On Sleep


It’s 6:30 a.m. Chances are that this post won’t be finished until late tonight, which is the irony of writing this before the sun even comes up.

When it comes to parenting, there’s no issue more pressing than that of sleep. With a newborn and a teething toddler (dear GOD, when will these two-year molars be done??), it’s an issue near and dear to my heart. (Ha!)

This morning, somewhere around 4 or so, Emma Vance awoke sobbing. Her mouth has been hurting her lately, and now that she can somewhat express herself, teething has become extra miserable. When she wakes up in pain, we’ve discovered through trial-and-error that the best chance of anyone getting any sleep is to simply snuggle her in our bed, so out of the crib she went. For the next hour she moaned and sobbed and thrashed, and all the while I was silently begging for Cricket to stay asleep. But she didn’t. So back and forth between the nursery and our master I went, consoling first one child and then the other. Cricket would cry out, E.V. would beg, “Sleeping? I sleeping?” and Ryan would offer a sleepy hand. There was rocking and back rubbing and spooning. Around 5:30 we resorted to Netflix as a distraction for our toddler (Cricket was much faster to recover from her wakefulness), which worked for a bit — but also woke E.V. up even more. At one point I sat in Kit’s nursery for about 15 minutes, I could hear E.V. settle down in our room. Yes! She’s asleep finally! However, when I returned, there she was, watching the world’s most annoying show, “Color Crew.” As I started to climb into bed, I stepped in a wet spot. What the–? It turns out that her silence had occurred because she was occupied removing her diaper, leaning her booty over the edge of the bed and peeing on the floor and pillow below. Really? Really.

At 6 a.m. I gave up on sleeping myself, got E.V. some dry cereal and resolved to get some lingering work done. As long as I’m up… Cricket was passed out, E.V. was cheering and Cheerio-ing along to dancing TV crayons, and my REM cycle was shot. (Sounds like typical parenthood to me.) I got about ten minutes worth of work done before E.V. threw her cup of cereal down into my lap, flopped down and passed out instantly, as if she’d been FORCED to go without sleep and couldn’t stand it for one more second. Now the dogs and Ryan are snoring (sorry, dear!), E.V. is drooling on my pillow and Cricket is stirring in the next room. And me? Well, I’m wide awake. Go figure.

Before having kids, I was an eight-hours-a-night type of gal. And, truthfully, I still am. However, in life you do whatever it takes to survive, and surviving parenthood means little sleep, which is an idea I’ve come to terms with. When E.V. was an infant, I obsessed about when she’d finally sleep through the night. I’d ask other moms how their little ones were doing, trying to gauge how much longer I had before I could manage to get a full night’s sleep in. It took me a loooong time to finally let go of that comparison, and when I did, I realized that Emma Vance naturally sleeps almost exactly 11 hours a night. I had it in my head that all children sleep 12 (for whatever reason), and waiting for the mysterious last hour of rest drove me crazy. When my expectation went from 8-to-8 to 8-to-7, I finally felt like I was getting a full night’s rest again because it was the new norm. Now that Cricket is here, the irony is that she’s definitely a 12 hour-et, but since Emma Vance rules the world (duh) and this household, poor Cricket is awoken each morning at her big sister’s command. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve never actually out-slept Cricket. (What a good baby!) Irony or ironies, I’d venture to say that my four month-old is the best sleeper around here these days! It makes me chuckle to think how desperate I was for E.V. to sleep through the night and how nonchalant I feel about Cricket sleeping through the night. (I suppose the second time around we all realize that kids grow regardless of whether or not you encourage their growth.) Truthfully, my expectations on their sleep directly reflect my expectations on my sleep, which have gone from need-to-sleep-or-I’m-a-zombie to I’ll-sleep-when-I’m-dead. ;)

So now it’s 7 a.m., and it’s time to shower and get ready to run a pre-planned early errand for the day. And although I can be happy that “write a blog entry” can already be marked off of my to-do list, the downside is that I’m going to be beat come noon. Oh, and “Color Crew” has been on unnecessarily this whole time. Shoot me.

P.S. Part of the reason that I’m a little numb to the sleep deprivation right now is that we have something BIG in the works, and I can’t wait to announce it! Coming soon…stay tuned!

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