Henry has been having a lot of really short naps (by his standards) for the past week or two. I’ve been reading that Henry is at the age where he is starting to develop sleep cycles. Many kids of this age start having difficulty sleeping because they’re not used transitioning between non-REM and REM sleep. They end up waking themselves up as they come out of their deep sleep because they don’t have the skills to fall back asleep.
When Henry naps, he as been waking up after about 40 minutes. You can honestly set a timer to when this will happen. Everything will be fine and peaceful, and then all of a sudden he will be screaming. Sometimes I can comfort him and get him to sleep for a little while longer, but often he is so worked up that we have to call it quits.
Today I decided to see what was triggering this screaming. Was he lying awake for awhile and I wasn’t noticing it on the baby monitor? Was he opening his eyes and becoming distraught? Was he startling?
I prepared for the battle ahead. I armed myself with my water bottle, laptop, phone, and clean cloth diapers that still needed to be stuffed after being washed. Five minutes before he was due to “erupt”, I headed into the room.
I checked on him. Things seemed to be fine…so far. I read a few e-mail messages and checked Twitter. Still nothing. Then, my phone started to ring. I quickly ran from the room, dodging all the creaky spots on the floor. Who dared to call at such a crucial time? It was our pediatrician reminding us of our upcoming appointment. Yes, thank you for the reminder but I’m in the midst of a battle, and I intend to win.
I went back in. Nothing had changed so I decided to stuff those diapers. He squirmed a couple of times when I snapped the diapers but nothing else.
It was now 10 minutes past the forecasted eruption time. Surely it would happen any second now. I carefully crawled onto our bed and started working on my laptop.
Within a minute or two, it happened. Henry opened his eyes and looked around for a few seconds. And then…he turned his head, closed his eyes and went back to sleep! What was going on? Where was the ear-piercing scream, the rage monster that I had been waiting for?
He slept for another 10 minutes before opening his eyes again. “Okay, that last one was just a fluke. This one will be the real deal.” I thought to myself. Again, he laid there as peacefully as could be. I waited two minutes to see if he would put himself back to sleep. It seemed like he was awake for real this time so I went over and started talking to him. We made eye contact and blew bubbles at each other. Then he turned his head to the side, stared into space for a few seconds and fell back asleep! If only it were always that easy to get him to sleep every time!
I finished what I working on on my laptop. Okay, now what…?
Five minutes later, Henry woke up for real. But, there were no screams. He simply opened his eyes and started playfully squirming and kicking his legs.
I came ready to fight this monster head-on and I was given the smiley baby I’ve been missing so much.