Sleep. When you're a parent of small children it becomes an obsession. When I'm awake I'm structuring our day to make sure both boys are stimulated and fed enough (but not too much) to make sure they are perfectly worn out and drowsy at night. When I'm asleep I'm usually concentrating very hard on staying asleep, and praying that I get enough to make it through the next day. Anything that disturbs the balance - a fever, a nightmare, the dog, a thunderstorm, a f**king jackhammer in the daytime, is met with an exhausted rage that would make me cry if only I had the energy. Quite simply, I live, eat and breathe sleep. After 12 weeks of getting 4 consecutive hours at the most, I am barely functioning, and definitely not "firing on all cylinders," as my husband so eloquently puts it. When anyone asks me how I am my response is usually, "so freaking tired." Sleep has become such a precious commodity that if someone offered me a choice between a gift of diamonds, or 24 hours, by myself in a hotel, I would take the sleep without giving it a second thought. It's boring I know, but I cannot think or talk about anything else until I get some sleep.
The old "sleep when the baby sleeps" goes out the window when you also have a toddler, and if there are less than 3 adults in the house, the chance to catch up evaporates faster than my patience. For something so essential to survival, I cannot believe that babies are born not knowing how to sleep. It's not rocket science kiddies! They don't know that they need it and as their parents you need to help them, for your sake as much as theirs. It's a delicate balancing act, and what worked for one kid might have the opposite effect on the other. So my days and nights have been spent tweaking things ever so slightly looking for the magic combination. Charlie doesn't like to be swaddled, and he sleeps better when the fan is on instead of the air-con. We need to give him a dream-feed, something we never did with Josh, and he prefers to go to sleep with white noise in the background, rather than music. It also helps when I am absolutely shattered and don't hear him fussing. I've been getting him up and popping a boob in his mouth whenever he stirred, pre-empting a crying fit which would wake everyone else, but it turns out I didn't need to. Last night we got the balance right, we found the holy grail, and the little guy slept for 12 solid hours! I slept through every whimper and grunt, and when he was done, Charlie just carried on sleeping. The urge to feed woke me before he did (they don't call it a let-down for nothing...) but I know now that he doesn't need to eat as often as I was trying to feed him. I'd be cross with myself for not figuring it out sooner if I wasn't so overjoyed. I feel like a new woman, like I could take on the world. I know there will always be bad nights, and tonight could very well be one of them. If I have learned anything from this parenting gig, it's that things always change just when you think you've got them figured out. But I have seen the light at the end of the tunnel.
It's official - Charlie can sleep through. Now we just need to convince his big brother to do the same...
For those of you in the same boat, you are not alone. This is old, but it still makes me smile - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3xtcB457jqQ