Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sleep boot camp

I borrowed the name for this post from my friend Heather who told me her twins were currently on sleep boot camp after reading my post about the late night antics.  Our babies are in sleep boot camp too as of Friday night. We have been debating when to really start sleep training for a few weeks now.  Okay debating makes it sound like we both had a strong opinion and were trying to convince the other person, when actually it was more like us randomly tossing out pros and cons of different timing. Some books say you can start right away and others say to wait until six weeks post due date, which for us wouldn't be until Christmas Eve. (Talk about a horrible time to start sleep training!!). We've been using what Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Twins calls the "check & console" strategy up until this week.  In check & console you go to them pretty much right away each time they cry, trying to settle then with as little intervention as possible.  We've been doing this for weeks and about half the time it was feeling like we were just making things worse when we went in.  (Of course most of the sleep books we've read say this is best done by the father because he doesn't smell like that might be part of our problem!)  Anyway, because we weren't feeling great about what we've been doing we decided it was time to up the ante and try "controlled crying." As always, they get rocked, shushed, and soothed until they are drowsy but awake, then if they start crying we set a five minute timer and wait those five minutes before going in to settle them back to sleepyland.  The next time we wait ten minutes before going in and the next 15 minutes.

For the most part, they've been doing great and have been going down smoothly for most naps and in the middle of the night, but late afternoon/evening time is rough. It's been getting a little better each night, but they never all go down in the evening without crying.  They've always had the hardest time in the evening so this is nothing new.  It's just a tough time of day and is definitely the most frustrating because they seem so out of it and then BAM, they're screaming.  And I think if it was just one baby, it really wouldn't seem like much at all, but with three babies it's a different story. We get them all settled down and walk out of the room feeling super accomplished and pleased that all three babies are quiet.  But then before you know it someone crying.  So we wait then go in, settle the crying baby and cross our fingers.  Sadly, we often walk out of the room and sit down only to have another one start up. They are usually settling on their own and we often get a couple minutes into their five minute timer and everyone is quiet and calm, but they aren't always staying that way for the rest of the nap time.  Fortunately it hasn't happened super often, but there have been a few times when all three are crying and it's a veritable symphony.  People ask us if they wake each other up and in general we say no, but when they are trying to fall asleep then it seems like one crying baby can get one or both of the other babies ramped up.  Isaiah and Avery sometimes seem like they are psychically connected the way they can ramp each other up!

We are starting to learn each of their cries and can usually tell who it is that is crying before we open the app on our phone to check the video feed.  Occasionally Ellie stumps us because when she gets mad she can sound like Avery.  Isaiah probably has the most distinctive cry and sounds like a broken record skipping when he cries when fighting sleep.  The nice thing about knowing their cries is that we feel pretty confident that we know when it's an "I'm fighting sleep" cry versus a "something is wrong" cry and can attend to them differently.

But no matter how you spin it, this is definitely a trying time in our house.  It is born out of necessity because we were going crazy going in to soothe every two seconds and sometimes felt like we could just move from one crib to the next to the next, but it's still not fun to hear them cry.  Like I said most times are fine, but evenings can really wear us down.  We have been having a lot of conversations about how we can take care of ourselves and each other right now.  Michelle in particular has been struggling with the evenings so I'm giving her the evening off tonight and sending her and Jess to go see Frozen, the new Disney movie.  Hope is helping me with the 5pm feeding then heading to rugby practice so I'll be on my own for about an hour.  I know it's going to be tough, but I'm mentally preparing myself and have done a lot of prep like getting bottles ready and treats for myself.   Wish me luck!!!

A few cute pics to make us all smile and remind me how cute they are.  Michelle and I have joked that we should get a projector and project adorable photos of them on our ceiling at night to remind us how much we love them when we're struggling in the middle of the night. =)

Let's hope we dont have any of this nonsense!!

And that we do see a lot of this

And even more of this!!!

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