“Instructions for living a life: Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver
Our older daughter’s fifth birthday is approaching next weekend and I was just reflecting on the early months and years and how quickly it’s all gone by. Being a parent to a baby and toddler warps time; some of the days seemed to last forever, but then the months and years in aggregate sort of just whizzed by.
With our younger daughter at 2 1/2 years old now, life is definitely getting easier. But last night we had a game of what I call musical beds, where everyone was up and out in the wee hours running around, tossing and turning, and waking each other up. What, in the name of all that is holy, is going on?? I thought sleep training was a thing of the past, but with our littlest moving out of her crib it looks like it might be time to revisit. If some of you all are facing sleepless nights brought on by little ones, you might check out the advice below:
Read: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Dr. Weissbluth. Even if you don’t believe in “sleep training”, or decide not to try it, the book is still worth a read. The most surprising, but obvious, thing I learned from the book was how much the lack of sleep impacts the child and parents (i.e., it’s hard enough being a parent, let alone a chronically tired one with a chronically tired/fussy baby). For me, it was a boon because it helped me identify when I would have the best odds of success with getting my babies down for a nap/bedtime and helped me link my babies’ behavior to how much sleep they were getting and when they were getting it. I must caveat by saying I think my two were pretty “textbook” in that sense though and not every friend I know who has tried this has found it to work as well as I did. But really, is there anything to lose from at least checking it out? If you’re not getting much sleep in your house, I think not, except the $10 for the book, and if you want you can borrow it from me, just shoot me an email. Now, the trick is, how to keep these older kids in bed… the crib can no longer contain them. So, if you all have ideas, I welcome them. I seem to recall having a stage like this with our older kid, but think we just waited out the “phase”. Not sure I have it in me for another round!
Sleep-in if you need it: My husband and I regularly alternate on the weekends who will get up early with the kids Saturday and Sunday. This practice started after our second baby arrived, when it became more difficult for one or both of us to catch up on sleep. Knowing you can sleep in at least one morning a week helps you power through some of the seemingly endless sleep-deprived days! We still do it now, even though the kids aren’t babies, because we’re night owls and definitely can use the extra catch-up sleep. After the night we just had, I’m already fantasizing about sleeping in ’til 10AM this weekend… ahh, the hedonism. 🙂 Here’s hoping for sweet, uninterrupted, dreams tonight!