I call Dylan my little doll baby. He's such a little sweetheart. When Ethan was little, I bought a book about sleep (not uncommon, I'm sure) by Dr. Marc Weissbluth. He spoke of different types of babies---the easy baby, the fussy baby, the colicky baby. And he said most parents would get something in between. At the time, I knew we had the difficult baby.
He spoke of the easy baby as though it was rare and lucky to experience such a phenomenon. And so when we found out we were adding another child to the mix, I hoped that the next baby would be easier, but I did not expect the "easy" baby. And that is why I call my sweetheart a little doll baby.
For the most part, Dylan sleeps through the night. He goes to bed around 8 and sleep until around 4 to 6. Amazing. Simply amazing. He rarely cries. I can put him down long enough to go to the bathroom....but not make dinner. And that's okay. He smiles and laughs and coos. He's just an absolute doll!
But Weissbluth predicts that parents of these "fussy" babies may soon see dark clouds forming above them as their little dolls reach the 4 month mark. And I can attest that this is true!
While Ethan began to calm down a bit toward that mark, Dylan is beginning to assert himself a bit more. Because Ethan was a more challenging child, I began a strict routine around 6 to 7 weeks. And I did not deviate from that routine until he was close to a year. It was such a challenge because I did not do routines in my own life. I hated them. I never knew what time we were going where or what we were eating for dinner or what we were doing that weekend. All of a sudden, I knew exactly what we were doing all that time because it was so important to have Ethan at home for naps and bed time. Other parents scoffed and saw me as too rigid, but it's what Ethan required, so I did it. I don't in any way regret those choices. It was necessary and I think Ethan is better for it.
With Dylan, however, I've been lax. I don't have an evening routine with him. I don't have a morning routine. He still doesn't have a set bedtime. And he still sleeps right next to my bed. I have no plans to move him soon. But there are some things that are going to have to change....
This past weekend, we went to the Wilson's Creek Battlefield just outside Springfield. We toured a house that served as a hospital during the Civil War. We saw a demonstration of a Canon being fired and we saw a demonstration of how the infantry loaded, shot and reloaded their guns. And we also saw the crankiest Dylan we've ever encountered.
Before we left that morning, Dylan started fussing and crying. I tried to feed him, but he refused. His eyes were red and saggy, and I said, "He's tired. I'm going to try putting him down." What do you know! He just went to sleep. He just wanted me to put him to bed! Up to this point, he's just sort of fallen asleep in my arms. Sure he's done the whole, "I don't want to sleep so I'm going to wrestle around" bit, but then he's fallen asleep in my arms. But not so these days.
When we got home from the battlefield, he did the same thing. He just wanted to be put down. And while I usually to feed him last at 8, he decided at 7:15 that he was tired. So I fed him early and put him down awake, but tired. He went right to sleep. No fuss!
You're probably not getting the whole "dark clouds" thing.
Don't get me wrong. He's still a doll, and the fact that I can put him down awake when he's tired and he'll go right to sleep is amazing. AMAZING. I wouldn't have it any other way. But it does mean that we will have to become more sensitive to his schedule. He doesn't want to sleep in the Boba carrier. He doesn't want to sleep in the car. He wants to sleep in his bed. And that's wonderful.
However, we live in the country and when we go to town, we're usually there for hours. We're going to have to rethink that whole strategy. The most important thing is to abide by Dylan's schedule. I know there are many parents out there that might think it's ridiculous to let a baby dictate your schedule, but those parents didn't have Ethan. Those parents didn't learn the importance of catering to the needs of a fussy baby. And while Dylan is an easy baby, that doesn't mean he can't and won't get fussy if I force him to abide by my schedule. I honestly believe in respecting a baby's need for sleep. Ethan taught me that.
Ethan also taught me that this stage lasts such a short time. For me, the sacrifice is worth it!