Mothers are used to getting little or no sleep. Every pregnant woman in the world knows that it’s coming but very few people are prepared for the reality of being on-call all day, and all night, each and every day.
Ryan Reynolds was recently quoted as saying that his “daughter seems to be, in particular, allergic to sleep.” I’ve got news for you pal, chances are good that me and hundreds of other parents have been in the same situation as you!
I think that most people get accustomed to the broken sleep fairly quickly and deal with it as well as they can. I know that I didn’t really get a break between newborns, by the time my Big Boy was sleeping through enough of the night that I should have been able to rest I was well into my third trimester with baby number two, and we all know how well you sleep during those last couple of months! (Leg twinge, gotta shift. Have to pee, must get up. Baby shifted, can’t lay that way any more. Damn, have to pee again!)
When Big Boy was new he was a voracious eater but he was quick about it. I would get up every couple of hours through the night to feed him but he would suck that milk back like it was about to disappear and I would be back in bed fifteen minutes later. I barely had to wake all the way up so could trick myself into thinking that I had slept well.
My Little Man was a different story altogether. He would keep me up for over an hour then sleep for twenty minutes and start hollering again. My husband actually bought me a Snuggie blanket that Christmas because I was spending more of my nights out in the living room than I was in bed. The boys were both small enough that naps were still part of our daily activity so I was able to snatch a quick rest most days.
As kids get older, they start to sleep better. (That’s my understanding of it anyway, and it better not be one of those little white lies women get told so they’ll agree to bear a child!) My boys have improved somewhat, once they go to bed they require very little from me until morning. The odd time I’ll wake up when Big Boy crawls into my bed and I’ll always wake up when one of them has to pee, accidents are not an option when the whole family sleeps in one bed!
Last night, however, Little Man took the whole “good sleeping” thing to a ridiculous level. I stepped away for 12 minutes (exactly, I checked my phone log!) and came back to find him passed out. I may have to speak to Disney Junior about their choice to air the Tinkerbell movies each day this week at 5:00, those movies have always been our “bedtime” movies so watching them too early likely triggered him to fall asleep. (Either that or it was the fact that his big brother has been home from school for days and days now and it’s tiring him out!) He stirred enough an hour later to get him into the bathroom, (it was funny watching him stand there and pee with his eyes closed!) put on his jammies and toss him into bed.
There he stayed.
He slept through a visit from his grandparents, he slept through the bedtime shenanigans of his big brother, he slept through me watching four episodes of Dr. Quinn without turning the volume down when Johnny Cash started shooting people. (There also may have been a wee cheer when Sully first takes his shirt off!)
He slept all the way through until 4:47am.
Then he was up. He didn’t care that the sun was still asleep, he didn’t care that his brother was still asleep, he did care that Mommy wouldn’t open her eyes while he was talking to her though!
Not that long ago I used to exist on 5 hours of sleep every night, the thought of 8 (even semi-interrupted) hours was orgasmic. Now I get those 8 and they still don’t feel like enough.
Until I get far, far, far less than what I’ve become used to. Then I turn into a useless lump who can barely shuffle to the coffee maker, only to find that there isn’t a coffee on the market capable of firing up my synapses to face the day. (A day with two boys home the whole day instead of one in school, I might add. That’s another situation that I find myself unexpectedly unaccustomed to!)
I guess it’s good that we all have days like this, it makes us appreciate our “normal” days more. Motherhood (parenthood!) is hard enough as it is, we need to concentrate on the good things, believe that nothing is as terrible as it seems, and trust that the bad things will soon pass.
I know that today has given me a new appreciation for my normal sleep patterns. (It’s also given me a new appreciation for the Keurig Automatic Delivery program!) There will never be a night that I get too much snuggle time with my boys and soon enough they’ll get too big to want it, which might give me a longer sleep, but it can’t possibly be better.
Sleep well tonight, as much as you can!