What’s this? Another boo-hoo, crybaby sleep problem blog? You better fucking believe it.
Who says dads can’t play favorites? As far as metal drumming goes, I’ll lay a solid, rapid, Gothenburg backbeat under just about anything. It’s simple, it’s straightforward. You can add a quick fill if you want, a short cascade down them toms, so long as you go right the fuck back into that one-two kick and snare punch. Maybe I’m just not that tasteful, but I’ve never had much use for, say, a shuffle.
That is, unless the shuffle in question is the one that has less to do with drumming and everything to do with how I’ve been getting a willful toddler to go to sleep. And, more importantly, stay asleep.
This magic potion, this enchanting elixir, is called the Sleep Lady Shuffle.
Every Day I’m Shuffl- Oh Fuck, I Just Can’t
Sleep methods are by far the thing I’ve researched the most. And by “researched,” I mean furiously Googled at 2 AM after Gorgonna’s already way past critical mass. But the sleep method that finally worked wasn’t from one of these late night search sessions. No, the answer I had been plumbing the deep, dark recesses of the internet for I found within the very first pages of a book written by sleep therapist Kim West. I shall speaketh its name, good reader. Know it as Good Night, Sleep Tight.
West, who also goes by “the Sleep Lady,” (fitting, since we’re no strangers to stage names here) outlines her process, which involves patting, calming, and very little picking up or talking. You start at baby’s bedside and slowly — glacially — move out of the room. The whole thing takes about two weeks.
And the best part? Well, not the best part. That’s reserved for you getting some damn sleep for a change. But the highly appreciated bonus is you don’t even have to read the whole book. Our Lady Sleep does you a solid and only instructs you to read the chapters relevant to your kid’s age. If you value your free time, any book where you don’t have to digest a bunch of philosophy (although that does help understand the why) but is designed to let you absorb everything you need from as few pages as possible is a win-win, touchdown, hat trick, homerun in my book of skewed sports metaphors.
Gorgonna has always seemed to develop at an accelerated pace. You always hear that about girls, right? How they develop faster than boys? She began walking around 9 months — kind of early, or so I’m told. So of course she’d get a headstart on her eighteen month sleep regression, too.
What began as a November cold, two ear infections, and teething (seriously, fuck teething) launched into a two-month sleepless shitstorm that is only juuuust now winding down, thanks to the Sleep Lady Shuffle. And that’s including the two weeks we’d spent shuffling our asses off before she got sick. We’d had an 8 PM bedtime in our sights, but biology was on her side. Gorgonna laid siege to our carefully laid foundations, reducing them to rubble and splintered timber.
I’ll admit to a new level of frustration at that point. Not because of the seeming futility of it all, like before, but because I had to rebuild what I had already taken pains to begin. Two weeks of sleep training, right down the shitter.
Ah, the trials and tribulations of parenthood!
Gorgonna now sleeps through the night now from around 8 PM to about 5:30 AM. Not exactly ideal (I hear 11 hours is golden), but I’ll take it. Anything to keep me from having to revisit those early days of the Shuffle. When Gorgonna was awake (and crying, of course) the whole thing withered my nerves, and exiting her room after she’d fallen asleep felt like walking through hell. Every floorboard held a landmine.
But the solution wasn’t hidden in an ancient tome bound in human skin. I didn’t have to ensorcell the room with salt circles or invoke prayers to the pagan gods of sleep. I just kept consistent with what the book’s relevant chapters said, bent the rules a little to accommodate what we were all comfortable with, and relinquished control of my fate to the Sleep Lady. And yea, she was merciful.
So take this as my personal endorsement: the Sleep Lady Shuffle worked for me. God, just saying that — I can already feel its days are numbered.
Is this the last sleep blog I’m likely to write? I’ll take a guess and say not fucking likely. I may have to re-cast the enchantments again many times, but having at least one successful victory has made me optimistic. Oh, don’t you worry — I’ll still bitch about it here. That above all will remain consistent.