Sleep, the Definitive Edition

I like sleep. I like it a lot. I am a champion sleeper, capable of sleeping dozens of hours without need for food or even for potty breaks.  No amount of sleep is too daunting for me to handle.

Sleep is also the one thing that is and has been in short supply in our house for 20 months + some days.  I have rarely had a solid night’s sleep for two years, since while in a gestational state, the discomfort associated with having a nearly-ten pound baby curled up in one’s belly (perhaps that is not a medically accurate phrase) is not conducive to peaceful slumber.

If anyone had warned me that after nearly two years that I would be counting myself grateful for 3.5 to 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep after having a baby I would have a) blithely told them that I would be in control, not the baby and that therefore he would sleep soundly whether he wanted to or not or b) I would have thought better of the whole genetic propogation thing.

Here is the way we roll at our house at night:

There is a twin bed in the TT’s room upon which either T or I sleep so that the other can have some relative quiet to pursue dreamland in what-was-formerly-known-as “our” room.

T is on duty till around 2:30, give or take.

I am on duty from 2:30 till morning.

Theoretically, I could be getting lots of good sleep before 2:30. The problem is that frequently there are such things as chores, work, personal hygiene and some quality reading time that demands attention. Then after head hitting pillow, it takes anywhere up to 30 minutes before my brain will shut down, unless I am uber-extremely-tired, and I can catch some zzzz’s.

Typically the TT is up at least 4 times. T usually walks him or attends to him at least twice before I come over, starting usually around 11:30, after the TT has had his 3-3.5 hours of deep solid sleep or so.  The TT nurses around 2:30, with me bringing him into bed for the rest of the night (you think I am actually going to GET UP and get him out of his crib each time he needs help? HA!), then probably 3 or 4 times before waking. It depends. Sometimes less, sometimes he just needs a comforting pat and shush to settle again.

The TT has never, ever had self-soothing abilities. I remember once being at the lactation consultant’s a few months after the TT was born as we worked on the seeming endless problem of latch. The LC said to me that he needed to get some self-soothing skills. I agreed.  It’s still not his really strong point, though.

It actually wouldn’t be a problem if he would just nurse and go peacefully back to sleep. That would be great. REally great.  The nights that that happens are actually restful. Although I wake up when he nurses, it’s easy to fall asleep again. The greater difficulty is the fact that quite often when he wakes up, he is UP. For an hour or more.  And his preferred mode of getting back to sleep (and when I say ‘preferred” I mean ‘the only way’) is being walked. Sometimes not even nursing will get him back to sleep. Walked and walked and walked.  Either that or he rolls around and around. He is often a very active sleeper.

Of course all babies and toddlers experience these times esp during developmental spurts…or teething…or allergies…or the wrong phase of the moon…or atmospheric pressure changes…or it’s Tuesday.  But the TT is really kind of like this ALL THE TIME since the beginning.  Actually, he slept well (and by well, I mean even getting 8 hours before he would stir) when he was three months old. 

I know you are saying, “just let him cry”.  He would probably never remember that I let him cry in his crib but I would have that as a negative memory of myself as a parent. T and I are unwilling to let him cry for a long period.  We are attentive parents during the day, why would that change at night?  Just because I have the power to leave him in his crib, to not pick him up into the warm, strong arms that he desires so strongly doesn’t mean that I in all conscious can do so.  The TT IS so almost overly sensitive that T and I both think he would probably cry himself sick.  And I for one cannot hear him crying in such sorrowing sadness and longing in the darkness of the night without doing something about it. 

On the other hand, co-sleeping can turn into a battle too (like last night) when he decides that “DA-BOOM'”, it’s time to play Body Slam the Pillows, a game which he loves during the day but which I find, for some reason, highly inappropriate at night.  After an hour of those shenanigans, T got to come back on call and walk him.  (apparently he had to walk him FOUR MORE TIMES between 4 and 6:30 when I went back in again).

Sometimes he will actually have a night or two in which he sleeps relatively peacefully, he nurses a few times and falls back to sleep again. Those are nice nights. I often don’t mind that the day begins at 6:30 for him on those nights (the 5 a.m. thing is a different story, however).

So there you have it. It is a tag-team effort and one that I would not be able to do and stay sane if T weren’t so willing to pull his weight as he is.  (the first part of the TT’s first year was wearing as T was studying for his CPA exams and I took most nighttime duty so he could sleep and be alert to work and study. Life got A LOT better once T was able to start splitting the Night Shift more). It isn’t easy for us and it certainly isn’t what the so-called “sleep trainers” recommend and I am sure that they would be appalled and warn us that a) we are setting him up for disastrous sleep as a child/adult and b) that we are “being robbed” of our sleep to “no purpose” but I am just that obstinate that I know a) SOMEDAY my child will sleep well, that he will get the sleep he needs as a child and adult and b) I will no longer view 4 hours as a luxury and those sleep trainers can stuff it.

And by about that time, Tyrant #2 will be around and we can start all over again.

And if you finished reading this absurdly lengthy and appallingly boring post, you get a Gold Star.


Conversations with the Perennially Sleep-deprived: A dialogue

Her:  So how are his teeth coming along?

Me: What”

Her: His teeth, how are they?

Me: The peas?

Her: His TEETH. T-E-E-T-H

Me: (Pause.)  (thinking: something…..e….e….gah. spelling hard. no like.)

Her: (shouting) IN HIS MOUTH! HIS TEETH!

Me: Oh. I thought you meant the peas. I haven’t planted any peas yet.

Her: That’s probably a good thing.

Hot topic

Me: So does she sleep through the night yet for you?

Her: Well, I don’t know.   She’ll sleep until 5 and then I have to get up and nurse her and she’ll sleep till 7 again. I don’t know if you call it sleeping through the night.  It sure doesn’t feel like it at 5!

Me:  …….. *sad face*…..

Allow me to complain

Let’s just review the sleep thing, shall we?

Yesterday, Miles napped for about 5 minutes.

Last night:

I hear him at 1:35 (even though Troy is on call; gotta love that Mommy Radar)

1:50 Troy comes out to go potty (see that all adult use of the lexicon has disappeared along with the finer points of tact) and so i switch with him since Miles will probably want to eat soon

2:00 Miles wakes to eat

2:30 – 4:05 Instert 3-4 awakenings as Miles fusses and farts and tosses and turns and nurses a couple more times

5:00 Next rousing. decide to put Miles back into crib to see if he sleeps better there. Nurse Miles. Walk Miles. Put Miles in crib.  Pat Miles. Walk Miles. Nurse Miles. Put Miles in crib. Listen to repeated “mama, up” “all done” “down”

no dice.

by 6:24 am so angry want to spit nails so just decide to give in and get up.

throw pillows vigorously onto bed while making it, YELL at hubby when he gets up and DARES to peek into Miles’s room at 6:30. Hubby tactfully (since he has not lost his tact) takes Miles into bathroom while he readies for work while Mama brews, stews, steams and throws some more stuff before finally pulling up her Big Girl panties and going to make herself a tea latte. with a couple cookies to make her sweeter.

Lather, rinse, repeat the next night for 18 months and counting (w/ occasional variation*).

Feel free to volunteer your services as a night nurse. I won’t say no.


*to be completely honest, usually the TT goes back to sleep until 7:30 or so; hence the pillow throwing when it became apparent that he wasn’t going to be doing that today.

My Boy

My boy is cute

There is no doubt




But often do I want to shout

The fretting, whining and the rest
The constant cling and fussiness

All make me want to pull my hair
Or say a bad word, if I dare

My nose to flare, my teeth to nash
He often gives me a pain in the ash.





But when the day is nearly done
And diaper battles (sometimes) won

His little head on my shoulder lies
And little hands they hug me tight

And then I know the day’s great worth
And all the joy that came from his mirth



So off to sleep he’ll surely go


and we all hope he’ll remain so.


(but who are we kidding?)

This Just in


In late-breaking news this evening it has just been learned that the Tiny Tyrant, aka Master Fussy Crankypants, has, for the first time ever, put himself to sleep.


In a live interview with Mrs. Tyrant, known in other circles as Mrs Grumpy Fussy Crankypants, she reported that, “For the first time ever, the Tiny Tyrant put himself to sleep tonight!”  With a slightly startled and teary eye, she continued, “And it only took 13 months, 3 weeks and 23 hours EXACTLY to the MINUTE for him to learn to do so.”


While the Tiny Tyrant nursed, fussed, farted, fumed, squirmed, got walked and talked to himself, Mrs Tyrant finally placed him in his bed and was pleased and stunned as he continued to fuss, fart and talk himself all the way into the land of Morpheus.


Wearing a casual bedtime ensemble of yoga pants size Exreme topped by Mr. Tyrant’s 1990s red flannel buttondown, hair neatly pulled back in a ponytail by an antique rhinestone barrette circa her High School Third Year Promenade, Mrs Tyrant paused as if in a brief narcoleptic episode recollection. 


“We feel that this strikes a blow against all those ‘sleep trainers’ and cry-it-out advocates out there exerting pressure on tyrants and tyrannical parents everywhere. Certainly if our Tiny Tyrant can finally do it, so can all tyrants around the world, someday, working hand in hand for the greater good of tyrants everywhere.”


The Tiny Tyrant was unavailable for comment at the time.

Don’t blink

I just saw somewhere a blog post that was titled “You blink and they’re five”. I didn’t read the post. Probably I didn’t need to…don’t we know already what it says?

But I would just like to say this to my five-year-in-the-future-self:

You just spent 45 minutes walking the Tiny Tyrant to sleep for his afternoon nap. He was tired.  He was cranky. He was rubbing his eyes. He was fussing. He was scraping at your neck and collarbone the whole time with his pointy little fingers because that is his idea of fun. Your neck and collarbone look like they met one of the cats in a particularly unfortunate encounter.

Oh, the memories, five-years-in-the-future-self, THE MEMORIES.

Look close. Can you see the scratches? (well, maybe you can’t. but they are there!)

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