experience now and wish you luck implementing your plan!

Kristina P. said...

You are literally taking baby steps! :)

And congrats on 3 years. I am right at your heels.

WiseGuy said...

An improvement already!

Good Luck to your parents for the house-hunt.

And happy blogoversary in advance!

Ludicrous Mama said...

This may sound crazy, but in my experience, it works. If DH gets up and leaves while they are asleep, if he kind of wakes them up - but not quite all the way - they'll sleep LONGER. It's like pushing the reset button on their sleep cycle. I started setting my alarm for 8am. Now I can get up and shower while Z still sleeps, but before, She'd want to start snuggling (ie: sucking the life out of my boobies while asleep) at around 8, until 9 or 10! But that little alarm before she's ready makes her roll over and go back to sleep when I press the snooze! Ahhhh.
You might also try CIO with one of them. Different things work w/ different personalities. CIO just doesn't work with Z's temperament. You don't HAVE to do the same thing(s) with them both. If it seems to work for one and not the other, focus on the one for now.

Sarah said...

Oooo, you know I am anxiously awaiting the stroller post!!!! ;) Keep up the good work on sleep training, btw! It's great to have a plan. I think once the little guys are officially 5.5 months or so, it won't much matter how long one sleeps during naptime vs the other. I'd try to keep their nap times the same everyday. Wake up at 7am, first nap at 9am, second at 1pm, bedtime at 7pm etc. If a baby needs to sleep, let him sleep, but put both of them down at the same time regardless how long their first naps were. They'll adjust when they understand the routine. It's at least work a try!

lisawitt said...

ha, i love that i got a shout out! ;-) consistency is least thats what everyone always told me! it sucked during the process but I must say, it is true and before long, this will all seem a distant memory! Hang in there and I hope the boys keep up the good work!

Jen said...

So the sleep thing sounds totally do-able if there were just one baby. I mean you'd get some few hour stretches in there if you could just deal with Nix or Gax' schedule. It sounds like progress though. Hang in there!

Nicky said...

Definite progress. Crossing fingers that it becomes a pattern for you! But ugh, I remember the one-step-forward one-step-back ridiculousness of sleep "training". Good luck!

Aisha said...

am now following you!

Aisha said...

Whoops- got so excited to follow you I forgot to ask you, how long do you let them CIO @ the 12am wake up? I'm asking b/c when we've attempted to pacify him in ANY WAY other than boob he just loses his ish. I haven't tried to let him CIO longer than 3 minutes but was curious how long it took you?

Aisha said...

Thanks for the answer Sunny! And- like I said before- though I am not sleeping much either- its one kid, not two, AND K takes them once or twice a week with a bottle of pumped milk so I can get a few extra hours of sleep so I guess I can still attempt to be zen about it, lol. The sleep deprivation you described- that's a whole different ballgame because you can't physically survive on the type of sleep you were getting, times two. Hang in there. It will get better. I remember you said with Bean in the beginning it was so tough you wondered what you were thinking wanting t obe parents, and look at you now. So I know there is an other side. And its coming soon!

~ Kristen said...

I remember dream feeding both boys. It worked some nights and others it didnt. Consistency is key but as you mentioned some nights it just doesnt work out so I looked ahead after a bad night and usually a good night was almost right behind it!!!

Your likely so sick of hearing HANG IN THERE. But for lack of better support ;) Its early and I need coffee and I am sleep deprived myself lol there ya go!

Your the best, keep up the great work. Your boys are adorable!!!


Chad and Gena said...

I am glad to read that things are going better.

If I may offer just a little bit more advice. Wake them together. You don't have to do it right away, but maybe w/in 30 min of each other that way you can get them on the same schedule. Of course they are your kids and you know them better than I do and that may be a total nightmare for you at this point but mine did OK when I woke them. Sometimes I would just open their door and walk away so they would wake naturally. Also if one woke early I would leave them in the room until the scheduled wake time, that would help the other one wake up. Most of the time they just play so it wasn't constant screaming...which I don't think I would have been able to handle. Their naps were usually only 1.5 so this was the only way I was assured to get a shower and something to eat during the day, plus a little bit of a breather. It is amazing though that they do catch on and you will find them on the same schedule soon enough. I hope things continue to go in the right direction for you. Once you have them on a schedule, everything will be soooooooooooooooo much easier for you. I don't think I was really "enjoying" them or motherhood until we got on a schedule....all of a sudden I could see the light at the end of the tunnel :-)

Pufferfish said...

Your Nix=My Grunter. It was so easy to do CIO on W2 because he cried all the time anyway! But to hear the one who doesn't....oh, it is heartbreaking. I hear you on that one.
But, we did it and man, that kid is an excellent sleeper now. We never knew he had 3 hour afternoon naps in him, but he did!
I agree that you need to get them on the same schedule one way or another--that's another reason why I suggested tandem feeding, to try to synch things up.
We put them down for bed/naps at exactly the same time. BUT, we now know that W2 doesn't need as much sleep as Grunter. So we let W2 wake up naturally and if Grunter is still sleeping after 3 hours we wake him up.
I kept a very strict nap long to figure out all of their rhythms and that's what works for us.
I hope things are going better soon....