By George, I think I've Got It!
So, two things. First, I feel human again due to Hollis' newfound love of sleeping! And, two, I've discovered what causes my eczema! Woot! We're talking major celebration here!
Ok, so how have I done it? Well, after much soul-searching, heart-breaking, and all together painful parenting moves, Hollis now realizes it's ok to sleep on his own mattress for longer stretches at a time. I did this by nothing short of what felt like child abuse, but I chanted to myself, "I am not breaking my baby. I love my baby," over and over. The amount of physical pain I was in due to lack of sleep was tipping the scales in favor of taking some drastic mommy-saving measures (and daddy-saving ones for that matter) and so I exercised them.
Last night, for example, SBH fell asleep while I was wearing him around 7:30. We let him sleep there for an hour or so then I went in for the transfer. He ate heartily, passed out in my arms, but as usual popped awake the moment his head touched the mattress. I patted and rubbed him and said, "I love you," and left the room. 10 minutes later he was still gustily proclaiming his dislike of the situation so Anthony went in to love on him for a bit (without picking him up).
The flashing lights on the monitor went dark as soon as Anthony entered the room and they remained dark for the rest of the night until 3:30 am!! For the past 5 nights it's been some version of this and I feel like a new woman. It's amazing what rest can do for overall mental health - ahhh, I crack myself up.
So, that's one thing: we're tackling our sleep-deprivation. Big thing number two is I've narrowed down the cause of my eczema which is a really awesome thing for me. I just got done doing a 21 day cleanse (vegan, gluten free, no sugar, caffeine, or alcohol) and last night I celebrated with pizza. And this morning I woke up with eczema blisters. I can easily deduce from that that gluten/wheat is the cause of my skin reactions. (I hate to admit it, but I cheated on the cleanse the past week and had some dairy and a very, very small amount of gluten with no appearance of eczema.)
Writing it down as "a big deal" sounds a little dramatic, but if you only knew how many years I've been trying to figure this out, you'd know what a breakthrough this is. Of course, I'm no doctor, but I think I have a gluten/wheat sensitivity. My mom has Celiac's Disease, so I'm not surprised that I have an intolerance to a large dose of gluten/wheat.
For those of you who've been wondering what I've been up to, well, that's pretty much it. I've been a cranky, hungry, sleep-deprived woman bent on understanding the mood swings of an 8-month old.
[Ed. note: Months later rereading this I'm shocked at the words I so casually threw about such as, "Well, after much soul-searching, heart-breaking, and all together painful parenting moves, Hollis now realizes it's ok to sleep on his own mattress for longer stretches at a time. I did this by nothing short of what felt like child abuse, but I chanted to myself, "I am not breaking my baby. I love my baby," over and over." I think being in it I was much harder on myself than what was due.
It's true, we tried the Ferber method, or a very modified version of it for about a month. Hollis never cried for longer than 15 minutes at a time and that really and truly did feel like torture. Eventually, I think what really happened to cause Hollis to sleep a little more was we became more attentive in general due to the distress we were causing in him. We were on high alert when he became upset and we would always run in to make sure he was ok, whether or not "time was up."
I'm practically ashamed we even tried something like this, so staunchly against am I these days. But, I was a new mom, utterly sleep deprived and desperate and when my other mother friends told me tricks that worked, I gobbled them up. I stopped this kind of forceful parenting due in part to my readings and to this website.
And yeah, I'm apologizing for what I did. But at least I know some new and more gentle tricks for any future babies now and I am 100% certain that Hollis won't hold it against me that he was our little guinea pig for a few weeks.]