Sleep problems? I don't have sleep problems. I am a great sleeper! In fact, I could likely lay my head on this desk right now and konk out. For reals.
But everyone that lives in my house apparently doesn't get along as well with sleep as much as I do. I mean, why isn't everyone BFFs with sleep? Makes. No. Sense. It's the best friend I've ever had.
But apparently, sleep and I are "on a break".
I can remember being a teenager and going to bed at 2am, 3am, and sleeping for 12 hours straight. It was fantastic. I wasn't worried about a bedtime because I knew once I went to bed, sleep would follow and be uninterrupted.
Then came kids.
Well a whole new ballgame began as many of you are aware. The beautiful gift of children. They should come with a warning label you know. "WARNING: May cause impairment of vision, dizziness, and lack of sleep". It should be stuck to their cute little heads the moment they appear. And really, the sleep issues (for me at least) began in pregnancy. The aches, pains, having to pee at least 8475847583745 times in the night, and of course - lack of the ability to get comfortable. All of this was a precursor to the nights/days to come of sleep issues.
My oldest, who is now 6, had a couple years in the beginning where sleep was only happening if she was touching her daddy or I. So, the first method we had and used was Survival 101. In order for life to function in our household, someone had to sleep so we did whatever was necessary to see that happen. I didn't know there was a term called co-sleeping until a couple years ago. I wasn't trying to be cool or try out methodology - I just needed rest! So sleeping became shift work between my husband and I. He took the early night shift - I took the early morning shift. To say those two years were a blur would be an understatement. However, we survived.
When i think back to those years - I think of things we did/skills we acquired in order for sleep to become a realization:
1. The figure eight walk. There had to be a clear pah that marked the "figure 8" we walked in that house many nights trying to get a baby to sleep. I have no rhyme or reason for the number eight. Maybe if we had tried nine, or ten it would have worked.
2. Ninja skills. Any parent can attest to acquiring a specific set of skills when they have a small child who finally gives it up for the night. You lay them down and somehow you have to remove all body parts touching in order to get away. This becomes a human tetris model. You adjust and move very quickly lest that beautiful sleeping child should become aware of your departure. I have muscles and moves that I never knew existed before the days of literally having to roll on the floor to the door to exit the sleeping beauty's room.
3. Quietness. My husband and I are fluent in sign language. Not the real sign language. The made up one we have so that we can be as quiet as possible when a child is taking a nap or resting for the evening. You know what I am talking about. The one where you can have a full conversation in the silence of sleep.
Then I think of moments where pure craziness occurred due to sleep deprivation:
1. Lost remote. Found remote in refrigerator. I don't even know.
2. Brushed with my husband's toothbrush. Hey - at least my teeth were clean.
3. Sat on the toilet with the top completely closed. That (luckily) didn't last but a couple seconds.
By the time baby number two came along, my daughter was 3.5 and a great sleeper. She sleeps late on Saturdays and once she's down, she's down (outside of sickness or something out of the ordinary). So I like to think we did something right. That can't be it, but hey, don't bust my bubble.
So on to sleep training number 2. The figure eight made its appearance in a new home, the ninja skills got more ninjier (work with me), and the quietness and ability to wash dishes, clean house, eat, watch movies, almost do anything as quietly as possible really reached another level. Level expert.
Then we moved my now 2 year old into a big boy bed. He LOVES his bed. Oh he talks about it and jumps on it... and never lets us leave it. So good thing we bought that good mattress. Because that little booger has the most keen sense of awareness I have ever seen. He knows the MOMENT you move, wake, cough, or blink.
That was 2 weeks ago that the big boy bed came into play. And I am fresh out of ideas. So we are back to Survival 101, now called co-sleeping. I'll get back to you when we finally are able to leave this phase..... in 2025.
Moral of the story: Kids don't like sleep as much as I do.