Going through Charlotte’s baby things for the consignment sale helped me realize how many things we have purchased for the sake of sleep: the Dock-A-Tot, Magic Sleep Suit, sleep sacks and swaddles galore, rock & play, pack & play, mattress for the pack & play, pacifiers—so many pacifiers, a different set of bottles just in case gas was a culprit, sound machine, Wubanubs, mesh bumpers, night time gripe water, blackout curtains, nursery-safe space heater, sleep training books… I could probably go on all day.
Point being: sleep is priceless. When you are in the throes of extreme sleep deprivation, you will gladly spend all of the money you don’t have if the latest sleep thing holds any promise of getting you some damn sleep.
I do not regret that our retirement date has been pushed back five years because of all of the money we spent on baby sleep paraphernalia. We always dreamed of spending our retirement years in the National Parks, but I’m pretty sure after 45 there won’t be any of those left, so whatever. We’ll just keep working.
I didn’t really come here to say any of that. What I came here to say is that things are better these days. As Charlotte approaches her second birthday, we are approaching our second anniversary as sleep-obsessed parental units, and I feel like we’ve learned some things.
I only get up with her once most nights. Once! It’s either sometime around midnight, or it’s sometime around 3 am. Some nights, I get up with her twice. That happened once this week.
None of that is very remarkable, but do you know what is remarkable?
She has slept through the night 4 times in the last 2 weeks. There were even a couple of times in the preceding weeks that she slept through the night. It’s like a thing now. Sometimes my kid sleeps through the night. I have NEVER been able to say that. EVER. This is BIG. YUGE, even. (Clearly I have politics on my brain, but that is major progress because I HAVE A BRAIN AGAIN.)
This all started around Spring Break when we were going going going non-stop. We were wearing her the hell out. We’d be out having fun and we’d say screw bedtime and keep her up 30-60 minutes late. Or we’d push her nap so late that we had to do a later bedtime.
That is when this sleeping through the night phenomenon started. When we pushed our kid past the brink of exhaustion. That’s contrary to every sleep book ever written, I think.
On Thursday, she did two classes at the YMCA with our nanny. She had an average nap, then they played outside in the heat (90+) off and on until we got home from work. We went out for dinner with my parents and my dad took her outside and let her run and run and run for a good half hour while my mom, Catch and I finished our second round of margaritas. We got home around normal bedtime. When we pulled into the driveway, Charlotte asked for a walk. We needed to walk the dogs anyway, so we said screw bedtime and we all went for a walk. Charlotte was probably in bed about 30-40 minutes past her usual bedtime, and she was BEAT.
She slept through the night. (And so did I, thanks to those 2 margaritas!)
Obviously, days like that are not the norm. We cannot make Thursday into a Groundhog Day scenario. What we can do is move her bedtime once and for all.
Charlotte Louise, step right up—you’ve won a later bedtime!
Now, obviously, this kid’s sleep patterns are a fragile thing. This may not be the answer. She could start working on a tooth or catch a cold or we could travel across time zones and all will be lost. I have hope, though. I don’t expect that sleeping through the night is ever going to be the norm for her, but I would sure love to be able to join the ranks of moms whose kids sleep through the night occasionally. After close to 2 years of this shit, I deserve that promotion. Quick–someone order me some new mom cards!