Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sleep training

... no, not for the babies. They don't need it -- they've slept through the night as a rule since 10 weeks, although we are totally in the middle of a sleep regression, which I alternately chalk up to their colds, teething (they have to get some teeth sometime), and learning to crawl (they both are army-crawling and rocking on hands and knees, so it's going to happen any day now). Plus, I don't really think cry-it-out is the right way for us to go anyway; it happens sometimes, because of the twin thing, but although Claire has on occasion cried herself to sleep, Katherine never has and probably never will.

No, the sleep training I'm talking about is for my husband. He's a really heavy sleeper, enough that I never even considered co-sleeping when the girls were very small -- I've seen him nearly roll over on them before. This is usually a minor annoyance, when I need him to wake up at a certain time or something. However, it was a little bit more of a problem today, and I'm agitated about it, to say the least.

We were both really tired this morning, because it was nearly 3 AM before we went to bed (he worked really late, and then Claire coughed herself awake at 1:30), and Katherine woke up at 5 and spent the next three hours in bed with us, alternately nursing and kicking and screaming. (There is no "sleep" when we try to co-sleep, for darn sure.) He went back into the office at 9, and then later in the afternoon, stretched out on the couch to take a nap.

After he'd been out for about an hour and a half, I finally finished up with the babies and got ready to go to Wal-Mart. I have been sick as hell all week and am now in that stage of recovery where you feel really weak, so I didn't think I had the energy to handle Wal-Marting with the babies. I woke him up to tell him that I needed him to keep an eye on the girls; while he didn't stand up or anything, he opened his eyes and said he would, and talked with me for a minute about the grocery list. I thought that perhaps he might doze back off for a bit, but that he was more or less awake and would surely hear them if they started to cry.

I'm sure you can guess where this is going, right? Fast-forward an hour and a half, and I'm coming home from the store, and I can hear the screaming baby from halfway up the walk. I rush in the door, scoop her up, and determine that she's physically fine, just very angry. Then, only then, do I start yelling at my husband -- and I WAKE HIM UP, because he has been asleep the whole entire time. I don't know how long Claire had been crying, but it was obviously some time, because her whole face was teary and snotty and red and blotchy. She was full-out wailing, and he slept through the whole thing.

I'm angry with myself, because I shouldn't have left them with him. But I'm furious with him, because I thought it would be fine, leaving them in their pack-and-play less than four feet from his head. I woke him up and told him he was on baby duty . I trusted him to wake all the way up if they needed him, and he didn't. What if Claire had been crying because she was hurt or needed help? It's not like he would have woken up if she'd just cried louder, because she was already at full volume. How he managed to sleep through the racket, I don't know, but he did.

My mother-in-law told me, soon after the babies were born, that she never left G's dad in charge of the kids if she even thought he might fall asleep. She had too many close calls with him not waking up and hearing trouble, and eventually, she just got too afraid that something terrible would happen and he wouldn't hear it. If I can't trust G to wake up and hear the babies, and today sure argues that I can't, I'm going to have to institute the same policy. This makes me very sad, and very very angry.

G thinks I'm overreacting, because "he was right there with them" and "he would have woken up if anything was really wrong". But I don't believe him, because she was crying just like something was really wrong, and he didn't. Essentially, the babies were alone in the house, just as if he'd left them there -- he was so sound asleep he might as well not have been there. I feel like he really let me, and them, down. I hate that I can't trust their own father to take care of them, but I'm feeling very betrayed right now.

The only reason I'm inclined to cut him any slack at all is because he was asleep, so it's not like was ignoring them on purpose. But seriously, I'm wondering if it is possible to train yourself to wake more easily. I naturally became a lighter sleeper over the last few years, but if there's a method you can follow or something, I'm going to insist that he do it, or I'll have to be very careful about leaving the girls alone with him.

Am I totally overreacting here? What would you do in my shoes?


Cass said...

J's the same way - he doesn't wake up for their crying at all, which I find weird and hugely frustrating.

My MIL said that J's dad didn't wake up for his nighttime crying at all in the first year or so, but later on when there was more he could DO about it (read - no breastfeeding required) then he suddenly started to HEAR the crying and react. It was like he grew the ability. Sucks, doesn't it?

Nico said...

I don't see how G can say that he would have woken up if something were really wrong. Clearly, he couldn't!

That said, he obviously didn't intend to do it.

Is he usually this heavy a sleeper, or do you think it's just becuase he's getting over being sick? If the former, I think you just have to make sure that he does NOT nap when he's alone with the girls. If the latter, hopefully this one a one time incident and won't happen again.

Eva said...

That seems pretty crazy -- how can ANYone, parent or not, sleep so deeply? I am a very deep sleeper and I admit, I often sleep through the start of babies crying in the next room (I slept through fire alarms in college), but I do wake up within a minute or two. I think it would be scary to leave him alone if sleep is involved given this experience!

Stacey said...

I think dude needs to go to a doctor. Sleeping like that is not the sign of a completely healthy man.

Kim said...

My wife does the same thing and I can;t even begin to describe how angry it makes me. How can a mother sleep though her own babies' crying?!?! Same thing applies for a father, as far as I'm concerned and I don't get it at all. Grrr.... I feel your frustration.

Maggie said...

that is totally crazy!! I can't believe he slept through her screaming like that. If he sleeps that deeply then if you decide to leave them with him again you should make sure he is fully awake before you leave. There's no reason he shouldn't be able to watch the babies for a few hours while you go out. Did he at least get up when you got home to help you out? I mean, you were BOTH up late and, like you said, you were weak from being sick.

Stacie said...

That would scare me, bother me, freak me out and leave me not a little furious. Why are women supposed to be more responsible, sick or well, than men when it comes to childcare.

Different thought: would you be interested in the Multiple Moms Movie Madness thing I have going on?