Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sleep, the final frontier

Once upon a time, there was a nice little boy who went to bed every day at about 8pm, made no fuss about having to turn in and drifted off to dreamland without the need for any parental encouragement.

Sonny, however, is nothing like that nice little boy (who may not even exist, though Pa claims he used to be 'no trouble at all as a toddler'). Our little fella is temperamental when it comes to bedtimes. Some days, tuckered out from a full day at the infant care centre - bullying younger infants, or so we strongly suspect - he is yawning mournfully by 8pm and asleep by 8.30pm. On such days, Mum - who is left to handle him with Pa at work till 10pm or so - can simply deposit Sonny in his cot and then skip away to surf the Internet or do a bit of quiet reading.

Most of the time, however, the little monster has vast resources of energy and is still wide awake at 10pm. Pa will typically let himself in, creep into the bedroom - and find an exhausted Mum spreadeagled on the bed with Sonny prancing to and fro between her limp limbs. Mum's first words will be "He wooon't sleeeep!" or some variation on the sentiment, even as Sonny gains extra oomph from seeing his other parent return, and scampers cackling forward.

As it happens, Mum knows full well that with Sonny now almost a 14 months old, he should not need 'liquid encouragement' (a spot of breastfeeding) to transition to sleep. But nothing else really works - and, as you would have realised, filling the fella up with milk doesn't necessarily work either. Reading is useless, since he doesn't understand much of whichever nursery rhyme or silly story Mum starts on. Indeed, the book itself may prove an additional distraction. We don't have a rocker, and Sonny's getting rather too heavy for any handrocking - not that that works either!

For now, therefore, we remain mired in quiet desperation. Eventually, after multiple milk sessions and much quiet time tucked into Mum's side, the little fella will drift off and his rejoicing parents can sidle off. Our earlier efforts to just 'let him cry himself to sleep' (as chronicled in an earlier post, which you may access by clicking here) have been largely abandoned due to Mum's soft-heartedness and Sonny's obstinate bawling: Despite initially hopeful signs, he is still fully capable of wailing for over an hour and then immediately going silent once picked up.

Wilful sort of fellow. We just wish he could will himself to sleep.