Monday, September 29, 2014
There are singles and DINKS (Double Income No Kids) all across the country who take sleep for granted. They know that they will be able to go to bed whenever they want, sleep an entire night without being interrupted, and wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to start the day. One day, maybe in the near future, maybe several years from now, they will have a baby. A precious, cuddly, sweet smelling baby. And this baby will decide that sleep is not cool. And when these people come to me and complain about how hard life is with a newborn, I will simply smile.
Ella was a terrible sleeper. From the day she got home at 1 month old until 3 years old the child didn’t sleep through the night. Maybe we had 3 or 4 flukes in there, but not enough to boldly state that she “slept through the night.” To say it was torture would be an understatement. There were nights I would lay in bed sobbing out of nothing but sheer exhaustion. There were nights where I would literally scream to God, begging Him to give us just 1 night of uninterrupted sleep. We even had a few family vacations where I burst into tears in front of family members because Ella wouldn’t sleep. One year for our anniversary, Joe hired an overnight babysitter to come stay with Ella and we rented a hotel room where we could actually sleep all night. It was heavenly!
With Ella, I was working full-time, Joe was in law school, and she needed a bottle to get back to sleep (that had to be warmed to the perfect temperature). We talked about sleep training, but never actually tried it. The risk of injury was too great. We took turns each night alternating who would get up with her and prayed constantly that at some point she would outgrow this. By 3 years old I had lost hope and my body had grown accustomed to functioning on little sleep. Then September 30, 2010 happened. It was my last day of work. Every morning Ella would ask me if I had to go to work, then I would explain to her that mommy worked at home now. Within 1 week she was sleeping through the night.
I should say that now, Ella is a rock-star sleeper. The kid can sleep anywhere and be fine. She isn’t fazed by hotel rooms. She will sleep as soundly on a blanket on the floor as she would in a nice, soft bed. She goes to bed without a problem (can’t say the same for waking up) and sleeps all night. While those first 3 years were horrible, I would gladly go through them again to have the awesome sleeper I have today.
Then comes AJ. We were preparing for the worst. Our situation was completely different than before, so we had a plan of action all ready. With AJ, Joe is working and I stay home, so even though I have to be up the next morning, my need to be productive isn’t as great as Joe’s need to be productive. Also, AJ doesn’t take a bottle, so when he gets up I am the only one that can provide what he wants. As fate would have it, by 6 weeks AJ was sleeping 6 hours or longer each night. By 12 weeks he was easily sleeping 9-10 hours without a hitch.
Then summer started. Ahhh summer…where any sort of schedule you might possibly think you have is completely thrown out the window. Ella was home all day and when we weren’t going to a movie or running errands, I was dropping her off at camp or running to pick her up from camp. And we went on a lot of trips, and stayed in a lot of different homes and hotels and slept in a lot of different beds. Then the teeth decided it was the right time to poke through, and they hurt and caused a lot of drool and snot. All of this combined completely ruined AJ’s sleep. In a hotel you can’t just let a baby cry. Everyone is in one big room together, and there are neighbors and people in the hall, so rather than let him just cry I would immediately scoop him up and do all within my power to get him back to sleep. AJ liked this attention.
So now, here we are. School is back in session and we are back on his regular schedule. He is back to sleeping most of the night and only wakes up once around 4 am, then goes back to bed fairly quickly. I am confident that by his first birthday Joe and I will be back to sleeping all night.