William is stubborn.
Imagine if you will, a four and a half month old baby not sleeping a wink on the flight from Colombo, Sri Lanka to London. Eleven hours, his dark eyes wide and staring, not shutting for even one blissful second. I imagine it would have been blissful at least. We longed for sleep but sat there zombie-like instead murmuring nonsense and cooing to the small bundle of a boy in the cot in front of us.
This was only a dark foreshadow of things to come. Alright to be fair, he has been a very good sleeper up until now so I guess that's why it's a shock for me the nights he does choose to lie in bed screaming fit to wake the dead...for hours and hours amen.
Of course I go to him...feed him...change him...rock him...but he is not the sort of child who tires himself out crying. No. Not for William you see. He can scream with the best of them from ten in the evening until almost five in the morning so there is no option here of "letting him wear himself out". It's we who pay dearly for his lack of sleep. What does he care? He can nap the next day. :)
Fast forward to Saturday, he is 18 months old. I tried all the things I listed above. He is awake until well after five in the morning. I feeling like screaming myself, tearing my hair out, running away...
Sunday, he sleeps fine.
Monday, back to the same old tricks. I do cry in frustration, tear a bit of my hair out but not so much that it hurts and plan what I'll take when I run away to camp out in the woods across from our house.
Tuesday. I begin to dread the evenings as one does something awful that happens to them repeatedly. I feel a growing sense of panic in my chest. Sure enough as I sip my peppermint tea a piercing shriek splits the air. "No God...please..." (And this is a prayer not taking the Lords name in vain. :) as I put my head in my hands and begin to rock slowly back and forth at the mere contemplation of another night like this.
I go in, determined to be patient. I wrap a little blanket around my own shoulders for comfort and speak quietly to him. But every time I think he's asleep and try to leave, his eyes fly open and his shrieking resumes. Finally I remember. I'm Catholic. We have patron saints for everything! So I run out to the living room and grab my rosary and go back in and make a solemn vow. I will pray it until he falls asleep. I prayed it two times and finally...his breathing becomes heavier and lo, the child sleeps. I don't dare breathe. I get up as quietly as I can and flee the room only pausing at the door to offer up a last, desperate "St Jude, please intercede for us! This is a potentially hopeless case and I need sleep tonight! You are the saint of impossible things! Have fun with this one!"
And he must have because William slept, I hesitate to say "like an angel" but I will, all night.