She Says… Breaking the Rules

Owen usually wakes up once or twice a night, makes some noise, and falls right back asleep. I learned a long time ago that going in to “check on him” when he’s making this noise is far worse than letting him fuss it out for a few minutes. Once he sees me, he brightens to a smile, calms immediately, and then goes right back to fussing the second I put him back down in his crib. This little awake time with Mommy in the middle of the night actually makes him cry harder and louder and longer in order to get back to sleep again. So I stay out of the nursery 99.9% of the time.

If he cries for longer than normal, or the cry sounds different to me, I go in, despite my reservations about waking him up more. Once in a long time something is actually wrong (wet diaper/pj’s/bed, hand sticking out between the crib slats, etc.). But the vast majority of the time, it’s just his thing. It’s what he does. Strangely enough, these wakeups are usually at the same times each night. Sometimes even to the minute (does he have an alarm clock in there?). His favorite times are 4:17am and 5:17am. It’s that “I’ve gotten enough sleep so it’s kind of hard for me to go back to sleep but I still need more sleep so I’m kinda cranky” period. I generally don’t wake him up for the day until 6:00am at the earliest.

Given the puke incident on Saturday night, I wasn’t taking any chances on Sunday night. When I heard that little cry (not at one of this normal times), I shot up out of bed like a gun had been fired. I slowly turned up the light in his room and walked over to the crib. Biggest. Smile. Ever. Damn, I thought. He got me. There’s nothing wrong. But then I picked him up to give him a little pat and noticed his pj’s were soaked. Apparently that overnight diaper couldn’t contain his massive amounts of pee (a problem we’ve been dealing with since he was born!) and he and his bed were all wet. No wonder he made noise. A pee ‘splosion at night hasn’t happened for several months (since we started using Huggies Overnights… awesome invention), so we were both surprised when I took him over to the changing table and started stripping off the wet pj’s. One quick change later, I put him back in his crib.

The crying ensued, as I knew it would, since we’d just had a nice little midnight Mommy time.

I got back in bed and checked the clock. I give him a time limit. If the crying doesn’t stop by that time, I’ll go in, give him a little love, and put him back in the crib again. Normally he stops after a fraction of the time I’ve allotted, and we’re all back to sleep quickly. But that night, the crying continued long beyond what it has in the last 4 months.

So I broke the rules. MY rules.

After a few tries to get him to go back to sleep, I silently picked him up from his crib and carried him into my room. I laid him down on the bed next to me, and pulled the covers over his little legs. I wrapped my arms around him and in about 5 seconds our breath slowed and we fell fast asleep. Benjamin was leaving for a work trip super early in the morning, so he was already up and out the door, and Owen and I had a little special sleepytime in the big bed.

Although Owen is almost 8 months old, I had never done this before. I had never slept with him in my bed, even when we were nursing and he was a newborn. I was very strict about establishing the sleeping habits that worked for our family. I am very glad that we did what we did in the past because it established sleeping habits that make our whole family happy and well-rested, but I’m also glad that now that those habits are established, I am able to bend the rules to have a very special moment like that one. Seriously. There is nothing better in the entire world than cuddling in the dark with a sweet, clean, dry little baby. One of his little hands wrapped around my finger and one clutched his lovey. His dark eyes peered at me in the darkness and he smiled as he drifted off into sleep. I nuzzled my nose into his warm little neck and breathed him in as I, too, fell asleep. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Maybe some rules were meant to be broken.

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17 responses to “She Says… Breaking the Rules

  1. Aw :) Great post Kate! Indeed some rules were meant to be broken. I think as long as you have your routine established and it doesn’t become habit there is nothing wrong with bending the rules here and there.

  2. I soooo love this post! Some rules WERE meant to be broken — amen!

    Maya has been sleeping in her crib since she passed the one-month mark, but I would often bring her to bed with me after a dawn feeding — especially if hubby was going to be leaving shortly. I totally agree, there’s nothing like it and in fact, this morning we had some special cuddle time that just made my day. She’s been sleeping 8, 9, 10, 11 hours at night now — the least I can do is reward her (and me, who just went back to work and misses her like mad!) with some snuggles :)

  3. Super, super sweet to occasionally break the rules like that. Especially if he actually slept! Every now and then I’ve pulled one of my kids into my bed, whether for illness or nightmare or thunderstorm. It always starts out warm and sweet, and ends with me getting kicked in the head and nobody sleeping much. But still, nice to sometimes break from the norm.

    There was a while, though, that I couldn’t even take that risk with my daughter. As an older infant and young toddler, she would take any variation in the rules and cling to it. If I took her into bed one night, she’d fight for it again for the next four or five nights. More trouble than it was worth! Thankfully she’s now old enough to be reasoned with, so we can have special exceptions without as much fallout. :-)

  4. You know what’s funny? I’ve TRIED to get the baby to sleep in bed with me and she just won’t. She thinks that being in bed with me means play time and pulling Mommy’s hair time! So, she’s never slept anywhere other than her crib or carseat.

    I’m doing a Ella’s Kitchen Organic baby food giveaway on my blog, you should enter! I bet Owen would love the food :)

    http://itsadoglickbabyworld.blogspot.com/2011/03/ellas-kitchen-organic-baby-food-review.html

  5. It is SOOOO sweet and just gets better – just wait until he is a few years older…say, 3.5 and you hear the pitter patter of his footsteps and say, “mama, i need you” and you pull him into bed and suggles up…breaking ALL the major rules!! That was us last night and when the babies began waking up this morning and she could hear them over the monitor, she says, “mommy go and get my brothers so we can all cuddles up” Breaking rules for snuggles is one worth breaking :)

  6. I love this post, Kate! I am a *huge* fan of having a routine with my little guy (I’d be lost without it), but some cases just warrant a little rule breaking. The image of you and Owen snuggling in bed is just so precious. Love it!

  7. There absolutely IS some sort of time clock in there – Cameron has been known to wake at the exact same time every night too!

    A few months ago I would often resort to bringing him in bed with me around the 4a.m.+ hours – mostly out of pure exhaustion, but since he’s been sleeping better in his crib, I haven’t, but more for fear that he would start to regress in his better sleeping habits! But even though he did once snuggle with me in bed, he pretty much would have to be attached to my boob for it to happen! Like Kara, my little guy would not settle down just laying beside me. I would LOVE if it he would though, it’s such a precious time in their lives that you can never get back. Bending the rules now and then are worth it! One day will come when they will no longer want to snuggle with Mommy even though I try not to think about it :-( *sniffs*

  8. Fantastic post :) My favorite time of the day is when I bring DD in to our bed to nurse in the morning and she dozes off. The feel, the sounds, the smell … amazing. I’ve tried to be consistent in our sleep habits, too, but occasionally I’ll cuddle with her on my chest during naps. I’m taking it while I can get it :)

  9. awh cuddling in bed is pretty much the best thing about motherhood!! way to break the rules!!

  10. I love this post. Love it. A sleepy snuggle with a baby is one of the more fantastic points in life – glad you broke your own rules to experience it!

  11. my boy has slept with me nearly every night of his 7 month life and every week I say, “this is it. he’s going in his crib.” but the truth is, I am hooked on cuddling all night with the babe. i’ll probably keep him with me until he walks out of my bed….and then I’ll pay for all his therapy.

  12. that IS the best feeling. meredith slept with us a fair amount the first two months, but not since. then she slept with me for two nights while i was visiting my parents last week and i loved it. so sweet.

  13. great post! i love that you were able to have him come sleep with you. my little one doesn’t sleep with us but i miss when he used to!

  14. The moments I have loved the very most as a mom are the sweet cuddle times in the morning. I get Paisley if she wakes up an hour before I want to get up, or on weekends when we can sleep in. She still sleeps great in her crib at night, but it is amazing sleeping next to her. I’m glad you broke the rules and experienced such a great moment!

  15. Love the morning cuddles when I can justify them and get them in!

    Just ordered the lamaze light and sound garden b/c of the cute post of owen playing with it, can’t wait for it to come in the mail :)

  16. Aww, too precious. I was the same way about starting and maintaining the sleep schedule but my little buddy was never a cuddler, now he’s over six months old and finally he’ll snuggle with me and so the other day I brought him into our room to help me wake up daddy and we both ended up falling asleep. It was amazing.

  17. I am behind on the posts, but this one is too sweet not to comment. i LOVE the descriptions. SO SWEET! can’t wait to see him in a few short months!!!!!

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