Happy Friday, Peeps! And it’s a long weekend Friday to boot! That’s what dreams are made of. I’m trying to squeeze in a little writing with the kiddos still up. I’m hoping it works. Mark is yelling at the vacuum cord, and Annie is putting stickers in her hair, so they’re content. They’re doing what they love. Fingers crossed.
I want to talk about SLEEP, but let me just start this off with a disclaimer: I have a grand total of no expertise on the matter (at least from an education standpoint). I’m no sleep expert or sleep trainer, nor have I studied infant development or anything like that.
BUT! I do have a totally biased and completely anecdotal opinion! So ultimately, this is just me ranting, raving and coming to my own conclusion. Feel free to disagree.
Obviously, sleep is vital to our physical, mental and emotional health. It shapes how we function, how we interact, and how we deal with our sh*t. But as a parent, it can sometimes be hella elusive. And there isn’t a person I know who doesn’t HATE alarms. Unless an alarm signals the beginning of some amazing day where I’m off on a tropical vacation to swim in pools of money and wine, I’m not interested. I’ve racked my brain, and I think that’s the one and only alarm I would jump out of bed for.
Whether your alarm is a beep, the radio, or an obnoxious kid putting her fingers in your mouth and nose holes, they all suck.
I hate lost sleep. I’ve always been a light sleeper and I’ve always woken at night, but right now is a special kind of bad. Mark isn’t such a great sleeper these days, and to be honest, I can’t remember if Annie was or wasn’t at this age. I know it’s very stereotypical of parents to complain about sleep, but for me, it is set apart from other life chapters. When I was working or going to school, I had – at least – a modicum of control over my sleep. Even if I knew I had a stupidly early class, or a 12 hour work day, I could go to bed when I needed to. I could wind myself down. I could relax and drink sleepy time tea. Most importantly, I could sleep from “this hour” to “that hour” and have no one bother me.
These days, Mark is sometimes up EVER HOUR. It isn’t uncommon for us to see every hour on that damn red clock. Both Andrew and my doctor have reminded me that he’s not hungry anymore. He eats three solid meals a day and breast feeds half a dozen times in between. He doesn’t need to nurse at night as his body no longer requires it. BUT! If I nurse him, he dozes off on the boob and I’m able to put him back to sleep (and put myself back in turn). It’s – hands down – the easiest way to get us both back to bed.
AND sometimes I let him sleep beside me. And sometimes Andrew goes and sleeps on the pull out so that he can be functional for work. Sometimes we do all the no nos.
We tried various sleep training methods with Annika. Sometimes they helped, but sometimes they didn’t. I’m realizing, however, that the things that worked for her aren’t necessarily right for Mark because he’s a different kid.
It’s definitely a process. I’ve heard of these strange, dubious cases where people say it’s a quick fix, but for US it’s a process.
I’m genuinely perplexed by people who ask “when did your first sleep through?” as if it was like a light switch. Does this actually happen to some people? If so, who are these freak show babies? Because Annie slept through…but only for a week here or there. Sometimes she’d even trick us by sleeping through for a few months! BBBUUTTT then she wouldn’t for the next five. It was a roller coaster. I have a hard time believing the parents who say “little Johnny decided at nine weeks old to sleep from 7pm until sunrise, and he never woke once at night. Ever again.”
I remember both the kids getting some amazing eight hour stretches when they were a couple months old. Those were the bee’s knees. But here we are a few months later and those glorious nights are a thing of the past.
HOWEVER, all that being said, I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that the exhausting nights wont last. Annika is two-and-a-half, and I can legitimately say that she sleeps through the night. I don’t mean every night because she has bad dreams, or stuffy noses, or wakes when there’s loud thunder…but on a normal night, and over all, she sleeps through. Plus, she was our first born so she was just basically a human experiment. We blindly manoeuvred our way through those first years, completely clueless and making it up as we went along. Despite this, we managed to keep her alive, and eventually get her to sleep through.
If I can offer any advice to parents it’s this: never feel guilty about naps. I napped SO HARD when Annika was little. I fully embraced the “sleep when they sleep” philosophy. Now she’s given up naps entirely, so I can’t exactly do that with Mark.
Also? Do what you have to do to survive. Don’t worry if you have to “break the rules”. Don’t listen to the “tsk tsk. He shouldn’t drift off on your breast” or “she shouldn’t ever be brought in with you”. DO read up and try different methods, though. Give things a shot and take things one day at a time. Progress can always be made. Finally, drink coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. Don’t act like you’re too good for coffee.
Ultimately, remind yourself that “this too shall pass”. Plus, if your kids are as wild as mine can be, sometimes it’s nice to seize those dozy snuggles, even if they’re offered at 2am.
Anyway, I hope my rant was relatable, or maybe even helpful!
PS. Don’t get me started on pregnancy sleeping. As IF it was possible to sleep when I looked like this:
Or worse, THIS: