Every Night's and All-Nighter When You're a Parent

In the past three years, the hubs and I have enjoyed about ten nights of uninterrupted sleep. That’s about 1,085 un-enjoyable days. I’m surprised dark, saggy bulges aren’t permanently tattooed under my eyes.

Mornings after five-hour stretches feel like we’ve endlessly dozed on clouds. Best. Nights. Sleep. Ever. Sleeping in means 8 a.m. And, Jack sneaking between us at 5 a.m., instead of midnight, is a “great night.”

I’m not sure how we got so lucky. Having two kids who find it fun to wake up all night. Jack was horrible right out of the gate. I clearly remember the first weeks of his life. Pleading to God to help him stay asleep. Hearing his grunts and tiny hiccup cries every hour. Unable to open my eyes. Rocking him for hours.

We had a very specific bedtime routine. Still do. Let him sleep with us. Cry it out (see my previous post on that here). You name it, we tried it. It was never going to sleep that was the issue. It was staying asleep. Now almost three, Jack usually wakes up once a night. And, normally ends up in our bed. But, not without a few humorous sleep conversations. 

Now Ella? She’s the sassy, unpredictable one. When she was four weeks old, we gushed about her consistent five-to-six hour stretches. Would wake up to quickly nurse, then instantly fell back asleep for another five hours.

At four months, it was easy to wean her of night feedings. Two nights of a couple extra snuggles and she kicked the habit.  But a few weeks later, she found her voice. And, discovered we came to it.

Now almost eight months old, Ella owns the night. It’s like playing cards. Never sure of the hand we’ll be dealt. Goes to bed around 8 or 9 p.m. Never ever fusses. And, usually can’t even finish her bottle. (For the recommended amount of sleep your baby should have by age, click here).

Sometimes she’ll barely wake once. Just for the missing pacifier. But, those nights are becoming scarcer. Normally, she’s up for an hour sometime between 2 and 4 a.m. Grinning and batting my face. Seriously. Last night, she squealed and elbowed as I forced her into the sleep position in my arms. She was mad. Mad! And, that was after a half-hour of Justin rocking and rocking and rocking.

If she’s not up for one solid hour, she’s waking up every two to three. Shove in the pacifier. Or rock for a few seconds. She’s good for another two to three.

Ella’s unusual sleep patterns and Jack’s sleep talking and midnight snuggles are the perfect recipe for auto-parents. With some edge of course.We're lucky to get a solid hour these days. It's always one or the other. Never both at one time.

Last nights party with Ella made me realize something. It’s time for some new sleep training. And, I had just read an article in Parenting Magazine about a new book written by a pediatrician that doesn’t involve Cry It Out. The Happiest Baby Guide to Great Sleep is written by Harvey Karp, M.D., who also wrote The Happiest Toddler on the Block.  And, it addresses kids up to five years. Maybe I can kill two birds with one book?

So, sorry Ella. Maybe you should leave the sass at your door and get some shuteye. 

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