I had two challenges:

1. Spenser had been going through his 18 month sleep regression (as I diagnosed it) since July; so officially age 16 1/2 months to 19 1/2 months.  This involved Spenser and mommy waking up every 2-3 hours… even though he’s in his own room, in his crib (I have a small place,) I wake up!

2. I had a meeting coming up and my sister (my only babysitter) couldn’t babysit. My close friend Ali had offered to watch Spenser with her 7 year old daughter (who S adores) and I said yes, but I was a nervous wreck.

Challenge 1: I read all the books. I read all the sleep training books. I was nursing at night so night weaning was a part of the issue. The old methods weren’t working. The books weren’t working – Spenser was outsmarting the “no cry” techniques.  His red rimmed eyes each morning were making me sad. I wanted my son to sleep well again. His desire to comfort nurse was hurting him.

I had to night wean.

Many of the books attribute this sleep disruption to separation anxiety.

I was telling some of my married mom friends about my sleep woes and one of my friends said, “When sleep regression happened to us, I sent my husband in. That’s the only way we could really get sleeping back.”

It was one of those Ummmm, that doesn’t help me  MOM SOLO-moments.

But then she said, “Maybe one of us can sleep over and help.” All my friends nodded.

I knew they would do that. My friends have really been so supportive and helpful. They all brought me food when I had my newborn and some held S while I napped or showered. I’ve always felt quite lucky.

But I didn’t ask them to sleep over. It’s hard for me to ask for help. I always try to do things myself. I put together a combo of techniques, spent many nights without sleep and had to plug my ears when “Ma! Ma!” was shouted at 3am by a little one who wanted to comfort nurse.

One night after many months of trying sleep training methods, when Spenser was calling me and I was out of my mind with exhaustion, I went in his room, hugged him and said, “I love you but it’s sleepy time.” I put him down and he let out a wail, then rolled over and went to sleep. I was in shock! This reaction gave me courage. I continued with this hug technique and eventually, he slept through the night.

I did it solo. Spenser and I did it together. I was really proud of us.

If you are interested in the step by step, let me know and I’ll really lay it out for you.

Challenge 2: So this was an ideal situation, bringing S to my friend Ali’s house… so why was a sick to my stomach nervous?

If I had a partner, would I be more used to leaving S? I rarely ever leave him. I don’t have help like a nanny or sitter and when I do have to work, my sister watches him at my place or at my dad’s.  So, the idea of leaving him to my friend’s house, terrified me – even though, we are at this house 2 or 3 times a month! He knew this home and loved these people.

I knew I was having my own separation anxiety. I wanted to cry and scream and demand to bring my child to my meeting. But I couldn’t. I had to separate for a few hours and it was painful for me. My anxiety manifested in fantasy fear (but not totally irrational,) which I shared with Ali:

“I’m afraid he’ll try to eat rocks,” I told her. This fear was based in some reality. She has rocks in her yard and S loves to put them in his mouth.

“OK,” she answered so calmly.

“And, I’m afraid he’ll choke on rocks. Or grapes,” I told her. Ali does like the healthy snack of grapes and being a wonderful hostess, usually has them.

“I will watch him like a hawk,” she said.

“It’s not that I don’t trust you…” I said.

“I totally understand,” she said.

When I left Spenser, he was happily at the piano with Ali and her daughter.

“Bye!” S waved after I had given him as many kisses as I could.

“Bye!” I said, trying to sound happy. “I love you, see you soon!” I left.

My stomach hurt, but I knew S was in great hands. I missed him, in a deep way… in a close to panic way…  but this was an important separation. I had to work.

Ali texted me a few times to let me know all was well.

When I got back to Ali’s house I found them in the back yard. Spenser was holding a stick and walking calmly. “Hi!” I called to him, holding my arms open.

When he saw me, his face filled with feeling; not happy, not sad, but just intense emotion. He walked to me quickly and jumped my lap enclosing my arms around him. I felt his little heart pounding. I wondered what he thought when he saw me. I hugged him until he was ready to stand and his heart returned to normal beats. We stayed at Ali’s and played a while longer. I felt such huge accomplishment. I was so proud of myself and of S. We did it.

Even though I did it alone, I couldn’t have done this alone.

Mom Solos need help sometimes. That’s hard for me to admit, but it’s true. I have it in my mind that I can do everything alone.

This entry was posted in MOM STUFF, SOLO STUFF, THINGS PEOPLE SAY. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s