I think I can now be classed as an expert on sleep. Although there is very little of it happening at our house, at least I can tell you the cycles of sleep, how and why we do it, patterns of good sleep habits, and a hundred different ways to get your child to sleep. And yet I still can't get Caleb to sleep.
A friend of ours is a sleep trainer. People pay her big money to come their homes and stay overnight and train their babies to sleep well. She has witnessed Caleb fussing and crying week after week in church, and reached out to us in sympathy. We've had numerous conversations and I filled out a sleep log for Caleb, recording his sleep time, awake time, and when he feeds. There were 5 simple symbols to record on an hourly basis. I laughed when I gave her the log, because the thing looked like hieroglyphics! In each little box I had sometimes scribbled 10 or 12 symbols, as Caleb would go down, get up, go down, get up, cry, sleep and eat like a madman.
She mulled over our conversations and the log and concluded: this was like nothing she'd ever encountered yet. She said this will be excellent experience for her. Even if we weren't friends, she would have taken the case pro bono! She is currently doing some research to see if she can find something to help Caleb. But her initial "diagnosis" was that most likely Caleb is extremely intelligent. He is processing everything around him and unable to turn it off.
I've read nearly every sleep book out there. We've tried all the methods. I've studied all the case studies. I am a little frustrated, however, because all the books simply assume that their method will work, just like that. There is no "but if this fails, try..." But I also haven't found any examples of Caleb's behaviour.
His problem is that he just doesn't want to sleep. Even with me in the room, he cries and cries when we try to put him down to sleep. Every sleep book out there talks about how a baby is conditioned to need you to help get to sleep. The problem is that not even I can help him sleep. Even bringing him in bed with me doesn't get him to sleep. He has never slept anywhere but in his crib. He has never gone to sleep without crying and fussing first. He has never worn himself out crying. He has never fallen asleep in my arms (which I really miss!). He never just lies in bed crying - he throws himself around the crib, thrashing about, or stands himself up. Even when his poor eyes are red and half closed, he struggles to his feet and hangs on for dear life to the crib rail. Yesterday I hoped if I just sat in the room with him he would calm down at my presence. No such luck.
Once he's asleep he's fine. He has slept several 4 hour stretches. He does normally take two naps a day. He does go to sleep around 7am. Some of the things I've read certainly have helped in certain ways. The funny thing is that all these sleep books tend to be about getting your baby to sleep through the night. I'm not concerned about that at all. I just want to get him to be able to fall asleep without an hour of coaxing. I don't mind getting up at 11pm and 2am and 5am if I can get him back to sleep in a few minutes and crawl back into bed. But being up for hours in the middle of the night is really trying!
Please excuse the rant. A writer's prerogative, I guess. I always find it helps to get everything out "on paper". I know these days won't last forever and a beautiful dreamy sleep will find my again one day. And please feel free to call for any sleep advice for your own little bambino. I'm a regular sleep encyclopedia these days!