I’ve been contemplating writing one of those little books that people keep beside the toilet, since I have no idea how on earth I’ll ever right the big book whose pages stare at me and beg me to dig in and do some serious editing. Here’s a sample chaper.
Healthy Sleep Patterns
I do not know how to get a baby to sleep through the night. There are loads of experts that will share their theories and well devised plans with you, but they don’t know your child and they don’t know you. Give them three nights at your house and they’ll use that book of theirs for kindling.
Let your baby cry, don’t let your baby cry, calmly reassure your baby but don’t touch them, touch your baby but do not speak to them, keep your baby in bed with you so they can bond and feel safe, don’t sleep with your baby or you will roll on it and kill it or worse yet, that baby will be sleeping with you til he moves out of the house and that’s just plain creepy.
My son Nicholas didn’t sleep in his own room until he was about 4 1/2 years old. He started in the lovely wicker bassinet beside our bed, then moved into our bed, then moved to a mattress on the floor beside our bed, and held his dad’s hand every night until he fell asleep and until daddy’s arm went numb. Yep, he did. I am a good mom.
Nick only left our room when we gave him a sibling to sleep in his room with him. (That sibling was not created in the bedroom, mind you.) He didn’t like to be alone and he still doesn’t like to be alone. I mean let’s be real, I don’t like sleeping alone either, do you?
Taylor did better because he had a roommate. See what I mean. I’m too old now to remember how old he was when he slept thought the night. I suppose I could look it up in his baby book, but we all know that by child #2, you don’t have time to write such monumental events down in those sweet books anymore.
Taylor could hardly wait to finally get a room of his own, and he happily sleeps through the night, so I guess I did alright by him.
I don’t think Isabelle ever slept in our room and she was sleeping through the night in a couple of months. Did I get wise by the third one? Nope. Just lucky. She would happily chatter away in bed until she fell asleep and now she happily chatters away at the foot of my bed until I fall asleep.
If you have a success story, I can assure you, it was just luck of the draw. You got a kid who was genetically programmed to enjoy sleeping. They only make a few like that each year, so to the rest of you, it’s not your fault.
And then the craziest thing happens, when your kids become teenagers they can sleep for an ungodly number of hours and all you can do then is glare at their sleeping carcasses and pray you can resist the urge to pounce on them and wake them at 6:30am like they did to you for years.
That brings us to the three affectionately know as “The Littles.” Someone just shoot me now. Why is it that children who run 100 miles an hour all day insist on making bedtime sound like they have been confined to a torture chamber. Really kids, your body will quit eventually, you may as well give up. When on earth did you ever get the idea that if you acted like wild banshees long enough, I would finally give in and say, “ok, you win, heres some coca cola, some Oreos and a bag of sweet tarts, have a party all night long!”
And that brings me to Mattie, who at present, despite my desperate attempts to flip flop him, thinks the party hours are 9pm-3am. I’m stumped, plain stumped. The doctor told me it was behavioral. Really? And gave me all sorts of things to try, which of course I have tried. They failed. So at the moment I thank Jesus for the night nurse and sleep though the party.
Oh and let me stop you now. Do not buy into the lie that if you let them stay up later on Friday, that they will fall asleep more quickly and miraculously sleep in on Saturday morning. This will not happen, so spare yourself an experiment gone bad. This is what I know- regardless of what time you put your children to bed, they will wake up a dark o’thirty. The only time they will ever sleep in is when you need or want them to get up early. This Christmas for example, I was ready at 7am with cinnamon rolls and I had to wake the last of them up finally at 8am so the dang cinnamon rolls wouldn’t be cold.
And I will also warn you now about a national disaster called Daylight Savings Time. DST was created by men who do not have children, so that they do not have to drive to work in the dark. That’s what headlights are for, people! Use them and leave my kids out of this! Children are not excited about getting an extra hour of sleep. It takes weeks for them to adapt and parents never get the extra hour of sleep.
So to summarize my expert knowledge of developing healthy sleep patterns in your child, quit trying so hard, eventually they will choose to sleep because they like it, in the meantime, pop a Benedryl, at least you’ll sleep, even if they don’t!