Anyone who has, is expecting or who has ever seen a child knows that one of the first and most common things you hear is “there goes sleeping through the night for a year!” Don’t worry, I’m not going to contradict that…I’ve been through that, remember? Yes, you will go sleepless until the new addition can figure out that you want them to sleep through the night.
This lack of sleep will continue for a few more months while you worry. Is he REALLY asleep? Will I hear him if he wakes up? DID I just hear him? When will he wake up? I’ve slept too long…maybe I need to check on him…etc.
Eventually you relearn how to sleep through the night yourself. This is great….for awhile. Is seems like you just get to this point and something happens. The little one gets sick. You wake up in the morning and the little guy smiles up at you from the crib…obviously having been awake for quite some time (this provokes a guilt response: I didn’t hear him wake up! This must mean I’m a bad parent!). You wake up to find the baby laying on his stomach even though you’ve been sooo good about the whole “back to sleep” thing. This prompts the nights of “I just have to check”. Sleepless again.
The baby turns into a toddler, the renewed panicking has calmed, you’re sleeping through the night again. Enter the “I don’t WANNA go to bed”s and “Mommy, I’m really not tired”s. Now, while you are sleeping through the night, it just got shorter. Strict schedules, adhered to since sleeping through the night began, begin to be tweaked in hopes to soothe the energetic toddler before bed. This makes it worse. You end up with a whole new schedule that works pretty well…until it needs to be changed again.
The kids have finally started school! You have a routine that works 99% of the time. Sleepless nights are a thing of the past. Right??? “Mom! My friend K is my age and he doesn’t go to bed until an hour AFTER me. Can I pleeeaase have a later bedtime?” I have no idea how other parents put their kids to bed an hour later….I need them to go to bed because I want to too. A compromise is reached and it works okay…for about a week. By the 2nd week Mom is tired, kids are tired, and afternoons and evenings turn cranky. Adjustments are made until everyone is somewhat satisfied.
This works through primary, grade one and grade two. By grade three, there is sports practice twice a week, races early in the morning on weekends, and Mom is spending more and more time doing stuff with the PTA. Kids are vying for even later bedtimes and need to be up earlier in the morning. Homework and playtime are still necessary every night. “I don’t WANNA go to bed”s and “Mommy, I’m really not tired”s restart.
Last night, at 3am, L woke up and wanted something from the living room. Instead of getting whatever it was, he decided to wake T and have him get it. T said no. L got out of his bed, climbed into T’s bed, and jumped on T. This, of course, prompted a (loud, angry) argument. My boys are not babies or toddlers anymore. They are well past that one year I was warned about. Yet lately we have been going through a round of sleepless nights.
I’m tired, they’re tired, we are all starting to get cranky. Sleeping in to “catch up” is not an option. All I can say is “Sleep….PLEASE!?!” for all of us…
No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!