You know they NEVER sleep through the night, right?
July 7, 2011
It's all a lie, a big, fat, perpetuated-by-supermoms LIE. Your baby is never going to sleep through the night. I'm sorry. I really am. Perhaps you are reading this in a haze, in the middle of the night, with a wide awake baby in your lap and no idea how to get him back to sleep. And you hate me right now. I'M SORRY.
Oh, sure, SOME babies sleep through the night, but it's all just a trick. Jackson first slept through the entire night at seven months old and his grateful parents were overjoyed. We woke up the next morning with a strange feeling: was THIS what it felt like to sleep several hours in a row? Our child was the smartest, most brilliant, most handsome, best behaved baby in the entire world... until the nine month sleep regression when it all went to pot. Sleeping through the night: LIE.
And then there was our second child, a true marvel. She slept through the night at two months! I SWEAR! I will never ever forget putting her down in the crib next to my side of the bed simply because I was too tired to hold her anymore. And then I watched as her eyelids fluttered closed and [GASP] she went to sleep on her own. I had NEVER been able to put Jack down "drowsy but awake". I rocked that kid to sleep until he was sixteen months old. But my second baby, oh, now SHE was the smartest, most brilliant, most beautiful, best behaved baby in the entire world... until she hit the four month sleep regression, and tortured us with a midnight bedtime, and yammered for us multiple times a night because she dropped her pacifier.
Now these brilliant, good-looking children are four and almost three and guess what. THEY STILL DON'T SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. I'm telling you people: lies! All lies! No, I am not staying up for hours with a sobbing inconsolable baby. No, we're not dealing with reflux or changing diapers in the middle of the night (USUALLY) or midnight feedings, but STILL. They STILL find ways to drag us out of bed at two and three and four in the morning.
The other night I stumbled into the kids' room expecting to find Jack being mauled by bears or being hung upside down by his toenails - the shrieking was that bad. But he was ASLEEP! He was making those awful noises IN HIS SLEEP! And what are you supposed to do about THAT? This happens all the time, by the way, and the best I've got is sort of just rearranging him in his bed, pulling up the covers and patting his bottom. Anyone else have a Random Cries In His Sleep kid?
Then the girl cries because she is STILL losing her pacifier in her covers (I know, I know, the pacifier fairy will be arriving SOON). Or she wants us to pull up the blankets. Or she needs a drink of water. Or she's having a bad dream. Or the door is not open enough. Or the room is just Vaguely Scary. Or she wants someone to lay down with her. OR NO REASON AT ALL.
The most freaked out I've ever been, and this includes both babyhoods, was when Phillip was on a business trip and we were still in our little rental house and the kids were sharing a room with bunkbeds. Jack was howling and I ran into the room, again expecting the boogie man. But no, he was just sitting up in bed, freaking his little self out. And I did NOT get it. I kept asking him what was wrong, and he'd respond by wigging out even more. The shrieks were getting crazy and higher-pitched, his hands were starting to flail around, he was kicking his legs. I just stood there looking up at him on the top bunk wondering what the heck I was supposed to do. He wouldn't answer me, he wouldn't get down, he barely even acknowledged my presence.
The hands and feet got wilder and faster and finally I climbed up there, hauled him out, and... OH. This kid TOTALLY has to pee. We barely made it, Internet. BARELY. And it was traumatic for both of us. I was seriously thinking he was having a seizure or some kind of four-year-old mental health breakdown, but now I know: unintelligible midnight freakout = urgent trip to the bathroom.
And then? THEN? They wake up at six. Or five-thirty. And come on, that is NOT sleeping through. Not after a night of potty trips and lost pacifiers and monsters in the closet. Unacceptable!
You may deduce from this post that my kids have been temperamental sleepers lately. And they are GOOD sleepers. I know this. But even my good sleepers are keeping me up all hours. From the moment we put them down - it's play-in-our-beds-and-laugh-ourselves-sick-time! - till morning - "Mommy, is it seven yet? Is it seven? IS IT SEVEN? We can get out of bed at SEVEN! Is it SEVEN?" - I no longer know what it's like to sleep a full eight hours and (this is key) wake up REFRESHED!
As my dad would say, this is what I get for having children. And oh yeah, we'll have a third one in October! The kind that TRULY doesn't sleep through the night! Yippee!