My kids are good sleepers.
(I know they are because when I describe their schedules to other parents I frequently am told to, “Shut up.”)
Abby was sleeping through the night (six-hour stretches) by a month-and-a-half. Nora was a bit later, but she was still able to get through the night on her own by her third month. At four-and-a-half months, she regularly goes from 11:00 to 7:30 (and sometimes longer) between feedings.
Abby needed to be Ferberized when she was teething, since we just about lost our minds at the process of rocking a sniffling child to sleep only to have her snap awake (screaming) the second that she lay down in her crib. It took her two nights and a combined total of forty minutes of crying before she was able to put herself to sleep at night. She has slept soundly from dusk ‘till dawn almost every night since then (barring sleepovers at my dad’s, where she readily trashes the room in which she is meant to be sleeping).
And a normal parent might try to take credit for such consistency, but I know that I absolutely can’t, since I am one of the worst sleepers in history and I suck at being a parent most days. My kids just know that sleep is important and – with very few exceptions – they just use it to their benefit.
I hope that they can always sleep that way. I love watching Nora as she naps on the couch, a small, hand-knit blanket pulled up high on her little belly, her little hands in loose fists by her face. I still sometimes carefully open Abby’s door before I go to bed. She has usually kicked off all her blankets (that kid runs hot) and she often has her pillow shoved aside as well. As tall as she is (she towers over most kids a year older than her), she still looks absolutely tiny in her full-sized bed, her body tucked up to the top right corner where she insists on being placed every night.
My brain never seems to shut off when I want it to, so sleep often eludes me (a curse that I inherited from my mother, or so I am told). But I rest easier knowing that Abby and Nora can still lie down at night and let it all go.
My baby could only be perfect for so long.
The last few nights, Abby has abandoned her routine of sleeping in until 10:00 in favour of waking up between 4:00 and 5:00 AM and screaming bloody murder until one of us goes in to get her. Once she has trapped a parent, she refuses to go back to sleep unless it is in our room, tucked into our warm, comfy, and (up until that moment) baby-free bed.
She’s been so perfect. She has slept like a dream since she was six weeks old. All mothers wanted her. All babies wanted to be her. I just figured that would continue until she was eighteen and ready to go to university; I don’t think that’s too much to expect.
I’m hoping that this is just some silly phase that she’s going through. The two of us sat down and discussed the situation today when I got home from work. I explained to her that I need my sleep because I’m up early in the morning, and that if she really needed something she could politely request it through the baby monitor, but only if she really needed it right then. I cited poopy diapers as a reasonable excuse for a midnight wakeup, but biting her own toes too hard was something that didn’t require a reassuring hug.
Abby’s response was non-committal. She spent the whole conversation making raspberry noises, until the end where she farted three times. (The first two farts were short, but the last one was really long and smelled like pickled evil.)
We’ll see if she gets the point tonight or not. I couldn’t hold her to a consequence beyond a severe tickling, so she doesn’t have much incentive to ride it out until morning.