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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Saint Of Impossible Things Or Hopeless Cases

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.



OtienoHongo said...

Hey, don't worry and take heart! I could hardly sleep when my two daughters were young but with time it went away and they learnt to sleep -- though 18 months is a challenge! Good blog!

Pia said...

Ha ha, I have a couple of those! I have never been a fan of the concept "Let them cry until they collapse", however, if I have tried, they collapse, after hours, and wake up again after an hour.
It`s hard to give any advise, but I have let them sleep with us - that comforts them. And, yes, they will learn tio sleep in their own beds AND they will sleep the whole night. Eventually...

Lori said...

((((Colleen)))) I have survived little one's like this...a couple of my now grown children were this way and got a refresher course with my little seems the ones with the strongest wills are this way and some children just don't sleep...what a great idea to go in and pray like that...I have spent hours praying and putting my children to sleep. I pray that St. Jude helps William to sleep each night. Lack of sleep is so very hard...many a mornings I've cried from being so tired but having to go to work or accomplish things in an exhausted state. Let us know how this goes! XX

Alicia said...

Oh dear Colleen I hope you have had a wonderful rest. It sure is hard to accept those strong wills, when we want the very best sleep & rest for the whole family. I find myself praying over their rooms sometimes too.
Thank you for your lovely comments & on my last one yes we are becoming alright, our family is going through some transitions and I am feeling encouraged to write more.
You are a precious friend!

S. Susan Deborah said...

Colleen, I can imagine how you must be feeling. I don't have children but have seen my aunts go through the same experience as yours.

As they say, "Prayers work miracles" and I am glad that you found some respite. Hereafter, I shall also pray with you. Let William sleep well :)

Much love,

Angie said...

Oh my!!! So glad that he finally settled down...I'll be praying that it is the start of a trend ;-)

Much love,
Future Mama

Robin said...

Hang in there. I feel for you. Even before migraines took over my life, I needed my sleep. This would be making me crazy, too. Keep praying and sleeping when you can!!!

Felisol said...

Dear Colleen,
I shall not impose my own sleeping theories on you.
Each child has its own rhythm and strong needs.
(I have however thought that the idea of small children sleeping alone, is a product of new welfare. When I grew up there simply were not enough bedrooms for each child. People need people. Especially at night.)

St. Jude will help you all to find your own way.

One my my many ways was singing. I still remember my two year old girl coming out in the living room, eyes wide open, barefooted with her teddy in her hand. "Daddy fell asleep."

Just Be Real said...


Colleen said...

Alicia, I am so glad you are feeling encouraged to write more. I hope that whatever transition your family is going through now really works out to be a blessing. Praying for peace and happiness for you. And yes, he certainly has a strong will but aside from the sleepless nights, I do have to admit, I think it will take him far in life.:)

Susan Deborah, I appreciate your prayers and couldn't agree more with you!

Robin, thank you! I am a sleep junkie too.:) Are you doing any better these days?

Felisol, that is a precious story!:) In my home too, we mostly shared rooms! I always shared with my sister and two of my brothers also shared. I never minded it at all. :)

Mari, thank you very much. I appreciate your kind words and know the feeling of dreading to sleep!!:)

(((((((JBR))))))) Same to you. :)

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Oh Colleen! My niece was an owl - but a happy one - and kept her parents up all night with her activity! So St Jude (I'm Catholic too!) has been doing his share of kid'nap'ing, has he? I thought something like this was more up St Antony's street? :)) Doesn't matter - as long as he helped. Nothing like the Rosary to put people to sleep - we all felt sleepy the moment it started! :))

Colleen said...

Corinne!:) Haha, you make me laugh! I like the rosary, it calms me down but as of yet hasn't caused me to actually fall asleep.:)

Brenda Lazzaro Yoder, said...

I loved reading your blog for the first time - and your Mark Twain quote is one I appreciate hearing. Amazing from around the world, people connect.....I look forward to reading more!

Shelly - Tropical Mum said...

I won't advise, just empathise. Every child is different and you have to do whatever works. I hope your bubs settles into a routine that is works for you both.

Thanks for stopping by my blog. I am following you now. Always nice to meet a fellow Canadian who is also far from home. BTW, I lived in Sri Lanka for a year when I was 10. It was one of the best memories I have.

Unknown said...

Boy do I remember those times. Just hang on as best you can. I PROMISE it will pass. There is not a mother on this planet who hasn't looked herself in hiding in the bathroom because she was past her limit. Then one day, you wake up and it's all just different! Don't they look so sweet when they're sleeping? ~Serene