As you may recall, not long ago I was complaining about the general lack of sleep in our house.
Jack has never been a great sleeper but we were surviving on our Da Vinci-esque sleep pattern. He’d nap for about 30 minutes several times a day, longer if he was in the car or stroller or carrier, and at night he would wake roughly every 2 hours but resettled fairly easily. Then things seemed to shift and sleep deprivation caught up with us. Some nights were so bad he’d be up every hour and wouldn’t always settle back to sleep right away.
We found ourselves growing increasingly grumpy and short-tempered. I would snap too easily at my sweet toddler who was only looking for attention or trying to help.
I lacked the energy and motivation to do much during the day. We’d go to the park, but most days I was in no mood to organize and implement fun activities for my daughter. We watched a lot of movies. So much for following the recommended amount of screen time.
My husband and I decided we couldn’t keep going like this for much longer. We looked into some sleep training info and decided to try a gentle approach. The first night, as recommended, we went cold turkey on sleep props (boob , pacifier, rocking). I nursed him but put him down awake in his crib. I sat beside him for 20 minutes and rubbed his arm and forehead while he cried on and off. Then we switched and my husband took over. Within 40 minutes total he had fallen asleep. That was all fine and good, but the night wakings…when your child wakes up every 90 minutes… we hadn’t prepared ourselves for sitting at his bedside all night long. I think naively we thought he’d cry a bit to sleep but then sleep for awhile. My husband and I both caved that first night and gave him his pacifier to help soothe him back to sleep.
I knew right away this wasn’t going to work for us. I’ve always leaned more towards attachment parenting and listening to my baby cry was not what I wanted.
A few nights later, laying in bed reading stories with my daughter, I had an epiphany.
She is going to be three in a few months. Three. Three years that have gone by in a flash.
We never did any sleep training with her and we lay with her in bed at night until she falls asleep, then sneak away like ninjas. Some nights it’s a frustratingly long process but the vast majority of nights it’s lovely to watch as her eyelids grow heavy and her breathing changes to the deep, peaceful breaths of sleep.
Similarly this time around, I feel like I blinked and my tiny boy was half way to a year. The days are long but the years are short, as the saying goes.
Soon my baby won’t be a baby anymore. He’ll be a toddler with long legs and scabbed knees, a head full of stories to tell. I hope he’ll want John and I to lay with him at night so we can tell each other those stories. Sooner than I’d like, he won’t fit in my arms, won’t fall asleep tucked in the nest of my elbow, won’t reach up for my face with his chubby hands.
So yeah, waking up multiple times a night sucks but it doesn’t last forever.
I’m going to savour every moment of his babyhood while I can.
Probably with a large mug of coffee.
P.S. Whether you sleep train or not, do what’s best for your family. No one knows what’s best but you 🙂