Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Operation Sleep

Funny thing happens when you have babies: everyone asks how they sleep. As though that's some sort of reflection on the quality of baby, perhaps? Or indicative of how well you parent? Or perhaps the answer will reveal if the child is actually happy, or healthy, or eating properly, or whatever. 

Also funny thing: parents can go on and on about this topic for hours before exhausting themselves. It's true! Read on, and find out. :)

When Ellie was young and I was going back to work (I went back at 3 1/2 months), whenever I'd get asked I'd sort of shirk the answer, which was: "she sleeps fully through the night from 7pm to 6am. Every night." It's a boring answer, and we totally knew it was insanely lucky that our baby slept like that. The response was always some form of "OMG! You're SO lucky and you don't even know it! My baby NEVER slept!" Or, if it was another parent, the answer was "OMG! I hate you!" Both were equally unpleasant. One answer implies that you, the parent, don't know anything about the flip side of the coin, and the other leaves you apologizing and asking for forgiveness. 

For all the haters and people who told us how lucky we were, eventually she decided to mix it up and gave me plenty of nights in which I was up every 45 minutes to an hour, and then went to work in the morning. It wasn't all roses, I promise.

Now that we have Dash, I'd say I get asked this question on average three to four times a week. And here's our situation:

We live in a two bedroom townhouse. The kids will eventually share a room, one in a twin bed, the other in the crib. This will hopefully be soon, but who knows, because Ellie's still in her crib because I'm terrified of loosing any precious sleep to her getting out of bed every three minutes. 

We have/had a bassinet next to my side of the bed. Dash outgrew his original bassinet recently, so it's been replaced by a Pack n Play. 

Dash likes to snack occasionally throughout the night. He also really, really likes to be near me throughout the night. Also confession: he really, really sleeps best when he's on his tummy. I KNOW. I hate it, but.... 

So where does that leave us? 

Ellie falls asleep in her crib after playing with her stuffed animals for however long. Sometimes this is over an hour. Dash falls asleep in my arms and I move him to the bassinet. He squirms around, and eventually settles down. Peter and I climb into our bed, and turn off the light. EVERY NIGHT when this happens, it's Dash's cue to wake up. Wide open eyes, talking, fussing, etc. 

I pull him in bed and he snuggles up next to me. He's asleep within seconds. He's a funny little trickster that way. The three of us fall asleep. 

Dash starts squirming a couple hours later, and if he's on his back, he starts flailing around. He's too big for a swaddle now, but he'd still benefit from it because he definitely still has the startle reflex. When this happens, Peter kisses us on the forehead and sneaks into Ellie's room, where he crashes out on the bed, meant for her. 

Dash is relieved that Dad is gone and sleeps fairly soundly for the rest of the night, squirming only when he needs a snack once or twice more. He never fully wakes up though, and by morning is snoozing soundly

Ellie wakes up around 5am most mornings and wants to snuggle with Daddy. He pulls her into his twin bed and they snuggle til he gets up. She sleeps until 8 or 9, at which point she wanders into my room and stands next to my head with a remote control in her hand, waiting for me to wake up. I have no idea how long she stands there for. When I wake up, with a start, and she asks "Supee-ah? Choo Choo Dee?" (That's of course "Superwhy? Dinosaur Train?").

The whole thing is a bit of musical chairs/beds, but the good thing is that almost everyone is sleeping pretty well, despite me being the only person remaining in their correct bed all night. Seeing as how I'm the one getting the least consecutive sleep, I think that's a fair trade. 

We're on Operation Sleep In Correct Locations around here. I'll let you know how it turns out. Stay tuned, because it's really very riveting. ;)

Dash: Right place, wrong position. But, cute!
Dash: wrong place, better position. Still cute. :)
And because I don't have any good recent pics of Ellie sleeping, I leave you with one of she and I pretending to be sheep. Why not? 


  1. I bought one of these for Jamie:
    I'd send it to you to borrow, but I can't find it (it's in a box of baby stuff, I'm sure, but Lord only knows which one). It was wonderful.

  2. Just for the record, when I ask moms and dads how their baby is sleeping it's because it's such a good gauge of the parents' postpartum quality of life, not to gauge the quality of their parenting skills or (god forbid!) their baby. PS - my favorite pic is the tummy sleeping one. SO cute!