My four month old son is (thankfully) a heavy sleeper during his naps. His siblings run loudly up and down the hall past his room. His brother even opens the door, runs in, and slams it shut. Through these things, he can always sleep. He heard those sounds in the womb, I suppose. Maybe they’re comforting noises. Either way, he’s snoring right through their laughter and their tears. Or another example is that when he eats right before his nap, he falls asleep so deeply that when I go to put him in the crib, his limbs are all floppy. I could basically dump him in there any old way, and he’d stay asleep. No amount of jostling between the rocking chair and the crib would jolt him awake if he is ready for his nap. A good three hours later, I’m turning on lights, throwing off blankets and trying to wake him up.
But let’s just say that the children are all tucked in for the night, and I’m getting ready for bed. If I so much as creak a floorboard on the way to my room, or dare to use the ice maker to chill my water, he wakes up. “Mom! I heard you! That must mean it’s time to eat! Oh, and will you give me a fresh diaper, too? And maybe a long snuggle?”
Yes, my son. I will always snuggle you, take care of you, and love you. I will do these things to the best of my ability all day, every day. I will spend my life making your life (and your siblings’) the best I possibly can. However, I could be so much better at these things if I could just get a little sleep. So sweetie, my darling… please sleep through the night as heavily as you nap.
One of these nights, one of these crazy, old nights… -The Eagles
Sure, the Eagles weren’t writing about a mom trying to put her kids to bed, but that one line got stuck in my head as I trudged my way through the worst night in a while.
Today I worked my summer camp job most of the day. We’re leaving on a big trip this weekend, and there is a lot to do between now and then, so naturally the day was pretty busy. This evening, I had a lovely dinner with my family and my friend Katelyn who was in from out of town. Everyone behaved so nicely (due to fairly well-timed naps) and we were home in plenty of time to have a leisurely bedtime routine. Hubby was headed to work so I convinced Katelyn to stay for a few minutes longer for some extra snuggles (read: to be an extra pair of hands for a few minutes).
After the kids were bathed and in pajamas, Katelyn had to leave. I plopped EK in front of the iPad to watch an episode of Super Why (she LOVES it). We’ve done this before in times that I’m alone with the kids at bedtime and it’s worked fine. This was about 7:45, which is a pretty normal time for J to be getting to sleep. We don’t have an exact time for bed, since if they nap and how long and what we did that day determines what time they get super sleepy.
So I spend the whole episode of Super Why trying to get J sleepy and it ain’t happening. When EK got bored (about the time J would typically be passed out hard) she kept running in the room, which would jolt J out of any sleepiness we had going. I’d send her out with a job (hop in bed, pick out a book, etc) and try again to get J down. This happened several times, and finally she cried when I sent her out again. I figured it was time for an attention swap (it had been over half an hour) so I laid J down (instant cry) and closed the door. Six months old isn’t too early to have a little fuss and self-soothe practice, so I got EK tucked in, and sleepy-looking. After a few minutes of snuggles, I realized J was doing the opposite of soothing. I said, “Mommy needs to go help J since he’s been crying for a few minutes now.” Cue the screaming toddler. Clearly she hadn’t felt like the few minutes was enough after J had gotten so long with me. I tried going back and forth for a while, but then everyone was crying (including myself, after I had closed both doors, walked to the kitchen, and thought about pouring myself a large glass of wine) so I bit the bullet. I put J on the boob, sat on the edge of EK’s bed and hummed. After J had passed out (he hadn’t been hungry, mind you, he had eaten plenty) I laid him down and went back to EK for another 5 or 7 minutes. All of a sudden, it’s 9:30.
Of course, this was an unusually restless and stressful evening, and of course it’s one that I’m here by myself. When they were finally both asleep, part of me said, “Just go to sleep. Lay down on your bed, and go to sleep.” But the rest (the more responsible part) of me, was reminded of all the chores that hadn’t gotten done yet this week and the laundry and packing that had yet to be done before we go. Unfortunately, all I wanted to do was lie back down next to EK and sleep till tomorrow. But what did I do? Some dishes. A tiny bit of laundry. And then I sat down to write. I needed to vent. I needed to hear from someone that I’m not the only one with nights like this. I needed do a little something for myself – and now that I say that, I realize I should have poured myself that glass of wine.
Please tell me you’ve also had one of these nights…
We are blessed with two children who are great sleepers. But once in a while, there is a fluke. And what happens when your groggy bedhog of a toddler climbs into your bed at 4:00am?
This. Your gallant husband takes a hit to his dignity at being wedged out of the bed, goes across the hall, and gets in your daughter’s pinktastic bed, complete with your childhood PowerPuff Girls and Tinkerbell pillowcases. And you humiliate him on your blog.