Monday, March 5, 2012

Closing the Night Kitchen

"Whaddya mean I gotta wait until breakfast?"

There are two words that have struck fear in my heart for nigh on these three months. While these words represent the possibility of nocturnal freedom and even (my heart can barely bear the thought, for fear that it may just be a lie) maternal sleep--these words also speak of untold hours of crying and sleeplessness and cursing a cruel world that does not give you what you want. I understand it will probably also be difficult for LO.

What two words are they?

Night Weaning.

(If I were better at computer stuff, I would have had a clap of thunder go off just as you read those words. My internet skills being what they are, you'll just have to imagine the ominous storm sounds and music which accompany those words).

LO being a young man of extremely strong opinions (and no fair asking where that came from because the answer just depresses me), he has made his position on night nursing quite plain for about a year and a half now. That position being: Mom's Kitchen had better damn well be open 24 hours a day.

When LO is actually getting some sort of nutrition from night nursing, I can rationalize my lack of sleep by reminding myself that my lowered cognitive function is at least allowing the child's nutritional needs to be met. (I do have to have those thoughts when fully rested, however, because I'm not capable of thinking, let alone saying, the word "nutritional" when said cognitive functions are lowered. The only reason I'm able to state it somewhat intelligently now is because I filled the bathtub with coffee and drank my way out of it this morning).

The big problem with LO perching himself on a stool at Mom's Kitchen is that lately, he's only been interested in taking up space. No food is being ordered, to take the diner analogy further than is really reasonable. I'm saying he latches on and stays on, and heaven help the Mama who tries to extricate herself.

Now, don't get me wrong, I know that most males of my acquaintance would probably choose that particular position for sleeping if given the choice. And of all the possible inanimate objects I could emulate, being a pacifier is better than many many others I could mention. But doing my impression of a Binky all night means three things:

1. I have to lie on my side, and since I'm now aging at the 30-something rate (rather than teenager rate I had been accustomed to throughout my 20s) that position gives me a backache every morning.
2. Since LO is a tiny furnace who describes -15 degree weather as "brisk", I find myself sans covers, meaning I'm burning up on the LO side and freezing on the lee side, which is a great way to lie sleepless through much of the night.
3. When the backache and temperature irregularity get to me, I am only able to stoically take it for so long (approximately 0.0098 seconds) before I start sighing and exclaiming, "child, please!" loudly enough to wake J, the dog, and several of our lighter sleeping neighbors.

To make a long story short(er), I've decided that it's time to start night weaning LO.

Now, to anyone who suggested six weeks ago that I should try this, I'd like to say I'm sorry, and I'll help you to find your head that I bit off just as soon as I get a little more rest.

My dilemma over night weaning came from the fact that I get crap sleep while night nursing, but I know I will get no sleep while weaning. Since crap is better than nothing, I figured I'd just live with the world's largest nipple accessory for the duration.

Then, LO's Evil Molars that are the Fruits of the Devil from Hell finally finished coming in. He started sleeping again. We even wantonly put him in a toddler bed, in which he will sleep for upwards of three hours. Alone. Mama got a little sleep herself.

So, the past two nights, I've been refusing LO's spot at Mom's Kitchen. I try to pat him or rock him to help him drift back into dreamland, but he gets a mite testy with me.

"They're RIGHT THERE!" he screeches. "For the love of all that is holy, they're just hanging there!"

So, J has been doing a little more of the night comforting. Because he hasn't betrayed LO by refusing him his favorite thing.

As I suspected, everyone is getting a little less sleep right now. But after two nights of testing out the word "no," LO has been able to get back to sleep without boobie magic several times. (We're not going to discuss the times I've given in.)

Unfortunately, night weaning, like pretty much anything else in parenting, is a process. And if LO's other reactions to tough-but-good-for-him processes is any indication, I suspect that this will be a long haul before we can count on the child sleeping through the night with no boobie interventions. (Don't get me started on what it's going to take for him to sleep all night in his own bed. There's not enough coffee in the world for me to be able to face that prospect).

On the plus side, though, I'm starting to think I might not have to go to college with him. Which is good, because I'm counting on catching up on my sleep then.

1 comment:

  1. I hope your night weaning is still going well. I had to close the night kitchen (love the analogy) when Em was 10 months as I went back to a full time job and couldn't cope with my zombie brain any more. I can now look back on it almost fondly (almost) but it's sure hell on earth at the time!

    We made an unplanned brilliant move when Em was two by getting her a cabin loft bed which she could climb into but not out of. This changed bedtime from an hour and half of sitting by her bed stopping her from clibming out and tensely watching her eyelids close (open... Close... Opencloseopen...) to being able to put her in bed say good night and leave!