No, I’m joking – it wasn’t nearly that dramatic. And, while I’d really like to be able to say we came to the decision after carefully weighing all of the options, and then taking the time to think about it, we actually came to the decision after a week of the worst sleep we’ve had since he was a newborn.
There was a 3am start. And a 5am start. There was a complete reluctance on Max’s part to nap for more than 20 – 30 minutes at a time during the day. There was Terry’s insistence that he would be 100%, totally fine on his own. There was the growing suspicion – mostly due to him waking at even the slightest sound – that it was probably US keeping HIM awake with our noise, rather than the other way around. Then, finally, there was that morning when he woke up at 5:30am, having only gone to sleep at midnight, and I was just like, “OK, you win: either he sleeps in the nursery tonight or I will…”
So he did. Here’s how he got on…
Night 1: FRIDAY
Max sleeps until 6am, at which point he wakes up crying and I rush in to get him, only for him to fall back asleep as soon as I pick him up. I put him back in his cot, and go back to bed myself, so I can lie awake and watch him on the monitor. I mean, thinking about it rationally, do I really need to sleep EVERY night? Because I’m thinking that mebbe sounds like overkill, dontcha think?
In a shock move, despite his long night-time sleep, Max also has two long naps during the day, and Terry and I feel like we’ve won the lottery. Seriously, if he’s going to sleep until 9am AND nap during the day, I will happily lie awake all night watching him on the monitor: in fact, I start daydreaming about what I’ll do with all that extra time, and how much better the bedroom will look without blackout fabric taped to the windows and a cot shoved up against the bed. I mean, OK, by 10pm, I’m pretty much dead, but MY BABY NAPPED, PEOPLE. I actually cleaned some of my house! And, as much as it kills me to admit that Terry might have been right about this whole, “The baby will sleep better in his own room,” business, I’m so high on the scent of Zoflora now, I don’t even care…
Night 2: SATURDAY
Again with the 6:30am wake-up call, only this time it takes around 10 minutes to get him back to sleep. Still, that’s not too bad, is it? Like, I used to get up at that time to go to work, so even if he DIDN’T go back to sleep, it wouldn’t exactly be the end of the world, would it? Once he’s back in bed, meanwhile, he sleeps until 8:30, which is practically the afternoon in baby time: seriously, can I get a standing ovation here or what?
So, Terry’s sleeping better, Max is sleeping better, I’m… NOT sleeping better, because, in addition to watching him on the monitor, I’m now also having to actually get out of bed when he wakes, rather than just reaching over to soothe him, but even so, people, this is EASY! I am totally the boss of getting the baby to sleep in his own room! I wonder if I should write an ebook, explaining how I did it, or should I wait until I’m able to sleep for more than 40 minutes myself, without waking up to check on him?
The jury is out on that one: let’s give it one more day, shall we?
Night 3: SUNDAY
Max wakes at what has become the usual time of 6:30am (I’m starting to wonder if something happens at that time to wake him? Like a neighbour leaving for work, say, or, I don’t know, a demon floating into his room and hovering above his bed? Just as a ‘for instance’?), but, in an unprecedented move, he just cries out once, then goes straight back to sleep, before I can even get up. I, meanwhile, am now sleeping in 2 hour blocks, rather than lying awake all the damn time, and OK, I’m having stress dreams about crabs again, but even so, ALERT THE NEWS MEDIA, PEOPLE, THIS IS STRAIGHT-UP MIRACLE.
We go out for lunch to celebrate, and, if this blog post was a movie, this is where you’d get to see a short montage of the three of us laughing and hugging on a beach, while Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now!‘ plays in the background. Sing it with me, people:
And we can build this dream together!
Standing strong forever!
Nothing’s gonna stop us noooooow!
Night 4: MONDAY
HELLO 5AM! Max was worried that you might be missing him, so, LOL, HERE WE BOTH ARE, ALL UP IN YOU!
Yeah, he woke up at 5am, folks. Five a-freaking-AM. And, it’s like, I don’t really feel I can complain about this, but I kind of want to anyway, because, little known fact here, but you know The Princess and the Pea? Well, I am the girl in the story, and it’s not just peas I can can be a complete princess about, it’s also having to get up at 5am, because nooooooo, DO NOT WANT.
Still, needs must, so I get up and spend the next 40 minutes playing a game of, “I’ll Pretend to Be Asleep, Until The Exact Moment You Get Back into Bed,” with Max, who finally drops off at 5:40, only to wake up for the day a short while later. So I get up and spend the next few hours counting down the minutes until Terry – who’s sleeping GREAT now, by the way, thanks for asking* – gets up to relieve me.
(We’re still in the same routine of Terry doing the last feed of the night and me doing the first one of the morning, which is why I’m the one dealing with these 5am shenanigans. It’s not like he’s just lying there letting me get on with it, because I’d obviously have left him by now if that was the case…)
Before this can happen, though, Max starts yawning ostentatiously, and looking at me like, “What are we doing up at this time, this is RIDICULOUS, where do I make a complaint?” What a little joker, huh?
Night 5: Tuesday
“If he wakes up before 6am,” Terry tells me as I’m heading to bed (Early, obviously…), “I’ll get up with him, so you can catch up on some sleep.” I go to sleep praying that Max will wake up before 6, just so I’ll get to lie in a bit, so naturally Max sleeps until 7:50am, and, as soon as I pick him up, this happens:
I know trying to put him back into his cot at this stage would be a rookie mistake, so I take him back to our bed instead, and lie with him on my chest, while I look at my phone. I’m thinking this will last for maybe 10 minutes if I’m lucky, and be an excuse for a sneaky baby cuddle with him, but he actually sleeps for another HOUR, by which point I’ve watched everyone’s Insta Stories at least twice, and my phone hand is starting to go numb.
That afternoon, I move the bedside crib away from the bed, and re-instate my bedside table. The crib is still in the room, so it’s there if we need it, but, well, it’s making its way towards the door, isn’t it? Part of me wants to cry at the very visual reminder that this stage of our lives is over, never to be repeated, while the other part is just REALLY pleased to have access to her bedside table again, to be honest…
It’s only later that day that it suddenly occurs to me that, until Max woke me up, I’d actually been SLEEPING. Like, properly sleeping, not just lying there dozing, like a coiled spring, ready to jump to attention at even the slightest sound. Hmmm.
Night 6: Wednesday
Yup, it’s another 5:30am wake-up, folks. Yay! Luckily for me, Terry went to bed at the same time as me last night, and he volunteers to get up with Max, who decides he needs to eat before he’ll consider going back to sleep. I, meanwhile, have the best night’s sleep I’ve had in six months, managing to only check the baby monitor a couple of times. Like a big girl.
Our conclusion, after (almost) a week without Max in the room with us?
Well, just as the prophecies foretold, Max does, indeed, sleep better in his own room. Terry also sleeps better with Max in his own room. I DIDN’T sleep better with Max in his room at first, but I’m getting better all the time, and, well, two out of three ain’t bad, right?
But then there’s this whole 5am wake-up business. After those first few times, when I was able to just rock him back to sleep, and have him back in bed in just a few minutes, he’s now having to be given a bottle before he’ll go back to bed. So THAT’S not so hot: he hasn’t had to be fed during the night for months now, and is eating plenty during the day, so we’re not quite sure what that’s about, and while I know it’s not the end of the world, it still feels like a bit of a step backwards for us, given that he’s spent the last few months sleeping right through until 8 – 9am, and we’d assumed the night feeds were a thing of the past.
All things considered, though, the transition has gone better than I’d anticipated, and I have to admit, I’m not hating having the bedroom back again. And, it has to be said, I’m very aware that it could be a whole lot worse: overall, he’s still a pretty good sleeper – and one day maybe I will be too, who knows? So, let’s see what next week brings…