Remember when nighttime was for sleeping?

… or partying… but eventually after the party, you DO go to sleep, even it if’s not until after the sun has risen. 😛  For most of us, there comes a time in your life when nighttime becomes the time to sleep — whether you choose to go to bed at 9pm or at 3am, there’s something luxurious about laying down in a comfortable bed, on your favourite pillow, snug under a duvet and closing your eyes for some much-needed restorative sleep. Mmm…. just thinking about it makes me smile. (And for this sleep-deprived momma, it also makes me want to crawl back into bed, haha.)

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Of course, all this changed when I had a baby. Yes, sleepless nights and functioning in a zombie-like state were my reality for a few weeks, but then she started sleeping for longer stretches. Little-by-little I stopped needing a nap every day, until eventually Bean slept through the night and life was wonderful.

Then I had a 2nd baby. The first few nights she was up every 30-45 minutes. (WTH! Aren’t babies supposed to sleep well the first night??? Maybe El’s passage through the labour canal wasn’t traumatic enough to induce a good first night’s sleep… not sure if that’s a positive or a negative.) Thankfully she improved (albeit slowly) and eventually we hit the milestone of sleeping-through-the-night! Yeeesssss! Except that it didn’t stick. It’s more like every now and then she does it… sort of like getting a free sample at Starbucks. You never know when it’s going to happen, but when it does, it’s always a pleasant surprise.

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Enter cold-and-flu season. Last weekend Bean got sick… 2 days later Hubby got it… 2 days after that El got a cold too, and that’s when I stopped being allowed to sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. We’ve been using hydrasense on her and I have the humidifier going in her room every night, but poor El keeps waking up from this cold and is miserable and just wants mummy. So there has been lots of comfort sucking at night. (Did I mention that El won’t take a pacifier??? Or a bottle, but that’s a problem for another day.) Add to that mix Bean’s random night scares (not nightmares… or at least not always), and I seem to be dangerously close to zombie status once again.

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Last night was a bad night for El. Tough to put down, she finally fell asleep only to wake up at 12:30am. I feed her. She falls asleep comfort sucking on the boob and then I try to transfer her back to her crib and she wakes up crying for me again (before I’ve even left the room). I try waiting various amounts of time after she’s asleep in my arms, but no matter what I do (even if it’s been 2 hours because I fell asleep in the rocking chair!) she wakes upon transfer. After trying everything (clean diaper, hydrasense, fed her twice, rocked and paced and patted and snuggled and sang and… you get the idea), I gave up on getting her to sleep in her room and brought her into our bed for some co-sleeping. Just before (or as?) I’m falling asleep I hear Bean wake up, definitely upset about something and calling for me.

I stumble down the hall into her room, climb into her single bed and start to snuggle her when she says “Mummy, I have to pee.” Right. Action required. “Ok, let’s go to the bathroom, fast fast.” (Yes, I said fast twice… after all, it was about 1:45 in the morning and I had just put in 75 minutes trying to calm down the other kid.) Thankfully we make it to the toilet on time. She asks for some water too and then it’s back into her bed. Since it wasn’t a bad dream, I tuck her in and then ask if i can go back to my bed. “No mummy, stay with me.” Sigh. Ok. So I climb into bed with her, expecting her to drift off to dreamland fairly quickly so that I can sneak back to my bed and get some sleep before El wakes up again. No such luck. Bean was not falling asleep. I can hear her tossing and turning in the dark beside me. I curl up under the covers and fall asleep myself. I wake up when I roll over and smack my head on the metal bar of her toddler rail. Ouch! Why do we still have this up? Would it hurt that much more to fall on the floor? Probably. Sigh… Ok, it can stay.

Listening to her deep sleepy breathing beside me, I get up and tiptoe back to my bed, where El is miraculously still asleep. I snuggle into the bed, only to have Hubby’s alarm wake up El (and incidentally me) 5 minutes later. I let El breastfeed in the bed as I mumble “What time is it???” I tell Hubby that I spent most of the night sleeping in Bean’s bed and am a little stiff, to which he replies “Better than sleeping in a chair, non?” I have to smile. Apparently he does notice when I go missing from the bed for long spurts in the night. And let me tell you, I am SO thankful we spent the money on a comfortable glider and ottoman (rather than just going with something that worked, or the wooden rocker I originally thought I wanted for the nursery) — as I have spent a lot of time sleeping in the chair lately!

My gem of a husband lets me sleep, gets Bean up and ready and then the two of them leave me a nice breakfast before heading off to work/school. Awww. What love!!! (I posted a breakfast pic on Instagram @theelephantmomma if you’re curious what they made for me.) So despite being stiff from spending most of my night in the rocker and in Bean’s bed, I can greet the sunny day from a happy place. (Although I am looking forward to an afternoon nap!)

 

What do you mommas do to survive the rough nights? Share your tips in the comment section below.

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