Sleepytown, USA. I mean, UK.
Before Asher was born, I got a lot of sleep. I mean, A LOT. I always slept through the night, slept in when I could, and took naps pretty often. I just function so much better with a lot of sleep. So you can imagine the shock to my system when the little man was born. Sure, people had told us that we would be tired and would not get much sleep, but I don’t think I was really prepared for what it was going to be like to be woken up that many times in the night until it happened, not to mention that when you do wake up, you have to be somewhat functional in order to care for a tiny human who is demanding your attention. Anyway, the quality and quantity of our sleep plummeted so far and so fast, I didn’t think I would ever recover. (I like to be dramatic sometimes. :)) I would get frustrated when people would tell me to “sleep when the baby sleeps”, because my baby wasn’t sleeping for more than 35/40 minutes at a time! So by the time I got him down, had a drink or a pee, got myself settled and into dreamland, I was jarred out of sleep, only more groggy than before the nap. So I gave that up. It wasn’t worth it.
For several months I struggled with figuring out how to function without a proper rest. I know every new parent must go through this. (Please tell me I’m not alone.) In the past when new parents mentioned they were tired or sleep deprived, I gave a sympathetic nod, but more often than not, I didn’t give it a second thought. I read a book awhile back and the author said parents deserved a “ticker-tape parade” for their heroic, middle-of-the-night efforts. Maybe that’s a bit over-the-top, but for sure,the next time a parent tells me they are tired from sleepless nights, I will feel a true compassion for them and understand the very real need for sleep to happen in their home.
We are finally feeling like we are leaving that mind-numbing infant sleep stage. Those first few months after Asher was born were the worst, as one would expect. But Asher has now really gotten into the groove of sleeping well at night and for naps. There is no more holding and bouncing for an hour to get him to sleep. A few verses of “Tis so Sweet” and a kiss and the kid just lays down and goes to sleep (most of the time… not yesterday, though, when he screamed like a banshee). But this has got me feeling rather hopeful: Asher has now slept ALL NIGHT, without waking up, for three nights in a row. I’m talking nearly 12 hours a night. Three long, uninterrupted, glorious nights of sleep has made us feel a bit more human, but we still have a ways to go. You see, the problem is that our bodies have become so accustomed to waking up in the night, that even when Asher does sleep for a long stretch, we still wake up. We feel like we now have our own night waking issues and we’ll have to sleep train ourselves!
Still, it’s these small victories that keep us going in the sleep department. But I’m being reasonable; I’m not getting my hopes up because I know very well that today could be a totally different story altogether. He might decide naps are for the birds. Or tonight he could decide he actually does want to wake up 47 times. I know it might not be our new normal just yet. But it’s coming, I can feel it. :) Here’s hoping for night-o-bliss #4 tonight!