If it’s possible to type quietly, that is what I’m doing as I write this blog post. Just down the hall from the guest room to which I’ve been relegated sleeps – strike that – screams our sweet Rosie Grace. Love her we do, but her sleep habits leave something to be desired.
Child #1 has always slept like a champ. For the first year of his life, I would lay him down on the couch next to me as I typed or read or watched The Real Housewives of NYC and periodically he would pass out for 2-3 hours at a time. Then he’d go to bed at 7PM and sleep for 12 hours. TC and I were both very proud of ourselves for this clearly remarkable parenting.
As the old adage goes, however, lightning rarely strikes twice (except for really, really lucky parents, or in the case of actual lightning, really, really unlucky people who should stay indoors).
Child #2 needs a little more TLC. It occurred to me a month or so ago that she really doesn’t sleep during the day. Occasionally she’ll pass out in her carseat, but the slightest noise or disturbance puts a swift end to her 90 second naps. Until recently she’s still managed to sleep well at night, but we are in new territory this week. The professionals I’ve consulted on Google refer to this as “sleep debt.”
So I am taking their advice. Tonight marked phase one of the Cry It Out Until Everyone Wants to Strangle Themselves method. It worked out pretty well for Jack and TC. They need their beauty sleep, so they’re snuggling in our heavenly king bed in the room furthest away from Little Damien… errr, I mean Rosie. My beauty, evidently, is a closed chapter. A lovely, fleeting memory of a time before my eyes were cushioned with dark little teabags and my hair lived outside the confines of a sloppy bun.
Let me tell you: Hillary’s not the only one with stamina this week. Cry It Out time began at 8PM and at 10:25, the little lady was still going strong. For you right brained thinkers struggling with the math, that’s 145 minutes of screaming. Not quite the length of Titanic, but if you cut out the credits, just maybe.
I’d love to tell you that at 10:25, I stuck to my guns (what does this expression mean anyway? Because at 10:25, I was just feeling really grateful I don’t own a gun) and let her just keep crying until sweet, glorious sleep took over. But I didn’t. I fed her instead. And then I got five minutes of sweet, glorious peace. I call this a win, but check with me in 30 minutes and we’ll see.
Parenting is hard stuff (duh), but all the gorgeous photos we post online of our children can sometimes mislead others about the experience. Yes, I love their bright blue eyes, and seeing them in matching pajamas induces a confusing adoration that makes me actually want to eat them alive, but every conversation, every interaction is a critical opportunity for us parents to respond with thoughtfulness and intention. And that’s a lot of mental work.
So, at 11:36, I’m calling it a day. Here is my list of parenting wins I can claim today:
- Did not give into Jack’s persistent requests for Lunchables and Cheetos in his lunch
- Remembered to actually sign up for a parent-teacher conference
- Had a marvelous time teaching Jack about measuring as we baked raspberry muffins with Rosie on my chest
- Prepared cauliflower “wings” for dinner (Jack ate them, but did request I make them with chicken next time)
- Skimmed a parenting book
- Fed the dog
- Didn’t kill the dog when he started barking at the thunder, moments after baby finally fell asleep
* Someone (not me) may even have brushed their teeth somewhere in there, but I’m not certain, so I’m leaving it off the list for now.
To all you valiant parents out there, I tip my hat. Now go get some sleep.