In a little over a week our youngest turns 18 months old. Sweet Julian. My spunky one. Ye of Little Sleep. This baby boy just is not jumping on the sleep train. In a fit of sleep deprivation last week, the husband did some Google-ing at 2am and we're now pretty sure we're in the midst of the dreaded 18 month sleep regression. It's real y'all. And it's exhausting.
I've looked through my blog archives to see if we went through this with Lukas. My mom assures me we did as she remembers many a tear-filled phone calls from an exacerbated me because Luke simply wouldn't sleep all of the sudden. I must have blocked this out of my memory. Or it was overshadowed by the post-weaning depression that rained down upon me when Lukas was about 18-19 months old. Regardless of Lukas' sleeplessness or not, we are now seriously in it over here.
We've tried Cry It Out. But the child just keeps crying. For hours. Eventually around the 1-2 hour mark (assuming we haven't done so earlier) we are broken and go in to the poor child. He is just standing in his crib, clinging on to his lovey with a hoarse voice and a tear-streaked face. And it is heart wrenching.
We've tried going to him immediately in hopes of stopping the meltdown before it starts. Some days this works - more for the husband than me for some reason. But usually he will fall back asleep while rocking in the glider but awaken when you try to transfer him to his crib.
We've tried laying on the floor next to him and rubbing his back through the crib slates but not getting him out of the actual bed. This works such that he stops crying, but rarely does it get him to actually fall back asleep.
We've tried co-sleeping and he will have none of it.
And we've tried every combination or variation of the above and all the teething remedies in case it's actually his last tooth coming in rather than a regression. But I think a three week sleep disruption is more than just teething. And I don't think it's habit at this point either. There's no rhyme or reason to the time of his first waking or the amount of times he'll wake in any given night. He just wants to be held, unless he doesn't, in which case he screams while you hold him. Sweet thing is just tired too.
Everything I've read about this particular regression is that it just has to run its course. And that one day it will just go away and he'll start sleeping all night again. Every night before bed I pray this is the night. The only nights my wish is granted are the nights my husband gets to J before I wake up.
I know this is a phase. I know it will pass and I'll get a solid 8 hours again. But I'm tired. I look tired and I'm sure I'm acting tired (sorry hubby).
The silver lining, which I'm clinging on to with every fiber of my being, is that my buddy is a cuddler, especially during his sleeplessness. At 1:45 in the morning, when the rest of the house is quiet, I still find myself sleepily smiling as Julian wraps his legs around my waist and burrows his head into my body. It's occurred to me that he may not be able to go back to sleep because I can't stop giving him little kisses on his head and cheeks. I love the feeling of his baby smooth skin on my cheek - perhaps I'm trying to make up for those months when he was an infant and the helmet wouldn't let us get cheek to cheek.
I love the heavy weight of his body as he finally lets go and falls into a deep sleep. The rise and fall of his chest on my chest. The smell of his lovey mixed with the smell of his shampoo. And the soft warmth of blue blanket wrapped around us both.
I know these are the moments that I'll miss in a few years. (I already miss them with my Lukas.) So while I'm anxious for this sleep regression to come to an end, a part of me knows I shouldn't wish it away too soon. The days/hours are sometimes so long, but these years are too, too fast. And while I can always have another cup of coffee, it won't be forever that my baby boy will fit perfectly in my lap while we rock to the sound of ocean waves in the dark, quiet of the night.